I made a mistake today. Not for the first time I can tell you and most likely not for the last. The mistake was to forget that today being 'Market day' the town would be full of people. Add to that the second mistake, the idea of wandering amongst the stalls and shops in the middle of the morning when the place was at peak 'women shopper' time! This mistake ranks alongside the man at Decca telling the Beatles that 'Three guitars and a drummer is old hat folks,' or 'Old Moores Almanac' claiming foretelling the future for September 1939 as 'Peace!' While some may say there are differences between market day and these examples I suggest you attempt to squeeze past a fat woman and a stall selling biscuits, then negotiate between two old dears looking at each other and pointing in different directions caring nothing for the hordes attempting to pass. Subtle hints like barging into them with a pushchair (and what sort of creature takes a pushchair into such a small space anyway?) or throwing a small child at them fails to get any recognition. Similar types push themselves in front of you as they leave the 'Special offer' shops, ignorant of normal people (male) attempting to gather a few precious needs. As you enter a shop you note that what you require is at the back and the obstacle course comprises too many stands, full of delicate things that fall far too easily, and yet more large unseeing females who think shoving a coat hanger in your face as you pass is nothing to complain about. The store, which of course has exactly what you want at exactly the wrong size, has to be fought through once again as you head for the door, the shop staff convinced you have some stolen item inside your jacket. The fact that you have your arms pinned by their sides by the crush of thoughtless shoppers is not a thing they would notice.
Having fought against the hordes of Vandals and Huns who comprise the normal Wednesday morning market day to the fruit and veg stall, and discovering the best stall is not there, only the Essex boys with their cheery wit and lying smiles and rotten fruit placed by sleight of hand into the bottom of your brown paper bag, you head back they way you have come. This time the bird in the red jersey, worn such a manner to inflame the desire of the men she fancies and enrage the jealousy of the women she passes on the way, this bint decides to grab you attention by skillful use of the pushchair her greeting faced brat is screaming blue blazes in. She also uses blue words when confronted (in love) about her driving ability. Short and frank is the conversation, as indeed are many others at this time. The postman pushing his trolley loaded with business mail around the town 'accidentally' lets you know he is also passing by muttering 'Some of us have jobs to do you know.' Knowing he spends half his day having free coffees and buns (something I never obtained on any walk when I was a postman) another short conversation takes place.
Why do women stop in the middle of the way and stare? What is it that hinders the ability to move to the side and let folks pass? Just because you are looking at a stall, or a window display, for some magical treat you neither need nor actually can afford, is there any need to hinder the rest of the world. MOVE!!!! But no. Females must stop the traffic just to contemplate something, anything, that is in front of them. Ask them what it was two minutes later and they cannot tell you! I have been taken, by force I can tell you, through a department store, up hill and down dale, until we reached the curtain department, one of my favourites I can tell you, just for her to take some material in one hand, rub it between her fingers and mutter, 'Hmmm.' Then we left. 'What was that about?' says I. 'I just wanted to look,' says she. All this for 'Hmmm?' says I. 'Yes,' says she, as if the hour had been worth it in some way.
However, today I surpassed myself. Coming out of 'Woolworth's' were the Mongol Hordes, pushing and shoving, and attempting to avoid the bookstall and the girl selling overpriced candles ('Ideal gift,' for who?) while not stumbling into a woman searching her handbag in the middle of the remaining space. Behind me a crowd of stampeding cattle were being held up by this female. The narrow space in which we crushed seemed to get smaller as we waited for her to do something and, finally, she did. She stopped looking in her bag and just stood there with a soporific smile on her face. From the other direction I thought Ashur-bani-pal and his Assyrian army were coming towards us,but I may have miscounted, the stalls around us swayed and yet more arrived from 'Woolies' as another pushchair arrived to scream its way into the fray. Just than a small still voice came from behind a hand proffering a leaflet with Santa prominent on it,
'Merry Christmas' said the voice cheerfully. It was at this point that I took out the chainsaw and cut the old bint in twain. I then proceeded to carve my way through the Assyrian army, any runaway cattle and each and every pushchair headed in my direction. As I got to the end of the market I found that I had been followed by several dozen men. 'Thank the Lord for that,' said one, I thought I'd never get out of there again!' The others said the same. 'Never shop on a market day again,' said a big ex army type,'It's far too dangerous if you ask me.'
We looked back at the carnage brought by the chainsaw, and were satisfied.