For Sale: Holiday Pumps. Never Worn*

White Stuff ShoesI was supposed to be in Rome now.

Yes, now. Possibly sipping a Negroni, somewhere near The Spanish Steps.

The plan was, to go to Birmingham airport last night, meet my friends there and stay overnight (because we had a 5am check-in -AAAAGH – the next day) and fly out this morning.

My case was packed on Wednesday and I’d rushed round town like a loony, buying Euros and zooming into ‘White Stuff’ (which I can never normally afford) for an impulse buy.

“Can I help you?” the woman on the door asked, as I dashed in. I expect she normally gets, ‘I’m just looking, thanks’, so looked a bit taken aback when I yelled and gesticulated, “YES! Those shoes in the window!!?!” (which I bought, within 2 minutes).

£35! Ouch! for a pair of pumps. But they are very nice.. in fact, I have taken a photo them for you. There it is, up above..

You and I would call them ‘grey’ but White Stuff call them ‘stone’ (and they’re also available in ‘rhubarb pink’, which was very tempting but I had to go ‘neutral’ for once).

Good for walking around sunny Rome, with a bit of a chinos/t-shirt ensemble, don’t you agree?

ANYWAY, why have I not gone to Rome?

No, it’s nothing to do with the terrible fog (although it did delay flights this morning) and, fortunately, nothing terrible has happened to anyone.

No, quite simply, dear readers, I got the date wrong.

I thought it was a bit strange that I hadn’t heard from either of my two friends, so I texted them both on Wednesday: *What time are you both getting to the hotel tomorrow?*

Within seconds, the first one was on the ‘phone and we had hysterics. We literally couldn’t speak for laughing. Firstly, because we thought she’d got it wrong and then.. as realisation dawned, that actually, I’d got it wrong (even down to booking my airport parking for the wrong weekend. Money down drain or what?).

In fact, every time I think about it, I laugh again (I’m doing it now).

In short, the trip was NOT this weekend but next weekend. So, looking on the bright side, I’ve still got it all to look forward to! (*And the shoes aren’t really for sale. I just couldn’t resist a little play with Hemingway’s fabulous 6-word story, which I’m sure you all know: ‘For Sale: Baby’s Shoes. Never Worn.’)

I’ve never done anything quite that stupid before. (Anyone else prepared to admit they have?!)

And by the way, if you want a laugh, have a look at fellow writer and generally lovely person Ninette ( I met her on my Italian writing course last year)’s recent post – she’s in Italy too – in which she tries to involve her dog in a ‘selfie’. It certainly made me giggle.

My mix-up/madness came in a strange week, in which the tax office have detected an (unintentional!) mistake on my tax return from a couple of years ago. (Not mentioning any names but it’s the fault of a former employer of mine who didn’t send me a P45 when I changed jobs within the University – whoops, there’s a clue – and as a result I didn’t declare the right income. Aagh. Will they let me blog from prison? I will keep you posted on that one).

But the good news is, now I’m not going to Rome until next week, I’ve got time to register with the ALCS, finally and get some money that I’m owed (if you’ve ever had even one story or article published in the UK, you need to look at their website!) and to enter the Mslexia Short Story competition (on-line entries close at midnight on Monday 17th March – so you’ve still got time too! What are you waiting for? Stop reading this and get on with it…!)

Or, if you’d rather write a feature, you might be interested in Thresholds features competition which, importantly, is FREE to enter and has a first prize of £500 and a second prize of £100. You’ve got until 2nd April to submit your entry which has to be either:

1. An essay on Author Profile: exploring the life, writings and influence of a single short story writer.

or: 2. ‘We Recommend’: personal recommendations of a collection, anthology, group of short stories or a single short story.

I’d love to have a go at this one but I suspect quite a lot of research and reading is involved and I doubt whether I’m going to have the time. (Is it just me, or does anyone else want to enter every single writing competition they see?!)

Have a good weekend, everyone!

