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Aaagh! sighed Carrie, dropping her shopping bag on the floor and settling

herself onto the awkward height of a Costamuchamoulah trendy bar stool.

What’s the matter? I asked.

Oh, they’ve just run out of blueberries in Tesco- again.

Not a major tragedy, I think.  This was unspoken.

Well, it’s all the mummies in Tiger-Lily’s class. They bulk buy just before

the exams, as blueberries are supposed to be super foods for the brain.

I know, sympathised Clammie.  Sherry wanted Weetabix and stocks are

running out because of the poor wheat harvest.  Brown cereals are so big

this year.

Quick! Look! nudged Brassie.


It’s that woman whose daughter is in the accelerated set.  She’s

showrooming, breathed Carrie.

What’s that? we enquired, annoyed that we weren’t au fait with the latest


It means, explained Carrie, that she just zooms around Costamuchamoulah

and suchlike premises, noting what they stock and their prices.  She then

stores the information on her phone and orders, more cheaply, what she

fancies online.

How very enterprising! I ventured to remark.

No! I was contradicted.  How can shops and retail premises survive, if

customers don’t support them?  We like coming in here for over-priced

coffees, but management have to cover their council tax and cost of staff.

That’s why customer service and ambience is so important, reinforced


So where is that Mocha you ordered ages ago? I asked mischievously.

Apparently some stores are going to charge for entry, to combat such

behaviour from people who have no intention of purchasing, Clammie added.

Then, if you buy something, the entry fee would be deducted from the

purchase price.

bottles of walnut oil

Well, there she goes.  She’s just noted the price of that

virgin-pressed walnut oil.  What a brass neck!

complained Clammie, monitoring Mata Hari’s

modus operandi.

Some people are just wired differently from you and I,

soothed Carrie.

Yes, I agreed.  And most of them are men.

What do you mean, Candia? 

Oh, I was reading the BBC news online today, and there is research to show

just how differently the brain works in the two genders.

But are there only two genders? Brassie asked, provocatively.

I ignored her.

Oh yeah, interjected Carrie.  I read that a man’s amygdala

triggers a fight or flight response, like whenever I ask Gyles to

do something practical, such as taking out the bin.

Whereas, contributed Brassie, a woman’s response would be

to tend and befriend. That’s why we meet here, isn’t it? 

To support each other. I read the article too.

Yes, and all that talk about men not being able to multi-task is

apparently another male diversionary ploy, I confirmed.

Men multi-task 39 hours a week, but women have to do it for

48 hours per week. (Brassie substantiated my point, showing that

she had, indeed, studied the report in depth.)

That’s why guys have 9 hours more spare time than we do, so they can

play Stick Cricket online, or watch Jeremy Clarkson, I agreed, with


Jeremy Clarkson.jpg

Men are supposed to be decisive, owing to their strong frontal lobes,

added Clammie, but I seem to make all the important decisions in our


In the report, I continued, it said that in evolutionary times, women

had to be alert at all times, as they had responsibility for looking

after the children.

So, we are not living in evolutionary times now? queried Brassie.

Well, nothing has significantly moved on, pointed out Clammie.

Oh, come on, girls: men do cook sometimes. Carrie defended her


Yes, but do they ever clear up properly? I retorted.

Women can remember things better than men, observed Brassie.

That’s true, we all agreed.

It’s something to do with the hippocampus, she elucidated.

Well, you seem to have forgotten that you ordered a Mocha

some time ago, and so has the waitress, so where does that

leave our theory? I joked.  Everyone ignored me.

Gyles is always amazed that I remember everyone’s phone number and

I send out all the birthday cards- even to members of his family that I

have never met, Carrie elaborated.

Such as? I pressed.

Oh, I forget- his aunt so-and-so and uncle Thingy.

Brassie changed tack: And men always claim to feel pain more


Man Flu!  We all laughed.

They’re really just little boys, Brassie pronounced.

Yes, that’s why they bite people on the football pitch when they

get over-excited, stated Carrie.

Yes, agreed Clammie.  But women have been shown to have superior

planning skills and with more frontal cortex cells they govern their

impulses better.

Oooh, look! They’ve got blueberry slices! Carrie couldn’t contain

herself. The waitress had just placed a plateful beside the till.

A Dutch study has shown that women need to eat more to achieve a

feeling of fullness, or satiety.  We crave sugar more than males and store

fat to support babies through gestation, I informed everyone.

I’ll have one now that my Mocha has arrived! enthused Brassie.

What? A baby? I teased.  She ignored me.

See! I told you the waitress hadn’t forgotten. And she selected one of

the biggest cakes on offer.

But, remind me- you are not pregnant, I cautioned.

No, but I recognise my bliss point, she tried to say, while stuffing the goo

down her throat.

Which is? asked Carrie.

Oh, I forget!  Something to do with the balance between food and joy..;

the precise level of sweetness that makes consumption enjoyable.

You mean when you transgress that feeling of guilt? I suggested.

Absolutely, she laughed.

Let’s all have one and another round of coffees, Carrie tempted us.

Sugar lights up the brain, so let’s fuel our grey matter and keep ahead

of our families, Clammie encouraged us.

There’s no harm in that, agreed Carrie.  And, let’s face it: we are only sinking

our teeth into a fruit slice; not into our fellow man.

Mmmm! Certainly more palatable, I agreed, forgetting the calories.

Must check these out online.  They must be cheaper elsewhere.