Until Next Year

It’s 9am and a balmy 16C. The skies are a lovely shade of blue and the sun is lighting up the streets. It’s a far cry from the usual cold and stoney weather that greets us in the lead to the festive season, but today were not celebrating Christmas Eve, it’s Eid Eve!
Today is the 29th and last day of fasting in this holy month, and we must give thanks to Allah for letting us experience another beautiful, gracious and rewarding Ramadan. Homes of Muslims across the world are being prepared for the festivities of the next three days for Eid. To a certain extent, most of Eid will be like any other days for me as we are still opening up our coffee shop, but once we close mid afternoon, we will take the time to visit close friends and spend some quality time together as a family.
The children will be absent from school for the first two days of Eid. This year in Turkey, it is a nine day national holiday and the schools have already closed for summer vacation. After having celebrated this special time in Turkey for the past few years, this year will certainly be on the quieter side! We easily spent two whole days visiting the homes of family and friends, often splitting up into groups and finding each other later on in the day congregating in the living room of an Aunty or Uncle! 
This year, my son will go to early morning prayers with my husband, and then there will be a lovely spread for breakfast mid-morning (the first breakfast as whole family in a month!). It is tradition to buy new outfits for Eid, so the children have been treated to new clothes and shoes. In Turkey, it is known as the ‘sugar festival’ as sweet treats are given to the children as they knock on the doors of their neighbours to wish them a happy Eid. Trays of fresh baklava and other desserts are prepared and given to guests. The weight lost throughout Ramadan is very easily put back on in the first 48 hours! Money is given to the younger children in the family if they kiss the hand of their elders. They can then treat themselves with the money and usually buy toys or games. Unlike Christmas, presents are not pre-bought. The emphasis on Eid is a time to be with family and friends, to reflect on all achieved in the previous month and to enjoy each other’s company.
It has been a testing month worldwide. Hundreds of people have needlessly lost their lives at the hands of terrorism. In a period when terrorist activity rises, further confirming that terrorism knows no religion, we have been stunned, shocked and silenced. We have seen political unrest, financial instability and social outbursts. Individually we have been tested on a physical and spiritual level. I have cried and laughed, felt pride yet also felt failure. At times I have questioned my own beliefs, then experienced things that have cemented what I based my life on. 
My appetite has dwindled to now only being able to manage half a bowl of soup and a small plate of food. I only eat dessert in order to keep my sugar levels up. Final weigh in is 62.4kg and dress size 8. My husband has really struggled the past two days with terrible stomach acid but refused medication so he wouldn’t break his fast. He has lost a whopping 8kg (not bad considering he has slept through more of it than I!). Out of the past 696 hours, fasting has been for 536 of those!
So until next year, I would like to say thank you for reading my blog, for your kind wishes and comments. In comparison to last year, my blogging has been somewhat patchy and even non-existent for most days, but I am sure you can appreciate the tough mental and physical challenge we have just completed. I wish you all peace, love and happiness, and remember, we don’t need to believe in the same God, we don’t need to perform the same acts of worship, we just need to learn to love and respect one another- let’s help to stop this division in society because as a unity, we can achieve incredible things.
Eid Mubarek 

