Yes, they have! The breakfast croissants that I prepare for the Mhinisteir when he has super busy mornings have shrunk in size. Why is that a big deal? It is a big deal because the price of the croissants have gone up while they have shrunk in size.
I buy these croissants from the online supermarket, Ocado. For several weeks now, I have been observing that once baked the croissants come out slightly smaller than usual. Initially I thought that my eyes were playing tricks but now I have concrete evidence that the croissants have indeed shrunk in size. Am I going to stop buying them? Absolutely not! According to the Mhinisteir they are the best he has tried so far so they are staying.
I love fancy loo rolls – the type that has got fancy little prints on them. They are a little on the pricey side so I don’t put them in all the loos just the downstairs cloakroom that is used by visitors to the vicarage. I usually buy M&S Lavender Toilet Tissue from Ocado the online supermarket. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that they are no longer stocking them! Why??? I have no idea! Instead they are selling ones with Christmas prints which I refuse to buy as they are not versatile!
Last week, I got a really nosy Ocado delivery driver! I was quite taken aback by his level of nosiness that it made me slightly uncomfortable.
I have a permanent note on my account requesting delivery drivers to remove the bags from the crates. Instead of doing that this nosy driver who shall remain nameless dumped his crates outside the front door and with his arms folded started firing questions at me.
His first question was how is it that I get to live in such a lovely spot? In the olden days, our first line of our home address “The Vicarage” and the fact that the house is on the church grounds would have answered his question but with the Church of England’s finances the way it is, many vicarages are being sold and so no longer serves as a vicarage.
The second question was whether I was Portuguese? Portuguese????? My accent does get mistaken for a South African’s something which I have written about before here but Portuguese??
All these, while I was struggling with the bags and trying to answer his questions at the same time.
Anyway, the third and final question was what was I doing in England? That threw me a bit. I suddenly felt like an outsider who owed him an answer and so told him about how I moved to England from the land of the Loch Ness monster😁!
That was how I was to our Ocado driver the other day!
Our delivery slot was for midday and I got a call just after 11.30am.
“Hello! This is your Ocado driver. Are you number 48?”
“No, we are THE VICARAGE.” I replied.
“Oh, do I go through the dirt track to get to you?”
“If you follow the instructions on the paper, you should be able to get to us. See you, shortly.”
I was annoyed with the driver because my instructions were very clear. Non of the Ocado drivers have ever got lost because I basically “describe” the village to them pointing out all the key landmarks like the red post box etc. We also always ask the drivers if the instructions were clear and their answer is always the same. “You can never get lost with instructions like that”.
About a month ago, I got some money off vouchers in the post from Waitrose. I haven’t shopped with them since the pandemic and so chucked the vouchers inside my “shredding” basket.
A few days ago, the Mhinisteir gave me his Christmas gift list for his colleagues which reminded me of the vouchers from Waitrose. I quickly retrieved them from the “shredding” basket and after reading the terms and conditions decided to get all the presents from Waitrose online. I was only meant to spend an hour ordering the presents but ended up spending two and half hours and but no presents!!!
The problems started when I went to the online checkout… The first problem was that some of the things in the basket were out of stock! I had to “shop again”. The second time I went to the checkout it refused to accept the money off vouchers as the delivery date I had chosen was after the vouchers had expired! When I tried to check out for the third time, it said that because I had a newspaper in my basket, the delivery time has to be after 3pm!!!!!! Aarrrggggghhhhh!!!!! It was a complimentary paper so I can definitely do without as we get our daily papers delivered; but who reads their newspapers after 3pm???? The people that I know and I include myself in this read the papers in the morning. The fourth time I tried to check out, it said that the voucher was still not valid as I had to spend £100 instead of the £80; this time it was my fault. On top of all this, I had to pay a £3 delivery charge and if that was not bad enough, the items will come without bags!!!!!! At this point, I cancelled my order and went to do the ironing!!!
