By this weekend I'd recovered sufficiently to have a Nice Day Out .... Smitonius' idea .... and , as always , she was quite right .
I always enjoy a trip to Groningen and yesterday , with the sun blazing , it was particularly lively . The cafè on the corner of the market square , where you'd only sit if you had all the time in the world and no desire to eat anything till tomorrow , had a terrace full of comatose clients and no visible staff but did have a very nice black upright piano outside , which a young man was playing Thirties show tunes on . Very tempting , but I decided to save time and chose a cafè a bit further along , which served coffee so strong it gave me palpitations . Perfect ! I had a lot to do .
So off to Cook&Co for a handy gadget to add to YD's ever-growing collection of toys for her kitchen and yet another cookery book ... they might console her for being even more ancient than she was last week . The Italian deli for Lomo Adobado and vinegar . A browse through the C.D.s in a little shop that specialises in harder to find recordings .
Then on to little places with lovely soaps , French stationery , pretty scarves or vintage china . Past a tiny place where you can order a bespoke table or bookshelves , whose owner sat playing the clarinet . Cyclists wove in and out , a child bounced past on a Skippy Ball ( they must be in again . That's the second I''ve seen this week ) . People strolled along with ice creams or bags of cherries from the market .
Then suddenly the sky went black , it poured weirdly warm rain and I discovered I'd brought the umbrella that only opens half way up so nipped into the second-hand bookshop that stocks English paperbacks for a Euro and found six , including Armistead Maupin's Babycakes .
And finally the North African shop for the best dried apricots ever and lots of herby olives . All in all , great fun and not at all an extravagant day out .
No , the real , rather disastrous, loss of control was a few days earlier ... My unbending resolve to disembarrass myself of clutter and Not Buy Any More collapsed in the face of a snail . Meet Stanley ...
He did only cost a Euro ....