“I thought we could go to Asda,” my mum says. ”Dad will have Celeste for a while.”
“Great,” I agree. My car is still off the road, which hasn’t been much of a problem at all really as most things are within easy reach of here but I do take Mum up on these offers every couple of weeks so that I can stock up on food and thus avoid the shops for most of the rest of the fortnight. Not much of a shopper, you see – I prefer spending my time up the woods or cosy at home. “See you at 2:30.”
As soon as we get a foot in my parents’ house, My Girl whips off her jacket, eager to tell Grandad her news.
“Dandad,” she looks at him with adoring yet conspiratorial eyes. “I got a bike!”
“A bike? What colour is it?”
“PINK!” She is all squeals of delight and he is all ‘wows.’
We leave them to their Worship Fest and head to the shops. Here I must warn you – there is a rant coming! A rant of supermarket proportions!!
Initially, the trip goes well enough – we pop into Lidl for all those goodies that they do so well and so cheaply and then we go to Next to spend an almost forgotten birthday gift card of Celeste’s (I buy her a bright red waterproof for the woods: perfect!) and then we battle to get into the Car Park at Asda. The road is extremely busy but there are loads of spaces.
Shopping done – easy job, it’s pretty quiet in here.
It takes us 20 – TWENTY – minutes to get out the car out of the bay. WHY? Well, Waitrose has just opened next door. I love Waitrose; I used to shop in there in another life, in another town … BUT neither Asda or Waitrose has considered the logistics of having two superstores bang next to each other – there is no extra lane for the traffic and no additional exit (they could do with 2 more exits at the very least – one for each supermarket!). It's pandemonium.
The Parking Patrol Staff are, it seems, mostly responsible for the chaos – they let one car out of our bay in 10 minutes!! Left to their own devices, I’m sure drivers would sort it out much better for themselves – most of us have road respect. The sun’s out and there’s limited air. But there is food!! I open a massive bag of Tortilla Chips and eat them until my mouth is so dry that I can chew no more (opening the wine does cross my mind!).
Not moving! Not moving!
The couple in front of us pull into a space, usher out their two young daughters, grab their carrier bags from the boot and inform us that they’re walking home and will come back and get the car tonight, when the rush has died down. How nuts is that?!
We eventually exit the car park and crawl onto the road of the retail park, when we still have to fight our way out on the main road, which is Traffic Light City, incurring more delays!
But actually, rather than be annoyed at the lack of planning and our collective need to feed ourselves continually, my main thought is “Look at all these cars! THIS HAS TO STOP!”
Maybe I won’t bother with the expense of getting my battered old Fiesta through its MOT, taxing it and insuring it – I could just walk into town twice a week and buy my produce there? After all, this town won’t miss another car!