The not-that-great old days…

The queue for our Waitrose shopping today is short and sweet. The other week, a woman read a book while waiting to go in.  This week, a man is showing off his stretching moves to his small daughter, who has no doubt seen it all before, and the rest of us, who are equally unimpressed.

The baking goods shelves are still pretty sparse, though sugar has started filtering back. What’s that I see, though? Some sort of mirage… it’s FLOUR!!!!  I can’t believe my eyes. Hastily, I phone my neighbour – the one we’ve been buying bits and pieces for these past few weeks. “They’ve got FLOUR!” I yell, causing nearby heads to swivel. “Oh, yes PLEASE!” she shrieks down the other end of the line.  We laugh hysterically and I grab both white and stoneground strong bread flour for her before anybody else can get there.

We’re all saying, “Excuse me,” “Please,” and, “Sorry,” even more than normal, these days, as we skirt around each other in the aisles and try to remember to keep our distance (doesn’t always happen, though). “We’ve never been so polite in all our lives,” trills one woman as we pass each other with our trollies. “You speak for yourself, missus!” I don’t say. “Some of us have been polite all our lives.” And neither do I need to be told to be kind, by the way – though I may have had a bit of a rant about this before, so I won’t go on about it now.

The nice man on the checkout says it’s only his third day working there. I say, talk about a baptism of fire, given the present situation; though probably not at this particular branch, and he agrees the people are very nice, which always helps.

I’m pleased to see the toilet and kitchen roll shelves completely full again. Phew. I’m pondering what could be next on people’s panic-buying lists. My friend in the Midlands supermarket thinks he knows: apparently, people up there have moved on from loo rolls and wipes to window and oven cleaners. Can they really be that bored? Or are those the very last areas to be “deep-cleaned” (whatever that actually is) in their homes? He adds that the queues are still pretty long, though.

I don’t want you to think I’m an out-and-out slut when it comes to housework, by the way. I’ve mentioned before that I hate dusting, but that’s only because we have so much stuff to dust around. If you don’t disturb it, it’s fine. I have a form of OCD: not too severe, thankfully, but enough for it to have been a right pain my entire life, and to ensure that none of my homes has ever been a tip. They are pretty tidy and organised, in the main. I clean, vacuum, sweep and change all the linens each week. But I genuinely don’t understand all this “deep-cleaning” stuff. Is it more virtue-signalling, perhaps? Like the people who clap for the NHS, then invite their neighbours/friends/family round to sit in their gardens for a nice chat?

Our next, much briefer shopping trip is to the nearby large Sainsbury’s. I need a few things I couldn’t find in Waitrose. No queue at all to get in there. Still busy inside, though. How on earth did we all cope, before Sunday trading? Actually, I can remember, just about and, if there was nothing else to do and no friends around to play with, I was often bored and fed up. So bored and fed up, in fact, I used to look forward to Mondays. If the office had been any closer, I would probably have gone in there on Sundays, as well, if they’d let me. But that’s another story and thank God life’s not like that any more.

Keeping everything crossed, it looks as though I might be able to add “Garden centre” to my weekend to-do list again. (If only I’d had a garden back in those awful, bad old days.) The OH says he can’t find the words to express just how thrilled he is at the prospect…





Author: Hampton Caught

The rants and ramblings of an ex Deputy Fiction Editor of Woman's Weekly magazine.

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