The Fairy Godmother and the 11 District Nurses from the Valley: Part Two

The day after my eccentric dinner with the nurses, I met up with my godmother again in order to show her my new flat (which I was due to move into on the following Monday), or – as she put it – to allow her to fulfil her godmotherly duty in inspecting and cleaning it from top to toe. When we arrived at the flat, the one of the landlords (yeah we have two – they’re brothers – more on that later) was there changing light bulbs and fixing locks ready for move-in day – clearly Elena’s shouting and violent gesticulating had made an impression. I waited with baited breath as Belinda’s eyes swept over the apartment, taking in the lashings of yellow furnishings, including the *interesting* mock-velvet sofa cover in a lurid shade of gold. After a short silence (and to my profound relief, since I’d already signed the contract), she voiced her approval. Together we assessed the cleanliness of the flat, and to our collective surprise found it to be in a relatively hygienic state; the only thing that needed cleaning was the bathroom, which was giving off a questionable smell that, when combined with the snot-brown colour of the fittings, was less than appealing. We asked the landlord the location of the nearest supermarket, and after a brief pause for lunch at a strange Thai restaurant masquerading as an innocuous cafe, we set out to stock the fridge. Now, at this point I should mention Belinda’s hatred of shopping, an aversion so strong that she has been known to sit in the corner of Topshop on Oxford Street reading a paper for two hours whilst her daughter tries on clothes. Her offer to buy me food therefore involved immense personal sacrifice. It was the most succinct display of shopping I’ve ever witnessed. We flew around the shop, throwing items into the wheelie basket almost at random, and were at the checkout in less than ten minutes. However, the plan hit a snag when we attempted to pay; Belinda got out her debit card but the Spaniard behind the counter refused to take it, shaking his head and repeating something in Spanish that I couldn’t understand (of course the guy didn’t talk any English). Eventually I worked out that he wanted I.D. for her to use her card – I’ve since discovered that this is a common practice in Spain. In vain she rummaged through her purse searching for anything that might prove her identity, producing a business card which was immediately and disdainfully rejected. We were about to give up when she pulled out her Boots card, which the man took and examined thoroughly. We tried desperately to maintain straight faces when he eventually nodded gravely and handed it back to her, accepting her debit card and putting through our purchases. As we exited the shop we collapsed into giggles and continued to laugh as we staggered back down the hill with our shopping. Later that evening, as we were returning from another dinner with the nurses, Belinda suddenly decided that she wanted to buy me a set of towels before her departure the following day. As we were passing a Corte Inglés (a Spanish superstore that rolls Debenhams, Harrods and John Lewis into one), we dashed inside with her sister Jen to find some. Yet again I was treated to the Belinda Knowles approach to shopping; as I was dragged up the escalators to the correct department, I was instructed that I had until we located the towels to decide on the colour that I wanted, as if I indulged in even the briefest moment of hesitation I was getting the nearest set possible. My indecisiveness cowered under the pressure. To make matters worse, on approaching the towels I realised to my horror that they were available in every colour of the rainbow. Needless to say, I panicked. Closing my eyes, I pointed randomly in the direction of a shelf. It wasn’t until we got to the checkout that I discovered the colour I had blindly chosen – a deep, not too shabby-looking, garnet red. Just so you know, they look excellent hanging up in the snot-brown-but-now-sweet-smelling bathroom.

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