The essay below is an adapted excerpt from the book “Friends and Friendibility” (2009, Bad Kitty). Text and illustration by Marie Guillot. © Marie Guillot
Working on farms to assist local vets, I decide to treat myself with a professional pair of rubber boots, otherwise called wellies. These wellies are to be used under adverse conditions: water, mud, muck, rocks, nails, animal kicks, or any combination of those.
At the local Coop Super Stores, I choose a box saying: PRESTIGE / Quality Wellingtons / Resistant to animal and mineral oils and fats, to acid and petrol. I try a pair, they fit perfectly. Back home, at the bottom of the box, I discover a little booklet called User’s Manual, in thirteen European languages.
In such a manual, one does expect to see information like how to recognise the right foot from the left one and how to clean them up after a day in the slush; and how to repair them if they get a hole or a cut; a small repair kit could even be provided, same as for bicycle tyres. This is not too far-fetched: the brand of my new boots is precisely DUNLOP!
I am thrilled to learn immediately that my boots are in compliance with the ISO9002 Quality System. First page, first guidance: Read the manual entirely before making your purchase, because there is a possibility that these boots are not exactly what you need in your specific application. Too late I’m afraid.
Next advice is to try them on before purchasing them. Smart me: I did that!
Then comes: Check that your boots are marked with CE and EN345-1, which complies with the PPE directive No 89/686/EC. Things get more and more exciting.
Depending on the printed codes on the sole, your wellies may guarantee an absorption over 20 joules. In other words: when you jump, the heels will cushion your landing up to that level of energy. With a bit of calculation, I could verify if it is sufficient for my weight, combined with the highest point from which I might have to leap some day.
If you choose a higher standard, you can also get an impact protection against 200 joules, which is comparable to an object of 20 kg falling on your toes, from one meter high. No need to calculate here, the picture IS clear.
In addition, there is a sole penetration resistance up to 1100 newtons. This is, of course, intended against nail perforation, and I'm sure they have envisioned every type of nail, stuck in any direction.
At last, the cleaning technique is coming: brush your boots every day and wash them with diluted detergent. This procedure will have a positive effect on the life expectancy of your Wellington boots. You could say that for your teeth too!
Several phone numbers (depending where you are on the planet) and a website are provided to the user, should he/she need more details.
Suddenly, a thought strikes me: are my boots WATERPROOF? This is not mentioned at all!
Back to the manual, I read the whole thing again. The closest I come across is this: the standard CE Wellington boots are suitable for working situations where no additional protection, other than against water, is required.
No code under the boots. But the soles exhibit a majestic CE. What a relief! My Quality Wellingtons may not bear that many joules and newtons but they ARE “proof-to-water”.
Tomorrow will be my best opportunity to try them. A herd of 300 animals is scheduled for tuberculosis testing. It has been raining for three weeks. The grounds are over-soaked, the forecast is “badly-bad,” the day will be long. Brace up with PRESTIGE!