Ivy Trotter’s Adventure
‘Mum, I’ll take a day off next week and take you – please, just be patient!’ Carol forced out a dutiful daughter smile. Why did her Mum go on and on about that blessed wedding present? Julie and Sam’s wedding was a month away. Ivy sniffed, and decided that she did not care for her only daughter’s sloppy attitude. Ivy had been thrilled to hear the wedding announcement of her eldest Grandchild Julie. The months had flown by, and now the wedding was imminent. Ivy had set her heart upon buying a nice porcelain ornament for the happy couple. When she and Albert had married all those years ago, in the fifties – nice things like that were hard to come by. Ivy sat down by the window and sighed. They possessed so little in material things when first starting out, but were the richest of couples deeply in love. Albert had been gone nearly two years now, and she desperately missed him every waking moment.
Carol waved goodbye to her Mum sat with the net curtain pulled back to one side. ‘Damn damn damn’ she hissed as she ran down the driveway to her car. Two weeks ago she had promised Mum a shopping trip. Carol knew her mum was bitterly disappointed. Grimly she drove home, promising to be a better daughter and take her out shopping. What would it take, maybe half a day and some lunch? Carol’s new boss was demanding, and always made her and the team feel guilty if they took annual leave. Carol vowed to go into work the following day and fight the ‘Wildebeest’ for some time off the treadmill.
Ivy slept fitfully that night, however by early morning, she came up with a solution to her current shopping woe. Ivy Trotter would go shopping on her own, and she would take a taxi! Leafing through the local village magazine, Ivy found an advertisement for the once a week community bus into Tautumn. Heart beating, Ivy picked up the telephone straight away, and shakily dialled the number before she changed her mind. How lucky was that, they had one space left for today! There was little time to waste. With best hat, coat and handbag, Ivy tore out of the bedroom, straight downstairs, and determinedly locked the front door. The community bus arrived promptly at nine thirty. All of the hasty breakfast things would have to be cleared up later she guiltily thought to herself.
‘Will this suit you Mrs Trotter, the drop off point is right by House of Hazers?’ Ted the driver smiled as he helped his sparrow like passenger onto the pavement. ‘I’ll be back at four o’clock prompt’
Ivy smiled up at him and muttered ‘oh, I will have to see’ She had rather a lot of shopping to do, and was unsure if there would be enough time. At that moment a motorbike roared passed, so all Ted heard (or thought he heard) ‘I will have a taxi’. He saluted in acknowledgement, and drove off to the next drop off point.
Ivy returned a warm smile to the highly polished sales assistant. Her bronze name badge declared ‘Emily Devere, senior beauty consultant’. Stepping forward, she asked Ivy if she might show her the latest perfume that was on promotion? Well, the red leather chair did look inviting, so Ivy flumped down immediately, and agreed to try out the latest foundation powder too. One hour later, Ivy Trotter looked stunning. She cocked her head from side to side as she looked into the mirror that Emily moved around. ‘Thank you dear, I almost look glam’. Emily’s heart softened, for this funny little lady looked just like her dear old Granny who lived miles away on the Isle of Skye. ‘No, there’s nothing to pay madam’ Emily heard herself say. Ivy Trotter was astounded, for she now held a small and beautiful gift bag full of ‘beauty products’. ‘Thank you Emily, you have been most kind, and have made the start of my day so special’.
The day continued nicely. Oblivious of time, Ivy floated from one department to another. Eventually, feeling her poor toes throb, she made her way into the buzzing restaurant. A bored waitress perked up when she saw the smartly dressed elderly lady walk past. Ivy felt exhausted, and it showed through on her well made up face. Normally, this would be a self- service restaurant, however the waitress took pity and showed Ivy to a nearby and quiet corner. In next to no time, fish and chips were duly brought – along with a hot pot of English breakfast tea. Ivy sighed and wiggled her toes with pleasure, for they were now released from their cruel captive pair of court shoes. Looking at her list, Ivy felt she was doing rather well. A frothy navy blue creation sat in a House of Hazers sturdy hat box. The hat made her want to giggle when she first set eyes upon it, for in the centre of all the frothiness, sat a small bird. Ivy blinked, thinking her new glasses were playing up, however the millinery assistant assured the amused customer this was ‘the latest fashion, created by Hugo Humerez’. Ivy was smitten and succumbed. Chewing her lip, she thought now a new dress may also be necessary as the lemon suit set aside at home would be just plain too garish.
