Friend W and I decided it would be a good idea to go over to Marks and Spencer at Teeside Park today for last minute goodies for the Christmas table. But yesterday was a dreadful day weather-wise and we wondered what the weather would be like today. Then we both secretly began to worry about the crowds, particularly when the Yorkshire Post named today as 'Panic Saturday'. But we neither of us voiced our fears so we set off at 8.30 this morning, when it was barely light.
And what a jolly morning we have had. A pleasant journey there (takes about an hour) on almost empty roads until the last half mile when the traffic began to pile up. But we found a place in the Car Park easily and at half past nine we were in the food department, along with A LOT of others, looking at goodies. I hardly wanted anything - she was the same - but we both came away with all kinds of little extras which save time (in my case - a lovely ham joint all ready for the oven, a carton of 'posh turkey gravy', a carton of ready-made bread sauce (only two of the party like it), cocktail canapes and a couple of bottles of good wine.
We loaded up her car and then went back inside for a coffee and a mince pie in the cafe (which was not particularly busy) (everyone was too busy whizzing round the store).
We were especially impressed with how pleasant everyone was - the men pushing trolleys for their wives/girl friends gave way to us two 'elderly' ladies; the staff were all pleasant and helpful; nobody pushed and shoved - it was a thoroughly lovely, Christmassy experience.
Now, two microwaved jacket potatoes later, I am just going to take Tess for a walk as the farmer is shooting today. Then it will be light the wood burner and settle down ready to watch the final of Strictly later on tonight.
I really feel that the Christmas season has started. Tomorrow three of us are going out for Christmas lunch to a local restaurant. I shall hide the scales until after Christmas.
It is worth pointing out that friend W (who used to work for M and S long ago) found an assistant and asked her to pass on to the Supervisor her praise for the efficiency and pleasantness of the staff on such a busy day. I have just sent M and S an e mail saying much the same. People are quick to complain, so we both thought that praise was important.