What a beautiful and bright Spring morning! That is in east London; I can’t talk for the Somerset Levels and the Thames Banks. After a swim and sauna I thought I’d get myself along to a free workshop. It’s half-term week in London. When the workshop began a few weeks ago, I’d asked if there’d be a session during half-term. I was reassured in a lovely patronising even mocking voice that my question was irrelevant. Half-term would not be observed.
On the bus two women behind my seat were having a verbal. A younger woman had plonked her young lithe body next to an elderly woman and started making a fuss about the senior’s trolley. There were plenty of seats on the bus. The younger woman was moaning that she wasn’t getting her full seat because of the trolley and that the older woman is lucky that she’s not a bigger woman because a bigger woman would not put up with the offending trolley. The senior woman was having none of that and barked back in her Northamptonshire accent. She put forward the case that she sat where she sat in the designated less-able-to-stand-seat with her slim trolley because if she sat in the aisle seat the prams would not get through. “In all my life no-one has ever complained about my trolley”.
Meany young woman got off and I found out her mental punch-bag was 90 years young and had lost her son yesterday, that she had eight children, and had lived in Northampton, USA and Ireland.
We laughed and talked even though one of my bum cheeks was off the seat. No problem. The day was warm and Spring was springing.
So I reached my workshop venue. It was all locked up for half term.
I was happy it wasn’t raining, turned on my heel and went along to a Salvation Army shop nearby. It’s a mess but aren’t they all? After two minutes of my picking up odds and bobs and trying to fathom out if I had cash in my bag in came a woman and I had no reason to look at her: I just heard her voice. We hear people talking to themselves all the time when in fact they’re on their mobiles. I did look around just to check she was ignoring me (safest way) and saw she was not on a phone and was crying her eyes out. She was rambling about death, the death of someone. The staff weren’t bothered and it’s not a bad thing to let someone just cry. I carried on looking at all the items then in came another howler. This time the woman was shouting through tears and gathering interested listeners probably because she said the word “gay”. She was relating the story of the death of her son who was killed by some evil guys and then his body was chopped so that his dead gay body had woman attributes. “He was chopped up: They made him look like a woman”. Standing adjacent to her was a small child who was open-mouthed staring at the crazy woman and probably getting everything she said. She stopped and walked towards the back of the shop. I alerted the staff member at the counter, safely behind the counter, that a small boy was in ear and eye shot of the whole scene.
The woman was effing and blinding in the café down the corridor. That decided it for me that I wouldn’t eat a café pie for lunch which was on today’s yummy menu. Finally she was persuaded to leave the building but it was all done very gently.
Meanwhile in another corner an huge guy was shouting to his carer. I waited for those two to leave but not until they’d haggled over the £2 balance regarding their £40 purchase sold with a lecture about charity shops’ existences. Yawn. I know the stuff in the shop is the top end of the left-overs from the neighbouring hospice’s jumble sales. A whole armful of baby-clothes at the jumble sale will set you back 50p. In the shop one baby vest costs that. You ask any Ebayer!
Up at The Turkish shop I was drawn in by the fresh dark green spinach, found my £1, chatted to the guy at the counter and onwards I went to another charity shop to see what I could see. A Ben Sherman jumper is what I saw and it was brand new just as the dinosaur book was. Dinosaurs are the rage once again. I know; I saw it on CBeebies.

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