Thursday, 19th August, 2021

[Day 521]

This week we thought we would try a new pattern of shopping. We have got used over the last year and a bit to getting our provisions delivered for us by Waitrose – this evidently means that we had to get our online shopping organised and we needed to get used to the system of online shopping. This has, though, worked very well over the past few months. We have to make sure that we have a slot booked and this generally has to be done 2-3 weeks in advance to get the day and the time slot that you want. The Waitrose system works (and I suppose all of the others are the same) by ‘reserving’ a slot and then you have to have a basket full of goods which you go through the process of paying for and which would be delivered at the appointed time. But then, not later than the day before, you have to go though the order and order what you actually want and so this has become part of my weekly routine – revising the list on a Wednesday and having it delivered the following day, on a Thursday. Occasionally, you forget to take things off the list and you add to your supply of biscuits or what-have-you. Conversely, occasionally things get left off the list which is no great disaster – and it is always possible that you didn’t read the number of grams correctly and you tend to get a much smaller item than you were expecting. However, Waitrose has given me excellent quality and good service over the past year and a bit and I am grateful to them for it. Now though I thought I would experiment, now that the worst of the pandemic is over. So as soon as I got up I threw some clothes on so that I could go shopping in person at the Waitrose store in Droitwich the minute it opened at 8.00 am in the morning. Shopping was almost like heaven – there can only have been 2-3 people in the store and the only people you encountered were the shop staff as they were restocking the shelves. A few days ago I made a very comprehensive ‘master list’ of everything that we might normally buy – then, last night I made a sub-list of only those items that I definitely knew that we needed. As I shopped, I stuck to this rigidly, not allowing myself to be tempted by other items that caught my fancy. What was so amazing was when I cane to the checkout where the bill was about £30.00 less than I was spending online. There must be a logical explanation for this – perhaps some of it is that I am better able to judge quantities e.g. of fruit. But I must say I am delighted by the result. As a result, I may adapt my habits again slightly and shop once a fortnight in the large store at Droitwich and in the intervening weeks ‘make do’ with the quite adequate little Waitrose at the end of Kidderminster Road.

Every week, we see if we can have a little venture out somewhere to help break the normal routine. Our favourite little venture out is to the neighbouring town of Droitwich and although I had been there already this morning, we decided to undertake our Droitwich day out routine. First we frequent a rather little cafe which is a little Wetherspoon-ish in appliance but does the magnificent toasted teacakes. From here we progressed on to our favourite hardware store – Wilko. Meg was despatched to buy cosmetic type things whilst I indulged myself getting round the gardening and hardware sections where I bought a few useful things like wire brushes. Then we made way to our favourite cafe-bar restaurant where we had already reserved a table. I had a salad type meal (trying to avoid too much carbohydrate) whilst Meg had a wonderful dish of chicken, leek and penne pasta in a creamy sauce. We exchanged halves of each other’s dishes so that we could both enjoy what the other had ordered.

The news story is still dominated by the plight of the Americans, British and particularly Afghanis who are desperate to escape the clutches of the Taliban – at one point even handing over a toddler to am American marine so that the child would be saved and have a better life even if the parents cannot escape. With a bit of careful planning and imaginative thinking on the part of the British amabassador,I am sure this could have been handled much better. First get one’s own military to put a ring of steel around the embassy. Then encourage those who can to get to the embassy by what ever transport you can. Then ‘process’ the applicants within the embassy grounds. Finally organise helicopter journeys to straight inside the perimeter fence of the airport. Simple, innit?