Tuesday, September 18, 2007

United Airlines

I had no problems flying barefoot on a United flight from Washington Dulles to Heathrow. All the staff were friendly. And on the flight out, while I didn't board barefoot, I did potter round in the flight and had a chat with one of the stewards about a CNN documentary about living barefoot. He was all "but what about all the germs", and I'm like "it's my United flight of whatever".

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Luna Lovegood Barefoot

I recently watched the latest Harry Potter film - the Order of the Pheonix - and very much enjoyed it. I gave a little gasp of joy when I saw that Luna was out in the woods barefoot - good for her :)

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Joss Stone for Diana

I just enjoyed watching Joss Stone's performance for the Princess Diana memorial concert in Wembley stadium. I quite like her music, but mostly I enjoyed her being barefoot on stage. Well done Joss :)

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Nice Barefoot Encounter

There I was this afternoon walking to the student services building on Highfield campus past the library where lots of students were lounging around on the grass outside. Three girls got up in front of me and started walking ahead. I heard one exclaim that she'd forgotten to put her shoes one. As I walked past I mentioned that she'd be just fine without them. As they noticed that I was not wearing shoes either I heard their exclamation, then the girl without shoes called her thanks to me saying that she'd just made a barefoot friend.

I just love how differences break down barriers with strangers.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cold Feet

So it's been a tad chilly this May after a stunningly warm April and over the weekend I was wearing shoes for a but of extra warmth. Then last night in bed I had my traditional cold feet. Shoes simply don't work for insulation.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Flip Flops

Can anyone tell me why it is that men with out shoes on is weird and strange but men with flip flops on is quite acceptable? It just looks girly, get them off and take the ground like a man.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Barefoot Again/Still

To all my friends and family who lament at my lack of shoes I'm sad to say that the winter (if you could call it such) never really managed to flip me back to the world of shoes. So with the warm weather back and more reliable I'm again enjoying the feeling of the ground benieth my feet rathen than insulated by my shoes.

Gardening, however, has been a shod exercise of late as I've been weilding a lovely new heavy and quite sharp garden fork - I accidentally placed it on my big toe which hurt and thus I thought shoes would be more sensible. accident prone as I am.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Barefoot Doctor Who

I've just very much enjoyed the start of the of the new Doctor Who series on BBC this evening. The new assistant Martha Jones is rather lovely and I do like David Tennant as the doctor. But what really tickled me pink was seeing the Doctor barefoot! Is my influence spreading that quickly?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Barefoot At Jongleurs, Camden Town

Friday 16th March

Were you at Jongleurs in Camden Town last Friday? Well I am that very barefoot Nick. If you weren't then here's the story.

It was Ben and Rachael's birthday this last weekend and as a treat some free tickets to Jongleurs were secured for free, so a night out in London was organised. Ben, Luke and I caught the train up from Southampton in the afternoon and we all convened at the End of the World pub in Camden Town (thought I stopped off at China Town to pick up some wok lids).

We then pottered along to a Miso Soup bar and enjoyed a very lovely noodle meal (though unfortunately no miso soup). Afterwards we then went along to the comedy club, and I was pleased that they let me in without shoes on. Unfortunetly the table thay gave us was right benieth the microphone.

When the compare started he did a very funny introduction which involved picking out some likely candidates for picking on by the upcoming comedians. First there was this guy Bob, who was a little posh. This provided some amusement, but then he looked over, spotted me and found out I was a research student - a great compromise for a start. Then he noticed that I wasn't wearing any shoes, and that was it. What better a comedy subject than a barefoot student. Comedy gold.

So throughout the night I was used as the butt of many jokes. It was truly brilliant, I loved it. I was continually thankful that I am able to laugh at myself and that I wasn't one of those Americans who seem to have had the sarcasm gene removed. After the acts ended I had a number of people come up to me and say hello (the night had been dedicated to me) and get their picture taken with me. All very good fun, and all in a very nice spirit.

This is perhaps the most enjoyable thing about being barefoot, being already different from the crowd it seems to take away some of the unease or fear that people have about talking to strangers. Just brilliant.

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Running Barefoot Across London

After my night of comedy last Friday I had a little adventure running through the streets of London. I guess I stayed a tad late in the comedy club and it was 11:30 when I made to leave. I had a little walk through Camden Town to the train station and then got onto the Northern line heading south towards Waterloo. Annoyingly I picked up the wrong branch of the Northern (I'm sure it was not totally clear, but the slight inepriation might have had a little to do with it).

I'd heard rumours that the underground stopped at about half twelve but didn't really want to check my phone to see what the time was. I checked the underground map and noted that the Jubilee line connects London Bridge to Waterloo so I got of there and nipped down the escalators to the platform just as a train left. Unfortunately, to my horror, the announcement then came on the tannoy informing us that that was the last westbound train. Mistake!

