I went over to Norwich this afternoon, to buy a new vacuum cleaner for the church. I’d decided, after talking to Jeni, the cleaner, to buy a Dyson and checked the website…then a few other websites. I plumped for John Lewis, which was far less expensive than buying it direct, but it wouldn’t be delivered until next week so, having rung to be sure it was in stock, I went to fetch it. It was actually £20 cheaper in store than online.
The assistant, who looked like a very young version of Martin Freeman, carried it out to the car for me. Oh, the joys of middle age. Time was, I’d have been sent to the pick-up point and expected to carry it myself.
I had to get some keys cut so whizzed down the hill (Norwich is awfully hilly, for Norfolk) to the market stall. On the way, I was alarmed to hear a frightful noise. As I rounded the corner by Debenhams, my expectations were surpassed. Not only was a bloke playing ‘Amazing Grace’ on the bagpipes, he was in full kiltish fig. My teeth were hurting. I scuttled along on the other side of the road, and was nearly beset by a couple of chuggers. I avoided them adroitly, unlike one polite young man who was stopped and shown papers and a badge, and I saw him shaking his head ineffectually.
Having got the keys, I crossed the road to the stationers. The bagpipes still keened plaintively. I bought box files for the Sage and came out again, to blessed silence. I realised what had happened. Someone had given him money to pack up and play in the next street.