A nondescript South London corner shop, the type you see on every street. By which, of course, I mean one that isn’t actually on a corner at all. In the aisle next to mine, a grandmother, mother and daughter. Or do I mean two mothers and a daughter? Three generations of women from the same family anyway. I’m getting off track.
I ignore them easily as I try to find a loaf of bread that doesn’t look like it was baked more than a month ago. I want toast, not a paperweight, after all. I am a fussy consumer. I hear a shrieked protest.
“You can’t give her cat food: she’s not a cat!”
I glance round the corner of my aisle, trying not to seem too shifty. I contemplate the small selection of shampoos on offer as if I suddenly have a desperate urge to wash my hair. I think I’m being subtle but I’m probably as conspicuous as a man in a Stasi-issued trilby staring through two holes cut in a newspaper. It doesn’t matter. I turn, ever-so-nonchalantly, away from the Vosene Medicated and see the older of the two mothers, the grandmother if you like, looking at a tin of Whiskas. Her daughter has her hands on her hips. She is evidently the one who has just offered this admonishment.
The older woman continues to look at the tin of cat food. She is lost in contemplation.
After an overly-long pause she glances up at her daughter.
“I’ll get it anyway.”
Guffawing, I have to turn away. I do hope she didn’t want to give it to the little girl in the pram.