Enough Is Enough

Millions of people worldwide are going about their business today as usual. Early morning alarms, rushed breakfast, school runs and commutes to work. At least 200 people are not as fortunate. The lives of 36 innocent citizens have been cruelly snatched away in another act of terror, with 150 being seriously injured. The one question on everybody’s lips- why?
It was moments after publishing last night’s blog that articles started to appear on my news feed. If I’m being honest, I skimmed past them as certain pages on Facebook are well known for their scandalous headlines and I presumed this was another one. It was only after my husband had told me that there had been an explosion in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that I knew it wasn’t a hoax. He started frantically tapping away at the keyboard looking for updates and clicking on any relevant videos to see the full extent. It was grim. Images of bloodied children being carried, bodies laying lifeless outside the terminal building and a constant rise in the number reported dead.
We tried to hide the news from our children who were also in the living room at that time, but when I saw an image of a child who must have only been the age of my youngest daughter, covered from head to foot in blood, her head having being blurred out because of the graphic extent of her injuries, I couldn’t keep myself composed any more. My husband began silently praying for patience and protection. I have travelled through that airport at least once, if not twice every year since 2007. In just three weeks time, I am due to arrive there again with my children. The airport is a mere ten minute drive from the home of my in-laws. Never before has the reality been so closer to home.
One by one, friends and family started to mark themselves as ‘safe’ on Facebook, letting loved ones know they hadn’t been caught up in the terror. My mother and father in law are currently in central Turkey visiting relatives so we knew they were safe, but we phoned my sister in law who was in a state of shock and disbelief. She fears for her daughter- a young and innocent 9 month old, she fears for her family and friends, and she fears for her own life. My other sister in law is a regular user of public transport in Istanbul as she commutes every day from the European to the Asian side. She depends on her job to run her household, and so runs a daily risk of being caught up in the terror run by the scum of the earth that is Isis. 
We all face risks in our daily lives. Whilst living in a city in the middle of the UK, we feel a certain sense of ‘protection’, being away from the evil that is being projected on major cities and areas worldwide. The truth is, we are no longer safe anywhere. Terror knows no boundaries. Terror knows of no faith. 
How do I feel about travelling to Istanbul in less than a month? Scared. I have ran scenario after scenario in my head but nobody can ever prepare for such a tragedy. I asked a friend this morning what I would do if I saw someone acting suspicious as I was due to get on my flight. Would I alert authorities at the risk of causing uproar, chaos and embarrassment, or would I bite my tongue, pray to God and hope for the best? Being a slight 5’4, how would I be able to shield all three of my children from firing bullets? Would I run for my life or lay on the floor and play dead? 
This is no longer an exaggerated way of thinking. This is a possibility. Of course security will be heightened at Ataturk and across airports worldwide, but the three terrorists didn’t even get past security controls before they starting spraying bullets. Had they not entered the terminal, just as much destruction could have been done in the car parks and drop off points. 
Only Allah knows when my time will be up. By not going to Turkey, I am robbing my children of spending time with their only grandparents and aunties. I am teaching them that evil rules over good. I am letting them think that I cannot protect them under my wing. 
What should have been an amazing holiday with my children as we finally visit the southern coastal area of Fethiye will be marred with an anxiety. My children are entitled to a care free six weeks in the sun where their only worry is how long they have left to play in the swimming pool. I will not take that away from them, but this year I need to be vigilant. I will have at the most, a week in Istanbul, and even then, I will not be planning my usual trips to Sultanahmet and the Grand Bazaar. My husband has advised me to stay away from the local bazaars and shopping centres. I pray I will be safe in Yalova- a small city just a ferry boat ride away from Istanbul, away from the chaos. I will spend three weeks with my children and father in law in Fethiye and pray that we are safe in a small apartment complex. 
As a retired police chief, I have always felt protected by my father in law. His ‘authority’ and respect from other officials meant that at times, he could slightly bend the rules. The drop off area outside the departures terminal at Ataturk is exactly that- a drop-off point where taxis and coaches would offload their passengers and drive away. My father in law would park just a few metres back from the entrance next to a small police shelter and display his ‘police’ card whilst we unloaded the car, and he would wait there until he knew our flight had departed. Seeing the images of the carnage, I can picture his Renault Clio there now, just a few footsteps away from where 36 people had their lives so brutally taken away. I am not mentally strong enough for this kind of torment. 
Yet again, we pray for Istanbul. We pray for strength, patience and peace. Nobody in this world deserves to die at the hands of terrorism, but when you find yourself praying for the lives of yourself and your children, then you know that ‘enough is enough’.

