Well, there you go. It seems that the Morrisons supermarket chain is struggling to make a decent profit in the cut-throat world of big corporate supermaketing. Apparently they are in real danger of going under and are becoming desperate to keep the customers they have and win back those they’ve already lost.

So what have they done? They have hi-jacked one of Britain’s most famous sculptures – The Angel of the North – and projected a bloody bread advert across its 54 metre wings.

I’m not actually a fan of this particular piece of artwork. I find it clumsy and disproportionate and, quite frankly, ugly. However, it was placed there as a reminder that for 200 years miners worked in near-intolerable conditions under the ground in that area and many died doing so, and I would have thought that the teeniest, tiniest smidgeon of respect would have prevented anyone from using it in such a crass, self-serving, and quite frankly, highly intrusive way.

The more I think about it, the more offended I am by Morrisons’ actions. This advert, projected onto a public piece of artwork, is tasteless and does not show Morrisons in a good light at all. Far from winning customers back, it is a hair’s breadth from driving this particular customer away.

I spend a lot of my shopping budget in Morrisons. Not least because it’s one of our nearest supermarkets, it’s in a convenient locations, it has a big, free car park, it has a petrol station, and it sells a damn good selection of offal which is great for the dogs. I mean, where else am I going to get ox-heart conveniently ready-diced for me? Actually, they sell ox, pig, and lamb hearts, too, and a wide variety of kidneys and livers, ox tail and whole turkey legs. Doggie heaven.

But there are other sources – for instance, Waitrose sells whole ox kidneys, I can buy turkey legs in other supermarkets and Abel & Cole will deliver chicken carcases to my door. Ha! Take that, Morrisons meat counter!

I have to say that if I lived within sight of the Angel of the North, I’d be livid. I loathe the commercialisation of every little corner or blank space in our environment almost as much as I loathe the increasing amount of light pollution we are subjected to. So this baguette ad (which lights up the night for miles around, by the way) offends me in both ways. And what I want to know is this: who allowed it to go ahead?. Did they get planning permission? If not, why aren’t they being made to cease and desist, and if so, why aren’t the planning committee concerned being asked to explain themselves?

I guess that one of the motives behind the wince-making Angel of the North ad campaign is to get people talking. Well, OK, they’re talking. And I’m talking about boycotting them.

Disgusted of Peterborough


A bag of lentil chips.

Yes, it really is.

I first bought these when I was on a gluten-free trial but they are just so delicious that I continue to buy them – when I can find them. Well, I haven’t been up to going shopping lately, but OH popped out this morning and brought back three bags of these delicious morsels.

And I can even feel relatively virtuous, because I have discovered that pulses count towards your five seven a day*!

I’m trying to eat healthily while I’m fighting off this damn bug, so I’m doing my best with the ever-increasing portions of fruit & veg we’re supposed to suck down each day.  Today I’ve had a banana, a portion of tinned peaches, a big bowl of home-made vegetable soup and a couple of large handfuls of lentil chips.  that’s good right?  And it’s not even dinner time yet.


* Which might be nine a day by next week.

Posted on April 3, 2014 in Food and Drink by Jay12 Comments »


This may just be the strangest drink I have ever tasted!

As you may be able to read from the label, it is composed of apples, celery and kale, with a touch of kiwi. It is supposed to give you nearly two portions of your ‘five a day’. It tasted .. um … it tasted … Well, it tasted like none of its components, that’s for sure. The flavour was not exactly unpleasant, but to be frank, I’m not sure how often I’d want to experience it.

But wait! The scientists, along with our Beloved Leaders, seem to have decided that despite the fact that most of us don’t manage to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, the guidelines should really change to seven portions a day.

I – along with many other people – question whether this is achievable. I used to record all of my daily food intake on Spark People, which is a pretty useful site intended to help people lose weight or otherwise manage their nutrition. If you input exactly what you have eaten each day, it will tell you how your diet measures up to the recommended daily intake of all the main food groups (protein, fats and carbohydrates) and the most necessary vitamins and minerals.