Have you ever used Brillo pads? For the uniniated, Brillo pads are steel wool soap pads. As for those who read the Private Eye, you will know that Andrew Neil of GB news fame is known as Brillo in that magazine!😁
Anyway, coming back to the real Brillo pads, they are used for scouring pots and pans. I have seen them in supermarkets and know what they are but have never used them until last week. My vintage Le Creuset pans were looking tired and needed freshening.
Now that I have used them, I am super impressed with Brillo pads; removing stains from the pan was a doddle and required no elbow grease.
A few weeks ago, I got a reminder from Ocado, our online supermarket to book my slots for Christmas! Until then, I had not even thought about Christmas! In fact, it was just two days ago that the Mhinisteir asked me what day Christmas falls on this year and I hadn’t a clue! I have since discovered that Christmas this year is on a Saturday!
In the Vicarage, Christmas is a very very important religious festival. However, our celebrations are always subdued. It ever was thus!
Back to Ocado, I am not even sure what I am going to be doing next week let alone Christmas. I don’t want to book a slot and then realise nearer the time that I won’t be available to accept delivery. In any case, I prefer not to deprive someone else of a much wanted slot.
On Monday evening, I was trying to pay OVO, our energy supplier and British Telecom over the Vicarage telephone. Unusually, I was successful with OVO but not so with British Telecom; there was an automated message saying that due to the global social media outage, they were unable to accept payment. I was intrigued. How can the social media outage be related to this?
Anyway, I was keen to complete my Ocado shopping online so didn’t think anymore about it until I had difficulty accessing Ocado!!!! Every time I logged in, there was an error message giving me a telephone number to call. Those living in the UK will understand my reluctance to ring any customer service number because it would have just meant that there might be nobody to answer due to Covid19 (favourite excuse).
It was only then that the penny dropped; it is the social media outage that has caused this. Oh dear! Does that mean I am going to end up with just one bottle of whisky??? You see, my shopping list is not always ready when I book the delivery slot and so I just add a Johnny Walker green label costing £40 which is the minimum amount required to the basket. Before anybody accuses me of hoarding shopping slots; please “hear” me out. I only book one slot and it is always for delivery in the next 5 days. 😁
The good news is I was eventually able to access Ocado’s website and the first thing I did was to remove the whisky bottle from the basket!!!
For 2 weeks in a row, I have had to dump all the milk that the milkman has delivered as they had gone off!
I cannot explain why this is the case. The weather is still warmish so I always leave the cool bag out for the milkman to deposit the milk which he has been doing diligently. I wonder if this has got anything to do with the delivery problem experienced by most of the UK.
It happened again on Monday morning! As most of you know, spoiled milk smells quite nasty! I decided not to report this to milkandmore as it will quite frankly be a waste of my time.
Years of rural living has taught me to always have a UHT whole milk in the cupboard and so that is what I used.
I have a dairy allergy so it is only the Mhinisteir who uses milk. He decided that we should pause our milk delivery until the autumn when the weather will be cooler. He really liked the new organic UHT whole milk that I had bought from Ocado and suggested that we use that for the time being.
A bit more about the organic UHT whole milk. It is called MOO and comes from Devon. The producers have their own cows! How fabulous!
For the first time last month, I tried samphire. I have seen them in supermarkets but wasn’t brave enough to experiment with them. I used to be very adventurous with food in my younger days but these days I prefer to play it safe. Maybe it’s because the Mhinisteir doesn’t like to experiment with new dishes.
The samphire duly arrived with my other groceries from Tesco. The very young delivery driver got quite excited when he saw the samphire. He started giving me advise on how to cook them, not that I asked!!! Anyway, he told me to steam and serve it with a good piece of fillet steak. I already had other plans. I was going to steam it and incorporate it in my pasta with Scottish smoked salmon and that was what I did. It tasted heavenly. By the way, the Mhinisteir had something else to eat!
The delivery driver told me to add rock salt but I didn’t as I read somewhere that samphire is salty.