22 December 2009

O Come all ye Faithful

I went to the local supermarket this morning to get all the Christmas food I can only buy at the last minute such as vegetables, cream, cheese, bacon for the turkey and pigs-in-blankets. I always try to avoid going out on Christmas Eve as it is always so busy and in any case I like to spend the time at home getting organised, preparing and cooking. I thought I was being extra clever this year by going not only the day before Christmas Eve, as I usually do, but TWO days before. I have arranged to collect my mother from her home and bring her here tomorrow (I have been dithering about when best to do it as I was waiting to see what the weather was going to do and whether we would get snowed in), so today was really my last chance to get the last-minute food in.

Despite the fresh fall of snow last night, on top of the snow still lying around from last week, the main roads were clear and I only needed to slip and slither the car out of our cul-de-sac. When I arrived at the supermarket car park about a mile away, I encountered my first exposure to pandemonium. There was hardly a space available in the enormous car park. We are talking upwards of about 800 parking bays and nearly every one full. The ground was awash with slushy snow and huge puddles full of floating ice. I drove around and around until I found the last parking bay in England! This should of course have let off alarm bells but I valiantly sailed through the icy air into the oasis of the store with my trolley expecting the usual number of customers. What met my eyes once I was already cocooned in the warmth was utter chaos. I could not believe my eyes. Was there a war on? A lorry drivers' strike maybe? Armageddon on the way? The crowds were pushing and shoving (I have the bruises to prove it); there were trolley jams in every aisle; there appeared to be impromptu coffee-morning meetings being held in the middle of some aisles; they were four deep picking over the clementines and brussel sprouts. While I was waiting my turn hoping to have some contact with the tubs of custard, I had a trolley pushed up my back, as if I were invisible and not myself waiting for some large person with a trolley in front of me to budge. The staff looked just as fed up as they tried to stock up the depleted items with replenishments. To start with I politely hung back to let others through narrow bottlenecks (caused by huge pyramids newly-stacked in mid aisle of exciting offers like mince pies or turkey foil) but after it became apparent that it was every man for himself, I sharpened my elbows and battled forwards with a blank I'm-not-to- be-messed-with look. The touble was, a few others had that same sort of look too and carried it off far more menacingly than me.

I am pleased to say I made it to the checkout with only a few bruises and most of my sanity vaguely intact, though to be honest I was that stressed I might have had a bit of trouble remembering my own name if pushed. As I left there were more people adding to the throng. There were several cars eyeing up my car bay as I backed out of it. I suspect they might have had to call in the local constabulary to deal with the fights. I was glad to be out of there. On unloading it all at home again, I realised I had forgotten the gravy. I'm certainly not going back there again. Do you think I can get away with turkey in a custard sauce instead?

25 comments:

aims said...

I hate to admit that I have not finished my shopping this year and hardly even care. We are getting more snow again today which ruined yesterday's plans and could easily ruin today's. I will not drive in snow. Period.

Try to have a happy one dear Rosiero. Just having your dear mother and Kay there should make it so.

Kit Courteney said...

OMG that sounds exactly like my experience yesterday.

I went to the local Tesco - it normally takes me around an hour to drive there and back and do the weekly shop.

Yesterday it took 3 hours.

The car park was horrendous AND I had my heel scraped with some idiot ramming their trolley into the back of me. Oh the look I gave!

Best of luck with picking up your mother - a VERY safe journey to you both :0)

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

I could just picture the scene Rosiero. Well done for making it out of there and home again. We are about to do our last minute shop this evening. Wish us luck!! A x

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

I'm all done...bruised too....I find myself sadly looking forward to boxing day, when its all over...the best part is the morning with the kids..the rest is a bit of an effort..bah humbug...

hope it all goes smoothly for you...

Millennium Housewife said...

Hilarious Rosiero! In an emergency my Mum always made gravy with a bit of stock cube, cornflour and marmite. Please don't mention this, she's famous for her gravy...

Very Bored Housewife said...

A scene I remember only too well, thankfully Spanish supermarkets are nowhere near as chaotic. You could maybe do your own gravy, try Jamie Oliver's recipe, I do it every roast and it brilliant. xx

what happened ?how did i get HERE? said...

Hey - sounds just like Sainsbury's today in Hampton!! I too thought I'd be clever and do the veg shopping early (!) ...Mayhem!! 20 mins to park and then 20 mins to back out of space, never mid leave the bloody car park!! And I spent £105 on, well, some veg and the stuff to make a trifle...roll on 26th! Oh and to top it all I've agreed to have my (highly strung gay 50 something - his words...) friends even more highly strung poodles over Xmas while he goes and 'finds himself' in India....the cat is shreading the carpet in the spare room as I type and the guineas have gone to ground.....!

