Staggered into local charity shop with ten bags of books this morning.
In bright voice to brisk lady behind the counter,
'Would you like these? I do have rather a lot.'
Realise that I sound like Margo from 'The Good Life.'
'I've only the two pair of 'ands,' says the brisk lady, who appears to be very cross. I'm not sure if it's my books, my Margo voice or the fact that she is battling with the price gun.
'Right,' I say, and think about asking where I should leave the books, or does she actually want the books, or should I sidle out again and try the other charity shop down the street.
I try again. Nice and polite.
'Shall I leave them here by the door at the back?'
'You can't go in the back. 'Ealth and Safety.' She glares at me, beady eyed, price gun raised.
'OK, well, I'll leave them here, shall I?' I am determinedly polite, although my cheeks are beginning to ache with all the smiling. Perhaps I should just look as bloody cross as she is.
She doesn't answer, just crosses the shop and takes the bag from where I have put it on the floor.
I go back outside, across the road and down the street, where my car is waiting, boot gaping open like a landed fish.
I drag in another four bags, fingers cut through by the thin plastic handles.
'I've got some more!' I beam at the lady.
She looks positively fuming. Oh, dear.
I attempt to placate her again.
'Would you like me to take these books away? I don't want to burden you with them.'
She grimaces. 'We tike the yellow ones and put them out the back in the recycling.'
For a moment I feel rather like grimacing back. 'I don't think there are ANY yellow books in my bags, unless you mean, of course, Yellow Pages?'
She looks a bit blank.
Out I go. Across the road, down the street. My car boot gapes open, and I retrieve the last of the bags of books. There are six bags of Daughter's clothes. I pick up three. I hope she folded them all nicely. I can't be bothered at this moment to check. Back I go. Lady doesn't look up. I dump the bags and go and collect the last of Daughter's clothes and a brand new dog lead that we don't want. It's supposed to stop dogs pulling but kept getting in our dog's eyes. It is bright red, and very new looking. I hope that she'll be pleased with THIS, at least.
In I go. Heaving and panting with the last of the bags.
She barely looks up now, but grabs a bag from my hand and puts it by the door.
'Oh, I brought this.' I hold up the red lead.
'What's that?' she asks,' Is it a muzzle?'
'No, no! It's a dog lead that stops them pulling but it didn't work on our dog.'
'Does it go across their face and into their eyes?' she asks.
I am delighted. We seem to be getting on much better!
'Yes, yes! It goes over their nose and across their...'
She cuts across my explanation. 'Goes in their eyes. Very bad for them. They can't see.' And with that she walks away to the counter, grabbing the price gun, as if she would like to shoot me with it.
Well. Am by now feeling that I shouldn't have bothered carrying in sixteen bags of stuff but had thrown them at force through the door and scarpered.
I muster up the last bit of good will.
'Well, I'll see you soon. Bye! Have a good day!' The good will is almost killing me. I rake up a smile and nail it to my face.
She doesn't look up and I leave the shop.
For some reason I am filled with giggles. A lesser mortal would have clocked her one.
But needs must, and all that. I'll be back there with another sixteen bags next Saturday after clearing out another bedroom or two. Must make sure that one bag is heaving with yellow books.
And perhaps will take my own price gun with me. Pistols at dawn, and that sort of thing.
Might make the headlines.
'Charity Shop Drama. Local woman covered in £1.99.'