Today is the day when I generally get up early and get off to Waitrose in Droitwich to do my shopping, aiming to get there the minute that the store opens its doors to minimise my exposure to other shoppers. But today, I an due to revert to my erstwhile shopping habits by frequenting Aldi but availing myself this time of their ‘Click and Collect’ facilities. The ordering procedure and updating it seemed pretty straightforward and the instructions then told me to get to the Aldi car park, park in a ‘Click and Collect’ zone and then reply to the text that they had previously sent me including my name and the number of the bay where I was parked. I waited about 5 minutes and then my order arrived, loaded into large plastic bags just about strong enough to get the load they contained into the boot of the car. I thought that the load seemed a little on the ‘concise’ side but I didn’t give it much of a second thought until I got it home and started to unpack it. Then I realised that several critical items (e.g. milk and yogurt supplies for the week) as well as half a dozen other items were missing. It seemed to me as though the whole of a plastic container load had not been loaded onto the trolley ready for lifting into the car. So I immediately shot back to Aldi where I explained (eventually) to a young manager that I had been a regular customer of Aldi, was now returning and this was my first experience of ‘Click and Collect’ The young manager apologised and set about picking up the deficit items himself, making a mistake in the process. He explained that an inexperienced young worker had been charged with compiling the load and, not to put too fine a point on it, he had absolutely made a ‘pig’s ear’ of the whole thing. But the young manager rewarded me with a bottle of Prosecco for my patience and forbearance, so this was gratefully accepted. But then we realised that the young packer had not made some crucial substitutions e.g. by substituting smaller cartoms of yogurt when the jumbo sized ones were unavailable. So I needed to get back inside the store and buy these items afresh as they would have been marked as unavailable previously and therefore I wouldn’t be charged for them. Eventually, I got home and unpacked the shopping and all I can say at this point is that it was considerably cheaper but quite a palaver. I think that next week, I shall probably forego the ‘Click and Collect’ option and get straight to the store at opening time as I used to do at Waitrose.
When we went to Droitwich, we went to our favourite coffee bar which serves a nice hot cappuchino and an enormous teacake which, once toasted, is easily enough for the two of us. Then we had a turn around ‘Wilko’ our favourite hardware store. Whilst Meg peruses the cosmetics, toiletries and household cleaning, I make a beeline for the stationery section followed by kitchen implements. Between us, we bought a staisfying array of things and then made our way to our favourite little ‘non-nonsense’ cafe which does a magnificent roast each Thursday (lamb today) at a ridiculously cheap price of £8. This little cafe and coffee shop has a very loyal following for its roasts which it puts on once a week and for which you have to book up a couple of days in advance to get a seat. Whilst there, we got into conversation with a fellow diner who turned out to be a local councillor. She overheard the conversation I had with the waitress which was to ask her whether she knew why mint sauce was typically served with lamb. The answer goes back to Elizabethan times in which once it was recognised that sheep could provide mutton as well as really valuable wool which then was the source of England’s prosperity. As the wool trade was threatened, Elisabeth 1 passed a decree that sheep meat could only be eating if eaten with a ‘bitter herb’ In those days, mint was plentiful but sugar had not made it across from the New World and the rest is history. Anyway, we had a really pleasant conversation and our our whole meal and conversation lasted for an hour and a half.
The Sue Gray report being temporarily parked, the media attention has turned to the fact that Boris Johnson appears to have authorised, or at least sanctioned, a mercy flight for animals rather than for people when Kabul, Afghanistan was abandoned when the Taliban took over. Boris appears to have been caught lying again even though there is an email trail which appears to show an authorisation of this private animal rescue flight. Boris Johnson is calling the ensuing row ‘rhubarb’ (but is meant to be a denial or not?)