Just been down to Asda. Not because I am a Nineties man but mainly because the element on the kettle just blew.

I went fully equipped with what I believe is known as a ‘shopping list’. I managed to decipher all of the entries (some were written by Norma) and successfully secured everything. I was debating whether to pay at a till or risk self-service where you swipe your own goods.

As I reviewed and cross-checked the list for a final time, I found to my horror one solitary item unaccounted for.

Worse, it wasn’t Norma’s handwriting. Worse still, the final, indeterminate item was written by me.

I could have left it but when you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder that is easier said than done. In any case, what if the item was important ? What if the item was needed for tea tonight ?

I paused for thought, pushing my trolley to the side by ‘Chocolates and Confectionery’ and studied the shopping list intently. I still couldn’t decipher the writing. I turned my head through 90’. Still no joy.

A friendly, helpful shop assistant approached. ‘Can I help you, Sir ?’

‘No really. It’s OK. I’m fine. Thanks. Just looking at Liquorice Allsorts for my Dad for Christmas. He loves them, you see’.

‘You’re not having problems reading the shopping list, your wife gave you, are you ?’

‘God no. Of course not. In any case, I wrote some of it.’

‘Here - let me have a look’. I reluctantly passed the assistant the shopping list.

She scrutinised the scrap of paper. ‘Well it can’t be that. We don’t sell it. Nor do Sainsbury’s.’ She then turned her head through 90’. ‘Hmm

  • it sounds stupid but, honestly, that’s my best guess - ‘Goat’s Head’.

‘Yeah. Thanks. That’s what I thought it was. It was probably my son messing around. He’s a Goth, you see.

‘Listen - do you want me to ask Eric ? He’s really good at these handwriting puzzles.’

‘No. Listen, it’s OK. Honestly, Thanks a lot for all your help. I’ll just leave it for now.

I hurriedly made my way to a manned till as I simply dare not risk any more potential embarrassment at the self-service tills with items that fail to scan, causing interminable delays.

Phew - the ordeal is finally over. I put the shopping list back in my pocket and start to pack the shopping.

As I hang a bumper pack of 24 toilet rolls onto the handy hook on back of the trolley and prepare to pay, I hear a demented shriek: ‘WAIT - DON’T LET HIM LEAVE THE STORE !’

The plain clothed store detective perks up and security men start to move menacingly towards me.

I spot the previously helpful shop assistant sprinting towards me from aisle 11 (Ice Cream and Frozen Vegetables), carrying something.

People from adjacent tills are now staring at me and I feel myself starting to redden. The security guard is now brandishing a pair of silver handcuffs with a worrying gleam in his eye.

The shop assistant finally reaches the till and triumphantly throws down two ‘Go Ahead’ bars (Strawberry and Fruits of the Forest).

‘I asked Eric. He took one look and said: ‘Come on - this one’s obvious. It’s not ‘Goat’s Head’ - but ‘Go Ahead’.