Jiminy Cricket’s retribution, or The Accidental Pumpkins

OK, look. We all know I have form when it comes to impulse buying vegetables. This shouldn’t be a surprise.

Over the weekend, I set out to cycle from my flat in Falmouth to the Lizard. At just over two hours one-way, it seemed like a good distance to cover, with the added bonus being that I couldn’t go any further even if I wanted to because the Lizard is literally the end of the country. It’s been getting dark crazy early in Cornwall, so I planned to leave as soon as the sun came up to give myself a good two hours of exploring time once I’d actually arrived at the end of the journey, because the edge of the cliffs is exactly where everybody wants to be on a brisk November day.

By the time I got up two hours after I intended to leave the house, and left another hour after that, I was already doubting my ability to get to the Lizard in time to eat my tuna sandwich from home (because we all know I’m about to buy some unsolicited vegetables in this story, but my initial intentions were pure) and get back again before the Cornish country lanes turned into the pitch black labyrinths I now know them to be.

I decided I’d stop in Gweek and visit the seals at the seal sanctuary. I talked myself into paying for the ticket, even though I was having a frugal day, and I even convinced my thrifty Jiminy Cricket to shut up while I ignored my sandwich in favour of a pasty. Because when in Rome, eat meat in pastry at every opportunity.

At that point I think Jiminy must have gone off in a huff. As I cycled home I rode past a tiny farm shop. It fit perfectly into the mental image of my life in Cornwall, which involved a lot of, like, eggs straight out of a chicken and vegetables from allotments and things. Maybe some sherbet lemons by weight from a jar. I basically imagined myself living in a scene from Goodnight Mister Tom, really. And then I realised that I really need access to Tesco Everyday Value everything in order to survive, and the desire to live like somebody from a World War II-set children’s book faded.

I pulled in to the driveway of the farm shop, and left my bike leaning against a gate, because it’s Cornwall and people won’t repeatedly steal bits off your bike the second your back is turned (I’m looking at you, Stanmore station). I perused the baskets of vegetables that surrounded the front door, before going inside and doing more perusing. In my heart I bought everything, but I let my head lead me all the way out and nearly back to my bike before I fully clocked the pumpkins.

I’ve had one pumpkin spice latte this year, and that’s the sum total of my Autumnal efforts. I didn’t even do a Halloween pumpkin this year because I live on the first floor and also I don’t want children to think they’re entitled to sweets just because they dress slightly differently and talk to some people. I do that every day, kids. Ain’t nobody giving me chocolate for it.

So, when I saw the little, white (I mean, white pumpkins. I’ve never had one that wasn’t orange) pumpkins the world blurred and before I even realised what had happened I’d bought two for £1.80 because it was a special offer, and carried them in the most inappropriate way possible back to my bike. I’m lucky I have a massive basket on the back, but I’m honestly not sure it would have stopped me if I hadn’t.

It has taken me four days and I’ve just finished one of my pair. Tomorrow I crack into the next one. If anybody happens to notice me turning a shade of yellow to match the inside of my pumpkins (I pretend to be mad that I bought them, but honestly I feel pretty exotic), just chalk it up to Jiminy Cricket’s retribution.

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