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Thursday, 24 April 2008

Trolley Dolly

It always seems to happen like this.
One moment I am sashaying round the supermarket fairly vacantly. If push came to shove, and an impertinent soul were to ask, then I would admit to being perfectly proud of the trolley.
For glance at it – a-bulge with organic produce showing the world that I am, contrary to rumblings in the chorus, not a bad sort of person. Spilling over indeed it is with impressive fare: bunched carrots, and peppers, fairtrade bananas, 2-4-1 raspberries, half price strawberries … (ok, the halo’s slipping, the parsimony starting to show, but the principle is still good: it’s fruit, it’s veg and we are Getting Away With It, even though, yeah yeah, I should have gone to the greengrocer with my hempen trug. Begone.).
Let it be said, through gritted teeth, that at this stage the trolley is most certainly 100% impressive, and yet not any soul to admire it.

So that is One Moment, and the next?
Ah, the next is my undoing, being me coming upon the Bargain: Reduced section, turning self almost upside down in a greedy rummage, elbowing pensioners out of the way in pursuit of a cheap pie, snorting like a piggy at the trough, tearing desperately at cut price Cornish pasties, possibly made in Slovakia, possibly involving knees and beaks; unwanted cheap cheeses; and a random pud.

And it is shortly after that love-in fest with bargains (from which I emerge triumphantly grateful and pink in the face), and a random Supermarket Sweep grab at the wine shelves, that I bump into a mother from school, The Healthiest Nurse in the World.
She is also the only person I have ever met who can segue any conversation – whether ostensibly regarding boilers, the weather or a parking slot – into sex, in fewer than 3 moves. But that is incidental to this blog and perhaps I need to meet more people.

(you encountered her here first: //http://milla-countrylite.blogspot.com/2008/03/huffing-and-puffing.html, read down to Andy, penultimate para, see! Earthquake to sex without blinking an eye).

(I neglected to report a time I played tennis with her. One sniff of a hangover on the part of your scribe, and she was into resuscitation mode. “Oh Milla,” she said, in very caring tones, “you can’t exercise” (don’t guffaw reader) “and recover.”
“Recover,” the cow actually said “recover.”
Then she said, “That’s how heart attacks happen,” or something unnecessary and medical like that. Heart attacks indeed. Well Really! How slippery and alcoholic and near death on a daily basis does she have me?
Pause for anxious thought.
Does she really believe all that insensitive guff about a mere 14 units a night? I mean week. How, as F9 says so very frequently, how offensive.)

Anyway, she came upon me when her trolley was spanking fresh out of the vegetable aisle and therefore still impressive, while mine had tussled with bargains and booze and lost.
I spotted her but was too slow to slide, a la teeny tiny binkin over porcine bum, one small packet of organic oats across a massive family pack of crisps, nor did I have time to conceal a virtual shelf full of yellow stickered Green and Black chocolate bars with the few small packets of sesame seeds I must have snatched up by mistake. There’s only so much a girl can do.

The conversation was awkward: I felt exposed, vulnerable, and found wanting. I realise that I am a horrible control freak and do not like being exposed or found wanting.
Mrs HNW was chortling about her holiday. Just back from Florida, the stocks in their freezer had melted, thanks to a power cut.
“Oooh, I see you’ve found plenty of goodies for your” (inference: sub-standard) “freezer,” she said in the congratulatory terms one might use when a toddler managers a turd near the pot.
“Mmmm,” I said, defensive of my piggy-grub.

Later, much later, too too late, when I had done penance with some aduki beans and – get this, black turtle beans – I saw HNW in the distance hovering by the DVDs and, en speedy route to encounter her casually with a happenstance transformed trolley, I suffered the gross misfortune of banging into Whispering Mother instead. She who is in permanent search of prey having someone’s private details to divulge, a secret tumbling from her lips at any given moment even, I imagine, when asleep.
Being merely a vector for her conspiratorial germs, I could have been anyone, anyone whose initial secret it wasn't, that is. But it held me up and meanwhile HNW, from whom I was still fretfully hell bent on retrieving nutritional brownie points, was on her way out of the store and I was stuck nodding at something idiotic and judgemental regarding party invitations.

The need casually to smuggle “as I was reaching for the aduki beans” to indicate my on-going au faitness with fibrous goods, into any conversation which might lurk in the future with HNW was bothering me. I’m yet to suss how she masters it with sex. Shamelessly, it goes without saying.

