Aldi had horse saddles again. She fingered one speculatively, considering. One never knew when one might need to ride. It was cheap leather, of course, but may come in handy. She added it to her trolley, and carried on browsing. Biscuits: well, one was always running out of those. Constant guests – rather tiresome. Tinned goods: she piled them in. Pineapple, tuna, baked beans, chicken soup. It was damn chilly at the moment – had she bought enough soup? She added a four pack of cream of tomato, to be sure, and moved on, the wheels of her German trolley moving silently and smoothly. She was fond of Aldi. She enjoyed the mismatched surprises in the cereal aisle. Crisped Cocoa Rice? Sure. Fishing tackle? Naturally.
She eventually joined the checkout queue with her trolley heaped high. Half way through January there was next to nothing at home after all the holiday guests, so it was a jolly good idea to stock up.
The boy at the till scowled at her. Quilted gillet, green wellingtons, disdainful eyebrows. Why the feck do these posh twits choose to shop here? Couldn’t they stick to Waitrose, for Christ’s sake? Swanning in from their country mansions west of town, filling the car park with their bloody four by fours… He made sure he was extra fast serving her, and half her stuff ended up on the floor. She didn’t complain, though, and thanked him politely afterwards. Which made him feel a bit bad.
She drove away in, yes, a four by four. A twenty year old Land Rover, held together by lumps of rust. But she headed east, not west. Into town, past the leafy suburbs, through the salubrious centre with its coffee shops and brasseries, towards the unfashionable eastern outskirts. She turned in at the entrance to a sprawling housing estate, full of identical grey semis with overgrown gardens and forlorn cats. Then on to a battalion of high rise blocks. There she parked, heaved her two tartan trolleys out of the boot and wheeled them into a heavily graffitied lift. Thank God it was working today. She got out at the twenty seventh floor, turned right and headed for the third door on the left. Slid the key into the lock and pushed it open.
There were four clear square feet for her to step inside, draw the trolleys in behind her, and shut the door. The room on the left was barricaded behind a wall of tinned soup, decades-old copies of The Telegraph, and quietly rotting pizza boxes. So was the room in front. But she was glad of her Aldi haul, she really was, because one never knew when one might have guests.