“YOU’RE on the cusp of experiencing welcome relief from a problem that’s bothering you,” coos Jane Sheehan. We had reached the end of my first foot reading and the session would be rounded-off with a salutation from the fairy gods, “…and the fairies want you to know that you have reason to smile.”
At parties it came to a point where I’d habe a foot in my hand before I would get a glass
Woah... hang on a minute?
Until the mention of fairies, celebrity foot reader and reflexologist, Jane Sheehan, had me and my feet (literally) in the palm of her hands.
I'm not exactly the most hard-arsed sceptic, I've prised open the door to a far more open mind in recent years (this job helps), I'm spiritual in a non-conventional sense, and a small part of me still believes magician Dynamo is the Second Coming of Christ (he's walked on water, guys).
Still, to say I was open to foot reading was taking it a step too far, even for me.
De-socked, in the middle of Selfridges glorious new shoe department, Jane Sheehan would be using the skills that have seen her appear on ITV's This Morning, analysing the feet of Princess Diana and Cameron Diaz, to tell me a bit about myself. There'd be no Mystic Meg style fortune-telling, Sheehan is no psychic, she's more of a councillor.
So what's afoot for me?
"Mentally you’re always whizzing. You have one of those massively active brains. You don’t say half of what you’re thinking and when you do say it you’re incredibly direct and blunt," says Sheehan as she's crouched on the ground staring at my big toe with an intense fascination.
"You have extra drive and skill - my recommendation is if you ever get an assistant make sure they have an elongated second toe and wide feet so they can keep up with you. Could make for a fun recruitment process…"
While extremely accurate, these were not mind-blowing revelations. Although it's still impressive to think Sheehan deciphered some quite personal traits of mine just by looked at my ravaged feet.
And the uglier the feet the better, apparently.
Bunions mean 'you're running yourself ragged', elongated second toes mean 'good leadership skills', flat feet mean that 'you love the company of others' and men with wiggly little toes are good for 'frenetic wild nights out... but probably not for marriage'.
You can almost hear the sceptics scoffing. Before you box foot reading in with tarot cards, crystal balls, David Blaine and Jeremy Corbyn, there's a science and method to Sheehan's perceived madness.
Foot reading has been practiced in China and India for more than 5000 years, stemming from the 'belief that your feet are a window to what’s going on with the rest of your body'.
“There’s a couple of people that do foot reading," explained Sheehan. "There’s a guy who used podiatry therapy from an Indian ayurvedic tradition. He interviewed 5,000 people about their toe shapes and came up with a toe alphabet. I memorised that and used it on anyone who would let me.
"At parties it came to a point that I’d get a foot in my hand before I would get a glass."
For Sheehan, my ugly feet (flat with sloppy nail polish) revealed much that even me, a prolific over-sharer, has kept schtum about; from how I deal with personal grief, to my current aspirations and love life.
Without trying, I was self-reflecting and warming to Sheehan. She's one of those zany, open characters that you can't help but like. Her subtle eccentricism is familar and inviting - I guess that's how they get ya.
"I'm from up North and, you know how it is, we don't like things that are peculiar or different," says Sheehan. "Trust me, I didn't think I would become a foot reader at all, but I have the best job in the world."
Find out more about foot reading on Jane Sheehan's website.
Foot reading sessions were part of Selfridges 'Sole of The Party' event.