Thursday, November 01, 2007

Trolley dash

Carbonlite and I go on the local Wheely Good Communities trolley dash. We pitch up at the Square with our bikes to find our neighbour is the only other volunteer dasher, even though it’s a crisp sunny day, one of those days you dream of on gloomy grey mornings. We race along in the sunshine with Carbonbaby in her seat. I try to calculate how much carbon we’ll save by not taking the car, and reckon it’s probably about half a living room full. “This is great, why don’t we do it all the time?” I say to Carbonlite. “Because you always take the car to get the shopping,” he replies. Good point. “Well I won’t in future,” I promise. When we reach Carnforth, I hop off my bike at Weightwatchers. “I’ll pop in and get weighed then see you in the Brief Encounter cafĂ©,” I tell him.

When I get there, (half a pound lighter) he’s on his second coffee so I join him and order cake. “You can’t have that, you’re on a diet,” he says, swiping it off me. “But I’ve just cycled here so I’ve burnt off about just enough calories,” I say, grabbing it back and stuffing carrot cake into my mouth. “You know we’re really lucky where we live,” I remark between mouthfuls. “We’re a cycle ride from three supermarkets. And how many places can boast that?” “So why isn’t there anyone else out trolley dashing then?” Carbonlite replies. “What about all the Mums and older people, why aren’t they on their bikes too?” “Well, I’m here,” says our neighbour, joining us for cake. But we can’t stay long as I have to get up to the supermarket to return a pack of nappies Carbonlite bought on a rare ‘man shop’ last week. Even the Carboncopies sighed when he came home with the bumper pack, “The baby doesn’t wear nappies Dad, she wears pants,” said the oldest Carboncopy. “Dad doesn’t do shopping,” the youngest Carboncopy reminded him.

I lift the nappies out of the pannier outside the supermarket. “Are you coming in?” I ask. He shakes his head and tells me he’ll look after the bikes. “Shall I take the Carbonbaby in with me then?” He says no, so I leave him outside, tinkering with the gears.

At the checkout I load a basket of vegetables onto the conveyor belt, enjoying the peace and quiet without screaming kids and babies. Someone even packs my pannier for me. But as I’m about to pay, a shout from the entrance breaks the silence. “What are you doing?” Carbonlite stands by the entrance with his hands on his hips. “Shopping,” I reply. “Shopping? But you only came in to change some nappies and I’ve been standing outside waiting for you for twenty minutes.” The assistant smirks, along with the rest of the queue behind me. “Come on, we need to go,” he shouts. “But I’ve got to pay for these.” I tell him. “The Carbonbaby is crying,” he yells. “What am I supposed to do with her out here? You’ve been twenty minutes you know,” he looks at his watch and stomps about in the doorway. Now everyone in the other queue is smirking as well. “It’s a trolley dash?” I remind him, trying not to shout across the supermarket. “A what?” he says. “A Trolley Dash!” I yell, pulling my credit card out of the swiper and legging it outside with the shopping.

We cycle home in the sunshine still bickering. “Right, next week we’ll just do the dash bit and leave the trolley out of it then shall we?” I say. “Look I thought you were just going in to change some nappies,” he sulks, “Anyway, what’s for lunch?”
“Pampers,” I reply, changing gear and dashing off without him.