I became mum’s carer by default. It was a time when most people were getting their heads around paying the weekly bills by Direct Debit and buying with plastic. Mum however was old school and like to go to the post office of a Monday and collect her pension, she like real money in her purse.
The routine was well established. My car had been traded in against a van conversion that would take a wheelchair, so Monday morning I would load up the van with mum’s mobility scooter, shopping bags and Tim the dog, although Tim knew the score and would be perched up in the driver seat as soon as the doors were open.
Then came mum, once installed and her seat belt in place, Tim would leap over onto her lap, we were off to the post office. Purse bulging with pound notes I would drive up to the big Morrison’s store at Idle. Equipped with a large trolley it was time for me to buzz around the store, collecting the weekly shop. Mum spent her time search out gullible, boys or girls asking them where she could find…..and have them running around the store at her beck and call. Shopping can be so much fun, in your 90s.
As you entered the store the first display you would come to was fruit and vegetables. On that particular day there was a large display of strawberries, and alongside that was a pallet piled high with small cartons of long life cream.
“Look at that” mum had noticed the pallet “That milk should be in the fridge”.
“No mum, it’s a complimentary product” and as soon as the words were out of my mouth I know I was in trouble.
“What do you mean?” She asked.
Climbing onto my soapbox I explained that it was not milk but long-life cream in the cartons. And they were placed beside the strawberries, so by association people, who wanted to buy strawberries, would automagically think strawberries and cream, so buy both. Had the store placed the cream down by the dairy products the association would have been lost and less long-life cream would have been sold. Mum was not convinced, it should be in the fridge.
As I turned to go I noticed that my presentation had attracted a crowd, and I could not help but notice that many were now buying strawberries but ignoring the long life cream. Better to skedaddle before the manager comes.
Cares, like mothers with toddlers, will know that every job takes twice as long as normal, and the morning would be over by the time we returned home. It was time for mum’s we nap and me to escape up to my allotment for a time, weeds never stopped growing just because I was away, quite the opposite, mice like, they will play.
A young American girl, when asked why she had done what she had done, answered,
“I don’t like Mondays”
Our trips to Morrison’s would end with lunch in Morrison’s cafeteria, followed by coffee and cake, (but not strawberries, they bring me out in blotches) so
“I do (or at the time did) like Mondays”