04 December, 2007

Urban to rural shopper

I am finally starting to settle here in Wales and work out where everything is. It has been a difficult month and I have been away more than here. Anyway.

It is going to take some adjustment, this move. Local shopping in Clapton/Stoke Newington wasn't brilliant but some things were excellent: the fish shop on the high street, the Italian Deli Gallo Nero, the Farmers' Market and of course the Turkish shops for herbs etc. And for everything else there was my box-scheme-with-knobs-on Abel and Cole, and Ocado for Waitrose. I had a system (get the boring stuff delivered and stick to the fun shopping at delis, markets, ethnic shops) and it worked. And it didn't involve me trekking off to the supermarket regularly for loo rolls in the car.

So here's a quick comparison. There is a fish shop in Abergavenny in the Market Hall on Tuesdays but the fish looks a bit iffy. Apparently the good one shut recently. There doesn't appear to be a delicatessen of any kind although Cashell's in Crickhowell is good for cheese and a few other deli-style foods and the markets sometimes have good stalls. There are no Turkish shops, or Polish shops or anything else like that (yes I know Hackney to Brecon Beacons was bound to involve a change). And there certainly isn't an Abel and Cole locally although I do now have a milkman again. Waitrose don't deliver but visiting isn't horrible by any means and takes a lot less time than driving a mile to Morrisons in Stoke Newington, and it's ten miles away. Sadly what this all adds up to is that my carbon footprint has probably exploded over the last few weeks (six trips a day just to take the kids to school and playgroup... oh the shame).

Also my diet has changed. Less fish but more fantastic meat. The butchers here are wonderful, in particular, Cashell's who do great sausages, chicken, beef, well everything and supply free range bronze turkeys for Christmas. Until I discovered the market in Abergavenny on Tuesdays, I was finding vegetables and fruit a real problem. I loathe buying fruit and veg at the supermarket. It's overpackaged and overtransported and for some reason I lose all inspiration when faced with all those tidy aisles of veg. The market is better and cheap but a bit lacking in inspiration. No squash (I was met with an incredulous expression when I asked), today no cauliflower, and no clear indication of where anything has come from.

I spend more time shopping but a lot less time queuing. I spend more time in the car but go further and a lot faster. And I really must get on with preparing my garden for next year or I shall die of veg boredom.

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