Tag Archives: sainsbury

A steely gaze

Has it happened to you?  You are sitting somewhere, locked in an unfocused gaze.  Your friend pipes up ‘what are you thinking about?’ and your natural response is

‘I was just wondering if I have PPI’

Well, it never happened to me but it does turn out that I did indeed have PPI.  A text message from my bank this morning showing a credit of nearly £1600 – with a reference ‘PPI’.  Of course, the company took a hefty chunk – 25% + VAT but still, money for old rope.

The biggest surprise was not the fact I had PPI without knowing – oh no.  The biggest surprise was finding the culprit.  See, over the years I have borrowed from many institutions and there were a few that I was sure would come up positive.  Years ago there was a company called HFC Bank, I was sure they would have ripped me off.  Then Alliance and Leicester, had a few loans with them – but nothing.

The shock came when I found out that First Direct – my wholly trusted bank since the 90’s had charged me twice.  First Direct, part of that giant HSBC had charged me on a loan and a mortgage.  Honestly, I was stunned by that.  I would have almost trusted them with my life.

Sad thing is, they are very good at looking after their customers – so much so, I have recommended them several times in the past.  It’s a sad day when an old friend lets you down so badly.

 

Years ago, I ventured into a Lidl store to try it out.  When I say years ago, it was when they first came to the UK.  If you remember, and you tried it back then, you will remember what a complete cluster fuck it was.  No amount of saving money would have me putting up with that nonsense twice a week.

All that has changed my chums.  Earlier this week, I ventured into Lidl again.  Long gone is the shit fight that used to be. Brands laid on shelves waiting to be picked up.  I was astounded (and I don’t use that word lightly) by the amount of goods that were produced in Britain or contained produce from Britain – this alone should be a good enough reason to shop there, especially ‘post brexit’.

What was even better was the price.  My two full ‘bags for life’ cost me less than £21 and have fed me quite happily for 5 days now – I am sure I will also survive the weekend on what I have.  Admittedly, it was all food. no cleaning, hair & beauty, alcohol present, but damn it was cheap.  I suspect the same bags of stuff at Sainsbury or Tesco would have cost 50% more.

‘How does it taste?’ I hear you cry

Well – bloody good I would say.  The soups have been spectacular, the wraps stupendous, cottage cheese way better than Sainsbury or Tesco, fruit and veg going strong still, the chicken was delicious but breakfast cereal will be a little boring wherever you buy it from.  I did have a problem with the eggs but I suspect that may have been down to operator error not waiting for the pan to be on the boil before inserting the eggs.

So – I am a convert.  The only thing missing was cucumber.  I will get that at Tesco later.

 

Still studying.  My last results came back as two passes.  One was just a scrape through but a pass is a pass and that’s all I needed.  Honestly thought I had failed that one and was preparing to re-sit in October when my results landed.  I opened the envelope to see the results.

The SQA that manage the exams send a summary page of all of the exams you have sat with them, usually these are in date order.  When I opened the letter my eyes dropped to the last two lines on that page.  Both said passes.  Convinced I had failed one, I didn’t believe it and looked at the top two lines – both of those said passes.  Still not convinced, I scanned the whole column – each line said ‘PASS’.

Still not convinced, I went back to the top and started reading the subjects.  This time, the latest subjects were at the top. I read them, both passes.  Read them again – still both passes and then, those immortal words echoed from my lips while I stood with both of my parents in their kitchen – ‘ Fuck Me – I passed them both’.

Now either their hearing aids were not working properly or they decided to give me that one on the house considering the circumstances.  All was well.

I remained in shock as I was convinced – without doubt, that I would re-sit one of them.

 

Do you ever catch yourself saying something stupid?  I did the other day.  The missus is away on holiday and I am looking after her dog.  We were getting ready to go out in the car and as we were going in the Range Rover, he had to go in the boot so he didn’t scratch the leather.

I started the car and found the dog opened the tailgate and put him inside.

As I put him down and prepared to close the tailgate – I said to him, ‘Roshea (that’s his name) – Stay There’

I mean, what a dumb thing to say right, where was he going to go?  The gate was still closed on the driveway.

