Farmers and shooting people have been comparing their footwear with the enthusiasm of models at a Manolo Blahnik shoe convention. The burning issue de nos jours is not how they look, but do they keep the water out? This sodden winter has been the perfect testing ground for Hunter, Le Chameau and the rest. It used to be so simple. In the old days, you went to the local wholesale animal-feed merchant and bought a pair of rubber items made of old tractor tyre approximately conforming to the human lower limb. Now, at the smarter country-clothes emporia, it’s ‘would Sir like neoprene lining, a zip side, leather outer and inner or buckle sides?’.

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For short walks to put out the bins or feed the chickens, I favour rubber ankle galoshes. Yes, they are as dubious as they sound and aimed at the lady county gardener. They certainly appalled the local MFH when he came to tea. But lo, after Lapsang and boiled eggs, he was unable to fit back into his sopping hunting boots. And what came to the rescue for the puddle-strewn walk to his car? Yes, the galoshes. And my, how his attitude changed. I couldn’t get them back for weeks. Even one of Sussex’s best-dressed sporting men has realised that, when it comes to a wet winter, nothing waterproof should be sneered at.

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