Owen Jones talk Edinburgh

I want to be Owen Jones when I grow up.

There are flaws in my plan though, not least that I’m already a good few years older than he is…

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Last Wednesday, I had the fortune of seeing this great man speak, to a packed hall, at the Edinburgh Radical Book Fair.

If somehow Owen has slipped under your radar, then he’s an author (at the age of 30, he has written two books that patently involved reams of research before the writing even began), he’s a Guardian columnist, plus he appears regularly on the television, putting forward his views on social and political issues. He is one hard worker – oh, and I think it’s fair to describe him as left wing…

Now, although my writing tendencies on this blog veer towards sustainable issues, I am no less passionate about matters of social justice. I care deeply and fill a lot of head space worrying about poverty and inequality in the UK, while berating myself for not contributing enough towards redressing the balance.

Owen Jones is an inspiration to me. He is a do-er and an enabler. Although articulate, and smack-in-the-face intelligent, he is also unassuming, warm and personable, with a broad Northern English accent that both surprises and delights. In short, Owen makes you realise that your actions count in the fight towards a fairer society.

Owen’s focus on Wednesday – and in the most recent of his books, The Establishment – was on the most powerful people in society, and on their role in promoting wealth and privilege for themselves, while encouraging a culture of blame and envy amongst those who struggle financially.

In other words, for the most part in our nation, negative attention is diverted away from those who have influence over the distribution of wealth, and is deflected towards those who don’t. For example, efforts go in to encouraging people to judge their neighbours for claiming benefits they may be perceived not to be entitled to, for not working hard enough or for ‘stealing’ jobs they do not deserve, while others – such as those responsible for the banking crisis – escape their share of the blame for the gross inequalities in our country.

This message, whilst admirably straightforward, seems to have been lost on huge sections of the UK population, assisted by parts of the media – with the ‘strivers’ vs ‘skivers’ culture having been swallowed whole by many. Indeed, there is not enough consideration that the UK, a wealthy nation, is unable to even  feed its most vulnerable.  The growing number of Food Banks is nothing short of scandalous.

What can I do though to make a difference? I am a stay at home parent with almost full-time child care duties.  Apart from keeping myself informed about politics and talking to others about my views; donating money to what I deem to be worthy causes; and donating food to the local Food Bank, I don’t feel that I am contributing towards getting the fairer society I want. In fact, I feel that I am doing next to nothing at all.

A piece of advice from Owen was to join a political party, and through that means, take collective action. It makes sense. I have some serious thinking to do.

Interestingly, and very much in keeping with my own focus on supporting local retailers, The Radical Book Fair was hosted by Word Power Books which describes itself as Scotland’s only radical and independent book shop. The event I attended was free of charge, in the spirit of including everyone regardless of their financial status. The organiser was keen to hammer home the message that, unlike Amazon, Word Power Books pays its taxes. All good. Donations were welcomed and everyone was encouraged to buy a book.

Owen Jones stayed behind after his 90 minute talk and question session to meet attendees and sign copies of his book. He was thoroughly likeable and down to earth. Despite having a genuine ‘stage presence’, he was simply, and in the best possible way, a decent bloke on a one-to-one level. Once his work was done, he put on his jacket and rucksack and headed out of the hall, almost totally unnoticed, on his way to do a television interview. What a guy.

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Supermarket-free Me: New Leaf Coop

I have finally paid a visit to the New Leaf Coop and, to celebrate, I’m writing a post dedicated to it!

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This is a shop I need to support – it’s exactly the kind of place I wish existed everywhere, but not as a chain! Let’s see lots of quirky independent shops with the same ethos (read more about that here) and let us be their dedicated customers – bringing our own bags and the kind of enthusiasm that, quite frankly, it’s hard to muster in the supermarket…

The New Leaf Co-op is in Edinburgh in an area called Marchmont, which I can get to within about 25 minutes from my home. I’ve blogged about Marchmont before in this post (which, if I may say, I enjoyed rereading. It shows me what a difference a year has made in my ability to shop without the supermarket!)

I digress…The New Leaf Co-op is easy to find on Argyll Place, nestled amongst other independent businesses.

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Even before you enter, you know it’s going to be a bit special as it has a bicycle hanging in the window. I’ve no idea why it’s there, but seeing it made me smile.

