Thursday, 19 March 2020

A plague of locusts

Last night I did an online shop - no home deliveries to be had from any of the local supermarkets for 3 weeks, but I did manage to book a click  and collect one for 2 weeks' time.  Which is fine, it's when I wanted it anyway.  How much of it we actually get picked and packed though remains to be seen when we go and collect it....I read in the paper yesterday about one couple who'd ordered £50 worth of shopping, but only received one bag containing just a few items amounting to £7 in total!  The world's gone mad.

Anyway, it was announced that Sainsbury's were opening for the first hour this morning just for the elderly and husband is in his 70th year and in the at risk category because of his heart failure, and I am too due to my diabetes and liver disease, we decided that included us.  Fortunately, neither of us is showing any symptoms, but it could be just a matter of time before we do.  We decided to go and get some fresh veg, milk and bread flour, and some Vitamin C, honey and lemon.

We arrived at the store at about 07.15 (it opens at 07.00).  The car park was almost full, nobody queueing to get in but the store was really busy.  What surprised us was that there was no member of staff or security on the door vetting who was going in (if they were old enough eg), and the store was full of - well, basically everybody, all age groups.  Now I know you can't always tell if someone is disabled or vulnerable by their appearance (husband is a prime example, despite his heart failure and list of medications as long as his arm, he generally looks perfectly well), but lots of younger people in there didn't look disabled or vulnerable at all - eg there were several workmen in building gear and hard hats, young men and women in suits, all clearly on their way to work.  So no adhering to the dedicated 'elderly and vulnerable' rule at all.  Out of interest, on our way out husband asked a member of staff why there was no one manning the entrance....she said they'd rung Head Office to ask if they should and were told not to bother!  So what's the point?

The shop itself was decimated, empty shelves everywhere.  Hardly any veg - in fact the entire section where they keep most of the root and green veg was literally totally empty.  Almost no potatoes, hardly any salad, no apples, only a few pears.  Loads of bananas, bizarrely.  Husband managed to get the very last bag of bread flour.  No yeast or baking powder.  Not much milk left - no 4 or 6 pints, only a few 2 or 1.  Only about half a dozen of my lactose-free milk, the same of soya milk - and only the branded high cost one at that.  Almost no eggs, other than a very few boxes of very expensive 'artisan small producer' type eggs.  No toilet rolls, paracetamol or liquid soap....other than some fancy posh one costing £9!!! a bottle - who pays that much for soap?! (nobody clearly, since that was all that was left).  The entire shop looked like it had been looted or had a plague of locusts in.  We picked up a few things that were on our list, whatever we couldn't get we'll just manage without.  We won't go hungry, nor will Betty, we have plenty for our needs even if we end up having to self isolate for several weeks.

We feel very lucky indeed, actually.  We're not infected (as yet!), we're retired and on fixed pension incomes, so won't suffer financially and aren't in danger of being unable to pay our rent or bills.  With Spring on the way, we'll be able to get stuck in to the gardening, husband's already made a start on getting some of the veg beds ready and sowing some seeds, he's going to plant his seed potatoes in bags at the weekend.  We'll probably grow more produce than last year.  Everyone in our little hamlet knows each other and we're all looking out for each other, so I'm sure we'll be fine.  Hopefully the shopping situation, which is madness at the moment, will be sorted out soon - the Government seems to have been very slow in reacting thus far, but things are evolving very quickly indeed now.  

I hope we all stay safe and get through all this as unscathed as we can.  If nothing else, we'll have a very clean and tidy house, a very full and productive garden and some 'interesting' meals to be made in the coming weeks as our store cupboards and freezers get emptier!


  1. It's all madness. I just hope the supermarkets introduce a rationing system. At least then, everybody should be able to get something! It all feeds the rising panic in everyone, which isn't a good thing. We all need to keep calm. Not easy. I'm planning on doing lots of gardening (weather and virus permitting), and working through some of my yarn stash! Stay safe and well everyone. xx

  2. Several empty shelves in both places we visited, certainly no loo rolls. All non emergency appointments at hospital are cancelled. Everyone well behaved but if we get a ‘lockdown’, then
    I really think things will deteriorate.

  3. This situation is a nightmare for us. We're not pensioners so don't have a fixed income so things could get very tight indeed. Just this morning I've cancelled a holiday booked for June in Cornwall, nothing fancy, just a static caravan holiday. I only paid the deposit 12 days ago (£102.00) and I e-mailed the family run site, explaining our situation, along with the worldwide situation, and they have flatly refused to refund our deposit. No goodwill - plus it would've been our 4th visit to them as well. I'm wondering what would happen if they had to cancel all their bookings - would they still keep the monies?

    1. So sorry for you. Would they not hang onto your deposit for a future time when it's all over and you were able to go away?

    2. Hi Sooze, Yes I think they might do that but when you need the money now and I feel like it's a lack of goodwill, then that's put me off ever going there again! I might feel differently once I've calmed down!! but to me £102.00 is a lot of money to lose right now and to them I bet it's pocket money. I would fully expect them to be able to re-let the van - they have over 3 months notice and it's a popular quiet family site as well. In fact the site isn't even open yet - re-opens in April.

    3. Ah, I see, of course it's no wonder you feel like that, I expect I would too. I hope things work out for you x

  4. Yes clean straightened house , food fun,more talking less tv,more movies, more reading, walks on the beach or in your yard, gardening, back to a simpler , less hectic life. I am so looking forward to the isolation.We all knew it was coming so prepared for the long haul.

  5. I am hoping that gardens are going to look beautiful everywhere this year. It would give the news reporters something else to focus on instead of the sad dreadful news that is constantly streaming out over the airwaves.

  6. I’m thinking that our garden will be wonderful and the loft empty of clutter by the end of this! Think hubby is replacing the loft bit with golf, haha!
    I popped into our big Tesco lunchtime to get some bits for my father in law and there was no veg/fruit other than bananas, a few bags of parsnips and about twenty loose onions! No milk, eggs, bread, the normal staples. Fortunately there was about ten bottles of brown sauce, so father in law was lucky! I just don’t understand people, so selfish.

  7. Yes very difficult times, we managed to get a delivery booked for April 1st from Tesco, so fingers crossed we'll get most of our order.. we have farm shops near us and so are going to see if we can get fresh veg tomorrow. I 've ordered veg seeds and hubby is making a raised bed so hopefully we'll have salad stuff if nothing else!

  8. Bonkers but there's great fear around. It's not just worry about food availability. Lots of people are really anxious that they won't be able to actually afford food in the future weeks/months and, of course, they are now having to feed their children as well. If they were on free school meals, for example, that's quite a financial blow.
    No excuses for incidents of bad behaviour/violence but it's not all about selfishness, I think.


Thank you for comments, however please note that rude ones won't be published. Nor will anonymous ones now.