Nan was sitting in the Solar cafe with granddaughter. Both wore slacks and fleeces and had the same nose: fleshy, the colour of nictotine- stained cornice and appearing triangular viewed from any angle. No, nan was saying, she wasn't going to let go of the responsibility for the Christmas biscuits and cakes, even though the process of laying hands on them changed from year to year. No, she certainly wouldn't be disturbed in her usual run up to the Festive season to go all the way to Halesworth...what for? She didn't care that she would only have to go all that way (quite the whole hour and a quarter) in just the one direction, as Jean would be finishing in Beccles just at the right time and could drive them back. She might think about going after Christmas, when she could concentrate on it. What? No, she would not enjoy toasting marshmallows over the fire with the guard moved when they got back from uncle Peter's on Christmas Day. Since when had anyone been suggesting starting on something like that? Her early evening on a Christmas Day was given over annually to the sleeping-off of the Queen's Speech. Now, there was the meat business. She'd seen some for fifty quid where you got all you could possibly want. Your birds, your joints and your off cuts. You could get it cheaper if you had less, apparently. What? No, she would be sorting the meat. Why would she need help? Hadn't needed help these part forty-six years with the meat buying. Ipswich? Was what Ipswich? She didn't believe that's where she saw the meat offer, no. Norwich? When would she have had time to go up Norwich with her legs? Colchester, the same. No, now, funnily enough she couldn't for the life of her just then remember where she'd seen that blessed offer of all the meat you could need for fifty quid.
Then nan got up and set off with her shopping basket on wheels. Granddaughter she that was funny, nan hadn't gone through her usual counting aloud 1-2-3-4-5 to get herself stood up. Nan looked at her with intent to throttle. Actually, her usual - if anyone had to refer to it - was 1-2-3-4-5-6. Walking on again she pushed her basket on wheels neatly through a gap between two chairs. Look at that now, she said, beaming, she would never have expected to have got it through that gap. Thought she'd be forced to go all the way around the whole table!