I wanted to start with this lovely bunch of alstromeria which we bought this morning in Sainsbury’s – the Sainsbury’s which is closest to our home even though there are continuing road works along that road.
There are several Sainsbury’s stores in our area, both large and small, and although I would’ve preferred to have shopped in Waitrose this morning, I thought we might as well just get used to Sainsbury’s because with Waitrose closing in June, it’s either Sainsbury or one of the other supermarkets and I don’t really want to drop still further down the ‘food chain’.
What can I say that is complimentary about Sainsbury’s? I am finding it difficult to think of anything. Perhaps just two things: we had to ask several members of staff where we could find things because it’s a large store – well, it is to us although medium-sized compared with the huge Torquay store – and although we were trying to think logically where products might be, some of them defeated us, and each member of staff was polite and showed us where we could find things. The other point in its favour was the bill for what was to us a reasonably large amount of goods, knocking about £20 off what we’d have paid at Waitrose, and I’m not exaggerating. So that can’t be bad, can it?
I wanted to compare like with like when I got home as I have an old Waitrose food bill for a week’s shopping, but somehow – the first of a few mistakes today – I’ve lost it. Or perhaps the check-out assistant didn’t hand it to me, I have no idea, but I’m not usually careless with such things. I make sure I have my Visa card from the machine and my bag over my arm and then take the receipt from whoever is serving me. But today it’s AWOL. But, as I say, it was a large shop (to us) and the bill was about £20 less than what we’d normally pay.
But … I just don’t like the place! There is nothing actually wrong with it, but it’s just so prosaic. There are no pleasing displays, things are simply piled up. Even the staff uniforms are a horrible maroon and orange. Whoever chose such colours? Also, and I know it is Friday and perhaps the store had seen loads of shoppers before we arrived, the fruit and veg areas looked not only rather empty in places, but a mess. Isn’t anyone available to tidy them up?
And also, we noticed that the quality wasn’t what we were used to in Waitrose. We wanted some pears but they only had Conference pears, not our favourite. There might’ve been other varieties but we couldn’t see any. Conference loose in a big box or gynormous ones pre-packed in groups of four. Neither appealed. No Green Williams, no Rocha, no Comice. We looked at the spring onions and they looked like the needed removing from sale they were so dried out.
OK, I’m picking just two things, but then I saw the leeks and they were huge ones, leeks that have been allowed to grow too large before harvesting. All vegetables become more fibrous, more wooden, as they grow bigger, they are simply not as nice and tender as the younger plants. We managed to find a couple of loose leeks that were just about acceptable, but are nearly all green leaves at the top and little of the white leek part at the bottom, the tender part of the plant.
I managed to find some flowers though (alstromeria and roses) but although there were plenty of them, few appealed. These supermarkets do so love their huge bunches of mixed flowers in mixed colours together, don’t they? There is nothing classy about those. And while I’m on about flowers, I saw the most awful ones in the Torquay Sainsbury’s this week, they looked like orchids that had been dyed …
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen orchids in these lurid colours before. Are they natural or dyed? If they’ve been dyed, it’s an insult to a glorious flower. I didn’t stop to examine them, I thought them so vile. Of course, others will disagree – they wouldn’t sell them if people didn’t buy them!
But I did find the lovely alstromeria (£3 for 6 lovely stems) and roses (£3 for 10 stems) and a bunch of daffodils still in the pencil stage (£1).
I still have the daffodils I bought in the large Torquay branch of Sainsbury’s a couple of days ago, and they have now opened up and look lovely.
But, as I say, I can’t find anything to enjoy or even like about Sainsbury’s. The food is OK, not top notch, but OK. The trouble is, I’ve become used to better than just OK, and for close to £100 I expect better than OK. I know this is a first world problem, and I’m being fussy and I do know others will be counting the pennies and buying the cheapest food they can find simply because they have to.
After spending a very long time with my rather long shopping list, we decided to have lunch at the golf club. There was a good specials board today but they were all full-size meals and our experience last week taught us we simply can’t eat a huge plateful of food, so we had our usual small portion of fish and chips.
This really is a small portion and I still could only eat about half of the chips and I left some of the batter from the cod (and still felt very full.)
The view from our seat of the course was a pleasant one, but much nicer in summer of course …
I look forward to sitting outside for a lunch or even coffee and cake or even a G&T in summer.
Sorry to harp on about the shortcomings of Sainsbury’s (it can’t help looking like an aircraft hangar, can it, and rather bleak regardless of all the colours of the products on sale) but another point is that the magazine section is a bit meagre. Well, it is to me. Lots of those awful weekly women’s magazines (those that used to thrive on the three Rs in the magazine world: recipes, royalty and romance, and now focus on ‘celebs’ or those who are famous for being famous) and cheap TV guides; certainly no World of Interiors! I picked up next week’s Radio Times and am delighted to see that the wonderful police drama, Line of Duty is returning next week!
As a treat (mainly for putting up with having to shop in Sainsbury’s ha ha!) husband saw some little fruit and custard tarts and suggested we had one each. Unfortunately, as I put mine onto a plate it began to disintegrate, but it tasted OK.
By the time we arrived home, my M&S postal delivery had been, and I now have another pair of their Per Una High Rise indigo straight leg jeans. They are simple, inexpensive, and look OK with most of my jumpers and T-shirts. I photographed them with my favourite silk Joules scarf which I wore today (with my new lime jumper) hence a few creases, but they will soon drop out.
The only problem with these inexpensive jeans, even washing them inside out on a 30C wash on a short cycle using coloured washing liquid, is that they have a tendency to fade quite quickly. Therefore, I like to keep a new pair in the wardrobe for when I need to look a bit *smarter than usual, and the other pairs are past their best (*if one can ever look smart in jeans, ha ha!)
I am now going to make a cup of tea and perhaps watch some more of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. What a lovely cheering series this is. I need that, not only because of the tooth saga this week, and shopping in Sainsbury’s, but also my attempts to get a ring-back from one of the doctor’s in ‘our’ practice. You have to have a ring-back before you can see a doctor, this is common procedure now. YOu explain what is the matter and they decide whether to see you or not. But apparently you can only have a ring-back on the day you phone and I wanted to book it for Monday as we were going out, so I will have to try and get through again on Monday, which I know will be nigh on impossible.
It was suggested to me by the receptionist that I looked at e-consult on their website! I nearly lost my rag then. When you phone up and eventually get through, all the info about their website takes two and a half minutes before you actually speak to someone. By the time the recording has finished about prescriptions on another number, about test results only after 11 am, and how all the staff have been trained to put you in touch with the right person for the right problem at the right time, you could well be dead. Oh for the days when you could simply phone up and make an appointment to see your own GP. Just like that.
So I need Mrs Maisel to cheer me up!
Until next time.