The nights are drawing in, it's perishing cold, the potted olive trees and bamboos on the deck are repeatedly blown over in the night thanks to the bizarre hurricane-style weather we've been experiencing in Manchester recently - which all adds up to one important fact, namely that it is the season of Choosing A New Pair Of Winter Boots.
It's actually with some sadness that I make this boot-related announcement, because it comes hard on the heels (ha ha!) of my enforced realisation that my beloved French Connection boots (shown above in comedy pose on rooftop of hotel in Oaxaca, Mexico) that I bought five years ago and have had glued to my feet ever since, have gone past the point of no repair. Man, I loved those boots - butter-soft taupe leather, no embellishments (not even zips), lovely flat soles, calf length - they were just perfect. I should have bought seven pairs, not one.
So, I need a new pair. Here are the contenders:
It's surprisingly hard to find plain, brown, flat boots. Spindly stiletto boots, yes. Practical I-have-two-dogs-who-are-so-badly-trained-on-the-lead-that-they-would-cheerfully-pull-me-off-my-feet-if-I-tried-to-walk-them-in-heels boots, no.
My favourites are the TopShop ones, but natch they sold out just before I bought them. Waah. I keep checking the 'back in stock' page - so far the black and chocolate versions have come back into stock, but not the taupe. Well, I suppose until they do (if they ever do...) I'll have to make do with my wellies instead.