Some strange weather was falling in Wilstone this morning. It was raining when Ellen and I set off on the five minute walk from our house to the village shop but halfway into our journey hail suddenly began to lash down on us. Ellen had my umbrella clamped on top of her head and I was left to the elements. By the time we got to the shop we were both soggy and cold and the umbrella had a layer of ice on the top of it – not an auspicious start to the day!
Our plan for today was for Ellen to complete her shelf-stacking job at the village shop and then we would catch the bus to Aylesbury. Ellen is getting more confident at the shelf-stacking now to the extent where she doesn’t just bring out the things which need re-stocking but also the items she likes the look of – whether they fit on the shelves or not! She also spends quite a lot of time stroking the ice-cream freezer and looking at me hopefully. How she could even contemplate an ice cream in today’s Arctic conditions is beyond me. I think after Christmas I will see if the good folks at the Wilstone Community Shop can devise some more duties for Ellen, so she continues to be challenged. Work done, we made our way to the bus shelter and waited for the 164 to arrive.
I had written Ellen a shopping list with the name of the shop we needed to go to in brackets. It said:
Address labels (WH Smiths)
Penne pasta (Marks & Spencer)
Cotton wool pads (Boots)
Christmas present for Daisy.
I have to admit these were all fairly random items and not easy for Ellen to find. Neither were they very exciting. The first things we did was find the present for Daisy – as she may read this blog I’d better not say any more on this subject other than the choice was entirely Ellen’s and she was very definite about it – and surprisingly there isn’t an animal print in sight.
Ellen then decided that because her jumper was wet (water must have run down her coat sleeve as she was holding the umbrella) she needed a new jumper. There’s nothing worse than wearing damp clothes when it’s freezing cold – my jeans attested to that, so I felt this wasn’t an unreasonable request and we looked in Top Shop, River Island and New Look in vain for a jumper which fitted all Ellen’s requirements. In H&M we finally found what she was looking for, a plain grey soft knit with a glittery leopard’s head on the chest – it’s bling! As soon as it was purchased, on it went.
After she had dry clothes on, we then romped through the rest of the list. As the items were not very straightforward, I took Ellen to the right aisle in the shop and then waited for her to locate them. It went quite well and I think it’s something we could do more of over the coming months.
There was the usual student freezing outside in the square handing out leaflets to passers by. I avoid taking these as a rule (never useful and end up in the bin) but as I shook my head to say ‘no thanks’ I noticed the McDonald’s logo on the top of the leaflet and had an abrupt change of mind. The young woman took full advantage of my dithering by handing over a huge wedge of vouchers. Those of you who know us will know that McDonalds is Ellen’s favourite place to eat, but unfortunately I am a vegetarian and she only eats plain hamburgers so these vouchers are actually useless after all and I now have about twenty of the things! Any suggestions?
Had to laugh when we ended up, as we inevitably do, in McDonalds an old man came up to the serving counter with three of the vouchers and handed them over expectantly to the rather young lad behind the counter. The lad took the voucher and looked at the man waiting for him to order. He said nothing. After a pause, the lad tried again. ‘What do you want?’ he asked. The man laughed and said ‘a McDonalds’. This threw the lad completely. ‘What do you want?’ he asked again. The man said ‘a McDonalds’ more clearly as if the boy was an idiot. The boy then looked around desperately for his manager, he had no idea how to handle this non-standard response. I was enjoying his discomfort rather too much I have to say. Eventually he pointed to the voucher. ‘Do you want a Big Mac?’ he asked and the old man nodded, smiling like the boy had finally understood him. ‘Yes’ he said ‘a burger, a McDonalds!’ How the man was going to eat three Big Macs was another question – but that’s what he got!