Saturday, August 04, 2007


He's old, but sprightly. Probably in his late sixties, about five and half feet tall, with thin grey hair and an Aberystwyth tan. He's dressed quite casually for a man of his age; pale yellow polo shirt tucked into the top of faded blue jeans, a pair of bright orange trainers on his feet that squeak on the polished supermarket floor as he pushes his trolley down the fizzy drinks aisle. But it's not this that catches my attention; it's his attitude.

Most people, at least around these parts, go grudgingly to Morrisons for their weekly shop. Stocking up on fruit and veg, toilet paper and tinned tomatoes is not a task to be enjoyed so much as endured. Misery stalks the frozen food section, chilling any residual joy from most shoppers as they drag their screaming children along behind them. There is no comfort to be found in the massed ranks of loaves, each wrapped in plastic to stifle even the homely smell of baking. Something about the lighting, or maybe the piped music, strives to deaden the mood, leaches out your soul as you worship at this temple of reluctant commerce. Even the sweets, set tantalisingly close to the check-outs, fail to lift the spirit.

Yet this man is happy. He has a spring in his garish, rubberised step, a glint in his eye quite at odds with his age. And as he walks along he sings a little song to himself - over and over again - no words, no discernible tune, just a surprisingly loud brass-band impression of happiness.

bom - bom bom bom - bom - bom bom bom bom - bom - bom bom bom - bom- bom bom bom bom.

I wonder what pills he's taking, and where I might get some for myself.



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