 

Back to studies – last exam on 3rd October – here’s hoping to maintain that 100% 1st time pass rate


38º 10.7N – 32º 31.9W

Or for those of you with less sense of direction, about a day west of the Açores.  Once there, a quick refuel and shopping trip and we can leave on the last leg to Palma – a further 7 days away.

Its been a long old slog.  Starting from just above Venezuela, a slower boat than promised, lacking in fuel range and we have had to take our time. Two weeks from Grenada to the Açores, which , if you look at the picture below, could still easily be classed as mid atlantic.  A cockroach infestation to keep you on your toes, a Captain that doesn’t want to fill the fresh water tanks as it will slow us down – no concern that one of our water makers has failed, a broken heat exchanger that I repaired with epoxy 5 days ago, running the generator for just 5 hours a day so no air conditioning, random hot water for showers, bilge pumps that don’t work …….the list goes on – and this boat is commercially registered, so you could charter it if you can stomach the smell of diesel fuel from one of the leaking tanks  !!!

 

 

 

All that said, I will be very happy to see land in about 24 hours time.

We did encounter a pod of migrating hump back whales a couple of days ago.  Close enough to hear the thundering as they slammed back into the water – that was a first for me.  Only had the trusty Samsung to hand and didn’t get a chance to zoom in.  Thankfully they were quite close.

 

 

Plodding on, I noticed this add in a paper the other week.  I kind of admired its bluntness. I might just bear them in mind for when my time comes.  Not much straight talking in the world any more, was a tad refreshing, like the yellow snow in my last post.

 

Hoping to get into Palma on the 11th and shall instantly whisk the missus in for a couple of days R & R before hitting the study books hard again on the 21st .  Looking forward to catching up with some old chums that I haven’t seen in a while too.

 

That’ll do for now – 3 exams down, 3 more to convert !  I am amazed that since my switch from Sainsbury to Asda, Sainsbury have noticed my lack of custom to the point that they now want to merge with Asda – they must miss me, who can blame them?

 

 

 

 


I never said why exactly.

I would like to point out that, due to its northern location, Glasgow is considerably colder than the likes of sunny Warwickshire.  Bone chilling.

More importantly though, I want to share a revelation. Something of a biggie if you ask me. A monster.

I am no longer a Sainsbury’s boy

I realise many of you will stumble as you read that but my time there is done.  I blame my recent revelations around the price of McVities Chocolate digestives and their pricing strategies.  So I have switched.  I now plan to head to Asda.  I like their no bullshit approach of no loyalty programs, no money off vouchers, no nonsense , just low prices.

A couple of chums have mentioned the likes of Lidl but I say to those people ‘slow down a little’ just one step at a time if you please. And remember, Asda always have lower fuel prices than Sainsbury and Tesco, Lidl don’t sell fuel.

I have long been concerned at the way things are marketed at us, a good time to look back a few pages and see my rant about stupid people.  Seems though, it is a world wide phenomenon. Try booking a one way flight to America say.  I promise it will be more expensive than booking a return.  And not just by a few quid either – it will be a significant difference.  I just got the train to Glasgow Central. A one way ticket was £1.90 but a return, just £1.70.  How can that be?  Someone please explain that one to me. Even harder to grasp, the cheaper ticket option also produced 3 paper tickets from the machine whereas the one way option would only have ejected 2. So for the cheaper ticket, the train company has used more ink and more ticket blanks.  Let me summarise that to remove any doubt – more product for less money !

If you are as confused as me, raise your hand.

On a lighter note – I have just finished my third trip to school this year.  Back in January I became qualified to handle refrigerant gases – important that one as they are ozone depleting substances – or ODS as I can now call them.  Last week, an Applied Marine Engineering exam was devoured in Liverpool and this week in Glasgow I have been covering HELM(M). HELM stands for something about human element blah blah blah – one of those ‘keep ’em well cuddled’ attendance only courses that generally don’t achieve much other than making your wallet a grand lighter. Thankfully – that one is a one off and not one of those ‘re-validate every 5 years’ things that the MCA like quite a lot. A bit like the diving instructor licence that I have with PADI.  That must be paid every year if you want to stay valid. Nothing stops me from never teaching but keep paying the fees but they don’t care.  See officially PADI stands for Professional Association of Dive Instructors but those of us in the know, have its true meaning etched in our minds – Put Another Dollar In.

