I have a problem with keeping my shoes polished. Every day I look at them and think they could really use a shine but somehow I always manage to put it off. This morning, while ironing a shirt, for some odd reason, I think I hit on the reason why.
Having been in the army, I learned how to keep shoes and boots gleaming and in tip-top condition. Like many things they key to this is in having the right tools; and looking after them. You need to have a stiff brush with densely grouped bristles for applying the polish, a softer less densely bristled one for shining, an old toothbrush for working polish into the seams and some kind of cloth for buffing to a shine. Polish should be applied with one side of the application brush and then rubbed in well using the entire brush. The polish should be given time to dry before shining and should be applied sparingly enough that the bristles of the shining brush remain clean and virtually free of polish. Once a good shine has been reached with the brush, the cloth is used to buff the leather to a high shine. Which polish to use is a personal choice and some swear that one brand is better than another. I prefer to use Kiwi but Nugget or another brand works just as well in civvy life, where we’re not trying to satisfy a bad-tempered NCO, just look presentable. Keeping your brushes and cloths clean and in good condition is important. You want them to be as clean as possible so you don’t get polish everywhere when you clean your shoes and if the bristles are bent and splayed, or caked in polish, the brush needs replacing.
You’ll be wondering what any of this has to do with me avoiding polishing my shoes; in a word children. I have two sons who like most children have little regard for caring for any tool; unless it is something they have bought themselves. It doesn’t matter that I may have bought new brushes as recently as last week; you can be sure that when I go to use them, I will find them caked in polish and with the bristles bent. Just taking them out of the bag they’re kept in is an invitation to get your hands covered in polish. My realisation this morning was that I, being someone that takes pride in keeping my tools in good shape, can’t stand to handle the brushes, polish tin and cloth in the state that my sons leave them. So I just put off polishing my shoes as long as I possibly can. Clearly the answer is to buy myself a new polishing kit and keep it somewhere out of the clutches of my offspring, so that I can once again take pleasure in how easy it is to have shiny shoes when I have the right tools.