Prior to the bicycle though, I knew I was going to like the shop as I’d spotted this page on their website (if you can’t see it in the photo properly, click on this link):

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The canisters of unpackaged goods got me more than a little excited because I’m taking part in Plastic Free July and, between you and me, it’s still looking less like a challenge, and more like a nightmare! Those canisters though suggested that they might answer a few of my prayers…Here they are in all of their glory!

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The front of the shop had a variety of goods including fruit and veg, chilled products, biscuits, pasta and even candles. The prices I saw seemed cheaper than comparable wholefood shops that I’ve visited recently. 

This is a relief. I want to be able to justify ditching supermarkets on financial grounds, as well as for ethical reasons. So far though, I’m finding that if I’m spending less then it’s because I’m buying different things than I did at the supermarket, or because I’m using things I had anyway, not because the prices in the independent shops I’ve been to are lower. Some things are lower of course, but I’ve struggled to accurately assess whether I’m actually spending less overall.

Entering the back room of the shop, I felt like Alice going into Wonderland. Finally, here I was in a room full of unpackaged products – all I had to do was scoop them up, pop them in my Onya bag and weigh them. (The New Leaf Coop Shop have Onya bags! I have Onya bags! It’s a sign – I don’t know what of, but surely it’s a good sign!)

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Now I don’t want to burst any bubbles here but because this is my blog and because I do consider honesty to be important, I must confess that I was a bit overwhelmed with the choice of products, and the fact that I actually had no idea what some of them were. Clearly this shop has customers who take their cooking far more seriously than I do!

I was a rabbit caught in the headlights and I didn’t want to start scooping up bags of small black beans that I didn’t know how to soak, so I had to take a moment to calm myself down and think about what I might be able to buy that would be useful.

Moment over, I found there were quite a few things I recognised and that I could certainly stock up on in July, such as dried fruits, spices and oats. There were also products, like those in the picture below, that I didn’t know existed but knew what they were.

 

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Maybe in July, some Exotic Muesli may just be what I need to cheer myself up when I can’t wash my hair, do the dishes or use deodorant because there’s flipping plastic involved in all of these products!! (Kidding, I’ll find alternatives – I really hope I’ll find alternatives!)

I duly filled my bags and weighed them.

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It was easy to work the scales and a label was printed out, showing the full details of each purchase.

I was super-impressed by this, as actually (shopping geek that I am becoming) I do care about what country my product has been flown from and it’s great to be able to see what I’m paying per kg, so that I can price-compare on the internet with the supermarket.

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Of the loose products I bought, two thirds of them seem to be cheaper at the New Leaf Coop than the supermarket equivalents I usually buy.

I left the shop with a spring in my step. Although I won’t be visiting regularly because of my journey time (and because parking in Marchmont is difficult and expensive), I will be back. I’ll be organised so that I can stock up – if you buy a product in bulk, the price per unit of weight comes down.

I’d love to know how well the New Leaf Co-op is doing financially. It certainly had a reasonable number of customers while I was in but my worry about shops like this is that they aren’t appreciated as they should be. Although there are many good quality, special, independent shops in Marchmont, I notice that a Sainsbury’s Local has opened since my last visit, which is bound to have an impact on the area.

Here’s my final word for this post…If you have a special shop near you, then visit it! Spend money there, tell your friends about it, shout about it on social media – let’s love those places and keep them going because if we don’t, then the supermarket may be our only choice in the years to come.

Plastic-free Me: If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

 

Almost everything seems to come wrapped in plastic these days and I realise that it’s going to be difficult not only to avoid single use plastics but, even more so, to let suppliers know this simply by changing my purchasing habits.

It has occurred to me that rather than letting shops and internet sites guess what I’m doing, I should be informing them directly whenever I can. Of course I’m in a tiny minority of people who are hoping to take part in Plastic Free July 2014 but perhaps some suppliers will listen to my request for plastic free products and stock more of them? Cutting out single use plastics for a month isn’t going to save the world but I like the idea that I might make the whole ordeal easier for myself and others by spreading the word…

I have decided to make a start by contacting a company that I hope will be sympathetic to this issue – Real Foods, which has two stores in Edinburgh and an online shop. I mention them in an earlier post as an alternative to the supermarket. Real Foods sells a range of items which (as well as food!) includes toiletries and cleaning products.

