I'M A STRANGER HERE, MYSELF
Get up, three coffees, head for Spilsby.
The Frog remembers the newsagent's where I'd taken her with her loose change to buy as many 2 for a penny sweeties as she could stuff into her cavernous pockets. Have you noticed how kids' pockets exist outside the realms of normal physics and operate on the same principle as the good Doctor's Tardis?
I glance over the headlines of the papers on display and am not surprised to discover that some single Swedish guy's nobbin' takes precedence over genocide in the Sudan. I check the prices of Drum tobacco and am thankful I imported my own.
Into the Co-op. Exposed to an English supermarket after a year's absence, Zsuzsi displays her habitual response. Her eyes widen, then glaze over and then, in what I can only describe as a calm and measured frenzy, she proceeds to test the load-bearing capacity of a standard issue shopping trolley.
I track down a 24 pack of Stella, notice the price is shocking...but not shocking enough apparently...and heave it onto my shoulder, there being absolutely no chance of it fitting into the by now seriously sagging trolley, where it stays for the next half hour or so.
I mean, call me simple if you like, but I have refined over the years a pretty simple shopping technique which, due to my sex, I would appear to have been genetically programmed to follow since I first fell out of the pram. I enter a supermarket with a very clear idea of what I want and where to find it. I then proceed to lighten the shelves of these precise products and hie me to the tills. I find it pretty effective.
Zsuzsi, on the other hand, has the same relationship with the shelves in front of her as I do with the TV or, more precisely, with any Titian, Vermeer or van Dyke I chance upon during my visits to such institutions of culture that happen to stock such items. I peruse, I examine, I stand in thrall, almost hynotised by their charm and before I know it, it's teatime and the day has flown.
I was explaining the various merits of sundry tins of baked beans and other interestingly crafted pasta shapes in tooth rot sauce when a woman approached and addressed our Gert.
"Oh. You aren't English?"
"She's Hungarian. I'm English." I clarified.
"Oh, well. You're English, at least."
I mean, what? Open to interpretation of course, but her immediate choice of lexis was, to say the very least, a tad revealing.
Anyway, back home, Frog and Dragon off for afternoon nap and I click on the TV. Only 5 channels? Puhlease! My disappointment lasts as long as it takes me to discover the England v West Indies on Channel Four and I settle down to watch the best afternoon's cricket since Headingley in 19 whatever it was. Heaven.
And there I spent the rest of the day recharging my English speaking batteries. Watched 'Coyote Ugly' followed by 'My Fellow Americans' and then channel hopped only to alight upon some excrescence by the name of 'Big Brother - Late Night Forum'. Oh, dearie me.
An incoherent gaggle of Chavs and Slappers were being encouraged to reveal to the nation the end result of the education system in this country by a presenter who made me reflect back on Noel Edmonds with something approaching affection. He was..."you know, sort of, like, sooooooo wicked, you know what I mean?" God help us. The phrase, 'my fellow citizens' flitted across my awareness before I put myself out of my misery, gave up, switched off and went to bed.