I always try to get to Aldi when they open at eight  it takes three minutes to drive there so I leave at 7.50 and usually arrive to a near deserted forecourt. Not so on a Saturday. All disabled spots in the car park are filled and there is a small crowd of impatient characters waiting for the grand opening. They shuffle their feet restively –I’ve often seen people outside pubs of a Sunday in the bad old days, eager faced perusing their watches. Twitchy. I remember myself on one terrible Sunday when the clocks changed and I arrived just in time for last orders to be called, chagrin! We, naturally had a major blaming session between ourselves and successfully ruined a perfectly good day. Those were the days eh?

And to be fair the first person I saw today exiting as I entered had a large trolley full of booze but most of the crowd were food shopping. Saturday us clearly the day of choice and the crowd is various. There are tiny women with trolleys that look bigger than themselves filled with food – I always spot something I have missed and am tempted to dive back to get it – causing a rupture in the proceedings at the till. Today I had forgotten my bags which languished in the boot. I didn’t even TRY to go for them but stuffed the trolley full of my eclectic cargo. Nobody looked askance, and why would they? Though once at Waitrose when I left the shop with a trolley full, some impertinent female told me she hoped I had paid for that, I gave her a suitably dusty answer and I was delighted to see her facial rivet and change hue toward purple.New vocabulary madame?

You get a better class of person at Aldi!

I divide the people into rushers and lingerers. I am a wannabee speed freak but get absorbed in articles for the garden, things I hardly recognise. Even the kids’ stuff fascinates me & the underclothes too, socks & oddly formed shoes – for oddly shaped feet? I take time over my choice of flowers as I calculate between the longevity of Chrisanths with the undoubted joy of roses, today I lashed out a mixed bunch for four quid at least a pound more than usual – beautiful days bring out the magnanimous in me. So my progress is fairly stately.

Time to peruse my fellow shoppers. There are a few ancient chaps doddering and meandering with time to spare – that’s what they think! But mostly men bring their corporations along as they watch the missus, also large as she does her stuff. Too early, praise be, for the onslaught of fractious brats bored out of their minds and kicking off- these come later. A few people just come for the cheapo booze and student types load up with beer but not this early. There are couples who have their strategy down to a fine art, swiftly one loads while the other works the trolley. I admire these characters with their lists and lack of hesitation – in and out in fifteen minutes. Brilliant.


The staff are young and very effective, kept on their toes by firm management and a stipulated  length  of time for each customer at the till. Thus speed is of the essence and you are outsourced at a remarkable speed that occasionally leaves me dizzy. But they are all pleasant and friendly though with very little time to chat. I enjoy my early morning Aldi events in part because it makes me feel virtuous for the rest of the day, no matter what mischief I get up to. Also I dislike queuing and it makes me bitter. I don’t actually approve of my thoughts of mass murder when in a queue for any length of time…..

Now, back home with my lovely stewed tea I can relax. And share with you all, or all of my acceptable thoughts on Aldi & shopping.


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The Unmitigated Joy of Ageing part 2

So, it would seem that the pound has sunk to a new low which will, as naturally as night follows day, hit we pensioners where it hurts. However, we are sure that our leaders know what they are up to, whichever one we end up with, and we shall bring the ingenuity that we are famed for to the matter. We will revive our Dunkirk spirit and bring our ancient recipe books to the fore. I wonder, can one still buy dried egg?  We will show the young whippersnappers a thing or two about managing on a budget. We will regard our enforced poverty as a challenge.

First I would like to thank the people who commended me on my bracing views of ageing and how to do it. I expect to see some changes in my contemporaries very soon especially among you ladies. Think the wonderful Barbara Cartland or even Vivienne Westwood when next you choose your apparel; nobody ever brushed these ladies aside. Remember, our objective is to be noticed, to startle with our vivacity and style. Louche is quite acceptable in our age group so take risks, I am well informed that the sight of slightly exposed jowl and delectable upper arm are much appreciated -contrary to our mother’s advice. And while I don’t advise a full sale flaunt, take risks.

