Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

A friend’s significant birthday was the incentive for a group of us to drive north to Rangiora for lunch. We’d booked at Nomnom Kitchen which offers South East Asian cuisine, but the premises were not immediately obvious. Luckily we had the street number and soon discovered the restaurant was in Hunnibell’s, the oldest commercial building in High Street. built about 1872. Perhaps it’s because it’s a Category II historic place there’s no sign indicating the restaurant.

Hunnibell’s building

My Vietnamese ginger and garlic stir fry was delicious, and we lingered chatting until after the official closing time of 2pm.

Stir fry lunch at Nomnom

Afterwards we explored the local shops. Rangiora is a good place to browse because there are many independent shops and few chain stores. At various op shops I bought Teva sandals, CDs, and a pair of bright purple jeans. In Stevens, on the advice of friends, I bought a Jarkey which they assured me will make opening screw top jars easier. These days I am losing my grip and often have to ask Stephen to open jars for me.

By now it was time for afternoon tea, and we were pleased to find the Coffee Run Cafe, a locally owned cafè on Good Street, which has a Volkswagen themed décor. They are down an alleyway currently disrupted by roadworks so it was satisfying to be able to give them our patronage.

Coffee Run Cafè

We drove back to town in the rain after a delightful day. The date was the twelfth anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake, and this was the first anniversary when I’ve not placed a flower in the river beside The Bricks. We spoke briefly of the earthquake at 12.51pm, but it was good to have a different focus for our day.

This twelfth commemoration day
was spent in quite a different way

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I’ve bought my eggs from PIKO for the past 36 years. I appreciate that they come from free range hens and egg boxes are recycled. Deliveries are made Monday and Thursday mornings, and I usually get half a dozen at a time, occasionally a dozen.

With the nationwide shortages lately PIKO have limited sales to two dozen per customer, and deliveries sell out quickly. Yesterday we had only three eggs left, so I went across at 10.30am hoping to buy a dozen, as I knew I’d be out on Thursday morning and not able to stock up then.

To my surprise there were no eggs on display, they were all stacked behind the counter where a staff member was busily packing them into boxes. When I inquired I was told eggs now need to be pre-ordered, and that when they’d filled the prior orders they would phone me to let me know when mine were available. I was relieved to get my dozen and have placed a standing order for every Monday.

Egg rack re-stocked

I haven’t checked the egg shelves at the supermarket but have heard of friends who’ve missed out on getting eggs. It’s especially hard for vegetarians and those who like to bake. There are lots of hints around as to what you can substitute for eggs. One friend told me she made a Christmas cake using golden syrup instead of eggs, which turned out fine.

The egg shortage is likely to last for another six months until more young hens come into lay. The upside is that no hens will now be confined to battery cages. The price of eggs and of some baked goods will go up, sad when the cost of living is making life hard for many, but we need to remember that previously it was the hens who were paying.

Have you changed your ways with eggs?

Support for moves to free range hens
means liberation from cruel pens

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Milk in glass

We now get our milk in glass bottles from Aunt Jean, thereby playing a small part in reducing the use of plastic.  It’s A2 milk which comes from cows grazing on lush green grass in sunny Nelson.  If you get the whole milk version there’s cream on the top.  The milk’s delivered by Aunt Jean’s milk truck which I saw parked outside Pillar’s Café.

On the other side of the truck is says Mooooving the good stuff.  The bottles are endlessly recyclable.  They can be put out in your yellow bin, or returned to New World Supermarket or PIKO.  I’ve found the milk keeps well for at least a week past its best by date, which is handy as a litre lasts us a long time.  The cost is higher than for “ordinary” milk, but that’s because the earth’s not paying for the container.

I’m glad we can buy Aunt Jean’s milk
and other products of that ilk.

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Today’s expedition had an air of normalcy to it.  We went first to South City, hoping to get an overdue haircut at our usual cheap walk-in cutting place.  The number of people waiting outside prompted us to leave this for another day – maybe even another week.  I’m lucky that my hair was cut just before rāhui and I’ve discovered that going eight weeks without a trim is manageable, but I hope I won’t have to go much longer.

The Warehouse insisted we use hand sanitiser, as did Ballantynes.  I totally understand the need for this, but hate the feeling of dryness it leaves on my hands.  At Ballantynes we purchased a couple of items that have been on our wanted list for a while which was satisfying, and we then chose to have morning tea in their Kin Café.  Of course this now means having to sign in for contact tracing, and they are practising the three S’s – Seating, Separation, and Single server.  Food that would previously have been in the cabinet is now on a printed menu.  While the club sandwiches were tempting, I decided to indulge in a plate of fries, something I haven’t eaten for at least a couple of months.  With table numbers reduced and all the extra restrictions, it would seem churlish to order only coffee, but some people will of course.  Ballantynes fries are a little upmarket, served with Marlborough sea salt and a spicy sauce, good value for $8.  Stephen, who’d had only a banana for breakfast chose bacon and eggs.  Interestingly our two drinks were delivered by two different serving people, but the second one didn’t talk to us, so perhaps she doesn’t count?

