I asked why Mrs H had not thought to check her purchase before handing it over, as I checked the signed copy of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire’s memoirs that I bought for her, and had posted to me by an achingly upmarket bookseller in Mayfair. “Well, if I had bought it anywhere else I would have done,” she said. “But I didn’t think I needed to bother with Glyndebourne because it’s so posh.”
There you are, then. A valuable lesson learned, and a valuable tip on market positioning for anyone planning to sell a load of battered old fruit to unsuspecting punters over a market stall. Give yourself an upmarket name and employ some plummy-voiced ladies to take the money.
|Early Christmas morning: Santa has been|
The Boy seemed to like his plastic toy farm, too. As he should have done, given that he dragged one off the shelf and started hauling it towards the till three times when he spotted it in the toy department of Fenwick’s in Newcastle when we took him there at the end of October. Foolishly, we did not buy it there and then so as “not to spoil the surprise” (as though an 18-month-old would remember) and I was despatched back to the store to pick it up earlier this month. We did not realize, as experienced parents no doubt would, that the stock of toy departments changes almost completely in the run-up to Christmas, as popular lines sell out. Not only did Fenwick’s not have it, but neither did John Lewis, WH Smith, Early Learning Centre or the beautifully appointed but comprehensively useless new Newcastle branch of Debenhams. Luckily an internet search tracked down one that we could pick up in Toys ‘R’ Us.
As a consolation prize, I bought him a train set. Not the Hornby Dublo or LGB I really wanted, sadly. I would like nothing better than a vintage Gauge One live steam tinplate train that could career around the sitting room, spilling burning methylated spirits onto the carpet, but it would be ruled out on so many Elfin Safety grounds that it is hardly worth beginning to recite them all. But at least it is an LNER train set with those nicely solid Brio wooden tracks. The box says that it is unsuitable for children under the age of three, but then the box of virtually every toy seems to say that and he has been playing with lots of them for months. I do hope that this confession does not lead to his removal by social services, as I am getting quite fond of him now that he has started talking.
|The Boy unwraps his train set|
|Mrs H and new laptop|
|Mrs H and new coat|