Category: Going out (page 2 of 2)

Shop Smartish

I always do the weekly food shop.

This is because, if Mrs M does it, it takes twice as long and costs twice as much.

And, I don’t mind doing it really.  It’s an hour or so, on a Saturday morning.

Mrs M used to write a list for me, but nowadays I just go up and down each aisle, and normally when I see something, I’ll know whether I need to buy it or not.

Then, with my full trolley, I’ll make my way to the tills. I have my favourite tillsters: there’s David, he’s a chatty old boy; there’s Sandra, she’s my mate’s sister and there’s Rachel, who’s a lovely girl, with a great sense of humour and a chin you could get pickles out of a jar with.

But, I no longer need to visit them. This morning, I ‘checked out’ in little more than a minute, because I had already scanned and packed everything, because our local Sainsbury’s has now introduced Smart Shopping or Scan & Go or whatever they call it.

At this stage, I’m not sure whether I like it, because I kept forgetting to scan things and then I’d struggle to get it all in the bags – definitely easier to pack at the till. It’s hard to tell in the picture above, but I had a mixture of stuff in the bags – they weren’t packed to my usual OCD standards.

We will see how it goes though.

 

Phoney

Yesterday, I twice saw mobile phones being used where they shouldn’t be.

The first was yesterday morning, when I was filling the car up with diesel. The chap at the pump in front of me was filling his white BMW X5. At the same time, he was talking on his mobile phone.

There are signs all over the forecourt saying that mobile phones should not be used. And he knew this. This wasn’t ignorance in his part, because he was doing it surreptitiously. With his back toward the attendant at the till, he was filling his car up with one hand, whilst the other held his phone hidden under his open jacket as he talked into it.

I finished what I was doing and drove off. As I passed slowly by him, I gave him a withering look. He looked up at me. “Really?” I said, shaking my head. He did nothing and just went back to his conversation.

Now, I know that operating a mobile phone in a petrol station, is unlikely to cause an explosion. In fact, I believe the main reason that phones should not be operated in that environment, is in case it is dropped and the battery becomes dislodged as it hits the ground, possibly causing a small spark. Again, it’s unlikely that anything would happen if that did occur. Unless there happened to be some spilled petrol on the floor, maybe.  So, the odds are low, but, should the right circumstances come together, the results could be quite catastrophic. Hence why you should NOT use your phone in a petrol station forecourt.

Even if you do own a BMW.

The second instance where I didn’t expect to see a mobile phone being used, was last night, when Mrs Masher and I went to the cinema in Hemel.  A homeless man was laid out in his tatty sleeping bag on the floor outside. Bits of detritus surrounded him:  pizza boxes; paper coffee cups and an upturned flat-cap with some loose change in it, all donated by kindly passers-by.

But, from the angle that Mrs M and I approached him, I could see that he was surreptitiously (again) holding a mobile phone inside his sleeping bag and was was busy texting someone.

I read somewhere that you shouldn’t give money to people sleeping rough, as they are most likely just going to just spend it all on drugs. I don’t know whether that’s true, but I didn’t give him any money as I didn’t want to contribute to his data plan.

Being a menace

I took the mutt out for her evening drag, last night.

It had just got dark. In fact, with no cloud cover and a half-moon, it was very dark indeed.

And bloody cold.

We took a common walk through the park and alongside the woods.

I carry a small laser pen with me when I walk Saber at night, as she likes to chase the bright red dot up and down the path. Easy exercising for me!

As we walked along the unlit path, heading toward the woods, I noticed three others walking along another path, that intersected with ours. They were easy to spot, as they each carried a torch and were talking loudly and excitedly.

I quickly realised that we were on a collision course and would meet at the intersection at the same time… which I didn’t want, as I’d have to put the dog back on her leash.

I could walk a bit quicker and get in front of them… but then they would be close behind us. Again, I didn’t want that as they would be a distraction and Saber and I like to walk along in peace and quiet.

And so, I decided to let them get in front so that we drop back a reasonable distance.

