There's nothing better than spending a Bank Holiday Saturday in a large shopping centre, full of ne'er-do-wells (my sister Miss R, the mother ship, Mrs Jangles and Mrs W numbers 1 and 2 to be more precise).
Milton Keynes is not one of my favourite places, I must confess. It promises so much, yet yields so little. This is probably because I have never ventured very far from where I have left the car, terrified I will never see it again (a bit like the walk in the woods the other day).
Miss R had offered to drive us all there in her big, posh car as she had lots of room. It appeared that half of the population were heading the same way as us, and it was a happy moment when we saw the beautiful straight lines and right angles of Milton Keynes.
Reconnoitring at the large map in the middle of the shopping centre, we planned our day. The mother ship and Mrs Jangles fancied a gentle meander around M&S, while us younger ladies were planning more adventurous shopping, namely Zara and Karen Millen.
There was some confusion at the map, the 'You are Here' sign not helping the older two whatsoever with regard to the location of M&S. Eventually making them understand that it was the purple area which they needed to head to, I came up with the suggestion of one of them taking a photo of the map in case they got lost. You all know what I am going to say now, don't you? Neither of their phones had a camera, internet access or maps. We would just have to hope that sometime around 2.00, they would both materialise at Carluccio's for lunch, having checked out the Milton Keynes branch of their favourite store.
Going our separate ways, the younger contingent headed off to House of Fraser (big sign, couldn't miss it). Why we thought it would be any different from the House of Fraser near home, I have no idea, but I digress. At one point, I was hanging around the Mint Velvet section looking at their grey clothes (they have a very limited palette).
'I don't like their clothes', said Mrs W number 1. 'They're always asymmetrical'.
I agreed with her, saying that until the day arrived when I had one leg longer than the other, and walked in a never-ending circle, their clothes weren't for me.
Many bags later, we headed off to Carluccio's for lunch. Frantically checking our watches, we waited for the two older shoppers to appear on the horizon (a bit like that dog in The Incredible Journey). Surprisingly, they were both early. They had found the restaurant about half an hour before, and were too afraid to walk on in case they never found it again. The lure of a couple of glasses of red wine were all that was needed to lead them to us apparently.
It was then off for more shopping and back to the car. Laden with bags, it soon became apparent that we had a problem with Miss R's big, posh car. The boot was filled with four rolled up duvets (I still have no idea what she was doing with these in her boot - she only has one bed for goodness sake). Our neatly wrapped packages were stuffed onto parcel shelves, into glove compartments, centre consoles, ashtrays and even deep pockets. Even so, it was a bit touch and go, and it was just as well that Mrs W number 2 had her own car there, as sacrifices would have been necessary.
We never did find the purple area. I think that the people who do find it, are never seen again.
A bit like the Bermuda Triangle...