Norwich was quiet again today – that is, there were people about, but it was hardly a pre-Christmas frenzy. I had to go to pick up some papers, so I also went into John Lewis, which has the worst-designed multi-story carpark I’ve ever come across. It was still an independent family-owned shop when it was built – many’s the time I’ve been stuck for up to half an hour trying to get out of the place, and the parking bays are absurdly narrow. The mother and baby spaces are on the top floor where the lifts don’t reach, so you have to take a pushchair down the car ramp.
As I drove in, my phone rang and then subsided. I checked it after I parked, and Al had tried to ring from the shop. The battery completely gave up, so I trotted down the hill to the phone box. Did you realise it now costs 40p to make a phone call? Blimey. The Sage and Al, it turned out, were concerned that I might not be back in time to see the fishmonger, and were offering to go to buy my salmon for me. I gesticulated to show the size I wanted and then had to estimate how far apart my hands were.
Not cooking Christmas dinner for the first time in 15ish years has left me with little to do. I’ve decided on salmon for Boxing day, when there will be 6 of us, and a ham for the next day, when there will be 10. I tried quite hard to order half a ham, because, with two small children, that would do, but I couldn’t. Nor could I order a boned one. It has to be full size, on the bone, boiled then glazed and baked or it just won’t do.
I was the only person in the Co-op with my own shopping bags, everyone else was filling their trollies with ‘degradable’ (don’t think these are eco-friendly, they are worse than ordinary plastic bags) plastic bags. I had accepted a bag from Boots for a too-large (for my bag) item – I noticed that it was poked through from the corner of the box by the time I got back to the car, so that’s one that won’t be reused. I drove home, played with the children and then cycled in again. That was not in the least for ‘green’ reasons, but simply for the exercise. It was bloody cold. I was wearing a shirt, a cardigan and a quilted coat and I could still feel the wind against my skin.
Al was making fruit baskets, so was glad when I offered to stand in for a bit to fend off importunate customers. One asked if he’d be open on Sunday. Well, he’ll be working in the shop all day Sunday, but he won’t be open. I cycled home about 4 o’clock. It’s now 7.30 and I’m still cold. I have fish and potatoes baking in the oven, and sprouting broccoli and carrots waiting to be cooked. I am still on my first glass of wine. I will make my husband and son entertain me with idle, possibly scurrilous, banter. I intend to giggle tonight.