A most unfortunate consequence of having discovered that your iMac is very nearly obsolete, and deciding to investigate the possibility of buying a new one, is that, if you live near Southampton, that means another visit to West Quay shopping centre. This morning, to that galaxy in the sky we boldly went.
What neither of us had realised on our previous trips, is that West Quay is a specific building. We knew the Apple Store was in West Quay, but thought that term referred to the entire complex, including people like IKEA who have their own building. Having parked and found the first payment machine out of order, we asked a helpful parking attendant where to find both machine and computer outlet.
He directed us to a multi-story carpark where we should take a lift to Level 7, walk across a bridge, and enter the largest shopping mall I think I have had to negotiate. This vast collection of outlets was on several floors served by escalators. Actually I hadn’t taken the lift, but had joined Jackie on level 7. There were a number of Apple logos on the landings of the staircase, so that looked optimistic.
All we had to do was find the Apple Store. There were helpful information screens showing the location of shops at the touch of a button. This was some help. Only some. Even Jackie was thrown by the confusion created by this device. Apple was shown as a narrow shop next to H & M and close to John Lewis. But John Lewis was on two separate floors. Ok, we could check them both. Apple was nowhere near the ground floor one. Ground floor, you understand, is really a misnomer, because we were still at level 7, already approaching the heavens. So we tried the upper floor. No joy. But another helpful customer overheard our deliberations. She knew that H & M was around the corner. Which it was. With Apple next door. Nowhere near the location given on the screen.
Then it got easier. Joe was immediately on hand. Which was a miracle considering how full the store was. He explained very simply what I needed, and set up a new machine for me. When he offered me the usual extra three year insurance, I declined it on the grounds that at the rate things were going the new computer would be obsolete by the end of three years. Joe was very amused at this, and acknowledged that it wasn’t so daft.
We had planned to do the weekly shop then, but decided to take the computer home first. After lunch Jackie suggested she went off to Ringwood shopping on her own, leaving me to set up the new acquisition. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity of deferring tackling the scary project for another couple of hours, so I accompanied her. She wasn’t sure that was terribly helpful, because it then meant she would be at home when I began the task.
Jackie then drove us both to Ringwood. As usual we parted in the carpark and met later. I wandered in and around the town, and noticed that, although sandbags were still in evidence, ‘the flood waters had receded from the earth’ (Genesis). Since less than 150 days had passed, this drying out was by no means complete. Jubilee Gardens was no longer flooded, and the static caravan site behind Ringwood Tackle was not so sodden. This encouraged me to attempt to enter the Avon Valley Path alongside these homes. A month ago this had been so flooded that ponies had to be rescued. Today I could at least venture through the gate. After a few yards I thought better of it. It was far too muddy.
Water was slowly leaving the Raymond Brown nature reserve alongside the Bickerley. Birds out of their normal element were reluctant to do the same. They picked their way amongst the residual pools, trying to ignore the fact that the ponies were hoping soon be taking up residence again. The millstream could now be distinguished from the floodwaters. It was commandeered by swans, one of which noisily trumpeted its efforts to take off. I wondered whether this ungainly flier had heard Peter Trim talking about bouncing bombs yesterday.
On our return home we had a beer before Jackie began cooking a chicken curry. This meant I had to put off opening my Apple box a bit longer. Afterwards it wasn’t worth starting because we would soon be eating. So I spent the evening, like a child postponing the pleasure of unwrapping a Christmas present, just looking at my lovely new box. Maybe I’ll get started on the job tomorrow. If I can’t think of another excuse not to.
Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice was really authentic, if a bit hot for her. I drank some Isla Negra reserva merlot 2012. She didn’t.