"They are for a very important occasion" the KHT advises the sales assistant.
"Ooh, are you going to a wedding?" she enquires brightly.
"No." The KHT pauses for dramatic effect, "A funeral!"
A lady the KHT knew through attending college, has sadly passed away.
"Am I the Chief Mourner?" she enquires.
"No, the family are the Chief Mourners. You are just somebody who knew her." Yet, from our families perspective, she is the Chief Mourner, as this is also the first time that the person who has died is more familiar to her, than to us. Her preparations for attending the funeral, are taken very seriously.
"I must buy some suitable funeral clothes," she announces to my surprise. Normally additional items of clothing are acquired, and worn, under great sufferance. The familiar and comfortable are greatly preferred. A pair of black trousers and a white shirt are duly selected, tried on and purchased, and will be worn with her black jacket.
A few days later and she drops hints about wearing my black boots, which I refuse. After all they can not be on both my feet and hers at the same time and are several sizes too big for her. The KHT decides that she needs some new shoes and with great trepidation I find myself shoe shopping with my daughter. What can possibly go wrong? Experience tells me that this will not be a walkover.
A pair of slip-ons are selected. Feet are duly measured and a box containing size 3 shoes appears.
The KHT places her othopedic inserts inside her shoes, and attempts to feed her feet into the openings, in a manner that would have made the ugly sisters proud. The KHT is unfamiliar with the required technique of sliding feet into this style of shoe. The assistant produces a shoe horn. The KHT spurns this modern device, and attempts to force her feet into the shoes using all of her insubstantial weight. To the relief of the shoes she succeeds before they are entirely flattened. The assistant suggest that we move up half a size to allow for the orthopedic inserts.
"How about we forget the inserts! commands the KHT.
The assistant returns with size 3 and a half, deftly fitting the inserts, before the KHT has chance to finish removing the offending items from the size 3 shoes. The KHT sighs and tries on size 3 and a half.
"Don't forget to allow room for your little toe which does not lie quite straight," I remind her. This may be true, but it is not appreciated.
"That. Is. Why. I. Hate Shopping. With.You!" announces the KHT.
Another battle follows between the KHT and the shoes, but this time it is less of a battle and the shoes are on.
"They are fine!" she announces, "We will have these!" The trouble is that this would be her response even if they didn't fit. You only get one shot at shopping with the KHT, so you hope you get it right first time.
With the shoes safely positioned on her feet she goes for a walk around the immediate area of the shop, followed by a longer tour, stopping to examine various items of footwear on the way, which gives me the opportunity to try and detect any impediment in her walking. However many parents will have encoutered the strange walking technique accorded to unfamiliar footwear. The suitablitity of the footwear is confirmed, then I remind her of the inevitable financial transaction required, before the shoes become hers.
"Now you need to pay."
"How much are the shoes?" she enquires of the assistant.
The assistant checks. "£42.
A look of total horror crosses the face of the KHT.
For a moment she was tempted to say 'forget the shoes', but she wants them for the funeral.
That evening she is very keen to inform everyone of her shoe shopping exploits.
"You could always have worn brown boots," say I.