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Going South: Trotters

May 10th 2013 / Imogen Edwards-Jones


Imogen Edwards-Jones kicks off her shoes and puts Margaret Dabbs' trotter-treating skills to the test

When the weather warms up, like it did for half an hour last Saturday, I am faced with a terrible dilemma. Do I sit there and grin and bear it silently sweating into my big black boots, or do I get my stinking, scaly, yellow cracked feet out and risk a violent outbreak of group vomiting? My feet are gross. Truly they are. They are little pig’s trotters, with short stubby toes, clothed in inches of dead skin. They are small and wide and fat and would look a hell of a lot better on a toddler. In fact they are so unpleasant that my husband regularly refers to them as my ‘bloodied stumps.’

So you can see why I am loathe to get them out in public. Although, the other day I made the mistake. My guard was down. I’d drunk a few wines, I was relaxing, I was in good company and I slipped my shoes off to curl up on the sofa. “Jesus Christ!” shrieked my friend, a woman clearly known for her tact and generosity. “Those are terrible.” She moved in for a close grisly look. “You’ve got to get them done, you can’t have feet like that. It’s an embarrassment. Get yourself down to Margaret Dabbs and get it sorted.”

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Easily bossed, I find myself booked in for a medi pedi with fabulous Yvonne and Natalia at Margaret Dabbs who could not have been more charming. As I released my feet, complete with attractive black soles, they didn’t faint, vomit or even pass comment. Naturally I apologised for the state of my hooves, to which Yvonne breezily replied. “I worked in the NHS for two and a half years, nothing can surprise me.”

The Dabbs medi pedi is a dry pedicure, so there is none of that faffing about with endless washing, drying and footbaths. The idea is that there is nowhere for the rough skin and corns to hide, they are all there in their naked gnarled glory.

Fully masked up like there had been a terrible outbreak of the Sars virus, Yvonne got to work on my feet. She inspected each toe and told me off for cutting them incorrectly and had another word about all the dead skin. She clipped off my corns, snipped and filed my toes and then got out some massive file to get to work on the dead skin. The poor woman looked like she was sawing wood.

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Back and forth she went with her diamond-edged file as clouds of foot-dust filled the air. My heels were apparently not in a great state. Too much wandering around the house barefoot. I should wear socks, I should moisturise, I should, actually, let’s be frank, make a bit more of a sodding effort. Finally she covered my feet in some emu oil based emollient and that was that. My feet looked gorgeous for the first time ever! Smooth, soft and no longer prone to make other people puke.

Next, the lovely Natalia got some pretty polishes out. I chose a deep cherry red and half an hour later I was walking down the street with paper flip-flops stuck to the soles of my feet.

That evening I got my hooves out and showed my more fragrant half. “Oh,” he said, looking down, his eyes narrowing. “What’s happened to the bloodied stumps?”

“They’ve been made over.”

“Not bad,” he nods. “Not quite so bloodied or stumpy any more. They look nice.”

I am afraid I did a little dance for joy.

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