Saber and I came off the path and walked up to the treeline of the woods, where I stopped and waited for them to pass by. As I said, it was very dark and I was wearing dark clothing, so they wouldn’t even know I was there.

I stood and waited as they made their way up the path, swinging their torches as they went. Two small beams lower down and a very bright one higher up, had me guessing that it was an adult with two children, It wasn’t long before they were in earshot and I was proved right: a mother and her two kids, all out playing with their shiny new torches.

I stood stock-still in the shadows; my hands pulled up into my coat sleeves and my shoulders hunched against the cold. “Just bloody hurry up, willya”, I muttered.

They stopped and started swinging their torches again. The very bright one, from the adult, made its way along the treeline and dazzled me slightly as it passed. And then it swung back and centred on me.  I’d been spotted.

I stood there motionless, muttering quietly under my breath: “Oh, just fuck off will you. Go away”.  The light stayed on me for about thirty seconds, but I couldn’t quite hear what was being said as they had lowered their voices. I doubted they could see the dog, as she was a few feet behind me, sniffing in the bushes.

Eventually the light swung away and they moved on.  I waited a minute before following, but when I got back on the path, there was no sign of them.

Saber and I continued our walk along the path and when we reached the end, where it joined the road, I put her back on the leash.

We turned left and walked along the pavement.  A police car rounded the corner at speed and headed toward me. He slowed right down and looked at me intensely. I looked straight back at him and smiled. He sped up again and continued down the road.

Hold on! Had I just been reported to the police?

Had Bright-torch phoned them and reported a dark-clad and ominous looking figure lurking in the trees?

Possibly so.

I realised that to them, I probably looked a bit menacing, just standing there… rather like Gort from the film The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Maybe I should have got my laser pen out and really acted the part.

Mother Hubbard

I quite like shopping.

There, I’ve said it.

Out loud.

 

Of course, that’s only if certain conditions are met:

  1. I’m on my own
  2. I know what I want to get.

Which I usually do.

I always do the weekly food shopping, for instance, and I don’t even mind doing that.

It normally takes me about an hour on a Saturday morning. Unless, for some reason, Mrs M decides she wants to come along. In which case, it’s going to take twice as long.

And cost twice as much.

But, on my own, I can whizz round.  I don’t make a list, I just go up each and every aisle, remembering what I need as I go and grabbing anything that’s on special offer.

I have my regular bit of banter with Hazel and Carole on the Deli counter, and Suzanne knows exactly what to make for me when I approach the pizza section. “The usual? It’ll be ten minutes.”

And if I have time, I’ll start the whole process  with a cup of tea and a toasted teacake in the cafeteria, first.

Shopping. What’s not to like?

Tell me.

Doggy Style

Having a dog again has made a significant difference to my life.

Some good differences and some not so good.

Of course, overall, the good outweighs the bad, or we wouldn’t bother having a dog.

Just like with kids, I s’pose.

There are the negatives:

  • like having to take her out for a walk twice a day, whatever the weather
  • or not being able to go out visiting people so much, because we always “have to get back for the dog”
  • or being woken in the early hours because she’s growling at someone who had the temerity to just walk past the house
  • or every coat that I own having all the pockets permanently stuffed with poo bags

But there are also positives:

  • like taking her out for a walk twice a day –  if it wasn’t for that, I’d probably just be lounging on the sofa watching telly 
  • or not being able to visit people – sometimes that can be a blessing
  • or being woken up because she’s growling – let’s face it, twice she has been proven right
  • or every coat that I own… actually, I haven’t found a positive for that one yet.

Birthday Girl

Yesterday was the current Mrs Masher’s birthday.

I didn’t buy her a laptop in the end, because she changed her mind.

So instead, I spent ages trudging up and down the shopping mall, before eventually deciding that I probably wouldn’t go far wrong with a substantial gift card from Debenhams.

Well, it’s the thought that counts.

And I thought “That’ll do.”

Anyway, she seemed happy enough with it.

We went to the pictures in the afternoon, to see the latest Marvel epic and then followed that up with a meal. Well,  a Nando’s.