Brunch at Ballantynes

We returned home feeling we’d had a normal morning out, and I recorded where we’d been in my Covid Outing Diary, which I’ve been diligently keeping since Jacinda asked us to on 20 April.  Today there’s a new app for this, but it’s not available on my not-so-smartphone, and apparently doesn’t meet the legal criteria anyway.

At just after 3pm, I’ve been watching children walking home from school – just like any normal day.

Today our shopping expedition
included chips for my nutrition

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Some brave soul was having a Garage Sale in  Salisbury Street today.  They’d placed a number of items on a table with a sign saying donations, and a box to take these.

Garage sale on Salisbury

I wondered whether perhaps they were watching from inside ready to swoop if anyone left some money.  There was nothing I fancied, and I would have been reluctant to touch anything anyway, but I admired their enterprise.  Was it someone having a clean-out, do you suppose, or someone desperate for money?

I have a surplus of walnuts from last year, and intend to put them at the front gate, in Countdown bags labelled Free to good home, but thought I’d wait until we get to Level Two, when people might be more inclined to pick them up.

This garage sale was the first opportunity I’ve seen during the rāhui to buy something recycled directly.  It’s always possible to browse on TradeMe, but then you need to have an idea of what you’re looking for, and I much prefer being able to see an assortment that just might hold a hidden treasure.

I wonder whether Level Two
will mean op-shopping may ensue

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We’ve joined the world of online shopping.  Official advice is that people of our age should avoid contact with anyone outside our bubble, so we were pleased to be able to order our weekly groceries over the internet.  Our allotted delivery slot was 10am-12.30pm, and the Countdown truck arrived at 10.30am.  The truck has separate chiller and freezer compartments.

Countdown delivery

The driver loaded three crates onto a hand trolley, then transferred the bags to our front doorstep.  We kept well back, maintaining a distance of more than two metres, and were surprised to find that our order of 22 different items was packed in no less than nine paper bags with string handles.  These bags are shorter than standard supermarket bags, and will probably go straight into the recycling bin (unless anyone has suggestions for their re-use?).  We already have a good stock of shopping bags and no need for any more.  Currently we’re using Press plastic bags to line our kitchen bin, but these don’t fit well and I might try the Countdown bags instead.  One drawback to online shopping is that items we would previously have bought loose now come pre-wrapped.  The amount of rubbish we generate is rapidly increasing.

I was intrigued to see a note on the egg box suggesting I could look on the website to trace which farm my eggs come from.  I did this and discovered they are from Waianakarua Free Range Farm in North Otago.  In Te Reo Waianakarua means the meeting of the waters.  Each egg has a code stamped on it with a food-grade ink that is safe to eat and will not affect the egg.  I miss the free range eggs I used to get from Piko, especially as I could re-use the same carton each time.

This has been an interesting and useful exercise, one we’ll continue while in rāhui.  If/when life ever returns to ‘normal’ we’ll go back to shopping in person at New World.  We prefer the fact that they are New Zealand owned, and haven’t had the industrial troubles of Countdown’s Australian owner.  Sadly New World don’t do deliveries in the South Island.

New World is where we’d choose to go
but choice is now restricted, so . . .


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As we no longer have a daughter in our bubble to shop for us, we tried again to organise online delivery, and this time it was straightforward.  Last Tuesday, using Countdown’s Priority Assistance facility, we were able to place an order which will be delivered tomorrow.  As this was the first time we’d done it we weren’t perfectly organised and realised we’d need a few more things, especially fruit and vegetables, before next week’s order.  (I’d forgotten to get mushrooms for my weekend omelettes!)  So, this morning we went to the Supermarket, the first time I’ve been for four weeks.  I am our chosen shopper because I’m less vulnerable to infection than Stephen.  At 9.15am there was no queue, and the shop wasn’t crowded, there actually seemed to be more staff than shoppers.

New World is no longer offering fresh flowers, which makes me wonder how Moffatt’s is doing.  The sunflowers Cathryn bought last week are still looking good, and I wonder what’s happened to the pots of miniature daffodils usually on offer at this time of year.

The only item on my list that wasn’t available was chicken breasts.  There were plenty of drumsticks, but I bought diced chicken instead.

The weather was fine and I decided to walk home, leaving Stephen to drive and unpack our purchases.  It was good to walk somewhere different but disconcerting that the central city streets are so eerily empty.  We’ve often driven past these golden flamingoes on Durham Street, and this is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to photograph them.

