Tag Archives: shopping

Me, Mirth and Merriment

I went shopping this afternoon – a few groceries for Number One son as a hint that it was time to go back, and a few bits for the kitchen. And tea. By some oversight we had run out of tea, and I can’t settle knowing that Julia is likely to make that Indian spiced stuff that she likes and which I consider has no place in civilised society. I know that India has produced great philosophies and mathematics, and Mahatma Ghandi, but I’m sorry, I don’t consider them sound on matters of tea.

For those of you who are thinking of pointing out that India virtually invented tea may I just point out that the English invented football. It doesn’t mean we’re any good at it.

The car park was fuller than normal, a state of affairs which also applied to the shop.

Large numbers of resentful looking men were trailing round the shop muttering rude words at their partners whilst feral children stalked the aisles and trolley rage seemed to simmer, barely under control.

This did not bring out the best in me, and I was thinking evil thoughts, including wondering about the practicality of disemboweling a curly-haired tot with my reading glasses, when a wave of good humour rolled over me.  This is not normal. It hardly ever happens, and certainly not at Christmas, when the spirit of Scrooge stalks the badly heated rooms of my draughty hill top domain.

I looked at the couple arguing over the wife’s choice of  cheese and thought how lucky I was that we could afford all three of the varieties she was looking at. We would, of course only eat two of them before the third matured into a new variety of blue cheese (in our fridge even Stilton goes mouldy), but that, in a way. is even luckier, as we have lots of cheese and the thrill of playing botulism roulette.

After that I was on a roll, to the point of being quite charming and enjoying a laugh with several ladies in the checkout queue. When I mentioned this to Julia she muttered something about it not being the first time I’d provoked mirth in a woman.

There was something in her tone I couldn’t quite place…

 

Reflections, Shopping and Scent

We went to the doctor his morning as Julia has now been caught up in the excitement of the endless round of blood tests and unwanted health advice. She had two appointments so I waited in the car park and did some paperwork.

After that we had breakfast and headed off for Springfields. I first went there when I was a small child, feeling like I was being punished by being made to walk round ornamental gardens full of tulips. On a really bad day we had to stand and watch an entire tulip festival. It was like a visit to the garden but the tulips drove past, so you didn’t even get the excitement of walking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Fragrance Shop, Springfields

There are clearly big savings to be had if you like scent. However, as I am explaining to Julia, reflected in the window, it still looks expensive to me. Aftershave, as you may gather from looking at my reflection, does not play a big part in my life.

The gardens were looking good in the sun, though the autumn colour has been disappointing this year. I’m sure we will be back in Spring and will take more pictures, which will give a better idea of the gardens and sculptures.

Things don’t change much, even after the passage of fifty years. There’s a large shopping complex and garden centre built on half the gardens now, but as I walk round the shops with Julia I still get the feeling of being punished. Only the presence of a bookshop lightens my load.

And cake. Even the worst pre-Christmas shopping trip can be brightened by the presence of a good slab of clementine drizzle cake.

 

A Trip to Stoke on Trent

We haven’t been to Stoke or a while. Looking back to post links to the last visit I see it was almost exactly a year ago. We had planned to visit at least twice this year but, as usual, it didn’t quite work.

This morning Julia, who had a list of jobs for both of us, looked at the weather and said: “Do you fancy a trip out?”

I suggested Stoke and forty=five minutes later we were eating breakfast on the outskirts of Derby.

The satnav is getting more use these days as I get used to it and after taking some postcodes from the internet we were able to drive straight to the Trentham Shopping Village – a place we’d never visited before.

The parking was free and plentiful and the toilets were excellent, though The Works was the worst branch I’ve ever been in – small, badly stocked and crowded. Well, nothing’s perfect.

There’s a shop that claims to sell artisan foods, though as with all these shops the stock is a bit more industrial than the signs in the window claim. There was some good stuff there, though it didn’t really look like it had been made by sweaty men wearing bandanas and working with open pans. Or whatever your definition of “artisan” is.

I Googled for pictures of “artisan” and most of them are grubby-looking men in overalls so I wasn’t too far off. It’s a strange thing that though women surely make the majority of jams and pickles in this country we always seem to think of men when we mention the word “artisan”.

There was a whiskey shop too. We had a look in because we were looking to buy some gin for a Christmas present. At £20 for a half bottle we decided to rethink that one. They were selling samples of whiskey in medicine bottles. I can see the point in smaller bottles, and I can see the comedy potential of a medicine bottle, but it just doesn’t look right.

There’s another shop selling alcohol too – whiskey, gin and vodka. You select a bottle, then you fill it from a big container. There are many varieties of fruit-infused gin and vodka, for just £6 (plus the cost of the bottle) it seemed OK. Then I put my glasses on. I hadn’t been expecting much for £6, but I had been expecting more than 100 ml – that’s £60 for a litre, or £45 for a supermarket bottle.

No wonder they can afford staff and glitzy shop fittings.

More from Stoke, with photographs, tomorrow.

 

A Waste of a Day

I spent a lot of yesterday in bed with a fever. It came on shortly after I finished my last post and lasted until the early hours of this morning.

