Temptation - an act that looks appealing superficially but usually has a negative connotation, infers a lack of self control.
Seduction - a deliberate enticement, from the Latin "to lead astray", can be positive or negative but more usually refers to a sexual connotation.
My brief time in the UK seemed to be full of temptations, seductive in their allure, and mostly caused by this being on the doorstep.
Of course I did not deny myself, staunch self belief must allow that having made a public vow not to be consumed by consumerism that I would be able to uphold that vow even in the face of such an arsenal of enticements.
I have therefore mananged to maintain my no new clothes vow, shopping for clothes only in charity shops and on second hand stalls.
- you can't expect me to really - after all new shoes are an essential element in a happy Monika, and these are my first new new new pair this year - only £3.00 in the New Look bargain bin.
Oh dear - consumerism wins - well - they have got purple satin ribbons!!!
Days and days of roaming around old stomping grounds and trawling through shop after shop merely reinforced my feelings that consumerism seems to have become a societal panacea for any ill.
Cafes, pubs and coffee shops were empty, yet every shop I saw had at least 3 or 4 customers already carrying bags from other stores. Snippets of conversations that ran along Jeremy Kyle lines were persistently interrupted in mid flow with exclamations over sale bargains or Friday night's essential dress code and where to buy it.
I did not think that I had been gone that long but I did not recognise the dramas being played out around me.
Forgetten are those leisurely lunches of putting the world to rights between friends, a fast food fix and on to the next shop featured on a glossy photospread seems to be the new order. I sat with a friend eating lunch in an area where every conceivable cuisine was on offer and watched the speed at which meals were crammed in, where conversation consisted of which shops had not yet been trawled and watched bludging bags fight their way through more bludging bags to the nearest tills, when we had sat there for an hour I realised that the tables around us had changed customers 3 times while we lingered catching up on old times.
Finally it dawned on me, it is not the world that has changed - it is me. And I am immeasurably happier as a result.
So after 4 years in the sticks in rural France, what were my top 5 buys once back on UK soil:
1. NEW SHOES - obviously.
3. CLOTHES - with every other shop now a charity shop once you move away from the large shopping malls, there are good quality items to be snapped up everywhere.
4. HERBS AND SPICES - even the internet cannot compete with 150g of ground paprika at 29p.
5. BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS - by far and away the thing I spent most of my holiday pennies on. English books at £1.00 in every charity shop, even some at 50p still, and I really pushed the boat out splashing out on some at £1.49.
Today my shopping parcels get picked up in the UK and start winging their slow way across the Channel to me. Should be here by Friday. MUST NOT SIT AND READ ALL WEEKEND!!
P.S. - yes OK, I did buy stuff in Primark too - their socks were just too tempting - would socks count as clothes, not in my mind, I am sure they fall into the underwear category.