Don't worry, I haven't thrown the old ones away and maybe I never will. I have placed them carefully under my bed alongside the small oil paintings that I dust down from time to time and the secondhand suitcase that I use when I visit the mainland. I decided that I needed a new pair of shoes and an unexpected windfall provided the oppertunity. There are three shoe shops in this small town but I'd already made up my mind and decided be dynastic and buy a pair as close as possible in style to the old ones - eccentric as they are. Not wanting to have the trouble of struggling with the complicated laces of my mountain boots I decided to wear my felt slippers, buy the shoes and then transfer the slippers to a paper bag. I wasn't the least embarrassed by this procedure because many men past retirement age go around in slippers all the time. When I got to Ben Calçat the shop was closed and in a state of irritation and dissappointmant I stepped off the pavement into a deep sludge of wet concrete. My slippers and my dignity were instantly ruined and I was forced to limp towards the next shop where I had previously noticed a pair of town shoes and, desperate to conceal my concrete encrusted slippers, I bought them without trying them on. Size 46, but a bargain at thirty euros and in exactly the style of which my aunt would have approved.
I need new shoes for the next part of the journey; the tunnel is not only dark, it's also slippery and there are shallow pools of stagnant water. It's not a nice place, fetid as it is with the excrement of broken souls.