Monday, October 28, 2013

Saving Soles

The other day a horrible thing happened - I discovered a hole in the sole of one of my favourite pairs of shoes! In Canada, this would have meant shoe shopping (which, despite loving shoes, I can't stand having to do), hours of frustration and stupid sales people who say things like,

"Well no, we don't have that in a 12-narrow, but I did find a 9-wide for you to try".

In Spain, thank goodness, all it meant was a call to my Spanish aunt for a reminder of the cobbler's address. Yes folks, cobbling is alive and well in Madrid. I've had heels put on, sliced leather invisibly patched, shoes that rubbed the wrong way reshaped, and now new soles put on. Think paying a cobber is not worth the money? That I'd be better off finding a new pair of shoes? Think again - two new soles cost me ten euro, so less than 15 dollars. Tall Guy's soles were a little pricier - leather, hand-sewn, but still, both fixes were way cheaper than buying new shoes.

Not to mention less wasteful.

Yes, in Canada you can fix things, and some people do darn every sock, but more often than not, we'd just buy a new whatever and throw the still serviceable one away. And you can save your sole, but it will cost you an arm and a leg.

I don't know if it's due to the economic crises, or of things have always been this way, but in Spain, you fix things. You get new ones when you really can't do anything else with what you've got.

You can, as I've mentioned, have soles replaced. You can have collars and cuffs turned. You can replace just about any part of any thing - there are stores seemingly filled with crap - or crapola, I guess I should call it - for that purpose. Most recently, I bought three ceramic "candlestick" tubes for our chandelier. Say whaaaa? Dull knives? Have them sharpened. Broken pot handle? Have an old-new one soldered on. There's even a guy who can unshrink your shrunken sweater.

So, waste less, spend less, employ someone, and save your sole in the process.

Sounds good to me.


  1. The Three R's, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – As North Americans, we have a lot to learn.

  2. Too bad we can't take the best of both places and mix them together: Strathroy wins over Madrid in the recycling match. More things here can be recycled, and there are even drop-offs for batteries at bus stations and other easy-access places, but in homes, a lot of people just put everything into the garbage! So, we've got recycle, Spain's got reuse, and we could both try to do a little more reducing. Who knows? If we all try, maybe we can keep from turning the planet into a giant garbage dump after all...