John Lewis is a nice shop.
John Lewis makes Mummy happy.
Unfortunately, even the general splendidness of John Lewis cannot cancel out the sweaty hell that is all children's shoe departments ever.
Today, the clever, bingy computer machine that gives mummies a magic ticket that tells them at what time the children's feet will be measured, enabling them to go and browse for Lovely Things until it is time to return to the Pit of Hell, is broken.
Instead, they have resorted to a more basic ticket machine, of the sort that dispensed tickets at a 1980s supermarket 'deli' counter, thus dictating your permitted slot to buy foreign cheese and luncheon meat.
This means instead of buying posh make up, Mummy must sit and listen to Other People's Children screaming because they are (rightly) denied the unspeakable vileness that is Lelli Kelli shoes, or, more enjoyably, judging those weak and common parents who cave to their children's tasteless demands and buy the over priced and over blinged monstrosities.
The dispirited shoe lady finally calls Peter and Jane's number, just as they have finished using the germ encrusted crayons to draw willies all over the already semi coloured-in colouring sheets.
Peter and Jane are veterans of many shoe buying trips and are au fait with the drill all children must follow at this point.
First, they must deny any knowledge of how to remove their shoes and look at the shoe lady blankly when she asks them to take their shoes off.
As soon as the foot measuring thingy comes anywhere near their feet, they must immediately contort their feet into a rigid, twisted shape that cannot be forced into the measurer until suitable begging has taken place by the shoe lady and Mummy.
All potential shoes offered in their size must be decreed unspeakably disgusting, ugly and hideous, until finally, after many muttered threats from Mummy, they will agree to rank them in order of least to most offensive.
Initially, all shoes tried on must be declared 'uncomfortable'. When all the pairs have finally been tried on, and rejected, they will consent to try on the very first pair again, at which point they will have magically become comfortable.
When encouraged by the shoe lady to 'go for a little walk' it is not permitted to walk normally. Instead, a credible impression of John Cleese at the Ministry For Silly Walks must be performed. When Mummy shouts at them to walk properly, a spirited argument must be put forward about how they are walking properly.
After this poetic, if lengthy, dance has been performed, Mummy will so fucking glad it is over that she will not even care that she has just been fleeced for almost £40 for each pair of shoes, she will just want the pain to cease.
Mummy asks the shoe lady to send the shoes to the Customer Collection Man.
Mummy politely asks if Peter and Jane can be sent to Customer Collections too.
"No, Madam" says the shoe lady " We have been through this, remember?"
Mummy bravely decides to take Peter and Jane for a little browse round the shop anyway.
John Lewis gives Mummy a glimpse of the world she might inhabit if Peter and Jane were less psychotic and Mummy was less of a lazy slattern.
A world of cream sofas and nice wooden furniture and silk dresses and tasteful 'storage solutions' and rugs that no one has pissed on and sets of matching glasses that Mummy didn't get free with many bottles of Hendricks.
Sometimes, at night, Mummy dreams she lives in John Lewis. Mummy likes those dreams.
Mummy takes Peter and Jane to the toy department and shows them the demonstration toys.
While Peter and Jane are breaking the demonstration toys, Mummy quickly nips upstairs to the make up department to cheer herself up with an expensive lipstick.
"Would Madam like a rejuvenating mini-makeover, with no obligation?" asks the make up lady.
Mummy would love that. A mini makeover is just what Mummy needs. Mummy will look young and pretty and fresh again. Peter and Jane will be fine in the toy department for just a little while.
The make up lady finishes Mummy's mini makeover. Mummy looks even worse than when Jane forces her to play makeovers.
The make up lady then proceeds to guilt trip Mummy into buying £178 worth of the horrible make up, because Mummy is too British to make a scene in John Lewis and tell the make up lady to fuck off.
Mummy retrieves Peter and Jane from the shattered wasteland that was once the toy department and they go to catch the train home.
It is raining as they trudge to the station, and Mummy's lurid makeover is running down her face. Peter and Jane are unsympathetic.
As the train pulls out the station, Mummy realises that she has left the sodding school shoes in the Customer Collection bit. Mummy will have to come back for them tomorrow. Right now, Mummy is going home to get shitfaced on gin, glugged out of free glasses, because that's marginally more civilised than drinking it out of the bottle, and she still has some standards.