It has proven astonishingly difficult to get our hands on the basic things we need to clean out our flat. There are just as many stores here, perhaps, as there are in the United States. However, to my greedy American eyes they are very small and have an extremely limited selection of items. What they do sell is in much smaller quantities (eggs=6, laundry soap=1 lt., etc.) and at much higher prices. Add to this the unfamiliar brands and the terminology problem, which results in never really knowing if what you are buying is what you set out for or not, and you have yourself an interesting challenge. It has taken us most of the week to locate a store that reputedly sells “household items” and less expensive groceries. Word came at last, and we set out this morning by 9 a.m. to conquer.
We rode a bus to the city centre, and on our way Alex brought Norah and I to see Keble College. This is his college, established in 1870. The Oxford colleges are mostly accessible only through narrow doorways, which lead on to large enclosed areas of buildings, chapels, etc. Here’s Alex and Norah about to enter Keble.
Once through, I took a bit of a 360. For those interested, visit this video. We are so grateful to be here!
After Keble we walked a few blocks farther into the centre and found our store. It didn’t have everything, but it had enough! We managed to find diapers, laundry detergent, clothespins, a mop, sparkling water (A Necessity of Life), and the English version of Drano, among other things. The counter where you check out is about the size of a piece of paper, as is the counter where you bag your items. So here I stand, I unload a couple of things onto the counter. Then suddenly the cashier stops checking things out and just sits there. ? Oh! I realize the other counter is full and I have to pack the things into the stroller. So I rush around and pack the things into the stroller, and suddenly they stop coming. I look at the cashier again, and he’s just sitting staring at me. ? Oh! I have to unload more things from the cart! So I rush around to the cart, and now he won’t take any more. The bagging counter is full again! And on we go. Add to this the very public seven minutes of creative packing and unpacking it took for us to get everything loaded into the stroller, to the interest of many English onlookers (most of whom seem to have come to purchase one small pocket-sized item) and you have the whole spectacle.
We strolled the stroller onto a red double-decker bus and returned home, covered with glory.