There is a shop in the village.
Well, of course there is otherwise it wouldn't be a proper village. In fact there a quite a few shops.
This shop though is where I collect the Sunday paper. I don't bother with papers myself, but Herself likes to read it so who am I to argue? It has a couple of Suduku puzzles in it which are handy for sending me to sleep so I do get some benefit. Anyhows, it's a fine time to stock up on baccy, so every Sunday I nip down and buy my stash.
Being the country, when I open the door to the shop he already has my usuals ready and waiting. A few weeks ago though, after I paid, he slipped a couple of chocolate bars into the newspaper. I raised my eyebrows and he shrugged his gesture off – you're a great customer, says he.
The following couple of week he did the same – a couple of chocolate bars.
But then he upped his game a bit. He started giving me a couple of large Toblerone bars.
One week we had a break from chocolate and I got a tray of mushrooms and a bag of carrots. He suggested I make a stew.
This whole business was getting a bit embarrassing at this stage as he wouldn't let me leave the shop until I had received my gift. If there were other customers, I would be ordered in no uncertain terms to stay where I was until he had dealt with the others. I daren't argue with him as he is a little bloke, and as we all know little blokes are like little dogs who can give a nasty nip to the ankles.
A couple of weeks ago we moved from edibles to hardware. As I was about to make a run for the door he slapped a mug onto the counter. It was one of those Thermos type insulated mugs with a lid, for keeping your drink hot [or cold]. Very handy.
The following week he barked at me to stay while he went into the back of the shop. This time it was a thermal zip-up bag for keeping my food warm [or cold].
It looks like rain today, so I trotted down earlier than usual. Sure enough, there was my paper on the counter with my stash on it. I paid and tried to do a runner. No chance. He threw a Toblerone bar at me and ordered me to stay while he went out to his car to fetch something. I didn't dare move. I am now the proud owner of one of those large torches with a handle, which is a very handy thing to have in the countryside.
I am getting very nervous at this stage. If he keeps upping his game then I just don't know what's coming next. I'm beginning to wonder when I am going to have to bring a trailer to carry my booty. And for the life of me I can't work out his motives. Herself suggested that he's trying to get rid of unwanted stock which I thought was a bit cynical, but nothing has ever been past its sell-by date. I'm worried that he might fancy me. Or he might fancy the dog [he likes to pass admiring comments about Penny].
One thing I will say though – it makes my Sunday trip to the shop damned interesting.