Straight into town after the school drop, stopping at a charity shop before the park. I spy several items I'd like to buy, but they are over-priced. My 2 year old son spots a grotesque frog stuffed toy, he simply MUST have it. I leave the shop, £1.99 lighter and imagining what fun the dogs at Rhondda Animal Aid are going to have tearing frog and around 85 other teddies to shreds (when I eventually bag them up and donate them). I meet a friend and her daughter, we discuss childbirth. My sister in law gave birth to her second child early yesterday morning in the bathroom. My friend is pregnant with her second child, so she was fascinated by the speedy delivery of my niece , and marvelled at the lack of medical intervention required.
A grandfather who regularly frequents the park and cafe circuit with his toddler granddaughter starts chatting to us. His comments were a series of minor rants about the 'useless council' 'foreigners' and a cringe-worthy anecdote about arriving at a French camp-site and being refused entry because the owner thought he was English (and naturally, upon correcting him "je suis gallois" he was welcomed with open arms). Neither my friend or myself were able to pretend we were interested or amused.
I took my recently toilet-trained son to the Ladies, it was dark (useless council). A stout elderly lady entered, face full of tension and announced to an imaginary audience that she wouldn't be closing the door, "'fraid of dark I am, bloody toilet, bloody lights, door open, OK?". My son attempted to play 'peek-a-boo' I dragged him out at lightening speed.
After parting company with my friend, I went to another charity shop. A regular customer who seems to be lonely was in there talking loudly, not holding a dialogue with the staff, just making brief statements "bus fare gone up, fags gone up, gas gone up, good job I'll be dead soon". The man working at the shop looked very tired and worryingly malnourished, he scanned the shop as if he was looking to be rescued. I pass the vociferous regular, a sickly odour was emanating from him, not unlike 'bin soup'. This particular charity shop (Wales Air Ambulance) is full of bargains, nothing seems to be over £2. I picked out some items and moved on to the toy section. "Mum, duck. I wan't duck please." A bath toy priced at £1.50, I let him hold it and plan to sneak it back on the shelf. A few moments later, I quietly tut, assuming the three young girls who'd entered were playing crap music from their phones. It was the duck. A blinkin' bath duck radio, only in a charity shop. "Mum, I like ducky, dance". Son is 'bopping' and entertaining the whole shop (with the exception of the ranting regular who is oblivious).
I buy £6.61 worth of items and leave, music is blaring from the duck now the volume dial has been discovered. Lots of stares, many people seem impressed by the music, one song was Tom Jones' 'Help Yourself' (apparently it's his birthday). I spot an opportunity to distract my son from the duck, he loves 'posting' things, and there's a lady ahead collecting for the Salvation Army. My plan worked and he now had a pamphlet instead of a duck. We head for the last row of shops before the journey home, I want eggs from the 'Wholefoods and Homebrew' store. I ask myself if I can face it, the owner is a chatterbox and he tells me the same story every time. I need eggs more than I need a break from the Hungarian teacher who makes a lovely cake with my eggs story, so I brave the story and head home. It wasn't so bad, this time -I have the recipe.
I look forward to ranting, repeating myself and weeing in full view of everyone, I hope I live to get old.