On Saturday I went shopping and had a wonderful day in Cardiff. Yes, I went shopping on the busiest day of the year and enjoyed it. How do I manage to do this every year? T’Interweb, of course.

Every year I plan my shopping ahead of time and buy as much online as possible and do it at a reasonably early point. In this way, on Saturday I had to get three gifts, possibly four and another two were yet to be delivered (they arrived this morning). So, given that I already knew what I needed, I planned to spend all day in Cardiff. Eh, what?

I can’t be doing with all this rushing around. It’s far too stressful. By doing most of my shopping online, I know I’ve only got a few small items to get. So I get a group of friends and we wander around town all day. We go for a big fried breakfast at Calcio’s. We stand in queues chatting and catching up, not minding the time. We wander around the stalls of the Cardiff Christmas Market tasting mulled wine, whisky mead, sloe gin, cheese, nuts and crepes. We ooh and aah at the quality of the hand-crafted items. We spend ages pottering around that second hand bookstore not minding the time at all. And if the crowds get a bit much, we head into a coffee shop where we split up – one party goes to nab a table and one to the queue, so that by the time the drinks are ready we’ve somewhere to sit. We organise it so that friends can pop in and join us for a bit and then toddle off or whatever. Basically it makes for a fantastically relaxing time. I thoroughly enjoyed Saturday wandering around Cardiff with a host of friends. The evening was also festive as I popped over to Dan’s for a coffee and then headed back home where Mal came over for munchies and a DVD (Team America: World Police [2004]).

Sunday started abruptly with the pager going off around 0800 though, but before I’d hit base, we’d been stood down from this search. I toddled off home and invited Jon for lunch but the pagers delayed that again as I headed back to base while we were on standby to rescue a dog. That didn’t take too long and I headed back to chat with Jon, eat food and watch Taxi with Queen Latifah. Finally a quick trip over to Rich’s turned into a 5-hour session of playing with computers, D&D and A/V kit. Finally, I spent the early hours of this morning reading a fantastic book (Sniper One: The Blistering True Story of a British Battle Group Under Siege ).

I had a cracking weekend, lots of Christmas spirit and friendship and it was great to catch up with people. This method of shopping is highly recommended.

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