At least, that was the plan.

It all started going wrong when Mrs M booked the tickets.  We turned up for the 3:45 showing – a little late, due to Amelia hobbling slowly all the way from where I had parked the car… more on that later – only to find that Mrs M had actually booked the 2:45 showing.  Oops. There’s 32 quid down the drain. So, we spent another 32 sovs and booked for the 4:45 showing and had a coffee whilst we waited.

The film – The Black Panther – didn’t really work for me… not the best from the Marvel canon, in my opinion. And Mrs M didn’t enjoy it at all.

Afterward, I said that I would leg it back to the car and drive it down to save Amelia hobbling all the way.  I expected them to wait at the bottom of Alma Street, which which was the route we had taken when we walked from the car. When I got there, there was no sign of them.

I rang Mrs M. No answer.

I rang Amelia. No answer.

I rang Harry. No answer.

I drove round again, ringing them as I went.

No answer.

I parked the car and walked back to the cinema entrance. No sign of them. I rang again. No answer.

I walked back to the car and drove back up to where I had originally parked it, just in case. No sign of them. I rang again. No answer.

Not knowing what to do, I just kept driving around and ringing… and getting annoyed. What’s the point of them all having phones if I can’t get hold of any of them?!

Eventually, Mrs M answered.  “Where are you?” she asked, “we’ve been waiting ages”  Arrgghh!

“Never mind me, where are you?” I shouted.

Well, you can’t park at the front, so we walked round to the left, to make it easier for you”

“You went left?  Oh, OK, well I wasn’t expecting that. Just stay there, I’ll drive round” and I hung up. I was not happy. Why had she gone left when the obvious direction to take was right: back toward where the car was parked?

With the one-way system, it took me a little while to get there. There was no sign of them. I rang again.

Where are you?” asked Mrs M.

“Me? Where the bloody hell are you? I’m at Guildford Street now.”

“What are you doing there? I’m at Alma Street”

“But you said you turned left”

“Yeah, I did. I turned left and now I’m at the junction with Alma Street”

“To get to Alma Street, you’d have to turn right when you come out of the cinema!”

“Well, I turned lef… no, you’re right, I did turn right.” Aarrgh!  “You wait there, I’ll come to you”

“No you won’t! You bloody wait there!!”

I drove back round to Alma Street and saw them waiting… right where I was expecting them the first time round, twenty minutes earlier.

We drove home in silence.

When we got home, Amelia was in tears. She had stubbed her toe quite badly on her bedside cabinet on Saturday and it went a bit purple. But now it was really hurting her and it had gone black, purple and red and was quite badly swollen. Mrs M decided it would have to be a trip up the hospital. Just what you want at 8 o’clock on a Sunday night.

Four hours later, she returned home, with Amelia hobbling behind her. X-rays had confirmed a cleanly broken little toe.

Ouch.

Best Birthday ever?

Probably not.

The Dancing Queen And The Thieving Gits

Last night, we had our work’s Christmas do, in a hotel in Slough. That would account for why my head has been hurting all day.  The downside to a free bar, I s’pose.

Inexplicably, my legs are also aching. I think might have over done it on the cucarachas.

But, it was a good time and everyone seemed to enjoy it… even if much of the music was unrecognisable to an old fart like me. 

I admit to losing all faith in the DJ, when I told him toward the end of the evening, that it was about time he played Come On Eileen. “I don’t have it”, he said. 

Don’t have it?!  What sort of party DJ doesn’t have the  Midnight Runners’ greatest party hit?  A staple of every decent party playlist, surely? And my signature dance tune, to boot. They missed out on me busting some serious shapes, to that one.

Their loss.

But, there was also a walk-around magician. Everyone knows just how much I love magic and illusions, so he really made my night… although he probably thought I was a pain in the arse, following him around all night.

And there was a fight at the end of the night, which always rounds up a party nicely, I think.

I stayed over in the hotel, to save faffing about with taxis, etc, and it was great to be able to just stagger upstairs at the end of the night.

But, it nearly didn’t happen.