The ladies cloakroom beckoned Ivy, so she hastily paid for her meal, and left a generous tip for the kindly waitress. Why on earth had she not done this years ago? Go shopping without her fussing daughter Carol, and be just a bit more adventurous! A harassed looking woman with two little girls hurtled through the cloakroom entrance, and luckily – the door remained open for Ivy, so she was able to walk through with her precious cargo of a hat. The sturdy octagonal hat box was unwieldly for Ivy. Oblivious of her actions, Ivy clipped one of the little girls on the ear. Screaming from the afflicted child ensued for what felt like eternity, so Ivy remained seated in the cubicle until all commotion ceased, and the trio departed. With a click-click, the store tannoy system boomed into action, making Ivy jump. A silky and soporific voice announced closure of the store in ten minutes time. Customers were urged to make their final purchases and to then make their way out of the store. ‘House of Hazers thank you for your custom today, and hope to see you again soon’.
A single tear rolled down Ivy’s lined cheek. She had a dress yet still to find, and a special porcelain wedding gift. Her heart beat fast as she sat there in panic, overwhelmed by the failure of her mission.
Gary the security guard clocked on for his usual stint of night duty at 8pm. By this time of the day, all shelves were replenished, and the House of Hazers store shone sparkly clean once again. Gary whistled as he sped up the now stationary escalator. Ten security screens mounted on a circular desk winked at him as he stepped through the ‘Private No Admission’ door. Hopefully this would be a quiet night as usual, for Gary had quite a list of things to do. Find cheap flights over to Dublin for a stag do he was organising, a birthday present for his eight year old nephew, and best of all – the cup final to watch on replay. Gary had forbidden any of his mates to give away the result, and had avoided all newspapers, along with the television at home. All in all, the ten hour shift would pass by in a flash. Feeling peckish, Gary unwrapped his giant foil pack of sandwiches, and smiled to see his favourite, ham and pickle. Good old Mum, she still fussed over him like a child, despite his twenty two years of age.
Carol felt shattered. The day had been gruelling, and her boss had been in a particularly foul mood. On this basis she had not dared to ask for a day off, in order to take her mum shopping. There was nothing for it, she would just have to use up a precious Saturday, when normally she caught up on chores. Driving past her mum’s house, she wondered if to call in? Seeing the bedroom light on, Carol decided her mum was going for an early night, so carried on home. A telephone call in the morning would have to do.
Ivy’s eyes were now well adjusted in the low lit dress department. It was a shame there were no helpful assistants around, but at 11 pm there was no alternative. Quickly she moved through the rack, and presently was rewarded with a smart navy dress with jacket. Pink piping, along with oversized pink buttons gave the whole outfit a rather jolly look. Ivy giggled to herself ‘this will go perfect with my little bird hat’. Sat in the ladies cloakroom earlier, Ivy Trotter had experienced what could only be described as an epiphany. No longer would she rely upon her dullard of a daughter, Carol. Since Albert’s passing, it felt to Ivy that she no longer had any say in her own life whatsoever. Carol ruled the roost on matters of food, clothing, Doctors appointments and other inane matters. If it were not for the fact she had two adorable Grandchildren, Ivy now felt she would rather like to kick her daughter into touch. Ivy smiled, thinking that’s a phrase her sixteen year old grandson Jamie would use. Blinking, Ivy realised time was getting on, and she felt absolutely exhausted. Carefully wrapping the outfit in layers of tissue paper, Ivy searched at length under the counter for a nice large carrier bag. Only the largest would do she thought to herself.
Gary smiled in smug success. Ten flights out to Dublin with Darrenair at only twenty pounds each was a steal! Quickly he paid, and almost immediately an email pinged into Gary’s mailbox to confirm the booking. Nearly half past eleven, Gary glanced over to the security screens. All seemed well, other than Womenswear seemed to have something odd sat by the central pay desk. Zooming in closer, he realised it was only a pile of tissue paper. Maybe House of Hazers was having yet another sale. Gary made a mental note to tell his mum in the morning, for she loved any chance to pick up a bargain.
Puffing from the exertion, Ivy popped back up from the counter, having found a suitably large carrier bag for her new outfit. Meticulously, she counted out one hundred and ten pounds. Finding a clear plastic envelope by the side of the till, Ivy carefully placed all of the money inside. Ivy was an honest woman, and despite her now unconventional shopping spree, she was determined to do the right thing and pay. Peering into the gloom, Ivy found the stairs down to the ground floor. In concentration she trod silently on each step, not knowing if she would encounter an angry security person. Breathing more deeply, thoughts of maybe an angry Alsatian troubled Ivy too. Fortunately, the china department soon became a salve to Ivy’s troubled soul, for she loved beautiful ornaments. Before long, she found the Italian glassware section, one of her lifetime favourites. There it stood before her, the loveliest vision of a couple entwined in embrace. Carefully Ivy looked at the price label and nearly fainted. Sitting down on a nearby chair, Ivy looked into her vast handbag to see if she had enough money in cash to pay, or maybe find her chequebook.
