Let the record state: I love shopping. It pleases me. Enormously. It soothes me, when nothing else will. I love shopping even more than I love the things I buy.
And when I've had a particularly bad few weeks (using 'weeks' in the sense of 'days', or even 'hours'), I crave shopping like I crave oxygen. Only it's a little bit more expensive.
So this is how I found myself at Witchery yesterday afternoon, with 20 minutes to spare, a scabby toddler under one arm, and a sense of hope in my heart.
It had been a long couple of weeks. First Toddler landed in hospital overnight. Then she got a severe bout of chicken pox, despite being immunised (yes, I can hear the gods laughing at me as I type). THEN she scratched all her pox, so that they became infected, and we needed to feed her anti-biotics, which made her vomit, all over me, and the carpet, several fun-filled times.
I needed to shop.
Now, as Toddler was attached to me 24/7, this was impossible. However, when I found myself driving past Witchery in between a doctor's appointment and picking up my son, I had to grab the opportunity. I don't normally shop at Witchery. It's not a shop that is on my radar. But my friend Mia had been raving about it, raving of bargains and endless delights, and the tantalising promise of joy that lay within was so tempting I had to investigate. I parked and hauled Toddler inside.
The first thing that Toddler did was plonk herself down on a stool in the corner and insist that I did the same. This was marvellous, as quite obviously the ideal thing to do in a clothes shop is to sit in a corner looking at the clothes, without being able to touch or try them.
Eventually I coerced Toddler into allowing me to rise by giving her a pile of scarves to play with. The sales assistants displayed remarkable fortitude, which is why I decided to buy a very nice cardigan. (The fact that it was a very nice cardigan helped too.)
I picked Toddler up and carried her on my hip to the counter, which was Mistake Number One. Approaching the register, I felt the familiar warmth spreading across my hip, like a comforting hot water bottle, only discomfortingly wet. Mistake Number Two was panicking, not putting Toddler down to wee on Witchery's floor (which would have been their Regret Number Huge, but would have probably saved my top), and letting the wee seep right through my clothes.
Happily, the nice sales assistants (who, from their youth and rather shocked faces were probably not parents themselves) allowed me to take Toddler to their private bathroom, which provided extra amusement when Toddler knocked over a giant pile of packing boxes on the way in. They also sensibly suggested that I buy a lovely new T-shirt to change into - so sensibly that I immediately decided to buy it. (The fact that it was quite lovely helped too.)
So now I have a beautiful new cardigan, which I probably didn't need, and a cute new T-shirt, which I really didn't need, and a wee wee top, which I certainly didn't need, and a memory of humiliation, which will stay with me forever.
Thanks chicken pox. I blame it all on you.
And Mia. Next time, just tell me to recycle.