Yet Another Shopping Trip

I am not normally the sort of person to write about trips. Travel memoires – not my thing. Still, today’s boring trip to nearby town of Clacton-on-Sea was somehow different.

What prompted me to write about it? Hm. No good answer to this. Maybe because I wasn’t the driver, so I was able to let my (not very well-mannered, I know) curiosity take over and stare at people. Although, if I re-phrase it as people-watching, that may help take the rudeness out of this otherwise rude exercise.

To start with, I had to be the boss, i.e. to navigate. Which I do hate (intensely!), as then any mishaps (which are bound to happen, knowing my luck) are my fault. This time it was no different. I tried to be clever and avoid the roadworks on the major road to Clacton by taking another… road to Clacton. Did we avoid the delay? I’ll leave this to your imagination – just remember my fucking luck, right!

Looking out of the window (rather than playing with my phone, which usually consists of trying to get 3G signal, with 99% guaranteed failure rate) turned out to be rather entertaining. At a garage selling outrageously expensive cars, two blokes were standing by a not-for-the-mortals Mazzeratti (is this how you spell it, as I am a mortal, so not too interested in spelling expensive car makes). Obviously way out of their league. Which was double-proved by the fact there was no salesman breathing in their neck prompting them to test-drive it. Obviously the sales team didn’t see these so-called customers as promising enough.

Metres later we passed by a self-storage warehouse. ‘We sell boxes and MORE’. Thanks god for that. I imagined a warehouse full of boxes – and nothing else. How’s that for a living??

Fifty metres on – two pillows lying by the side of the road. Not that strange, as there was a Premier Inn right there. My imagination went off again. Hilarious pillow fight? Angry argument? God knows. And, mainly, no one cares – but me. Nosy cow.

‘Where, again, are we going?’ My other half drew me back to reality. I only knew this route because of a (typical for me) travel mishap. A few years ago I was meeting a friend for dinner at this pub, right at the end of town. Thing is, you have to know when to exit the bloody roundabout. Well, I didn’t. Which got me half way to Clacton – as there was nowhere to escape and turn back. So this is why I was so clever today: because I wasn’t a few years back. Sometimes I do learn from my mistakes. More often not.

When we were on the road, there wasn’t much to stare at. I enjoyed the ride as I rarely do. For a change, my other half didn’t complain about the slow traffic. Must have realised it wasn’t my fault after all and yes, I did my best to prevent the delay. Perhaps everyone else did the same as me by avoiding the roadworks.

Even my own CD was on. One of the few bands we share the liking of. Only thing to moan about was the music wasn’t on full blast as I would have liked it, but I can live with that!

With nothing else to do, my attention turned to the clouds, and I realised they were magnificently beautiful. Wow, since when did I become so romantic??

Going down memory lane again (Sorry for that!)…, I’ll never forget my first geography teacher. All I remember about her was telling us about her artistic daughter. And how she just knew she would be an artist one day, as from an early age she was fascinated with the magical beauty of the clouds.

Throughout my 41-year existence I have tried hard to find the clouds fascinating. And, being the cynic that I am, all I could see was… clouds.

Today I saw their magic. Here it is:


And then I realised why. Why today’s trip was different. Not just because I was the passenger. But we didn’t have the kids either. No one to argue with. No teasing, no bickering. Just my husband and me. When was the last time this happened… Errmmm, some eight years ago maybe.

Not that I haven’t travelled for business on my own. By train, so plenty of time to myself. Somehow driving through town gives you different things to watch, though, provokes you to think, cynically in my case. But it also wakes up the romantic in you.

Not that my people-watching exercise didn’t go back to my cynical nature as soon as we arrived. A family of five big people walked past the shop specialising in large sizes. Come on, how can you walk past, this is your shop, you can’t possibly not come in. Yet they didn’t.

I didn’t find what I wanted in that shopping outlet today. But I think I found something more important. Something I thought I lost forever. Many years ago…


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