Moving online

I hear that more and more people are shopping online these days. Even before the pandemic, it was an increasing trend, but now there appears to be panic that the high street is dying and so we should all get back to the office to keep cafés and restaurants going.

Well, the kind of buying I’ve been doing wouldn’t do much in this regard. Certainly, I’d be coming home empty handed if I was looking for what has come through my front door this week.

First up is the organic flour and other goodies from Side Oven Bakery. It uses the wheat and oats from its farm to make flour and porridge oats respectively. But it also makes an interesting range of other products, such as porridge with chocolate and cranberries, which I decided would make an interesting topping for crumble.

Normally, I would buy the flour at Carr House Farm when it has an open day; or from Hunters, a shop in Helmsley. And I would get porridge oats from the local organic farm (not grown there). However, getting stuff delivered has added a certain spice to life when I’m mostly at home battling with a computer for work and social activity. It does also cut down on the amount of miles I drive.

The second purchase is of a completely different nature. One of my favourite genres of novel is historic crime fiction. In the last day or so, I’ve discovered my local library is now open again. This means I can finally pick up a book by Frances Brody that I reserved some six months ago but I’d wondered if I could get hold of the genre in French.

Now, this is something I doubt Leeds Libraries has on its shelves. So, I did an internet search and found just what I was looking for. Set in the time of Francis I, a contemporary of Henry VIII, it will hopefully illuminate a period in history on the other side of The Channel which I know sorely little about.

Better World Books, the company I bought from, raises money for charities who support reading around the world. It’s a shame the author won’t get a fee from my purchase but I am glad to help others less fortunate than me get the opportunity to read. And as always, it is good to be supporting the re-use economy.

After giving away some of my daughter’s clothes to two families through Freegle this week, it really does feel that I am on track with my principles in spite of the restrictions caused by the pandemic.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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15 Responses to Moving online

  1. nanacathy2 says:

    What lovely things you got over the internet- loved the mention of Helmsley- one of the many towns I miss having moved away. I fought pretty hard to use local shops during Lockdown, but now we have to wear masks on top of the queues and the distancing I have given in and gone online for things. Still go to the supermarket once a week and the library, but trips out that would have involved browsing are a thing of the past.

    • Helen says:

      Do you think you will come back to visit places like Helmsley in the future? Either way, there must be plenty of gems where you’ve moved to 😊

      I’m about to venture into the library to collect my Frances Brody book this morning. Fortunately, it looks like a nice day for a walk and as I am only popping in and out, I won’t feel too uncomfortable with a face covering.

  2. I don’t suppose it will happen, but a return to small local shops would be far preferable to on-line shopping to me.

    • Helen says:

      Gosh, yes Derrick. The immediate issue for me is whether I want what is being sold, e.g. organic flour grown and milled in Yorkshire. As far as I remember, the wholemeal I bought was £3.30 a 1.5kg bag and the white was £3.90. The porridge oats came in at £4 for 500g.

      Admittedly, 1kg of oats at my local organic farm is approx only £3, which might be more affordable/palatable for many shoppers. And there I am still buying from a hyper local business.

      More generally, I understand that local shops have also been getting a boost recently. So, fingers crossed this is a continuing trend!

  3. A group of us buy dry and tinned goods from Suma wholesale every 2 months. I have a local market garden C&M Organics who sell their own produce and that of several other local producers.They also act as wholesalers of organic veg and sell direct so my fruit, veg and things like butter, cheese and eggs come from there. Local village shops have kept me going with most other things and I haven’t been to a Supermarket since March though a neighbour restocked my cupboards when she was going a couple of times. I will have to make a trip next week for things I can’t get locally but like you have noticed the reduced mileage so am planning to limit my shopping trips. The Library in Cardigan is now open but operating on ‘click and collect’. I picked up my latest batch of books yesterday. Frances Brody is very good. We all seem to be finding new coping startegies to stay safe and sane!

    • Helen says:

      I didn’t actually pick up the book as they are operating a track and trace system. I can understand why the system exists but I really couldn’t cope with two weeks’ house arrest – not for the sake of a book!

      Anyway, it seems you have a good system going – apart from issues of surviving lockdown. I looked into ordering from Suma years ago but realised I wouldn’t have anywhere to store the minimum order. I tried to find people to share the order with but at that time it seemed too complicated. So, I go to a health food shop in Leeds for those items I would have ordered through Suma. As I’m trying to eat as much UK grown food as possible, it’s mostly peanut butter, couscous and raisins I get from the shop in Leeds.

  4. I am very lucky that there was already a group ordering from Suma and willing to let me join them. I also have enough space to store bulk buys. Things I use less quickly still come from local shops and like you I am trying to buy local produce.

  5. I have the main food order delivered every week and we top up at local shops if we need anything. It saves time and effort, though I do have to plan a bit more. The problem is that you can fall into the trap of pressing the same things every week.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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