When we were little our default leisure activity was going to Brent Cross. Nothing to do on a Saturday morning? Go to Brent Cross! Feeling a bit dreary after school – go to Brent Cross! When a McDonald’s arrived in about 1992, just opposite the Waitrose we’d sometimes go and have a McDonald’s while mum nipped round Waitrose then went home. That was it.
But conditioning is a dangerous thing and now my default location when I’ve got nothing else to do is: Brent Cross. I sometimes find myself driving along the A406 towards Brent Cross with no real memory of how I got there. In the dark days after Kitty was born and I was too sluggish to exercise and too brain-dead to work much I often found myself there three times a week.
(This is one of the reasons why I never take Kitty and Sam to Brent Cross and I hope will never take them to Brent Cross. I would just much rather their default leisure activity was sport.)
Dovetail this with this quite strong unconscious feeling I always have – that this new thing or that new thing might change my life – and you’ve got the ingredients for major consumer debt.
The other morning I found myself with nothing to do between 0930 and 1pm when I pick up Sam from nursery and I started thinking about these boots from Clarks, which my friend Georgina wears and looks super in. And I started thinking “Hmmm, maybe I should go and just try them on and see what they’re like. Maybe they’re a really excellent winter boot? And they’re only £60. And I’ve just been paid for a couple of pieces…” But then I thought NO STOP.
I rang my sister, Harriet, in a panic, and screamed “What are you doing come for a coffee??” She did a u-turn on the Holloway Road and came and had a coffee with me then came to sit in my house while I poked about at some work. And I didn’t buy those boots. And I won’t buy those boots because those boots will not make me a better or different person. I will be the same bastard I was last week, just wearing brown boots.
I thought it was just me who did this…except our local shopping centre is Telford town centre which is even MORE depressing! I, however, always always buy the boots. Groan!
I do this. A couple of years ago, I HAD to have a Thermomix, it was going to change EVERYTHING! I could hide vegetables in my picky children’s meals, I would lose weight because I’d live on soup, I’d have more time with the kids because it would do the cooking for me!
Two years later, I’m the same size, my children are still picky and low on veg intake, and I still spend too much time fannying about in the kitchen.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it, I use it all the time but it hasn’t changed my life whatsoever.
Gemma R says
Are you my sister? Trips to Brent Cross – the default boredom buster for every North Londoner. I too strolled around there far too much with number one, it’s now thankfully too much hassle with a bolting toddler and baby.
you can lose hours in that place. it’s like a casino
This won’t help, but those boots are the comfiest things I have ever owned. I live in them. Which is made easier by the fact I own 4 pairs. In different colours, obvs. I’m not a crazy person who owns four pairs of the same thing.
DAH STOP IT YOU ARE TRYING TO RUIN ME *puts hands over ears runs away screaming*
I am always buying boots. It suddenly struck me last week that subconsciously I’m just trying to find the boots Madonna swapped her jacket for in Desperately Seeking Susan.
God I used to love a mooch round a shopping centre when the children were at home all the time. Even more so when we found out that our local one (The Bentall Centre in Kingston which is a poor man’s Brent Cross) had an ofsted-inspected creche on site that you could sling the kids in while snapping up bargains in H&M that you never wore again.
Now I’m in the Channel Islands I dream of shopping – really really dream of it as we have one high street which is OKish but doesn’t in any way tempt me to spend money. This weekend I went back to Kingston and to the Bentall Centre and it completely freaked me out – THE CHOICE! – I was so overwhelmed that I spunked a load of money on kids clothes in H&M (which was why I had gone, for them – not me), and also in Smiggle (which is Paperchase on crack for young girls) and then had to leave in a sweat as the temptation was so overwhelming but I couldn’t cope with the amount of stuff on offer. The crowds in John Lewis made me all panicky. And its not even Christmas yet.
I tried these boots on cause I too couldn’t stop thinking about them. They looked terrible. They came up to high on my leg and met my calf at its widest point. A tricky look. I got timberland Chelsea boots instead and they are excellent and so pleasingly sturdy.
Ella I too tried on the boots in the end and they looked ghastly on me, too. I instantly stopped thinking about them. xx