The very sweet young woman serving me in the local butcher's says she knows what we will be having for dinner. I presume that the four Lincolnshire sausages and packet of sausage casserole mix may just have given the game
I suggest that she is probably in the privileged position of knowing more or less what every customer she serves will be dishing up come the evening. Is this helpful, I ask, in deciding what she will
have for dinner herself? You'd think it would be, she admits, but by the time she gets home in the evening she has so many good ideas that she can't make up her mind which to transfer from her head to the plate.
This is, of course, the opposite of Mr B and me who struggle every day to agree on our Dish of the Day. The only reason Mr B has been prepared to settle for a humble sausage casserole today is because I have promised him a magnificent Madras beef curry
tomorrow. What is more, I have undertaken to cook double the amount so that we can freeze half of it for a Future Feast. I have it in mind that we will enjoy it on the day I return from my Cardiff trip next week. It will save all the fuss of cooking after
a long journey home.
It is unusual for me to be so forward-thinking where food is concerned but I will be leaving Mr B Home Alone for a couple of days so I am planning ahead. As well as meal planning, I have
arranged to have his newspaper delivered each day. It will be a fresh experience to have the news dropping through our letter-box bright and early every morning. We may appreciate it so much that we will sign up for future deliveries. We will have our own
paper boy or girl!
Grandson Jack had a paper round a couple of years ago. Every year at Christmas he cleverly used to post a greetings card to the houses on his round, wishing the occupants Season's Greetings
"from your paper boy, Jack." It paid off in spades as far as Christmas goodwill was concerned, I seem to remember. If we decide to have our newspapers delivered every day in future, and if we have a paper person (boy or girl), then we shall have to remember
to be generous at Christmas.
Over at the Co-op, on the other side of the road, I show the girl on the check-out my two shopping bags so that she won't start packing my shopping in plastic bags. "You always
come prepared, don't you?" she laughs. I am amazed to think that my trips to the Co-op are quite so memorable. It makes me wonder how many of their customers shop assistants remember? Is it just the awkward ones? I tell her that I like to save a tree or two
if I can - then remember that it's plastic bags I am refusing. No wonder she is looking at me as if I am ever so slightly mad.
I have a chance to check things out with Emily, who is my fellow volunteer on
the Summer Reading Challenge desk at the library this afternoon. Emily has just finished at Cardiff Uni and is working at Sainsbury's for a year while she saves up enough money to pay towards a Master's degree. She is not sure Sainsbury's will pay well enough
to fund her whole course but is hopeful that bursaries may cover what Sainsbury's doesn't. I am all admiration: don't forget to tell them how you worked for your share, I advise her. She promises me she won't.
have plenty of time to talk about Cardiff as a Place to Live; the availability of bursaries; and recognising customers who shop regularly at Sainsbury's; because we are not exactly inundated by kiddies eager to finish off their Summer Reading Challenge. Partly
this is because all except the real tinies are Back To School - but even after school is out, we only have three visitors to our desk. All three, however, are "finishers" so we have the pleasure of presenting them with their certificates and medals. We treat
each of them a drum roll on our desk before the actual presentation. It's probably not quite the done thing in a library - but it was worth it to see their surprised and shining eyes. And, yes, I recognised all three of them from past visits.
It's my last stint on the Summer Reading Challenge desk this year. I won't be wearing my red tee-shirt with the Record Breakers logo on the front anymore. Unless, that is, I wear it down to Wales to prove to my (Not So Little)
Welsh Boys that, like them, I was part of the Challenge this year? I have totted up 26 hours this year so breaking my own record of last year - though I am well behind Poppy, Tashi and several others. Emily tells me she has beaten me by one hour.
At the end of this month there will be a Celebration Event with fruit squash, ginger biscuits and a tin of Roses chocolates. We will each receive a certificate recording our hours worked. I will stick mine on the kitchen
cupboard, replacing last year's Mythical Maze certificate. There it will stay till this time next year when hopefully I may even have broken this year's record.
I'm looking forward to it already, smelly stickers
and all. It's lovely to be thanked with a certificate and a Celebration Event but there's an even greater reward: the children's comments on their feedback forms. My favourite of all: "I liked the reading best."