My chance came later. And inevitably it was due to go tits up.
I was rolling out some pastry, using a wine bottle so to do, for we still haven’t unearthed the rolling pin since moving here 2 years ago.
The doorbell went and in a frenzy of flour I went to the door, wine bottle in hand. Well, it might have rolled on the floor. Reluctant to leave the dog in charge of the chocolate was still on the side, I shoved them from the edge, 2 slid, I snatched up the errant bars. Temptation is a cruel thing and rarely resisted by Lolly.
“Ah, Milla,” said the waiting HNW, uniformed and prim, and perfect. "About this tennis ..." a leaflet was in her hand.
She looked me up and down, frowning at my mid-afternoon drink of choice, taking in my snack of choice, processing for later dissection my marriage to the bottle, that wine was my comfort rag, chocolate my prop, necessary both even to answer the front door.
I fish-opened my mouth.
A whispery little “aduki beans” was in there somewhere, chums with “black turtle beans,” but just … wouldn’t come out.


Edward said...

Terrific stuff as usual - I've got a shrewd idea who Mrs HNW is, but Whispering Mother? Best not to bruit it abroad - I'll ask again when I see you. X

LittleBrownDog said...

Oh, Milla, you sound like a girl after my own heart in the supermarket - starting off, all good intentions over in the fruit and veg aisles, then being lured by way of the flashing bogoff signs to the 'reduced' shelves, a trail of hapless elbowed-out-the-way pensioners in my wake...

I do, however, possess not one, but two rolling pins - a thick one for shortcrust and a thin one for biscuits - so am unlikely to be caught on the hop with a floury wine bottle and some Green & Blacks in the middle of the afternoon. Ok, perhaps I am. But would you like me to send you said spare rolling pin? (perhaps you could beat HNW over the head with it when she appears at the door, thus dispatching any possible witness to your shopping shame?)


Elizabethd said...

Oh you do make me laugh! Aduki beans even...maybe you could tell Mrs HNW that you are doing market research for a very important magazine!?

DevonLife said...

Aduki beans yuk. Tried to match your healthiness and served them up to Easter squatters, i mean guests recently. "A little bland" said guest (un)politely.

Dusty Spider said...

That was a very funny post. Thank you! Flick x

elizabethm said...

Oh I have been there, you must have been watching.Fortunately or possibly not, husband is even keener on odd bargains than I am and will return with vats of gherkins, or , more promisingly, three for two wine offers.
I have a friend whose shopping and house is so perfect I have had to move a hundred miles away, then I can love her as I should.

Kathleen said...

I was recently seen sharing A SINGLE BEER with three other people and immediately judged to be hung-over the next day, which just happened to coincide with a bund of food poisoning. How insulting is that? I wish I could have had your wine bottle rolling pin to thump the offender over the head. Call me the next time HNW shows up at the door. We'll drag her in for a round of wine, bad beer and stuff her mouth full of chocolate faster than she can turn it into SEX.

softinthehead said...

LOL - aduki beans?? they sound disgustingly healthy - no thanks :)

Potty Mummy said...

I suggest you just throw the phrase 'organic vegetable box' into your next conversation with her Milla. That way you can trump her supermarket shopping as mass consumer, non-fairtrade, and over-priced without even needing to point any of this out. And the vegetables in your trolley? Oh, just topping up, darling. We get through so many veggies in our house - can't think why, but the kids love them! (And she'll never need to know the frozen pea truth...)

lampworkbeader said...

Milla, I am just so impressed you've only lived there 2 years and you actually meet someone you know in a supermarket, and to bump into two people, that's just showing off.
Six years in this village and I still don't know anyone. Billy no mates that's me.

Frances said...

Oh Milla, I do wish that you could come to my market ... almost any time is rush hour, and to use a trolly is to court disaster.

Much safer to use the little plastic basket with the two metal hangers that go over your wrist, arm, or shift between both.

The market is a complete zoo, where manners are nice and appreciated, but not really expected. There are never any sales, but in general the popularity of the place makes its prices pretty good for New York and all of its produce very fresh.

There is even an upstairs where dwelleth the organic stuff. I cannot climb the stairs or take the every-so-often elevator unless I am forces to shop organic for some shop function.

