Yesterday, Monday, we spent much of the day visiting five different stores for various things. The first stop was the DIY giant, B&Q (photo above, and this is just part of the ground floor) as husband required some timber for a project he is working on. That didn’t take long as I managed to divert him from gawping at the power tools, all of which looked ferocious and none of which he would ever need, a bit like distracting small children from a toys’ section or the sweets’ aisle in the supermarket. (Outside B&Q there were racks of plants, and they were offering four lupins for £10, so I couldn’t resist those. )
Next stop was ScrewFix. Now, I don’t know whether you are familiar with this tools chain in the UK, but you buy from a catalogue, either online or in one of their stores, and at a service desk just tell the assistant what it is you require. Usually it’s in stock and is produced in almost a nanosecond and if they don’t have it in stock, they order it and it is invariably ready for collection the next day. The day a new ScrewFix catalogue arrives is like a day when a new book arrives for me, need I say more?
From ScrewFix it wasn’t far to Dunelm. This isn’t a favourite store …
Again, warehouse-style with a coffee shop tucked away upstairs with the only outlook being customers on the floor below. The coffee shop is called Pausa (but when I saw the writing I thought it read Paula, and I thought, who’s Paula?)
It isn’t an attractive store but, similarly to The Range, among the tut there are some half-decent items. But it’s not my natural habitat. I was there to look at curtain material because, as I recently mentioned, I’m considering having summer-weight curtains made for our hall window. Surprisingly, I actually saw some material I liked but I wasn’t permitted to bring home the display sample (as I have been permitted to do in a more up-market store) but the young woman who attended to us has ordered a sample for me which should arrive within a couple of days.
The material I liked is plain cream cotton and, actually, it looked like curtain lining material to me, and at much the same price. I’m now in two minds about this. Not in two minds about the curtains themselves, but the material. Will such thin material hang nicely? It would be strange to have such fine material weighted in the hem. Would it be sensible to have thin material lined? Anyway, we shall see once the sample arrives … for all I know it mightn’t look good with the wallpaper.
From Dunelm we went to Lidl and outside there were racks and racks of pretty plants …
But I wasn’t there for plants, I was there to stock up on what I call household items: foil, waste bags, dishwasher tabs, washing machine liquid detergent, and so forth. And I saw the toothpaste we use at a reduced price so bought two tubes, plus some of their excellent toothbrushes. At 79p for two, what’s not to like? This means I can change our brushes every two or three weeks (sorry, more plastic waste, but hygienic not to have the same toothbrush for months on end.) I asked our dentist whether an electric brush would give better results, and he said No, we were cleaning our teeth well – it’s how you clean them, he said, not what you use.
The household items from Lidl
We also bought three packs of coffee – this should last a good few weeks. We like Lidl’s Bellarom Gold Blend ground coffee, it suits our taste.
From Lidl we drove to Babbacombe and managed to park the car in a side road, close to Babbacombe Downs.
This photo is from 2012 (view from Babbacombe Downs). I didn’t take any photos of the view yesterday but it was a day much like this. The coastline stretches all the way around to Portland Bill (a headland) in Dorset, but you can only see that far on an exceptionally clear day.
Having parked the car we made our way to the Babbacombe Bay Hotel’s café …
We’d not been there for some time and it’s always busy, even on a Monday. I think a lot of people use Groupon vouchers for this café, I saw at least one couple handing over what looked like a Groupon printout for afternoon tea. We’ve had afternoon tea there and it’s delicious, but this is something for which you have to book, either 12 noon, 2 pm or 4 pm. Yesterday we decided to have American pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup, and coffee.
I find the use of slates for food not just quirky but faintly ridiculous, especially when you have a sauce or syrup to pour. I had to take great care not to allow the syrup to run off the slate, across the table and onto my clothes. Slates are ideal roofing material but they do not make a satisfactory plate. Oh, please someone, tell these cafes and restaurants to quit-the-quirk and bring back the humble plate!
These pancakes with very crispy bacon aren’t in the least photogenic but they were very good indeed. They were actually quite large and I had to leave one whole pancake because I was full. If we order these again I shall make a point of asking just for two, not three. But, as I say, very good indeed.
We then made our way back to the car and drove to The Range which wasn’t far away …
Just a quick, not-very-good photo of the building, one what was built as a DIY store in the 1980s and has had many changes of ownership in the intervening years, the latest being as The Range. We went there and bought a new much-needed frying pan and some dishwasher tabs as Lidl were out-of-stock of dishwasher tabs.
By now we were both rather tired and once home, had a cup of tea and then we both fell asleep on the sofas. But we had managed to get all the items on our lists – husband all his bits and pieces of wood and so forth, and me all the household items.
PS The only exception being Lidl (thank you, Lidl), every place we visited yesterday was NOISY. Not just because of checkout tills beeping, people chattering, and the general ambient noise of stores, but the blare of pop music, the only difference being the degree of loudness in each of the stores, the Range having the loudest by far. And in the café we were seated at a corner table directly beneath a loudspeaker and the noise was so loud I had to ask for it to be turned down as we couldn’t hear what we were saying to one another. One of the reasons we shop in Waitrose is the lack of so-called music (well, let’s not mince words: it is not music as I would define music. It’s simply NOISE! I can’t speak for everyone, but I most certainly neither need nor want this cacophony as I shop.
Until next time.