I’ve just cleared out my handbag. Only a superficial digging through. I don’t often dare dig right down to the bottom and clear everything out. But it needed a quick tidy up. It was getting harder and harder to shove my purse back in every time I used it.

And here are the culprits.Till receipts and vouchers.

In the old days, you just got the one receipt when you paid for the shopping. Now you can get up to four or five different bits of paper. First there’s the list of your purchases, usually all neatly categorised and pointlessly subtotalled into laiterie, legumes, viandes, beauté etc. Then there’s the credit card receipt. Next comes at least one type of voucher, and quite often two or three.

Vouchers. These are a complete waste of paper in my experience. The eerie culmination of all the research that the Big Brother computer systems of the supermarkets do on me as I shop means that I receive offers I can’t use. Simply Market repeatedly gives me a voucher for €6 off my next shop of €60 or more. But I never get that far. I’ve made it to €59 once, but that was a fluke. The whole point of shopping at good old Simply is to spend as little as possible on the food shopping. Someone somewhere worked out that I never spent that much and so they’d be safe making this munificent gesture!

The same at Carrefour in Gueret. There deals are more achievable quantity-wise usually, but not time-wise. Why, when I’ve just done a big shop to keep us going for a week or so, does whoever it is think I will want to dash back, all the way from Nouzerines, to save €5 on my  next shop, so long as it’s within the next three days. Apparently generous, but in reality not so. Or they’ll give me a handsome discount on some item that they know jolly well from my shopping records I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole, like sheep testicle soup or diet soapflakes or a designer perfumed tie. How magnanimous!

Anyway, these irritating handbag-clogging bits of paper won’t be entirely wasted. Rors will incorporate them into briquettes when he gets his production line going for this winter. Or this spring. It’s turned decidedly chilly and our woodpile is dwindling …