I'm sensing quite a theme actually because I went shopping tonight for a couple of wardrobe staples and the common adjective I can use to describe the clothes I looked at is FLAMMABLE. I just can't find the store with the cute tops; or the one that makes the great work dresses; or the one with all the jewellery I like. Every store I go into resembles a jumble sale, and women turn into raving lunatic harpies, clawing at items of clothing as if their very lives depending on them. The clothes they don't want, they abandon on racks or else just drop them where they stand and step over them. Shopping the chain stores in London has been, in short, a demoralising experience.
Groceries have been easier though - or so I thought. Around the corner from my place is a store called LIDL (England's answer to ALDI in Scotland and the US). It's dirt cheap and 90% of the product labels are in languages other than English, but the store is close and it's easy to get the basics there. I approached the store tonight and was not really thinking about much, other than what I might buy. I nearly walked head-long into the exit doors. Oops, my bad. So I walked around the other side of the store, thinking the entrance might be around there. Nope. I had no idea how to even get into the store! This was not starting out well at all. I could have just given up and walked up the hill to ASDA but (a) I was not going to give up; and (b) boo to going up hills. There were people inside LIDL, indeed there were people coming out of LIDL. How the hell did they all get in there? I followed a man and his wife a little further along the building (while they both no doubt got on their mobiles and called the cops), and I ever-so-casually walked through the entrance. Nobody inside LIDL was any the wiser, which was just as well.
By this stage all I could think about getting out again - as it turns out, not shopping is much more exhausting than shopping, I think. So I grabbed raisin bread, yoghurt, some dehydrated pasta thing from Finland and some lemon sorbet (the latter always makes me feel better just for having bought it). Then cool as the proverbial cucumber, I sauntered out the exit - because I knew where that one was!