So I ran back up the escalators - I love running up escalators in bare feet, especially the really long ones leaping up two steps at a time, quite an skill - picked up my bearings outside and then headed for Waterloo running along Southwark Street and then Stamford Street. The distance was about one and a half miles and I reached the station with 15 minutes before the train left (I had only sketchy info regarding the time of the last train back to Southampton being at about 1 am).

This was definitely a good example of the beer scooter as my friend calls it - that uncanny knack to get home when slightly under the influence. I was well surprised to find that it still worked with out shoes on, and what's more my feet survived intact. Though the heals were a little sore the following day, and my calves ached the day after that, but otherwise unscathed. Result.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Walking With My Feet

On the way home from town this afternoon I came across a father and son walking home from school. He was of the age where you walk about 5 meters behind your dad, just experimenting with being a little independent. He was also on a secret mission to shoot lots of things as he went, so as I passed home I was shot and a gruesome death followed.

As I walked on he exclaimed to me about my shoelessness with the rather lovely phrase "your walking with your feet". We chatted a little about this and he told me he thought it was disgusting, but then went on to recall that he did it when he goes on holiday in India.

A lovely little chap. The sort you really pray won't get screwed up and turned into a chav.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Barefoot in the Nation's Capital

My feet own Washington DC. I've come to DC for the Planetary Defence Conference to present my research. While at the conference I've been shod in some rather uncomfortable smart shoes. But come home time I've been loosing the feet prisons and getting some fresh air round my toes. And boy has the air been fresh!

On Tuesday I walked from the GW University in Foggy Bottom to Chinatown. It was a long way and I survived unscathed despite crossing a glass strewn carpark. The temperature significantly dropped that evening and on Wednesday it snowed all day. Sad to say when I went out that evening I did wear my sandals.

But yesrterday I decided to explore Gorgetown with the prospect of finding some shops. And find them I did. On the way there I was able to experiment with snow footing for the first time. Bloody cold! But a few steps afterwards the snow had falled off and my feet regained conciousness. One guy walked past and enquired how long it had taken me to get used to barefoot in the cold. I said I'd only been going 6 months, though this was my first time in the snow.

Then I went into the Patagonia shop and was met with much interest, love and respect for being a little odd. All that I'd heard about Patagoina was right, they rock! Just as I was leaving two guys walked in leotards and definitely trumped my oddity. I then got sent out of the small mall next door for this No Shirt No Shoes No Service bollocks. I then met some homeless guys who offered me their shoes, a guy from a Pensilvania commune that I'd met in Chinatown on Sunday and a nice guy who offered to pray for me (though I was able to reassure him I was already a brother in Christ).

Much coolness. So I'm out again today to enjoy the warm sunshine and let my feet do the walking.

My feet after an evening walking Washington DC in the snow

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Barefooted Retreat

I've spent a glorious barefoot weekend visiting friends and making a pilgrimage to Worth Abbey for a weekend retreat.

The weekend begun at about 2pm on the platform of Southampton Central where I removed my sandals and packed them deep into my rucksack hoping not to remove them again. I boarded the 2:20 train to London (which I just managed to catch despite the horrors of the Southampton bus network trying to thwart me) and got out my MacBook and began working on my conference poster for next week. My battery lasted exactly the whole journey with the 8 minute warning just as we pulled into Victoria.

It was then 5 pm as I strolled barefoot through the station, making an oddly loud noise on the cool paving slabs. It was rush hour and the number of people all around was quite uplifting in an odd sort of way. In fact in exactly the opposite way to the crowds in West Quay. People here seem to flow better, knowing where they are going and actually using their brains (is that to harsh on the general Southampton populace?).

I picked up some supplies in a local supermarket and then caught the underground to South Kensington to take a look in the V&A Museum at the advice of my good friend Hannah Hawksley. It's free and open late on Fridays - bonus - and had a very interesting display of Chinese artefacts, some of which show the most stunningly intricate craft work. The V&A seemed to be barefoot friendly :)

I then took the tube right across central London to Stratford where a friend from my teaching trip in China, Chin Hwa, now lives and works. Chin had made a grand dinner with black bean tofu and a peanut veggie dish which was all very tasty. Another of my good friends from Hong Kong, Queenie, joined. It was simply lovely to catch up as it had been two years since we'd seen each other (actually in Hong Kong). I was also able to fix the odd light bulb and door handle crisis.

Queenie and I then took the tube back and I got off at Victoria. I must say that the underground was also very barefoot friendly. My Prague metro experience was good and London was as good - very little rubbish on the floor to worry about and nice long escalators to run up :)

My train got into Worth Station at about 1 and from there, after a brief key loss panic, I made my way to the abbey. Thankfully the majority of the road surfaces were in good repair, and only the last stretch really hurt. The warm-ish rain helped stave off the cold. When I reached the abbey I found I'd miss heard the accommodation key code and so settled down to sleep on the floor of the main abbey, which is really beautiful at night with only the alter floodlit.

