First day back at work – we had over 50 parcels to do, all of them ordered in the last few days. It was both a joy and a nightmare. One of the orders had 33 items in it, ordered in four lots over the weekend and several people had ordered multiple lots in two or three sessions. It’s good to ell the stuff, but trying to tie it all together into orders can be tricky as you don’t always recognise the names. Fortunately, for the cost of half an hour and two bits of scrap paper, I was able to pull it all together.
The other problem with orders in multiple parts is that you end up having to refund postage, as the system charges too much when you order like that.
It took most of the day and three trips to the post office to clear it. The regular post master is isolating with covid and his two temporary assistants were slower than normal (not their fault, as they aren’t in practice) and every time we went with a bag of parcels it caused a queue. We weren’t popular, but would have been even less popular if we’d taken it all in one go.
Parcels . . .
It was good to get back, and to see everyone. Even the weather was better and when we finished it was significantly lighter than it had been when we left on Christmas Eve. This is probably either psychological or an effect of the light, as it really shouldn’t be that much lighter just two weeks after the shortest day.
We had beef again, because there was plenty left even after a meal and a day of sandwiches. This time we had it with mashed potatoes, brussels, chestnuts, and carrot and parsnip mash. And Yorkshire Puddings. There is still some left, and it didn’t seem a big joint when we bought it. Then we ate the last of the Christmas cake.
It’s now time to get back on the diet, even though we still have the Christmas Pudding to eat and enough turkey for three more meals in the freezer. I really did order too much food . . .
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 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.