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WARD'S WORLD: Slowly returning to normal

With recent news that we will be slowly getting back to some measure of normality or something near it after this third dollop of lockdown relating to Coronavirus, it can’t be too soon.

It would be nice to just go shopping for just about anything, but once done, sit down to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee before setting off back home.

I hate to say it but I even miss somebody’s screaming six- or seven-year-old offspring bellowing their little lungs out that they ‘only want a mobile phone “cos whatshisneck has got one, innee”.

The 'Ward-A-Matic Indoor Cafeteria'
The 'Ward-A-Matic Indoor Cafeteria'

On the bright side, they can quote the model name or number, list price, outlets that are selling it at discount prices, usually skywards of three figure sums.

Meanwhile, in the real world they are possibly still coming to grips, or trying to, with their two or three times table but they will crack it because that phone they crave has an app for it.

Then to pacify the little darling they are promised a tacky meal of kangaroo nuggets with fries plus fizzy drink, mummy eventually shouting: “Just shut up, eat your nuggets.”

This action will invariably bring the child into that well known state of the ‘screaming hab-dab’ disorder that can last from mere minutes to an hour although once their energy is used up on that, sulking then takes its place

Yes I am really missing this entire performance of mental agility that is forced upon us while doing that shopping bit but my sympathy sometimes goes out to parents.

However, we of a different generation, there were some of us who just craved a hoola-hoop and when not playing with it, trying to work out where the end of it was.

I think I miss a lot of the sales where folk go and buy things that will never see the light of day once then taken home, put into storage in the ever bulging wardrobe/storage shed before eventually being liberated and sent to a charity shop.

However, there is a process that the said garment will have to go through first, being modelled with the usual catchphrase: “Well – what do you think then?”

Being honest might mean the difference between elation (theirs) or scraping a dinner (yours) off the wall but you marvel at how the plate it was on has survived intact or like the meal on it, now has chips.

This ritual is sometimes followed by: “You didn’t say you didn’t like it in the shop before I bought it.”

Strategy 2: “I only bought it so I can wear it to your cousin’s wedding, the one you don’t get on with but we have to be nice to him as you are hoping to get left that antique brass boot scraper nobody else wants in his will.”

Another angle to this is offering the anecdote that “my mother used to have one similar to that, love” which can bring on the instant cold stare as it’s put back on the rail with the face taking on the frozen appearance that a fish finger would be proud of.

Once again the possibility of all joy and bliss is there or rather hopefully it will be soon once another bright idea is put into action.

One thing that never changes though as regardless of spectators or not, it’s a safe bet that you will know when a major sporting event or happening is going on as stacks of cases of beer and lager appear just inside supermarket doorways.

Friend of mine years ago noted that when the Horse of the Year Show was then televised, he never saw bales of hay or straw inside supermarket doorways clogging the place up – odd, that.

I look forward to car boot sales opening up as I like to wander around such events because there is a rich store of the human element there as well as potential bargains to be had, with charity shops running a close second.

One bash (social gathering by invitation then) I attended was quite memorable.

All was going boringly well when one dear soul introduced herself to another lady as they got into small talk before going ‘in for the kill,’ to coin a phrase.

Lady one said to her new found, possible friend: “I do so like your dress as it really complements you...” and then she added: “The lining at the back is slightly disarranged as perhaps the person sewing it had a mishap.”

Lady two’s face went a funny colour and she was speechless before Lady one explained she knew this because she had brought it from new and had sent it to her charity shop of choice to sell on.

As I scribble away there are assorted reports of when the hospitality industry, as in pubs, restaurants etc will be open for business, and I must admit it’s nice to be able to go out occasionally to eat without having to wash up afterwards plus, importantly, keeping these businesses alive.

Okay, some take-away businesses have managed to cater for those of the same mindset possibly but we had a different approach to this.

Having found a really good fish and chip shop where the quality has never faltered since patronising it, we usually use this line of ‘dining out’ so to speak.

The procedure is thus: go to said fish and chip shop, not far from home for obvious reasons currently, place one’s usual order and have them gift wrapped then away back to the car.

Then drive to a local car park that overlooks the road then set up the Ward-A-Matic Indoor Cafeteria or rather a small device I made to fit on the inside facia of the car.

It’s basically a small table/shelf mounted on a bracket that just clips into the coin holder on the central part of the car dashboard, all made from bits and pieces, but it works.

Perhaps read as in ‘cheap and cheerful’ but otherwise it would have gone in the recycling bag.

I have not had to alter anything within the car as I have just used what was there as being part of the fittings so unless you knew, nothing is untoward or stands out as ‘being altered’ basically.

Salt and vinegar, table cloth, serviettes, forks with the salt and vinegar in two small containers, plus for dark evenings there is a small fabricated lamp to blend in.

It certainly adds a sort of ambience to the occasion... plus there is the game of ‘eye spy’: “I spy with my little eye a fire engine dashing by” or “oh look – yet another tail-gater going about his deranged, dangerous business.”

So in real terms we have ‘adapted’ to our new forced-upon-us environment, following the ‘rules’ as prescribed although if this action has gone pear shaped in the interim, I will try to get word to you of when the visiting times are.

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