Gary was enjoying the football match on playback. His favourite team were winning, and were four goals up. ‘Go on get in there’ he shouted. Supping a can of larger (against management rules) Gary was relaxed and enjoying the shift. This was the last one for a week, as he’d booked some time off to help his dad build some more wardrobe space at home. Peering at the screens, all seemed to be fine. The window display on west wing of the store looked great. The window dressers had cleverly created a pantomime scene, featuring Cinderella and her coach to the ball. It was school prom time, so House of Hazers would do very well in ball gown sales. He must tell mum to get down and have a look at all that – she loved glitzy clothing, and fancy shoes.
Ivy could not believe her luck, for she had just enough cash to pay for the Italian glassware ornament. This would leave her with just five pound coins rattling around in her purse. Julie and Sam would love this wedding gift. They were due to move into their new home shortly, and she knew they only had basics to survive on. The deposit had rendered them nigh on penniless. Getting into the swing of bubble wrap and tissue paper, Ivy deftly found the right sized carrier bag and was soon done. Again, she left the notes carefully tucked into a clear plastic envelope. Ivy by now felt utterly exhausted, but happy. Peering up at the huge face of a wall clock, she was amazed to see that it was 2 am already. What was she to do until morning?
Gary whooped at the final score, five nil. On a high, he went back onto his phone to search for a birthday present. Gary’s little nephew needed a cool present, what could he give him? In the end, he found just the thing. All the paperwork, and tickets for six visits would soon been winging their way to Gary. Adopting a cage of tigers at Brizzol zoo seemed a really cool thing for his animal mad nephew. Gary peered over at the security screens again whilst gently singing ‘five nil, five nil, five nil, five nil’ All seemed well in the store. He looked at the west wing window again, fascinated by the flamboyant coach and horse scene for Cinderella. Two large shopping bags were hung from one of the horses’ saddle. Those window dressers know a thing or two he thought to himself, clever to show Cinderella had been shopping at House of Hazers.
A bell rang in the distance, and Ivy moved her hand across to turn the alarm off. Albert would be late for work if she did not get up straight away and make him a nice cup of tea. Opening her eyes, she blinked in terror. This was not her bedroom, nor was Albert by her side. What was happening? After a few moments, all came guiltily back to Ivy. She had been shopping through the night. Ivy had never ever slept in a coach with two horses before. Looking out of the coach window she saw people quickly walking past, on their way to work no doubt. A road sweeper lethargically swept the pavement outside, with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. Looking up to take a puff, his eyes met those of Ivy peering out of the coach. She waved in a convincing regal manner. Shaking his head, the road sweeper moved on. Window display was incredible these days, no wonder everything was so bloomin’ expensive.
Ivy quickly recovered her composure and decided on a plan. The best thing to do, would be to stay put until the store became busy again – then she hopefully might step out of the window scene unnoticed. The plan worked well. Retrieving her two bags, Ivy walked slowly over to the beauty counter, and with the greatest of luck – caught the attention of beauty consultant Emily. ‘Hello dear’ Ivy said smiling. ‘I’ve been a bit daft, and seemed to have mislaid my hat box’. Emily picked up the department phone and telephoned lost property. Thankfully it had been retrieved from the ladies cloakroom the night before. Ivy was relieved, to lose that wonderful hat, without ever having worn it – would have been such a disappointment. Emily could not believe the fact, the store had only been open fifteen minutes or so, and yet this dear old lady had seemed to have done so much shopping! ‘Please, have a seat and I’m sure your hat will be here in a few moments’
Ivy gratefully sat down in that lovely red chair again. She was thrilled with all of her shopping, but best of all, thrilled that she had achieved it all on her on. If you want something doing, do it yourself she muttered under her breath. ‘Would you mind calling a taxi for me dear?’ Emily looked down and smiled at this gutsy little old lady. ‘Yes of course I will, with pleasure madam’.
Ivy could not wait to get back home with her spoils of the night. Just imagine the face of her grandson Jamie, when she told him of her House of Hazers adventure. Ivy was sure she’d heard him tell his mum about a mate who’d deliberately stayed overnight in some Swedish store just for a dare. Jamie would be amazed, maybe he would even put something on that social thingy about her. What’s it called, Twitface?