Occasionally a member of staff goes a bit crackers and puts on some charmingly random stuff, but by and large we get to shop in contemplative peace and quiet, like a bunch of mediaeval monks hunting for bargains.
This silence means, however, that you can be heard, and people can talk to you.
The tiny woman appeared at my elbow. Now, I’m pretty short myself, so we’re talking ‘traditional wee Scottish wumman’ here. She was clutching a huge bunch of daffodils. Actually, come to think of it, she was practically hiding behind them.
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She hissed “them” at me, and waved her daffodils at a couple chatting to each other at the chiller cabinet. They weren’t speaking in English.
“Them, there,” she said, “D’ye think they’re Russian?”
I couldn’t help but notice the threat level had risen in the daffodil-waver’s voice.
Now, to my eternal regret, I am not an expert in Slavic languages and so can’t tell the difference between, say, Ukrainian and Russian. However, I do know that tiny Scottish women can get mighty fierce around injustices, even if those injustices are happening far away and to people they haven’t met.
Also, this is Leith, so there really was a strong chance that this could all end in screams, blows and mangled daffodils.
I said I wasn’t sure, since I don’t speak Russian, but they were more likely to be Polish, and they are lovely people. Yes, she said, you’re right. Her daughter’s plumber is Polish and he did a lovely job in the bathroom. Well, I said, there you are then.
It was an exchange worthy of the United Nations.
She gave a final glare, just in case they really were Russians, gave her daffs a bit of a shake and said: “I’d take a taxi just to give some Russian soldier a right slap.”
Jings, I thought. A taxi. This woman goes to war in style.
It’s been a long time since we’ve been so close to a war. It is a frontline we can drive to. I checked on Google and you can get to Kyiv in 33 hours.
Obviously, it would take longer. You’d want to stop off in Berlin and Warsaw, fill your petrol tank and empty your bladder, and let's not forget that the traffic on the M25 is totally mental, but you could leave on Monday and get there on Thursday.
Brave people have already been doing it. They’re taking supplies to people who pretty much lived like us until a little over a month ago. They had homes to live in, schools for their kids, and supermarkets to buy daffodils in. Most importantly, they weren’t living in the constant fear of a missile through the roof.
And now, because of one man, that’s all gone.
Perhaps we should start a crowd-funder for the cost of the petrol to get to Kyiv (although with the price of fuel these days, that would be a national effort) and send a busload of Scottish grannies to Ukraine to give some Russians a right good slap. Bet Ukrainian grannies are just as tough.
Meanwhile, l’ll just keep sending what support I can and stop pugnacious old dames from smacking people with daffodils.