Flamingoes at Underground Coffee Roasters

Later in the morning I had a phone call from Fran.  She was a Jehovah’s Witness who would usually be out door-knocking, but because of the Rāhui they’re phoning people instead to check they’re okay.  I assured her we are fine and she asked whether I thought things would get better, worse, or stay the same.  My reply was that I expect them to get better, but it might take a while.  She then asked to share a passage from the Bible with me, and I told her I’m a practising Pagan and not interested, thank you.  Fran said she’d never met a practising Pagan and did we have somewhere we meet regularly?  I said we did but at the moment we’re meeting on Zoom like so many other groups.  It was good to talk to somebody different, and I think Fran thought so too.

After that it was time to enjoy lunch outside on the sunny patio.

With shopping and a kind phone call
the morning did not drag at all

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Op Shopping

My outerwear is all bought second hand these days.  This is good for my purse and for the planet.  I find op shops tend to have more interesting clothing, plus there’s the fun of looking for an acceptable bargain.

Last winter I wanted a new polar fleece jacket and couldn’t find one anywhere, in either a second hand or new clothing shop.  A couple of chain stores told me they no longer stock them.  Perhaps they’re not politically correct?  I ended up buying one online, and was disappointed to find it was lighter than I expected.  Since then I’ve bought three more from op shops, at one or two dollars each, so I’m now well stocked for cooler days.

A distant daughter sent me an outfit from Marks and Spencer which is made from cupro, a sustainable fabric.  It has been admired, and I’ve enjoyed having something brand new.

Recent weight loss means I could do with some new (to me) trousers or jeans.  A friend suggested I could take a tuck in the elastic of a favourite pair of jeans, but investigation has shown the wide elastic has a seam along the middle, so that’s not really practical.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve visited a number of op shops and found they vary tremendously.  My preference for charity shops was reinforced when I visited Save Mart and found their prices higher than other op shops.  I won’t bother going there again.  On Thursday I popped into Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Waltham Road.  Their clothing all seemed shabby, and it was not sorted into sizes.  I’m a larger size and I don’t want to have to go through racks of garments that are far too small.  When I questioned a staff member about this she told me they have only four volunteers, so no capacity to sort the clothes.  As they have a strong public profile, this made me wonder about the state of their volunteer management.

The Nurse Maude Hospice shop at Beckenham is one I visit regularly.  Their goods are well displayed and sorted, and I know their volunteers have good support.  The prices at Beckenham are higher than in their shop at The Palms, but the quality seems better at Beckenham, and I’ve had some great finds there.  Sumner’s good too.

The best cheap op shop is St Vincent de Paul at Papanui.  Their stock suits me better than that at Stanmore Road.  Larger size garments are easily found, and everything is priced at three dollars.  Sometimes when you’re in the shop an announcement will be made that everything is now reduced to one dollar.

The nearest op shop to home is the Red Cross shop in Manchester Street, where prices are reasonable, sizes are sorted, and I’ve found some good clothes there.  It’s also useful for kitchenware, etc.

The Salvation Army shops tend to be unattractive, with the exception of the one at Kaiapoi, which is worth a visit if you’re out that way.

I’d be interested to learn of others’ op shopping experiences.

Buy second hand to help the earth
and surely get your money’s worth

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We went to Westfield, Riccarton – not my choice for shopping, but it’s the home of JB Hifi the best stockist for Stephen’s Christmas wish-list.

We saw Santa Claus waiting hopefully for someone to sit on his knee and pay to have their photo taken.  If there’d been a queue those waiting could sit and colour in a Christmas poster to take home.  While there’s been a trend for adults to do colouring in, I wasn’t tempted.  I’d rather sit and consider a blog post while Stephen perused the DVDs.

There were plenty of people in the mall but it certainly wasn’t crowded.  I’m relieved I don’t have to make elaborate festive preparations.  My present buying is mostly done and posted to the (currently still) United Kingdom.  For me the Summer solstice is a more meaningful celebration than Christmas.

There’s Christmas baubles everywhere
I wish the Solstice got such care.

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Riverside Market is a wonderful addition to the central city.  The building contains many recycled features as well as some creative new ones.  This charming water feature is an attention-getting substitute for a down-pipe:

Riverside water feature

I’m not sure what this mural is supposed to depict:

Riverside mural

The Victorian woman appears to be holding a meat cleaver!

Inside was bustling with a fine array of goods.  Alongside Cultivate is another fruit and vegetable shop, plus a cheese-monger where you can buy bottles of sheep milk.  The familiar Mediterranean Food Company has a stall, and there’s a range of places to eat.  It was good to see the clock that used to grace the old Railway Station.

Inside the Market

The Market is not yet fully fitted out, and will be even better when there are more stalls and restaurants.  It compares favourably with some we’ve seen overseas and is bound to be popular, especially in better weather.

We parked in the Lichfield Street Car Park where we had to go to the fifth floor to find a space.  Several lower ones were empty, but reserved for electric vehicles and mobility card holders.  On the second floor there was a seated line of people waiting for the hospital shuttle.  I couldn’t help thinking it would be easier, and possibly cheaper, to park a car further away (e.g. near our home), and take a taxi to the hospital.

If you take a car to the market
you need to know just where to park it

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