Barbados Countdown: Mrs Blog Goes Shopping

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.

photo (20)


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…


A footnote.

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…


photo (19)


13 thoughts on “Barbados Countdown: Mrs Blog Goes Shopping

  1. says:

    Glad to see the countdown to Barbados is going well. Maybe Margaret should pose in all her outfits and invite comments! (I’m only jealous!) I’m really sad to hear about the demise of Peanuts who seems to have been around for as long as we’ve known you. Commiserations and glad to hear he died peacefully in his sleep. Have a brilliant time away. We all want to see the photos on your return, especially the ones of you dancing. Enjoy!

    Sue X >

  2. Sherry says:

    Sad news about Peanuts. Envious about Barbados! Fancy blogging about Toad at the Town Hall – International competition is on Wednesday at 7 pm?

    • This is a great way of keeping people up to date on the things that matter! The nearest that Peanuts will get to having an internet profile…
      I may not make “Toad” but skittles might furnish some ideas!

  3. jean mckern says:

    Steve, we should definitely pair up. I HATE shopping for anything. Re the hat, I have a lovely aboriginal wig which will suit!!!!!!!! Don’t forget the suncream when you go to B. Lucky you and Margaret.

    • If book shops ever disappear I’ll have nowhere to go when out shopping — so I’m doing my best to keep them in business! Do they do aboriginal wigs in grey? I’ve spotted the odd tinge creeping in…

  4. Richard Reed says:

    My feelings exactly. In my earlier years a regular topic at dinner parties was “When will M&S come to Horsham”. WSCC even used it as an arugment in favour of the controversial Horsham 1964 redeveloment. Now we have one and it gets its fair share of returned clothing – this playing havoc with the credit card statements.
    But the store does have a good selection of bottle-conditioned ales.

  5. Margaret B says:

    I see……….. Dave and I once purchased a book of instructions and an LP and practiced various dances of the ball room type in the living room of my flat in Stoke. It was not until we took to the dance floor that we realized the constraints of the shape of the practice room were still with us. That aside, we did master the art of the chachacha one holiday in the Lake district and still boast about it.

    • Our dance instructor refers to “floor management”: I think it’s what you’re supposed to do to avoid crashes. I think we’d cope better if we were the only ones on the floor. If I attempt to steer Mrs Blog, I suspect she regards that as a presumption on my part…

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