My lovely Danish girlfriend came and visited me here in St Albans at the weekend.

Well, I thought she’d come just to see me but as the weekend wore on, her true motives were revealed.

I should have seen the signs when she said the first thing she wanted to do was go to Wilkinson’s.

Hmm, I thought. Fair enough, maybe she has a pressing need for some feminine necessity. Best not to ask too many questions.

Her eyes lit up as we crossed the threshold – in front of us was a huge vat containing packs of three washing-up brushes. Price: 40p.

‘For helvede,’ she muttered.

‘So cheap.’

Into the basket they went and we were off.

Next stop was the hair-care aisle for an industrial-sized bottle of Tres Semme conditioner.

What followed was a maelstrom of bargain personal hygiene and household sundries shopping. I didn’t say anything. Women will be women, I reasoned.

But next day was market day. Sweet baby Jesus and the orphans, it was as though all her Christmases had come at once.

Every stall was plundered for comparatively cheaply-priced goods.

And then it was the clothes shops.

It’s too painful to recall that section of the afternoon.

By now I could see the wood for the trees. She hadn’t come to see me at all, I merely represented a convenient staging post for her trips to the shops.

I felt sullied. Used and abused. She must have sensed my disgruntlement as she consented to a trip to Ann Summers.

Small mercies.

God knows how she crammed all the stuff into her suitcase.

Curse you Wilkinson’s and the hold you have on women from expensive Scandinavian countries.

Curse you England, you nasty consumer paradise.


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