Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Barefoot Christmas

Made it, Christmas day barefoot. Church was lovely without shoes on this morning - lots of fun conversations, and the rest of the day was spent in my lovely warm family home so my feet were most useful acting as a cooling system.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Shod at Last

Dear people, it saddens me to tell you that for the past two days I have walked into work in sandals. No socks mind, but sandals none the less. Winter has finally got it's act together and arrived (just under a week early).

For a special treat on my Birthday I popped on a pair of socks (which subsequently made my feet get really cold as they got a bit damp meaning I had to take them off again!). This had the annoying disadvantage of not being able to go outside so easily. And when I went for a quick cycle in my SPD shoes I found I couldn't take them off as I had socks on underneath that can't take the outside world like my soles can. Hmm... barefoot is a massive advantage sometimes.

All is not lost however as I'll still be taking my sandals off in the day and walking round the Uni campus free and footloose, if slightly chilly.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Winter? Piff!

It is quite definitely mid December, and while it is technically not winter yet (begins on the 21st), it is getting colder at last. This week I put my scarf on for the first time - a joy I've looked forward to ever since I discovered scarfs. But still no shoes - how rare.

Honestly, today was actually nice to be out without shoes on. I walked a number of places and, though felt the cold, did not get cold feet. I was also walking round in a t-shirt and jerkin, so it wasn't a blizzard out there. But I was still surprised and excited. I should make my 25th birthday shoeless!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Still Doin' It

Quite what's going on, be it global warming or an automotive response, but I'm still barefoot and it's now December the 4th!!

What is going on? Back in October I had a really cold day and though my barefoot days were numbered. But then it got a bit mild and the threat eased. November came and still no shoes. But December? Surly not. Yet here I am.

The mornings can sometimes be a little chilly, and wet pavement is a little uncomfortable, but otherwise the days are fine. Granted, my walk into work is only 7 minutes, which does helps, but on Saturday I walked all round Portswood for about 3 hours and was fine (it also breifly thundered and poured down which was nice to walk through).

Will I make my Birthday (17th? - walk barefoot into my 25th year), or Christmas? Exciting...

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cold Feet but the Leaves are a Blowing

Despite this coldness and the uncomfortable nature of walking to work these autumnal days there is one large bonus - the leaves on the ground. I do at least feel that I've made it to where I wanted (but didn't expect) with autumn fully set in an piles of leaves on the ground to be kicked carefree into the air as I walk. So if I did have to return to the shod world I will feel content that I made it thus far.

But it would be simply splendid to make Christmas...


Cold Feet

Today was hard. Not only have I been feeling down a little since the weekend (friendship issues) but today I discovered a major blunder and have some things tomorrow that are nagging at me (on top of the general fear that November is passing all too rapidly and I really need to get some research work completed).

So added to that was the cold uncomfortable walk to work, a walk to the pub for lunch and the walk home all on uncomfortably cold and wet ground. I was less than happy.

Will this be the last week I make barefoot?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Singing in the Rain

Ha ha! Suck you shoe people!

It's been pouring down all day here in Southampton (making me slightly nervous about my walk tomorrow) and I've been loving it. There are all these people out there trying despirately to avoid all the puddle and streams byt perfomring some ritual rain dance in the hope of keeping their feet dry. But they should know it's pointless, whenever you walk about in rain, shoes allways get wet. This is the natural law. Umbrellas are designed not to shelter your feet.

So go barefoot. You can splash freely thought the deepest leaf covered puddles safe in the knowledge that you can't get any wetter than you are already and that feet dry in minutes compared to the days of airing that shoes take.

So I'm really looking forward to my walk home. Yes, it is a tad chilly, but they soon warm up when indoors and you also get this rush of blood to the feet - instant central heating.

Go on, loose the shoes. I dare you.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Piece of Glass: 0, My Bare Feet: 1

Ha! I laugh in the face of glass.

On Monday for the first time in my barefoot history (4 months and a week) I got a piece of glass in my foot. One of the questions I get asked most is "don't you find that you get cut on glass all the time?" to which I answer no. They also like to ask if I frequently step in dog poo, to which I also answer no - this question is a tad strange, as it seems to suggest the assumption that not having shoes on makes one more likely to step in poo! Quite why this should be is a mystery to me. When shod I perhaps accidentally step in poo once a year, and I'm not expecting that rate to increase now I'm barefoot.