The Spanish Steps, Rome

The Spanish Steps, Rome

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19 Responses to For Sale: Holiday Pumps. Never Worn*

  1. Polly says:

    Fab post – great title – and OMG am I glad I’m not the only one this sort of thing happens to… sooooo reassuring 😀

  2. Yeah… It’s not just you. 😉

  3. Bernadette says:

    Definitely not just you. I booked a weekend to Paris and booked the travel for March and the hotel for February. Fortunately noticed in time to fix it before charges applied.

    Hope you get the tax thing sorted soon!

  4. Amanda Quinn says:

    Yes, it’s not just you. I once booked for a friend and I to see a performance of Billy Liar. When we took our seats we couldn’t work out why the stage was set out like the interior of a ship. Looking at the programme it turned out we were a week early and about to watch something called ‘Our Country’s Good’ (and, yes, we had bought a programme without noticing it had a completely different title). Cue a panicked exit and much laughter. Hope you have a great time when you get there.

    • That made me laugh – thanks for sharing, Amanda! I suppose at least you avoided the added embarrassment of the people with the real tickets for that performance, turning up and turfing you out of their seats!!

  5. That’s funny Helen, good job you checked by text. Imagine if you’d been by the checkout, looking out, and nobody came. Have a nice time next weekend, and thanks for the competition links. Yes, I do want to enter all competitions:0)

  6. Linda says:

    I’m always losing track of the days so I make a note of appointments/ special occasions in several places (big desk diary/ pocket diary/ wall calendar/ computer calendar/ office notice board/ fridge door etc.) Now all I need is a foolproof way of remembering to look in all those places!
    Could have been worse – at least you didn’t miss your holiday.

  7. Yes, me too! I had written it down in at least 2 places.. the only problem was, I’d written the wrong date! (because originally we’d talked about going on 14/15 March but because the rugby was on this weekend, flights were more expensive. Somehow, my brain was still fixed on that weekend though!) Doh!

  8. Tracy Fells says:

    I live in fear of turning up at an airport without my passport, so can sympathise with your story, Helen. Also better this way round then finding out you’d missed the trip. You will have a magical time in Rome (sooo jealous) and the pumps will be well tested.
    You may also be interested to know I entered the Thresholds comp last year. Didn’t make long or short list but they approached me later in the year to ask permission to publish my entry, which is here http://blogs.chi.ac.uk/shortstoryforum/its-not-the-end-of-the-world/ I did a review of Kate Atkinson’s short story collection.

    • Well done, Tracy. I love Kate Atkinson, so I enjoyed your article. Surprised you didn’t win!! (and now you’ve made me want to buy ‘Not The End of The World’. Maybe I’ll get it on my Kindle for next week’s trip to you-know-where!)

  9. Wendy Clarke says:

    My friend was telling me yesterday how she travelled to the Isle of Man on her 8 year old’s passport without anyone noticing!

  10. Do you need a passport for the Isle of Man?! I’ve been and I don’t remember..! But obviously you do!

  11. banksywrites says:

    I turned up a day late to my friend’s father’s funeral. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t recognise anyone at the cemetery. When I checked with the officials and discovered I was 24 hours overdue, I was mortified. I rang my friend in tears to apologise. He couldn’t stop laughing. I’m glad he took it so well.

  12. staciajoy says:

    Oh, goodness! This is too funny. I’m glad it turned out well, though!

  13. Claire, I did something similar! I got completely lost going to a crematorium for my friend’s husband’s funeral and, when I finally arrived.. they were all filing out. I’d missed it! Whoops! It’s the sort of thing my friend’s husband, bless him, would have found funny, so that gave me some consolation! I felt terrible.

  14. rosgemmell says:

    Glad you didn’t miss your weekend, Helen! You’ll enjoy it even more now. Thanks for the link to that features comp – will have a look.

  15. hjmusk says:

    He he, thanks for the Rome story, made me chuckle. At least you got the date a week early and not late, it would’ve been a mad rush to get there then!
    I’ve been in two minds about submitting something to the Mslexia competition, but now I’m just going to go for it. Thanks for the nudge!

  16. Just hilarious! Thanks, too, for the feature-writing link. I might have a go at that – nice prize.

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