With my dad still unable to drive any real distance, I transported him and my mum to the White Rose Centre this morning for their weekly food shop.
To clarify, by transporting my parents I’m referring to driving them to the shopping centre in my trusty Astra motorcar. Not teleporting them Star Trek like from their Wakefield home to the south Leeds shopping centre. I wouldn’t possibly be able to do that…… My transporter beam needs sproggating; or so claims a mate who runs the Made Up Mechanical Fixes Centre in Hunslet.
As I’ve written before, it’s an enlightening experience accompanying Mally and Maggie as they dodder aimlessly around Sainsbury’s, seeking provisions for the next seven days.
Today was no different, with the septuagenarian and octogenarian adding thirty minutes to the venture through their meticulous inspection of ‘use by’ dates. This along with an unnaturally excessive scrutiny of multipacks to ascertain best value.
As I watched Wakey’s finest dawdling around the aisles, I pondered the question of when does prudent frugality cross the line into OCD overdrive? The entering of a portal where obsessive behaviour takes on an altogether more worrying level.
Is it good time management spending ten minutes to identify you’ll get fifteen more beans per tin by plumping for the Cross & Blackwell brand?
I have my own personal thoughts on that question but, like the killer of JFK and the mystery of OJ’s ill-fitting glove, we’ll probably never possess a definitive answer.
Let me be clear, I have no issue undertaking the role as my mater and pater’s part-time chauffeur. I find our shopping trips entertaining not onerous and their company fulfilling not a chore.
I’d walk over hot coals for my parents….. In fact I nearly did in the early 1970’s, after a slapdash lighting of our coal fire. The incident occurred when someone (I don’t recollect who) over-packing of the grate with coal, resulting in fossil fuel spillage and a singed hearth rug. Thankfully, no one was hurt and my dad’s mate Gethan replaced the sheepskin rug cheaply.
Anyway, back to my parents food shop, where the cereal aisle proved to be particularly beneficial for grabbing a bargain. Here they purchased three big boxes of breakfast cereal, which not only had the biggest savings but also, as luck would have it, the longest ‘use by’ dates out of the hundreds of boxes on the shelving.
I have to say that in my half century or so on this Earth, today was the first time I’ve ever seen a man check the ‘use by’ date on every single box in a supermarket cereal aisle
After a lengthy shop, made even longer by a toilet break (we had to circumnavigate aisle four after an old guy peed himself), we finally got to the checkout.
Stood at the tills Mally and Mags looked pleased with themselves over the numerous savings they’d made. Not to mention a barely hidden smugness at the longevity remaining on their purchase ‘use by’ dates.
After remunerating the checkout operator, we pushed the laden bags towards the packed car park. It was at this time I was re-introduced to a good old Yorkshire word I hadn’t heard for years. This trip down memory lane courtesy of my mum who directed a terse “Shut up you noisy apath!” at an impatient driver after he’d beeped the car horn.
Apath is a fantastic word, one I’d subconsciously missed since last hearing it many years back. God only knows when that was, but I’d wager my mum was the source. Probably directed at another impatient driver beeping at a fellow road user.
Maggie didn’t stop there with her re-igniting of old colloquialisms, after proffering that a family friend was scratty (lucky) for his recent Irish Lottery win.
All in all it was a congenial few hours with Mally and Maggie today. Witnessing the comedic OCD driven acquisition of provisions, along with hearing the words apath and scratty made it a gradely day.