Monday, March 03, 2008

Help is all around us

Imagine the scene: The hardware section of Tesco, an old fellow absorbed by jigsaw blades, and me - seven months pregnant, holding tight to a four year old so she won’t wander off and get lost (she’s pretending to be a puppy, she wants to sniff everything, I’m considering a collar with a radio frequency tag attached).

This far into pregnancy, I can’t reach my shoes any more. Leaning down is not an option. The bottom shelf in front of me may as well be in sports and fitness, so useless and inaccessible it appears. But then I decide to use for good the pup straining by my side.

"Caroline, can you reach down and hand me that drill bit just there. No, not that box, the next one, the one just under your freckle hand. Perfect!"

"Hm....which bit works with cement? Damnation they have a bit for wood and one for metal but nothing says beton! Oh, sir sir!!" (I turn to a high schooler dressed in Tesco blue, and start babbling away at him in something resembling mechanical Czech.)

The old fellow edges closer and bends a beady eye on the Tesco help to see what he will say. The kid is at a loss, but after consultation between old and young, we settle on a set and go in search of Will, who has studiously avoided our corner of the store - he suspects I will indulge in chattiness. Thankfully Caroline doesn’t see anything embarrassing about a pregnant woman discussing hardware in ungrammatical Czech with the male population of the Tesco drill bits aisle and we quickly find the rest of what we’re looking for - newborn-sized diapers, Scotch tape to replace the last dispenser C devoured, a chicken for supper - and head towards home.

Caroline is enthused by her helpfulness and becomes generous: "I’ll set the table Mommie!" she says, so I gather silverware and placemats together and let her go. By the time the chicken is finished, so is she and we carry plates to the table to find it set with silver candlesticks, forks and knives carefully arranged, spoons placed randomly, small books on each placemat, a drawing wedged between the candles, and sunglasses in front of C and myself.

She begins dinner by flipping through her book, and asking Will for "some juice in a little glass, and this" (she says, pointing to a Flopsy Bunny). I pick up my menu (Now We are Six) and order chocolate ice cream. We all agree ice cream sounds better than rabbit, and then we dig in. Dessert - chocolate ice cream with bananas and nutella on top, is delicious.


Karla said...

I love the thought of this Tesco encounter. I'm also trying to remember which floor of Tesco has the drill bits (the floor with luggage?)... you can tell I never got into drilling into my kind landlady's walls!

Julia said...

This was the Tesco out at Andel, so on the first floor with all the other department store stuff.