Sorry, sorry, sorry. So sorry. Girl Abandons Blog (Disappoints Fourteen People).
The Xmas sales were not quite my undoing, though I did discover after I got back to my parents' house several hours later (and missing one shoe, but let's not dwell on the past) that I had failed part of the challenge, which was to actually buy something. Nobody told me that bit.
"You went to a sale," said my dad, looking nonplussed. "A sale! At which people purchase items!"
"Which are on sale," added my mother, helpfully.
"I thought the point of the challenge was actually to survive said sale," said I, ungrateful daughter, still picking glass out of the bottom of my remaining shoe.
"Yes, but..." said Mum.
"I survived 80% off selected Stella McCartney. I had to extract myself from an escalator when they announced a three-for-one Jimmy Choo mark-down. At one point, I found myself in a corridor of shrieking teenagers with nothing but a Robert Pattinson calendar with which to shield myself."
"Who's Jimmy?" said Dad.
"But..." Mum spread her hands and waved them a bit, like she was trying to air out her fingers. "Shopping!"
"Hate!" I said, easing out a splinter near the heel. "And don't give each other that look."
"We're not," said Mum, thereby confirming that they were.
I tossed the shoe in the bin. "I won this challenge. I went to the sale. I came home in one piece. That was the point."
"But what did you do if you weren't buying ...things?"
"Prayed, mostly. Hit people with my elbows." I headed for their fridge. "There was also a lot of breathing in and squeezing past, if I remember correctly."
"I don't get it." She looked genuinely upset, as if my failure to purchase was a genetic anomaly.
"I don't like crowds. Do you have any ice-cream?"
"Only lemon sorbet. Your father's avoiding dairy, for some reason."
"Milk cough," said Dad.
"It doesn't exist! I keep telling you that!" said Mum, finding a new target for her ire.
I took the carton and fished a spoon out of the dishwasher. "Going for a walk. Taking the dog. Borrowing your thongs."
So Brian and I took a leisurely stroll, leaving my parents to debate the validity of milk cough. For the record, Brian agrees with me. Surviving was the point. Isn't it always?