This page on their website offers me hope in the following statement:

Ask any of our team if you cannot find what you are looking for and they will help you find or order whatever you need. Real Foods has the ability to source and supply any product within the natural foods and alternative therapies market.

Perhaps they might be open to a few requests?

They go on to say:

Always conscious of our impact on the environment, we strive to recycle and consume energy in as many ways as possible.

Maybe they will be open to the concept of Plastic Free July?

Real Foods is on my mind as I had popped into one of their stores on Friday evening and was disappointed by how many products there were packaged in single use plastics. I’m not criticising, I think my hopes were too high. There is little awareness of single use plastics as a problem YET. At the moment I am very much on the lookout for outlets I can use in July (ideally from now) that I can confidently visit knowing I can do some plastic-free shopping.

However, I have reason to feel positive. There was a display of ‘naked’ soaps and loose fruit and veg. Indeed there were products such as cereal that could be purchased by weight but I’m not sure if the bags provided to carry them home in were paper or plastic. Maybe Real Foods would consider stocking a few more items that I can rely on in July?

This evening, I have emailed them the following:

To: admin@realfoods.co.uk
Subject: Plastic Free Products

Dear Real Foods

I am going to take part in Plastic Free July 2014 and I wondered if you have heard of it?

It’s a campaign that encourages participants from all over the world to join in giving up single use plastics for the month of July. The website address is http://www.plasticfreejuly.org Examples of single use plastics include shampoo bottles, drinking straws, plastic shopping bags, cling film, toothpaste tubes, bin bags, cellophane wrappers, liquid soap dispensers, disposable cutlery, sweet wrappers, freezer bags, plastic food trays, yogurt pots, milk cartons, nappy sacks, plastic packaging….I could go on!

Having been in your Broughton Street branch on Friday I notice that you do sell some plastic free products – more perhaps than your average supermarket. Also having read your website over the weekend I notice that you are open to requests from potential customers and state that you support those who wish to lead a greener life.

All of this sounds great. Would you consider stocking more plastic free products? Although I aim to give up single use plastics in July, I am already trying to reduce how much I use them and of course find out where I will be able to source them during what could be a very tricky month for me next summer!

Examples of products I’ve found difficult to buy plastic-free include:
• Washing up liquid/dishwasher tablets
• Herbs & spices
• Milk
• Bottles that pour, such as oils (often the pourer is plastic)
• Make-up
• Suncream
• Dried fruit & nuts
• Pasta

I’d love to know your thoughts!

I am writing this email as part of my blog westywrites.wordpress.com . Over the next 9 months I hope to be contacting many companies, some – like yourselves – to ask for help generally and others who provide specific products I use, to ask if they can provide that product in plastic free packaging.

Ideally I would like to publish your response but I understand if you would rather reply to me personally. Please state if you do not want your response included on the blog.

Thank you for reading.

Fingers crossed that I receive a reply and permission to publish it.

If you are interested in taking part in Plastic Free July or simply reducing the waste caused by single use plastics then maybe you too could consider communicating with shops? The more we ask for what we want, the greater the chance there will be a variety of plastic free goods on our shelves in July and the more the issue of plastic waste awareness is raised in our communities.

Feel free to use my email as a template for adaptation.

Supermarket-free Me: Day 28

One thing I’d hoped to achieve within my 28 day experiment to give up supermarkets was a trip to an outdoor market but so far the timings of the markets nearby hadn’t fitted in with my own schedule.  Today however, Portobello (see Day 9), only a few miles away was hosting its monthly outdoor market so, very pleased, I grabbed our rucksacks and we all headed off.

It’s been a beautiful day here in the East of Scotland and as we approached Brighton Park where the market was in full swing, we were greeted with an idyllic sight – a row of striped canopies in the shadow of a splendid church in a perfect little park.  The children were happy as there was plenty of (safe) space for running around, a man with a guitar providing live music and even an Easter Egg hunt.

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The aims of the market, according to its website www.pedal-porty.org.uk, are to let people know about the availability of local organic products within the area and encourage local businesses to source these, while boosting the local economy.

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There were some great stalls and amongst other things there was a good selection of fruit, vegetables, breads, baking and meat.  Everything I bought could either go straight into my rucksack or went into a brown paper bag first so reasonably eco friendly.

