[A very Happy New Year to all of you. I haven’t made any resolutions this year – that way, I avoid being disappointed in myself when I fail to keep them. But if I had, they might just have been a bit like Sadie’s…]
“Oh God — never again!” Sadie surveyed her kitchen-diner with a grimace: empty champagne bottles on the table, the remains of a Chinese takeaway; Christmas cards on the dresser and a tired-looking tree at the window. A pair of stiletto shoes lay discarded in the corner, next to a bathroom scales. On the wall hung a new calendar.
Massaging her temples and groaning, she opened the fridge and began pulling out packs and cartons. She checked labels, sniffed contents and wrinkled her nose. Everything went in a black bin-bag on the floor.
“Time to shop,” she said, “but sensibly this year!”
Sadie selected a couple of glossy cookbooks from the shelf. She grabbed a pad and drew a table with seven columns, labelling each with a day of the week. She flicked though the cookbooks, jotting down ideas, crossing them out and chewing the end of her pen. Finally, she stuffed the pad in her bag and hurried out of the door.
At the supermarket, Sadie started in the vegetables section, beneath a picture of steaming baked potatoes, covered with grated cheese. She stared longingly at the picture and her hand stretched towards the King Edwards. She chose a large bag and put it in her trolley.
At the dairy counter, she saw adverts for farmhouse butter on crumpets, a golden melting rivulet. She took two packs. Returning to the vegetables, she replaced the potatoes with mixed salad, cooking apples and bananas.
Back at the dairy counter, she rummaged in the cheeses, handling packs of Gorgonzola, Cheshire and Cheddar, before picking white Stilton with apricots. She paused, shook her head, and exchanged the butter for a small tub of vegetable-oil spread.
At the meat counter, other customers were ordering slabs of sirloin steak, marbled with creamy fat, fat sausages or pork chops with rind perfect for crackling. When her turn came, Sadie chose a skinless chicken breast.
The bakery is decorated with pictures of golden toast, smothered in strawberry jam or honey. She picked a white, unsliced loaf. Returning to the diary counter, she swapped Stilton for low-fat cottage cheese. She stood in the centre of the aisle, ignoring the crowd flowing around her, muttering and shaking her head. Finally she returned to the bakery and replaced her loaf with a small sliced slimmer’s wholemeal and a packet of crispbreads.
Waiting her turn at the checkout, Sadie flicked through a magazine from the rack. Without looking, she stretched out her hand for one of the strategically-placed chocolate bars. Realising what she had done, she stared at it for a moment then shrugged and dropped it into the trolley.
“And that’s what I call sensible shopping,” she said with a smile.
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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