Friday, 10 October 2014

Katoomba Mongrels

Can I just tell you how much I love my new Mongrel Boots? OK, they don't look very new any more - and I've only had them two weeks. That's how much I love them, though.
Firstly, yes, 'Mongrel' is rather appropriate, given that I'm pet-sitting. There seems to be a theme going on... Last night I opened a bottle of Portuguese wine called 'Lab', with a picture of a Labrador on the label. I haven't quite figured out why. I shouldn't be drinking Portuguese wine - I've been very good about sticking to my 'local food' principles and bought Australian - but I couldn't resist the Lab, not for ten bucks (five quid). Anyway...

On my first trip to Australia back in April-May, I brought such a minimal amount of luggage with me for a six week trip that I had serious Shoe Envy whenever I visited Sydney. No matter that someone actually complimented me on my tall suede boots from Athens; wherever I looked, there were more interesting shoes. And I noticed lots of Aussie women wore heavy black ankle boots.

I've always liked Blundstone-style boots, but never had an excuse to buy any. Especially since my Aussie man bought himself a pair - obviously it would be plain wrong to have matching boots. But then I was looking for a pair of walking boots at the fabulous Katoomba Workwear, which has outdoors stuff at sensible prices, compared to all the snazzy outdoors shops for people with high-powered jobs who do outdoors stuff on weekends...

Mongrel did lace-up walking boots, but it turned out I was in between sizes. Then Mr Katoomba Workwear suggested these pull-ons. He said they'd be fine for most bushwalking. I tried them on, and they looked - and felt - great. 

They aren't perfect - they aren't snug enough for walking down hills, though they're getting better as they mould to my feet - but I love them because they are big and clompy enough to scare away snakes, as well as being cool enough to wear to Katoomba's magnificent Station Bar. If you've never been to Katoomba, it's like a miniature Brighton, surrounded by forest.

Oh, snakes? Yes, we're in snake season. Two weeks ago, when I opened the Blue Mountains Gazette, page 2 had the news that venomous spiders had been spotted early for the season. Just great! Last week? The same page reported 'snake sightings a common occurrence'. The area has brown snakes and red-bellied black snakes, both venomous, though the black ones are shy... Needless to say, I'm keeping my eyes peeled when walking The Major or visiting places like this...

Apparently clomping around and making noise is good for scaring them off. A sign on one of the trails seemed pretty nonchalant about it: 'If you see a snake, it is best to leave it alone.'