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It was a lovely experience with a good sense of community.  I have to admit that the sun helped – I’m not sure how we’d have got on if it had been raining or snowing. Unlike a trip to the supermarket, we came away with our spirits lifted but it wasn’t a substitute for the weekly shop – more of a weekend activity with the happy bonus that we were able to buy food.

Supermarket-free Me: Day 21

For all that yesterday’s shopping experiences left me fed up, today’s were the antidote.

My other half is something of an expert when it comes to using the internet and finding things of interest.  During the week he found this little treasure http://www.kosmoid.net/vh/ which is a link to a weekly ‘organic and fair trade market’ in the town of Penicuik which is less than 30 minutes away from our home by car.  The site lists numerous types of food that are sold at wholesale prices and are brought in by local food producers.  We got quite excited at the thought of finding something new and different so decided to forgo the Farmers Market in a nearby town and visit this place at Valleyfield House instead.  We dug out the rucksacks (we are learning that life outside of supermarkets is generally trolley-free!), ready to do a big shop, got the kids organised for the car journey and off we went.

Sure enough, after a while, we pulled up outside a beautiful house.  We were surprised to find we could park right at the door (where were the crowds?) and went in only to discover that we were in a small hallway of a private house.  True to its word however right there in the hall was a tiny wholesale market!  Shelves and tables were holding bread, fruit, juices and indeed much of what we were expecting, just on a much much smaller scale. When we needed to pass someone else, everyone had to breathe in but we were warmly welcomed by the hosts who were charming and chatted easily to the children.  We abandoned the idea of being able to do anything like a weekly shop but happily picked up some things and headed home.  One child declared it to be the best shop  ever – indeed it was just like the ‘shops’ they set up to play with in our own home…

This afternoon I set about the task of finding the mozzarella cheese and soya mince that I still need for my recipes from yesterday’s shopping list.  I phoned a shop that I thought might stock them but to no avail.  In my better mood today, it seems almost comical to be contacting shops a few miles away when I could have walked five minutes to the supermarket to pick up them up…

With it being a Saturday, I decided to delegate my child care duties and enjoy my hunt for the items.  I went to an area of Edinburgh which I used to shop in all the time but haven’t properly spent time in for about twelve years. South Clerk Street in Newington is overlooked by Edinburgh’s famous Arthur’s Seat and is a main route for students walking between the well-known Pollock Halls of residence and Edinburgh University’s George Square campus.  It’s packed with quirky small independent shops and for anyone who enjoys shopping, I suspect you will feel your mood lift on approach.

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I had to pay for parking but I found a meter easily and went for a wander.  I discovered Peckhams which is a delicatessen with a café.  It is a small chain of shops in Scotland but the South Clerk Street branch is the last remaining in Edinburgh.  I had the time to browse and actually, the experience was similar to what I described yesterday in my ‘Sliding Doors’ fantasy.  I was able to fully appreciate the products and the new brands that I don’t recognise from the supermarket and I even managed to sit down and enjoy a coffee.  They had the soya mince but I had to go for smoked mozzarella.  It was a thoroughly pleasant experience but the prices were high and if you consider that I was paying for parking, it is definitely only a child-free treat, not to be relied on as part of my weekly shop.

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I’m going to have to look for some new recipes with easy to find (and inexpensive) ingredients…

Supermarket-free Me: Day 20

At the risk of sounding like a spoilt brat, today was a bad shopping day and I’m grumpy!  I believe in avoiding the supermarket and I’m pretty sure that after my 28 days are over my shopping habits will have improved somewhat as a result of this experiment, but really, just as I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it, I find that being supermarket-free is still hurting…

The day started very well – Good Friday and we’re all on holiday. A full night’s sleep was had by all.  This happens maybe once a fortnight in our house so it was high fives and happy faces all round.  I thought the four of us would enjoy a trip into Edinburgh for some food shopping and a coffee so we headed to Broughton Street in the east end which has a great buzz with lots of little independent shops and cafes.

We started at The Bakehouse, a quirky little coffee shop, exclusive to Edinburgh.  Great surroundings and good service got us off to a leisurely start.  With 45 minutes left on the parking meter, I shepherded us all towards Real Foods which claims to be Scotland’s largest organic food retailer.  I haven’t made it into the shop since I’ve had children but was a fan years ago.  I was looking to forward to returning.

