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U3A Writing: At The Till

Derek McQueen tells a tale of what could be a lucky meeting at a supermarket check-out.

“Do you mind?” I said. “That trolley’s heavy with all that bloody Rioja in it. You must have 50 bottles at least.”

“What’s that to do with you? the sallow faced woman said, as we queued at the till in Morrison’s. “My daughter’s marrying a Spaniard on Saturday. They met in Salamanca last May. Rioja is Jose’s family favourite and the reception’s at St Josephs Hall in two days. I’m in a panic and you’re not helping one little bit. In fact I’m near to hysterical, so watch it.”

“Be reasonable,” I said. “You’ve shoved your Hispanic treasure trove into my back three times in the last five minutes. I’m already having physiotherapy for sciatica. You must have a hundredweight of bottles in there.”

The sallow but not unattractive woman was struggling with her PIN and I began to soften. She had a very good figure for her age.

“Look,’ I said, “ I’ve only got Ajax and Fairy Liquid in mine. It’s to clean up a scruffy flat I just bought. Why don’t I help you to your car? I’ll be through here in a few minutes.”

“She’s pregnant,” the woman said, “but what can I do?”

“I’ll box up the wine and load the car for you,” I said, by way of reply.

On Morrison’s car park the woman smiled for the first time.

“Where did you say your flat was?’ she said. “There might be a couple of bottles left for Sunday.”


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