It was my birthday on Tuesday. As one gets older birthdays tend to be less celebratory. And past a certain age one wishes one could ignore them altogether.
So there would be no popping of champagne corks, and in these belt-tightening times, dinner 'a deux' in a local restaurant wasn't even mooted. A trip to the shops would have to provide my birthday treat. I could hardly wait. A mooch around Aldi and then to Lidls on the way home. But first we would call in on the doctor for our drug fix(atenolol, not amphetamines I hasten to add) So I was in for an action-packed day.
It began well. We had our usual banter with the doctor, and asked him to sign our forms for our free flu jabs. He was in a chatty mood as we were the only ones in the surgery and I reflected again on how fortunate we are to be in the French health system. I was even more cheered when I went into the pharmacy in Lannemezan and the lady who was serving me wished me (in nervous English) an 'Appy Birthday.
At Aldi Captain Sensible reversed the car carefully to take advantage of some shade (it has been really warm these last few days). We had already been across the road at another cheapo supermarket and although we had a cool box he's paranoid about food going off if the boot gets warm.
So we did our shopping, went out to the car and I stood at the back, with the trolley, ready to load it all in the boot. The Captain decides it's going to be better to move the car a foot or so forward to make it easier for me to get to the tailgate. So far, so good.
So he gets half in the car...ie he gets his left cheek on the seat and as his right leg is still outside he attempts to engage the clutch with his left. Unfortunately he hits the accelerator instead and covers me, the shopping trolley, and the tree under which we're parked,with a layer of oily soot as he accidentally performs what is known in some circles as an 'Italian Service.' When I could eventually see, and had stopped coughing, I attempted to see the funny side of it. It was difficult. As is the way with some men, Captain Sensible thought it was hilarious.
As the groceries were also covered in fine soot I managed to get it all over my hands as I packed them away. I had bought some cheap perfume in Aldi, and like a child I couldn't wait to try it, so I'd just sprayed my neck liberally with it seconds before the volcano erupted. So my neck was wet, and acted like a soot magnet.
Most people would have gone home at this point, but we still had another supermarket to blitz so if anyone saw a black and white minstrel shopping in the Lannemezan Lidls it was me.