The Wailing Mall

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.

17 comments on “The Wailing Mall

  1. Dave

    Bagpipes are OK outside – fer leading an army into battle say. They are a bit loud when people want them in church, at a wedding or funeral (both of which I’ve had to deal with).

  2. martina

    Permanently imbedded in my memory-dear friend’s funeral. His final request was for Danny Boy to be played on bagpipes. The minister took a couple of focused bagpipe lessons when he learned of this wish. Bless his heart,the minister played the pipes after the service, as mourners left the church.

  3. PI

    I went off Dyson when he closed his local factory and moved abroad – the work that is – so I bought a Henry which I note lots of stores use.

  4. Z

    Martina, what a masterstroke. Truly kind, yet (as the player suffers far less than the audience) sparing of his ears.

    Pat, it was the 5 year guarantee that I wanted. And Jeni has had a Dyson for ages and likes them. We used to have a Henry in the church, but he was not man enough for the job and the Miele didn’t even last three years.

  5. Z

    Stitchwort, I only have one good memory of Highland bagpipes, and that was at an Indian wedding reception in Dehra Dun. A full pipe band (indian army I suspect), wearing kilts and all, played. It was fabulous.

  6. Z

    John, I don’t think the church can afford it! Not that the website said the price for the cleaner itself, but even the dustbags are £2.50 each.

  7. Z

    Martin, people either love or hate their Dyson. I haven’t got one myself, I’ve got a Sebo which is still going well after 10 years or so. Jeni finds a cylinder cleaner easier to use in the pews etc, and I can’t stand them, so I’m not likely to use it.

    Luckyz, it’s the same with bagpipes – love or hate them!

  8. Blue Witch

    I keep telling people – any Dyson can be repaired, forever, for £5 inclusive, even after the guarantee has run out. Apart from the fact they clean brilliantly, there just isn’t another company who offer that sort of Value after-sales service.

    I’ve saved 3 people leaving their defunct ones at the local tip recently by telling them of the £55 labour + all parts, including VAT deal. I just wish the council would post a sat the tip saying this – just think of the landfill space that would be saved!

  9. Z

    Darling BW, it was reading this on your blog that gave me the confidence to buy a Dyson. I will ensure that future PCC members know this, for I intend to stay on only one year after quitting as churchwarden (the buggers will give me a job otherwise and I will take it seriously for that is the sort of fool I am).


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