I blogged a few weeks ago about Mrs Blog corralling me into my annual bloodletting, or pre-holiday shopping trip to M&S, as it is also known. This does not compare with the wife’s own retail preparations.
I usually succeed in identifying some preferable alternative preoccupation – like drain clearance, or major limb removal – to avoid the prospect of accompanying her on one of her forays into the Temple of Doom. At least in most proper town centres I can be safely “crèched” in Waterstones. In an M&S “superstore” (and there’s a misnomer to conjure with) there are simply no escapes.
“What about this one?” I venture, pointing to some cheerily coloured garment, but more in hope than expectation. I am met with that familiar tight lipped smile that she used to reserve for our young daughter’s first efforts at making tea.
Have you ever seen a sadder sight than the identification parade of men of a certain age lined up by the entrance to the ladies’ changing rooms? Nowhere, scarcely even a bench, where a chap can tarry for the afternoon while the wife tries on pair after identical pair of indispensible white trousers. And you can’t wander off on your own without the risk of resembling Father Ted lost for an eternity amongst the frillies.
Mrs Blog emerges after a few short hours. “What do you think of this pair for those warm evenings in Barbados?”
“It’s great. Yes, definitely. Buy it.”
“You’d say that whatever it looked like, wouldn’t you?”
“I’ll just pop back in and try this pair.”
Death can’t come quickly enough. And they don’t give you any clues about what the right answer is. Like hair.
“Do you think my hair looks flat?”
“Is it supposed to look flat? Then yes.”
Only 20 days to go until we set off on our holiday. That could be at least a dozen opportunities to bring stuff back to change. And what did the sales person mean, “Do you have a loyalty card at all?”
Just a moment. While I’m here, should I be looking at hats? For me, I mean. This is not a concept that has any meaning for the rest of the year, you understand. I tend to regard wearing a hat much as I might contemplate wandering into town draped in a toga. No, ok, we do do that sort of thing here in Lewes – but a hat, unless it involves horns, antlers or feathers, then no. Our sadly now deceased Labrador invariably barked unhappily at men in the street wearing baseball caps and I was definitely ok with that. But, as we’re aiming to be in Barbados in about three weeks – have I mentioned that? – I could no doubt benefit from some sort of covering where the material I was born with seems a tad depleted of late. And it’s not just the sun you have to watch out for: I’ve been in a couple of hot air balloons over the years and found myself directly under the burners. Wowee…
Anyway, Mrs Blog has vetoed the idea of a nice soft beanie and I worry that nothing says “Empire” quite like a Panama. Suggestions please.
Meanwhile the dance classes in Lewes have restarted (see blog no.4) and we anxiously approach our debut performance beside the sea at Oistins in Barbados. And, while the wife contemplates her Kindle downloads for the trip, I’m sorting proper books to take – because they’re better…
Peanuts, our antique ginger tom, whose quiet celebration of his 20th birthday with close family was noted in my last blog, is no more. Having surpassed the family’s last two cats who only made it to 19, he probably felt he’d made his point and, if one can ever truly say that an animal died of old age, I guess P did, in his sleep last night. Now we have those things to do like clearing away the food bowls, disposing of no longer needed tins and sachets and noticing the gap left behind. Non-pet owners can reasonably mock; you others will understand.
This is Peanuts’ selfie taken on his 20th birthday, without make-up…