Thank You Molly

What happened to my every good intention of blogging every day for a whole month? I don’t know either. 
This year has tested my strength to the max. Going 18.5 hours without food or drink is no mean feat. We are now in the home stretch and with less than a week to go, I have to admit I feel weak, dry, tired and lazy. Going for nearly three weeks without caffeine has certainly had its effects- drinking orange flavoured sugar (Lucozade), after iftar to bring my sugar levels up means my face currently resembles a dot to dot. If I eat one more egg, I fear I may wake up with feathers, and if my daughter tells me one more time that my breath stinks, I may actually cry.
I have failed miserably in the goals I set myself at the start of the month. Sleeping for what works out at 3 full days throughout the 29 is a cop out to say the least. However, I have tried, and whilst I believe I could have been better and stronger, I haven’t lost faith. 
There has been so much unrest and uncertainty over the past few weeks. With the murder of politician Jo Cox, to the surprising vote for the UK to leave the EU, our lives, or certainly mine at least, feels like it is passenger on a ship in stormy seas, with no sense of direction, and no captain to man the wheel. We are living in a society where we cannot even trust those in power to have B plans and C plans, they lie for their own political gain, and the country is now filled with hatred and discrimination. 
One thing that will remain however, and what should never be tampered with, is the innocence of our children, and strong foundations upon which friendships are built. My daughter was invited for dinner to the house of her best friend this evening. She has been counting down the sleeps since she was invited, and at times when in the past she may have been fearful and reserved, thanks to her friend, she has blossomed into a confident and outspoken little girl. She looks up to her friend, as with being 9 months younger, my daughter is one of the babies in the class. However, children know no borders or rules when it comes to choosing friends- they trust their heart. My daughter once told me that her and her friend will sometimes have ‘days off’ from one another, where they choose to play with other children, and there are no hard feelings or jealousy. A lot can be learnt from the perspective and outlook of a six year old. That way, they value each other more, and know that although there are others, they will always have a special bond between themselves.
We worry far too much about what impression other people have of us as individuals. Long gone are my days of posting photos on Instagram to see how many likes I could get. I have even deleted the Pages app from my mobile so I am not constantly checking to see if my craft page Moon & Sixpence has any new followers. I am not a model or an entrepreneur. I am not an academic or multi millionaire. I am beyond trying to be anybody I am not. I am Rachel, a 31 year old Mum of three and a wife. I have my flaws. My roots are currently longer than those in my back garden. I start work pristine clean and am wearing half of the menu by lunch. I don’t buy designer clothes and am not ashamed to say I shop at Primark. My children are heathy, my fridge has food, I have a loving husband and I have a roof over my head. Those factors alone mean I am one of the richest people in the world. 
If I have to clean up spills after dinner, it means my family have eaten that night. If I have a washing basket full to bursting, it means my family are clothed. If my children shout ‘Mummy’ it means that have someone they trust. If I set my alarm clock for the morning, it means I have a reason to get up. I am happy being Rachel.
Tonight I was lucky enough to be able to read the tale of Molly’s Marvellous Moustache written by a lovely friend of mine. It is a story of girl and her dreams and imaginations of what she can do with her marvellous moustache. The tale really struck a chord with me when Molly realised that actually being just Molly can be marvellous too. So, thank you ‘Molly’ and thank you Andrea for helping me realise that I can have hopes and dreams, but being just Rachel can be fantastic too.
Molly’s Marvellous Moustache is available to buy from http://www.andreaheaton.com

Throwing It Out There

Hello, it’s me. Fear not, I am still alive and kicking. I am 3kg lighter, a dress size smaller and probably a couple of shades paler but I am very much alive! I have been humbled by the amount of people who have asked why I haven’t blogged for almost a week now. It really means so much to know that I am not just talking to a laptop- that are people who take a genuine interest in my ramblings. I was told today that my blog is the kind of thing we need in this current climate, and to throw it out there- so this guys, is for you!

