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All Items of Value – The Writer’s Way

In this exercise from The Writer’s Way, Sara Maitland asks us to to write about new things we experience.  This has been really quite interesting.  For me, it has not been so much my doing new things it has about noticing everything around me.  Listening more carefully about how people sound, what they say and how they say it.  It is about thinking descriptively about what is happening around me. For example here are some short excerpts.


I am in the check out queue – actually there is no queue and I wonder if this is because everyone is spending just a little bit less at the moment so waiting time is proportionately reduced.  There is a teenager standing behind the desk.  This is unlike the majority of her colleagues who are seated whilst they shuffle produce from the conveyor belt over the infrared barcode scanner.

Not this girl.  I’ll call her Pink.  Of course this is not her real name but it suits her.  She has straight blond hair, which sits just above her shoulders.   A tiny diamond stud sparkles incongruously in her nose.  Pink has what looks like, in comparison, a big blue bolt through her ear.  There is another large silver stud in her lip and when she half smiles a greeting I suspect from a slight lisp there is another in her tongue.

Pink asks if I need a hand packing.  I decline and point to my reusable carrier bags.  She starts scanning my provisions for the week and pauses every so often as I am not managing to keep up with her.  She is considerably faster than her colleagues.

Pink doesn’t talk to me at all until she tells me the sum of my purchases.  She takes a card from me as I can never work out which way to install it into the machine. But that is ok, as to be honest; I really want to be in Tesco’s for the shortest period of time.

In the aisles

I always smile as I take my trolley around any supermarket.  This really isn’t because I am so happy performing this chore.  Instead it is a positive mental state that I put myself in.  I smile at people who stop with their trolleys adjacent to another so that no one else can pass.  I smile when mum and son fall out in the middle of the ice-cream aisle.  I grin at the bald-headed chap, studying his hand written list on the back of an envelope who is tapping his foot and mouthing the words to whatever he is listening to on his mp3.

Me and my Dog

It was just Angus and I.  He was dragging me behind; he has got to that age – 9 months.  I yanked the lead every so often but to no avail.  He was still pulling; coughing roughly every so often and panting.  Dusk was just beginning to fall and there was just a hint of rain in the air.  We had been to the beach the two of us. To my delight he followed the stone filled water bottle into the waves, retrieved it and deposited the same at my feet at least six or seven times.

I had been wondering if he would ever get his feet wet.  Unlike Wilbur, who fell into the sea off a pier in Worthing when he was just seven month’s old and then swam ashore, Angus has, as yet, to show any interest in water.  This is quite unlike the Labrador that he is; I wonder if it is the same for parents who are considering whether their off spring is perhaps gay. This is not meant in any derogatory way please note.  It is just one of those fleeting thoughts that pass through your mind when you are alone with your dog.

As the two of us troop back through the caravan park I notice how the twenty or thirty vans on either side of the drive are almost exactly the same height and only of varying shades of cream.  Almost every van had a HP printed notice on its front window saying, “all items of value have been removed”.  Some were stuck onto the glass straight but sadly most were not.  Some were attached with blobs of blue tack others with sellotape and almost every van had their curtains down, mattresses and seating up in an attempt to avoid mildew.  It is after all the middle of winter.




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