BEING DOWN, LOOKING UP
An eBook by: Rob Walters
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This book is about an unusual journey, a unique journey through everyday surroundings. In the summer of 2006 Rob Walters became a shoeshine boy. He stowed his shoeshine kit, a tent and a few items of clothing in a trailer, connected it to his push bike and set off from Oxford to visit the old shoe making cities of middle England. Along the way he polished many shoes, met lots of interesting people, pedalled many miles and gained a fascinating insight into his own country from a rather unique perspective.
Rejected by some, welcomed by many, he polished shoes in shopping centres, solicitor’s offices, a kite festival, railway stations, campsites, street corners and a bewildering selection of pubs. He polished the shoes of dossers, company directors, criminals, Morris dancers, publicans, bikers, policemen, schoolboys, reporters, a bowling green groundsman, an Icelander and a Latvian – to name just a few. He slept in fields, in woods and on the edge of golf courses. He was ejected from the Norfolk Show and welcomed into the offices of lawyers and fruit importers.
During his journey he met members of the Household Calvary, topless protestors, a homeless joss stick seller, a man who stole baths in hotels, a submariner, a beaten housewife, a disenchanted solicitor, a rubber recycler, a toyshop owner and two ghost guides – amongst others. All of them had a story to tell, some sad, some amusing - it is their tales and Rob’s own observations that are related in this unusual book. Reading it will transport you to the centre of the English shoe making tradition, Northampton, then through the Fens to East Anglia, back across the country to the Midlands, down along the River Severn to Gloucester and then over the Cotswolds to Oxford. Progress is at a comfortable cycling pace along country roads, through sleepy villages, and then diving into the vibrancy of the cities.
What Would it be Like?
2. The Shoe Capital of England
3. Doc Martens Country
4. Ferry Meadows and the Kite Festival
5. Fruit and the Fens
6. Royal Norfolk
7. Disaster and Sodom
8. A Trip to Jerusalem and the Vaults
9. A Wet Ride to Worcester
10. Shining Beneath Elgar and the Ledbury Effect
11. The Bells of Gloucester Call Me Home
This took place in 2006. You can read more about the route and the statistics here.