| 8.7°C Dublin

All about my mother: 07/01/2010

It's 10.03am on Monday. My phone rings and I don't need decent Paddy Power odds to know it's my mother. It's the Friday before everyone goes back to work, so I know that the entire world is in bed with a hangover.

"Hiya love."

In the background, there is a horrible cacophony of off-key muzak, a child screeching and a booming announcement by a security guard, who sounds like Vincent Price in the Thriller video.

"Jesus. Where are you?"

"In town."

"But why?"

"For the sales."

The Arnotts voucher she got for Christmas is clearly burning a hole in her pocket. It's as if she imagines that all vouchers become null and void a week after Christmas Day.

"You are insane."

"I'm just after a bargain."

"Buy something in Penneys -- year round."

"Ah it's not the same."

"It's Baltic outside. What have you bought?"

"A cardigan. But only because your father took so long parking the car that I went into this shop out of the cold while I was waiting.

"Anyway, I'm calling to say that there's a lovely 32-piece dinner set here. A bargain. You want me to get it for you?"

I vaguely recall lamenting my lack of plates on Christmas Day.

"Mum, there are only two of us. Why would I need a gazillion plates and bowls?"

"But they're so cheap ... "

An image of Dunnes' own-brand lunch bars flashes into my head, explaining my childhood.

"So you don't want them? We were going to drop them in on the way home."

I have a sudden brainwave.

"I don't thanks, but seeing as it's freezing, could you pick me up some milk and a Galaxy Caramel instead? Thanks, byeeee."