Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tomorrow I'll be glad, cause I've got Friday on my mind

Wordlessly, Grange Girl seized my arm and dragged me from Waitrose, scattering organic carrots and fennel in her wake. I clung to the automatic doors and then to the leg of the Big Issue seller. But Grange Girl has been regular with the pole fitness lately and is strong as a Duchy Originals ox. As she swept me up the hill, not even letting me look in the new shoe shop, I begged her to tell me where we were going. But she was too enraged to speak. Steam snorted from her nostrils.

At the War Memorial she barked, ‘What day is it, young lady?’
I always go blank under pressure. I’d be no good at those old people tests when they ask the name of the prime minister or what year it is. I’d be put on medication and only allowed milky puddings before you could say ‘Is it Ted Heath?’

I tried to sneak a look at the date on my phone but Grangey dashed it to the ground where it was trodden on by a passing Afghan hound.

‘It’s Friday!’ Grange Girl snapped.

‘Oh. Is this something to do with Crackerjack?’

‘On Friday mornings we don’t go to the supermarket, do we?’

Light dawned. Grange Girl has been banging on about the marvellousness of the Friday market since it began, possibly even before it began, but I never remember it’s on until Friday evenings.
When she saw my contrite expression Grangey softened, and handed me a Waitrose Bag For Life. ‘Less picturesque, but more capacious than a wicker basket,’ she confided.

Hitherto known to me only as the cut-through with the waving Tom Paine, the markety thing was now full of stalls and busy shoppers. I stopped to inspect some cheese but Grange Girl said firmly, ‘There is a particular order in which one does the market.’

Under her despotic guidance, I discovered the brilliant fruit stall where you can buy a mix of different apples because they all cost the same. You can taste them too, but I didn’t get the chance before I was yanked off to the excellent bread stall. There were stalls selling jam, meat, cakes and vegetables, all terrific stuff, and much more homely than the Farmer’s Market. Normally shy, unless terrorising her friends, Grange Girl was on fine bantering form, swapping century-old badinage of the ‘squeeze me and I’m yours’ variety with the merchants.

On the way out we inspected a cute map with pins showing the locality of the produce. Three pins were just outside the magic circle of however many kilometres you’re allowed to stray from Lewes before being shot. I made a mental note to buy whatever those rebellious items were next week. Long as I remembered the damn thing was on.

I waited till Grangey toiled up the road and disappeared. Then I went to Tescos. I needed cheese strings and rice crispies, and she was much less likely to find me there than in Waitrose.

Beth Miller, 2nd November 2010. Published in

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