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Real Foods was just as I remembered it, full of gorgeous looking products in a picturesque old building.  I, however, have changed considerably.  My stress levels started rising when we had to negotiate our buggy up the stairs and through the door.  Then we caused a jam in the shop when an aisle was blocked and the four of us had to try and reverse back the way we’d come.  The aisles were narrow, meaning our little buggy-passenger was able to reach out and grab attractive looking packets.  There were lots of interesting looking brands that I would have loved to have taken the time to look at but it just wasn’t the place for me to be seriously attempting my weekly shop.  Totally stressed, I picked up a few things we needed and headed off to the till.

If I’m allowed a ‘Sliding Doors’ moment, I can imagine myself, straight out of one of the many areas posh hairdressers, calmly browsing round the shop, perusing boxes of exotic teas, reading the labels of the natural beauty products and tossing organic veg into my basket…Today however I left almost empty handed, wondering how I was going to do an entire food shopping in the hour or so I had between lunch at home and six visitors arriving at 2:30pm!

My only option for the many things left on my shopping list was, I felt, my trusty farm shop which I’m growing quite fond of.  I drove over and marvelled again at the great parking and the speed I can get around the shop, compared to the supermarket.  I had the ingredients for two new recipes on my list but the farm shop didn’t have two items – one from each recipe.  I am so used to supermarket shopping that I hadn’t considered that mozzarella cheese and soya mince aren’t widely available!  Absolutely fair enough but now I am left trying to work out where I will do my third shopping trip when, of course, if I was using the supermarket all of this would have been achieved in an hour…

I’m still grumpy.

 

Supermarket-free Me: Day 19

I’ve been thinking about what my life without supermarkets might be like.  As I’ve said before, I am very lucky in that where I live has a good selection of local shops within walking distance and I am only a short drive from Edinburgh. Even if my life becomes devoid of the supermarket therefore, I should still be able to buy everything I might ever need.  Plus there is the option of the internet.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that some of my shopping trips have been less successful than others.  In the first week of my experiment to give up supermarkets for 28 days, I had an expedition that saw me return home without many essentials.  It wasn’t so much the lack of shops that was the problem as the inconvenience of taking two small children into several small premises with no trolley to carry my load.  I have been learning though where suits me best and where I can get reasonable prices.  I am sure with more practice, I will get it nailed!

I think the problem for the best-intentioned ‘supermarket-avoider’ is the sheer temptation of utter convenience that they wave under your nose.  There are so many problems that the supermarket can just solve

This week for example, I’ve experienced a couple of situations which would have been much easier with the supermarket’s involvement.  The first was when I got in the car and the petrol light started flashing.  I had forgotten I needed to fill up the tank and was on my way to the medical centre (right beside the supermarket).  Reluctantly however I turned the car and drove in the opposite direction to a different petrol station.  That hurt as did the fact that the station I was forced to use had no ‘pay at the pump’ facility (unlike the supermarket), raising the ‘what do you do with the kids’ debate…

The second was having surprise visitors for lunch.  With little notice, it’d have been no problem to pop to the supermarket, do a big shop, grab a few Easter themed treats and activities for the children at low cost.  As it was, I drove between several different shops for some of the things I needed and in the end I couldn’t get the sort of activity things I wanted.

Today I realised that I was running low on some things and announced that tomorrow we’d need to do a shopping trip.  My other half helpfully reminded me that this is the Easter weekend, and that the shops we have been using may not be open.  A supermarket trip tomorrow was something I would have previously taken for granted.  I’m guessing we’ll be fine but I’m now having to think about it and will need to prioritise shopping for the morning so that I have time to find alternatives if the shops I was hoping to visit are closed.

Surely though I can overcome those problems if I get used to a different way of shopping?  I am not someone blessed with organisational skills however, and I suspect that I may always experience hiccups when I run out of petrol or am surprised by public holidays if I choose to be supermarket-free…

Supermarket-free Me: Day 9

Determined to counterbalance the environment-trashing trip to Boots on Saturday to buy disposable nappies in the car, we decided on a bus trip to Portobello, ‘Edinburgh’s seaside’.  Portobello is a unique area of Edinburgh, famous for its history and sense of community.  It has a long high street with a good selection of local shops.  I was interested to see what we could buy on a Sunday afternoon and – bonus, we thought – the kids will love it!