Anyway, back to the glass:

I'm not sure when I picked it up, but when I went to Chaplaincy for lunch I noticed a small pain in my heal, very localized as if I'd just stepped on a stone. I checked my soles and found nothing stuck on the bottom so continued, occasionally feeling this small pain.

Back at my desk I had a proper look and noticed a small fisher right where the pain sensations were coming from (my nerve endings are still top notch which is nice to see). But I left it there deciding to investigate with my Leatherman later, as walking still wasn't a problem.

Later at home I got out my Leatherman blade and started a Time Team style excavation of my heal to find out what was there. I dug away at the toughened skin either side of the fisher to reveal it's lurking contents - something darkish which hurt when prodded. I called in my housemate Adele with her tweasers to extract the forigen body - a small, millimeter square shard of glass burried a mm into my heal. Out it came and the problem was solved, no more pain and no blood as it had not penegtrated my well worn heal - nice.

So that means that the soles of my feet are at least 2 mm thick and can easily ward of glass - brilliant :)

Feet rock!

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Monday, November 13, 2006

New Barefoot First

It looks like today I've got something embedded in my sole for the first time in over 4 months. I noticed a slight sharp pain in my heel but couldn't feel anything sticking out so ignored it. However I've just sat down in my office to have a proper inspection and I've found a small something embedded in the heel exactly where the pain said it was (I love nerves). So I'll have to have a look when I get home and set my Leatherman on the job :D

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Shod for a Day

For the first time in many many weeks I've placed my amazing little feet into a sheath of dead animal and refined oil called shoes. The thing is I'm at a conference type thing today (right now in fact) and giving a presentation barefoot would probably not be a great thing, mainly because it would distract the audience from what I'm actually presenting about.

Oh well, may the barefoot revolution continue, slowly, but continue nonetheless.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

'Twas a Chilly Morn

Despite the glorious sunshine that I awoke to, the walk to work this morning was a tad on the chilly side. This was mostly due to wearing only a t-shirt, but slightly compounded by the shoesless nature of my walk.

How long am I going to last? I'm allready a month further than I expected, and tomorrow completes my fourth consecutive month barefoot. But will I reach December? Will I make it to my birthday on the 17th of December? Will I be able to walk barefoot to Church on Christmas Day? I doubt it, but the challenge is set and I push forward the boundaries of my barefoot existance and defeat the propaganda by Nike etc. that I need shoes.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Understanding the ISVR Police

I've had a number of people complain about my lack of shoes in my research building. The complaints come from the other departments that occupy the building as they don't know who I am and so just see some weirdo walking around without shoes and socks on while my department understands me as being a barefoot geek. This has been going on for some weeks and I've recently been found by the local health and safety wardens who have alerted me to the complaints and said I should not be doing it.

Their reasons go along the lines of 'what if someone leaves a drawing pin on the floor' or 'the floor in the toilet is dirty you can't possibly walk in there'. I said I'd put some slippers on which they seemed to accept. However, what I later realized is that theses folks who are complaining don't realize I'm barefoot all the time. They think I come to work, remove my footwear and start wondering the halls. This explains their worry that i might step on something as they don't realize I have to navigate the gauntlet of the outside just to get to work, so floors indoor are no real challenge to me.

As for using the toilet. Yes the floor is covered in nast, but that's life (or more accurately the poor toilet habits of many shod men). I take special care, unlike outside, to not enjoy any puddles I find in the toilet. And the next time I get told off I'll just ask them if they use the toilet door handle when leaving the facilities - as there is probably more germs on that one item than the whole of the floor (which is cleaned daily). By the way, I avoid using toilet door handles where ever possible.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

ISVR Police

I just got caught again for barefooting upstairs on the ISVR floor and told off. A different guy this time at least.

I was using the ISVR kitchen (called Franks) where I heat up my pre-cooked lunches. Stupidly though today I was simply boiling water for a Nong Shim instant noodle which I could have done upstairs.

So this guy says "your not allowed to go round without shoes on". I turn round and say "excuse me?" as, not knowing who I was, he didn't say "Oi you without shoes, stop it". So I said that according to health and safety I was fine and so he went to get the ISVR health and safety officer! Busted!

