10 Jul 04 I Hate Shopping.
We are in the market for some new household appliances, since two items in our house are kaput: The Pavoni Espresso Machine, and the Washing machine.
We visit John Lewes. We split up; Mrs. Monk attempts to return the Pavoni, and I take on the Washing Machine.
I pick out the cheapest machine and tell the young man that I will take that one, and ask him about delivery. They can only deliver the day, sister in law, Polly, arrives from America.
"Out of the question", I say.
I confer with Mrs. Monk by Mobile Phone. She is two floors below giving a salesman a hard time about the broken Pavoni. I take the escalator down to the ground floor and observe the haranguing of the sweaty salesman from afar. The Pavoni is out of warranty, but Mrs. Monk is not about to give up. The very same salesman offered us a sample espresso two months earlier. It was horrible coffee, too hot and bitter, and we hurt his feelings with our honesty. I observe Mrs. Monk berating the same man with some pleasure but I kept my distance. She didn't get a new machine, but they did relent and agree to repair the old one, after Mrs. Monk asked for the Manager, ( on-looking shoppers spurned her on )
Mrs. Monk joined me in due course and we resumed with the washing machine. To my dismay, Mrs. Monk asks a different saleslady for the same appliance and gets at first more or less the same answer, but then presses her determinedly this time laced with some measure of charm, and yes, gets the delivery brought forward to this week.
I hate shopping.
11 Jul. 04
Found ourselves in Ikea at lunchtime.
Surveyed the crush in the dining room. Wanted to turn away but Mrs. Monk marched right in ignoring the crush as if didn't exist.
Essex people take some pride in ignoring the notice on each table asking them to place their trays on the trolleys provided. Thus we observe an ocean of cluttered tables as we stand there with our trays of food and no where to eat. In due course we share a four-top table with another couple, who didn't seem to mind. When our companions finished their meals they got up and left their remains for us to look at. Mrs. Monk, who knows me well, glared at me thinking I might embarrass her by lecturing strangers about table manners. I kept stum, but continued to grumble as I continued to eat my meat balls.
Then another lady came by and added a further tray of debris to what was already there.
"Excuse me", I said, "Can you find somewhere else to put that." The woman huffed and puffed and took her tray off somewhere else.
Mrs. Monk glared at me and then berated me with "Grumpy Old Man" and suchlike.
I got up and walked out on her: ...took at look at the kitchens.
In due course we made our way to Borders where there is a Starbucks. Struck it lucky ….. got two easy chairs.
Mrs. monk eyed up an old man reading a book about Queen, not the monarch.
With a raised voice Mrs. Monk affected an interest in The Cure.
"Did you know The Cure are making a come back", she said for the benefit of the Queen man
"What is your favourite Cure album?" I asked.