I saw her coming up the road from a long way away.
There is something about a seasoned eccentric that allows you to clock them even when they are much too far away to focus on properly. In her case it was probably something to do with the odd looking battered straw hat, the unusual looking wicker shopping basket, the mismatched clothing and the way she was muttering angrily to herself that gave the game away.
(Note: I’m not saying wicker baskets are a sign of window lickers per se. In fact, I have one, generously given to me by my mother in law, and I love it).
|Photo: ATDSphoto: Pixabay|
The glorious Mad Lady effect was fully rounded out when she unexpectedly stepped off the pavement and strode into the middle of the road, faced the oncoming traffic and stopped dead. She then raised the flat of her hand in a defiant indication that the next car should stop immediately. Shock and confusion crossed the driver’s face as he applied the emergency brakes in a bid to avoid knocking her flying.
Having stopped the traffic she calmly crossed the road and carried on walking in my direction. It was about five minutes to closing and all I could think was, “please don’t come into the shop, please don’t come into the shop.”
As I hurriedly retrieved the last of the outside displays, I did a fatal thing; I caught her eye. She seemed to stride towards me with renewed purpose as she yelled down the pavement,
“I want to come into your shop!”
“I’m sorry, we’re closing.” I stammered, whilst shoving displays inside and attempting to barricade the door.
“You’re what?” She yelled.
“We’re closing!” I said a little more forcefully.
She swore loudly and expansively, and then announced,
“Hrumph! I’m never setting foot in your shop ever again!.”
She then changed direction and headed further down the High Street whilst I breathed a sigh of relief. A lucky escape. I heard later on that she’d been escorted from one of the local pubs because she was harassing the customers. Apparently she does that a lot. She’s a regular.