Can Shopping Make you Happy?

I have a theory about shopping. It’s just berry-picking. I think that shopping satisfies our innate urge to pick berries. To scan, select, check, reject, pick, stroll, repeat. It feels good, doesn’t it? It feels better than it logically should.

I grow-my-own, sew-my-own, do-it-myself week in, week out and all  that can be extremely satisfying, but, I still love shopping.

I’m not talking about the nightmare late-August trip to get shoes for four feral children. I’m thinking of the leisurely browse through a bookshop, judiciously scanning shelves, considering and rejecting book after book; too serious, too frivolous, just right. I’m imagining the tension-busting hour in a yarn shop, considering whether this one will complement my hair or that one will feel scratchy against my neck. I think the feel-good factor relies on having the expectation of finding some good, ripe and within budget berries. In the short term, there’s no fun if you don’t find any berries at all. In the longer term, a berry-stained Visa bill isn’t much fun either.

Husband and I were badly in need of some quiet time together. A berry-picking expedition seemed like just the thing. My shopping list was a short one; I needed to stock up on spices and I thought I might continue my search for a brooch.

As we walked out of the car park I heard my favourite busker. This man manages to produce a thundering noise from that small piano that reverberates in my chest and makes my heart swell. I only see him once or twice a year, rarely enough to still be a treat, just often enough to seem a familiar face.IMG_6127

A shortcut through a bookshop took twice as long, of course. Then to the market. IMG_6139This is berry-picking heaven.IMG_6133

IMG_6136

IMG_6138IMG_6134IMG_6137Mind you, I can live without the tripe and drisheen (tripe is the lining of a sheep’s stomach, drisheen a type of blood pudding).IMG_6132

Our reward, for successfully buying spices, was lunch at the Triskel.

IMG_6140 I love this place.IMG_6146

It’s an oasis of calm with superb cheese sandwiches.IMG_6148 What more could you ask for?IMG_6155

A custard tart maybe?IMG_6152

It was just about perfect, despite the rain.IMG_6154 I made one completely frivolous and unnecessary purchase. A friend of mine years ago gifted me the golden rule question to ask myself when I’m deliberating about buying something: Does it make you do a little dance? Husband watched me try this hat on and declared that I was actually jiggling up and down so, I guess that counts.IMG_6350

We couldn’t resist a nosey around The Vintage Quarter. Nostalgia Quarter more like, they seem to rely on selling you things you had as a child (vintage Ludo, toy typewriter) or things you didn’t have as a child but desired (toy loom, chopper bike).IMG_6125 I love browsing vintage and secondhand shops. It sparks my sense of quirky.IMG_6126

I couldn’t convince Husband that what we really need in our hall is an old church candle stand (you know, the kind that you put five pence in and lit a candle before your exams?). But, guess what?IMG_6353

I found a brooch.

Can shopping make you happy? I felt happy when I was looking forward to a day out with my husband. I felt happy when I heard the piano guy. I felt happy as we strolled, hand-in-hand past the tripe and drisheen. I feel happy writing about our day out and I plan on spending some happy hours making a scarf to match my new hat. Of course, that will involve some more happy yarn-shopping. I think the baby toe on my right foot is getting a little bit jiggy.

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