We made a trip to Lidl's today - an old Christmas tradition but it didn't go so well. My Mum came here as a refugee in 1938 from Germany and, as you can imagine, she wasn't a big fan of the country.
But she did still have some fond food memories and every Christmas I had a bit of a struggle getting hold of them for her. Lidl's is a German firm and I always ended up there looking for the Christmas biscuits and sweets that she wanted.
And I suppose I got the taste too, in a way. Anyway, year after year I got the biscuits after a struggle, but this time, for the first time ever, they didn't have their usual range. It's not really a British thing and I don't think they ever sold well - I suppose they finally gave up on us.
It's not the end of the world for me but it was a break with the past.
But worse than that, we thought we'd 'kill two birds with one stone' and loaded the car up with rubbish and headed off for the council dump first. There was the old kitchen fluorescent light (the one that blew up rather spectacularly), the old kitchen mixer from the 1960's which died in a cloud of ominous blue smoke (it weighed a ton and more), and Robyn's old T.V.
I should explain that we are now the proud owners of four t.v.'s, the problem being that only two of them work.
My mum's big, heavy, monster of a TV died about 18 months ago.
When it came I didn't realise how heavy it would be and that it needed two people to get it out of the box and up onto the stand - that realisation came after the delivery people had left.
I ended up cutting one side of the box away and then using the rest of the box to hold one side of the TV while I pushed it up and then slid the stand under it. then I cut the rest of the box away.
Anyway for three months we sat watching a tiny old portable until Robyn spotted a sale TV at Tesco's, hiding lonely in the corner. We couldn't believe how cheap it was and it's been great ever since.
The problem is the old one's still living in the corner of the room - too big and heavy for us to get it out of the house.
Obviously we could pay someone to take it away but these days that can cost as much as the new set did.
I have thought of smashing it up in the front room and getting rid of it piece by piece but there are problems with the heavy metals this would liberate.
Mind you, it would be very satisfying.
Robyn's TV was a modern LCD but that only lasted for about three years. It may be as light as a feather but it has memories for her - she bought it when she first came to the UK and it's followed her around since, like a loyal dog.
It once had a DVD player but that broke first - trapping a DVD inside. Rather like me, Robyn's attitude was to keep on watching.
We couldn't get the DVD out so we left it there for later.
Then Robyn lost a line of the screen, then the lost line spread until the whole screen went white.
At which point she broke it open to get the DVD back; since when it has been lying on the front room floor in front of my mum's TV.
The front room is where the TV's go to die.
So we (that means Robyn) loaded up the car and I set off for the dump......only to find when we got there that it's no longer open to residents during the week, only at the weekends.
No doubt that saves a few pounds but it may be why there is so much illegal dumping.
I was very tempted to leave the stuff at Lidl's.
So we had to bring all the rubbish back home with us.
Not quite the day we'd hoped for.
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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