I honestly believed that I had finished shopping, alas this wasn’t the case and today was quite simply wasted by taking a rash decision to go into Birmingham on what was likely to be the busiest shopping day of the year. I cannot go into detail or even the why’s and wherefores as this will spoil an event taking place in the near future however once ordered I had to wait for two hours to collect. And there lay the problem, having driven into the City on the busiest shopping day ever I felt disinclined to drive out and then return battling the traffic twice over. So I decided to hang around, after all it was only two hours in the nation’s second city, currently hosting the famous Frankfurt Market.

Unfortunately it was raining and no matter how you wrap it up, a wet Birmingham is a dismal place and there is no magic in the fairytale setting of a  Christmas market in broad daylight. I dodged the puddles and almost dodged dangerously bagged up shoppers as I walked from one end of the market, a Big Issue vendor advised me to cheer up, now that was worrying as I had far more to be happy about than he had, so I tried grinning inanely as I reached the top of the market, only for the smile to fade as I realised I had wasted a mere 15 minutes of the two hours.

My next plan was to purchase a coffee from a tax paying nationwide franchise, grab a comfy chair and catch up on Twitter, Facebook and the news. The coffee was good and the chair comfy but unfortunately the hustle and bustle of shoppers hampered by big brand posh bags and bored, wet children proved less than relaxing. Getting “bagged” from 2 metres necessitated  an almost Olympic hurl of a Selfridges carrier and prompted my early exit, with just 35 minutes wiped from the clock. Returning towards the bottom of New St I happened across the Paramedic motorcycle so often seen on the TV “Emergency Bikers ” programme, I looked inside the shop and saw the friendly face of  Steve Harris, the star of the programme in my mind, I smiled and nodded due respect and he smiled and nodded back. Top bloke and Merry Christmas to him.

I completed a successful quest for cheap tomato puree and perused the bottom shelf american woodworking magazines only found in the larger newsagents before the due collection time arrived and my ticket to join the traffic jams coming out of the city. The final item on the list of “must get” Christmas items was a new bandsaw blade to replace the one I mangled last week. This proved to be most interesting. As I walked in the last thing I expected was a queue, it isn’t that sort of shop and yet the counter was crowded. The reason it turned out was a complaining customer was causing a bit of a scene. Naturally I queued up and witnessed the fun and games. A particularly vehement and confrontational customer had brought in an out of warranty item as it had failed, either three, four or five weeks ago depending on which version the customer was relating and then left it there, either on the street as the shop manager stated or carefully carried into the shop by the manager and the customer. In the intervening time the discarded item was disposed of by the shop. Today the customer had returned to collect it and was incensed that it was no longer there. He was demanding a replacement item and actually got as far as head office before time was called on the entertainment, seemingly until CCTV can corroborate the anecdotal evidence. It is a shame that the outcome will never be known but the next time an expensive item breaks down I will leave it outside the shop and wait a month for them to give me a new one too.

Well that is it for the night, sweet dreams.


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