The world has been shaken by the tragic death of politician Jo Cox. The evening of her death was the very evening I posted an update on Facebook stating that I wouldn’t be blogging because I had run out of anything remotely positive to say. Her death has hit a nerve with so many people, not only in the UK but across the globe too. I live not a million miles away from her constituency where her murder occurred. When my husband arrived in the UK ten years ago, his first job was at a restaurant just around the corner. More than anything, I was touched because she was a wife and a mother. To have a life so brutally snatched from you whilst doing the job you love so passionately is beyond comprehension. This goes back to my point about life becoming so cheap and worthless. This was a woman who balanced her family life and career, who stood up for all she believed in and tried to make a difference in the world. She wasn’t a bad person, far from it and this is apparent in the legacy she has left. Over £1 million has been pledged by the public in less than a week and is to be split between three of the charities that she was connected to. Why do we fail to recognize the good in people when they are still with us? Why are we so quick to criticize  and pick up on other people’s faults, but once they are gone, be full of hurt and regret for things that were never said or done?

I found myself watching the news updates and following the story over the next few days. My head could not process the tragedy. The high street of a quiet village had become the focus of the global press. People all over the country were attending vigils. Bouquets of flowers were being laid in their thousands from those wanting to show some sort of compassion and sympathy. I felt angry and sorrowful, but most of all, I felt exposed and vulnerable. We have three local MPs who visit our coffee shop on a frequent basis. What would it take for another tragic incident like this to happen, so easily as the first? The odds are low, but not impossible. From the terrorist threat overseas, to a different threat in our home land, we are entering a period of high risk, uncertainty, and hate. “We have more in common than that which divides us” are the powerful and touching words of the late Jo Cox. Imagine the love and power if the world united in love and peace. Instead, the only certain thing in our lives can be our faith.

We are now on day 17 and well over half way through. The nights are continuing to get longer and peak this evening at 21.48 for the next few days until from Sunday onwards they gradually shorten by a minute over the following week. I suffered with a few dizzy spells this afternoon. When work is busy, I tend to go with the flow and find myself on this artificial high because of the buzz of work. In our quieter periods though, I find myself clock watching, and more aware of how weak I start to feel. The temperatures are continuing to rise, and with little breeze, the kitchen at work is becoming difficult to work in. Its nothing that a wash of my hands and arms in cold water can’t fix, but my energy levels are beyond repair. I spend most of my day feeling weak and feeble, to then eat at iftar and then feel full and sluggish- I am my own worst enemy at the moment!

The Small Things In Life

Lastnight I asked my husband to check the time by which I needed to set my alarm to have a last drink of water before sunrise. When he told me 3.15am, I asked him to check again. Indeed it was true. This is the longest Ramadan for 33 years in terms of daylight hours. We must fast for over 18 hours a day, and whilst Im asleep for around four or five of those hours, it is still a mean feat. The weather today in the UK has been hotter than Istanbul. We pray for a warm and bright summer, for it to arrive on the first day of Ramadan. Think the Wifi connection to Allah must have been weak when wishing for that one.

It was 16C by 8.30am this morning. The children didn’t have school today due to teacher training, which meant I snook one extra hour of sleep in. As soon as I woke, having something to drink was all I could think of. It was all subconscious of course, as on a normal day, I can go a while before having a drink, and certainly a good few hours before I need breakfast. The problem wasn’t that I was genuinely thirsty, it was because I wanted something I couldn’t have. I guess its a similar experience to me constantly thinking about  buying a yacht and traveling the world- very tempting, but it just ain’t happening.

A whiff off freshly cooked scrambled eggs caught me off guard around 10am, but other than that, I am so surprised at how well I have coped considering today is the first day of fasting. Even with 26C heat, I haven’t been particularly thirsty. My weakest moment of the day was after work at 3pm when I sat down and nearly fell asleep upright holding a sweeping brush. I was no longer able to concentrate on anything that anybody said, and started to see stars. The hardest part of the day was over with. Relaxing at home would be a doddle compared to running a coffee shop and cooking for 7 hours a day, 6 days a week. People ask me if cooking for others whilst fasting bothers me. It doesn’t really. Hypocritically, 80% of what we sell is pork.