That guy was quite nice, and said laid down the rule said it wasn't allowed in 'our building'. Naturally I enquired as to who's building it was. He said ISVR, and I alerted him to the knowledge that Aerospace is here too. This took the line of questioning to why I was in Franks if I wasn't ISVR ad away from my bare feet (I think he sensed a defeat when I didn't come under his duristriction). I explained th lack of microwave in our facilities due to the shit building design. Thankfully he never noticed that I wasn't actually using the microwave! Phew :)

It looks like I might have to wear my slippers to lunch from now. But otherwise the battle continues.

Other Barefoot Links

Barefoot Hiker - a british website. walks are organised on an adhoc basis so send them an email and I might see you on the next walk :)

Barefoot Hikers is a website for international readers. There are links to other barefoot walking groups around the world.

SBL - About, gives a short mission statement for the Society for Barefoot Living.
"We enjoy walking barefoot as nature intended, taking delight in feeling the many textures the world has to offer, like having tough, callused soles, and even think it's cool to get them dirty."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Just for Future Reference

I'm just filling in my application to join the Society for Barefoot Living and it asks for a little introduction to my barefoot living. So I though I better check when it was I started and I've found out that it was at about 6:05 pm on Sunday the 2nd July 2006.

Barefoot Resources

I've been wondering the web a little and have finally come accross some resources for living. I'll give you the link below, but I've not yet had a good look at the site, so I'll save my comments and hopefully route out some nuggest for you.


I got this link from this article written for the The Great Outdoors Magazine.

Monday, October 09, 2006

On my way to work this morning I felt a rather new and strange feeling underfoot. The pavement was strangely warm and soft. I looked down to find a patch of freshly laid tarmac. So naturately I went back to put my foot in it. Sadly I didn't leave a proper impression, not that it would have taken a very good one (wrong type of tarmac), but I should have tried.

My tarmacked foot

A Good Day for No Shoes

Today is a fine shoeless day. Firefox is telling me that it's about 17 degrees outside, with some gently sunshine warming the ground to a very comfortable temperature.

The University here has spent a great deal of time (and no doubt funds) over the past few years paving the campus with those red bricks rather than tarmac or concrete which was there before. And I must say that this was a great move. Not only do they make much nicer looking pathways, but the are rather lovely underfoot. The bricks seem to capture the sun's energy rather nicely and release it gradually, meaning that they don't heat up too much and maintain a reasonably steady temperature. So today, a lightly fresh brease perfectly complements the underfoot warmth to deliver a most pleasent walking experience.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Autumnal Prospects

Autumn is definitly coming now, you can see the sun dropping rappidly in the sky every day. The mornings are getting colder and the weather is generally wetter and more blustery, though as yet no leaves are really turning (except the conker trees).

My feet are just about surviving, last monday was tough going. The wet ground and cold morning was hard on the feet. Walking in the wet seems to be more painful than normal due, I think, to the fact that the wet softens the soles. Thus even rough forms of tarmac are more difficult to walk on.

However there is one thing I'm quite excited about - falling leaves. I always love walking trough the collected piles of falen atumn leaves. The crunchy rustle underfoot and the scuffing swoosh sound that they make on each step as your feet fling them into the air. What fun this will be without shoes on! I can't really imagine, but I hope it will make up for the cold.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Running to Church

I was a tad late at getting ready for Church. In fact I was still in the house at 6:30 when the service began. Yeah, I'm not fantastically well organised.

In order to limit my lateness I decided it would be better to run there than walk. So I did. It's 0.6 miles there and I was quite amazed that I made it. The soles of my feet really warmed up on the way and I made it home all right, but today my feet were feeling the pain. The soles felt all delicate and there was little enjoyment of the pavement on the way into work. The cold and wet didn't help either. 

Barefoot Gardening

I'm sorry this is a little off putting, but here is my foot after a day digging in the garden. I can reccommend barefoot gardening but you definitly have to be careful of stabbing feet with claw shaped rakes or scooping up a toe with your shovel. And digging with spades are really out of the question - finally! a barefoot limitation!

Rainy Weather

Hmm, not quite so good today. The temperature has dropped a bit and it's been raining for a couple of days now, and I have to admit that my feet are a little cold, at least when I'm out walking around in the wet.

But indoors is still working for me, and getting inside after walking around outside give a nice warmth rush to the old pegs. 

