Thursday, 16 April 2020

We went to town ...

Well, Wangaratta actually.

We'd reached that point where we were starting to run out of things that we couldn't get easily in the local IGA, or the small Coles' supermarket in Myrtleford.

Simple things like Tonkatsu sauce, Twining's lemon scented tea, sauerkraut, decent ground coffee at an affordable price, oat groats, organic dried fruit and so on. All things we could live without, but like to have.

Wangaratta's quite a small place, only around 20,000 people, but by an accident of geography it has a reasonable Woolworth's supermarket, a Dan Murphy's discount booze store and a wholefoods store on the same block, so we reckoned we could go in, get our stuff and get out in the minimum amount of time.

So off we went.

It might not seem much but it was the largest place we'd been to since the start of lockdown.

When we got there there were more shops open in the main street than we expected - while we expected the office supplies places to be open, there were clothes shops and workwear shops open as well, and more people going about than we'd expected.

Woolworth's was busier than expected, and while they'd put stickers on the floor in the fresh produce section reminding everyone about social distancing, not everyone was observing them. People shopping in the store ranged from the paranoid who wore rubber gloves and facemasks, through the careful who tried not to get too close, to people who obviously hadn't got it, like a group of expectant mothers blocking an aisle while standing chatting.

I didn't feel totally happy in the store - there seemed to be more people than there should be, but that could just be my paranoia, and not being used to being in crowds any more, so we got what we needed and got out.

The discount booze store was quieter and more relaxed, being the day before payday for a lot of people, a lot of people were probably waiting to see if they were going to get paid, and if they were laid off, possibly saving their money.

So a quick trip round the aisles for half a dozen bottles of mixed whites and reds, and a case of beer, and we were out.

The wholefoods store was similarly relaxed - there were a few gaps on the shelves - no sun dried organic apricots for example, but they had most of what we wanted in the way of spices and cooking ingredients, not to mention some local organic potatoes that taste a hell of a lot nicer than the bland supermarket Carismas and Dutch Creams.

And we were out. We had meant to stop at the Asian grocery store on the way out, but we reckoned we'd probably bought enough, and left it to next time.

So, our pantry is now refilled, and we have enough booze to float a battleship as well as enough toilet paper to see us through comfortably to May, by which time it's possible that the restrictions may have been eased.

Between then and now, we should be able to manage buying locally.

We're still short of hand sanitizer and toilet bleach, but we can manage - it's only odd things, like decent underarm deodorant that we're failing to find, and while the supply of fresh vegetables is erratic, it's not as if we're without.

Which is quite fortunate really, because I sowed some Asian greens (Mizuna, Wombok, Pak Choy) a couple of weeks ago, and with the rain and comparative warmth they were sprouting away happily, and something, I suspect one of the bastard possums that live in the street trees, has sheared them off to about a centimetre leaving only the stalks.

I suspect the answer is to start them off in the cold frame and let then grow to be big enough to resist depredation, before planting them out ...

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