Yesterday was Commonwealth Day (not a public holiday here, and I suspect few people will have known this was a special day for the royal family and for the 57 member countries which make up the Commonwealth) and there was a service in Westminster Abbey. Here you can see trumpeters announcing the arrival of HM the Queen. But more of this service later. First of all …
What a transition – from Westminster Abbey to Barry! I haven’t shown you any photos of him of late simply because he’s not been over to see us for a while, but on Sunday we dog-sat him for four hours in his own home. He was good as gold, bless him. But then, he’s a middle-aged dog now and not as barky as when he was a teenage-dog.
And so to yesterday. As I’ve explained in previous posts, the Torquay branch of Waitrose (along with the Teignmouth branch) will be closing in June. We thus need to find another supermarket to benefit from our custom and for us to find one that will suit our needs.
Next down the food chain (pardon the pun, but couldn’t resist that!) from Waitrose is Sainsbury’s. More than a couple or more decades ago, how delighted my mother and I were when Sainsbury’s came to our area. It was then considered top supermarket dog and we couldn’t wait to go there. I even had home delivery from them from time to time.
And so we returned yesterday to Sainsbury’s, which had been expanded in the decades since we first shopped there. Yes, it was a Monday morning when I imagine few people do a ‘big’ shop, but we found the place nice and quiet, and the aisles are wide so we didn’t feel hemmed in.
It is, I admit, without ‘character’ and I wish I could describe what I mean, but it is simply shelves of goods, neatly displayed, unlike in Waitrose where the manner in which the goods are displayed is really attractive – well, it is to me. Here, it’s just goods on shelves. I can’t explain the difference, there possibly isn’t any, but while it’s certainly not Waitrose, it isn’t awful either.
I had a list of items with me that I wanted to check to see if they were available. Yes, they sell our favourite Normandy butter, and yes, they have our favourite drinking chocolate (not that we need that every week!) But we didn’t find any steak mince, only fat-reduced mince, whereas in Waitrose we can buy minced beef from named breeds of cattle, such as Aberdeen Angus and Herefordshire.
Never mind, we don’t buy mince very often and I’m sure what they have will be fine. One item I did find and which I’ve not been able to find elsewhere is Phildelphia cream cheese with chives, which used to be a favourite to have on cheese scones (with watercress, too), so I swooped up a box of that right away. I couldn’t find Cranks bread but it is available online, or perhaps I was looking in the wrong place.
The store also met other criteria: it was quiet (well, while we were there), there was no musak blaring out (except in the cafe); there is a cafe (not that we always require one, but nice to know there is one there) and loos. The flowers looked fresh, even on a Monday, but the prices are quite steep – Waitrose doesn’t have the monopoly on expensive flowers! There is also a Food Bank container so we can still pop things into that each week. Of course, they don’t offer free newspapers, free coffee, or a free in-store magazine. But we can’t expect everything.
and there was quite a wide selection of baked-in-store bread …
I didn’t take any photos of the cafe which we thought we’d try out for our recce. We had cappuccinos and scones – there wasn’t much else on offer, apart from some cupcakes, but this was a transitional period just before they started on lunches.
I was asked if we wanted small or large cappuccinos, and I said “small” but they arrived in what I considered to be large mugs. I dread to think what a large cappuccino would’ve been like. Anyway, both the coffee and scones were OK, but the cafe is very utilitarian, tucked far away in a corner of the store as if they don’t really want customers to find it. The plainest of plain tables and chairs, plain floor, plain walls. Nothing attractive about it whatsoever, and all in shades of brown and black and off-white. It overlooks a corner of what was originally part of the car park, I think, now a place where I suspect smokers gather outside in fine weather. Unless we are desperate it’s not a place we will use again. The loud musak didn’t help, either.
I have now applied for a Nectar card to get ‘points’ awarded when we shop there. Not sure what difference that will make to the Powling coffers, but we shall see. Below you will see the entrance/exit and the large area in front which to me is a totally wasted space. Perhaps there’s a reason for this, but it looks pretty bleak to me. There are also many sections I haven’t photographed, the homewares for example, but the inexpensive clothes look quite nice quality for the price and I was almost tempted to buy some red jeans. I might still buy some.
We then returned home and decided that we would perhaps be using Sainsbury for the time being for our weekly shopping. The only items not available in any brand was coffee ice cream. And we love coffee ice cream. Never mind, there will be other things to try, won’t there?
As I said, yesterday was Commonwealth Day and Westminster Abbey was in festive mode, and filled with many children and young people. There was music from a band called Clean Bandit (I’d never heard of them, but I have now) and drummers called The Dhol Foundation played their drums right through the Abbey.
Indeed, most of the performances were noisy, but very jolly.
The royals were out in force, lead by HM the Queen, the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla), the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Catherine), the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Meghan), and the Duke of York (Prince Andrew, Prince’ Charles’s younger brother.)
Absent were the Princes Royal (Princess Anne) and The Duke and Duchess of Wessex (Prince Edward, Prince Charles’s youngest brother, and Sophie). My photos from the TV are not good, but I thought you might like to see just a few. The Queen was in royal purple which my camera translates as blue, but it really was a beautiful ensemble. She does wear the most beautiful colours now, and always with a matching colour for her hat.
The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) was in a much darker shade of purple and looked so elegant with a choker of pearls. The Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine) was in red and looked elegant, too, with a tiny hat perched on the front of her head. She also knows how to wear her hair for such ceremonies and now has a tendency, instead of all her waves and curls blowing in the wind, to have it neatly coiled in the nape of her neck .
The Duchess of Sussex (Meghan) is also now wearing her hair much more tidily arrange, none of those long drifting pieces of hair dangling, which I personally have never understood nor liked. Yesterday she wore a centre parting with her hair neatly arranged under a white pill box hat, with a white coat with a patterned dress. She wore white last year, so perhaps white is her signature colour?
Here is The Duchess of Sussex with, in the foreground, Prince Andrew, Duke of York.
And here is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. I do think Prince William, as be becomes older, has a very Hanovarian look to him, similar to King George III (1760-1820).
Here is Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May, reading from Corinthians. In my opinion, and it is only my opinion and others will strongly disagree, she always seems to just miss on having the right clothes for the occasion. Last year she wore a red hat which absolutely drowned her head …
To my mind this looks ridiculous, but again others will disagree. Yesterday, the hat was rather small, perched on her thick grey hair and with a lot of feathery stuff on top. Her coat was loose- fitting and seldom do un-tailored clothes look smart. She also wore her signature-style of huge chunky necklace which didn’t seem to ‘go’ with anything she was wearing. I must appear critical, and her main concern as Prime Minister isn’t her looks and I know she was flying off to Strasbourg soon after the service for yet another meeting with the EU regarding Brexit, but I’d have liked to have seen her in more elegant, tailored clothes. She is a tall, slim woman and could wear them with ease.
But always the star of any show in Westminster Abbey is the Abbey itself. It’s a magnificent building, steeped (as historians are won’t to say) in history. The choir is magnificent and all in all, although I’m not religious (indeed, quite the opposite) I enjoyed the service.
This afternoon we are off to Dartington’s Barn Cinema again to see a film (movie). It’s pouring with rain and the latest storm Gareth makes going out somewhat challenging. I hope the film will be worth it. More about that next time.
And so, until next time.