Doing the shopping these days, with my dodgy knee, is not an experience I much enjoy. Technically, me & B always do the shopping together; what usually happens is that B slowly trundles the trolley round while I whizz around ferreting out the goodies.
But at the moment, our roles are reversed; mindful that I have a very limited ration of daily walking, I skulk in a corner of the supermarket with the trolley, leaning on my stick, while B goes looking for stuff.
With none of my experience with supermarkets, he takes ages to locate anything. Which is why I was leaning on my stick in a corner of Morrison’s while B roamed the far aisles in a search for crumpets. Passing the time with people-watching, I noticed one person in particular.
Now, (probably due to Asperger’s) I’m very good at pattern-recognition and pulling conclusions from just a few facts. This perhaps explains why I occasionally get odd “flashes”; I see some stranger and almost instantly have a strong mental vision of them looking quite different, usually much younger. This shopper I found myself looking at was a middle-aged man – short (5’5″ or so), potbellied, greying longish hair tied back in a ponytail, fairly scruffy (but no more so than I was). He was wearing a very battered leather hat, the sort with a wide brim; it was stained and looked like it had been sat on far too many times.
And I had a “flash”: a young man – twenty or so – dressed in flared jeans, white cotton shirt, suede jacket; still short but now taut-bellied slim, moustached, bearded, long black hair flowing down past his collar; bouncing cockily along a street, grinning hugely, eyeing the girls. And proudly showing off his brand new height-of-fashion leather hat – snapping the brim, keeping it at just the right down-turned angle.
What, I wondered, would that handsome young buck have thought of his thirty-years-on self? That bent-down, scruffy aging man who shuffled through this glittery consumer paradise doing his boring, routine, everyday shopping? Who hadn’t got into 28-inch-waist jeans for twenty years? That old man who hadn’t done the “monkey-walk” for three decades? The old man who no longer expected young women to look at him admiringly, and who no longer even noticed the loss?
He’d come from the fish counter; now he stood for a few moments in front of me, pondering where to turn his trolley next. He had a case of beer, some bread, some tins, a bottle of tomato ketchup, a big packet of frozen chips. He never moved his eyes from his trolley, except to look at the shelves. His hat sat on top of his head at no particular angle; the brim wasn’t in any state any more to be satisfyingly snapped. I watched him turn down an aisle and stop before the toilet paper….
Then B came back from his hunting expedition, bearing a successful bag of two packets of crumpets. So we went to sacrifice my purse at the checkout.

Went shopping today. As we badly need some cereal bowls, I decided to look in Woolworths.
Found some bowls, but buying four or five of them looked a bit expensive. There were “50% reductions!” signs all over, but even at half-price, the cost was a bit steep (for me).
Then I came across a set of bowls and plate, 16 pieces in all. Now, we need some dinner plates as well – the ones we have are chipped, non-matching or both. And this set was marked as £13, down from £17.99.
That’s not a 50% reduction, I thought to myself, but it’s still a good price for a set. So I heaved it up to the checkout. The tinsel-bedecked lady behind the till smiled at me, waved her scanner at the box and said sunnily “That will be be £3.97!”
“Er, pardon…??”
Another big sunny smile. “£3.97 – that’s with a pound taken off, you know!” As though that explained the low price.
I did an extremely rapid calculation. 50% of £13, minus £1? (And why the pound off?) It still adds up to more than £3.97, even with the VAT cut. But – why argue? Pay the woman and vamoose with your prize! Before somebody notices! So that’s what I did.

On the way home, we discussed this; B remarked “How can these checkout people keep smiling when they’re losing their jobs in a couple of weeks?”
“By playing Santa Claus and giving customers enormous discounts?”

We drove home smiling…..

We went shopping this afternoon – not our usual big once-a-week shop, but (for long and boring reasons) our second mini-shop of the week.
Now, when we’re going around the supermarket filling up the trolley, I know pretty well how much we’re spending. I don’t know the exact price of every item, but I can estimate it and keep a running total. When we reach the checkout, my estimate invariably comes to less than +/- two quid of the total.
Well, that’s how it used to be. This afternoon, we went around the Co-op with me doing my usual running price estimation. At the checkout, I was shocked to find that I was charged more than a fiver over my estimate. It could have been quite embarrassing, as I was left with only about 50p in my purse. Naturally, I checked the receipt, but all was as it should be – it was just that stuff was costing more.
With our weekly shopping bill going up by a tenner, and fuel costing so much more as well (we’re 15 miles from the supermarket, so we have to use the car), things are going to get rather tight for us.
Oh bum….. We’ll just have to try to earn more money….

….Got some time out on my own today. Yesterday, me & B went to Dumfries for shopping and stuff. Along the way, we popped into M&S and bought a pair of smart trousers for B for next month’s Big Wedding. Once we were home, B discovered he’d somehow got the wrong size. Since the return bus fare to Dumfries is cheaper (way cheaper at the moment) than driving there (and the bus picks up and drops right outside our house), I went on the bus this morning to exchange the pants, alone so that B could get on with some work of his own.
I like going shopping on my own. B hates shopping and always rushes me along. But I like strolling and browsing. This morning, I went looking in every charity shop along Friars Vennel, all five of them. Mainly, I was looking for something that I might be able to wear myself to the Big Wedding – my trusty old LBD that I keep for weddings, funerals and “smart casual please” is getting somewhat ancient. However, I refuse to spend a huge amount on something that I’ll wear perhaps once a year, and I always prefer to reuse and recycle anyway, which is why I went to the charity shops (though I must confess to lingering quite a while in the womenswear section of M&S…). I didn’t find a dress, but I seeing all the hats made me realise that I really need a hat as well – after all, I am the Bride’s Mother. I didn’t buy a hat either (though I will at some point), but I did find a good stout pair of walking shoes – I really have to get back into walking regularly these days; I’ll never be able to manage any five-mile hikes any more, but I really should be able to walk into the village and back without having to stop for a breather.

On the bus to Dumfries, me and the other oldies had been accompanied by a group of giggly young teenage girls; they were on the return journey as well. Having evidently spent the morning enjoyably mall-ratting, they were even more loud and giggly, screeching and singing at the back of the bus. They weren’t at all annoying – but they did prompt me to somewhat gloomy thoughts about my own distant youth. I felt like turning round and telling them to enjoy it while it lasted.
But instead, I gazed out over the fields, where the spring lambs were tumbling and running…..