Childhood Spar Shop Expedition

A blog post by Albert Semple

5 Feb 2024

I popped out to the Spar shop last week to get the family some bread — about 8pm on a week night. While navigating the aisles I came across a girl, about 9 years old, in her pyjamas, shopping alone. She seemed to be on the phone to someone using speakerphone — which she waa holding out in front of her like an Apprentice candidate.

I didn't hear the subject of the conversation — just back and forth between the girl and the caller.

I pick up my bread and go to the check-out where the girl is now queuing — still holding the phone out in front of her. Standing behind her, I can see it's a video call, with an adult woman's face on the screen. Under her arm, the girl holds a large bale of Spar own-brand toilet paper, and no other products.

Very odd, but then I applied my CSI Ebbw Vale analysis to it and have come up with what I think is the only plausible back story.

I speculate that the mum was getting her daughter ready for bed, when the mum had a sudden and urgent need to poo. Having completed her ablutions, she finds that there is no toilet paper in the house!

Nothing else for it but to dispatch the 9 year old to the local convenience shop while mum waits, sitting on the toilet, for the necessary supplies.

But the daughter is anxious about going out to the shops on her own, in her pyjamas, at 8pm on a dark winter school night.

So the mum devises a plan — we can initiate a video call. We'll stay connected for the whole trip, while I sit here on the toilet. We'll be able to see each other the whole time — it'll be just like I'm with you.

So when I was saw the woman's face on teh screen of the child's mobile, I was staring into the face of a woman, sat on the toilet, soiled and in a state of semi-undress.

That's the only plausible back story I could come up with — I hope the little girl got home without incident, before her mum's legs went completely numb from sitting on the toilet for so long.

Which brings me to the topic of today's poem — a short, puntastic one!

I've got a friend in Ebbw Vale
Who's funny and gregarious.
The Valleys people make me laugh.
I guess they are Hill Areas!
Accessible version