I'm also now in long trousers which is a little anoying without shoes. My legs arn't the longest available due to my somewhat vertically challenged nature, and they don't seem to cater for my height in the fassion industry. They don't cater for my slim physique either for that matter. Which all means that my trousers are scraping along the floor and sucking up puddle water (as I still enjoy the thrill of walking through puddles without shoes on - similar to the joy of wellies in the mud). But this isn't helping with the warmth factor.

How long will I last? Place your bets now...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Cold Feet

This is a little worrying, my feet are feeling a touch cold today and I've only been indoors. Firefox is telling me that it's 17 degrees in Southampton, which isn't exactly winter conditions. How am I going to survive this winter? It's going to be cold outside...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Morning Foot Cramp

This is just one of the strangest things I've come across barefooted, foot cramp. At first I was worried that I'd injured my feet (especially following my two summer marathons) as when I woke in the morning I found I was hobbling for the first few minutes of the day. But when this persisted long after my walks had been and gone I realised it was something else, something much more normal and everyday.

You must know the experience some days when you wake and find that your hands are all scrunched up and completely useless for a while, like it almost hurts to open them out. Well it's exactly the same thing, but as I'm actually using my feet to manipulate things and giving them a load of exercise in the day times (griping curb stones with my toes etc.) I have foot cramp each morning. It's really wonderful as it shows that I'm actually making use of my feel as something more than just stumps for walking on.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Barefoot Crete

I'm barefooting a little round Crete with my Family.

So far I'd give it a rating of 3.5 on the difficulty rating (from 1-5). It's very rocky and stony in a lot of places that make travel somewaht tentative. The major cities are quiet easy, however, with relativly little glass and quite little free. Cirtainly the touristy bits are very well cleaned. What glass there is tends to be very tiny rounded bits rather than the freshly smashed bottles which are much more of a problem.

There is also a lot of sea around (it beaing an island and all), and it's such a joy not to have to worry about putting on shoes after swimming on a beach as the sand wears off in it's own time on the way home. Nice.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Nasty Little Tizard Man

I've just been acosted again walking down my corridor at work (Tizard Building, Soton Uni) by this nasty litte man who must be part of the ISVR as he was talking to some other ISVR person. He's got the sort of face that looks as though it's been screwed up through years of complaining and being angry at people.

Again he goes "Excuse me, what are you doing? Your not allowed to be in bare feet at work".

This time, however, I'd done some research with the Uni Health and Safety department and found that there were no restrictions on what should be warn on your feet while at work. There is for working in labs, but not otherwise. So I told him so - "Actually I checked with the Uni H&S and found there is no problem".

"Well" he said, "I'll make it a problem".

What a lovely man.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Slightly Beardless

I'm afraid I have some bad news...

While at Greenbelt I was moved to shave my beard off and so now I'm left with just some stubble (the closest I could get with my electric clippers).

It was Monday, the final day of the festival, and I'd been challenged through out about spiritual, and ethical matters. I'd been to good seminars and heard some great music. I'd also spent some quality time with my youth group and SCM group as well as briefly fleetingly meeting many other friends around and about the Cheltenham Racecourse. All in all it had been a packed festival and as ever I was less than willing to leave this community behind.

But something more than this was at work. I was in need of making a break with the state I'd been in for some time. I was quite unaware of this, well, unaware that I was going to deal with anything there and then. But as one of my friends that I'd barely said hello to left to go home early, I was left with a sense of loss and missed oppertunity. But instead of feeling low I felt it was time to sit down and pray.

So I took myself off to the Soul Space which has a fabulous view over the entire race course and pretty much broke into tears as soon as I entered that environment. There were a number of other people there, some quietly praying while others gently weaped. It felt like a place of healing and as I nelt and cried and prayed I did my busniess with God.

I know this may sounds all a little silly to anyone outside of faith, and I'm afraid I can't really explain what was going on - mainly becasue I was unaware of it - but when I left I'd concluded a small section of my life and embarked on a new one.

Hence loosing the beard. Shaving it off was a little outward symbol of this movement from old to new. Nothing dramatic, just a return. Beards can be useful for this.

I'm sure I'll comment further on this event as I understand it more.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Looking Like a Hobbit

I've just realised that one of the cool things about not wearing shoes is that it makes you look a little like a hobbit.

I've been watching the LOTR commentaries recently thanks to James' suggestion and they're really excellent (cast commentary for starters). But seeing all these hobbits with their feet running about the landscape of middle earth reminded me of my own journeys barefoot. I'm finally a hobbit!

