Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday: Food, Books, Yarn

We began our week with a quick trip to Carndonagh, the neighbouring town. We went in order to go to the larger supermarket that is there and pick up some things that we cannot get here or that were on sale or significantly cheaper. We are committed to supporting the local shops here in Moville because they need the business and they provide jobs for local people. They are also convenient. We would not live here if it did not pass the 'pint of milk test,' as one of our friends puts it. Can you walk to the store to buy a pint of milk? Well, no, technically not, because they measure in litres here, but we can get the basics here and we do. One of the things we looked at when we were deciding whether to come here was the availability of basic foodstuffs. I have gotten used to walking a few minutes to the shop and picking up milk, bread, eggs, butter, and whatever else I need on any given day. And we support the veg man who sets up his stall on Tuesdays. I would not want to live in a place where I could not do that--especially since we have a small, under-the-counter fridge with a tiny freezer compartment. We need to be able to get milk, eggs, etc on a regular basis with a minimum of fuss so when we first came here, before we saw the letting agent, I scoped out the shop to see if I could get what I would need here. I can.

Some things that we use a lot, like olive oil, coffee, walnuts, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and some others, are available here, but at much higher prices than we can find elsewhere. Olive oil is 50% more expensive here, for example, and coffee more than double the price. For those things we go to Buncrana (usually) or Letterkenny (occasionally) and shop at Aldi. We do this about once a month and use the opportunity to walk around whatever town we are in before going shopping and heading back to the bus stop. This is cost effective for us because we have a travel pass. We also have a friend who requests a shopping list and stops at Aldi for us, bringing our groceries with him when he comes to visit--he brings heavy stuff, which is so helpful! When we go, or I give our friend the list, I get extra non-perishables. I am trying to get stuff in the cupboards before the potentially crazy winter weather hits. We want to be able to stay home if we want and not have to do a big grocery shopping trip in the event of ice, really heavy rain, or even snow. The other reason it makes sense for us to stock up is that in a couple of months we will probably be turning on the heat. We have the excellent electric storage heating system that generates heat overnight during off peak hours before allowing it to dissipate during the day during peak hours. Due to various credits on out last electric bill we did not have to pay anything for the last two months (we are billed every other month). Our next bill should arrive tomorrow and we still have credit from the last bill plus another credit, so we should have a very low bill this time too. Once we start turning on the lights more and using the heat our bill will go up. Makes sense to buy extra food now so our food bill will be lower then. Tomorrow we will probably go to Buncrana--there is a walk there that we have been wanting to do, so we will do that before heading to Aldi. I will have some more to put in the cupboards. I have been stocking up at local shops too--sometimes they are out of stuff so when I see something that I know we will use, I buy it and set it aside. I know now what the prices are at various places and if I can buy it here for a similar price as elsewhere, I do. If not I will try to stay stocked up on these things that I have purchased elsewhere. If it is something we do not use often I will buy it here even if it is slightly more expensive. It also helps that I buy basic food, cook from scratch, and am very good at improv cooking! I learned a long time ago that food shopping and how it is done makes a big impact on health and how much money we can save. Both are important, given our chosen lifestyle. We are trying to strike a balance between the practical (shopping on a budget) and the ethical (supporting local shops in our small village). This works for us, but I am always alert for ways to improve the system.

We were home from Carn a little after 11--it is a quick trip, but these old night owls had to hurry to make it for the 9:35 bus this morning! Tomorrow we will get home after 5, and I will not feel like cooking. Leftovers to the rescue!

I'd gotten a small head of broccoli for myself (Bill can't eat it) and I wanted to use it. I had a zucchini (courgette) that needed to be used, so for Bill I made some zucchini, pepper, onion, tomato and herbs as a pasta topping. For myself I sauteed some onion and broccoli with some oregano and crushed red pepper. Then I made a cheese sauce with onion, pepper, garlic, black pepper, and mature cheddar. I cooked more pasta than I meant to because the bag slipped. Oh well. It'll be gone tomorrow, as will the veggies. I will have some cheese sauce left though, and can use that for something later in the week.

After supper I finished sock one of the wool/mohair pair. I cannot wait until it is cool enough to wear them--hopefully that will happen as soon as I finish sock 2.

Rather than start sock 2 tonight, I plan to crochet. I swatched some chenille last night, decided how I wanted to proceed, then started a poncho.
It is the start of a big project--always like to have one of those on the go!

I will also have to decide which of these two library books I want to start--both due on the same day and both sound quite good. Should I go with the novel or the 700+ page tome on the history of consumerism? I am not sure yet!

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