“Get off my f**cking sprouts, you bitch!”

Sainsbury's, Dronfield.

Christmas is the most stressful time of the year to go shopping. Everyone is not quite their usual self and in cold hard determination to have the best Christmas ever, people will be especially ruthless and ironically – given the time of year – be meaner to any human other than themselves and family than they normally would be at any other time of year.

Christmas time, mistletoe and crime.

Last year, during one of my many seasonal trips to Sainsburys to stock up on essentials like Dorritos, Gin and honey-roast ham, I saw two middle-age women fighting in the fruit and veg section, which isn’t unusual in Dronfield, but this time it seemed different somehow. I thought it was just a routine domestic, or maybe one of them had slept with the other one’s husband or something equally messy that was sure to result in a court case.

It could have been something quite serious that happened and that was the first time they had seen each other, one of them would surely soon be divorced and decide to go on an all girls holiday at the age of 45, because you only live once (#yolo) and a girls holiday with all your married friends and tragic spinster friends is probably not tantamount to a breakdown. While I’m on the topic, are all middle-aged divorcees convinced two weeks of binge-drinking  in Ayia Napa with horny 19 year olds will make them attractive again? Maybe it’s just a right of passage for divorced women before they settle down with John, a middle-management type who drives an Audi, has his own house and 2 kids to a previous marriage. John is financially secure, dependable and doesn’t mind walking round a garden centre on a Sunday. Good old boring John.

Like every nosy bystander all I wanted to know was who should I be rooting for? The middle-aged blonde woman with the fake nails and fringe or the middle-aged brunette woman with fake nails and a slightly louder voice. They both looked like the kind of people that would sleep with someone’s husband. It turned out they were fighting over sprouts. Surely not? One of them shouted, “Get off my fucking sprouts, you bitch!”. The other one backed down and probably retreated to buy green pesto to have with her pasta for tea.

This surreal situation made me appreciate I would not have to cook anything. It transpires I spent Christmas mostly by myself at home, on a sofa, watching QI XL, dying from a self-diagnosed bout of tonsillitis, seasonal mood disorder and cold weather induced agoraphobia. It wasn’t as miserable as it sounds.

I can imagine what the Christmas dinner of the winning sprout lady was like, she’d say something like “You wouldn’t believe what I went through to get these sprouts!” and all the family will laugh and confess that they don’t like sprouts and nobody ate them. It would be hilarious HAR HAR HAR. Meanwhile the losing sprout lady would be sat there with her family, sproutless, having the worse Christmas dinner of their lives because they actually like sprouts.

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