Browsing the shops, picking out costly but pointless bric-a-brac used to be a favourite of mine. Lately, I can't say I've been particularly bothered about wandering the High Street, searching out bargains.
Could it be the economic downturn? The double dip recession? (No, I don't fully understand that one either but figure it must mean that now I'm really, really broke instead of simply really broke.)
It's true that like many people, I haven't had a pay rise for some considerable time but it's not solely about the money. Shopping is stressful.
It begins with traffic queues and trying to find a parking space. Parking in much of the UK is a skill. I feel that we missed out in the Olympics and should have introduced this as an event. I'm sure it would have won us another gold medal. Having spent many holidays in both the USA and France, the ease of parking always amazes me. With the exception of the centre of main cities, parking is often free of charge in these countries. I do realise that there is more space than we have here per person but it does mean that a shopping trip is made that little bit easier.
I'm more in the mood to spend money I don't have when the trip has started on the right foot. Having driven through a congested town, queued for the entrance, patrolled around the dingy car park all eagle-eyed, shouting 'there's one' when I spot an empty parking bay with the enthusiasm that should be reserved for seeing a leopard in Kruger National Park, I usually feel momentarily delighted when I reverse in. Yes, that's right fellas - when I reverse in.
I never pull into a parking spot without taking the trouble to leave it facing my direction of departure. I never know when I'll have to make a quick getaway. It's one of the rules I have. Another is that I use my debit and credit card as often as I can. My rationale for this is that you should always leave an electronic trail. It gives the Police something to follow if you're murdered.