I don’t think I have an addictive personality, but I could be wrong. I took about twenty photos of MasterB this morning to add the several hundred I already have. There was another purpose. I was using a secondhand camera, an older version of my little Olympus and I want to see if it is working properly. The images are not as sharp as I should like. I think it focuses slightly differently from mine, so I need to play with it a bit more. Either that, or it has been dropped. I am thinking of giving it to Aunt. She tends to worry about new items of technology and this camera is definitely worn, so perhaps she’ll feel more relaxed with it. She’s ninety next month. I am also thinking of getting her a Blackberry Playbook, but I need to find out what her broadband charges woud be.
MasterB was playing on the stairs; rolling around and dilly dallying. I was standing on the flight of stairs below him, so poked the camera through the bannisters to take some photos. Predictably he moved in on the lens.
One of Cousin’s friends loves playing the slot machines. It’s a pastime that Cousin and I don’t really understand. I used to love the fairground one armed bandits of my childhood where you could play for a halfpenny a time, or if feeling really flush, a penny. Sixpence could last the whole visit. Cousin remembers liking even better changing a sixpence into halfpennies and feeling wealthy with so many coins in her hand. I imagine that makes me more of gambler than she is. Anyway, the friend explained it is the adrenaline rush that she loves. That is easier to understand. Cousin reckons she gets the same thing from a visit to TKMaxx, and the anticipation of a wonderful bargain just waiting to be found. Even better, if when she gets home she realises she has made a mistake, she can take it back and get a another chance. When she said this, it made me think and realise that some of her excitement rubs off on me, because it is only in NI that I truly engage with TKMaxx experience. Most of the time I am quite happy to pass it by, and it is generally with Cousin that I get my best bargains there; the top I am wearing today, a pair of Rohan walking boots, a beautiful green jumper. I say generally as I got my green waterproof jacket from a branch in Newmarket. It was very cheap and I wear it a lot, especially on the bike.
But my favourite shopping destination when I am in NI is Junction One, and the M&S outlet store. I stock up on fleeces and socks for mother, get pyjamas for myself. I get a frisson of anticipation and excitement when we go there. The other week I was very tempted by a carry-on wheely case with detachable backpack. I managed to resist, but came home the proud possessor of a toaster. Not the most obvious thing to buy on holiday. But I love it. It has wide slots and I am rediscovering the joy of the toasted cheese snadwich, that life saver of a quick meal. I’ve just had one. Yum.
One of my neighbours is rumoured to have too close a relationship with alcohol. I say rumoured, because although I know she likes a drink, I have no evidence that it is more than that. So I was a bit taken aback when another neighbour suggested she had been drunk very early in the evening and that was why she had had left her bag outside the door. As readers of this page know, I have left my camera outside my own door without any alcohol in my bloodstream at all. I have also, when stone cold sober, left shopping on the doormat and only realised when I haven’t been able to find it. My goodness, second neighbour probably has me down as a full time lush, and if so, has probably been as free sharing this fiction with others as she was the suggestion that the first neighbour was drunk at six in the evening. If your hands are full and you are fumbling with keys, it is easy to put down your bags and forget them. As it turns out, that was the way with my neighbour too. She had put down her bag to open the door and pick up the post, and then gone into her flat leaving her bag at the top of the stairs. No alcohol, no drama, just the end of a busy day and full hands.