So, back to school.  Been at a Maritime School in Glasgow this week and noticed something with the fire extinguishers.  I reported the issue but I bet nothing gets done – can you spot it?

 

 

 

Was chatting with the squeeze last night on text message. Chatting about a few things that are not suitable to be published here but there were two words that came in to conversation.  Two of my favourite words in the english language as it happens, Melancholy and at the other end of the spectrum, Kaleidoscope. Now, I will fully understand if you need to consult your dictionary for those words.

Melancholy I find mesmerisingly beautiful because of its contradiction. When you read it, or speak it – it most definitely has a happy, jovial, spring blossoms flowering for the first time feel about it.  Reality is the opposite – a heavy, deep sadness.  If a person were described to you as melancholy – you might imagine they were a happy, light hearted fun person to be around. Not so!

Kaleidoscope on the other hand, has no double meaning for me.  What it does represent is a scene of ever changing happy colours, an endless churn of goodness and mood lifting pleasantness.  Visually, I find it weirdly pleasing – the irony of that choice of word is about to be explained.

Kaleidoscope – not many words start with a K in English – even fewer sequence the E & I that way, weird huh ???? It looks different, non conformist, not following the crowd – I like that.

I had a couple of favourite words in Portuguese too – portanto and Foguetão – they just sounded really sexy – don’t forget to roll your R’s.

Anyway, that’ll do for now, I just paid £6.75 for a single glass of red wine in Glasgow Central and now have a dilemma.  That was more than I would normally pay for a bottle – but it was tasty.  I have 3½ hours before my train and could easily do another one.

The Double Whopper with Bacon & Cheese is long gone, as are the cheesy bacon bites.

 

Hmmm

 

 


Eating on a budgie

I just read through my last post.  When I wrote that, I was sick as a dog and not running…..hmmmm, something of a theme developing here then.

To keep a long story long, on Wednesday last week, I went to Cannock Chase with Poopie Pants and my mountain bikes.  After suffering a binding front brake on all of the climbs, I finally stopped to release some hydraulic fluid and stop the bind.

It needed to be done, I had struggled to climb at the same pace as poopie, in fact, there were a couple of places that I got left behind – and as you might guess, that right pissed me off – the only person that is allowed to get left behind at Cannock is Steve Brown, because he is old and slow.

So, with some hydraulic pressure released and my front wheel now spinning free as a bird, we sat at the entrance to the only big downhill section that was open that day.  I told poopie that as this section was fast and technical, I would put my crash helmet back on.  Normally I get too hot on the climbs to keep it on and generally our uphill speeds are much safer than our downhill stuff.

Helmet on and I lead the way.  It is fair to say that all of my uphill frustration was now manifesting itself as pure leg power mixed with brain out bravery.  Like a man possessed, I took off.  I have to say at this point that Mr. Brown who we would normally consider the downhill master, would have been left in my wake.  I was on a mighty mission.  The Specialized was absorbing the bumps as if they were mere pebbles.  Jumps were fluid, air time was abundant, the landings – like a boss.  In short – I was a World Champion, flying like a recently released Banshee.

Until

Just one little mistake and 20mph in the forest on a downhill track can suddenly appear to be a tad too fast.

I couldn’t hear Rupert behind me, he hadn’t stayed anywhere near on pace.  I hit a jump with my left foot slightly out of position on the pedal which then caused the bike to veer slightly to the right from the top of the jump.

The 200 year old tree loomed in front of me.  You don’t need to be a Rocket Scientist to know that mountain bike brakes and steering have little if no effect when airborne. Instantly I knew I was in trouble.  I wasn’t going to be in the air all the way to the tree, that was obvious enough but at the side of the cycle track, at the base of the tree was the root system of the 200 year old beast.  Now I say root system but to accurately describe it I need to use a word that rarely comes out of my vocabulary locker.

