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Saturday, 16 June 2012


When I have too much time on my hands I often end up shopping in the Dia Supermercado. It fascinates me how this business continues. There is normally one member of staff stacking shelves and from time to time a customer comes in, picks up a few things and the assistant runs back to the till. I have never known it to be any other way. While I was in there today I was approached by a tiny old woman who stopped and wavered beneath the shelves of chocolate muttering something so I asked her if she wanted me to reach up and get her the one she needed. She was delighted and her face lit up when I asked her if it was the metre long bar of almond chocolate she required. When I gave it to her she muttered 'que pena', 'what a shame/pity' and walked off. I have no idea what she was on about and can only conclude it was something that had happened to her years ago. I wondered how you would say 'what's up old crone/wise woman?' in Spanish and guessed it would be something like 'Que pasa, bruja?'  which is not quite the same thing. Bruja means witch and is a catch-all term to describe a woman who doesn't stand for any nonsense especially from children and men.  There are lots of old crones wandering around town trying to frighten people with their mutterings and proximity to death. If you listen to them they are often saying quite profound things and have a whiff of the occult about them. Later the above woman was hovering around the sweet section stuffing her carrier bag with chuches, sweeties. I see lots of people in supermarkets wandering around with old plastic bags stuffing them with goods. At first it looks like they are robbing the place but they always end up at the till emptying the bag of its contents and paying. Yet if you go in a supermarket with bags from other shops you often need to put them in a locker at the front of the shop. No one is allowed to waltz around with a rucksack on their back but a plastic bag is de rigeur. Some bigger shops make you seal your handbag in plastic. Anyway, the old ruler of the underworld crept up behind me muttering 'mamma mia' which I have never heard any one say here and always thought it was an Italian exclamation, and proceeded to empty her plastic bag spilling tons of bags of sweets, a huge bar of chocolate and a bottle of red wine. We both looked at my shopping. Two bottles of red wine and a bar of Lindt chocolate and although as far as I know we weren't related the words 'chip off the old block' ran through my mind.

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