I don't know when: it could be soon or it might be several weeks or even months away, but it's definitely coming. No, I'm not talking about spring, although I most sincerely hope that is also coming. I'm talking about the moment when the Old Bat says she wants to buy new lampshades for the landing. It was a month or six weeks back that she started talking about replacing the lampshade in the hall and I'm reasonable certain that it won't be too long before that one and the two on the landing are linked.
Now don't get me wrong. I have no objection to changing those lampshades - or any others in the house - if that's what the Old Dear wants. If she doesn't want to change them that's OK with me too, but I'm sure as a couple of eggs (and where does that come from?) that the day of change is not too far away. That means that WE have to go to choose the new shades. By which I mean that I have to tag along as well - which I will do with as much grace as I can muster.
Like most men, I dislike shopping. And that's not a sexist comment: I'm simply stating a fact of life. I particularly dislike shopping for lampshades, towels and other fairly minor household accoutrements. (Yes, that is the correct spelling - here in England. In America the spelling is accouterments.) The trouble is that the Old Bat sets out knowing what she wants and she is most reluctant to compromise if she can't see exactly what she has in mind. I tag along without the faintest idea of what she is looking for - other than that the object of the search is a lampshade or a new duvet cover or suchlike. Despite having in her mind a very clear picture of what she seeks, the Old Bat seems to have particular difficulty in describing it to anybody else, me included. Actually, that's not the whole truth: some of the Old Bat's friends seem to know by a form of osmosis, but that doesn't work with me.
The result is that I tag along and possibly pick up something that I think might fit the picture that I haven't seen.
'How about this?' I ask hesitantly.
'Oh, no!' comes the reply, without any attempt to explain why it's not right or to expand any further on what would be right.
I watch as she examines but after a time rejects a different object. Finding another fairly similar, I offer it for consideration.
'Oh, no!' comes the reply - again.
I give up trying to find what she wants and just drift along two paces behind.
'Do you like this?' she asks.
Frankly, I don't give a damn. I just want to get out of the shop and if that's what she likes then that's OK by me.
I did once suggest that my presence on these shopping expeditions was superfluous, that I was more than happy that the Old Bat would choose something in exquisite taste even without me beside her. The suggestion wasn't received gladly. Apparently, my input is considered important even though we always buy exactly what the Old Bat wants (if we can find it) whether I like it or not. After all, anything for a quiet life - including wasting a couple of hours shopping for lampshades.
I wonder when it will happen?