Cornish Cove

Illustration by me, 2016.

Illustration by me, 2016.

I can report that I have scraped the gravelly depths of maternal discombobulation!

What? When?

The event occurred at the Marks & Spencer Simply Food (Food Hall!) on the Chiswick High Road in front of the manager at the Collection Point desk at the back. I told him in no uncertain terms that his stock management system was a disgrace.

It will not do, Sid Islam, manager of M&S Simply Food, Chiswick. (I think he made up his name when I asked him for it in that knee-jerk way people do when someone threatens to inform on them to higher powers).

Hours earlier I arrive home from the Simply Food/Food Hall (why does M&S arbitrarily and unnecessarily keep rebranding itself?). I open the shopping . I see the date on the cheese. It says 04/02/16 – the following day. My life flashes before my eyes. Cheddar cheese usually lasts 5 weeks. I don’t need to tell you that. I have, though.

And so I had to think about what to do. I needed to replace the cheese for one that wouldn’t kill us in 10 hours’ time – the point at which it would expire. How were we meant to consume half a kilo of cheese by midnight? Hubert only eats cheese. Maybe he could eat it all. Maybe if I timed him like I do when I need something from upstairs but can’t be bothered to go myself he might be able to polish it off.

I was wrestling with one of the hardest dilemmas of my life. Do we eat it all now or do we not. If we do not, do we replace it? I cannot in good conscience bin the cheese, I thought. But can I go back to the shop with the kids and the parking and the Ringo app and the baby on my hip and Hubert wanting the piggy biscuits I won’t let him have and the consequences of that on trying to be taken seriously by people.

I had to go back! Back to the High Road. Back to Marks & Spencer Simply Food/Food Hall. Back with the kids and the parking app. Confront the man with the stock system set to shatter the lives of housewives across the borough. He did not care. He did not care.

I suppose I could have been doing other things at that time rather than going back to Marks & Spencer, something like watching gouache tutorials on YouTube or counting how many times Robert Durst double blinks on The Jinx, which is how you know he is lying.

The following day I receive an email from Marks & Spencer’s customer service apologising and attaching a e voucher for £5 – the cost of the cheese. This is the outcome of an email I wrote while in a fury of the brightest crimson, standing by the open fridge. I will keep this little victory and the sequence of events that preceded it to myself because of other things that are happening at the moment like Syria, the Zika virus and dead Wogan.


  1. Your are quite correct, the right to Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face is practically all we have left in these difficult times and if you can’t use it at M&S then where can you?


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