Posts Tagged ‘winklepickers’


These flowers aren’t periwinkles, but their color is about the right hue. — Art by Pat Bean

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.” — Dr. Seuss
The Word Stumped Me

I was reading Eric Brown’s Murder Takes a Turn, which is set in England shortly after the end of World War II, when I came across the word winklepickers. I love British mysteries set in this era, before DNA and other scientific methods changed the tone of modern-day crime solving; and I love reading books that teach me something and introduce me to new words.

They call these shoes Winklepickers. But they’re more of a cobalt blue than periwinkle blue, don’t you think?

Wunklepickers was one of these, and stopped me in my reading tracks. My Kindle was on the table beside me, so I used it to look up a definition of the word, and discovered that it is a boot or shoe with a pointed toe that became popular with British rock and roll fans in the 1950s.

The name is related to periwinkle snails, which I had also never heard of, but which are a popular snack across the ocean. The only periwinkle I’m familiar with is a five-petaled flower that is mostly purple or blue. Periwinkle is also a watercolor hue that I sometimes use.

The shoe moniker, however, refers to the sharp-pointed object that is needed by snail eaters to extract the soft snail flesh from the shell.

But then perhaps you already knew this. I asked my friend Jean this morning, when she dropped off her canine friend Dusty for me to watch while she went to work, if she had heard of winklepickers. She immediately thought of the snails, but then she’s a chef and spent many years working in Europe.

Stores are still selling winklepickers today, I discovered when I went online to research the word – but I think I’ll stick to my tennies. I’m sure they are way more comfortable.

Now available on Amazon

Bean Pat: A fall walk https://pinolaphoto.com/2018/10/26/a-fall-walk-through-the-miami-whitewater-forest/?wref=pil Enjoy. I did.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, she is calling Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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