Saturday, 16 October 2021

Salad shortages! Salad wars! The ongoing oddness of the world!

Today is dull and rather chilly day. But let’s look on the positive side; it didn’t rain on me when I went for a run this morning. I popped into the coop to buy an iceberg lettuce towards the end of my run, only to find that they had none. Just an empty shelf! I thought back to Wednesday when I overheard a conversation in the bakery in Uppermill. The customer ahead of me was ordering a sandwich. She wanted ham and cheese salad but with minimum lettuce. The young man serving said that they had no lettuce at all. They had been let down by their supplier. He had even been to the coop across the road to buy some there. They had five. He wanted to buy all of them. The coop refused to sell them to him as that was all they had and other customers might want them. How odd! Turning down a concrete, guaranteed sale now in favour of hypothetical sales later in the day. I think they knew who he was though and perhaps wanted lunch buyers to purchase their ready-made, prepackaged, probably made two days ago salad sandwiches instead of freshly made on the spot salad sandwiches from the competition across the way! Is this the start of the salad sandwich wars?

As for me I contemplated alternatives to iceberg lettuce. There was very little other than prepackaged “baby leaf salad”, which is all very fine but is really best added to a crispier salad rather than eaten on its own. Well, that’s my opinion anyway. Besides, it doesn’t keep well and has a tendency to sort of melt down into an amorphous sludge, even when kept in the fridge. But I wanted salad. So there it was. At the till I asked about the lettuce shortage. It seems that they have decided not to have iceberg any longer - something about the growers!! - but are still selling another crispy lettuce: romaine. I hadn’t seen any on the shelf though. Ah, said the cashier, they’ve just been stocking the shelves. So she asked another staff member to swop my baby leaves for romaine. Job done! It always pays to have a little moan, in the politest of terms, of course!

Time was, lettuce meant rather floppy pale green leaves. I think they call it “loose leaf”. No wonder my brother always referred to salad as rabbit food. Nowadays the choice is huge and varied. Provided, that is, supplies reach the shops. 

The latest thing I have heard of to be affected by shortages is road gritting.  “Gritter lorries could be hit this winter by the driver shortage, councils have warned, potentially leaving many of Britain’s roads covered in dangerous snow and ice.

Some local councils have struggled to collect bins in recent weeks due to a lack of lorry drivers, and there are fears that gritters, which spread salt to make roads safe in freezing or snowy weather, could be the next service affected.”

We’ll have to see what happens as mornings get colder and frostier. Oddly enough, just over a week ago my daughter and I saw a gritter lorry driving along in Mossley with all its lights flashing, for all the world as though it were busily gritting the road. Maybe the driver knew something we didn’t. Maybe he was heading for Scotland, the only place I’ve heard of in Great Britain to have had any snow so far, and that only in the highest places! 

Who knows?

Here are a few snippets about the oddness of the world at present. The first is from Michael Rosen:

“I'm becoming horrified and panicky that this govt is going to escape from any responsibility for thousands of deaths at the start of the pandemic. They are pretending that a) they didn't have a policy of herd immunity; b) didn't know that Covid was a mass killer.”

The next two are anonymous as I failed to note down where I copied them from:

“The CONservative Government that celebrated signing a deal to ship livestock from Australia into our shops is the same crew overseeing the mass disposal of UK livestock because they can’t get it the few miles into our shops.”

“French fishermen who have lost their right to fish in British waters are planning a blockade that could start as soon as Friday.

The fisherman plan to target Christmas supplies that are being imported into the UK and promised to block Calais, Dunkirk and the Channel Tunnel if necessary.”

They sound a little like unforeseen consequences of Brexit. 

Today’s news is full of comments on the death of David Amess MP. Much discussion is going on about the advisability, or otherwise, of MPs holding face to face surgeries rather than using the telephone or arranging zoom sessions. Will some system of security need to be set up so MPs all have bodyguards? Is that even possible? It would be sad though to see MPs losing the possibility of going walkabout in their constituency, dropping in on local events, meeting their constituents and becoming more than just a name.

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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