On Monday it was my wife’s birthday. Part of my present to her was tickets to see the ballet Giselle at the Bristol Hippodrome in a few weeks’ time, but as the tickets haven’t arrived (and she was sat next to me when I booked them) it wasn’t something I could wrap up for the big day. So instead I gave her two boxes – one was a box of Matchmakers chocolates which she was eyeing up in Tesco the other day, and the other was something a little more special. A delicate little pink box, inside which were nestled a couple of shiny earrings.
Well, sort of. In actual fact the box was a hand-made creation, the template for which I had made on my computer and printed onto card, constructing quietly and surreptitiously in the study so she wouldn’t notice. Fairly simple, but it had a sticky tape hinge, our wedding logo on the top half, and the clasp was made with two split pins and a tiny elastic band. It was quite ingenious. Inside, the earrings were actually just a printout from a web site, which could have been a let-down, were it not for the explanation – I was taking my wife to Cribbs Causeway to buy her the real thing.
A little explanation is needed here for those of you unaware of our particular problem. We live in the country. The middle of Somerset, to be more precise. The nearest motorway is about an hour away, and the only way to get to one is via A-roads, some of which have two lanes, but most of which don’t. In short, we’re a little cut off from the main thoroughfares of motoring. In addition, our nearest town is Shepton Mallet, which is tiny. There are shops, of course. They’re both very nice. Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but let’s just say that the range of shops isn’t exactly dazzling. Day to day this isn’t a huge problem, but for special things like earrings we’re pretty much up a creek without a pointy stick.
So I took Ellie to Cribbs Causeway. This gave us a choice of four good jewellery shops, plus those fashion accessory shops too. The reasoning went beyond just practicality of purchase, of course. I could have ordered something online, after all. The trouble with that is that a) you don’t get to hold it in your hand beforehand, b) it might not be what she wanted, c) the postal strikes might have caused problems with the delivery date, and d) if it was coming by post Ellie would have got to it before I could.
It was undeniably the slowest wander around a mall I think either of us have ever embarked on; a fairly heavily pregnant Ellie doesn’t make for a nippy walking speed. Still, it allowed us a chance to spend time looking at everything, which was good. I have to admit it was the first time I had ever been into Accessorize – let’s face it, it’s not somewhere I need to go into for myself. She finally settled on a lovely little pair of earrings from a very reputable store, which sparkled very satisfyingly. They’re simple enough to be worn on a regular basis, so not too showy, but still gorgeous to look at. I was pleased with the purchase, and Ellie is too.
Of course, there is more to Cribbs Causeway than just jewellery shops. A lot more. In particular, I found myself in a mobile phone shop asking to try out a Samsung Tocco Lite, which I had been researching online for a while as a replacement for my Motorola L6. It was nice to actually feel and use rather than just seeing photos, and I was suitably impressed. Then came something a little unexpected – Ellie persuaded me to buy it, there and then. Not exactly what I’d planned on spending my money on that day. Still, she seemed keen that I should buy it, and it was after all the phone I had fallen in love with (after the iPhone of course, which is still infuriatingly beyond my meagre budget), and the demo in the shop had only confirmed it as being a good phone. So, still in a bit of a daze, I bought it.
It’s a full touch screen phone, with a bare minimum of actual buttons, and everything else happening on screen instead, in much the same way as the iPhone, just on a smaller budget. It’s about the same overall size as my L6, so it should still fit comfortably in my pocket, and it’s actually lighter too. I’m really impressed with it so far, in particular the ease of use of the touchscreen qwerty keyboard which pops up when you rotate the phone on its side. I think the only niggles I’ve found so far are that it doesn’t support Java games very well, and it doesn’t synchronise with my Mac. But overall it’s a fantastic little phone, and I shall undoubtedly enjoy using it for some time to come. It did feel a little out of place, purchasing such a lovely new toy on my wife’s birthday, but I maintain it was her idea…