One of the joys of having a senior citizen pass on my particular route is that on reaching the city centre and finding it mobbed, I can stay on the bus and continue free of charge to the dizzy heights of Odd Down. and its gleaming new out of town supermarket.
I did this on Christmas Eve when the pavements of our fair city were overflowing, queues to get into and even out of the shops were endless and seasonal madness reigned.
Up on the hill, as I strolled along the almost deserted extra-wide aisles to the sound of relaxing easy listening musak, a middle-aged lady must have spotted my air of reverie. ‘You getter a different class of people here’ she said to nobody in particular, sailing by.
Indeed, this was proven in the dairy section, where, torn between selecting I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter and my usual Butterlicious I heard a man arguing with his wife. ‘I am not buying ANYTHING called Utterly Butterly!’ he hissed.
Round the corner a young chap in a trendy wide-brimmed hat was talking to himself. ‘Coriander: check! Buffalo Mozzarella: check! Ciabatta: check!’ He certainly had all the essentials in his trolley.
By the cereals, a young couple struggled with huge amounts of shopping and a baby yelling blue murder. An earnest looking lad who had obviously watched too much QI was explaining that apparently when a baby screams it locks off certain bones in its ears thereby making the screams inaudible to itself and therefore it can keep it up forever and ignore any attempts to placate it. The mother looked as if she was secretly vowing to never take her younger brother shopping again.
Anyway, I got everything I wanted for my Christmas larder and was back home in no time. How different to last year when I did brave the seething city centre. In the maelstrom of last minute panic buying, it was every man for himself. And every woman. When I remonstrated with a particularly aggressive harridan for barging me with her trolley she replied ‘People complain about young people, but some of you old ones are just as bad!’
I won’t tell you what I said back, but it wasn’t ‘Merry Christmas’.