Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

How I shopped for shoes with Shirley

Showbiz Correspondent Maureen Coleman reveals how she and Hollywood superstar Shirley MacLaine got sidetracked by a pair of shoes

What is it with me, shoes and celebrities? Some years ago I interviewed Queen of Country Dolly Parton at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, when she spotted my red skyscrapers as I left the room.









"Oh honey, where did you get those shoes?" she gushed, practically falling on her knees to get a better look.

Earlier this week I interviewed Hollywood legend Shirely MacLaine at the Culloden Hotel - ahead of the world premiere of Closing The Ring.

Again, as I left the room, Shirley caught sight of my black and silver wedges and shrieked: "Wow, those shoes are fabulous. Where did you get them?"

She directed me into the light to inspect them and told me they were 'just about the best shoes' she'd ever seen.

I told her they were designed by local woman Anita Flavin and if she was interested, I could try and get her a pair.

Shirley was delighted and told me she had quite big feet - an American size 9, European 41.

I got on the phone to Anita's PR girl, Cathy Martin, who said she'd be honoured to help.

Yesterday, a gold and black pair of platform wedges winged their way from Garvagh to Belfast, but unfortunately, the sizing was wrong.

As Shirley walked the red carpet on the arm of Lord Attenborough last night, I leaned over the barriers and yelled: "Shirley, did you get your shoes? "

There was a momentary flicker of recognition as she eyed me up, then she came over and said: "Oh hi, yes, I got them, that was wonderful, but they were too small. You sent me a 38 and I'm a 41."

"I did ask for 41 but don't worry, she has another pair for you," I assured her.

"But I'm leaving tomorrow, how will I get them?"

"We'll arrange for them to be sent out to America."

"That would be wonderful. Thank you so much. It's great, I'm shoe shopping on the red carpet."

While this exchange was taking place, a bemused Lord Attenborough looked on, not quite sure what we were talking about.

"Thirty eight, 38? What's all this about?" he asked.

"Is that her bust size or her age?"

Shirley MacLaine laughed in my direction and joked: "No, that's her waist size."

Well, I think she was joking.

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Wanderlust may be too powerful to resist. Planning a long holiday will be a pleasant diversion from work. You don't have to have fancy accommodation. You're willing to rough it for an adventure, but you do want to get good value for your money. Doing some research into the best places to stay and eat will pay off handsomely. Take along a friend who is free spirited and eager to explore unfamiliar vistas. The two of you will make great travelling companions.More