A bad start to 2018

It’s hard to look on the bright side during these dark, wet days; even if Kim the Jong-Un is on the hotline to the South again; and Don the Old ‘un seems to be in a downward spiral of self-destruction. There’s an unhealthy glut of Bliar stories in the meeja, suggesting he is still scheming to return to Labour politics. Please! Let Corbyn continue!

Down under – where 2018 arrived sooner (and more trouble has had a chance to appear), it’s hip hip but not hooray; at least if you are Our Andy or Almost-our Johanna. And in the Ashes series, the England hierarchy seems to have delegated decisions to the players – ‘No, I don’t need a nightwatchman,’ said Jonny; and promptly got out.

Back home, real people struggle to budget for train fares, petrol prices rise and cold spells make everyone feel low.

But hey! Ambrose at the DT says Britain will soon be great again, Europe will slide and the sun will shine on us all. So that’s alright innit.


Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

16 thoughts on “A bad start to 2018”

  1. The more Bliar talks, the stronger the Tories are. He’s the most hated many in British politics.

    Rumour has it that Don the One didn’t even want to be president and was horrified when he became president. He’s in over his head and doesn’t know what to do. Perhaps he’ll resign? Mike Pence is a bit conservative for my taste, but he’s at least sane.

  2. About the truth !
    The weather here has been pretty grim, ice storms, and freezing but not in the same class as the poor East Coast which is really being hammered.
    Definitely colder all round than usual all across the States. But true for Wales too in October. Came back with pneumonia.
    Seriously weird, even when the British can afford their central heating their homes are all so cold and all this turning the heating off at night! No wonder so many are ill all the time. Plus the shopping in the UK is disgusting. All that plastic everywhere on the fruit and veg which are inedible and under ripe. And row upon row of so called ready meals which proliferate every time I get there. Who eats that shit?
    You can;t actually buy any real food except in individual shops no wonder the population are so gross.and prefer to drink themselves to death!
    I just can’t understand why people don’t revolt, strip the plastic and throw it on the floor, if a few started they would soon sell things properly again.
    Frankly couldn’t wait to get back to real food and a warm house!

  3. CO: I’ve found the opposite to be the case. Perhaps it’s simply because Dorset is a more moneyed area, but finding proper food here is far form impossible. There is the proliferation of “ready-made meals”, but that’s everywhere these days. The US is just as bad, if not worse. I had a good chuckle when I found gluten-free frozen burritos at Waitrose — made in the USA! There is a well-stocked cheese shop near my Waitrose which also carries locally-made jams, biscuits, chutneys, etc. They also have local tomatoes. Every week there is a farmer’s market or two with local produce, including fresh meats and seafood. There are also a few butchers that only stock locally-grown meats at very reasonable prices. If you go to much of the US, finding decent food is very hard. I often wept in Minnesota as food of any quality was hideously expensive. Wal*Mart was cheaper, but that hardly counts. You can’t always help what you find, but you can always try to make the most of it. That said, finding decent sweet peppers here is nearly impossible — even more so for citrus. Most of it comes from that disgusting Wog-ridden hell hole, Spain. I suppose the citrus bit can’t be helped, Britain being too cold and all, but the sweet peppers? A decent green house should help with that! Last year I bought some Israeli oranges in Germany. They actually tasted good, unlike that bland, tasteless disgrace from Dagostan.

    The problem, methinks, is that people want crops year-round and don’t consider what that entails. In-season, British berries are brilliant. However, people want them out of season which means they get things flown in from South America, etc. Out of necessity they’re not ripe as they’d go bad before they even cleared customs. You’ll find the same applies to the USA, Germany, Australia, etc. The use of plastic for wrapping fruits and vegetables is growing disgustingly common everywhere. Shops do this to avoid contamination. One bad apple spoils the barrel, etc. It also reduces dehydration and extends shelf life. This is especially true when “fresh” food products are transported over long distances.

