Skip to main content

Shopping Day

Day 3 of our social distancing was probably unique in our lives.

I am number 1, and Nicola Sturgeon is number 3 .. in the most popular articles chart in "the National" that is. My first-day thoughts and experience from beyond the 70-year barrier obviously struck home with lots of people.

But my experience cannot, indeed must not, be unique. If my age group is to stay healthy and not overwhelm the NHS, we've got a significant role to play. Our actions matter. Our actions can set an example for other age groups.

And top shop ASDA has been setting an example we can applaud.

Our weekly shop still has to be done and my spouse is a regular at Huntly's ASDA.

A special "oldies session" between 0700 and 0900 caught our eyes and we pitched up at 0800 to top up. And boy was it busy! More staff stocking up than I have ever seen and virtually no empty shelves. A fair sprinkling of buyers too. The A2B community transport bus at the door ensuring an easy journey for some of my fellow septuagenarians and older.

The sign at the door said there was a three of anything limit in force. I didn't see anyone having to be pulled up on that at the checkout.

My spouse is super organised and has her shopping list firmly in her hand throughout our visit. That means we remember to buy what we need and are less likely to haul something that catches our eye off the shelf spontaneously.

And brought up in a house where frugality was a necessary part of everyday life, she still keeps her purse firmly under control.

The old saying is, "How do you get to be a millionaire? One pound at a time". We're still working on that one.

But this weekly shop was a good one. The bill was about a fifth smaller than the last one. Despite my being in the house and eating meals I might have had down in Parliament. Rock on!

Back home by 0915, it's time for my daily walk.

Variety is the spice of life. The previous circuit was anti-clockwise. Today the reverse direction. A crisp frost and the temperature down to minus 3oC. Not a single cloud in the sky. A lovely first day of spring.

It was busy out there. For the first time, I had to step off the road to allow a car to pass. And I met someone I regularly see through the car windscreen. Out walking her three Scottie dogs.

This social distancing business means I am meeting some local people for the first time. From the other side of the road - a "social distance" - she read out the contents of a notice on a telegraph pole. Strange that we still call them that when the telegraph has long been replaced by the telephone. Or is that an age thing?

But anyway, it seems our road is going to shut for two days next week while Openreach replaces two poles. Since we won't be going out, that's one thing that won't disrupt our lives. I look forward to the not too distant future when these poles carry fibre to our door and we have faster broadband than most city dwellers.

Today's broadband service - seven megabits per second since you asked - has filled up my inbox once again. And it ain't good news.

Several businesses are in touch about the crisis. Our fishermen are suffering as prices at the pier seem to have halved. Herself is doing her bit and has contacted fish processors Downies in Whitehills - home of the Cullen Skink Scotch pie - and, yes, they will deliver. It's always a pleasure, as well as being healthy, to be eating our excellent fish.

The day ends with a visit from a neighbour who has collected some cat medicine for us from the vets. Thanks, Linda!

We have a slight oversupply of extra-large eggs from next door, and Linda is delighted to share that bounty. They are mostly over 100 grams each. Nearly a quarter of a pound in old money. Wow!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Advice to the new MSPs

A contribution made to Portland PR 's weekly briefing on Holyrood A new job is a time to look in the mirror and undertake a self-assessment about what one can contribute in a new role. And what weaknesses one may have that could inhibit success. Being elected an MSP is no different in that respect. But very different in many others. One has become public property and every action, or action thought to be by you, will be open to public comment, often unfairly. Silence is often your best response. When one comments on criticism one lengthens the “war” and widens the knowledge of it. Set your own agenda rather than respond to that of others. Who can you trust among your fellow Parliamentarians? Make contact with as many as you can as quickly as you can. And make it a priority to interact with political opponents. The first substantive decision in the new Parliament is the election of a new Presiding Officer and it will be a secret ballot. Understanding the dynamic of other partie

End of an Era 2016-2021

Written for  Holyrood magazine's "The End of an era 2016-2021"  published 07 April 2021.    Neil Findlay is the man who loves you to hate him. As he rises from his habitual place in a distant corner of the Parliamentary Chamber, a snarl as firmly attached to his face as he is disconnected to any symbol of middle-class values such as a tie, tension flows as he selects his target for the day. Is it dapper John Scott? The record-holder for the shortest time between his being sworn in and making his first speech in Parliament; a mere twenty hours. Does Willie Rennie attract his ire? Confession; we went to the same school. Almost anything liberal is bound to attract this Labour very-back-bencher’s contumely. Greens rarely attract his attention but he should remember that John Finnie, another member of this year’s escape committee, can efficiently direct a canine arrest. Now of course, I have sought to avoid any engagement with the fellow. I never, just never, even acknow

Clutter

When big things go wrong, and one feels powerless to do much about them, small things in one's life can become surrogates for one's anger. And there are quite a few big things around at the moment; COVID-19, No-Deal Brexit; A US Presidential Election where the incumbent leads with racist statements. As the end of the current session rushes towards us, many of my colleagues are concluding that they will not be putting themselves forward at the forthcoming election. A couple of our younger colleagues are placing their families first. But most are looking at being in their eighth decade, as I already am, at the end of the next session. When the two leading candidates for the US President are both older than I am - seventy-four in five week's time - it may seem surprising that retirement may be beckoning for me and others a lustrum younger than I am. But it illustrates the profound differences between being a back-bencher in our Parliament and the political life of a US Senator