“I Only Need A Few Bits, Gary”

Thursday 5th April – Took a brief morning sojourn to the out of town White Rose Shopping Centre for mater’s weekly comestibles.

Outside a cloudless teal sky at last paraded a golden sun after the long awaited baton change from winter to spring. The latter having lots of catching up to undertake on the season relay race, following the former’s procrastination on the final straight.

I’m unsure about the reactions of fellow Leeds citizens on leaving a state of slumber, but I felt like shouting “About bloody time!” on waking to this unusual sight – And that was just at the missus for the lateness of my breakfast in bed***…… I think my admonishing of the sun would have contained far brisker language, perhaps utilising a few choice words from ‘Roger Mellie’s Profanasaurus’.

*** – I’d like to clarify my spouse doesn’t make breakfast in bed for the citizens of Leeds (that I know of, anyway)……. Or indeed me.

The solar stranger sheepishly marked it’s overdue return from the southern hemisphere with conciliatory gifts of vitamin D, comforting warmth and an apology to the populous’ over-worked umbrellas.

With this meteorological transition, hopefully the reservoir at the bottom of the steeped back lawn will drain and I shan’t need flippers for my visits to the refuse bin…… On the downside, bang goes my aspirations of opening my own aqua marine park…… Best ring up and cancel the killer whale I ordered on Tuesday!

Personally, being shopping centre in situ my vitamin D intake was barely enhanced this morrow. Although admittedly I was privy to witnessing sunshine via the glass roofs; a construction configuration which produced the humid atmosphere of a greenhouse in areas of the centre.

It was hardly the temperate atmosphere of the Amazonian rainforests, however at one point was tepid enough for my mum (Maggie) to desist from cacophonously slurping her latte to opine “It’s quite warm in here today.”

Those perched adjacent to Maggie and I in Costa, where we enjoyed a pre-food shop beverage, exhibited similar discomfort at the powerful greenhouse-like rays and wisely quenched their thirst with a colder drink than my mum and I’d chosen.

I say wisely because, even with a limited horticultural knowledge, I’m pretty sure yucca plants respond better to a drink of water than latte or Americano coffee.


“I only need a few bits, Gary!” were my mums words as we left her house in Wakefield, on commencing the journey to the south Leeds retail emporium.

A quote from the septuagenarian I later found to be misleading as we headed through the checkout with more comestibles than a Red Cross parcel drop. Even the grotesque glutton Mr Creosote, from the Monty Python movie ‘The Meaning of Life’, would’ve struggled to trough the vast quantities of tuck purchased by the old lady…… Well in one sitting anyway!

The checkout conveyor belt was heavily populated with Maggie’s ‘just in case’ buys. A tin of corned beef ‘just in case’ someone likes corned beef unexpectedly arrives at chez Strachan senior. A tin of ox tongue ‘just in case’ a visitor arrives who likes ox tongue sandwiches. Not to mention, dried mullet in brine ‘just in case’ someone turns up who is partial to …..well I’m sure you can guess.

“Why don’t you just buy a tin of corned beef, mum. Then post a notice on the front door saying ‘Don’t bother knocking if you’re after a feed of ox tongue sandwiches or dried mullet in brine’” I ‘helpfully’ suggested to mater.

“I can’t do that, Gary…….. It’s far too confrontational” came the matriarchal response.

I thought about this briefly before pointing out “Is it any more confrontational than the one you’ve currently got of ‘No Irish, Gypsies, Lancastrians or people who don’t like Emmerdale’?!”

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