Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Telegraph: 25 amazing things you probably didn't know about Moldova

The Telegraph: 25 amazing things you probably didn't know about Moldova

24. You'll have to take your shoes off

When you're entering someone's home, it's considered impolite to leave your shoes on. Leave them at the door. The house rule applies in most formerly Soviet countries, for hygiene reasons. Guests are almost always provided with slippers.

It is the Moldovan Independence Day today.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Seagrass Rug



My new seagrass rug arrived this week. With my tendency to like oriental stuff, I decided a while ago that I wanted a seagrass rug in my new flat. It's a beautiful natural material.

It's not a cosy rug that you can sink your feet into. It's more like giving your feet an hard massage, delivered by a Thai prison inmate. Not everything in life should be too comfortable.

It should be fairly easy to maintain, but you would probably make a mess of it by walking on it with your shoes on.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Housewarming Party





Yeah, I really do have friends in real life.


In order to maximise attendance at my housewarming party, I held my housewarming party on both Friday and Saturday evening, giving people the option of attending either day. I decided to invite an absolutely huge number of people, guessing that most people would decline. I was not too worried about overcrowding my apartment. A housewarming is about having a nose around the new home. People will only stay as long as they please. As it turned out some people only stayed for one drink and a guided tour, while others hung around quite a while.

I got eleven guests attending on Friday, plus the baby of one couple. I had been expecting thirteen. I had expected only five on the Saturday, but I actually got eleven adult guests on the Saturday, plus five children. That made a total of 22 adult guests. A family I had not seen for a while showed up unexpectedly. I also had a surprise appearance from three nurses who were working that day. They came during their tea break, which made me feel very special. My boss was the last guest to arrive. She was a but disappointed to find all the other guests had gone home before she arrived, but it was nice to see her and have a chat.

I told everyone on the invitation that they would need to remove their shoes. One girl obviously hadn't read that bit as she asked "Do you want us to take our shoes off?" Well, yes. She was not wearing socks and did not seem to have expected to be going barefoot. She had been warned. A colleague I work with closely must have forgotten about it. She managed to get halfway down the hallway in her shoes before I shouted "Wait! Stop!"

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mateos: 5 Tips for people with costly floor carpets

Mateos: 5 Tips for people with costly floor carpets

The second deadliest carpet killer from time immemorial is the shoe. Don’t ever let anyone near your carpets and rugs with shoes no matter how much they insist on keeping them on. Stains from shoes are not only hard to remove but they also deplete the quality of the carpet, especially the soft ones.

NH Flooring: How to Keep Your Carpets Looking Newer For Longer

NH Flooring: How to Keep Your Carpets Looking Newer For Longer

Stop mess getting into your home in the first place by asking guests to remove their shoes. Unless they are Carrie Bradshaw, and are afraid of losing some seriously expensive footwear, your guests shouldn’t be put off by this request. If you want to get all scientific, researchers have shown that it takes 17 steps to remove all the dirt from your shoes. That’s 17 potential ‘oops’ moments all over your carpets.

The Earth Child: Here’s A Few Important Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear Shoes In The House

The Earth Child: Here’s A Few Important Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear Shoes In The House

Not only do shoes contain bacteria but they also contain germs, chemicals and oil or petroleum by-products. The bottom of your shoes are full of plenty of chemicals and pathogens that you do not want to spread all over your home then walk barefoot on later.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Housewarming Party Invitation

I'm holding an housewarming party in my new apartment in a couple of weeks. I've sent out a lot of invitations, mostly to colleagues via email.

I stated in the invitation that shoes would need to be removed at the party. I've had some people confirm they are coming and other people decline due to other plans, but so far I've not had any comment on the shoes-off request, which is interesting.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

HoneyColony: 3 Compelling Reasons To Take Your Shoes Off At The Door

HoneyColony: 3 Compelling Reasons To Take Your Shoes Off At The Door

"Toxic waste and dangerous pesticides can be found everywhere these days. According to a study by the non-profit research group, the Battelle Memorial Institute, something as simple as treating your lawn can track toxins into the house. Another study from Baylor University found that people who live near asphalt roads sealed with coal tar have an increased risk of cancer from toxins, and an EPA study found that dangerous pesticides could be tracked into homes on shoes as well, settling within the house as dust particles.

Something as natural as a rainy day could also add to the toxins and pesticides on your shoes. The rain contributes to the spread of toxins such as gasoline, as well as other chemicals that could have long term affects on your health and contaminate the air, food, and environment of those you love."

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Shoes-Off Sign for my New Apartment



I bought this off Amazon and put it up on the front door of my new flat. It had some handy self-adhesive strips. I think having the sign in German comes across as a little less officious, plus I am very much an Europhile.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Russian Orthodox Churches in Thailand



Russian Orthodox Church in Bangkok, Thailand


Russian expatriates have colonized parts of Thailand in the same way that British expatriates have colonized parts of Spain and southern France. I suspect they are probably as badly behaved as Britons abroad.

The Russian Orthodox churches in Thailand, ministering to the large Russian expatriate community, seems to have adopted the local practice of removing shoes in their churches, as you would in temples or other public buildings in Thailand. This is a very interesting example of cross-cultural mixing. While the Thai custom of removing shoes in homes is nothing new for Russians, removing shoes in churches is not part of the Russian Orthodox tradition. I have also seen photographs with men wearing shorts in the Orthodox Churches in Thailand, which you should definitely not do in an Orthodox Church in Russia or anywhere else. This is a fascinating example of cultural adaptation in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Ceausescu's had a shoe-free home

The New York Times: At Ceausescu’s Villa, Focus Is on D├ęcor, Not Dictatorship


Our guide, Andrei Stancu, a slender and bookish man in his mid 20s, told us that the Ceausescus, both born into peasant families, always took off their shoes at the door to preserve the carpets.

They might have kept Romania under a brutal dictatorship, but at least they kept their carpets clean.

I've suggested before that the dominance of the shoes-off custom in Eastern Europe has at least something to do with Communism. It's not a custom that fits in with the western bourgeois ideal.

If Communism had not triumphed and the old regimes, like the Habsburg empire or the Kingdom of Romania survived, would middle-class people in Eastern Europe be following the more western practice of wearing shoes in homes? It's hard to say. Austria escaped Communism, yet people generally remove their shoes there. Though this may reflect the egalitarian tendencies of modern Europe.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, July 07, 2016

My New Apartment



The hallway, my sister's sneakers next to my flip flops.




Living room




The kitchen. It's got a lot of cupboards.

Monday, July 04, 2016

New Home

I got the keys to the new apartment I've purchased today. I hope I manage to keep it a bit cleaner than I've kept the place I've been renting.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Expert Home Tips: 21 clever ways to reduce the dust in your home

Expert Home Tips: 21 clever ways to reduce the dust in your home

As soon as people get in your home, ask them to take off their shoes. Any dirt on the bottom of their footwear that gets trodden into the house will eventually turn into dust when it dries.