The English just love their garden centres. This is never more apparent than when the garden centres are all closed on a Sunday and then re-open on the bank holiday Monday. Like today. It’s like when your drug pusher goes on holiday and then returns to find a very long queue waiting for him.
And it didn’t stop raining all day so it’s not like anyone can actually do anything in their gardens. The weather, however, will never part an English person from their gardening centre fix.
Mirinda gave me the choice of which garden centre we’d visit – like I have a preference – so I opted for Forest Lodge. I’m sure the only reason why I prefer Forest Lodge is because the car park is on the flat so there’s no need to push the recalcitrant trolley up to Sidney when it comes time to leave.
Naturally, the trolley is always full, heavy and the wheels refuse to work properly. It’s bad enough on the flat but just gets silly on hills.
Sidney, however, had other ideas and decided to go to the one with the steepest car park which was very, very full. Even the overflow car park was overflowing.
We parked on top of the steepest part of the garden centre and rolled down to the entrance, along with the thousands of other eager shoppers, dodging the rain drops and trying to ignore the wind.
People with families generally go to theme parks on bank holidays (Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, that sort of thing) but people with gardens decided Bagshot Lea garden centre was far more exciting. I’m not sure why.
As I watch the hordes, my first thought is (always) that maybe all the men are (also) dragged along by their wives but, no, in many cases it seems that this is a couples activity. I find any kind of shopping pretty much a duck in and out and get back to the security of the open air but these people make a day of it. There were even people enjoying a hot meal in the restaurant.
Anyway, we wandered around, choosing what we (Mirinda) wanted before I was despatched to find a trolley which was then loaded up with all manner of things. After a coffee, we then headed for the check out. This is not as easy as it sounds.
The trolley is about a metre wide and most of the aisles, while originally wide enough, have displays encroaching into them, making it impossible for the trolley to move down them. Given the fact that the trolley has six wheels, makes it pretty difficult to reverse, turn or go forward. Mirinda went on ahead and I tried to find the least difficult route to the tills.
My desperation grew as I became blocked in aisle after aisle. Clearly the Bagshot Lea garden centre doesn’t want its customers to leave, I thought, not unreasonably. Still, eventually I made it, bits and pieces of display, hoses, tools and small children left in my wake.
Back at home, I unloaded Sidney and then forgot about it all. Far too traumatic. The rest of the day was spent inside as the rain refused to go away.
Mind you, things could have been worse…the Cansfields spent most of the day in the rain, entertaining 25 German visitors!