|Ten days of shopping differently
||[Jul. 20th, 2015|10:41 pm]
Things have come to a pretty pass when I look back over the past week and think that the most interesting thing I have done has been shopping. Does it make matters better to point out that I regard shopping - ordinary, routine, grocery shopping - as a problem still to be solved? Despite one or two excellent shops (the cheese stall at the market, the greengrocer in the North Road) Durham is not the greatest place for grocery shopping. If we take the car into town once a week for the heavy shopping, then we don't need to hit the out of town supermarket not more than once a month, and still get everything I need - though not all of the fancier things I'd like. And if we run out of fresh veg or some basic ingredient, I can walk down into Durham: I could do this more often than I do, but I'm too lazy - and anyway, I'd end up wasting so much time checking the books in the charity shops - so I try to keep it down to once a week.
Several things came together to make this week unusual - starting ten days ago, I suppose, with the Gala. There was no way we would want to go shopping on Gala Day, but we didn't, as we might have, do our weekly shop on the Friday. Instead, I ordered online from Waitrose. This ought to be a better solution than it is. There's always something that turns out to be unavailable, and it's usually something I particularly like (or particularly like Waitrose's version of, so I can't just buy it elsewhere). And while I'm quite good at remembering which staples we are out of, I'm less good at finding inspiration on the virtual shelves and buying the components of a specific meal. On this occasion, I was quite proud of thinking to buy both raspberries and cream, only for Waitrose to decide that they didn't have the attractively priced raspberries I had chosen, and weren't going to offer me a substitute.
Nonetheless, supplies didn't run low until midweek. On Wednesday morning durham_rambler wanted to attend a council meeting in Crook, and I went along for the ride. Crook is a small town up the Wear Valley from Durham, and there's not much there, but I enjoyed wandering around in the sunshine, checking out the charity shops, admiring the one surviving (just) old-fashioned hardware shop:
By the time I'd shopped at the Co-op for dinner that night, and settled myself in RISE Artisan Bakery (an artisan bakery in Crook: I cannot tell you how unlikely this is!) with a cup of coffee and a scone, durham_rambler's meeting was over, and he came and joined me.
Thursday was Durham's monthly Farmers' Market. It isn't the greatest Farmers' Market in the world, but it's the one we've got. I wish we had more fruit and vegetables on offer, but what they farm around here is meat, so meat is what we get, and we buy enough for the freezer to see us through until next month. So many traders have come to Durham a few times and then stopped (one of the many problems of Durham City is that it does not have enough shoppers to support the kind of shops I would like, and that applies to visiting markets, too) that I try to support the regulars. So on Thursday we shopped in the city centre.
Yesterday there was a food fair at Raby Castle, and since we had been to this last year and enjoyed ourselves, we went again. I bought some more of the Seville orange mustard, and a couple of Scotch eggs, and some focaccia from RISE Bakery, and some organic veg and and and... We grazed on pasties and falafel and Archers ice cream. As a shopping expedition it was a bit desultory, but I was pleased with my random purchases, and it was a pleasant way to spend a lazy Sunday. And here's a bee grazing on a sea holly flower to illustrate that:
Next time: something more interesting (probably).