  4. Sorry don’t agree, nowhere here sells incarcerated fruit in plastic.
    And nowhere has row upon row of chilled ready meals, some freezers yes but absolutely no chilled meals.
    I do not consider Walmart is a food shop and would never darken its doors.
    Here decent supermarkets have all the wall are with fresh bakeries, meat, fish and deli counters that are pretty expansive. Good fresh products, ripe fruit, fresh veg.
    It may be otherwise in other parts of the USA but not here in WA.
    And as some of them are national chains I hardly think they would be any different here.
    Kroger and Safeway are the same everywhere. Not that I shop in either.
    I must admit that fresh crops just run up and down the coast from Central America to Canada and are trucked up and down, not flown.
    I noted asparagus trapped in plastic in the UK at a fortune for 6 flaccid spears. Here 1lb bundles are neatly trimmed off and stood in a 2″ water bath so they may still drink. Generally at $3.95/lb.

    I am manic about food and am still harvesting from my plot, sprouts, celeriac, parsnips, fresh parsley carrots
    Onions and garlic still in store in the garage, likewise squashes and pumpkin, and then the three freezers! So I actually don’t buy veg, just observe them! I do buy mushrooms and fruit. When you eat your own fresh it makes the stuff available in British supermarkets look pretty bloody bad!
    I never could understand why people want produce out of season it is and always has been pretty disgusting. I never eat salads in winter until my own from the greenhouse is ready, the shop stuff looks like used lavatory paper!
    I guess a lot of it is how you were bought up, town versus country living etc. Nothing like stringing up your own pig in your barn! Serious do it yourself!

  5. CO: It’s a matter of experience, then. I’ve seen many “ready-made meals” for sale in the USA. I’ve also seen them in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Japan, China, the UK and really everywhere. Go to Safeway, go to Kroger, etc. You’ll see the same things you do at Waitrose, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, etc. As for foods in plastics… I have seen it in the US as well. Single sweet peppers are sold without, but 3 come in a plastic bag. It doesn’t happen as much in the US simply because there are far more warm growing regions and they can efficiently transport them fairly easily.

    You are right about the asparagus. Bloody silly — burying them in little plastic coffins does nothing but hasten death! It’s the triumph of suburbia. Everything is conveniently packaged and sold to the asinine masses. The stuff in the US isn’t necessarily much better, just different in some ways. Supermarkets are best for things like pasta, rice, etc. I buy as little fresh there as possible — better in-season and from farmers. Dorset is a major agricultural region so we’re lucky in that regard. We have, on average, a higher quality produce than do certain other parts of the UK. California has better quality produce than say, Texass or Michigan.

  6. I’m arranging for a dedicated growing area for you two guys to indulge your tastes in fresh produce – glass house optional for the off season. šŸ˜‰

    Ready-made meals are common here but for folk with time and an iota of imagination they are inferior and expensive. The fresh produce ranges are full of ‘ecological’ lines which are of course far too dear and often prone to rot too soon.

  7. Yes, of course everybody uses supermarkets these days and one can overdo the inverse snobbery of claiming one doesn’t, but the multiple benefits of buying local and fresh in the first instance if you cannot grow or raise your own cannot be ignored.


  8. OZ, we are off to a local harbour early tomorrow to buy the catch of the day straight from the boat, which sails over from its North Sea home in Jutland every weekend in Jan and Feb to spoil us Baltic dwellers.

  9. Maybe I’m just plain mean, but it amuses me to save money on food by canny buying. Here they sometimes have stupendous offerings at genuinely half price. I trot off and buy $100.00 worth of whatever it is, generally coffee, butter, salmon, steak etc. Package it up in usable sizes, seal in ziploc bags and hence the three freezers. Money saved buys the wine, the fags and the trips to Wales! janus, I too would be on that quay! Buying wholesale quantities!
    I reckon the veg savings equal about $40.00/week plus one has good food, exercise, companionship at the community garden and the ability to trade for the stuff one hasn’t grown. I have no tree fruit,but apples, pears, peaches, cherries, figs all come in the door at any quantity I want. They get back veg, condiments and jams! I also make a point of distributing excess to those I know have very little.
    All in all it makes a good lifestyle for such as myself who has no relatives in the USA and very little else to do, after all how many box sets can one watch? Also it is a wonderful excuse not to have to travel on damnable so called ‘holidays’.
    Only another three weeks to the first seed sowing in the greenhouse!

