I cannot believe that I actually went into town on a fucking Saturday this near to Christmas with a ten year old boy. My nephew Shaun and I had to keep each other company as his mother went for his ‘Santa gifts’.
Shaun explained that he knew Santa wasn’t real and that his mum buys the presents. I smiled and we grabbed each others hand and raced off to the big fancy shop called Fraser’s in Buchanan Street. It has been a department store in Glasgow for a century and the blond sandstone building is architecturally awesome, huge pillars on the inside and out, stone sculptures hanging off the top façade….so wonderful.
We followed the colourful toy floor stickers that trail at the start of the store entrance and headed up the big cherry wooden staircase decked in the most beautiful decorations I have seen this year. Shaun gasped at the hanging toys from the ceiling and raced up the steps till he reached the top TOY department.
He quickly headed for the ‘Boys Toys’ section and I could hear him yell ‘Awesome’ at the top of his voice when he came upon the massive robotic dinosaur that was being demonstrated. We browsed the area and discussed various games and computer stuff that was all out for display. I bought him a small James Bond car with working ejector seat, he was so happy and clutched it to his chest as we made our way out of the store.
Shaun being polite held the massive wooden and glass exit door ajar to let some ladies enter and they all smiled and thanked him, then a lady in a fur coat stropped past him without even a glance or word of thanks as he struggled to keep the heavy door open.
An elderly woman in a formidable looking trench coat and boots barked at the woman who brushed past Shaun and shouted in the posh-est Scottish voice I have ever heard “Excuse me madam, but if you thank children and appreciate them for being polite, it breeds encouragement and praise, your manners are dreadful” The fur lady turned on her heels and looked at the trench-coated lady and then at Shaun.
Shaun stared up at the fur coated lady through his wee spectacles; he smiled at her and the furry woman just walked off in a huge strop.
The elderly lady in the trench coat bent down to Shaun and said “You are a lovely helpful young man and your mother must be proud of you”
Shaun gave her his mega watt smile and turned to me and said in the loudest voice “Aunty Janey, that old posh woman nearly had a punch up with that big fat woman wearing the cat coat”
The elderly lady laughed out loud and walked off waving to Shaun.
I laughed my ass off at the ‘cat coat’ comment and took him to meet his mum.
We then proceeded to battle against the tide of grumpy parcel laden Glaswegians as they too made their way through the busiest city centre shopping day I have seen in years.
People spending millions on presents….its crazy!
I told Shaun how as a kid, we used to get a stocking with a tangerine inside it and a small board game like Ludo or a doll for our Christmas, he was amazed at how little we got. I explained that back in the 1960s we didn’t have that much cash and we just accepted it.
“Aunty Janey, you must miss your mum because she is dead” he said looking at me with those big brown penny eyes he has.
“What made you think about my mum Shaun?” I asked him.
“Well I was imagining you as a wee girl at Christmas and then I pictured your mum talking to you and then I remembered she was dead and I felt sorry about that” he spoke quietly.
I told him how my mum would have loved him; she would have been a wonderful great- grandmother to him had she lived long enough to see him. That only led to more questions about my mothers death and I wasn’t sure if Shaun had been told how she died, my mum was murdered and I didn’t want to have to tell him in case that wasn’t something he was to be told until he was older. It wasn’t really Christmas shopping conversation to be honest.
At that moment his mum arrived on the horizon, she was laden down with giant Santa bags and a huge smile. Thank God- I thought to myself, no more awkward questions from my wee favourite sensitive nephew.
So there we have it, I hate shopping!_