Friday, March 6, 2009

Here Comes that Lion ~ Get the Wellies Out!

After a week of a bitter cold spell (which seemed even colder after being in Cuba), we have meltdown starting. It's 3 °C and rising. It might be a bit sad that I'm so excited over such low temperatures but I really have just had enough of this winter already. Working weekends at a hunting barn means I am exposed to the brutal weather and I just want to go to work and not have to wear long johns anymore!

The temperature this weekend looks to be a cool 7°C both Saturday and Sunday which means no more marsh mellow stable chick outfit! YIPPEE! However, this also means the ice is going to melt and the fields are going to be nicely formed lakes. Time to get out the Wellies!

Wellies, or properly called "Wellington Boots" until recently were a necessity, but a fashion nightmare. You would have been lucky to find a colour other than army green or yellow. In the last few years they have taken off in the fashion industry and are worn by city dwellers and runway models alike. Who would have ever guessed? It's about time we could look good and keep our feet and trousers clean and dry!

Why are Wellies so great? They keep your feet dry, keep your trousers dry and mud free, they are comfortable, and easy to slip on and off. You can find them in every colour, every design, pattern and style now. You can even get them with high heels! (Why, I couldn't tell you!)

Possibly the best invention for the Welly in last few years has been the Welly warmer. A sock insert you can put in the boot to keep your toes toasty. An amazing help for us here in the freezing North, and now we can wear our Wellies all year!

I personally love the Wellies from Joules however they definitely run on the expensive side. You can grab a pair at any discount department store for about $20. I also found this site Rosieroo, that makes designer Wellies with function in mind. I need a new pair so I'll be out shopping this weekend! They are going to get good use in the next month. Bring on March!

Some history on the Wellington Boot, quoted from Wikipedia:

"The first Duke of Wellington instructed his shoemaker, Hoby of St. James's Street, London, to modify the 18th century Hessian boot. The resulting new boot designed in soft calfskin leather had the trim removed and was cut more closely around the leg. The heels were low cut, stacked around an inch, and the boot stopped at mid-calf. It was hard-wearing for battle, yet comfortable for the evening. The Iron Duke didn't know what he'd started — the boot was dubbed the Wellington and the name has stuck ever since. The Duke can be seen wearing the boots, which are tasseled, in an 1815 portrait by James Lonsdale.[1]

The boots quickly caught on with patriotic British gentlemen eager to emulate their war hero. Considered fashionable and foppish in the best circles and worn by dandies, such as Beau Brummell, they remained the main fashion for men through the 1840s. In the 1850s they were more commonly made in the calf-high version, and in the 1860s they were both superseded by the ankle boot, except for riding.
These boots were at first made of leather. However in 1852 Hiram Hutchinson met Charles Goodyear, who had just invented the vulcanization process for natural rubber. While Goodyear decided to manufacture tyres, Hutchinson bought the patent to manufacture footwear and moved to France to establish "A l'Aigle" ("To the Eagle") in 1853, to honour his home country. The company today is simply called "AIGLE", "Eagle"). In a country where 95% of the population were working on fields with wooden clogs as they had been for generations, the introduction of the Wellington type rubber boot became a success: farmers would be able to come back home with clean dry feet.

Production of the Wellington boot was dramatically boosted with the advent of World War I, due to the demand for a sturdy boot suitable for the conditions in flooded trenches. The North British Rubber Company, now Hunter Boot Ltd, was asked by the War Office to construct a sturdy boot suitable for the conditions in flooded trenches. The mills ran day and night to produce immense quantities of these trench boots. In total, 1,185,036 pairs were made to cope with the Army's demands.
In World War II, Hunter was once again called upon to supply vast quantities of Wellington and thigh boots. 80% of production was of war materials - from ground sheets to life belts and gas masks. In Holland, forces were working in flooded conditions which demanded Wellingtons and tight boots in vast supplies.
By the end of the war the Wellington had become popular among men, women and children for wear in wet weather. The boot had developed to become far roomier with a thick sole and rounded toe. Also, with the rationing of that time, labourers began to use them for daily work.
Wellington boots are waterproof and are most often made from
rubber or a synthetic equivalent. They are usually worn for walking on wet or muddy ground, or to protect the wearer from industrial chemicals, and they are usually just below knee height."

Get your Wellies on!!

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