Monday, May 10, 2021


Doesn't it seem silly to be scared of going to B&Q? There used to be one just down the road but it's been demolished and turned into 'luxury flats'. Nothing downgrades the word 'luxury' more than a plethora of flats being described that way, I find.

Anyway- I discovered that the searing frosts this year have destroyed a mega plant pot in the garden, leaving the poor juniper sagging sadly out of the side of it, with pot-shaped tangles of roots clinging to a pot-shaped soil ball. I looked online as we all do these days, only to find at the checkout that everything was out of stock- the pots, the soil, just everything.

Getting into the car and driving wasn't a problem: it was the shopping. The supermarket's OK because I've done that all through lockdown, but buying anything apart from food felt really weird. The young whippersnappers in orange jerkins evidently felt so too. They didn't want to talk; they didn't want to tell anybody where anything was. They just wanted to be there, ideally checking their phones and guffawing at each other in that late teenage way. I did manage to gently force some information out of them, so now I've got a hanging basket liner. How exciting!

At the checkout, the woman was furious even before I got there. 'How am I supposed to lift that up?', she shouted at the big plant pot. I was rather taken aback. Shopping has definitely changed. I offered to pick it up so she could scan it. 'No!' she barked. 'I JUST DON'T WANT TO BREAK IT!'.

Actually I think she didn't want to lift it up, but was shamed into doing it because I offered. She carried on snarling, aiming terrifying evils at her colleague at another till. 'She shouldn't be there!' she confided, loudly. 'She's not a till worker!'.

I tried to help. 'Maybe you could join a union?', I suggested. A tumble of snarls fell out of her mouth. 'Useless! Useless! I used to be in the GMB and then I left!' 'Thank you', I said. For a second, she made eye contact and smiled. 'Have a good day', she said.

It's definitely not just me who isn't ready to come out of lockdown. The staff at B&Q aren't either.

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