The wedding of her brother having taken place, Elisabeth and I are discussing plans for her wedding next
year.   I am happy to report that the problems recounted below no longer apply and we can recommend a very helpful establishment to anyone in our area.

One day last February – house in chaos, noisy, cold – new boiler being fitted.    Wearing plaid new jacket (bought in Spain, 15 Eu) escape out with Carolyn.   It is a bright sunny day.

We go to  cake decorating shop in nearby town run by fát wheezing old lady who reminds me of a Pekinese in her unhealthy petulance.   Shop full of hideous, bad taste brides and grooms, highly coloured sugar flowers and illustrations of truly horrible looking cakes that you wouldn’t fancy eating let alone buying.   Carolyn buys a few neutral items for a forthcoming party – Carolyn has excellent taste –  while I look around.    I tell the woman I am to make a wedding cake but not until next year.     She snuffles around and then observes sourly, Of course a lot can happen in a year…   I think, and a pox on your head also, and I exit the shop.      I won’t be going there even if I do have a collapse of taste and want a Fat Controller man and a farmer’s wife bride plus flowers of no colour that nature ever intended to grace some attention seeking cake.

We  examine various coffee shops : I decline them all.

Carolyn drives on to Hassocks where we stop outside a Bridal shop.   Elisabeth is coming home in May and wishes to visit such a place with me but she has limited time.      Carolyn and I approach the shop where the window boldly displays, brilliant as a Belisha beacon, a crinoline dress of deepest red such as might have gladdened the heart of Scarlet O’Hara plus a pretty wedding dress.        The doors are locked but we can see a  casually dressed woman within.    Carolyn raps on the glass and summons her.    She unlocks the door  and her opening words to us are, I can’t see you now, a bride is due to arrive.    I’m for turning on my heel, but Carolyn says pleasantly we’d just like a look around.   Reluctantly she admits us but darkly informs us that we’ll have to take our shoes off.     The floor is wooden.    Our shoes neither have heels nor are they wet.   I’m tired by this time and rather shaky.   It’s not that simple taking my shoes off.   ‘Why do we have to take our shoes off?’ I demand of Carolyn.   Most Charming Saleslady in Sussex has her shoes on.    By this time,  Carolyn (may she be rewarded for her patience) has resorted to humouring me as you would  a fractious child.      Meanwhile, Most Charming Saleslady in Sussex is standing in the open door gossiping to friends who were passing.   I never move off the mat so she must be aware that I am a miasmic column of dark cloud at her elbow giving off occasional lightening flashes.    Carolyn kindly suggests that she fetch me a chair and brings me the dresses but the only chair is too heavy to move.   Most Charming Saleslady in Sussex gossips on.   She never so much as glances in our direction.   “Let’s go,” I say to Carolyn who nods in agreement.     “Excuse me,” I say to Most Charming Saleslady in Sussex.   As we step past her, through her two gossiping friends, she tutts in vocal disapproval.

As we drive off having asked several people on the street if this village has somewhere nice for
coffee and been directed to a Chinese restaurant which wasn’t really what we had in mind, we recall  that we visited an equally unimpressive wedding dress establishment in Lewes, not quite so unprofessional but just as unwelcoming, in the run up to Carolyn’s daughter’s wedding.   What is wrong with these places?   I would have thought two older matrons such as ourselves would be potentially valuable customers.    We’re unlikely to be fantasists trying on wedding dresses not yet having secured the groom.   We could be what we were, mother of the bride and friend sussing out the place to make an appointment to return with the bride to be; or we could be mothers of the bride shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses, or grandmothers looking for  flower girl or communion dresses.   Profitable business, all of it.   Well, Elisabeth and I won’t be going there.   These women, for some reason that I don’t understand, have an attitude problem.   It’s as if you ought to be grateful to be allowed to patronise their glorious establishment.     They should remind themselves hourly that you are the Customer and the Lady, and they are the salesgirl who is there to help you (and relieve you of your cash.)

We stop in Ditchling and fall into the arms of The General where we are graciously received and restored
with a cup of Lapsang Souchong and a delicious, moist, enormous Bakewell Tart shared between us (well, Carolyn has an elegant sufficiency and I have the rest) and come laughing out into the street where we discover that Carolyn has been given a ticket for illegal parking in spite of the fact that we are clearly displaying my Disabled Person’s card.     (This is entirely my mistake and stupidity:  I have forgotten to display the clock.)

In these places today, we got neither the service, nor the smile.   Oh, for the Japanese sales lady!


About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

One Response to WHO’s THE LADY

  1. Elisabeth Armstrong says:

    Yes it is harder than you’d think to buy a wedding dress! I am very glad to have had the benefit of my own personal advance team to sort through the dross before I swept in!

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