The Anonymous Widower

Could I Survive Four Months Self-Isolation?

As I am over seventy, it is quite likely that if newspaper reports like this one in The Times, which is entitled Coronavirus: Millions Of Over-70s Will Be Told To Stay At Home For Four Months, prove to be true, I shall be spending at least four months, alone with my television, my books and the Internet.

These are a few thoughts.

How Does My House Get Cleaned?

When I moved into this house, I decided that I didn’t want to have anything to do with cleaning the house, so I hired a contract cleaning company, who come every Monday.

I also reduced my cleaning utensils to those that I would to clean up a spill.

  • A dustpan and brush
  • Kitchen roll
  • Washing-up liquid.
  • A portable Dyson vacuum cleaner.
  • A few sponges.

At least I don’t spill much.

How Do I Get My Clothes Washed?

My clothes washing arrangements may seem strange to some.

  • The cleaning company also looks after my bed-linen and changes it on Mondays.
  • Most of my clothes like underwear, shirts and jumpers are washed by a lady, who collects them from my door and brings them back a few days later.
  • I take trousers, jackets and suits to the dry cleaners.

Since my washing machine packed up about three months ago, I haven’t replaced it and I use a pair of new socks every three or four days. It’s cheaper than buying a new machine.

I can see problems arising, as my lady, who does the washing, is not in the first flush of youth or good health and may be told to self-isolate.

But I can afford to get more clothes delivered.

How Am I Placed For Home Deliveries?

Despite my front door virtually opening onto the street, I have problems with home deliveries.

  • Inevitably, they come when I’m out! But that won’t happen, if I’m confined to barracks!
  • But the major problem is that I share a post-code with the mews that runs down the back of my house and drivers relying on sat-navs inevitably end up in the mews. It happened last week and only because I’d given the company my home phone number, which the driver rang, did I get the parcel.

I should say, that most things that I need I collect from shops, because of the delivery problem, which inevitably means I have to collect it from a Post Office or depot a short or sometimes long distance away.

I Like A Daily Paper

I buy The Times most days and I also have an on-line subscription.

Being brought up in a print works, I like the feel of papers and as I do most of the puzzles in The Times every day, I don’t have to print them out. Not that I can print them out at the moment, as no-one can work out how to drive my printer from this terrible Microsoft Surface Pro Studio computer.

If anybody knows how to drive a HP LaserJet P1102w from one of these awful computers please get in touch. And if you are anywhere near London N1, there will be a beer waiting if the fridge or a boiling kettle, if you turn up.

I buy the paper from the shop round the corner, but I can’t find anybody to deliver one!

It sounds like there’s a business there to deliver papers to those, who the government insist are isolated in their own homes.

What About My Food?

At the present time, I shop most days and generally keep the following in the fridge.

  • Two bottles of milk; one in use and one full.
  • Some fish pate or M & S salmon parcels.
  • Several small pots of M & S Luxury Honey & Ginger yoghurt.
  • Three pots of cut fruit from M & S, which I usually eat at a rate of one a day. Sometimes with the yoghurt.
  • Benecol spread instead of butter.
  • Two or three ready meals.
  • Two packs of M & S gluten-free pasta, which has a two months life. I cook it with peas in a yoghurt sauce, with each pack giving two meals.
  • Three bottles of Adnams 0.5% beer from M & S. I’ve also got plenty of this in store.
  • Some eggs and cheese.

In various store cupboards, storage jars and bowls I also have the following.

  • Several bananas.
  • Lots of dried apricots
  • M & S gluten-free bread.
  • M & S gluten-free ginger snaps.
  • Plenty of tea bags.
  • Tins of sardines
  • Tins of baked beans,
  • M & S gluten-free granola, which I eat with yoghurt and apricots
  • M & S gluten-free porridge pots, which I eat with honey or strawberry jam.

I should say, that most days, I eat breakfast out either in Carluccio’s or Leon.

You will notice that I shop extensively in Marks and Spencer. But I have one only about five hundred metres away in Dalston and in Central London, you pass one of their food stores very regularly.

I can also go to their two larger stores at Finsbury Pavement or The Angel, if I am able to risk the bus.

  • It should be noted that I have strong connections to M & S at The Angel.
  • My paternal grandmother used to shop there before the First World War.
  • C and myself used to shop there in the early 1970s, when we lived in the Barbican.

There is also a Boots next door, where I get my prescription drugs, which was also used by my grandmother over a hundred years ago.

How Will I Get To The Doctors?

It’s walkable!

