My wife, Maria, and I made a rare trip to the shops today in search of a new jacket for me. She had been nagging . . . . no let's be kind, trying to persuade me to get a new one for a few weeks. My old jacket was just that . . . old, and I am ashamed to say, way too small. Could I really have expanded that much in just a few years? Yes! The answer is that it was not just a few years! Was there any likelihood that I could contract again? No! if I'm honest. But maybe if I made a determined effort to slim? Who am I kidding? No!
Do I really need a new jacket, I wondered? Earlier I had protested,"I have a perfectly good one, my dear", but Maria replied, "Yes, it is very nice but it is size 42 chest and you are size 46". "Oh!"
But let's face it I am usually in my ambulance uniform so I do not wear 'civvies' that often, yet I suppose it would be nice to wear some decent casuals. So reluctantly I agreed to visit Marks and Spencers.
We found a lovely jacket almost immediately but the cost was a little more than we thought at £79. However, we liked it very much, it fitted well and we did not relish traipsing around all the shops in order to save maybe £10 or so. After all, it has been ages since I bought a similar item so £79 would not exactly break the bank. I could not help thinking that if everyone was like me M&S would have gone bust years ago.
Maria insisted that I used her £20 M&S voucher she had from her boss for a Christmas gift. She could not find anything she wanted herself, so we strode to the checkout with the jacket. "Very nice one, if I may say so", remarked the checkout lady. I thought that if we had chosen one with pink and white spots she would have said exactly the same thing.
The bill was reduced to £77.32 courtesy of Gordon Brown; remember, when he reduced VAT from 17.5% to 15%, thus a saving of £1.68. Gee, thanks Gordon. I feel a bit guilty now after all the Brown bashing I have levelled at him recently. The bill was reduced further by £20 with Maria's gift voucher, so I paid the balance, £57.32.
We arrived home and saw a letter on the threshold as we opened the front door. "A letter for you, dear; private and confidential", said Maria as we entered. "Oh I expect it is another wingeing letter from Gordon Brown, complaining about my blog", I answered.
No it wasn't. It was a cheque from Tesco which was completely unexpected. The value was £50, no less, and it was a cash back cheque for house and contents insurance which we had just taken out with them.
So the final cost of my jacket was just £7.32
How about that then. We had earlier attended the funeral of a dear friend, shown in my next post tonight.