9  July 2018






school photos







           All original writing

           2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,            2018        Ian McLauchlin



OK. Let's do some shopping. Haven't done any for at least 3 weeks. Fridge is nearly empty and I've started to open the reserve UHT milk. No bread, no fruit, no tomatoes, not a lot of anything at all. And while I'm at it, I can take a load of cardboard packaging to be recycled. Win win. And what a lovely day for it. Even started to whistle then stopped myself in time  . . . .

The recycling centre was quite busy, but I managed to sneak in behind an old golf trolley and in front of lots of empty bottles and old newspapers - the cars carrying them I mean. Oh, they've changed it around. Never mind, I'll just go up the steps and chuck my cardboard into one of the two huge skips that they have for cardboard. The golf trolley was standing behind me. "That's for plastic." He obviously thought I shouldn't be let out alone, especially with cardboard. "Oh, there used to be two. They'll sort it out." He let me go first back down the steps. Didn't want a stupid old git falling on him.

Meanwhile, back at the supermarket: I hate the business of emptying my shopping trolley onto the conveyor belt, especially when the trolley's full and the belt's short and there's a queue of people behind who can't wait to start emptying their trolley onto the same conveyor belt. I'm very wary of letting them start till I've finished. Once someone dared. They looked really hurt when I turned to them, pointed to my half full trolley and asked them "Where do you think I'm going to put all that?" They didn’t know and didn’t care.

So, there I was emptying my trolley. I try to keep like things together. They then go into the same bag and that helps at the other end when I'm unpacking. The cashier watched me. He inspected his nails and studied the ceiling. Then inspected his nails again. In the end he could stand it no longer. "Would you like some help with that Sir?" I obviously looked as though I could do with lots of help, with just about everything, all day every day. Oh, thank you, yes. That's very kind. I didn't mention the possibility that he was trying to maintain the throughput of customers and, entirely as an unexpected consequence, his bonus. That'd be churlish. There goes my packing plan. Still what a lovely day to have your packing plan messed up. I nearly started to whistle.

Contrary to the cashier's expectation, I'd actually remembered to bring my wallet and could pay. "Have a nice day Sir." You mean from now on, or are you wishing my earlier nice day continues into the afternoon, but nicer?" I thought but didn't say.  Phew. Just need to drive home now and unpack. It’s all downhill from here . . . .

Road closed. "Why do you want to drive down this road Sir?" I live there. "Sorry, road closed. We've just resurfaced it and it'll be three or four hours before you can drive on it." But I have a car full of food that needs to go into the fridge and freezer. And it's hot in this car. "Well you could walk it down the road, Sir." Er, I have difficulty walking myself down the road and that's without 8 heavy bags of shopping . . . " Traffic was building up behind me, just like it was in the supermarket. I didn't whistle.

I know, I'll try the Marina car park - that's just 20 yards from my courtyard. Reversed slowly to turn. Horns blared from all directions, and especially from behind me where a heavy lorry full of asphalt had parked right next to my rear bumper. Arrived at the car park then remembered that I needed my parking permit and my access dongle which are in the house. But it's all double yellow lines and the only parking is on private driveways. "Do you mind if I park here for 10 minutes?" No, but you can park over there. They're not home till five-thirty. So I did. Rushed home for the parking permit and parked as near as I could to my courtyard.

I know, I'll get my folding wheeled trolley. Up to the house, down to the garage, back up to the house, down to the courtyard . . . . This up and down existence continued for several trips, ending up (and down) with me taking milk and frozen food up to the courtyard, into the house and down to the fridge freezer in the garage. Finally it was done.

Collapsed in a heap, worn out, thirsty and sweating. It was just then that I peered out of the window and saw a double-decker bus drive down the road that I wasn't allowed to enter . . . . .