Uganda diary: Preface II, smelly trainers

10 08 2010

On Friday 30 July, 2010, I went for a run. Not my normal type of run. Not a one mile run where I’ve got a stitch after ten enthusiastic strides. No, this was a run of sufficient distance that I could call it a run, and deem it to be classed as exercise. It was a 3.1 mile run (I checked on Google Maps).

I was very happy about this run. I was so happy that I tweeted about it:

I went for a run yesterday evening. Just wanted everyone to know. And so that if anyone Googles when I’ve been for a run, they’ll know. 11:01 PM Jul 31st via web *

My run took me along lots of local lanes, and I saw cows, sheep, goats and birds. It was lovely. I also ran through a field.

The grass was very long – taller than my knees. I have long legs, so this meant it was long grass.

Normally this would just lead to a plethora of midge bites. This is not the case when it’s raining though.

Before I entered the field my trainers were dry (that’s what Gore-Tex does for ye). When I left the field, my feet were soaked. But I was enjoying my run, and I carried on. If anything, the water was keeping my feet nice and cool. Lovely.

Then I got home, took off my trainers in the kitchen and continued with my evening (probably on Facebook).

The trainers stayed next to the door for two days before I picked them up again.

Everyone knows of the French cheese that is identifiable because it smells like smelly trainers. Well, my trainers smelt like the French cheese that smells like smelly trainers (there’s no need to compliment me on my descriptive skills).

This was problematic. I need the trainers to go to Uganda. They’re the only trainers I have which I can comfortably walk long distances in. More importantly, they’re likely to be my footwear of choice when flying from England to Uganda.

The problem

I could see my future – getting on the plane from Manchester to London, and detecting a slight, mildly pungent whiff emanating from my feet. Paranoia would set in; I’d think: “do I smell? Can other people smell my feet? Are they talking about me? Do they know that the smell of that cheese that smells like smelly trainers is actually coming from my trainers?”

And then I’d land at Heathrow, rush to the duty-free shop, buy some strong aftershave, dash to the toilet, and enthusiastically douse my trainers in Hugo Boss’s finest. Then I’d board my flight, the chance to further neutralise the odour now gone.

Eight and a half hour flight. Two hours in, my feet are getting warm, so I slip my trainers off. But this simple action, carried out simply for my own comfort, would result in a powerful infusion of smells. The Hugo Boss, normally quite pleasant when applied modestly, gives people migraines with its strength. The smelly trainer smell, on its own enough to induce vomit, combines with the Hugo Boss and causes people’s mouths to be overwhelmed with ulcers, boils and cold sores, their bare skin blistering as soon as it is touched by the potent eau de toilette/trainer vapour.

The solution

The solution involved hot water, a bucket, some washing liquid, and a lot of time to soak (I forgot about them for a few hours). Rather than explain in narrative form, I shall write it as if back at school in chemistry, and write a method. This way, should you ever get your trainers wet a fortnight (I let the trainers stagnate for over a week before taking any action) before you go to Uganda, you’ll know where to find an answer.

  1. Fill large bucket with hot water from tap. Add washing liquid (same you use to wash clothes).
  2. Stir in washing liquid.
  3. Take soles out of trainers.
  4. Place trainers and soles in bucket.
  5. Top up bucket with more hot water to ensure trainers are covered as much as possible.
  6. Leave for two hours (at this stage, I just forgot).
  7. Rinse trainers and soles under hot water.
  8. Re-fill bucket, and add trainers and soles again (you don’t want there to be bubbles from any remaining soap next time your feet get sweaty).
  9. As soon as you remember that your trainers are outside in a bucket, take them out of the bucket.
  10. Squeeze the trainers.
  11. Place on washing line or on window sill to drain.
  12. Put in tumble dryer on low heat for about 90 minutes.
  13. Return every 20 minutes to close tumble dryer door (my trainers kept flying into the door with such ferocity that the door was forced open).
  14. Once dry – or almost dry – remove trainers and leave them wherever you normally leave them.

What next?

If you’re expecting me to give you answer for “What next?” regarding the trainers, well, have you tried wearing them?

However, I’m talking about “What next?” with regards to going to Uganda. Well, I’m glad you asked.

I’m going to have a haircut.

*You can Google it here.

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