These roots were gnarly roots – yep, gnarly mother fu**ers. Polished and shining at the side of the track and standing maybe half a metre above the ground and I was heading straight at them at almost 20mph.  At this point, my life didn’t flash before my eyes but instead a quiet calmness reminded be about the physics (gyroscopic effect) of a spinning wheel.  The best chance I had of survival was to continue at full speed directly at them and let the bike ‘do the work’ as it floats across the top.

For anyone that rides, drives, runs, skates, skis etc you will be aware of this theory – keep up the speed and you will be ok.  The problem is, as your brain very quickly makes the association between your speed, the obstacle in front of you and a great deal of pain when it all goes wrong. It wants to slow down as it quite rightly makes the calculation of  ‘less speed = less pain’ which is of course true but it doesn’t take into account the greater  possibility of clearing the obstacle at the higher speed and thus, no pain.

There is another part of the physics equation that I either forgot about or just didn’t have time to compute after landing very close to those gnarly mother fu**er roots.  The bunny hop.  The simple thing here was that those roots stood at around half a metre or 50cm, whereas my front axle stands around 36 or 37cm.  For the mass of my flying body and bike to have any chance of going up and over the roots, my axle (or to be more scientific, what would soon be my ‘Pivot Point’) needed to be above the gnarly mofo root height.  Without the hop, it wasn’t.

My Runkeeper GPS showed and initial speed of just under 20mph before coming to a complete and abrupt stop using only the hard forest floor as cushioning. I remember hitting the roots, then seeing the track fast approaching my face as my arms naturally stretched out to break my fall.  Then, I thought it was over as I lay in the dirt until my bike came crashing in on top of me in some sick kind of comedy fashion.

Laying on the floor like a stale sack of potatoes, I went through my self checks.  Hole in my knee, very pale skin, some blood.  Right forearm light scratching, right hand, light scratching, left foot – big toe very painful. Moaning from the shock, I continued self checks and was still in one piece.  About 15 seconds later – Poopie caught up, slowed as he negotiated the new obstacle in the middle of the track and then called out ‘Looks like I will beat you to the bottom this time’ as he released his brakes and pedaled on – the wanker!  Never even stopped to see if I was OK.  I later found out that this was because he was afraid of finding broken bones poking out of skin and general bloodiness.

Thankfully, the bike survived without damage.  I can’t say without a scratch because it is already full of them, I wouldn’t notice a new one.  It does mean however that since Wednesday last week, I haven’t been able to keep up with my run training.  I am hoping to get out again tomorrow.

 

Eating on a budget is where this all started.  I was in Sainsbury’s yesterday and looking for some baked beans.  I had a flashback to a TV program some time ago where they compared own brand foods to big label stuff.  One thing that had stuck in my mind was their baked bean experiment.  I decided to give it a go for myself.

Heinz baked beans – the main stay of any childs diet that liked to fart.  I found many variants of these on the shelf, 90p per can.  I looked around and found a Sainers own brand for 40p and then looking even further, found another Sainers own brand for just 25p.  Sneaky I thought.  But what is the nutritional comparison?  Well, this is where I got a shock.  Both the cheaper brands were  lower in Sugar and Salt – that has to be a winner right?

The taste test needed to be completed so this morning I had beans on toast.  I bought a can of each of the own brands to see what the difference was.  This morning I opted for the 25p can.  No ‘easy open’ lid so I had to get the can opener out but let me tell you – these were good.  They did in fact taste a bit sweeter than how I remember Heinz but for almost a quarter of the price, I had a healthier option.

So a can of beans for 25p, three slices of bread from my fresh loaf that cost £1 (I reckon that’s 10p a slice), a smidge of Lurpak Spreadable 5p and not including the electricity for cooking, I reckon I had a champions breakfast this morning for around 60 pence.

I ROCK !!!

 

 

This post is dedicated to Amy Horne of Leamington Spa – who despite her flatulence problem, is still brave enough to be seen in public.


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