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.
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.
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?
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.
I took this picture in the spice section of my local Waitrose.
Are these the reason, that the celebrity cookery writer and television presenter has grown some good-sized melons?
Today’s shopping showed how sometimes, it can be a complete pain. I went up to Islington and bought this today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marks and Spencer may have its problems, but the display for its gluten-free bread and cakes in Islington, is bigger than the whole gluten-free area in the Waitrose next door.
I just bought a loaf and some cheese biscuits.
I have a feeling that despite the Islington M & S not being one of their bigger stores, I might find that in a few months time, I’ll go there first and then buy the things they don’t have in Waitrose.
I can only rarely buy clothes there, but I do use it as the delivery point from the web site. I don’t know about others, but I’ve had no problems with shopping on their web site.
I couldn’t resist posting this picture of HMS Bulwark, by Waitrose in Greenwich.
It’s just a pity the gap inthe buildings isn’t larger, so that you could see more of the warship.