A Shopping Trip


I am still enjoying the freedom of life now that the severity of Covid seems to be dwindling. Even normal things feel like a novelty.

We both had an empty day, so I persuaded Husband that we should have a day out. I suggested a garden centre near Horsham, because I was keen to try and find some white dianthus. I have searched a few places for white dianthus (a small plant with silvery leaves and small chrysanthemum-type flowers that will look very nice next to my lavender). No one seems to sell it, everyone has the pink variety, which I don’t want.

Husband agreed to the day out, but preferred a different garden centre (Coolings) because they have big fish, and he likes looking at big fish. Coolings is also sort-of on the way to Tunbridge Wells, and we needed to buy some walking clothes, so we decided to combine the two. Shopping is not really my idea of a fun day out, but hey-ho, had to be done because we’re planning a trip Up North.

The garden centre was lovely, with lots of plants arranged round statues outdoors, taped birdsong indoors, and a fish centre brimming with giant koi carp. Honestly, the fish were HUGE! We watched them for a while, creamy flesh with pink blotches, saggy mouths gaping, the occasional splash when one jumped. The fish were interesting too! They cost hundreds of pounds, and if they were in our pond would probably be a tasty snack for the birds (upper-class dining for herons) so watching them was as far as it got.

We then drove to Tunbridge Wells, and had a sandwich in Costa for lunch. Such a novelty! I have been very careful during the pandemic to not catch anything that I might pass on to my mother, so coffee shops are now quite a treat. Doesn’t it feel nice to inch our way into normal again?

We found two outdoorsy-clothes shops and ventured inside. Both had a mix of branded clothes and cheaper own-label clothes. They all looked the same to me, but I had been told which ones would be waterproof, and which ones would ‘breathe’ so I knew they were different. The prices were very different. Very hard to pay lots of money for something that’s going to be mostly covered in mud or rolled up in a back-pack. But I am assuming that a walking holiday in the UK will involve at least some rain, so we need to be prepared.

Tried on some waterproof trousers. Felt like a plastic sausage. Shuffled noisily round the shop to show Husband, who raised his eye-brows but didn’t comment. Added a coat, didn’t look any better, but felt very hot. Had trouble with fancy multi-way zipper, and wondered if I would have to ask to wear the coat home. Worried about breaking it, eventually escaped. Husband had found some half-price men’s coats. He suggested that I could buy an extra small one for myself. I have lots of men’s clothes, fancied wearing something with a waist. We discussed the sense of this when I looked like a plastic sausage anyway. The sales assistant edged away. I insisted that I wanted a coat designed for a female and Husband relented, muttering slightly about the price difference and the number of times it would be worn and the general state of my appearance anyway. I ignored him.

I was wearing my nearly-new walking boots (important to wear them in) so we clomped to the next shop and saw all the same stuff at roughly the same prices. I managed to find a coat with a zipper I could operate. It’s slightly longer than most other coats being sold, which seem to barely be waist-length. I was keen to cover as much of the plastic-sausage legs as possible, and a longer coat means there will be fewer times I will need to wear them.

I suggested that we could browse a few other shops, seeing as were there, and Tunbridge Wells is a pretty town with some nice shops. Received a short answer. We came home. A success all round, as I had three small dianthus plants, and we both had waterproof coats and trousers. I will almost feel disappointed if it doesn’t rain now!

Hope you have some happy weather this week. Take care.
Thanks for reading.
Love, Anne x

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