In my last missive I spoke of purse fumbling and I outdid myself yesterday in the hardware shop while a nice young man demonstrated how to fix my hosepipe on the tap I managed to collect eight highly irritable people behind me. And I hadn’t even realised that they were there until I heard an exasperated sigh and received a blast of tobacco scented breath over my shoulder, I recoiled and broke my own rule by saying I was sorry while I gathered my two purses together and gratefully accepted the assistance of the charming assistant to pack the apparatus in my bag. I smiled as I left and winked at the young man.

It is very important for we of a certain age to have fun, apart from the joy of irritating the young of course. Be it driving eclectically or stealing cuttings from stately homes and gardens. I was jolly bucked to read about a crew of elders who robbed vast amounts of jewellery lately, I thrilled to hear that their planning was immaculate and sorry when their computer skills – of lack of same – let them down. I too can relate to this; the whippersnappers learn this stuff at their mothers knee I understand. This seems rather unfair to me as does much of the communications industry. I have been threatened with a ‘Smart Phone’ but, as I said at the time, I expect the telephone to be an obedient servant to me, I do not need it to be ‘smart’. I deal with the smarts myself thank you very much!  I am not suggesting that we take up major criminal activity of course but something with an element of risk suggest itself. I have a friend, a mere stripling in his seventies who took up gliding recently, to the mortification of his children but as he said, ‘how long have I got? I might as well enjoy myself.’

There is a terrible tendency to underestimate us, particularly in the medical profession. Receptionists seem to have a line on this and will insist on speaking LOUDLY and distinctly at us, rather than TO us, I have combatted this irritating habit by responding at full tilt and bellow in their ear. ‘Thank you my dear’. I am never sure if they understand the significance of this but it is satisfying to see them flinch. Also, I do dislike being called ‘dear’ and the words ‘oh bless!’ beside having no real meaning smack of patronage although most of the perpetrators are female so perhaps that should be matronising?

I hope you enjoy my suggestions and I should be delighted for any suggestions of your own to lift we elders out of any incipient apathy. Winchester was once the capital, let’s make it the capital of our own movement toward an enjoyment of our later years for we magnificent warriors of anti-ageism!

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So why has Tubby shrunk? A mystery? or the result of Shiatsu treatments that I have been having for a year now? Or the five radiotherapy sessions, or could it be my persuasive words interspersed with the occasional threat?

I must explain, Tubby is my tumour who arrived unbidden more than eighteen months ago. He took up residence in my left lung and probably had been there for some time as he had achieved grade four status. I found out when my GP sent me for an X-ray for a wheezy chest. I was at first appalled and annoyed that just when I had a pretty nice life going on and had at last discovered a deodorant that worked for me, death loomed. I told the doctor that I intended to spend every penny I had on holidays and cavorting but I was shaken by this nasty reality.

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I tend not to look in mirrors these days, bad enough that I sometimes come upon an image advancing on me in a shop window, has me thinking who’s that old doll? Then I realise that it is me and I am appalled. I tend to forget how I have matured; my body never ceases to amaze me.

The latest vagary has involved my neck; I am pleased to say that I have recently lost weight and I note that my neck protrudes rather like a tortoise neck, scrawny. However, it has cleverly NOT lost the flabby undercarriage that has grown at the bottom of my face. So, I have jowls and scrag making a novel frame under my chin. I feel rather petty grieving over the state of my attributes – who cares? I do, clearly, and I am surprised. I have treated my body like an old sock without contemplating the idea that it would eventually assume all the appearance of an old sock, revenge?

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The Area

I have been writing a piece about the area that I live in for months, periodically, but since talking to a friend who is fifty years younger than me last night I have scrapped it as a sanctimonious rather dreary testament to my anti-racist stance.

When I moved here from Bournemouth it was a lively place with red lights in windows and girls on corners – always only on one side of the road. I never understood why. Students lived in many of the houses and there were three regular shebeens and what we would now call ‘pop-up’ blues that would function for a day or two. It was already multi-racial with a number of Asians and some slightly bitter whites who felt invaded. Also there was an Afro Caribbean presence. And many more whites who were happy with the undoubted advantages that the incomers brought in the way of food and late opening shops and enjoyed their company.

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