Jayne Dawson: Yes! Let’s burn those horrid slippers and all live a little

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No word of a lie, I haven’t heard anything quite so thrilling in ages. In difficult moments it comes back to me, and cheers almost as much as a good cup of hot, strong tea. Almost.

Only this weekend, as I dug down deep to finally find the courage to use one of those hand car wash places, the thought of it made me snigger all over again.

(I didn’t use the car wash. They had decided they were closing two hours earlier than advertised and couldn’t fit in a mini valet - who knew they were so good to their staff?)

But still, I’d enjoyed the queuing time, imagining that wonderful thing: a bonfire of all the slippers. That’s right. Slippers.

Did you hear about it? A man with a splendid title - Professor Muir Gray, former head of knowledge for the NHS - came up with the idea.

He says slippers are the devil’s work, always have been, always will be.

The best thing we can do with slippers, he says, is make a big bonfire out of them.

Now isn’t that just the dandiest idea ever? I do so really, really agree.

The prof wants this bonfire because he believes slippers symbolise all that is bad about our attitudes to ageing. And he is right.

Slippers are a whole world view in footwear form. In essence, when you get right down to it, they say: “my life is over”.

Slippers are about withdrawing from life, they are about staying indoors with the telly and a bag of sweets for company. They shriek of inactivity, they declare your intention to shuffle through the remainder of your existence.

Professor Muir Gray says buying a person slippers is the worst thing you can do, you might as well buy them a graveyard plot. He didn’t say that last bit, I’m making it up, but you see the point I’m making.

What the prof did say is that dumbbells and resistance bands make better gifts than slippers, and that exercise is better than pills for the aches and pains of ageing.

I’m saying, ditch the slippers even if you don’t dig out the trainers, because slippers are horrid, smelly, scruffy things.

Why do I feel this way? Blame my upbringing, it’s the customary thing to do. I was raised in a slipper-free household. shoes off at the door, bare feet inside - we were practically Japanese.

Heck, we even told horror stories about slippers. Here’s one, and it’s true. My mum had a friend called Gwen. Gwen’s mum was old and a bit confused. Frequently she would complain: “There is a mouse in my slipper.” One day, exasperated, Gwen dragged the slipper off her mum’s aged foot and prepared to set her mind at rest - and found a dead, dessicated mouse squashed down in its furry toe. There. Beat that.

So I passed on my slipper-hating habits to my children. Even as my in-laws looked anxiously at their little, unprotected feet. Even as they exchanged I-told-you-so glances the day I had to race my young son down to A&E and gasp out between sobs of shock and terror that he had a terrible gash on his delicate, vulnerable foot. Even then I maintained my slipper ban. Sometimes I think I must be stubborn.

The only time I was tempted was the day I saw a pair of heeled fluffy mules in BHS. They were pale blue satin and completely ridiculous. They reminded me of Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day and my Nana all in one. A killer combination, I think you will agree. Or you would if you had known my Nana, she was at the glamour end of the granny scale.

But really they are pointless, aren’t they? Our homes are mostly warm and safe these days, it’s the slippers that are the killers, not our houses. Many is the hip that has been fractured tripping over an old, ill-fitting slipper. Those things should come with health warning.

So that’s where I stand on the slipper debate. But I do have a final, shocking revelation. This winter I bought a pair - but I’m throwing them away after Easter. Promise.