Steve is in his thirties and works as a probation officer. Five years ago his wife died of cancer, leaving him with four young children to bring up on his own.
Losing the love of his life felt like a deathblow, but knowing his responsibility as a father helped pull him through, as well as the comfort of friends and family.
Juggling a busy job with being a single parent has proved quite a challenge. Thankfully, some of his relatives have lived close enough to help out at times.
Steve has a shoes-off policy in his home.
He has never been fastidious about cleanliness or wanted to live in a museum, but as a father he does not want his children to grow up in a pigsty. Even with the children helping out with household chores, keeping the place clean is a mammoth task. He therefore decided that it was not asking very much to expect anybody entering his home to remove their shoes.
Steve does not hold many dinner parties, but his children often bring along their friends. His children always make sure to let visiting friends know about the no-shoes rule.
In the last three years, Steve has dated a couple of lady friends. Neither of them minded about removing their shoes, but they were a little more daunted about becoming stepmothers to four children!
Dorothy is in her sixties and is the headmistress of a small school in a village in Kent.
She lives in a cottage and rides to a parish church of Anglo-Catholic churchmanship on her bicycle. She is very active in village life and is member of the local branch of the Women's Institute.
Dorothy has never been married. She had never cared much for any of the men she has met in her life. She had been engaged once to a Frenchman, but she was jilted before reaching the altar.
She admits that she is of the old school of English spinsterhood and takes on the role with much panache.
Dorothy has a shoes-off policy in her home.
She decided to make her cottage a shoe-free zone sixteen years ago. She found too many of her friends were calling on her after walking in the fields nearby. Far be it for Dorothy to live in a house without spotless carpets. Not all of her friends were enthused, but the vicar's wife was very impressed at the efficency created by the policy and introduced it at the vicarage; a home that received far more visitors.
Dorothy has two sister and two brothers, all of whom are married and so frequent visits from nephews and nieces, some of whom have had their own children. Her siblings and in-laws sometimes sneer under their breath about her being a 'fussy old maid', but she takes this as a compliment.
The nieces and nephews are perfectly happy removing their shoes when visiting Dorothy. She is their favorite aunt; rather stern, but always passionate and fun.