The rest of the weekend retreat was simply beautiful. The monks were as loving as ever and gave good direction for my thoughts and prayers. I made one exploration down to the quite garden through quite a muddy field which was very pleasing. I also managed to finally find time to quieten my inner monologue and actually contemplate things. I also strengthened some good friendships and thoroughly enjoyed the company. I also encouraged a friend who had got her shoes soaked to take off her socks as well and go barefooted - and she loved it, which was quite exciting for me too :)

So a very blessed weekend sharing with old and new friends and with the Lord. Good. Very good.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Barefoot Meeting in the Stag's Head

How completely wonderful. I've just spent a lovely hour in the Stag's Head (a rare event for me) talking to not one but two other local barefooters!! I went from work to celebrate a friends birthday with a pint in the bar and it turned out to be karioke night. The first guy was fairly crap, but the second was pretty good - singing Meat Loaf. As we were half watching I noticed two girls also barefoot, very wierd I tought. I was going to go up and say hello untill my nexdoor housemate Ben pointed out their two rather large boyfriends. They would surly have 'had me'. So I didn't say anything.

But low and behold the Meat Loaf singer was also not wearing shoes. Mysteriouser and mysteriouser. A little later he walked past and I said hello. We introduced each ourselves and found out that he was a real barefooter. Furthermore I noticed an IXTHUS arm band and enquired about his church activities - turns out he's the ABC barefooter that I'd heard roumers of. He's a true hard core barefooter, has been for 5 years and actually realised he didn't like wearing shoes back in college.

All very exciting. And then he goes and introduces me to his friend who's been barefoot a year while still at college!

So we chatted and I asked him many things about his feet - even had a prod - as he's the first barefooter I've actually met in person. I'm afrid it's given new encouragement to me going barefoot for longer. I know some of you were thinking / hoping that I'd give it up come winter, but I'm afrid you might be dissapointed. Barefooting is great, its too fun not to do, and when I don't (as I have been wareing sandles of late) I miss the interesting feeling and textures of the ground.

I now can't wait for my first proper off-road wilderness barefoot walk.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Made it - Nice

Well I made it round to the shops today enjoying the beautiful winter sun warming the pavement and my feet. The temperature was simply lovely, cool and refreshing and felt really good to give my feet a good airing. I was quite surprised at how easy it was to walk around shoeless and by how comfortable the ground was to walk on. So despite it being winter, barefooting is still good.

Interestingly last night I had my first barefoot dream where I met a nice old lady who'd been barefoot all her life and seemed most excited to meet me also shoeless.

Out to the Shops

It's Sunday today. the sky is blue and the sun shining. My hillwalk yesterday was from Whitchurch and was also gloriously sunny though I was shod in my walking boots. Now, with such a sunny day I'm going to see if I can walk to the shops barefoot without getting too cold.
It feels like my original barefoot adventures in the summer when I first started. Will I be able to make it all the way to Waitrose? Now the challenge is the cold. There's a slight northerly building and the water butt outside has ice on it. This could be a challenge...

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Cowherds Inn

I went here on Friday night and I'm sad to say they were not barefoot friendly at all. While being fairly polite about asking me to put my shoes on, they still came out with the typical crap excuse of "there's glass on the floor".

No there isn't! Sure people are likely to break drop glasses every so often in a drunken haze but I can't believe that this would not be cleaned up.

I tried explaining that I'm quite aware of the risk seeing as how I walk outside without shoes on (and have found myself walking over glass) but they wouldn't let me so I had to put my SPD shoes back on :(

A first for my barefoot experience.


Barefoot Fun in Church

Tonight in church painting worship was made available for all. Despite my typical uncomfortable feeling about doing something out of the ordinary I went up, painted my feet and made two lovely footprints on the canvas.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ash - Walking Barefoot

I've just come across a song by Irish rock band Ash which talks of walking barefoot all summer - just like me :)


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sneeked in a New Year Footing

Here's an idea for next year - a barefoot Hogmanay.

I have to say that despite no longer being a full barefooter I did happen to sneak one in this evening on my way home from my New Year trip to Wales. I'd been for a walk through some serious bogs and had pretty wet feet (my Burghaus shoes are nearly at their end). So as I drove home to Cheltenham I gradually removed my shoes and socks at opportune moments enabling my feet to gradually dry out. I also prefer barefoot driving as you can fully enjoy the warm air on the feet setting.

One the M5 just outside Tewkesbury the call of nature became more of a shout and so I pulled in to the services. 'course without my shoes and socks on what was I to do? Put my wet shoes back on? No! So I nipped in through the cold carpark shoeless. It felt great. Cold, but somewhat liberating.

Happy New Year people!

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