Sunday, 6 February 2011

Exploring Locally

Being down to our last box (UHT) of milk, I needed to go to the supermarket for more.  I know from my car journeys that the round trip is only 1.7 miles and there is nothing like having to carry your purchases on your back to make you selective and, consequently, frugal.  The sewing ladies had informed me that the bargain store where I buy my hair colour was about to close for refurbishment and so I decided I'd best go stock up a bit before they vanished for an unknown period.  As it happened, these errands were in roughly opposite directions, but no matter.  I now have a trusty carrier to help me.  This might have been the wheeled trolley thing I bought years ago before I got a car, but it being buried in the loft, I used the human one instead, AKA as Bill.

He's still casting about a little for what to do and he's almost always up for a walk, so we each donned backpacks and set off.  We made a large circle...I measure it to be almost exactly 5 miles, so not that large...and had a sort of day out at the same time, with loads of conversation along the way.  Another errand was to find cards to send for a cousin's anniversary and birthday.  So, I finally got to show Bill the Little Acorn design cards stocked at the Post Office on Nile Street in North Shields.   I wouldn't normally spend that much for cards, but these are beautiful and they are for a 90-something birthday (as a genealogist, that's something I should know...) and a 75th wedding anniversary (boggles the mind).  We both spent ages admiring the lovely art deco designs (click on the link and see for yourself).  Bill would far rather give money to the local business than to a chain, like Clintons, for example.  So that was a score.

We poked our noses into a variety of rubbish type local shops as well some of the national chains.  We wandered into Wilkinson's where I found my hair colour even cheaper than the shop at the bottom of the street, so I didn't stock up.  I normally would, but I'm ambivalent about how much longer to be auburn.  Indecision can be both friend and enemy to frugality, you know.  

We visited another space that used to be a collection of individual stalls, mostly of really tacky stuff.  It's now an entire store, half household items (also tacky), half food.  I found Kraft low-fat honey mustard dressing for 10 pence a bottle - 10% or less of the usual supermarket price.  The bottles expire this summer, but ask me if I care.  I bought five and may go back for more; I love salads in summer and honey mustard is great on pasta, beans and chicken, too.     There were lots of odd things like duck pate that I never see at the supermarket; mind I don't look for them either.  Bill and I agreed it was a fun place to visit.  I'm definitely taking my price book next time I go, both to compare and to update. So, another win.

We popped into Netto, a version of Aldi / Lidl type store to see if we could save ourselves a trip to the supermarket.  They wanted 59 pence for skimmed UHT milk and although they were 'offering' it 2 for £1 I knew the regular price at Morrisons was 49 pence.  In fact we walked another 3 miles or so to save 8 pence, but it wasn't just to save the pennies, but for other reasons as well.  

I confess to not having taken my camera.  In fact I only tucked my billfold into a coat pocket along with house keys and a hankie.  North Shields is not a very pretty place, though some locations on the river are photogenic.  The one place I would have enjoyed sharing pictures of is the bookstore.

On our way to the supermarket we passed Keelrow Book Store.  Their website holds more promise than it currently delivers, but it's practically on the door step so that doesn't matter much.  I'd been in before but discovered a lot more rooms than I'd realised were there.  I loved the place and could imagine me working there for payment in books.  It's a funny old shop with wood floors and three levels and little bedrooms full of books by category.  The shelves spill over to stacks on the floor.  One can see any attempts to really organise always being defeated by new acquisitions.  A fun but frustrating place altogether.   The prices are not cheap, but they are reasonable, certainly comparable with Amazon; like Bill I'd as soon spend the money at a local business.  I shall return with my inter-war reading list (and my camera).  

Continuing on our journey, I learned that whilst Bill didn't particularly enjoy rummaging in the bookstore, he's more than happy to be sent on bike, bus or foot to local libraries where books on that list are currently housed.  Each visit would save me 50 pence in reservation fees and it will fill his time with something he enjoys.  The sewing ladies mention rumours of library closures, but hopefully if it happens it will only being the very small branches.  I have one nearer me, but usually walk the 20 minutes into the Central Branch for the wider selection.  One can return books to any library and there's another errand if he needs one.  (I know, try not to hate me, I'm so lucky.)

At the supermarket we went straight for the milk and bought more than I would attempt to carry, but Bill could manage it in a basket with one hand, so we loaded up his backpack and trudged our way home, closing the circle.  It was a windy day and I had on a long skirt and coat so between the distance, the wind resistance and the added weight I got a reasonable bit of functional exercise.  And free transport.  

The weather got even wilder as the night progressed and I never did get to sleep (until 3 am) in spite of getting up to verify that there wasn't actually someone holding a fire hose aimed at our bedroom windows.   I can't find a retroactive / weather 'pre-cast' to tell me about the wind that hammered and howled, but it is expected to get up to 70 mph tonight, no doubt a repeat. 

Anyhow, I spent a grand total of £5.41 for marinade (salad dressing), marmalade and milk, got some exercise, had fun with Bill.  Bargain day out!

1 comment:

frugalscholar said...

Sounds like a blissful day to me.