I was tearing round M&S on Sunday evening, just as they made the announcement that we had but 10 mins left to make our purchases and get the f@*k off the premises. I was picking up a fitted sheet that The Mothership had ordered for me, since she was helping the kids tidy up their cesspit of a room the other day and happened, unfortunately to peer into mine.
‘I’ve never seen the like of it,’ she said, shaking her head. ‘That bed of yours is like something a dog would sleep in.’
‘Well the cat does enjoy a good old snooze there,’I quipped.
She ignored that. The Mothership has very firm ideas about cats taking liberties, and her cat would get short shrift should it venture near a duvet.
‘I’m going to go online now,’ she said, ‘and order you a fitted sheet with extra depth because that’s what’s required for a mattress of that size.’
‘Can you get extra depth fitted sheets?’ I asked.
She was incredulous.
‘Nine years you’ve had that bed and you STILL don’t know what size of sheet to buy? What planet are you on?’
‘I just thought all fitted sheets were shite,’ I replied.
That didn’t please her one bit.
Anyway, she rang to tell me that there was a brushed cotton fitted sheet waiting at M&S Forestside for me and I was to pick it up and report back. Unfortunately, she told me this on Thursday evening after I’d been out to La Taqueria where I knocked back a Piso Sour and two fish-bowl sized glasses of Tempranillo.
‘What about the new sheet? Is it nice and warm on these cold nights?’she asked, the next time she called.
Well I hadn’t a clue what she was on about. No one should tell me anything after 9pm of an evening, regardless of whether alcohol has been taken or not. I have huge difficulties retaining information these days.
The penny dropped anyway and down I raced at ten to six on Sunday, where a lovely girl found my order and said wasn’t I lucky to have such a lovely mother.
‘My mother wouldn’t be buying me a sheet,’ she said. ‘She’d be telling me to get my own.’
I agreed the on occasion the Mothership could be very kind, but that on others she could be an absolute melter. The girl smiled in sympathy.
Then I saw my pal Kristina waving over. ‘I have news!’ She said excitedly.
Now, normally when someone says that, you expect them to announce that there’re expecting or engaged or suchlike. But no. Kristina told me instead that she’d been sitting in Kaffe-O and got chatting to a randommer about the bedpan I mentioned on the blog in February.
I have become almost obsessed with the fact that the Concern charity shop on the Ormeau Road has had this grim looking bedpan as part of its window display for weeks now, and are charging a tenner for it.
‘Tell me more,’ I said, disregarding the fact that is was now 5.55pm and I still had the dinner to buy.
So, it turned out that Kristina had been in Kaffe O, explaining to her son why she wouldn’t buy him a game of Connect Four from The Concern Shop because it was £1.50 dearer than a brand new one on Amazon.
(See? Didn’t I tell you that Concern was a rip-off? They don’t know what to charging.)
As she pointed this out to her child, the lady beside her chirped up and said that she too, found the prices in Concern rather steep. She said that she’d ALMOST bought the ‘vintage douche’ the week before because she had a plumber in fixing her toilet, thus rendering it out of action. However, (and this makes me want to meet this woman because she sounds like my sort of individual) she did the maths, and worked out that she could go to The Northern Lights and drink several half pints of cider, for the same price as buying a decrepit bedpan. This option enabled her to make use of their facilities, without the indignity of peeing into a receptacle and trying to dispose of the contents while a plumber looked on.
Imagine: it worked out better value to spend the afternoon in the pub, drinking cider, than to buy a second hand piss pot in a charity shop.
However, my pal was keen to highlight the absurdity of the whole conversation given that they were in Kaffe-o drinking oat-milk flat whites at the princely sum of £3.40.
But this, people, is what I flipping love about Belfast. It’s the craic. Imagine if you were sitting at a cafe in South Kensington, or at a bar in Bath. Would you be able to start chatting to a random person about whether a piss-pot was a tad overpriced or not? I doubt it. And that is why, despite the fact that the weather is shite; most of the politicians are climate-change denying morons, and why a single accident on any of the arterial routes brings the city to a standstill, is why I wouldn’t live anywhere else.