"You haven't bought a Granny-trolley have you!!" shouts my dear darling daughter (DDD) from downstairs. (When did we stop entering a room to talk to people? Why are conversations shouted round the house these days?)
"Arrgh! – It's so emBarrassING!"
Fact is she missed the purchase, having been in the land of Oz visiting my son and his family when it happened. And as it happens, I've been a granny for five years now, since which time I have aquired, in true red-riding-hood style, a four-poster bed, reading glasses, and a love of afternoon naps.
And now this. The reason I have aquired - to give it its proper name - a shopping trolley is for several reasons:
One: I have a slightly loopy neighbour who always catches me when I'm coming home carrying heavy shopping and wants to chat. He has - as these people do - a way of Telling a Story, in such a way that you can't escape. He spots me from afar, crosses the road and - he's off! Or rather, I'm not, not for ten minutes at least. The cost of being polite, despite the pain of holding the shopping. He hails from Birmingham, a place I have long observed to be the original source of the term 'Moaning Pommie'. You can take from that the tone of the conversation.
Two: I am always walking home with said heavy shopping. London was built before the advent of cars, and it is just easier to walk to the shops than squirrel about driving along narrow streets only to find you can't park at the end of your journey.
Three: this is particularly applicable because I cannot park outside the Post Office. I am now going there a lot. I did try to walk to the Post Office carrying five books ready to post, and dropped one in the process. It survived fine, but I'd rather avoid the experience. Using a shopping trolley is just more efficient.
Four - especially Four: I cannot drive into Central London. It is with this in mind that I defend my purchase to DDD. "I need it!" I protest (note: this is once I am in the same room as her, viz. the kitchen), "I had to make a delivery! - I had to go to Covent Garden for a delivery to Forbidden Planet!"
Despite this being a very un-Granny destination, DDD is not impressed. "It still makes you look like a granny" she insists.
I think. Then realize something: the moment I had got on the tube en-route to Covent Garden, a good-looking young man, who seemed to be deeply in love with the woman sitting next to him, had stood up to give me his seat. He must have seen the shopping trolley and thought I was In Need. I had declined profusely. I admit this to her. "Exactly!" says DDD in triumph.
But still, I had been to Forbidden Planet.