I used to despair of my mum who, when she went out shopping, invariably bought the wrong thing. Maybe it was, I don’t know, fusilli instead of spaghetti or cherry scones instead of fruity scones. It was always just a bit wrong but not wrong enough to make a fuss about: I knew better than that.
I could never understand why she couldn’t just read what was on the packet. Take some time and get it right.
With the more sympathetic eye of later years I understand that The New must have seemed completely bewildering to her. After all, look at how our daily shop, with its canned Italian tomatoes or avocados or the array of assorted yoghurt varieties must have changed since she arrived in 1961 and was shown The Correct Way To Be British.
English is about her third or fourth language. I imagine how confusing it must have been, this sudden huge choice.
Today I have just returned from Waitrose. I needed to replace my bottle of Balsamic vinegar. When I returned home, look what I’d bought: