Today was one of those days when we knew that we were going to have quite a busy morning (for us) and so it proved. We are usually a little later than normal because Wednesday morning is our ‘update’ morning for the Waitrose shopping order which we have delivered tomorrow. This having been done and being a bit later than usual, we cut off into the park and had our elevenses (as it was more like a midday snack being an hour later than normal) Then we popped by our newspaper shop to pick up our regular supply of newspapers. We ventured after this onto the High Street in Bromsgrove in order to access an ATM – with these strange lockdown days, we tend to get a block of money to last us for several weeks as everything else tends to get paid by card over the internet. Having got our money out of an indoors ATM, we wandered down to Waitrose but, on an impulse, ventured into one of the local charity shops which are now re-opening. The one we entered was the British Heart Foundation shop and we had a quick look around to see if there was any item that might take our fancy. Just as we leaving, we caught sight of a small display with about 3-4 lady's handbags on it and one we immediately thought would be just the job for Meg – so we bought it. Now that we have it home and I have subjected it to the most minute examination, I am pretty convinced that it is unused and although the label inside says ‘Made in China’ one cannot really tell whether it is actual leather or a leather substitute which is so good you cannot tell the difference. But I did notice at least a couple of men’s barber’s shops where I could have wandered in and had a haircut (which I sorely need) on the spot i.e. without their being a queue or an appointment system. Our own hairdresser is coming to us next Tuesday morning so having waited this long, we can sure hang on for six more days. Being on the high street, we also took the opportunity to dive into a local shop to buy some toiletries which we like and typically in stock. We then visited our local Waitrose which serves as a drop-off point for any clothes purchases that we make online with John Lewis. We were pleased to pick this up today as the item of clothing was ordered a few days ago and John Lewis had despatched it to the wrong Waitrose store. We got an apologetic email from them (after being invited to call them) but as things were only delayed by a day or so, we did not honestly mind.
On our way home and halfway between Waitrose and Bromsgrove School, we were delighted to meet up again with an acquaintance of ours who we used to meet some 2-3 times a week in the Waitrose coffee bar when it was open. Our friend is a local teacher of ‘A’-level politics and had also attended university in Leicester so we always had quite a lot in common. At least a year ago, I had rounded up some of the politics textbooks I was never going to need again and made her a present of them – if they were not useful to her then they could always be donated to the school library or even used as little gifts for some of her students. Our friend told us that the coffee bar in Waitrose may well be scheduled for re-opening on July 21st so we may have to wait for several more weeks before the old gang can reestablish itself. I asked one of the staff inside Waitrose whether each visitor on reopening day would be given a bottle of Champagne as a mark of loyalty – she thought not but hope springs eternal! Anyway, I have quite missed our friend (not seen for over a year) and her little child who is now rapidly growing up and was at nursery school so having waited for a year, we just need to show a little more patience so that we can eventually have friends re-united. By the time we had made these various shopping excursions it was fairly late when we got home so lunch was quite delayed, even by our standards.
In the late afternoon, we FaceTimed some of our ex-Waitrose friends whom we normally contact once a week but we had to delay our normal call a week ago because of some technical problems. Anyway, it was great to catch up on each other’s news and, of course, as the weather has been fine we have all taken the opportunities to make little excursions. Our friends were delighted to make the acquaintance again of their latest grandchild who they have hardly seen in the last five months. Naturally this caused a great deal of pleasure but it does raise the interesting question – for many people – whether young children may find it a little difficult to recreate the social relationships (e.g. with grandparents) which the lockdowns have denied them over the months.