The Anonymous Widower

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

I’m Now Following The Queen’s Example

By Legend, the Queen never carries any cash.

I’m now deliberately following a similar policy, but I only use a contactless bank card for most of my daily purchases, like my paper and food.

I’ve even still got a couple of John Lewis vouchers gathering dust in my wallet, as sincve the new M & S Food opened in Dalston, I rarely go need a Waitrose.

One thing I find with M & S Food, is that on a typical purchase the average price is two pounds per item. So to keep under the thirty pound contactless limit, I rarely buy more than fourteen items. These unusually fit easily into usable bag.

Buying my paper in M & S or a station also means I can use contactless for the purchase.

A couple of days ago, I was approached by an aggressive tin rattler for a charity I would never suppose because of some of their practices. So I waved my card and asked. “Do you do conactless?” I got a smiling “Sorry! No!”

I still use cash for three purposes.

  • Restaurants with waiter/waitress service, so the tips go to the staff. It also means at busy times, in cafes I use a lot, I always get a table.
  • Black cabs, when I occasionally use one.
  • Personal services from local tradesmen, where the value is small. Otherwise it’s a bank transfer.

But it’s amazing, how little cash you now need.

 

April 25, 2018 Posted by | Finance | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Finally Buy Celias In Waitrose

They’ve been a long time coming, but today I relieved Waitrose in Islington of six Celia gluten-free lagers.

If anybody should find any Celias in an obscure Waitrose, send me a picture.

September 1, 2015 Posted by | Food | , , , | 1 Comment

Is My Life Going Round In A Curious Circle?

In the 1970s, my late wife; Celia and myself lived, with our then three sons, on the eleventh floor of Cromwell Tower in the Barbican.

Cromwell Tower

The shops in those days in the area were not very numerous and with the exception of the excellent market in Whitecross Street, getting everything we needed wasn’t easy. There was no supermarket, unlike today where there is a Waitrose in Whitecross Street.

So often on a Saturday, we’d take the boys up the hill to the Angel and shop in the Marks and Spencer and the Woolworths in Liverpool Road opposite the Underground station.

I’ve since found out that the Marks at the Angel is a long-established store and it may have been the one my grandmother spoke about, that she used around the time of the First World War, when she and her family lived just down from the Angel by the Regent’s Canal.

Woollies went a few years ago and much to the regrets of many of the locals is now a Waitrose.

My friends, who knew Celia, and myself often share a laugh over the fact that when I can get it, I drink a Czech gluten-free lager called Celia. A few weeks ago, I heard that the beer will be stocked in Waitrose, so I wrote to them asking where it will be stocked locally. This is an extract from their reply.

I’ve looked into this and I’m pleased to tell you that this should be available at both our Islington and Barbican branches from tomorrow.

As these are two branches, that we would have walked past together in the 1970s, long before they opened, I just can’t help thinking that life is truly strange!

Could anybody, who spots Celia lager in their local Waitrose please let me know?

Thanks!

 

August 18, 2015 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Am I The Supermarkets Worst Customer?

There has been a lot of reports lately about misleading special offers in supermarkets, like this one in the Independent.

As I’m a 67-year-old widower living alone, who because I don’t drive, has to carry everything home from the supermarket, I only rarely buy any bogofs, but then only with something that doesn’t have sell-by date like washing tablets, soap, tissues or bottles of cider or olive oil.

If I’m cooking a casserole that needs one onion, one carrot, a leek and say two hundred grams of mince then that is what I buy.

I also have given up on fresh herbs and use the dried ones in pots , as I don’t like throwing the unused ones away.

As I regularly complain about the bags in Waitrose at the Angel, they must consider me a bad customer, especially as I usually enter with a half-full bag of bread, biscuits and lemonade from the Marks and Spencer next door.

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 1 Comment

Nigella Seeds In Waitrose

I took this picture in the spice section of my local Waitrose.

Nigella Seeds In Waitrose

Nigella Seeds In Waitrose

Are these the reason, that the celebrity cookery writer and television presenter has grown some good-sized melons?

December 12, 2014 Posted by | Food | , | 1 Comment

The Tyranny Of Shopping

Today’s shopping showed how sometimes, it can be a complete pain. I went up to Islington and bought this today.

The Tyranny Of Shopping

The Tyranny Of Shopping

My trouble in some ways is that I’m particular in what I like.

1. Bread has to be from Marks and Spencer. Waitrose’s especially is made from cardboard.

2. Only Sainsbury sell my preferred Black Farmer sausages, which go so well in a sausage casserole I’m making.

3. Marks and Spencer doesn’t sell cannelloni beans.

4. I prepay for The Times and getting rid of the voucher can be difficult in some supermarkets.

5. Etc. etc.

So in the end, I ended up going to all of Waitrose, Sainsbury and Marks and Spencer, buying a few items in each.

At least at the Angel, the three shops are close together. In Sainsbury, all I bought was the sausages.

Last week, I went to Waitrose at Canary Wharf to try to get everything in one visit, but they didn’t have the sausages, as they’d sold out and their own gluten-fre ones are tasteless.

 

September 17, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | 5 Comments

An Interesting Take On Air Miles

I bought two of these little boxes in Waitrose, so I can use them for the second chop, burger, fish or steak, that I have to buy when creating a  delicious and nutritious meal for one. My freezer is half full with all this unused food.

The interesting thing is that they were made in New Zealand, so if I put them in the fridge upside down, they might save space as well.

I think it’s the first time, I’ve ever bought anything that was manufactured as opposed to grown in New Zealand.

Was it air-freighted from New Zealand with the lid closed?

If it was, it gives a whole new meaning to the subject of Air Miles!

And also when I opened it for the first time, did it release a whole container full of fresh Antipodean air into my house?

The latter might apply even if it came by sea!

A comedian could generate a whole routine around this simple container.

 

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Food, World | , , , | Leave a comment

The littleWaitrose In Kings Cross Station Opens On Tuesday

Kings Cross station is becoming the model of an upmarket food and shopping destination for a railway station.

On Tuesday, the new littleWaitrose opens, to join a good Marks and Spencer, a pretty good pub and a Leon, which probably does the best gluten-free fast food in Europe. The new shop is handy for the trains and the Underground.

So when I arrive back in London after a trip from the North East or Scotland, I’ll certainly be able to pick up supper at either the new shop or M&S. Competition must improve both stores.

I posted some time ago about Network Rail’s policy on stations and it looks like we’re seeing the fruits of that revolution.

August 17, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Marks And Spencer Now Do Goats Milk

My food shopping, has got a bit easier, as I’ve now found that Marks and Spencer have been stocking goats’ milk for some time.

Marks And Spencer Now Do Goats Milk

Marks And Spencer Now Do Goats Milk

This now means that the only staple I buy that is a bit difficult to find is my preferred Breakfast Cereal, which I can get in most Sainsburys’ stores and the excellent Waitrose at Canary Wharf.

So now most of my shopping can be done in one place, either a good Marks and Spencer or a larger Waitrose.

They may be nice people in Waitrose at the Angel, but I shan’t be sad if I don’t visit again, with its difficult to use plastic bags on the self-service tills. If I need to shop at the Angel, there’s always the small Mark and Spencer there, with its gluten free quiches and scotch eggs and excellent bakery products.

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