Ferrules. Yes that’s my subject for discussion this week. Ferrules. Now for those of you lacking a classical education, a ferrule is a rubber foot, as used on a walking cane, or in my case, as a protective tip to a metal chair leg.

Having noted that the smart new folding chairs in the Natural Theatre studio were doing untold damage to the dance floor (at first I blamed the tap dancers), I foolishly decided to Google ‘ferrule’.

I say foolishly because lo! a previously undiscovered world was revealed to me. The world of ferrules is gob smacking. Never in my wildest dreams did I realise there could be so many variations on the rubber foot. Website after website scrolled by. The choice, which I thought would just be a case of ordering a few dozen scraps of soft grey plastic, was overwhelming. Round, square, angled, black, grey, white, convex, concave and so on and so on. Little balloons would pop up with tempting suggestions such as ‘Customers who purchased the A4b/xx semi-soft acute were also interested in our range of clips, flanges and grommets.’

And sadly, I got interested too. I was dragged into the nether regions of Ferrule World. I even tried to drag my colleagues with me. Much to their consternation (and boredom) my conversation invariably veered towards ferrules. You see, there is a ferrule for every situation. Oops, there I go again. Bored yet?

Those who supply these essential products are not without imagination or enthusiasm. One company had persuaded their staff to make little high resolution videos on their pet subject. ‘Hi, I’m Shane and my speciality is internal pop-on feet for walking frames’. ‘Hello, I’m Maureen and if mat-creep is driving you mad, I’m here to help.’

Now I don’t use a walking frame or suffer from creeping mats, but nevertheless I watched all the videos. ‘Hello, I’m Ralph, and if it’s ferrules you’re after, I’m your man!’

Anyway, after a one to one phone conference with Shane, my final choice was made and I ordered two hundred. They have been fitted by a ferrule operative, and they really work. No more scratches on our lovely floor.

Now I’m preparing to go on Mastermind. You can guess my specialist subject. Ferrules, natch!

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