Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Claus or Father Christmas?

We were shopping at ASDA, the local supermarket/department store, the other day. Going there generally does not foster a festive mood. The day was rainy (which most are this UK December) so finding a space in the covered parking was hard. After circling twice we found a spot. Jacob was glad to walk into the store without having to cover his head. Lucy was glad we found a dry cart for her to sit in.

We have a ritual in the store. When we enter, the first thing we do is ride the escalator to the first floor (that's the second floor in American English). You may ask yourself how the cart went up the escalator. It's an astute question. The answer is there are no steps, it is just a flat bed that goes up at an angle. An even more astute inquirer might wonder what prevents the cart from rolling back down. The answer is that the bed of the escalator is magnetic and the cart wheels are metal. They lock down quite securely. I usually can't budge the cart once it's on the escalator. The ride is safe for pedestrians and cart riders.

At the top we walk around and take either the elevator or the long ramp back down to the store level. The only thing accessible at the top is the first floor parking lot, an unpopular destination in the rain. This time one corner by the door was decorated with a fireplace, presents, and a fake tree. A lady was standing there with a bucket for donations. Beside her was a tall, red-suited fellow with glasses a long white beard.

This fellow didn't identify himself because everyone knows who he is. Jacob and Lucy were not too interested, so we went about our shopping. As we were leaving the store, I asked them if they wanted to go see Santa. Lucy gave an enthusiastic "yes" while Jacob maintained an indifferent expression. So we went back up the escalator to see the man in the red suit.

He greeted us and asked Jacob how old he was. Jacob did a great job answering that and subsequent questions. Lucy was rather over-awed at seeing Santa, so Jacob answered questions for her too. Jacob forgot what he wanted for Christmas, so I had to remind him about the Alphie Robot. All three of them enjoyed a photo opportunity:

Lucy was still somewhat stunned.

The lady was collecting for charity so we gave some donations and received some little candies. Lucy ate hers as soon as we got to the car. Jacob's is still in his jacket pocket as far as I know.

I'm glad that we finally managed to see the jolly old elf, by whichever name he goes.

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