Today turned out to be quite a busy day. It started off with a quick burst on the website of our GP practice to request a telephone consultation which now requires the completion of a form as soon as the system ‘opens’ 30 minutes before the time when telephone queries are accepted. This all worked out well and after giving lots of details, the system appeared to work because the GP most cognizant of Meg’s profile phoned me back just after 9.00pm when I had returned from the shopping. This proved to be a little more problematic than usual because although I had my weekly shopping bags by the front door, I forgot to load them into the car. But when I went the supermarket, I raided the containers of empty boxes and made do with these rather than my shopping bags. Actually, I found that my purchases of milk fitted very snugly into one of these boxes so I shall retain it to make life easier in the future as it releases space in the bags themselves. I picked up the newspapers in plenty of time, got the shopping unpacked, the breakfast all cooked and washed up and then Meg got ready so that we could leave the house just after 11.00 which was our intention. We had decided to pay a visit to our favourite little market town of Alcester some 15 miles or so distant – all seemed to go well until the preferred route was blocked off so we had to be diverted but this did not prove to be too problematic under the circumstances. So we arrived in Alcester to weather that was gloomy but not actually raining and made for our favourite coffee shop. This just happens to be across the road from our favourite little hardware store – called I believe ‘This and That’ This is one of those precious little stores which seem to stock a myriad of things that you have not seen for years and evoked feelings of ‘That would be useful’. We finished up buying £20.00 worth of all kinds of bits and pieces, nearly all of which we actually needed and could very shortly find a use for. I was even tempted to buy a little block of beeswax for which I have no immediate use (apart from furniture?) but the next time I have a ‘screwing’ job, I will certainly aid its ingress with a little bit of beeswax – an old joiners trick. Then we visited a really old fashioned little carpet shop for whom the person in charge looked as though as he was least 85 years of age. In response to our queries about a little piece of carpeting, he shuffled off into the back to emerge quite a long time later with an old sample book from which we extracted one of the samples that I quite liked and which I purchased for the princely sum of £1.00
Then Meg and I got to the hotel on the High Street where we had pre-booked our pensioner’s meal for £8.50. They had a range of about half a dozen ciders so Meg had one of these and I was tempted by half a pint of John Smiths, although there were some local ales as well. We had a mixed economy of meals between us so that we could eat-and-share between the two of us and ensuring that Meg was not overwhelmed by too generous a portion. This meal strategy worked out fine as well – Meg’s should have been scampi and chips but we substituted salad for the chips which is always a good idea. After lunch, it was time to hit the charity shops with a vengeance. In the end we bought Meg four tops all of which we think will suit her down to the ground. We were amazed when we came to pay for them that as the shop in question was having a ‘sale’ the tops were priced at £1 each whatever the original price. I bought a rather smart looking and heavy jerkin which will serve me well in the cold weather but it feels a bit hot in today’s more humid conditions. As is often the case in charity shops, there is a shelf full of CDs selling for 50p each. In the last shop we visited, I scanned the CDs on the shelf and just bought one which was ‘Great Operatic Love Duets’ and I am playing it as I blog. However, I have to say that the recordings are generally the most execrable I have ever heard. One has in mind a soprano of an uncertain age with a red gash of lipstick and wrinkly stockings falling about her ankles whilst the tenor probably has a cumberband that has to be worn below the prominent tummy he now possesses. In fact, listeners to the 1960’s Radio 4 program ‘Round the Horne’ will remember the dialogues between two aging actors (‘Pinky Huckerback‘ and ‘Dame Cecilia Mole-Strangler‘ as I remember) and this recording of worthy of them at their worst. In fact, the 50p I spent is ridiculously good value when I consider the laughs we are getting from such a performance- the Radio Bratislava Symphony Orchestra under the direction of AT&T should have alerted us to the fact that we were not going to get the Vienna Philharmonic. The program notes even go as far as to claim that this compilation is ‘just in time for that intimate Valentines Day occasion’ If I were approached with a proposition from any of the recorded artists, I think I would run a mile in the opposite direction.