Sunday, 6 February 2011

Viva Las Sulis

You'll be delighted to know that Mr WithaY and I are both still full of cold.  We seem to be taking part in an unofficial sneezing contest - a sneezathon, if you will - with both of us taking turns to scare the shit out of the other one with several explosive sneezes, followed by weak half-hearted nose-blowing and gasping for air.  Sometimes there will also be an apology, but it never sounds very genuine. 

I have added a painful sore throat to my repertoire, Mr WithaY is suffering with what looks like the latter stages of scurvy. 

We are pasty and grumpy.  More so than usual, I mean.

In an attempt to Snap Out Of It, as we are certain our respective parents would have advised, we went to Bath on Saturday.  We had been planning the trip for a while.  Well, it's a big deal, going to the Big City.  Originally we had intended to go by train, but on the day we decided to drive; well, as we were heading off nice and early, parking would not be a problem.

Or so we thought.

There's a handy car park in Manvers Street, next to the police station, where, local urban myth has it, some naughty scamp planted cannabis in the dead of night in the big concrete flowerpots out the front of the cop shop, only to have it grow and flourish there for months.  I have no idea if it's true, but I do like the story. 

Anyhoo.  We got to the car park by 10.30.  The top level was full, so we headed down the ramp to the spacious and charming* lower level.   Gah!  Half of the lower level was fenced off, with no apparent reason.  There was a space, but it was a bit tight to cram Mr WithaY's huuuuuuge LandRover into it.  He managed, avoiding all the parked cars around him AND the concrete pillar. 

The agenda for the day was as follows:

1)  Scour all the charity shops in Bath for appropriate 1940s-style menswear that would fit Mr WithaY.  Don't ask. 

2)  Have lunch out somewhere nice, possibly after meeting our mate Ed, to whom Mr WithaY needed to pay some money**. 

3)  More charity shop scouring.  There are a lot of charity shops in Bath.

4)  Visit Long Tall Sally (the clothes shop, not the person) and see if there was anything nice in their sale.

5)  Take a peek in the guitar shop just out of interest, not to buy anything, no honestly, I'll only be in there a minute.

6)  Go to Habitat, to try and Get With The Trends. 

7)  Finally wend our weary way back to the car, laden with the fruits of our shopping expedition, exhausted and happy, and hopefully thoroughly snapped out of our colds.

The reality was somewhat different. 

Once the car was safely parked and the EXTORTIONATE parking ticket bought, we headed into town.  The very first charity shop, almost the very first shop, that we found, delivered everything we needed and more.  Mr WithaY acquired two pairs of sturdy woollen trousers, suitably voluminous and pleated, and a dark green corduroy jacket which he is seriously considering wearing to work "because it's really nice."   All for under £25. 

They go with his new patterned tank top that he had already bought (online without my knowledge, honestly that man's a constant fount of startlement) a treat. 

I found a copy of Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" which I have been meaning to buy for ages, and only had to pay £2.50 for it.  Result. 

So, we were two hours from meeting our mate, and had already completed the bulk of the day's mission.  What to do...what to do?

Aha!  There's a Patisserie Valerie in Bath.  Where they sell Eggs Benedict.  Nom nom nom.  We had a late breakfast, and admired our bargains. 

Suitably sustained, we headed back out to see what adventures Bath held.

In the covered market, I found this.  Elvis.  But in Lion form! 

I honestly thought my heart would stop - it is so perfect.  Look at the sneer on him!

And the attention to detail...well...

I had to be led away by Mr WithaY.

Remember the Bath Pigs, a while ago?  I was really hoping this would be the first of many leonine interpretations of rock legends, but he seemed to be a one-off. 

Also, this man wins the There Must Be Easier Ways To Make A Living Award:

It was raining!   So...on a tightrope, playing the fiddle, in the rain.  For (I looked*** in his hat) about 8 quid. 

Lunch.  Ah yes, lunch.  We went to the Hall and Woodhouse.  It's a strange place, almost a pub, almost a giant waiting room, almost a bistro, not quite anything entirely.  It was very busy, but we found somewhere to sit, and I ordered an egg mayonnaise sandwich. 

It arrived, presented disarmingly in what looks like a swabs dish from a Stalinist military hospital.

Mmmmm.  Appetising.

To be fair, it wasn't a bad sandwich, despite having lettuce in it when the menu had only mentioned cress, and arriving with a portion of chips on the side which, again, the menu failed to mention. 

I should write restaurant reviews.

Lunch completed, we scooted back out into the rain to complete the remaining missions on our list.  Long Tall Sally had moved, so we walked up and down a while till we found the new shop, where I bought a couple of tops in the sale.  It's great being slightly less obese.  You have so much more choice in clothes shops.

Then, as we were in the area, we called into the guitar shop.

What a sack of arse that was.

It is staffed - as most guitar shops in my experience seem to be - by aloof young men with complicated hair and achingly hip rock-god clothing styles.  In this place, though, there is no elder guitar statesman to manage them, and rein in their sneering when a middle-aged woman wanders in off the street.  I shan't be buying anything from them, even if I do decide to sell my Rickenbacker and invest in something else in the future.


I was tempted to steal a quote from Ab Fab's Patsy - "You can drop the attitude, you only work in a shop you know."

*Dank, piss-smelling dungeon.  With pay machines. 

**The money payment is related to the clothes purchasing at point (1) above.  It's all very bizarre complicated, but if things pan out, I promise to provide a full report later in the year. 

***Yes, yes, I gave him some money.  Well, it's traditional.


Mrs Jones said...

Ah, I saw that chappy on the slack-rope last summer in Guildford High Street, at least, I'm assuming it's him - there can't be that many of them, can there?

You have my sympathy re. the guitar shop - I fear I may soon suffer the same invisibility in the near future as I'm thinking of upgrading my ancient and knackered alto sax for one that actually works and doesn't clatter like a tray of cutlery being thrown down the stairs when I play certain notes, which means braving shops in London staffed with attitudinous teenagers.

Isabella Golightly said...

Ah yes, we have a chain of electrical supply cum computer stores here also staffed by incredibly supercilious young men, and when an older (ie me) woman walks in asking for a something remotely tekkie, they kind of do a double take and look for the man behind me with his hand up my back working the puppet. Gotta love that. Not.

livesbythewoods said...

Mrs Jones, he was impressive. I can't imagine there are many people doing that for aliving...he must have a bicycle.

Isabella, come the revolution, my friend...come the revolution....