Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Sprucefield Re-Visited

The last time I was at Marks and Spencer's store in Sprucefield, County Down, was on the 20th November, their 20% Day. I bought the Dowager two coats as gifts; then motored in to lovely Hillsborough for lunch.

The Dowager accompanied me today. It was felt that the coats were too neat a fit, so the intention was to exchange them both for the next size up. I'd already been to the Belfast store on about the 2nd January; however, they didn't stock the particular coats. So, if I wanted another size, I'd have to return to Sprucefield.

M&S Sprucefield was a lot quieter today. I enlisted the help of an assistant, who checked and proceeded to tell us that the coats in question were no longer stocked - sold out. What an utter waste of my time. All I could do was to obtain a refund; nor shall I get the 20% off the next time.

I am disappointed in Marks and Spencer; not least because they no longer sell winter overcoats - and we are in the middle of winter. Blast them. At least I have a refund, so I'll buy the Dowager an overcoat elsewhere.

The good news is that the Dowager was fitted out by a lingerie assistant for some underwear, saving me a deal of trouble and awkwardness. That I greatly appreciated.

Driving on into Hillsborough, County Down, we parked in the car-park of the Plough Inn; and the rain was pelting down by this stage. It was busy. We were seated at a small table near the fire-place. The Dowager had broccoli and blue cheese soup with wheaten bread; and I had the ploughman's lunch, which looked quite austere. However, this was deceptive because it included two types of cheese, an egg, pickled onion, paté, salad, sweet pickle and a plateful of fresh wheaten bread and butter. I wish that more Ulster pubs served ploughmen's lunches.

We drank mango and apple fruit juice; and the bill came to a reasonable £14.95. I cannot speak highly enough of the two lovely waitresses at the back lounge-bar.

We had a somewhat unpleasant journey home on the motorway, due to the atrocious conditions and massive juggernauts.

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