Home » All posts » Trolley dolleys and the accidental actor


Mr Man at the top of the shopping centre was trying to get to Tesco’s. Not too ambitious a goal, you’d have thought, for a Saturday afternoon. It’s a good enough pavement. Gently sloping. A few metal benches. No loose slabs to get het up about.
But not all was as it should be, trolley-wise. No. Three Tesco trolleys were being spun, wheeled, leant on, climbed through, balanced on, played with by three women in flowery dresses and trainers (Housewives? Sluts? Students? So hard to tell the difference, these days!). And in silence. Performers of some kind.

Strawberries appeared to be involved.

Mr Man reached the small crowd that had gathered. Did you see what that silent flowery woman just did? She virtually slithered into the trolley through the child’s seat flap. It was almost… well. Getting to Tesco’s was going to cost a few extra seconds, Mr Man realised. Oh, what bliss the opportunity for outrage! The pavement was blocked!

The three silent flowery women cavorted up the row of shops a bit further, trolleys a-spinning, towards the baker’s at the top of the row of shops. They sat on the bench, playing idle footsie with the wheels and sharing stawberries.

‘Is it a photo-shoot?’ said someone.

‘How do we know when they’ve finished?’ said someone.

One silent flowery woman suddenly stood up and marched into the baker’s. Just like that. The children pressed their noses against the dusty glass and watched as she stood in line and waited for service. What would it be, the adults wondered? Sausage roll? Custard tart? Caramel slice?

‘Do you think they’ll serve her?’ said someone.

‘We might as well get some dinner while we’re up at this end,’ said someone.

Mr Man, still trying to get to Tesco’s, said ‘I’m not standing here all day watching this crap,’ and picked his way theatrically around the bewitched children.

The silent flowery woman came out from the baker’s with a bulging paper bag. The children, sensing fat and sugar, pressed a little closer, then leapt back again into their parents’ legs as the trolley dollies had a silent squabble and started bashing their trolleys into each other. (Don’t you just wish you could do that? Just once? If you knew there was no CCTV?).

Some strawberries rolled out and splattered fatly, sparkly crimson, among the grey splats of chewing gum so old that they almost look designed.

‘That’s what happens when you get trolley rage,’ said someone. ‘You lose your soft fruit.’

Mr Man finally got past the little crowd just as the silent flowery women began to unpack their shopping bags. They spread a little chequered picnic blanket in front of Age Concern and piled it high with strawberries and buns. Then, tossing down a sign reading ‘Eat Me!’, the dancers skipped, whirled and twirled away through the parked cars into a waiting cab, leaving their pavement audience to create their own tasty end to another tasty performance in this year’s ‘I Love West Leeds’ arts festival.

As the children slathered strawberry juice and sugar over their chins and adults clustered smiling, Mr Man finally reached the end of the pavement.

‘They should all be shot,’ he said. And disappeared, stage left, into Tesco’s.

1 Comment

  1. Mandy says:

    Oh, Tamsin, this made my eyes fill! So beautifully described, so magically unfolding and I felt so sorry for Mr Man, who could not enjoy the spectacle for whatever reason.

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