Notes for Posterity

Yesterday was probably rock bottom. I simply sat round doing very little and, just after midnight, I realised that I’d failed to post. In fact, I’d failed to do anything much.

I say it’s probably rock bottom, but I can’t guarantee this – there is always the chance it could be worse. At least I was still wearing trousers. I have a couple of pairs of jogging bottoms upstairs, so there is still potential to sink further.

Today I am wearing trousers and have already accomplished more than I had done by this time yesterday.

We did pop out yesterday afternoon, going to TESCO for our Click & Collect order. The system was slightly different from the one last week. We had to travel to Toton last week. They have a small building, two men and you load your own shopping. We went to Top Valley yesterday – they have a canopy with a van parked under it, one man and he puts it in the boot for you while you sit in the car.

Click & Collect Top Vally TESCO Nottingham

Click & Collect Top Valley TESCO Nottingham

It only took 20 minutes and we only had contact with one man. It’s not a bad method of shopping. However, it did have one drawback as there were several items lacking. They take your money, they confirm they have it, they clearly have it in stock, but they don’t have a system for turning this into reality.

There was no flour. There was no bread kit. There was no marmalade. I have no clue why there should be a shortage of marmalade. There was plenty last time I shopped, and plenty of variety when I shopped online. I think we are looking at a failure in substitution rather than a failure in supply.

I bought white rolls, to make bacon cobs, which arrived squashed, which was disappointing. Even worse, the Belgian buns arrived crushed. I’d bought them as a special, sticky treat and was much put out when they arrived with the icing spread all over the packaging.

It’s yet another downside of shopping by remote control.

Despite this I still checked for a delivery slot on the internet. It’s become a habit, possibly even a fixation. And, again, after several disappointments, I managed to find a delivery slot at ASDA. It’s for 5th May, which is only 5 days after my previous slot, but beggars can’t be choosers. I could, in theory, have left it for someone else, and waited to see if I could get one for the 7th. However, nobody seems to have bothered leaving one for me over the last month, and they have been buying all the flour, so I pressed the button.

It’s nice to think that the current difficulties will make us all better people but I’m not sure this is going to be the case with me. The fact that I avoided panic-buying and bought modestly for the first few weeks of the shortages did not leave me with a good feeling. I should have felt good about my self-restraint, or at least felt neutral about the whole thing. But I didn’t. I felt vulnerable, short of food, and that all the smug, well-stocked panic-buyers, were, as usual, nicely placed while the rest of us suffered. At that point, if someone had suggested a re-run of the French Revolution, I would happily have joined in.

I’m not sure, after several weeks of stocking up, we actually need any more food. The fridge is rammed, we have tins balanced on shelves and I’m struggling to use carrots quickly enough.

As I said to Julia, it’s like shopping for Christmas. Over the years I have managed to hold things back so I only buy twice the food we need for the two days, but the last few weeks have weakened my self-discipline and I have bought too much of some things. I have too many vegetables and too many tins of things like Spam, haggis and corned beef, but I don’t have enough bread or marmalade, and I ran out of English mustard last night. I forgot all about ordering more so unless I find some in the back of a cupboard I’ll have to eke out the last quarter jar of Dijon, which is OK, but doesn’t make your eyes water. Mustard isn’t as much fun without the danger.

The pictures below are basically just weeds in what passes as a front garden – a poppy that had already started to fall apart by 2pm, red valerian that is budding up, and a dandelion. When the best flowers in the garden are dandelions you realise quite how much you have let things slip.


20 thoughts on “Notes for Posterity

  1. derrickjknight

    Sometimes I think you must be cursed. Belgian bun icing transferred to the packaging really is the pits. And when you try to lick it off it makes your beard so sticky.

  2. Sharon

    I was able to find flour at at an organic bulk food supplier. I did the same as you and resisted the urge to panic buy but it has taught me one thing and that is, that in future I will always make sure we have a supply of non perishables in the house, things like canned food and toilet paper.
    I love dandelions, I am a dandelion growing star, they are the one thing that flourishes in my garden!

    1. quercuscommunity

      It is always good to have a skill to fall back on, and growing cheerful yellow flowers is as good as anything. πŸ™‚

      Yes, I too have learned lessons about keeping some essentials in stock.

  3. Lavinia Ross

    The things stores are out of are somewhat confounding, like your marmalade. Why would there be a run on marmalade???

    If you can grow a pot of mustard greens, that might suffice for now. Mustard loves cool weather. The variety we grow, Southern Giant Curled, tastes like wasabi and your eyes will water. The nice broad leaves are good in sandwiches. πŸ™‚

    1. quercuscommunity

      That reminds me of my experiment with horseradish leaves. Not sure if I could get anything like that during lockdown, but I will bear it in mind for later – variety is, as they say, the spice of life. πŸ™‚

  4. thetinypotager

    Cheery hello from over the border in North Leicestershire, Quercus … and no flour or yeast to be had here either. Surely the Midlands has en masse decided to become professional bakers πŸ€”

    1. quercuscommunity

      Hello, I didn’t realise you were so close! Yes, suddenly baking has become all the rage. I did think of driving round a few mills, but it seems a bit of a trek when we are being asked to stay at home. We had a part bag, which has provided us with dumplings for the vegetable stew, and I have been able to get crumble mix, so the garden rhubarb has come in handy. I just fancied having a bread mix in, and making a few scones.

  5. arlingwoman

    It’s a bad time. It’s hard to know what to think about things. I, for instance, had a panic attack this morning. About what, you might ask. Well, they seem to have their own reasons. It’s taken most of the day to come down from it and I hope to go to be tired, early and sleep through. I hope you get some flour. Are there any little organic mills around the country? You could research flour mills and see what comes up. That’s how I got my flour supply.

    1. quercuscommunity

      I have used some small suppliers in the past but they all seem to be out of flour. This is a lesson in complacency – I should have kept up with my baking and kept a proper relationship with the people who make the flour.

      Hope everything looks better after a good night’s sleep. πŸ™‚


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