Saturday August 20, 2005
Each time I buy fuel at the filling station it costs more than it did on the previous visit, rising at a rate far, far above the official figures measuring the annual increase in the ‘cost of living’. Which is worrying. I’m already rationing my use of the car, limiting myself to essential trips only, and planning pleasure trips very carefully, and seldom.
It’s getting to the stage where, instead of visiting Tesco’s in person, it’d be cheaper to order my provisions online and pay the very reasonable fee to have them delivered to the door. The only thing that stops me doing so is my quaint old need to pick over a display of cabbages to find one that suits me best. The people who do the picking for online shoppers, naturally enough, grab the first one that comes to hand.
So, when I can, I time my visits so that I can lunch there, in the coffee shop, doubling the value of the trip. Not salubrious, but cheap, and it gives me a cooked lunch every three or four days. Today, they lacked one essential ingredient for my favourite meal.
“Have you run out of sausages?” I asked the young woman behind the serve-yourself counter.
“I’ll have a look,” she said, obligingly and then, returning, “No, sorry. We’ve got chicken”.
Leaving aside the obvious fact that heavily carbonised chicken portions are no fit substitute for sausages, I smiled, and said: “Oh, not to worry. It’s better for me without meat anyway.”
I helped myself to a modest portion of sausages, chips and beans, sans sausages, paid for it, and carried my tray off to the dining area, seeking out a table that wasn’t too unwashed. They have signs all over asking customers to return their trays to the collection point, which is fine. Sadly, they don’t seem to have anyone going round to wipe the tables after use. Hey ho. They do wash the trays between customers so the trick is to keep the meal on the tray and avoid touching the table.
I’ve heard that Tesco’s are running down their coffee shop facilities as being uneconomical. Seems faulty thinking to me but there you go. If, as part of the run down, they’re going to eliminate sausages I may well change my shopping habits, away from the supermarket. Thing is, you see, if you have to drive into town to lunch, you might just as well shop there.
Nope. I really don’t understand their thinking on this one.
Home again, and rewarded by two small custard tarts for the absence of sausage, I was just going off for my nap when a neighbour called.
“Have you seen the local paper?” she asked.
“Your house is ‘Property of the Week’. Half page spread, enormous photo.”
“Oh, gosh,” and, looking at the clock, “well, it’s too late for viewers now but I’d better be sure to have the place clean and ready for inspection very early on Monday.”
She looked around. “I don’t think you need worry on that score.”
I gave my thanks for the compliment, and looked around for myself. She was right. The house is almost indecently clean.
I do want to wash the windows over the weekend, though, and do something about the hanging baskets, which are looking really rather sad now. Keep meaning to make a trip to the garden centre to pick up some colourful plants with which to refill them. Perhaps there’ll be time tomorrow.
After my nap I took a turn along the lane, doing about half the distance I cover during the winter. The return leg in cold weather runs along the bank of the drain and is a pleasant extension of my medicine walk. During the hot weather it’s a pestilential place, populated by heavy clouds of biting insects. I don’t do biting insects.
I took my camera with me, thinking that the evening light was perfect for a few shots. It was, too, but when I turned the thing on it hestitated for a moment, and then did it’s buzzing thing to tell me the batteries hadn’t enough power in them. Drat it. I carry spares but need to sit down to switch batteries and there’s nowhere to sit along the lane.
When I got back home I changed the batteries and darted back out in an attempt to catch the last of the light across Stuart’s field. One shot worked rather well, and another, of his tractor basking in the sun, is worth keeping even though it had to be taken at maximum zoom and exhibits some shake. The sunset, when it came a little while later, was unremarkable. I put the camera safely back in the drawer, full of good intentions to make more use of it. I wonder if the absence of sausages explains some part of the absence of photographs?