Country Mouse on Wellingtons

The Wellington boot is the most practical legacy of that very practical man, the Duke of Wellington. He was a man who got things done, whether it was beating the French or coming up with plain-speaking advice he was the originator of ‘publish and be damned’. Queen Victoria relied on him heavily. When pigeons swamped the newly built Crystal Palace, the Queen asked him what to do. His answer was succinct and to the point: ‘Sparrow-hawks, Ma’am.’ He was right. He had no time for fools.

The trouble is that fools now wear his boots. You can spot them a mile off in their brand new, shiny wellies. Shiny boots are worn by officials from Defra or politicians making a rare visit from urban Britain. To locals, new wellies are as welcome as a fox in a chicken run. They’re the biggest fashion faux pas you can make in the countryside. However, I’m now in that position. I am the owner of a new pair of wellies, albeit the new Hunter Balmorals. They’re wonderful, but boots need ageing and quickly or ridicule will follow. It’s only 12 weeks until the shooting season starts again. What would the Iron Duke do? All advice welcome.