I hate shopping at the supermarket. Some of you may not understand this aversion.

Let me explain.

It’s not the act of picking food and drink from the shelves that I mind. This is, indeed, quite pleasurable, imagining the promise of tastes and flavours in the days ahead, but as you stroll around pushing your trolley full of goodies, you suddenly encounter them.

Three women (yes it’s always women) having a cosy little chat, right in the middle of the gangway. Their trolleys lay abandoned but strategically placed to block all access along the aisle. And they look set for a long while, the knitting is out and the clack of needles accompanies the excited babble as each of them attempts to utter the most words per minute at the greatest number of decibels.

A polite “Excuse me” elicits no response whatsoever.

Similarly a louder “Excuse me, are you three deaf or stupid” gets ignored by the women and earns a threatening look from my wife.

Despite, the knowledge of what happened at Thermopylae I feel an almost irrepressible urge to withdraw about 20 yards, take a run up and smash women and trolleys out the way like bowling pins.

My wife patiently explains that this is not socially acceptable behaviour in a supermarket and it could earn me a nice little chat with the very pleasant but extremely large security man outside in the car park.

I’m persuaded to retreat and use another aisle.

Eventually, we have completed the shop. Now all we have to do is pay.

A long line of checkouts stretch into the distance ………………….. most of them empty …………………….. and completely uninhabited by checkout staff.

Three are manned, and have queues ten shoppers long.

All with trolleys containing enough food to feed a third world country for seven years.

I settle in for a long wait.

After a while, examining the paint on the ceiling gets boring.

For my wife, however, this is the highlight of the day.

All these nice people to talk to.

Within three minutes she’s found out the family tree of everyone in the queue going back to the 1100’s and their complete medical history.

After they’ve exchanged birthdays and email addresses my wife introduces me and I become the subject of the conversation.

I’d like to tell them I’m a mass murderer.

But I can’t get a word in edgeways, sideways or any other ways.

So I just smile and nod occasionally.

So now everyone thinks I’m a deaf mute along with my many other ailments that my nearest and dearest has told them about in clinical detail.

Eventually, we get to the cash desk, pay and leave.

On the way back in the car, Jen turns to me and says “that wasn’t so bad was it. We’ll have a nice cup of tea when we get home”

Through clenched teeth I mutter about needing something stronger.

There’s a long moment of silence.

Then I hear a very quiet voice beside me saying “WE forgot to get the wine”.

The rest of the story is unfit for human consumption.

PS I’ve just been to the supermarket and needed to share this with you.