I was feeling a little bit smug. Just a little, because that sense of witchiness I wrote about the other day, stops me from complete, outright smugness. I know about karma and how quickly it arrives.
As a foreigner, I’ve never been quite sure what it means when friends, or strangers for that matter, ask if I’ve done all my Christmas shopping yet. I mean, what counts as Christmas shopping? Is it any buying before The Day, or does it have to be Christmassy, or do they mean the presents? I tend to play it safe by muttering something indistinct and look as if I’m in pain. (Just like any other day.)
So I thought about the possibility of being asked this some time soon and felt I could reply ‘yes’ to the question. There were going to be few presents and I wasn’t unprepared. And I’d more or less decided no one wants to know if I’ve got my Brussels sprouts in yet.
This is where karma in the shape of Dodo struck. She and Son are hosting Christmas, and by the sound of the preparations – yes, we can hear them all the way here – they are doing great. Which will be why there were instructions about presents.
Which will be why the very next day I headed into town to shop till I dropped. It was all right, really. Very clear and sensible instructions left me scooping ‘stuff’ into a basket in next to no time. I even went home and wrapped it all.
Which will be why I feel I’ve almost bypassed the karma and can yet again reply ‘yes.’ Should I be asked.
I also popped into Waterstones for a little look. Was gratified to queue behind a lady who had brought a copy of the Guardian Review, folded to reveal the crime review page, from which she requested various books, carefully spelling out any odd names. Very sensible.
Also in that shop, I discovered Harry Potter rucksacks. There was a nice red one from Gryffindor, and a black one for Hogwarts. I am relieved that I am both sensible and not in need of more rucksacks, so I was – mostly – safe. They were cheap, by which I mean they cost nowhere near the price of a real Kånken rucksack from Fjällräven, the style of which they were sort of copying.
I saw a similar copy in St Andrews earlier this year at the Students’ Union shop, so if you’re not going for a real Kånken, the thing to have is clearly a fake. I have used the real thing for about forty years, and have gone through a great many of them in that time.
This is where I get confused about my behaviour. Because I’ve been nowhere. I looked at bags in John Lewis a week ago. I saw how much they cost now – the same as in 1980 plus lots and lots of inflation and currency exchange rates. And soon after (last week, I mean, not 1980) I told my companion about the price, as we stood looking at someone carrying a Kånken. Who promptly turned round and looked at us and my whispering. But who was I with? I’ve not been anywhere, and not in company…