You see, I went up to the ATM to get some cash beforehand, but it refused to give me any. It was dishing out tenners willy-nilly to everyone else, but not to me. So, I phoned the bank. “Ahh, glad you called, we’ve been trying to contact you. We have put a temporary stop on your card due to some suspicious activity.”

“Riiight”, I said. “What kind of suspicious activity”

“Did you make a payment of five pounds to a company called TI Ltd, this morning…”

“No”, I said, stopping him in mid-flow.

He carried on though: “… followed by a payment of fifty pounds, one hundred and then two hundred pounds?”

I most definitely did not”, I stated. “I’ve never heard of TI Ltd. Who are they?”

“They are an online gambling company” he said, matter-of-factly. 

“Definitely not me. I don’t gamble. Never have.”

“This is why we have stopped your card.”

“But I need money. I’m going out tonight and need to pay for my hotel.”

“We will put a new card in the post to you.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t help me tonight.”

“Sorry. Is there anything else I can help you with?”, he asked, brightly.

Back at work, I went on the scrounge; begging people for money. Twenty quid here; a fiver there and, before long, I had eighty quid. That should be enough: it’s a free bar, so no money required there and the room is fifty quid. Sorted.

I checked in and handed five of the new fancy ten pound notes to the male receptionist. He looked disdainfully at the money resting in his hand. “It’s a hundred pounds”, he said, “Fifty pounds for a deposit”.

I explained that I didn’t have another fifty quid in cash. “You can use your card”, he said, and so I explained that it didn’t work. He shrugged his shoulders at me and handed my fifty quid back. He then watched as I spent the next twenty minutes, vainly trying to get hold of anyone on the phone who might be able to help. Eventually, he took pity on me and handed over the key to my room. “You can bring me the deposit later”, he said.
Thankfully, I promised him I would do so and then scarpered off at speed, with no intention of going back later.

I don’t know how the thieving bastards got hold of my card details, as I am always very careful with it, both online and otherwise, but it has certainly caused me quite an inconvenience.

If my new card doesn’t come through soon, Mrs M might have to pay for her own Christmas present!

Showing a girl a good time

I took a day off work on Friday, so that the current Mrs Masher and I could spend some quality time together.  Sans kids.

To be honest, I fully expected that would mean a day being dragged round the shops. But no: Mrs M had already done the bulk of her Christmas shopping and didn’t fancy another trip to Lakeside.

“You don’t want to go shopping?!” I was close to calling the doctor, but she assured me that she wasn’t ill.

It was  a still morning; bright but frosty, and so we took the dog on a lovely long walk through the woods. There wasn’t a soul around and we thoroughly enjoyed our stroll.  With just the two of us, and the light dappling through the trees as we walked, it was almost… romantic.

“Fancy going somewhere for lunch?”, I asked. She was right up for that so, come lunchtime, we took a walk up to our local. It was a bit busy in there, but we found a table and perused the menu.  Having picked out a couple of rather splendid looking burgers, I went up to the bar to order our grub.

“There’s an hour’s wait for food”, said the surly bartender. An hour?!  Sod that!

“Let’s try the Beefeater up the road”, I suggested. It was only a further ten minutes walk.
But when we got there, we were aghast at the prices.  i don’t mind paying forty quid for a proper meal for the two of us, but not for a lunchtime snack!

“There’s always The Bramingham”, I said. This truly is our local, but we don’t visit it very often. And so, we set off at a brisk pace, as lunchtime was now rapidly turning into mid-afternoon.

We arrived at The Bramingham to find it closed for refurbishment. Yet again. It’s one of those pubs that seems to change hands every few years.

There was only one thing for it. Across the road was Sainsbury’s. We both looked at it.

“Cafe?”

“Cafe!”

And so, we had omelette and chips and a lukewarm cup of tea, instead of the burger and pint that we’d both been so looking forward to.

Later that afternoon, I had to take some rubbish up to the Tidy Tip. I invited Mrs Masher along for the ride, but she declined.

I suppose a girl can only handle so much extravagance in one day.

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