The children, it turned out, didn’t love it.  They weren’t that keen on being forced out on foot and as we walked to the bus stop (five minutes away), I realised that since we’ve had our second child we over-use the car for convenience.  This includes our supermarket journey.  The short bus journeys to Portobello and back were the successes we’d hoped for but to be honest, despite our 1:1 ratio of adults to children, it was a big hassle to keep our very young children happy, safe and to stop them picking up random objects in shops.

Sunday shopping in Portobello was reasonable.  While a lot of the shops take the day off, there were enough open to pick up the small selection of things we needed. There was a good fruit shop where the prices in general seemed reasonable and a number of small grocery shops – some looked independent and others from what I can deduce from the internet were franchises.

We turned the children’s mood around for the better with a visit to Skylark bar and bistro.  Again, from my amateur internet investigations, this seems to be a small independent venture but they do state that they make an effort to source much of their food locally.  It was a really busy place with a great atmosphere and a world away from our supermarket café!

A day later, this morning’s thrill came from a delivery man with our order from the Ethical Superstore.  Never have I seen two small children so excited about a mountain of toilet roll and tinned tomatoes.  The order did however come in an enormous cardboard box and inside there was some more packaging to keep all of the goods in place.  I started thinking about whether buying at the supermarket saves on packaging as perhaps more products can be held together with less cardboard and plastic?  Later I read some more feedback from the good people on hibs.net.   Someone had stated;

You also have to wonder how ethical multiple small deliveries of goods are compared to the centralised large scale deliveries to supermarkets.

A good point indeed and probably not one I’m going to be able to find out the answer to within the scope of this blog, but certainly something for me to ponder and get back on the internet to investigate…

Another helpful comment came via Twitter this morning in response to yesterday’s post suggesting that perhaps there is an internet cooperative selling nappies.  Something else for me to look into.  Thanks everyone, please keep the comments coming.

Supermarket-free Me: Day 7

Yesterday I had two visitors at the house.  I explained to them that I was giving up the supermarket for 28 days.  The conversation went something like this:

Visitor 1:  Have you written to your usual supermarket to let them know what you’re doing and why?  They might not notice you’re boycotting them otherwise.

Me: Good point, although with their intimate knowledge of my shopping habits through their Rewards Scheme, someone somewhere will know I’m missing.

Visitor 2: Tell them.  Otherwise they may think you are dead.

Me: Cheers Visitor 1

While I huffed for a while that maybe the argument had been taken a bit too far just to make a point, on further reflection, I have decided it was actually a valid statement.  The supermarket would no doubt prefer that a customer was dead than boycotting them. A boycott means the supermarket will not have a chance of getting the customer’s money but on death, the wealth would soon be redistributed amongst relatives who would in no time be spending it in the supermarket on £3 DVDs they will only ever watch once….

If, however, one is unlucky enough to experience an untimely demise, I think I may have discovered Heaven (to the ethical shopper avoiding the supermarket anyway).  Earthy is a gorgeous local food market and café in Causewayside – there are three in Edinburgh.  You can also find them online at www.earthy.co.uk  They boast ‘fairly-traded, local, seasonal and organic produce’.

Upstairs is a supermarket-style shop but it immediately looks more attractive and smaller while still being a decent size.  It stocks fruit and veg which Iook as if they have been freshly delivered by a farmer, to the point that I couldn’t find the carrots because they weren’t supermarket-orange but mud-covered black.  I was struck by the difference in price of some of the products (for example, cucumbers and jam were more expensive than my usual) but again reminded myself that I am hopefully buying a superior product and was assured by a member of staff that I will notice a big improvement in taste. I was able to buy just about everything on my shopping list (the courgette delivery had failed to arrive at the shop that day) and found a whole lot of new products that I’d either not seen in the supermarket or just missed.

Learning from the mistakes of the past week, we did this trip as a family so that I could concentrate on shopping while the children were being supervised.  At the supermarket I find that almost everyone seems to tolerate kids – the noise they make is lost within the shop and if they bump into other shoppers they are either greeted fondly or ignored.  I feel under pressure at smaller places to keep them close and quiet.  Saying that, at Earthy we all got a really warm welcome and the lovely café underneath the shop stocked a good range of children’s snacks and drinks.  It was an exciting discovery and we all really enjoyed finding somewhere new.  I also find something quite special about unpacking new products at home, with the promise that the new experience will be extended over the next few days in the meals we eat.