KIERAN HOWARD: How Thomas & Friends saved us both from shopping misery

Were you one of the bored husbands Kieran Howard spotted in Gunwharf?
Were you one of the bored husbands Kieran Howard spotted in Gunwharf?
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Expectant parents beware: Children lock onto Gunwharf Quays’ Cadbury store like a laser-guided missile.

Don’t enter range of it with your little ones, unless you’re willing to part with cash.

They can sniff it out from up to five miles away.

They have special sensors for chocolate which rarely seem to malfunction.

And, to any enemy naval vessels with cocoa on board, our little chocaholic will seek you out.

He will look for you, he will find you, and he will take your chocolate.

Louie discovered said confectioner for the first time last week.

We then ended up inside the shop only seconds after the discovery.

Despite me having no intention of passing through their door, we somehow joined the large crowd within.

I was effectively marched inside by a two-year-old. We didn’t leave empty-handed either.

My mini boss often instructs me where I’m going, rather than the reverse.

My big boss (Kerrie) frequently does likewise; hence why we also ended up at the Michael Kors and Ugg shops.

Put simply, that’s where I was lead.

Louie and I remained outside on this occasion, though. I do have some voice in such matters, albeit only a small one.

Anyway, we tapped into Gunwharf’s free wifi. What a lifesaver that is.

I encourage you to make full use of it if caught in a similar predicament.

Thanks to their customer-focused approach, I was able to keep the livewire occupied with endless Thomas the Tank Engine episodes as we patiently stood outside.

I peered in through the glass every now and then, just to make sure Kerrie wasn’t making any enquiries about the £250 bag.

I then glanced across the shop floor and spotted a dejected man sitting with his head in his hands.

Every so often, he briefly looked up to check it wasn’t all just a bad dream.

He looked resigned and appeared to be questioning if he’d ever make it home again.

I felt his pain.

I wasn’t sure how long he’d been sat there, but his face suggested it had been days rather than minutes.

I momentarily considered a rescue operation.

I was going to offer him the opportunity to come outside and watch Thomas and Friends with us. I didn’t, though.

Louie and I just breathed easy that we weren’t on the inside looking out.

Were you that man? If so, please let me know if you made it out.

LET’S ‘TOAST’ WITH A HASH BROWN

Louie’s started toasting us at meal times, but in a slightly less conventional way than is customary – with his food.

He’s replaced the typical ‘cheers’ and clinking of glasses with the chinking of chips, spaghetti and vegetables.

None of us can eat until the formality is concluded. It’s not confined to the home either. We have to complete the ritual during meals out as well.

We’ve had two over the last week, the first of which was lunch at All Bar One in Gunwharf, where we had to toast one another with our burgers and fries.

Onlookers seemed a little curious about our unorthodox dinner methods. I would have been too.

The second of our eats out was at a well known fast-food chain, although I’m not convinced that counts as dining out.

The boy certainly recorded it as such, though. It wasn’t his first taste of McDonald’s, but it was his first experience of actually eating in

the world-famous ‘restaurant’.

I’ve now finally seen the reason behind their ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ slogan. I’ve never seen a kid so happy to be holding and toasting a hash brown, let alone eating one.

The smile on display was the widest I’ve seen.

He doesn’t grin that much when I return home from work after a nine-hour shift.