Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there…
I met a man upon the stairs today. To be precise, the stairs in the Dolphin Shopping Centre car park which is where he lives with a grey Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I don’t normally give to homeless people who aren’t selling the Big Issue. Is that bad of me? Anyway, I’ve been a bit under the weather this week: confined to quarters, climbing up walls and a plethora of other metaphors that will surely render this post completely meaningless to anyone of some alternative nationality. Today, I felt well enough to take a quiet trip into town and having accomplished this without falling over, and having purchased a haunch of venison and five inviting nectarines from an unexpected market stall, I was positively bursting with bonhomie. Returning to my car, I accosted said homeless person:
Me: would you like a nectarine?
Him: what’s that?
Me (proudly brandishing a juicy fruit): a nectarine
Him (suspiciously regarding it as though ’twas the poisoned chalice): what is it?
Me: it’s a nectarine
Him: I can’t eat it
Me: why not?
Him: I haven’t got any teeth
Me: but it’s soft
I left to buy a few back copies of the Daily Mail.
Later, enthused by having escaped the confines of the sick bay and having taken a small restorative nap, I went to Wimborne. I wasn’t wandering aimlessly – I was aiming for a specific shop but on the way I passed another. If you click on the picture, you’ll be steps ahead of me as I hadn’t even bothered to look upwards to see what kind of place this might be. It was just that, out of the corner of my beady eye, I noticed a cookery book of sorts in the crowded window: From field to table – how to cook venison.
I pushed open the ancient, creaking door and was immediately overcome by the stench of wet spaniel. Inside, there were dogs everywhere. I greeted one or two of them but they were clearly exhausted from earlier activities. A Springer who had collapsed in a green leather arm chair beat his tail with great vigour but never managed to open his eyes.There were two or three people of indeterminate, but advanced, age in this emporium having a conversation about country-type things. I like to think I’m a woman of the countryside. Wrong. No idea whatsoever about the content of their discussion.
The place was jammed to the rafters with guns but it also contained really interesting potential Christmas presents – a walking stick with a hare’s head, a silken tie on which pheasants had landed and so on. Trouble is, I don’t know anyone who might be able to make use of such things. And, as an intruder, I was clearly under close scrutiny. This, sadly, is not a shop in which browsing is anticipated or condoned.
An ancient being retrieved the one and only venison cook book from the window and immediately replaced it with a small volume on ferrets. There were no credit card facilities and no mention of any of that paper bag nonsense. I was sold the book that had been in the window for eons and sent on my way.
Earlier this week, before the Heebie-jeebies struck, I took mother shopping at Castlepoint. Every time I take her shopping she, understanding the rules, comes home laden down with baggage whilst I have nothing. Somehow, most shopping I undertake results only in purchases that can be eaten or plane tickets to France. In M & S, I hover near the ‘pay here’ point as mum happily pays for yet more goodies. A woman arrives and is confused by my pointless proximity to the tills:
Woman: are you in the queue?
Me: no, I’m waiting for my mum
Woman: I wish I was waiting for my mum
Like this unfortunate sense of standing outside my own body as it travels along its path, this tiny, tiny comment has remained with me all week.