The Poor Man’s Alexa

This morning my wife and I had a sojourn west to the White Rose Shopping Centre (WR). It was an edifying venture to the premier retail mall in South Leeds (source – fictionalsoundbites.com ).

It was at this retail utopia that, amongst other things, I inadvertently learnt the meaning of the word edifying during a random scan of a dictionary in WH Smith.

Let me be clear, I don’t ordinarily flick through dictionaries like a pubescent schoolboy looking for curse words and assorted slang names for ladies front bottoms. I undertook this lexicological skim read while waiting for my spouse (Karen) to pay for a novel she’d purchased.

On becoming a closer bedfellow with the word edifying, I vowed that hence forth my vocabulary would incorporate this on a daily basis. It was edifying that Karen supported this lexicon expansion. Unfortunately, she wasn’t as supportive of my intention to also introduce the word crenthusiastic in everyday conversation.

The fact It isn’t a genuine word, made her less than crenthusiastic about the whole thing. I argued (not without basis) that her dad had spent over 80 years utilising non-existent words in his frontier gibberish dialect. But she countered that didn’t count because I was doing it deliberately, he wasn’t……. He’s just stupid!

By contemporary standards, the White Rose is a relatively small retail centre. Its uncluttered linear design incorporates numerous popular high street stores, stretching from Debenhams at one end to JS Sainsbury at t’other.

On its central mezzanine reside global fast food and beverage franchises. Several hundred seats service their customers in a communal circle, with edifying views of a Disney store, a couple of cell phone provider outlets and a few other shops whose wares momentarily evade me.

From the mezzanine today, there was also a view on the ground floor of a man crentusiastically picking his nose. I’m assuming he isn’t a permanent fixture working clandestinely for rivals of the shoe shop he was stood beside. His mission to discourage potential customers from patronising the store.

It certainly wasn’t edifying watching this guy hoking at his proboscis.

As we circumnavigated him later, I felt like utilising the tongue in cheek remark my mum used of “I’ll swap you a green one for a brown one.”, whenever she caught my siblings and me picking our noses…… It’s undoubtedly a stomach churning comment, however it always achieved its goal of stopping our nostril intrusions.


Purchase wise, it wasn’t a particularly fruitful few hours at the WR. Apart from a diary and cushion for my room, not forgetting Karen’s book, we returned home with the WH Smith carrier bag in our possession bereft of goods.

The small 59p diary was an impulse buy, acquired after I saw how cheap it was. I’ll probably never use it, as my wife and I are now reminded of my daily forthcoming events by a talking mirror. This unlikely organisational item a recent purchase by my missus at a Leeds Market. This was acquired despite me specifically asking her to come back with magic beans.

According to the guy dressed as a chipmunk who sold this to Karen, on waking, inquire of the mystical mirror your forthcoming days diary. Almost immediately, unless it’s having its breakfast, it will respond verbally with the chronologically stacked plans for our day ahead.

Despite trying this every morning since its acquisition at the weekend, the mirror hasn’t uttered a word back as of yet. We aren’t sure whether it’s broken or indicating just how little we have planned in our unfulfilling existence…… On the plus side, I suppose it was cheaper than haemorrhaging 150 notes on an Amazon Alexa!

I’m off now to muster some crenthusiasm to prepare dinner…… I hope you’ve found this narrative edifying.

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