Cobbling in Jerusalem


Cobbled in Jerusalem
Your shoes will never wear.
In fact with so much use of them
You’ll have them still whene’er
The time is come to meet your God;
Then at that Pearly Gate
St Pete will say, “You’re so well shod!
“Come in – no need to wait!”

Mrs SG and I are in Jerusalem, and yesterday we went into the walled city to poke around, buy some gifts and find a cobbler: a heel had fallen off one of my shoes and I couldn’t find it. At the Jaffa Gate we were accosted by a personable young guide, whom we didn’t hire but who showed us on a map where we could find a sandler who might perhaps cobble on the side.

We found the man – an old, old man – in Jewish Quarter Road, occupying an alcove packed with shoes and boots and a heavy-duty sewing machine. I showed my shoe and he said, “Come back in an hour.”

We did and the shoe was heeled. He’d added a bit of rubber to the other one too, to make them almost the same height. The work was functional rather than elegant, and looked robust. “How much?” I said. He indicated that it was up to me. I made the mistake of saying, “No, no, tell me how much I owe you,” to which he replied, “Fifty shekels.” That’s about US$14. My eyebrows lifted, my eyes widened and my blood ran cold, but what could I do?

Therefore I choose to believe that Jerusalem’s spiritual richness will imbue my shoes with supernatural longevity.


Buying a New Car


Mrs SG and I just bought a new car – the first new car we’ve ever bought. My first car cost GBP60. My first car with 4 wheels cost GBP220. This new car cost AUD25,500!

At least, that’s what we thought it cost when we’d finished negotiating with the salesman. Then a young lady with a lovely smile and a strange title came to talk to us. She explained that if we wanted the really important ‘extras’ – that we might have supposed were already built into the car, what with it being a new car and everything – we’d have to pay another AUD1,700.

So beware, dear reader! Before your sign anything in a car showroom, ask if that’s the lot. I think we’ll go back to buying second-hand… except that at our age this new car is probably going to last longer than we do.