You could have knocked me down with a feather. I leave home before Waitrose opens, specifically to go to Starbucks first (which opens half an hour earlier). This works out very well. I tend to chuckle at the hordes waiting outside the automatic doors of the supermarket in all weathers as I sit inside with my latte. Today, however, there was a sign. And not of life. There were no signs of life.
The sign said ‘Due to essential maintenance, we will not be opening until 11:30 today…blah, blah’, I didn’t bother reading the rest. I stood, mouth agape. Waitrose was still closed. I needed my coffee. There was only one thing for it. I was forced to go to Costa’s. Now I don’t mind Costa’s coffee per se but I really hate the service. They never seem to get it right and generally the staff are more interested in talking to friends or just getting through the day. They have little time for smiling or making the customer feel welcome. That’s generally been my experience, anyway. They also take a very long time to actually make your coffee.
I am man enough to admit when I’m wrong. Today I was wrong. The service was excellent, the staff all smiling and cheerful, the coffee good (apart from the fact that they think it’s reasonable to put a latte in a tall glass that always totters on the stupid saucer). So I sat in Costa’s, happy and reading until it was time to hit the shops.
My lovely, loving wife has bought me a wonderful birthday present this year. I know it’s a few weeks early but I wasn’t sure whether I could just buy it or have to order it. If I had bought it online the wait is two weeks! Anyway, after buying veal and veg for my dinner tonight, I went into Waterstone’s to buy it. Given that not all my readers are from the UK I should explain that Waterstone’s is a book shop and not a gravel washing service.
I was the first through the door and was warmly welcomed by the young chap who was taking out the newspaper stand. I strode up to the desk and smiled at the three women behind the counter.
“I would like to buy an eReader, please,” I announced full of jollification.
The young lad was sent for because he had the all the techie knowledge. I was interested in the new PRS350 but was concerned it was too small (it’s smaller than a paperback) as I rather like Mirinda’s PRS505. The young chap bought out both the PRS350 and the gorgeous PRS650. I was in love. With the 650. The 350 was too small and I didn’t like it. The 650 though is a beautiful thing. All black and shiny and very, very readable. Just holding it was a joy. I knew we belonged together. I said I’d have one.
Then began the long wait. They thought they had one in stock which meant he had to go out the back and hunt through mountains of boxes (apparently there’s so many, you could build a fort and play Cowboys and Indians back there). While I waited (alone with the very old lady who was also waiting for something to come out of the back room) I chatted with the one remaining staff member.
She asked me if I was buying for a friend. I said it was my birthday present that I was buying for myself. She then asked if I was going to wrap it up as well. I laughed, a little uncertainly and said that I wasn’t going to bother. She smiled wryly and then told me the story of a Christmas Past.
Her ex-boyfriend (she stressed the ‘ex’) had taken her Christmas shopping and told her to pick whatever she wanted, which she did. After he’d paid he handed it to her and said if she wanted it wrapped, she’d have to do it herself. Nice! She said he was an ‘ex’ for lots of other reasons but this was pretty high on the list.
Long story short…they didn’t have a PRS650 in stock and so yet another staff member rang up a close by branch and had one rushed over (someone was coming over for another reason and would bring it with her) which I went and picked up after lunch.
And now I have it. I love it. Thank you, Matey xx
Also, as promised, here’s Molly singing The Wizard and I from Wicked. The sound is a bit iffy to start with but it gets better. I love her big finish. For the uninitiated, Elphaba (the character singing this song) is in a school uniform and is green. She is the young Wicked Witch of the West. That’s why Molly is dressed and made up the way she is. Also, according to Adele, she had very little input on this one as Molly did it nearly all herself.
And for Mirinda, a view of the blue door, which leads to the Secret Garden.