Sebago Dorset Ladies High Boots – en vacances ….

I am driving south in the small hours unable to see a thing due to horizontal wind & rain, hopefully in time to catch the early cross-channel ferry to Normandie, France. Usually, I am unable to see a thing as the car is packed to the gunwales with all manner of building materials – but, for the first time ever, it is eerily ‘empty’ – surely a clear sign that my French renovation project is finally nearing completion?! So it is just myself, two dogs & a pair of still-boxed Sebago Dorset Ladies High Boots – an early birthday present, complete with strict instructions ‘not to be opened (or worn) until THE DAY’!

The other half of our Sebago wearing household has already been despatched at an airport en route – he & his Sebago Endeavors are also destined for France; this time the south & ultimately a yacht delivery across the Mediterranean to Turkey.


Sebago Endeavors 'en route' to Turkey

Sebago Endeavors ‘en route’ to Turkey

Our ferry crossing is mercifully uneventful & 6 hours later we are most definitely in France. Two things announce our arrival a) they drive on the other side of the road (mental note to concentrate at all times!) & b) the smell of wood smoke – for in this country wood for burning is a staple commodity. None of your gas or oil here – in fact, you are lucky if you have electricity! Many of us foreigners would cringe at the use of hardwoods just for keeping warm but here it is not only a way of life but big business.

I had intended to collect some previously ordered tiles for the bathroom on the way down to the house but the wood-smoke is provocative and the lure of snuggling in front of my own log-fire with du pain, du fromage & du vin precipitates an abandonment of these plans.  After all we are ‘en vacances’ & I need to adopt the French attitude towards ‘demain’.

It is some days later now; my birthday is over & my Dorsets are unpacked. I think they are just perfect & have been prancing around the house in them, of course, and can’t wait to wear them out & about for the first time.

You’ll see that these are not ‘fashion boots’ per say – even though they are much sought-after and therefore, by default, ‘fashionable’.  They are not made of thin leather that hugs the shape of your calf or requires discreet zips to get you in and out.  Rather Sebago have created a 100% waterproof leather Country boot that exudes effortless style, combines fashion with utility and ensures that you not only look the part but also keeps you fully protected from the elements. These boots would be equally at home about town (London, Paris, New York included!) or in the country. Dressed up or down, they provide a versatile platform for your own style whatever you wish to wear with them. They look great with jeans or worn with your favourite dress or skirt – and wherever you go you will be guaranteed comfort & warmth.

So we are prepped & ready for our first trip out into humanity – the nearest town (actually a large village) some 15 minutes away.  A beautiful, autumnal day, blue skies, a slight breeze & un-seasonally very warm.  Perhaps not the best of days for wearing High Boots but then I feel I have the perfect excuse…..

I have to cross (on foot) a large field of long, wet grass to reach the drive (more a grassy, muddy track), which in itself is nearly a kilometre long & uphill.  There is no way I can get the car any nearer the house for fear of never getting out again without help from a friendly farmer.  Moreover the land is criss-crossed by a spider’s web of electric fence – not an electric fence as you or I would know it, more a very fine diameter wire (virtually invisible to the naked eye).  I had never been able to understand why the stock never escaped until I fell foul of the ‘zap’ myself. Not for the French a simple battery supply, rather this apparently insignificant wire is flung with gay abandon over the nearest overhead electricity cable … & a fate worse than death awaits!  So in limbo-ing under & over these wires, I am hoping that the slip-resistant rubber Sebago ® Dorset ™ Sole of my new boots, designed for added traction & durability will come to my aid & protection.

Patented S.E.A. Footbed & Energy Return Heel

Patented S.E.A. Footbed & Energy Return Heel

Our destination today is an ‘English Tea Party’ organised by the French Bank Manager to ease his English clients into the local French community.  Ugh! Not my idea of fun given that the whole reason for purchasing a property in France in the first place was to evade the Brits (Sorry!) but ….., in the interests of ‘entente cordiale’, I have graciously accepted the invite – after all when was the last time you even knew the name of your Bank Manager in England, let alone actually physically met him/her face to face?  So with the promise of a cup of English Afternoon Tea & Cupcakes & hoping I look more French than English, smartly dressed in my stylish Sebagos, I sally forth …..

Having survived the ordeals of the English T-party, the next day dawns bright & breezy yet again, following a night of heavy rain & I decide to really put my new boots through their paces. For this is ‘Bocage’ country – a terrain of mixed woodland and pasture, with fields and winding country tracks sunken between narrow ridges and banks surmounted by tall thick hedgerows that break the wind but also limit visibility. It is similar to the landscape found in Devon but in Normandy, it acquired a particular significance after the D-Day landings, as it forced progress against the German defence to be unbelievably difficult.

So I am just strolling along, picnic in my backpack, enjoying the autumn colours in my new, cosy, soft-fleece lined Sebagos, happy in the knowledge that the exclusive comfort features of the patented S.E.A. System ™ Footbed & Energy Return Heel will allow us to literally walk all day, which is the plan. The dogs are also enjoying the freedom & have disappeared out of sight. No leads required today; there are no roads, vehicles or other hazards for miles around ….. or so I naively think!  All of a sudden there is the most unbelievable commotion & the two ‘hounds’ come flying back round the corner past me at untold speed, their tails fiercely clamped between their legs.  They are clearly terrified and what a din …… in a flash, I remember what it is …… literally hundreds of free-range turkeys also enjoying their last few days of freedom before their inevitable end.  I had completely forgotten they were there.  Thankfully the sheer volume of the flock (& the noise) proved just too much for the dogs but given the rapidly-approaching, irate French farmer (with shotgun!), I instantly decide the best option is to abandon all plans of a leisurely walk & picnic & follow the dogs example by ‘legging it’ very rapidly in the opposite direction.

I make it home ‘in a bit of a state’ to find the dogs still quaking on the doorstep. I have to say the boots have stood up to the test admirably, even with their conversion to running shoes! Yes, we are covered in mud but the boots have proved themselves supple & roomy with a near perfect grippy sole, which has coped more than adequately with all the mud & deep puddles I’ve splashed through … and to crown it all, thanks to their waterproofness, I still have dry feet!  The last bit through the long, wet grass has removed most of the clinging mud so all I have to do is sponge them off with warm water & leave them to dry naturally and they are as ‘good as new’.

Normandie Bocage

Normandie Bocage

Which is just as well, as I have an unexpected surprise ….. early tomorrow morning me & my Dorsets are going on a ‘posh’ mission to meet the overnight ferry from England.  The Sebago Endeavors have ‘performed’ excellently as well, reaching their destination of Turkey in record time & hence find they have the opportunity for a few days ‘en vacances’ in Normandie too! Sebagos reunited, here we come!

So if you fancy a pair of Dorset High Boots for yourself or if you are searching for the finer things in life to give as a Christmas present to the one you love, why not look at Sebago’s diverse collection of footwear, all underpinned by expert craftsmanship & 65 years of heritage.

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