Elbows are at the aggressive angle at this market, especially amongst the old ladies. (I watch them, knowing that I must train to become one of their bunch.)

I have been shopping at this place for so long that I know most of the staff and shop managers, and have actually learned quite a lot from them, that has helped me at my shop.

The check out lines are another experience. If you have a trolley, you are required to go to one of about twelve potential lines to a bright cashier, but if you have one of those plastic baskets with the wire handles, you can just zoooom through the express lane (twelve items max) and be out the door in no time.

Just across the street is the Beacon Theater, site of many entertainments including the filming, a year or so ago, of the Scorcese film of the Rolling Stones. While that was all going on (even with some of those camera seeking Clintons inside) the rest of us were just inside the market looking for broccoli, shallots, butter, eggs, fresh pasta, turmeric, chicken, fresh fish, whatever we need to feed on.

See what you got me to write, dear Milla?


nuttycow said...

Great post Milla! I have no such guilty feelings about the shite that I put in my basket. I'm young, I'm poor, baked beans it is.

nuttycow said...

Stupid damn blogger deleted my post. Grr. Etc.

What was I saying. Oh yes, great post. And... oh... I have no qualms about what I put into my trolley. Laugh at my obsession with pitta bread. Point and gasp in amazement at the bottle of wine.

Sod it. I'm young and poor. I have to have my little treats occasionally.

the mother of this lot said...

I have been known to lay a child across my trolley to disguise its contents.

Expatmum said...

So here's what you do next time you're caught with the bargain basement in your trolley - shove the trolley away at great speed and pretend someone piece of white trash (for that is what they surely must be) has just left it there. If you're in a "bad" aisle, just pretend you're looking for child/edward or someone else who has wandered off with your trolley stashed full of organic, over-priced rubbish.
How do I know this? Erm, well..., Oh, bedtime!

ChrisH said...

Love your 'knees and beaks' we call them 'eyeballs and bogeys' here - the stuff of suspect sausages.

KittyB said...

Black turtle beans? Sound vile and ghastly. Is 14 units acceptable then? I had to answer a nurse's questionnaire recently and guessed at 15 being reasonably ok, while having no idea of the reality of my guzzling. Oh deary me.
I keep buying custard doughnuts. They are almost 100% fake dairy gloop and cholesterol-saturated wheaty/yeasty poison, but I do love them for breakfast.

Sass E-mum said...

I've not had this problem yet. But I've already decided that when I need to, I'm going to claim to be shopping for my elderly mother-in-law. That should fix 'em.

Frog in the Field said...

Poor Milla,
My MIL once unloaded my entire trolley onto the conveyor in the supermarket and commented on every item, saying loudly "well I've got that, you could have had mine if you'd asked" and "what did you buy that for, you know I have some" (we don't live in the same house)It made me wish I'd bought tons of condoms.....

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Eeeeek Milla life is so damn cruel isn't it. I got tutted at in a supermarket once because I opened a packet of biscuits and bribed the kids into contented co-operation - they were happy I was happy . . it was QUIET . . . TUTTTTTTTT . . .sigh . . .

CAMILLA said...

Milla honey, such a wonderful humerous post, and congratulations on your awards.

Loathe supermarkets, usually wheels on trolley want to go completely the opposite way to the way you want to go. Can never forget the time I went to Supermarket with Son, he did'nt need a loud speaker.... "mumsy, what colour toilet rolls do you want".! Camilla quickly hiding underneath counter and trying to look invisible.


Maggie May said...

A very funny post & to Hell with aduki beans!

Fennie said...

Mst excellent, dear Milla. You never fail. You conjure a wonderful, sharply observed, picture of our fretful life. Does anyone care if you open the door with floury wine bottle in hand. Here we us vodka to clean the print head on the printing machine. Most people will accept purposes as medicinal, but engineering? Let the sneerers sneer. I think you pay them back in spades.
Did you know you can feed a family of four for a year on an acre of land if you grow (aduki?) beans?

Pig in the Kitchen said...

what about...'I discovered a marvellous side effect of my aduki bean and hemp stew the other night! we were at it for hours - and I mean HOURS - someone should do some research on the viagra properties of Aduki beans!'

there. That should do it!

Exmoorjane said...

All too horribly familiar!

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

what a hoot, Milla, and caught red-handed of course. I love the idea of using a wine bottle as a rolling pin. Perfect Post. Made me laugh out loud. M :-)