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: chipper Category: Life Never a dull moment in the H-E household. The boy needed piano music for his grade 1 exam. I'd ordered it from Amazon. But once it came I realised that I'd bought the 2006 book and should have bought the 2007 book. So this meant that *gasp* we would have to go into town to visit a real shop and buy the book over the counter. We had an early rise for this endeavour: Alys hates going into town on a Saturday as you can't park so goes as early as she can and gets there before the shops open. I dragged my feet past Costa Coffee but she strode ahead with, 'No, we must do the music shop first'. So we went to Cranes, and got the book, and looked at all the fabulous electric guitars and I drooled over a snazzy purple saxophone. Not that I can play, I just like things that are snazzy and purple. We had decided that we'd go somewhere nice for lunch, to celebrate the boy getting two second-place rosettes at the school St David's Day Eisteddfod. [To anyone not Welsh, this is word means literally 'a sitting' and is best described as a competitive concert for arts, music, literature etc. at which prizes are awarded, most schools have them and there are also regional, national and international ones which adults enter.] So we had three hours or so to kill in town before lunch. After the music shop, we went to a model shop to buy a present for the boy (for the two rosettes) and found a model that doesn't require glue and paint, yay. It's a Revell BMW X5 X-raid. Then we walked on through the arcades. Found ourselves in front of Eccentrix, one of my favourite shops. This is where I got my sexy purple New Rock Books, oh yes. And every time we're in Cardiff I like to walk past just to see what other New Rock designs are around and whether any beat my killer purple ones. Eccentrix had a display of Crocs. I'd seen these before, only the sandal variety, but they had boots like wellies, and shoes. I've been thinking lately how I need some sort of boots for walking to work, as I hate having wet socks so much. The rain in Wales falls mainly on the people. I tried these fabulous shoes that are like wellies at the bottom and lace-ups at the top. Fell in love with them straight away and said, 'Right, I'm having these.' Then the boy tried on a pair of yellow wellies and refused to take them off again, so Alys, not to be outdone, decided she wanted the sandals. We came away £75 lighter and three pairs of Crocs heavier. They're not that heavy, actually. Out in the Cardiff street we had to walk through every puddle we could find. I know he's only eight, but he's so intelligent and articulate that he seems older, and being mature and responsible most of the time I sometimes forget what he was like as a little kiddie. Seeing him bouncing in the puddles with these fabulous yellow Croc wellies made my heart glad. Had my Costa Coffee, I'm addicted I'll admit. And onwards to Waterstone's, buying a Big Issue from the vendor just outside. I've got my book signing coming up (13th March, Waterstone's The Hayes, Cardiff, 6.30pm, free champagne, all welcome) and decided that I'd like to have a look around the shop floor to see the layout etc. As I walked in, it occurred to me that they might already have my
book on their shelves. A shiver of excitement ran through me and I said to Alys, 'I'm going to look for my book, hurrah!' So she took the boy off to the children's book section. I went to the counter and asked a nice young man there, 'Excuse me, do you have a short stories section?' He said, 'Where you looking for any particular author?' And I laughed and said, 'Well actually I'm looking for my own book!' 'Ah,' he says, 'are you Josie?' Gobsmacked, I shook hands. Wow. He said that he was in the process of adding me to their website. Fame at last! I instantly regretted not planning this in advance and wearing something more appropriate (it was raining and I was in my old grey dog-walking coat). We chatted about the proceedings, where it would be held, what time to turn up, how they're publicising it, whether it would be ok to take photos of the store and have them on my website ('Anything with the Waterstone's logo on it is fine by me!' he says). I walked away singing inside, haha. No book on the shelves as yet, so must get onto Legend and ask them whether they're sending them down prior to the signing. Found the family in the Sci-Fi section laden down with 3-for-2 books. The boy had chosen Captain Underpants and I had to admit that I'd already bought it for him and have it in my bedroom saved for a special day. We went to choose something else. I shouldn't go to bookshops, especially the children's section. Something Wickedly Weird was advertised at the bottom of the email I received from an editor who is interested in my children's novel. I had to buy it for research purposes of course. Then I saw Holes and I've been meaning to buy that for ages, so that went on the pile. To cut a long story short, we ended up at the counter with 12 books. Damn, now I remember why I don't go into town very often. We dragged the bags of books and shoes over to The Old Library art gallery in The Hayes, where there was an exhibition of art by people who'd had a stroke and learned to paint with their other hand. It was very good, some of the pictures fabulous. We were particularly taken by a picture of multi-coloured houses that looked like it would sell as prints and started discussing with the woman who was curating how they could go about doing this to make money for the stroke charity. Alys wanted to go to the market for some meat. The boy saw the fish stall and was fascinated by all the fish. He loves fish, especially fishandchips but likes all fish. We got some shark steaks, which I've always fancied trying. Then he began to carp on about how he wanted a fish with its head still on. Ick, I said, omigod omigod, I can't believe that you want to eat something WITH A FACE? Is it a boy thing? Alys bought him this fish and said she'll cook it for him and I'm going ewwwww all the way around to the meat stall. Three pigs heads in a row. With a price tag of £2.50. 'Look at all that meat,' I said. I'd eat that. 'I can't believe you'd want to eat something WITH A FACE!' said Alys, haha. We got sausages, faggots, black pud: yum yum yum. Then we got a bag of bones for the dog. I shouldn't go to the market because I always see something fabulous. This time it was a huge tiger design throw, suitable for double bed, £20. How on earth we managed to drag ourselves back to the car I've no idea. We only just got it all into the boot of the new Ford Ka, which is a bit of a comedown from a Kia Sportage when it comes to space in the boot. Decided not to have dinner in town after all, but to drive off somewhere on the way home. Don't think there's a restaurant in Cardiff big enough to take us and
all our shopping. Got home and dropped the bags gratefully. I raced around doing housework while Alys did her transcription and the boy put his model together, still wearing the yellow Crocs. The tiger throw went over the sofa, and in retrospect I think £20 for the throw is cheaper than buying a new sofa. I went online to try to catch up with my forum postings, but the boy took over with his latest thing about Googling for jokes. Then he wanted to go on Google images to look for fish (the boy is obsessed). Alys cooked the shark and it was lovely. Fishy taste but the texture of very tender meat. He read his book on sharks while eating the steak. Did you know that six humans are killed by sharks every year, but ten million sharks are killed by humans every year? At least we were eating it and not using it for decoration or equally trite reason. The bones went in the oven and the dog whined for two hours until they were cooked and cool enough for her to chomp. The cats were very happy with a couple of chunks of shark that the boy couldn't finish. Managed to prize the yellow Crocs off the boy's feet at bedtime on the promise that they are left next to the bed and he can put them back on immediately on waking tomorrow morning. Collapsed on the tigered sofa and contemplated the ironing, while trying not to think about my credit card balance.
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