As a result I’ve been sitting round the house recovering and doing little else. Even typing seemed like too much effort.

By 6 o’clock I felt well enough to go shopping and at 9 o’clock I went to Trowell Services on the M1 to pick up Number One son on his return from Portugal.

I am now going to publish this, go to bed and prepare for a more productive day tomorrow.

Day Off

Well, this is vexing. I wrote this post and pressed the buttons and sat back as it loaded. I had added (Part 1) to the title, but when I switched on to write Part 2 I tried to link it to Part 1 and found it wasn’t there. This means that, for the first time in 72 days I have failed to post.

I am not happy. Ah well…

It was a day off today, and instead of making me drive to a distant tourist spot Julia allowed me to relax with a short trip to the Mencap garden.

We managed to fit in a Harvester Unlimited Breakfast on the way – so it wasn’t an entirely bad start.

At the garden, instead of making me walk round and look at things, and probably enjoy myself, she allowed me to do a number of jobs including refilling bug boxes (using hollow stems from the scabious we’d cut back a couple of months ago) and putting some bird boxes together.

I fear I may have seemed a little ungrateful for the opportunity to spend our day off working for an organisation that won’t allow me to volunteer officially. (For those of you new to the story I’m not allowed to volunteer to work with my wife, as I’ve been doing for the last five years, because of “conflict of interests”.)

We had a fig each after that, and I took some photos of the vine leaves.

It wasn’t one of my better days, though building nest boxes is always a good thing to do. So is eating fresh figs.

After that, we returned home for a cup of tea. I downloaded photos and, whilst snoozing happily in my chair, dreamed of Derbyshire.

At that point Julia demonstrated the depths of depravity to which a wife can stoop, waking me up to remind me I’d said I’d give her a lift to Wilkos to buy paint for nest boxes. Obviously I’d meant I’d give her a lift if I wasn’t asleep and it wasn’t too close to Pointless. I don’t ask much from life and a snooze and a TV quiz seem quite modest requirements. So does freedom from being woken up to go shopping.

We went to Arnold, and I took some photos from the rooftop car parks at Wilkos and ASDA (who are currently renovating their car park). They aren’t great photos, but they didn’t offer much in the way of scenery. The main theme is Rain, with a secondary motif of More Rain.

 

 

My Day

I had to send Julia off to work on her own this morning because I had an 8.50 am appointment with the doctor and the timing didn’t allow enough leeway to get from one side of town to the other.

This brought back memories of sending the kids to school as I fussed round making sure she had her flask and sandwiches (ham and mustard on one lot, ham and pickle on the other – variety being the spice of life).

It wasn’t much of an appointment, just to confirm my new tablets weren’t causing problems and discuss a letter from the hospital.

I ended up being prodded and questioned by a medical student on work experience. There’s probably more to it than that, but that’s effectively what it was. They have to learn somehow, besides, the doctor offered to do my anti-coagulant blood test, allowing me to get on with my day instead of returning for the test at 11.30.

After that I shopped, called at the Arnold Sorting Office to pick up the parcels I missed yesterday, and called at the jewellers.

There, I scrapped in two gold medallions. Although the price of gold has gone down it is still high compared to a few years ago. As a result I got more for the medallions as scrap than I had been trying to obtain as a retail price when I last went to an antique fair.

If only all profits were that easy.

As I prepared to leave a local collector entered the shop. I haven’t seen him for years so we spent half an hour catching up. He’s aged over the years, his beard has turned white and he’s a grandfather now. It was a bit like looking in the mirror, apart from the grandchildren.

I’m seeing more people from the past now that I’m getting round the shops and markets, but also finding that several have died, which is a bit of a shock.

No photos today as I forgot to take the camera.

 

 

From Bleak Breakfast to Boring Birds

Breakfast was a touch bleak at 5.30 this morning – we burnt the toast and lost the marmalade. The first was due to the unwritten natural law that the chance of burning your toast rises in inverse proportion to the amount of bread available.

Thus, when you only have four slices of bread left you are almost guaranteed to burn it.

It’s the child effect – when they are both visiting, as they were this weekend, food simply seems to disappear. I’m sure we had half a loaf when I went to bed. I can’t even attempt to work out what they’ve done with the marmalade.

After that it was time to do laundry (and start a new book), go shopping, walk round the duck pond, answer blog comments, and cook for the evening (a highly untechnical dish of vegetables (mainly courgette) to be eaten with wholemeal pasta. Some times I’m so healthy I frighten myself.

It’s the first time I’ve been able to walk round the pond without my stick since April, so I’m happy with that, even if it is only 500 yards.

The ducks, I’m sad to say, were not very interesting.

The wooden sculptures are looking good.

It looks like things are getting back to normal, which is clearly a mixed blessing. I now have more domestic chores to do, but it’s nice being able to walk without the stick. Next week I will have to walk round twice.

The final picture is my shopping list, as people seem to like shopping lists.

You may notice that it’s not like other shopping lists that people show after finding lists that have been lost. There’s not much chance of me losing this list, and if I do, let’s face it, I will have more to worry about than lack of a list.

It’s not a proper list, just the things I’d forgotten from yesterday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shopping list