Today* we braved the weather – showery – and went into central London. The idea was to go to the V&A via an outdoor kit shop so D could buy a cagoule, move on to South Kensington books, and to spend as little money as possible (on non-book things). We failed in every way.
We didn’t see a cag shop on the way to the V&A, and although we did go into the museum** we only stayed for the length of time it took to find the loos and get a cup of coffee in the cafe: it was too busy, noisy, and hot to focus on world design; I couldn’t tell Canova from Kahlo in that din. So we wandered up Brompton Road and landed in Harrods food hall where I spent my entire week’s food budget on a tiny French cheese and a slice of chocolate torte.
What’s happened to the food hall at Harrods, it seemed much shrunken since I was last there, and about five times more expensive? It’s no longer the local supermarket of Knightsbridge ladies, but a spectacle for tourists. One of the things I used to like most about going there was seeing terribly elegant old ladies filling trollies with everyday groceries, or dashing in for truffles to enrich a mushroom risotto that was proving a little too dull. There wasn’t an elegant anything to be seen in the whole place, so we made for Covent Garden.
Where we finally found a Mountain Warehouse (with a sale) and rendered D showerproof. But not before triggering an overdraft with two gin and tonics in the Nag’s Head, and picking up a small canvas messenger bag for me so I don’t have to lug an enormous rucksack around all the time.
It’s almost impossible not to spend significantly in London, even the charity shops we ventured into were beyond my budget, no wonder people feel they have to work themselves to death. I realise I could too easily slip back into that lifestyle: working to buy things I don’t have time to appreciate because all my time is spent working. Luckily there’s no chance of that happening in Moffat.
*the 10th, I left posting this till the next morning so I could check it for illegible sentences in a less tired state.
**free but for certain exhibitions, for example they have a Frida Kahlo exhibition on at the moment and it costs £15, which I’d happily have paid if there weren’t so many people in the queue.