"It's £8," I told her.
"Pounds? Don't you mean dollars?" she queried, smiling.
"Yes, of course!" I replied. "Force of habit. I've just come back to Australia to live after many years in Britain, and I'm still rather spaced out with jetlag."
"And how did you find Britain?" she enquired archly.
"Um... Just let me say I'm glad to be back!" I responded.
"Quite," she replied. "I haven't been there for a long time, but the last time I was there London had changed out of all recognition."
"I lived a long way from London, and rarely went there," I said.
"I don't blame you!" she shot back, as she handed me my purchase. "I don't know what Australia's future is going to be, but I reckon Britain has no future."
Oh, it has one, I thought as I left the shop, but probably not one that she or I would be likely to relish...
The following video, of anti-Israel marchers taunting a large squad of Metropolitan police, and from time to time hurling objects at the bobbies' backs, dates from 2009, but I hadn't seen it until reader Rita, who's posted it on her blog, drew my attention to it today.
Interspersed among bellowing chants of "Free Palestine!" and "Allahu Akbar!" are cries of "Run, run, you cowards!" and "Run, you swine!" and obscenities aimed at the bobbies, who appear to be under orders from on high not to respond to the provocation, but who are thus made to look as if they are fleeing from the mob.
Only occasionally does a bobby, truncheon drawn, turn to confront the tormentors.
Even without the raw emotions kindled by the horrific slaughter of poor Drummer Rigby, how painful it is to witness such a spectacle, and to reflect that these figures in seeming retreat are the posterity of men who sailed into battle to the strains of "Rule Britannia" and "Hearts of Oak," led by an immortal hero who, high atop his granite column, surveys through sandstone eyes (or should that be eye?) such humiliating scenes.
As for the murder of Drummer Rigby, Tony Blair, whose government zestfully permitted mass Third World immigration into a small overcrowded island, has made some unexpectedly tough comments about Islamic extremism here
A local lass looks at extremism in Luton: see here
*Aussie for "charity/thrift shop"; short for "opportunity shop"