48OE Blog  
May 26

Written by: 48OE Admin
26/05/2011 12:32  RssIcon

I stood in the entrance to a foreign land. The first step is always the most daunting, I pressed on into Waitrose in Harpenden. Why was I here? An emergency had arisen! - no milk and no biscuits and 20 guests arriving in 30 minutes: ‘Be back in under 30 minutes' was the instruction ringing in my ears.
I guess we have all experienced this - a giant supermarket we have never been into before. Fear gripped me; I was way off my patch.  I am now a Herefordshire boy and my normal turf is the local farm shop or Saturday market. I am also male - far too conceited to ask for assistance!
However, I clearly have a helpful face as I had only travelled about ten paces when I felt a prod. I quickly glanced round to be faced with a rather determined senior citizen of about 85 brandishing a walking stick. She was bent double and displayed some of the thickest glasses I have ever seen.
“Young man, my sight is not what it used to be, is this plain chocolate?” she demanded. Thinking of my mother and how difficult life is for her aged 94, I replied ''No these are Garibaldi biscuits'', I said handing them back to her.
“Why did you give me biscuits? I want plain chocolate!” she countered in an exasperated voice. Thinking again of my mother I guided her to the chocolate section.
I don’t know how many of you have ever taken the time to look at the chocolate section in Waitrose but it is vast. I never imagined in my wildest dreams there could be so many permutations. This was going to be difficult. I coughed and confirmed “So it is just plain chocolate you require?” She looked up and in a school mistress way said “Young man, that’s what I said”.
Well, I should have realised that the 'Young man' as flattering as it might be in some circumstances was an omen.
Fear creeps up on you. It is irrational and takes no prisoners. I did not want to get this wrong, it was a simple request. My eyes glazed, my brain began to fuzz and I felt a trickle of perspiration in the centre of my back. All I could see was Raspberry, Mint, Mocha, Coffee, Ginger, Kiwi, Brazil Nut, Hazel Nut, Orange, Chilli, Rum & Raisin, Lemon, Lime – you get the picture. Whatever happened to Cadburys or Bournville?
Just as I was about to give up hope I was rewarded. I spotted Green & Black plain chocolate. Them my guilt really set in. It was Organic. Could this octogenarian afford the price? Does she sit at home in winter with no heating, to save money? I nervously said I had found some but it was organic so I was looking again. “I don’t want Organic” came the cry, “Nothing I have ever eaten has hurt me. I’m eighty seven” she said quite emphatically.
Luck was on my side I found some plain chocolate. I smiled and handed it to her   “There you are plain chocolate” I said triumphantly.
“It is plain milk chocolate isn’t it?” she questioned.
I have never returned to that supermarket..