Discovering the Edgelands

A chink of light through the shutters. Sunlight after days of grey. Gently unfurling under the duvet, legs, arms, fingers, unfolding, stretching in sweet Sunday sloth. Oh Sunday – nothing to get up for save wads of newspapers, colour magazines and an unfeasibly enormous breakfast with lashings of hot coffee. Hooray for Sunday morning.

Padding bleary-eyed down the hallway and into the kitchen, when my teenage  daughter pops her head round her bedroom door. All bright-smiling and happy, teenage daughter asks if I want breakfast in bed.

« No thanks » mumbles daddy bear. (Always feel a bit gruff when I get out of bed.)

Sitting in the kitchen, reading the paper, dad’s brain finally kicks into gear. Teenage daughter offers dad breakfast in bed. What does she want.

« You want something don’t you ? »

« No dad »

« Yes you do. »

« No, nothing. »

« Are you sure ? »

A moment of silence, and then offspring answers with a long, protracted « well … »

Ah, I knew it.

« Well … I’ve got this art project to do for tomorrow, and I’ve left all my art stuff in school. »

« What do you need ? »

« Well, I’ve got to do a pen and ink drawing and … »

« And you’ve left all your art kit in school and you want me to magic up some indian ink and a set of drawing pens. »

« YES »

Okay dad, here is your challenge. Find the aforementioned items in small twon France on a Sunday.

Now, were I living in some place where shops were open on a Sunday, this would be no problem. However, this is smalltown France, where everything is closed on a Sunday (or so I thought)

As things stand around breakfast time, I have four possible solutions to this problem.

a)                Break into my daughter’s school and get her art kit.

b)               Break into the local art shop and steal some pens and ink.

c)                Encourage my daughter to do her art project using another medium such as acrylics or pastels

d)               Tell my daughter that she should have remembered her art kit, and come Monday morning she can go empty-handed to her art class and just take the conséquences.

I of course get even more mad, when my daughter informs me that she has had two weeks to do her project.


« How do you know that ? » I inquire

« You told me. »

So dad did what all dads do. I got on the internet to find if any shops were open on a Sunday and hey Presto. Thank heavens for the Edgelands – those out-of-town shopping zones with where I never go because I prefer shopping downtown.

In the local Edgelands – I find three cheap and cheerful warehouse shops – end of lines, bankrupt stock, made in China only work once consummer durables and general crap that you would never want to buy, because it is crap.

An afternoon of discovery – the Edgelands are heaving with people, traipsing around the big discount shops. The car parks are full. They are lining up ten deep at the checkout. WHY?

In search of pen and ink, I amble past a huge palstic bin full of men’s T shirts. Ted Lapidus XXL, white V neck t shirt for under 8 Euros. Erm, not quite this year’s model, but Mr Lapidus retails for almost three times the price when he is new. Jeans for 10 Euros – though the cuti s awful, but if you’re not fussy. There is a toiletries section –  brand deoderant at half the supermarket price. L’Oréal creams for men at a third of the supermarket price . Just check the sell-by date.  NO, this stuff is kosher. Perhaps just a small blemish on the packaging. I’m ripping open the cellophane on a T shirt. Yes, it has both arms at the same length. No visible faults. And the best – mens’ underpants – Dim, Calvin Klein … all at knock down (or Knock off prices).  5 Euros a pair, they normal retail at  20 Euros or more, which is a hell of a price for underwear considering what you do in it. I suppose you might wear something stylish if think you might get lucky, but for everyday use???? Anyway, I’m too old to have the elastic waist band of my underpants appearing well above the waist of my jeans.

And for all alkies everywhere – case upon case of wine, some of it even half decent and for far cheaper than you pay down the supermarket.

So, I don’t get a decent ink and pen drawing set for the daughter, but I reckon a cheap caligraphy set will do, especially because that is all there is.

Ah, what a discovery – the Edgelands discounters and the place was seething. Now I know what bored small-town familles do on Sunday afternoons, they do what bored families do everywhere on Sundays, they go shopping