Conclusion

I think, that I’ll survive.

 

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Food, World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Another Carluccio’s Goes

C and myself used the Carluccio’s in Oxford Market many times. But now it has gone!

To add insult to injury, it is now a restaurant called Sweet Chick, which describes itself as Chicken and Waffles.

Doesn’t sound very healthy to me!

December 19, 2019 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

The London Cablet

I took these pictures outside Carluccio’s in Smithfield.

It is called the London Cablet.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

A Plaintiff Plea On Wake Up To Money

I regularly listen to Wake Up to Money on BBC Radio 5 Live.

One morning, they were talking to Kentucky Fried Chicken about their new vegan burgers. As a coeliac, I say Yuck! to that!

Somebody else texted the program and said something like.

I’m a coeliac, how about more gluten-free food.

In fact it was a bad week for me as a coeliac last week.

  • I found Beyond Bread had closed on Upper Street.
  • Le Petite Bretagne  closed in Dalston.
  • I spent about twenty minutes looking for a coffee and a gluten-free cake in Liverpool Street.

All this passion for vegan and vegetarian food, is marginalising those like me, who have to avoid gluten.

I’ve still got a couple of cafes in Dalston, where this is possible and I could always go to M & S and take a cake home.

But I refuse to buy an expensive coffee maker.

After Liverpool Street, I ended up in Leon in Moorgate.

Note the excellent gluten-free cake and the posh cup and saucer.

Note, that because of my stroke, I like a proper china cup or mug

I tend to avoid American-owned chains like Costa and Starbucks, as some American gluten-free practices are suspect to say the least. I used to like Cadbury’s Bournville chocolate, but now I believe it uses addictive wheat-derived glucose, I wouldn’t dare touch it.

As I said finding good cafes and restaurants that do gluten free well is becoming more difficult.

  • Carluccio’s is creaking and many that I used regularly like Glasgow, Islington, Liverpool and Westfield have closed.
  • Pattiserie Valerie is struggling and has closed a lot of outlets.
  • Jamie’s Italian has gone bust.
  • If I go a bit upmarket, there is Bill’s and Cote, but they are not ideal for a fast pit-stop.

As last week, I suspect that most coeliacs hope that Leon or others following their relaxed, quirky and customer and diet-friendly model, prosper.

Freedoming

These days many pensioners like me, get free public transport in their local area.

Londoners like me, get a Freedom Pass, which gives free buses, Underground, Overground, trams and trains, within the M25.

I will often get up, look at the BBC London News, the weather and other sources. I may then decide to go to Canary Wharf, Richmond ir wherever  to have a walk, see an exhibition or whatever.

London is an amazing cornucopia of delights, which is a sentiment echoed by others who live close to our other great cities.

Free public transport enables this lifestyle.

I think the various cafe and restaurant chains can tap into this lifestyle, as often one of the reason to go to a place is to have a good meal or a drinki.

If like me, you like particular chains, I believe that their web sites could be an important part in planning how to waste a few hours.

Suppose, their web site  had the following features.

  • A simple list of all their cafes and restaurant, with st most a short description like “Close to Pierhead”
  • The ability to sign up to a simple e-mail alert of new openings and closures. Note the word simple!

I believe that if I got a message saying a chain had opened in say Kingston, it might prompt me to go and have a walk and perhaps lunch, with a friend I haven’t seen for years.

Note.

  1. Lists are much better than maps, if you don’t know the area.
  2. Companies are relying too much on apps, which are OK for finding places near where you are, but are useless, if you are using the cafe or restaurant, as the resewn to go or the starting point for an explore.
  3. I believe Carluccio’s troubles started, when they abandoned their list on their web site. I told them so in strong terms.

Patteriserie Valerie has an excellent list.

 

June 23, 2019 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Orchestra Pit At Waterloo Station – 14th March 2019

These pictures show the area nicknamed the orchestra pit at Waterloo station.

It looks like it could be open soon!

Although Network Rail and their pandering to the terrible tastes of the average rail traveller, this are will probably filled with gluten-rich junk food.

I’d like to see a Leon added to Waterloo, as they already have two Marks and Spencers and a Carluccio’s.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Ruined Saturday Mornings!

Since, I moved to Dalston in 2010, my Saturday morning routine has been something like this.

  • Take a 30 Bus to St. Mary’s Church.
  • Visit the Carluccio’s and have a gluten-free breakfast, like a full English or an eggs benedict.
  • Visit Waitrose for half my shopping.
  • Visit Marks and Spencer for my gluten-free shopping.