I enjoyed a shower to freshen up, and cooked dinner for the children. I am writing this blog at 7pm, and with just less than three hours to go, lack of energy finally got the better of me, and I have just woken from a short nap. Today has been so much easier than I imagined it would, but having said that, I’m not sure where I am going to find the energy from to shower three children before bedtime. I read an interesting article today about the rapid increase of sales of the drink Vimto throughout Ramadan as it is an excellent source of energy. I know myself from previous fasts though, that come Iftar, a glass of water and the smallest of meals is sufficient. In Turkey, the dinner table is set with an array of food in order to break the fast, but my husband and I have already agreed on sucuk (a garlic sausage from Turkey) and eggs for our evening meal.

I often get asked why Ramadan lasts one month, and what the significance is of eating between the hours of sunset and sunrise when this varies from country to country. The month signifies the time in which the Quran was revealed by Allah to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) on Kadir Gecesi (The Night of Power). The Prophet Mohammed reportedly said that when the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened, the gates of hell closed, and the devils are chained. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. In the northernmost parts of Europe, where the sun does not rise or set for many weeks in peak summer, Muslims observe Ramadan according to the daylight hours of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, or nearby Muslim countries. Muslims follow a lunar calendar- based on the phases of the moon, which is 11 days shorter than the 365 days of the Gregorian calendar. Therefore the Islamic lunar calendar moves back 11 days each year, hence when Ramadan starts on a different date each year. I am yet to observe a fast in the winter months, and have a good few years to wait before I do!

The practise of fasting serves a spiritual purpose, to remind you of your dependence on God for sustenance, but also as a way for our bodies to rest and be cleansed. The idea is that you should also refrain from bad thoughts including anger, jealousy and gossip. You may wonder why terrorist groups tend to spike throughout Ramadan, and the answer to that one is easy. At the risk of breaking my fast, terrorists are a***holes.

I am a little emotional at the thought of breaking my first fast. I am proud at my willpower today considering the heat, length of day and how hard I expected it to be. Every day around this time I have the same thoughts on over indulging at Iftar on treats and snacks, but it is an amazing act, in that my body will refuse anything more than a small plate of food- a reminder that we can actually survive on the minimum in life, and quite often be better people for it.

Hos Geldin Ramazan- Welcome Ramadan

Im still struggling to comprehend the fact that it has been just over a year since I created the ‘Blonde Brit At Ramadan’ blog, which was made to give a little insight in to how it is for a Muslim throughout the month of Ramadan. The thing that made it a little different is that I am not your ‘typical’ Muslim. With blonde hair and blue eyes, I don’t really fit the stereotype, and my intention was for my blog to help people realize that not matter the skin, hair or eye colour, most Muslims are just normal people going about their everyday business.

I say normal, because unfortunately since last years posts, there has been a large increase in extreme terrorism by people who call themselves Muslim and who believe they are conforming to the will of Allah. This isn’t the place for me to go into a debate about terrorist activity, but needless to say, events in the past 12 months mean Muslims are further more frowned upon than ever before.

I am grateful that this year I will be completing the whole of my fast in the UK. I spent some time this afternoon reflecting upon last years blog and it made me very emotional. Remembering the 30C heat of Istanbul, bickering children and a range of emotions did bring a tear to my eye. Although I am very excited about the month ahead, I know it will be a struggle. The days are becoming longer and the weather forecast is showing sunny and mid 20s for the next few days. We will not break the fast until around 9.45pm and the first day is always immensely trying.

We have had guests staying with us from Turkey for the past 7 weeks. My in-laws arrived first, and 6 weeks later this was followed by some family friends. The house has had a buzzing atmosphere for almost two months, and especially the past week whilst it has been school holidays and we were taking our friends to different places each day. They were the last to leave just two days ago, and I don’t think it could have been timed better. Whilst I miss the company and the laughs, I am able to appreciate the calm and quiet, and it has put me in a serene mood- the perfect set up for the month ahead. I have also put my craft business on hold which means other than getting through the work day, I have no other distractions or things to worry about whilst fasting.

I also feel more prepared this year. We moved into our new home in October, but as we still have our old flat above our coffee shop, we have decided to temporarily move back throughout Ramadan. It will save a commute each morning and evening, and whilst my argument was that it would be nicer having our home comforts at hand, I also remembered that after last year’s first day, I slept for three hours after work- I think home comforts will be the least of my worries this time tomorrow. In order to cover all bases, I have prepared enough luggage that would rival the Kardashian family holiday.

The kids are very excited that it is Ramadan. Although they don’t fast, they know it is a special time for Mum and Dad and for the family in Turkey too. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of listening to the call to prayer to break our fast, and the ‘iftar’ programs on Turkish TV will be out of sync with our timings. We don’t have the davulcu or the ‘drummer’ to wake us each morning to prepare breakfast for the day ahead. My husband and I have been planning meals and ideas, but we know that a simple bowl of soup and a small breakfast will be enough for us. That first drink of water after going without for almost 20 hours is a luxury on its own.

Ramadan is all about sacrifice. It is a time to reflect on all we have, all we have to be grateful for and to think of those less fortunate. We learn to focus on the minimalist things in life and to make do with as little as possible. I have already realized how much I rely on everyday junk by considering whether to have a McDonald’s as my ‘last supper’. I savoured every last drop of a can of Red Bull today knowing that the caffeine withdrawal symptoms are going to be nasty, but going 30 days without that and other luxuries isn’t going to kill me.

As well as on a spiritual level, I am looking forward to the detox. I have over indulged far too much the past few weeks and whilst most people agree that it isn’t the best way to cleanse and lose weight, at least I will have the self control to not pick and snack on anything unnecessary. My weigh-in this afternoon showed 65.2kg. 3kg of that has been the mix of Indian, Thai and Turkish cuisine this past week alone.

Throughout Ramadan, I hope to complete a full reading the Quran. The Quran can be split into 30 cuz (juz), and so by reading one cuz per day, by the end of the month, the whole of the holy book has been read. This can be offered to something in particular if wished, for example the soul of a dead person, or for someone who is poorly or in difficulty. In the hope that I complete my reading, I will be offering it to the souls of my Mum and Dad.

It is now 6pm. My husband has gone shopping and to see friends before the fast starts. Out of his wide group of Muslim friends, we are the only ones who fast. We respect other people’s decisions not to, and they respect our decision just as much, if not more. Lack of energy means other than work, we are very much home bound for 30 days. I will prepare dinner for the children and I, then give the house a good clean whilst I still have the enthusiasm to do so. Once the children are in bed, I will take a shower, cleanse in the way as taught by the Quran (I will write more on this in a later post), make my intention to fast tomorrow, then have a late meal before bed. My husband doesn’t wake for sahur (the meal before sunrise) and I too struggle to eat first thing after waking. I will set my alarm and drink some water whilst I can and set myself for the day ahead.

So this is the start of my 30 day journey again, something which I am looking forward to sharing with you all. There is no magical atmosphere as I am used to experiencing when in Turkey, no family with whom we can open our fast, just my husband, our children and our faith.

I sincerely wish you all a happy and peaceful month ahead.

Day 11. Unexpected Item In The Baggage Area

Patience is an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. It is the capacity to tolerate delay without becoming annoyed or anxious. There is no better time for a person to test their patience than in the month of Ramadan. At this time of year in the UK, the days are on average 19 hours between sunrise and sunset. I don’t think I knew how much of a patient person I could be until this year’s fast.