Me, barefooting round Prague

Exactly like it says on the tin.
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My Well Worn Feet

My feet after an evening walking barefoot round Prague
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Barefoot Festival

It's nearly time for Greenbelt all over again. I can't quite believe it and I'm certainly not nearly ready to go. But all in good time of course.

I'm currently debating whether to take any shoes or not. I'm definitly going to be barefoot for a good deal of the time (and I'm getting a t-shirt printed for the occasion), but can I risk not having any shoes at all. The weather is definitly a lot more changable now so it could turn very wet and nasty.

Hmm... tempting...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Uncomfortable Shoes

At this conference (IAU XXVI) I'm wearing shoes as I think I orght to look smart. Or at least a little smart (actually I'm very smart with my 'births/marriges/deaths' suit working well for me). But the shoes I have (a kind donation from an old housemate Mike) aren't that comfortable. Even when sitting down with my feet on the floor, the sole of my ankle is in a little pain. Silly really.

But the anoying side affect is that it's now got a little uncomfortable to walk even sans shoes - which I take off as soon as the conference ends in the evening. Still, I'm not letting that hinder me and did a good trek to a not so local super market yesterday getting some excelent strange looks.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stealth Stair Climbing

This is one awesome feature of climing stairs in bare feet, especially if they are stone. Normally climbing in shoes results in a continual foot tapping sound as you climb. But in bare feet that sound vanishes and, assuming you keep the knees bent and move subtly, results in a silent assent.

Thus the options for sneeking up on some other unsuspecting climber is opened up. I've had fun trying to go up two floors past someone in the middle without them noticing. Tricky but a good feeling when acchieved.

Decent seems slightly harder to keep quiet as every time you have the weight of your body landing on each step. When I get the technique I'll post it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

More Barefooting Round Prague

Last night I went for a massive late night wonder round Prague with a friend I made at the Youth Hostel (I've been staying at the A-Plus Hotel & Hostel - which is a little out of the way but otherwise just excellent [and right on the Red 'C' subway line, so very accessable]) .

We walked for miles (over 3 hours) from 10:30 around the center taking in the sights, back streets, the end of a silent film, the castle, the Jewish quarter, a open air photographic exhibition and more. I was in my shoes for the first part, but they're not exactly comfortable (the only pair I had seeing as how the AirFrance had lost my luggage) so when we reached the castle I decided to de-shoe and return to normality. A relief I can tell you.

This was the first time I've walked around properly at night (I'd briefly walked a little way in Brighton) and I was surprised at my confidence in doing so. It's surprisingly easy to pick out the glass to avoid and the smooth cobbled streets of Prague make it very accessable.

I should also point out that after 10 at night is the time to see Prague's old center. The grockles have all returned to their plush hotels leaving their grockle traps empty and the crouds have dissapated leaving a city quiet and empty for you to explore. The only activity is a few people on evening stroles and the street cleaners (who do an excellent job). The castle was simply dessolate, yet still open to visitors to wander through, amazing!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Barefooting Round Prague

I§m in Prague this week for a conference (IAU). After Airfrance lost my baggage, and only having a clear plastic bag of belonggings I decided to fogo the shoes once more and walked Prague au naturel. It§a a great city for this as the streets are cobbled and smothed by centuries of wear. Glass is a bit of a problem but can be easily avoided. Try it, you might like it!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Blackened Feet

After wuite a bit of walking round outside this afternoon I've developed a really healthy patiner on my feet - they are throughily blackened from use. A lovely feeling. I'll have to take a shot and upload.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Health and Safety

Some arse in the ISVR department of the building I work in keeps shouting at me saying that I'm not allowed to walk around in bare feet. "It's against health and safety".

Like I actually give a shit?

I do this at my own risk and I'm not about to sue anyone.

Is Summer Over?

What's going on. Here I am in barefeet and today it's actually quite, well, cold almost. Surly summer can't have ended so abruptly. It's normally warm till at least the start of the new Uni term in October.

I'll keep up with the lack of shoes for the time being, but I'm slightly concerned that the brittish weather might beat me back to my old shoe-wearing days.

At least I can keep up with my beard and being a geek.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Barefoot Bearded Geek

That's me in a nutshell. At least for the time being.

I've been barefoot for well over a month now and I've had a beard for much longer (getting on for a year), and as for being a geek - well I'm not sure I ever wasn't.