I bought a pair of new walking shoes in Matthews in Cork. I tried various pairs but none seemed right. The young man in the shop (a relative of the owners currently in his final year in German and business yes, I was there a while) brought me out a beige pair which he suggested I try. “But they’re so ugly,” I protested. “Those are your words,” he said, “I would say they are less aesthetically attractive than some of the other boots.” I tried them on. They were so comfortable. My young shop assistant looked at them critically, “You know,” he said, “they’re not quite so ugly on.” Reader, I bought them.