If you really want to test your patience, and pass the hours until Iftar, you could always take a Sunday afternoon shopping trip to Asda. I knew I would be asking for trouble when I had to park at the back end of the car park because half of the city had decided to descend for an afternoon trip out to the supermarket as opposed to the park. I remembered to look up and check the letter corresponding to the part of the car park that I was in, to save a good 20 minutes looking for my car once I had finished.

Thankfully I didn’t need much. It was a shame really as it would have made waiting 15 minutes at the check out at little more worthwhile. The self-service tills are becoming more popular as people try to avoid the awkward and unnecessary chit-chat at the tills with the cashier. I don’t mind it, but I was put off on my last visit when two cashiers opposite each other were having a gossip about so-and-so from such and such department and what she would do with her time now that she was ready for retirement. It added a good 10 minutes on to my checkout process as somehow they managed to end up on the topic of alcoholic beverages and then involved me in the conversation. I regretted telling them that I liked sherry as that opened up a whole new can of worms when I told them I was only 30. Last time I checked, Im sure there wasn’t an lower age limit on a bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream.

I found a self service that looked relatively speedy, until I listened in on the conversation with the group in front of me. There was an elderly Indian couple who were new to the whole self-service system, and in their broken English, they were asking the lady in front of them for help. She was more than happy to oblige, and used such flamboyant hand gestures in order to show them, that she would suit working on the runways at Heathrow guiding the planes to their stands with those bright orange table tennis bats.

I could hear the couple behind me starting to moan as they realised it wouldn’t be as quick as they’d have hoped. The tills were far too busy for them to reload their trolleys and move elsewhere, so they were stuck, and made no secret of the fact they were annoyed. I looked at the Indian couple and saw myself. Don’t misunderstand me here, my Mum and Dad were as British as you could get, but I remembered when I first moved to Turkey and didn’t speak a word of the language. It was a very intimidating experience, and I used to communicate with my mother in law through sign language as neither of us had a clue how to speak each other’s mother tongue. Not only did these people not know English, they braved the ultimate challenge by using a self service till. I almost prayed that they wouldn’t be told they had an unexpected item in the baggage area.

 I did expect her to help them with their shopping as they only had a few bits, but instead she enticed the help of the checkout assistant and he started them off. All went well until the old man tried to scan a bunch of bananas. It just wasn’t happening. I pulled the superhero cape out of my bag and came to the rescue. I took the bunch and flipped the bag over to find the barcode. I then entered the numbers in one by one. The checkout assistant came flying over, and I could smell the fear in the air when he thought that he might have competition for his job. The next disaster was when, by mistake, the man tried to put a punnet of kiwis in his carrier bag without scanning them first. ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area’. The monotonous tone was bound to pipe up at some point. Checkout Charlie came running over before I had chance to intervene- he wasn’t risking getting his P45 for the sake of some blonde who had probably used self service more than he had. I kept my mouth shut and let him fathom out for myself that the kiwis hadn’t been scanned. The last thing I wanted was security coming to ship off the couple over a £1.50 pack of fruit. 

When they had finally paid and were loading the trolley, they turned around and couldn’t thank me enough. I hadn’t done anything that anybody shouldn’t do to help anyway. I could hear the tuts from the couple behind and I wondered to myself how mankind had become so selfish and impatient. If you are in a rush, don’t leave your weekly shopping until peak shopping hours on a weekend afternoon. Never underestimate when you might need help from someone- karma works in wonderful ways. Luckily for them, I had scanned my stuff and packed my bags in less than three minutes. In the same way I’m learning to curb my road rage, I’m learning to curb my habit of thinking out loud, thanks to fasting. I left the supermarket without losing my rag at their attitude towards those who needed help, but in the moment of my blood boiling quietly inside, I had managed to forget where I parked my car. Patience is walking around the car park for the whole 20 minutes you tried to knock off when you first arrived, and trying to look like you know the direction in which you’re supposed to go.