Come on baby!
You know that feeling. You’re heavily pregnant. You’re uncomfortable, miserable and you just can’t wait for the baby to come out because however tough it is after it’s born it’s got to be better than things are as they stand. I’m feeling exactly like that now – except it’s not my baby.
It’s been a week since the Shopmeister and his girlfriend left these shores to await the birth of the Shopbaby in a safer environment. One week since Allan and I started looking after the shop and it seems like a lifetime. In fact, hideous as both of my childbirth experiences were, I would happily go through both of them consecutively or simultaneously tomorrow if it would relieve me from my shopkeeping obligation.
I love being a shop assistant. I love standing behind the till and beeping things. I love chatting to people and I enjoy counting out their change. My favourite game to play on quiet afternoons is scanning random items and trying to guess how much they cost. However being a shopkeeper is much less fun. All of a sudden I am responsible for the flow of essential items such as milk, bread and toilet paper onto the island. We are the only outlet for these essentials and let me tell you people do not respond well to having to put UHT milk on their cornflakes. Not only have we brought the island to its knees with a Whit induced famine (who was to know that Whit lasted a whole week and not just a weekend?) but we also seem incapable of the relatively simple task of writing people’s names on a newspaper and then not selling that newspaper to other people. It’s strange. You would think that people who are on holiday on a beautiful Hebridean island enjoying glorious sunshine, with miles of unspoilt beach to walk along would be able to forsake their Daily Telegraph. You would be very wrong int that assumption. The Tourist becomes extremely angry when deprived of his newspaper. It’s not always my fault that the newspaper is unavailable. When you only get five boats a week it stands to reason that newspapers are not going to be delivered seven times a week……..doesn’t it? Surely part of the charm of Colonsay is the unavailability all the commodities we take for granted on the mainland. If I have to explain to one more red-faced, corpulent, pompous old fool that no we don’t have todays paper I will not be responsible for my own actions. Lets just say I’ve had to move the lighter fluid from behind the counter. That along with all those newspapers is just asking me to commit pyrocide.
I’m rather disappointed to find that I am not the perfect shopkeeper. I had fond imaginings of Allan and I running the shop perfectly. We would never run out of bread and milk and the vegetable fridge would remain constantly stocked with the finest of fresh fruit and veg. I would stand behind the counter, holding court to a gaggle of admiring customers and occasionally carrying the bags of elderly locals out to their cars. The reality is that we didn’t order quite enough milk and we’ve managed to run out of eggs. It’s not the end of the world but we’re not going to win any awards either. More worryingly in terms of stress levels and temper I appear to be turning into my father. The good news is that since Shopbaby doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of coming we have plenty of time to practice. Next week we will probably have so much spare milk we’ll all be bathing in it and surely that will be relaxing if nothing else.