This short story begins about a decade ago in the car park of the Lidl supermarket near my previous home. The story has no ending.
Libby, now my wife, but then my partner, was coming to visit me. She stopped off at Lidl for a few things. As she got out of the car, a woman approached her. She did not seem threatening - if anything a little timid. She asked “Do you drink wine?” Libby acknowledged that wine consumption was not unknown in our household. The woman responded with “I want you to have this.” and handed Libby a bottle. Before Libby could say anything, she had gone.
When Libby got to my house, she told me the story. We were completely mystified. Why would someone give a random gift of a bottle of wine to a stranger? And why was she so keen to be rid of it? The only kind of explanations that we could think of was that she was trying to protect an alcoholic - perhaps herself - from temptation. She may have even bought the wine for herself in a moment of weakness and relented. I guess that we will never know. We put the wine aside, thinking that we would enjoy it sometime.
A week or two later, I took down the wine with a view to drinking it. It was a South African Pinotage, which is certainly to my taste. I cannot recall the brand, but I do remember the graphics on the label that depicted the horns of a springbok. When we sampled the wine, we found that it was very good and I thought that I would research it to check the price and maybe get some more. I had expected it to be a Lidl product, but I could not find any trace of the wine’s availability in the UK.
So, the mystery deepened. Not only do we not know why the woman wanted to get rid of the wine, but we could not figure out how she came to have it in the first place.