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Unexpected grandson in bagging area

PUBLISHED: 12:45 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 March 2018

Lynne gets frazzled at the supermarket self checkout

I am pleased to say that Wil is now three years old and thus, on paper at least, no longer a terrible two.

The day before his birthday I was looking after him and his brother, five-year-old George. Daddy was at a motorway service station, picking up an alien (long story) and mummy was directing a rehearsal. George goes swimming on Saturdays and so I was designated dryer.

While we waited, Wil sat on my lap and played CBeebies games on my smarter-than-me phone. Everything was going so well... until we went to Waitrose in Saffron Walden.

“I don’t want to go in a trolley,” Wil announced and this should have put me on alert. I should have asked myself why he didn’t want to sit in a trolley. I should have thought it through. As it was, I immediately conceded. This, as I understand it, is what grandparents do - they let their grandchildren have their own way, let them eat sugary treats and, on a visit to a zoo, museum or stately home they agree to buy them something from the gift shop.

For some reason, I assumed Wil simply wanted to be a bigger boy, not one that has to be confined to a toddler seat. Nothing could be further from the truth. He wanted to create havoc and let loose the dogs of war in the relatively genteel surroundings of Waitrose.

First he pressed all the buttons in the lift from the top of the car park to store level. George was outraged. “No!” he said, furiously. George likes to press the button and, now he knows his letters and can read, he does as much of the shopping admin as possible.

Arriving at the door of the shop, Wil ran into the fresh produce section and I followed with the trolley, carving up unsuspecting shoppers who were trying to exit. George tutted: “Wil!”

The shopping was not an unmitigated disaster because I let Wil choose a comic. George gathered up an eclectic selection of food - actually it wasn’t eclectic, it was mostly chocolate.

My next bright idea was to have lunch in the cafe and that was fairly civilised. We sat and chatted and Wil ate his children’s portion of fish fingers with oodles of tomato ketchup, while George ate a packet of popcorn, a gingerbread man and took one bite of his apple.

We then made our way to the checkouts but they were busy so I made the executive (and wrong) decision to go through the self-scan till (that’s scan your own shopping, not scan yourself - that would be an unknown item in the bagging area... or maybe an unknown bag in the item area). I beeped a tub of easy-spread butter through and placed it on the weight-sensitive plate. Immediately, I was instructed to remove my item from the bagging area. Bewildered, I did so, even though the price had registered. One of the store managers spotted my distress and bounded over.

The problem, I was told, was Wil, who was leaning on the scales and thus adding weight to my shopping - weight I hadn’t paid for. I gently manoeuvred him out of the way and scanned the next thing, whereupon Wil moved in again. Once more I removed him and yet again he leaned in. By now the young man who had helped me spotted how close I was to the end of my tether and volunteered to scan all the shopping. All I had to do was control Wil, so I scooped him up and plonked him down by my side. He devised a new game and decided he would push between my legs and thus gain access to the supermarket aisles. I had to act quickly and, as he attempted to escape, I trapped his head between my knees. He decided this was a great game and hooted with laughter.

The shoppers at the neighbouring checkout started to look a bit fed up. Their “seek assistance” light had been flashing for ages but I had monopolised a whole manager.

Thank goodness no-one knows who I am in Saffron Walden.

n My husband wears specs that react to the light. In last week’s “white-out” his lenses went dark when the sun glinted on the snow. So dazzling was the reflection that they would not revert to plain glass, so he took them off and put them into the cupboard under the stairs until the glass lightened. I mention this because it seems a good tip to pass on if anyone is similarly inconvenienced.

n Thanks to Pat, who got in touch to suggest standing on a wash- scrunchy in the shower to clean one’s toes. My husband has a scrunchy... he’ll never know I’ve used it. Thanks also to Dorinda, who recalls how it was when her husband retired. “Every time I moved in the kitchen, I trod on his toes. If I got up to go and do a job, he would be there too, and usually right where I needed to be. I can reassure you that this does not continue for too long and eventually your husband will reorganise his life to such an extent that he will be heard to wonder how on earth he found time to go to work.”

n After I mentioned that I had been cleaning windows while my husband encouraged the four starlings in our garden to perform their customary aerobatics, Gill and Keith sent me an actual video of a murmuration of thousands of starlings over their home in Swaffham and wrote: “Believe us, your husband should be very grateful you only have four starlings, because if you have as many as we have you would certainly need more than Windolene!”

Point taken, Gill and Keith.

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