I am the Norm of my local butchers and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Seriously, it's oh so depressing. It was Saturday morning and I was dressed from head to toe in black. As I said the other day I will mostly be wearing black, mostly, to mask my portly physique when on my weekly visit to the butchers in order to fend off accusations of being, "jolly".
Staring at myself in the mirror I realised I was more ninja, a fat ninja all the same, than ordinary man. Think Milk Tray Man and you are about right. Except rather than being a svelte James Bond-esque save-the-world type character he has lost his desire to break into the homes of stunningly beautiful young women and leave them boxes of over priced and really rather disappointing chocolates and instead has taken to eating said chocolates in a fit of depression to make up for an empty life of meaningless sex and chocolat delivery.
And what was that all about with the Milk Tray man anyway? Were women really impressed with a fifty year old man dressed in black sneaking into their house and leaving chocolate? I mean because I always thought the whole charade was a bit creepy, a bit sex attacker-ish. Odd times the seventies.
Anyhoo I stopped for a moment outside the butchers to catch my breath and to wait for the gang (three counts as a gang right?) of nasty children to move on. There is nowhere really satisfactory to lock the bike up outside the butchers and I felt nervous about leaving it in the custody of a young tree and an old, toothless, Romanian woman. Sure it would cost me a quid as I would have to buy a tatty copy of her out of date Big Issue magazine, but what ya gonna do?! Still despite her assurances that she would keep an eye on it I wasn't convinced she would step up to protect my two wheeled chariot if the kids made an assault on it. Kids don't like my bike and tend to throw things at it, and as a consequence at me, when I am out for a pleasant and life affirming cycle.
So I paused before going in and pretended to be interested in the offal-y nice window display. I waited until the three of them and their devil dog, a mean looking Shitzu (they can leave you with very grazed skin) wandered out of view. They were swinging their comics and bags of penny sweets with intent. Dora the Explorer my ass, Dora the Hoodie more like.
But in I strode through the open door of the butchers feeling good about life and determined to order my Saturday sausages and get the hell out without a ten minute discussion with a wee fella about whether Fred the Shred should give his pension back or, god forbid, rugby. Bleurgh.
"Hey!", I was being helloed by a voice from a person unseen.
"It's jolly man!"
"Jolly man? Where?", again from another unseen greeter.
Sigh. Actually it was a case of sigh first and red face second. Two little heads with little hats pointed in my direction. At first I thought they had got shorter since my last visit but it turned out they were on their knees cleaning something or t'other under the counter. The big portly butcher with the ruddy cheeks was dismembering a cow or twelve on the table to the side. It was a scene of butchery bliss. He nodded in my direction. The wee fellas have yet to learn the ways of the nod. The nod says everything without having to engage in jibber or indeed jabber.
"More sausages for Jolly man is it?", asked the larger, and more impertinent, of the wee fellas.
"Eh....yes please a half dozen of the usual please. That's all I need today." I figured I would cut him off before he had the air filled with conversation and my bag with unwanted meaty purchases.
Alas, this ruse was pointless and doomed to failure. Young he maybe but wise he certainly is, well wise to my strategies. Before long I had not one but two bags of sausages, bacon, ribeye steak and the ever weird, vegetable roll. But wait, it's get worse. As the two of them filled and weighed my purchases the shop was slowly filling with other Saturday morning shoppers, mainly it has to be said older women with baskets and dogs/children tied up outside. The little fella butchers insistence at referring to me as Mr Jolly was causing some mirth with the other patrons of the butchers.
"Ooooh he's Mr Jolly?", asked a large cumbersome woman wearing a fetching t-shirt with an oyster on it. So very odd.
"Oh aye that's our Mr Jolly......loves our sausages......"
"......loves all the sausages", added the other wee fella. I may push him over one day.
"I love a man who loves his food", announced the cumbersome woman and winked at me in a rather suggestive manner. I was now so red you could have fried fucking sausages on my fucking cheeks. In response I spluttered for a bit and followed that up with stuttering and shuffling. My inability to speak in a coherent manner seemed to put the suggestiveness out of the cumbersome woman as she went back to eyeing up the rack of lamb.
The well mannered queue of Saturday shoppers could feel my embarrassment as I attempted to exit the butchers quick sharpish but instead got tangled up with a poorly placed "Caution wet floor sign" which inevitably fell.
"Don't worry about that Mr Jolly, just you get home and get the pan on!", shouted the larger of the wee fellas as he waved me off.
So that's that then. Another shop bites the dust for Manuel, it's back to the pre-pack shite and anonymity of the supermarket. As Larry David put it, "You just can't leave the house."