Nechtan said...

Hi Rosiero,

It all sounds like a right ordeal, bet you are glad its over with. You have to feel sorry for people working in supermarkets at this time of year as it must be chaos all day long. Hopefully you can source the gravy elsewhere as going back there for one item would be madness.

Hope all goes well over the Christmas for you.

Nechtan

Almost American said...

Every time we have a big storm forecast here in New England the supermarkets are like that before the storm hits. The things that sell out the fastest are milk, bread and tortilla chips, but anyone would think the shops were never going to open again! That scene with people circling the car park like vultures looking for a parking spot is all too familiar!

Elaine said...

God, that sounds awful. I'm only half done and need to tackle it today....I am NOT looking forward to it at all!

Furtheron said...

My wife went early on Monday and surprisingly had no issue - she claimed her Mum who she took with her said it was no worse than a normal Monday morning... we normally always go in the evenings.

Have a happy Christmas

Flowerpot said...

I hate shopping at this tiome of year -we went yesterday and it wasnt too bad but we're iced in now so cant go anyway!

Nota Bene said...

Oh no...not the gravy!

Have a great one...iof you can

All the best

NB

Ellen said...

Roseiro, Again you had me chuckling. This time, at the merry Christmas madness all around. Yes, you would think that the world as we know it was coming to an end with an urgent need to stockpile for an uncertain future - instead of celebrating the birth of a tiny baby.

A very easy, but delicious gravy recipe I have used in the past is:
Bring to boil and then gently simmer turkey giblets in 1ltr of water with an onion quartered, 2 carrots roughly chopped and 1 stick of celery chopped. Keep skimming the surface until it is no longer necessary. Simmer for approx 1 hour. Strain gravy. Taste and season. Discard the veg. The giblets and meat removed from the turkey neck are my dog Pippa's favourite Christmas treat. Merry Christmas.

grandmamargie said...

I went shopping yesterday after work and it was packed but not as crazy as I had feared it would be. I will share a quick and easy gravy recipe for you. Carmelize some diced onions in a little oil, add flour, salt and pepper and brown the flour. Then you can either add water or milk for the desired thickness.

DogLover said...

Peace on Earth and goodwill to all men. Trouble is, the men are mostly at home and it's the wives that do the shopping.

Happy Christmas, Rosiero.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

You are brave!

Merry Christmas and a have a wonderful New Year 2010 (with or without the gravy)! :) Hadriana xx

P.S. word verification: "dessewe"...possibly an indication to go with the custard? Hmm.

Snowbrush said...

"The touble was, a few others had that same sort of look too and carried it off far more menacingly than me."

Could there be a lesson here? Maybe drink before you shop to get your courage-to-act-fierce up? Maybe act like you just might become violently insane? Or how about feigning a communicable disease? I remember, years ago, riding across country on a crowded train at a time when I was VERY ill with a cold. I must have looked as bad as I felt because people would get on looking for a seat, see that the one beside me was the only one available, and choose to stand.

Working Mum said...

Mmmm, turkey in custard, not sure about that one!

That's why I had all my last minute stuff delivered by Tesco on the morning of the 23rd. Every item present and someone else did the battling for me - I recommend it for next year.

Hope you had a lovely Christmas, WM x

Stephanie said...

My goodness, that sounds absolutely insane. And I thought the crowds here in Boulder, Colorado were bad!
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dulwich divorcee said...

Glad you made it out alive! I dread to think what it's like today, on New Year's Eve, but hope you have a splendid day and year! x

Kit Courteney said...

Happy New Year, Rosiero.

I hope you, your mum and your daughter get everything you deserve in 2010... and a few extras thrown in.

Very best wishes :0)

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Good luck in the new year hope the world treats you well. Thinking of you and yours.

Ellen said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and your family Rosiero, wishing you peace and happiness.

Arhonda Bend said...

Similar experience here. I had to go to Tesco the day before Christmas Eve for the shopping. It was mobbed and very difficult to get parking. I got what I could (they had no sprouts and no carrots) and then drove down to Lidl where there wasn't a sinner. They had everything I needed there and it was great being able to walk around without the stress of crowds shouting and jostling each other.

Happy New Year to you there. Hope you had a good break!