the Senior Cat that he did need some new flannelette shirts for winter wear in the shed I went hunting. There were none to be had in the charity shop - always my first port of call for such things. There were none to be had in the local shopping centre either. There is no "menswear" store in there. I searched at the likely shop in the neighbouring suburb when I went to the bank on Thursday too. No shirts.
Yesterday I had to go to a meeting at one of the aged care facilities near us and I was halfway to the place that will remain nameless but begins with W... You will know which one I mean. I decided to go the rest of the way and see what they had. Success. There were only a few there but the blue check ones were, fortunately, the right size. The Senior Cat does not "do black" and it seemed an unlikely colour anyway, especially with a bit of yellow and white thrown in.
On the way out I passed one of those large tray like containers they have in such shops. It was piled high with "colouring in" books. Remember those? These were almost the old fashioned sort. Each one was several centimetres thick - probably an inch in the old measurements. They were big.
I could not resist. I had to open one. Yes, still the same thin, cheap newsprint. If you pressed too hard on the page with your newly sharpened pencils you would make it show on the other side or, worse still, make a hole!
I turned a few of the pages over slowly. Yes, even the drawings were the same. There were the impossibly shaped vehicles, the rabbits with their ears too big and the daisies with the smiles on their faces. There were the "join the dots" pages.
I remember the hours we spent on days in summer when it was considered "too hot" to play outside. We would sit at our little table and colour in the pages making sure we "kept inside the lines". I was less interested in the actual process of colouring in than the process of making up a story to go with each picture. My brother and I would argue about what happened in the story at times. My mother would tell me to be quiet.
"You know, I think I coloured this picture in when I was a kid," the woman on the opposite side of the tray said to her companion.
"Oh yes, so did I!"
"Here's another one."
"And I remember this - I put pink frilly bits in her skirt."
"Let's buy one each...just for the fun of it."
I put the copy I had been looking at down and went towards the check out area. On the way I picked up some stationery we needed as well. They were looking at coloured pencils by then. Would they?
I watched as I went through the check out and yes, there in the aisle next to me, were the two women with their colouring in books and their pencils.
I wonder if they really will sit there and colour in the pages. It is not something I would want to do but I hope they have fun. It was hard not to tell them that there are also colouring in books for adults.