Christmas shopping.

Slowly moves the queue of traffic heading for the Christmas shops. When you think that things are moving, just as quickly all things stop.

Signs outside the multi storey, highlighted in bright red lights. Show there are no empty spaces, no room in there for us tonight.

Round and round the city car parks, prowling like a hungry bear. Waiting for someone to go home, answering our hopeful prayer.

Then we see a man returning, loaded up with bags and beer. Filling up his car with presents, to give others Christmas cheer.

We wait for him to start his engine, whilst those behind us honk their horns. Everyone is getting stressful, patience is thin and very worn.

The man decides that he's not finished and gets back out to get some more. We drive on by and in the mirror, he's heading back to his car door.

And then at last we get lucky and park the car 2 miles away. At least it's cheap for late night shoppers. Now we're here, we're going to stay.

Fifteen shops and we're still going, bags stuffed full of thoughtful gifts. Woolly slippers for Great Granny, another off the shopping list.

Finally the shops are shutting, our feet are sore and very tired. But we've forgotten where the car is and the ticket has expired.

We see the dreaded traffic warden just behind where we are parked. He is busy writing tickets, we hope it's not our car he's marked.

We scuttle past and throw our bags in, put on our belts and drive away. We wave and shout out “Merry Christmas” and live to shop another day! Jan Millward©