    As a matter of passing interest I tried a new veg recipe in the freezer, eggplant duxelles, had some last night, brilliant, suprisingly so. Baked off eggplant halfs, hollowed them out and stuffed them with a herb and nut stuffing, wrapped them individually in wax paper in a bag and froze them down, just mined them out of the freezer! That is definitely a repeater. I don’t do recipes very much for main course. After all the set pieces for Christmas I get bored and go off the wall food wise, invent on a daily basis, some are more successful than others, but it all depends on what is lurking in the fridge or what package keeps falling out of the freezer!

    Keeps one off the streets anyway!

  10. We too have relied on improvised meals since Xmas – family parties seem to generate plenty of candidates for recycling.

  11. Happily, I happen to live in a town that boasts one of the largest day caught fisher markets in the country. For those not familiar with the term, day caught boats only go out for a single day at a time and land their fish on the day it was caught, a process that is only economically viable for the smaller boats that fish close inshore. The larger boats tend to do longer trips and ice the catch down between each net haul. Even more happily, my son in law who lives next door, happens to run one of the largest wholesale fish operations in the town so I don’t even have to walk down the hill to get it.
    Add to that the fact that I also live within a couple of hundred yards of a single outlet local owned bakery and, to make it even better, the lady who serves in it has a brother who is a local organic farmer and who cultivates both meat and veg. There is one downside to this ideal situation though. In the words of Rod McKuen in his poem “Cowboys” one soon reaches a stage where, as he puts it. “the belly begins to overflow the belt loops” although in my case I think the word “begins” might just be just slightly inaccurate.

  12. Fat and happy, eh, James?

    I was amused earlier to see Fleetwood Town FC lining up to meet Leicester in the FA Cup. Why? Because their fans’ banners proclaimed ‘Up The Cods’ – which is I suppose the equivalent of the dog’s b*ll*cks.

    Lster: can’t you see rhe headline?

    Foxes held by the Cods!

  13. I would add that our fish in the market were normally swimming around the previous evening, as in the fishmongers and markets are closed on Mondays because the fleet has a day off on Sunday. Fresh local veggies are available on a daily basis and one almost has a duty to buy as much locally raised pork, goat and lamb as possible.


  14. Since ‘locally grown’ here means grown within 300 km more or less and transported several days through temperatures which would make most Brits’ toes curl – I tend to stick to frozen vegies which are, I hope, frozen, at the point of picking.

    I’m sure that I have mentioned my ‘wobble-test’ whereby I hold a parsnip and gently shake it. Most move at least 60 deg both left and right, and they cost a fortune.

    And no way am I going out in the same temperatures to try to grow my own…

    … my lemon tree, planted some four years ago, has not put forth a flower as yet – I suspect it will never, ever deliver a fruit.

    The kumquat bush does well – but I don’t know what to do with the abundance of fruit…

    I would dearly love a decent fish shop, such as we had in Sydney and Adelaide. But, alas! Queenslanders seem to eat mainly meat… and fish shops are very far and few between.

    I will say, however, that most Queensland restaurants do know how to cook a blue steak.

    As for ready made meals… well we can get them. But they haven’t reached the extent, variety or the popularity of the UK – and I am not one bit surprised! They are a ‘last resort’ when all else – like taste buds – fail.

    None of this has been helped by the two main supermarkets, which have a duopoly of well over 80% of stores, deciding that everyone wants the cheapest food available. In the last year or so they have cut the choice of products on their shelves dramatically.

    Clearly I like living here – but I can’t honestly say that the choice or quality of food is among the things that I would recommend.

  15. Bo you have always intimated that the food in Australia is pretty bad, stale and little choice at high prices.
    Just one more nail in the coffin of antipodean travel!
    Couldn’t live with it myself, food being elevated to deity like proportions round here.
    Plus the ghastly heat and drought.
    It staggers me that people actually stay and live in lots of the parts of the world. Had I been in a covered wagon train and got to WestTexas and onwards West, I’d have admitted making a terrible mistake and sodded off back East! Likewise Australia, forget 7/8th of it! I can understand going to mine gold or minerals but that’s about it. I personally detest desert landscapes, utterly depressing, then one would feel like that coming from green green Wales!

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