Woman On a Mission, it must be said, is not my usual mode; such drivenness as I am capable of usually lies elsewhere. But today I was in quest of the perfect wedding gift.
Because of reasons (as ThirdCat so fetchingly puts it), the prospective bride and groom are particularly difficult to shop for. But they entertain. They entertain a lot, and they do it in style.
After pondering this fact for while and making a few false starts, I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted and was almost sure where I could get it.
So I headed out to Adders' poshest shopping hub, Burnside Village (pronounced "Vee-yarzh", as in "Tar-zhay") and made for a shop I had walked past many times but never actually ventured inside before. I couldn't remember its name, but I'd always seen beautiful high-end table linen and decorative bedding in the window.
As I approached, hoping it hadn't disappeared since I last looked (the Irish Linen shop that used to be across the road certainly had, so this was do or die), I slowly made out the words on the sign outside 'QU*EN B*E LINEN'. This, reader, was more than I had dared to hope for. I felt like a leopard upwind of a lame antelope. I went in and approached the woman behind the counter.
'Can I help you?' she asked.
'I hope so,' I replied. 'I'm looking for a set of twelve good-quality ecru linen table napkins, preferably with a restrained amount of drawn threadwork or damasking or some other kind of traditional self-embroidery.'
The woman looked at me incredulously over her glasses, and didn't reply for a minute. Oh dear I thought, perhaps they don't come in sets of twelve. Perhaps she is insulted that I felt the need to stipulate 'good quality'. Perhaps she doesn't know what ecru means, though surely not. Perhaps I have mispronounced the word 'damasking', or indeed perhaps the word 'damask' doesn't really exist as a verb at all, much less in the gerundive mood. And actually this incredulity I see before me is starting to get a bit oppressive. I wonder what the problem is.
Finally the woman opened her mouth and spoke.
'Linen?' she said. 'You want linen?'