I drove Wink over to Norwich to the optician today. She’s always had poor eyesight and is a customer who tests all the resources, though not through her behaviour at all – of course. The eye test was fine, but it was suggested that she has prescription sunglasses. She’s never been able to wear sunglasses as they weren’t made to her prescription, but that seems to be possible now and they’d protect her eyes somewhat.
She’d have kept me waiting and we had a table booked for lunch at the Assmbly Hse in Norwich, so she arranged to come back later to choose the frames. In the meantime, I’d pottered around gently for half an hour or so – I bought some fruit and veg on the market and a few bits and pieces in Superdrug, which I’ve decided is a lot easier to find my way round than the huge Boots branch I attempted a few weeks ago.
I hadn’t intended to go to Superdrug, I’d wanted to buy some birthday cards and headed for the Jarrolds department store, one of the very best shops in the city. Except, they’ve lost their way, as far as I’m concerned. Books and Jarrolds go together and the book department used to take up nearly half of the sizeable ground floor. Understandably, that was found to be no longer profitable, some years ago and it was diminished in size and moved down to the basement. At some time post-lockdown, it was decided to put it up on the top floor, where paints and other art equipment used to be. I’ve discovered that cards are there too. I’d probably have spent £30 or so, that’s all. A few birthday cards, a paperback or two, some wrapping paper – if I’d felt enthusiastic enough, maybe £50. But I wasn’t going to traipse up to the 3rd floor and then walk down, because there isn’t a down escalator. The whole of the ground floor had expensive stuff that I didn’t want and I left. Hardly anyone was actually shopping and it wasn’t really surprising.
Wink and I sat down at the restaurant and, a minute later, two women came and sat at the next table. One was probably several years older than me, one a bit younger. A waiter came to ask if they would like to order drinks? They only wanted tapwater, but the younger woman said they were ready to order. So the waiter, um, waited. They weren’t really ready at all, they hadn’t picked up the menu yet. “What is the soup?’ asked YW. The waiter read the description from the menu, which was tomato and basil. “Oh, is that the only one?” Yes, it was. OW said she’d have soup, with the special offer of sandwiches and a small helping of chips. YW – “do you have gluten free bread?” Yes they do. The sandwiches were ham and wholegrain mustard or cheese and apple chutney. She wanted ham and apple chutney. The waiter apologised, that wasn’t possible (I’d have let her have them, personally) and, after some more faffing, she decided to have the sandwiches and chips, no soup.
You may think I’m being long-winded. Honestly, no comparison to the real thing. Wink and I listened, amused. OW, who was sweet, made rather a point of saying how gorgeous the soup was, once it arrived. When the bill arrived, YW wanted it to be split and the waiter left them for a minute to fetch our bill. As we were leaving, YW was saying, in a complaining tone, “Do I have to pay half? I had less food, after all.” We felt for the older woman, who was charming throughout the whole malarky. We enjoyed our food – I had cheese soufflé and salad, Wink had a smoked salmon and crayfish open sandwich with chips and yes, I stole some of her chips.
The business back at the opticians took quite a long time, because Wink’s exacting frames weren’t suitable for many sunglasses. In the end, she is having a child’s pair of ordinary glasses with photo chromatic lenses. The staff were absolutely lovely and went to so much trouble. On the way home, I was peaceably driving along Bracondale – if you turn left at the lights, you go down Carrow Road towards the football ground, the railway station and the ring road going east. We were going straight on. As I got to the lights, an idiot swung from the left lane in front of me, signalling as he moved and I had to brake. When we got to the roundabout, he went into the right lane, which only goes to County Hall. “Bet he cuts in,” I said and so he did.
Ten minutes later, we caught up with him again, just as he was about to overtake two vehicles as we all approached a blind bend. One of the vehicles was an ambulance. We all drove together towards Yagnub and he’d saved all of ten seconds in 16 miles and really been quite a poor driver.
But there, all the lights were green and we had a good day. I’m tired now. I was all bright and lively all evening on Sunday, but sitting here alone is making me sleepy.