So, pound-piece in hand, I queued to get my trolley, got inline with the other woollie-jumpered Sunday-shoppers, baa'aa'aa, and went with the flow. Fresh fruit to my left, Bananas, red seedless grapes, and English, grown in Kent apparently, Royal Gala Apples. In the final year or so, leading up to my retirement, I'd got into a daily routine of whizzing-up three or four different fruits, i.e. one banana, one apple, a handful of grapes, and maybe a plum nectarine dried apricot whatever, with about 200gms ( roughly one fifth of a 1KG. tub) of Yoghurt in the hope that it might help my body deal with the demands made upon me both mentally and physically. The sad irony being that as a result, I might actually live a little longer. Doh!
I wanted cheese but not just any cheese, I like mature cheddar, seriously strong, mature cheddar. There's no denying that my taste-buds, in line with just about every relevant/necessary part of this ageing body is worn out, fucked, not to put to fine a point on it, but that's another story. Up ahead, beyond the quiches pies and pastries on my left, and where the cuts of fish meat sausages and bacon ended on my right, was the cheese section. I called it "the cheese-counter" in the header and that's about as far any creative abilities that I may or may not have will stretch. My attempt at fiction, I'm rolling my eyes again but what the hell? I'm smiling also. (pauses for a good glug of cheapo pear cider.)
At this point a woman, a woman whom I'd never seen before approached me:
"Excuse me, I'm looking for the cheese."
"Yeah, that's where I'm going, it's just up there on the right."
I trailed along behind her in no particular hurry and when I caught up with her there we both stood, not realising that we were both looking for the same cheese.
" I'm looking for the strong cheddar".
She said, staring at the very limited selection that was on offer.
"Yeah, me to. It's usually in a gold or brown wrapper."
"I know what it looks like."
"But I just can't see it."
She picked up a small block of red Leicester, the wrapper was very similar to the one we were looking for.
" I suppose I could take some of this."
An air of disappointment lingered.
I looked down at the blocks of red Leicester.
"It's only got number four on the pack, the others are seven."
"What number? Where?"
I pointed to the small figure four on the front of the wrapper.
" That number is guide to the strength of the cheese. Really mild would be number two, see there" I pointed a pack of mild cheese. "And so it goes. I suppose I could take a block of this."
The rating of four seemed to be the highest there was.
" I really like that cheddar." She persisted. "And it's cheap."
It is. And then, almost simultaneously, we put the blocks that we'd just taken back on to the shelf.
" I'm just not a red Leicester person."
"No, nor am I. bye!"
And then she was gone.
Her disappointment had been almost palpable but what can you do? I wonder if she'd picked up on my disappointment, but there was none to be had. That was that. Often with these cheapo-outfits it's a case get it while it's there but they've been selling that cheddar since forever. Oh well. I took my stuff through the checkout and headed home.
( pauses to pull the ring-pull on another can, regular cider this time, sulphite with maybe an apple or three." Made with apples". Yeah whatever.)
I don't like going into stores laden with shopping that I've bought some place else but I really didn't want to go home without cheddar, strong cheddar, and so I headed for the Co-op. Brands like Cathedral City and Pilgrims Choice sprung to mind, they're not cheapos, they wouldn't be cheap, but what the hell, and then, when I got in there, I found that they had McLellands, "seriously strong" on offer. I couldn't say, off the top of my head what weight those blocks are, and I CERTAINLY couldn't say what those Aldi blocks weigh, but this was a snip, and I'm happy with that.
I thought about that woman I spoken to in Aldi's, wished that I could some how let her know about what I'd found and y'know what? If I'd passed her IN the Co-op store, I'm sure, I wouldn't have recognised her. How awful is that?
When something like what happened with her happens, I glance at the face but I don't see them. I am able to vaguely recall that she was about my height, maybe a little taller. In her fifties maybe. Short hair, was it grey? blonde? or BOTH. Glasses, she wore glasses. And that's it.
And this is where I long to be, in the realms of anecdotes, but the trick is in the writing, how to present such forays, how to make them interesting, but who would want to read this stuff, who cares? You might wonder. The sad fact is that I would, and I do.
I've just been out shopping, to Aldi's again and thinking of this blog-post begged the question , what precisely IS Cheddar? what precisely IS cheese? I mean what's the difference? Maybe I'll google it. I thought that walking was reckoned to be good for clearing the mind. It's sends my mind into overdrive.](*,)