But things have changed.

Egyptian Buses On Route 30

A few weeks ago, new buses started on route 30.

I don’t use them, except as a last resort.

They were built in Egypt. Now, I’ve nothing against Egyptians or their country, but we make very good buses in this country and we should have British buses for British bottoms!

The new company running the route seems to not provide the same frequency anyway, so catching a 30 bus, would often involve a longer wait.

Carluccio’s Has Closed

But the need to take a 30 bus decreased, a few weeks ago, when Carluccio’s in Islington closed.

As there is no other place in Islington to get a quick gluten-free breakfast, that put a big hole in my Saturday mornings. I could go to Bill’s or Cote, but they take a lot longer and are much more expensive.

Waitrose

Waitrose too, are annoying me.

They have redone their self-service tills and they are useless for my way of shopping.

I have a large reusable M & S bag, that folds into my man-bag and although it was fine for their original tills, it’s too big for their new tills.

So to shop in Waitrose, I put the bag in the trolley, load my purchases onto the till without a bag and then after payment move them into my shopping bag. How inefficient is that?

I now limit my purchases at Waitrose by using the much-more customer friendly Sainsburys next door.

Anyway, Sainsburys have a much better gluten-free selection, than the terrible range in Waitrose, where no care is taken to make ranges of foods like sausages and burgers gluten-free.

In fact, I wouldn’t trust Waitrose on their allergen philosophy. The labelling might be correct, but it’s all about how different product types and ranges are handled.

You wouldn’t shop in Waitrose if you were a family with one member who was coeliac or gluten-free!

Marks And Spencer

Marks and Spencer at the Angel carry on as normal, as they have done since my paternal grandmother shopped there ibefore the First World War and, when C and I used to shop there in the 1970s.

But they have competition in that I am ringed by others of their stores in Dalston, Finsbury Pavement, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street and London Bridge.

Yesterday, I ate breakfast in Leon at Kings Cross and then roamed the shops before doing my Saturday shopping in their Finsbury Pavement store. That one is now opening on Saturdays and I can get two buses directly from the store to the zebra crossing by my house.

Conclusion

All of these factors are combining to make me use Islington less.

What the Angel needs is a Leon, so I can have a fast gluten-free breakfast on the go.

One of the great things about breakfast in Leon, is that there is often time and space to layout your tabloid-sized newspaper and eat a leisurely breakfast.

 

November 18, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Carluccio’s Goes Posh

Not my words, but that of the waiter.

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It was a good quick breakfast.

The tea-pot certainly solves the dreaded tea-bag problem.

January 3, 2017 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

It Was Beautifully Cold Outside Carluccio’s In Waterloo

I don’t mind the cold and I ate breakfast virtually by myself outside on the balcony at Carluccio’s in Waterloo.

To be fair, staff said that it was cold and would I like to be inside. But I wanted to watch the destination board and I was wearing my thick Puffa coat!

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Food, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Over The River For A Tea And An Ice Cream

I walked over the footbridge on Fulham Railway Bridge, where I got a of tea and an icre cream in the Carluccio’s on the south bank.

It’s rather a large cafe and it sits right on the river. Their web site describes it like this.

Located on the riverfront, east of Putney Bridge and a minute from the High Street, the caffé boasts a huge riverfront terrace for sunny days.

I wouldn’t disagree and it would be a good pit stop on a walk by the river in the area. Perhaps, you might start at Putney Bridge station and walk across the railway bridge.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

To The Football At Huddersfield

I arrived in Manchester on my trip from Southport at Piccadilly and had the long walk from Platform 13 to the main concourse to get the tram to my hotel. There are plans to put another two platforms here, so careful design must be used to avoid worsening a nightmare interchange.

I had a bath and then returned to Piccadilly for supper in Carluccio’s. This branch seems to be much faster than most and I’ve not missed a train yet there, due to a slow meal.

I nearly did this time though, as the next Huddersfield train left at 18:11 and I didn’t get to Platform 13 until 18:15.  But the crowded train was late!

I was in my seat half-an-hour before the match started.

Ipswich won 2-0 and I was able to catch the 22:00 train back to Manchester, where I had a non-alcoholic nightcap in Carluccio’s.

I suspect that Piccadilly needs almost to create a new concourse linking the dreaded Platforms 13 and 14 and the proposed two new ones to the lines in the main station, at the far end of the station.

Let’s hope some of the UK’s best architects are working on creating a station fit for the twentieth century, let alone the twenty-first!

April 8, 2014 Posted by | Food, Sport, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment