Early Christmas Shopping?! AGggggHhhhhhHhh!

Saturday, for a bloke, should involve some beer. In fact, spending all day in the pub on a Saturday is probably what any average bloke would prefer to

do. However, if you were to be given the choice between being dragged around the shops for 5 solid hours and.. errmm.. anything else, I think I’d have

to say that I’d choose the “anything else” every time. Yesterday “we” (for “we”, read “Emily”) decided to go to Cheshire Oaks. For the uninitiated,

Cheshire Oaks has 120 shops designer shops, crammed full of clothes, perfume, gifts and the like.

Living in Lichfield means that getting to major shopping places like Merry Hill (in Brierley Hill) shouldn’t take too long, however with “weekend

drivers” (you know the type) it can take slightly longer – sometimes an hour just to travel the short distance from here to Merry Hill. So, going up to

Ellesmere Port didn’t seem too bad. First though we had to get some fuel. Bear in mind that it was November 12th, and about 7 degrees celcius. It’s

not warm – not warm at all. However, this being Great Britain, there’s always some plank in a battered old Vauxhall Astra who decides that having the

top down on his car is an excellent idea, even though he needs to wear about 5 layers of clothing to stop him turning into an icicle…

I took this picture at the petrol station as the guy was filling up. I think his missus was in the car by the looks of it. I’d like to place bets on

whether they had the heaters on full-blast in that car because it was absolutely freezing cold! Nutters!

Anyways, I got back into the car and noticed a smell. It was the smell of beer. Strange… I don’t remember having any broken cans in the car.

“Can you smell beer?”, I asked.

“No”, she says.

“I can definitely smell beer.”

“You’re obsessed”

A few minutes later I asked again…

“I can still smell beer y’know”.

“It’s not this is it ?” Asked Em, offering forward her wrist.

Ahhh.. That’s it. Have you spilt some beer on you?

No.. That’s my perfume !

It was too! It’s a perfume that smells like beer! How excellent is that ? She sure know show to attract me! :)

So, we a hopped onto the M6 Toll, then up the M6 to Junction 20…… Oh – wait a minute…

I just wanted to say “Hi!” to the guy in the silver Ford Cougar with the fake Lexus brake lights and crappy alloys. I was pootling up the M6 in the outside lane, just minding my own business going around a truck

when this guy decides to try and push me out of the way. He flew past me doing around 110-115mph. He rapidly got stuck behind some traffic anyway and

then welded himself around 12cm off the bumper of the guy in front. In the back was a little girl, around 10 or 11 years old. She was bouncing around

and had no seat belt on at all. This carried on until the guy in front (who was in some Rover MG TX ST GK or whatever they call them) decided he’d had

enough of this guy and booted it. They both shot off into the distance at around 120mph, still with the girl bouncing around in the back.

People reading this may be shocked at this. To be honest it isn’t the speed – I regularly see people doing 110mph or more on the M6 daily, and usually

the speed is only reduced because of the weight of traffic in the week. At the weekend however it’s a complete free-for-all and people fly up the M6 in

broad daylight on the way to Manchester at more than 100mph. However, to have a husband and wife (as I presume they were) fully seat-belted up and yet

have your own daughter bouncing around and waving at me in the back at more than 120mph is pure insanity. Sure, if you crash your seatbelts and airbags

may possibly save you and your wife mate – but your daughter is going to be about 400 yards in front of you.

Anyway – rant over. We eventually got to our junction (incidentally after overtaking this guy who slowed down to 30mph in the 40mph roadworks) and got

onto the M53. An hour after leaving home and we’re in Ellesmere Port. After dodging more weekend drivers around the car park (fighting for car-parking

spaces, dozy women pulling out onto round-abouts even though there’s obstacles like ..ermm.. cars coming straight at them)…. like… traffic coming.

Cheshire Oaks is a huge shopping centre organised in a circle with a road going through the centre. It’s even got its very own “Chav Shop” … sorry… I should say, “Sergio Tacchini”.. :) Look at the window of this place, I means….. who are they trying to kid huh ? I’ve seen Chavs wearing this in the local precinct – albeit after buying cheap copies from the market. :)

Some of these shops were real fashion-houses. I’ll admit I’ve been dragged around the new Bullring in Birmingham and seen the same names there too. Karen Millen, Van Heusen, Jaeger and the sorts. However, in the middle of this was some mobile phone shop selling movies on MMC data cards.

At the end of the shopping day when the shops closed at 7pm we decided to go to TGI Fridays for a meal. Excellent place this, and probably the closest “American” type place you’ll find here in the UK. The only slight problem I found was with the barmen. I decided that I should drive, so Emily had a cocktail while I waited for my drink. The barman proceeded to whizz the cocktail in the air and spin bottles over his head like a mad juggler. After a bit I was thinking, “This is all nice and everything but could you perrrr-lease just get me my drink now ? PUT THE BOTTLE DOWN, STOP JUGGLING WITH THE VODKA AND GIVE ME MY BEER!!!”..

Anyhow, we got shown to our seats and then the waitress served me a nice big slab of meat.

Oh, then there was the small matter of getting home, which took 2 hours because the M53 was closed down, which led us into some tiny little village just outside Ellesmere Port. I think it was called Thorton-le-Moors or something.. anyway, after eventually finding the M56 we got home around 11pm! So now you know what to expect if your missus says, “Let’s do a bit of Christmas Shopping, but go somewhere different.”