Wellington quandry

Sometimes I wonder how I ever manage to actually buy ANYTHING these days. I have been known to fret about the implications of my choices for weeks… which is why I ended up tramping about the garden in several extra pairs of socks and Mr Snail-of-happiness’ wellies.

Our garden today (taken from indoors!)

Wellington boots are not optional in our garden in the winter

You see, my wellington boots started to leak. It was right at the time of our garden being partially under water and I came in one day with a soggy foot. Waterproof footwear was essential… either that or go barefoot and get hypothermia. So, I decided to buy new boots. I asked around, I posted on Facebook… I thought finding something suitable was going to be straightforward. I was wrong.

My old boots were very cheap, fairly uncomfortable for walking in, but ok for the garden and lasted no time at all (well, a couple of years). So, I thought that I would try to be a bit more ethical with my welly-buying and get some that are made in the UK. It turns out, though, that British-made wellies are as rare as hen’s teeth… the only ones I could find were trendy ones designed to wear at festivals… not really the thing for working in the garden. I could find French wellies that seemed to tick all the boxes, but were way out of my price range. A friend suggested one make of boots, but someone else told me that there were issues with worker exploitation with this brand. I searched the internet (unsuccessfully) for ‘ethical wellies’. I dithered. I continued to paddle about in Mr S-o-h’s boots. I put off work in the garden because I didn’t have any boots. I dithered some more.

Then finally I realised that I just needed to bite the bullet. I had to compromise. I needed boots to be able to get on with doing a whole bunch of stuff that is positive for me and for the planet. There isn’t always a perfect solution. So, I bought some that came highly recommended by someone who spends a great deal of her life wearing the things and whom I trust. I bought good-quality so I should be wearing the things for years to come and not having to replace them often and send the old ones to land-fill. They are comfortable, they do the job I need them to do… their ethics are not ideal, but sometimes you really do just have to get on and make the best of a bad set of choices… especially if it leads to positive action as a consequence.

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  1. Lol, I am a terrible shopper too! I don’t enjoy shopping, I dislike buying new and when I do have to trying to buy NZ made or a natural option becomes a long drawn out process.

  2. Hope they’re keeping your feet toasty and dry. (Just in case they’re not, I recommend Evercreatures, which are apparently made in Britain. I fear they’re the festivally brand you referred to, but I’ve never been to a festival – other than Hay – in my life, and nobody’s sued me yet. I love clomping about in the veg garden in my rainbow stripey boots. And it’s a revelation to discover that wellies can actually be comfy.)

  3. That’s some superior quality, high grade dithering going on there. I see your dilemma, but sometimes, as you say, you have to bite the bullet and buy something that fails to tick a box or two for the sake of ticking all the rest. Personally, I’ve found that every colourful, decorated or otherwise trendy gumboot I’ve ever bought has fallen apart quite quickly, so now I buy them from the farming supply shop, and because I have wide feet, I buy roomy men’s boots. Sorted.

    • I am becoming a top-class ditherer… doesn’t help when the potatoes need planting, though! The boots I bought were on the recommendation of a Yorkshire hill farmer – I decided that if they would work for her, they would work for me!

  4. Hooray! You have the boots now you are free of decision making for some time. And you have dry feet!

    • It was actually a big relief just to make the decision… silly I know… lets hope they last years and years!

      • If you did not care so much, it would be easy. I think your deliberation shows what a thoughtful, considerate person you are; one who wants to make the least impact on the environment by your own actions.

  5. I know how you feel…I just bought an external hard drive and have been beating myself up a bit about the ethics/environmental issues of buying it. But, like your wellies, I should have it for a good long time so I agree that that is a point in our favour! Enjoy your new wellies 🙂

    • It’s great to have warm dry feet… long may it last. I think the answer is certainly not to regard the things that we buy as being disposable… let’s keep everything (wellies, hard drives, clothes) as long as we can and get the most out of them. Let’s not be seduced into thinking that we have to replace our computer/phone/entire wardrobe every few months.
      Yay for us!

  6. Ouch, I know every step in that dance. But I recall that one of the principles of the viridian design movement was that your dead grandfather always consumes fewer resources than you do. We respirate, therefore we acquire responsibility. (smile)

  7. I’ve just looked up my wellie boot brand and discovered they are Dutch, which was a surprise as I thought they were British. Not that either is better than the other considering where I bought them, but it’s interesting none the less and a good example of things not always being what we think they are..

    Does buying second hand free us from some of the responsibility do you think? With the exception of my recent wellie purchasing, it’s my answer to quite a lot.

    • Buying secondhand is good… I also think buying good quality, repairable items helps so that we maximise the lifetime and avoid having another dilemma for a long time!

  8. Put some nasturtiums in your old wellies (err…some soil first is always good 😉 ) and give them a new lease of life in the garden 🙂 I think the fact that you “thought” about it and chose the least damaging alternative is the most important thing. If more people actually thought about the consequences of their purchases then we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place

    • More thinking is so good… and sometimes, by the time you’ve thought it through, you realise that actually you don’t need the thing you’re thinking about… although the wellies were essential 🙂


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