I never once managed to achieve the full recommended daily intake (RDA) on basic mineral requirements like calcium, magnesium etc, and hardly ever got the full dose of all the vitamins either, despite following a very healthy diet of lean meat, fruit, dairy, nuts and many, many vegetables along with a moderate amount of carbohydrates. To do so, I had to supplement with tablets.

Now, I live in a rich country, and I have enough money to go and buy what I need. I know a little bit about how our bodies work, and I know enough to be able to do the simple maths required for these calculations. I have read (until my brain feels like exploding) about good nutrition, what to eat, what not to eat, what to limit and how to best prepare and cook (or not cook) the components. So I can’t help feeling that if I can’t do it, there must be precious few people who can. What’s more, the greater part of the world comes nowhere even close (for various reasons, one being poverty), and yet we are still one of the unhealthiest nations on earth.

At this point, I’d like to say that if the government would only impose a tax on sugar commensurate with the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, it would go an awful long way to solving one of our biggest nutritional failings, and at the same time raise a huge amount of money for the national budget, but they won’t do it. They’d rather blame us for failing to eat enough vegetables.

I asked two different professional nutritionists to advise me on how to eat so that I could lose weight and at the same time not fall short on any of the vitamins and minerals, and do you know what? Neither one of them could do it.

Personally, I believe these RDAs are basically a load of codswallop. And now they want us to add even more fruit and veg each day.

Well. today I did manage to eat six portions of fruit and veg. I slice of fig and almond wedge accounted for one, a tin of tomato soup (yes, I ate the whole thing) two portions, one fresh pear was another portion. Then later I ate a large serving of brussels sprouts, and a smaller one of mixed carrot, mushroom and celery with my dinner. But here’s the thing: I have to be very careful these days just which fruit and veg I eat and when, because otherwise it plays merry hell with my acid reflux.

No doubt that drink up there helps, in its small way, to make it possible to suck down kale and celery etc, but it would have to be an occasional treat*, because these things are expensive. I don’t know if you could reproduce that drink at home .. Possibly, with the right equipment, but here’s the question:

Would you really want to?

If you’re interested, I logged my food intake for today (a pretty average day for me) with Spark People and saved the nutrition report. I came out quite well, really, considering I wasn’t even trying. Well within the target calorie count, and with the main food groups in the correct proportions, and I’m even within the guidelines for salt – but just look at how woefully short of the targets for potassium, magnesium and calcium I am!

* I use this word with a little hesitation.


I started this post several weeks ago, but I got tied up with all kinds of stuff.  Among other things, there was Christmas, when I volunteered myself for the job of selling Christmas cards for Brambleberry Greyhounds on eBay, and running their Christmas auction as well as getting ready for the family celebrations. Now I’m trying to sort out the house and get rid of … stuff. Stuff I don’t need, and which is getting in the way.

Anyway.  Being so very disorganised that sometimes I found myself in supermarkets two or three days in a row, having failed to remember something important, and when you spend half your week in a supermarket you start to notice things.  Like this:


Sorry it’s so blurry, but this is the accumulated dirt on the side rails of a check-out belt in one of our local Sainsbury’s.  I snapped it sneakily on my phone. I don’t think photographing stuff in a supermarket is an offence, as such, but I always feel guilty when I do it, as if the security guard is going to slap me in handcuffs or something. Anyway. There it was, and I snapped it.

You see, I was quite appalled, because this is a food store, and they expect me to put my food down on that thing!  It clearly hasn’t been cleaned properly for months! If ever.

Not to single out one supermarket over another, this is a check-out in a Morrison’s store.


Nameless white powder, both on the end (where you might place your shopping while you’re loading the belt) and on the belt itself.  Now, in all probability it’s flour, but this supermarket also sells weedkillers, flea powders, and harsh chemical cleaning agents.   Want to put your bread or your fruit down on it now and hope that it’s flour?

This belt also had some un-named stickiness inches from an unwrapped pineapple belonging to the lady in front of me.   I’m so glad there’s no way to eat pineapple without peeling it.

‘What’s the big problem?’ I hear some of you ask, ‘they’re all like that!’  Well, they shouldn’t be. And there are two problems that I can think of off the top of my head.

If the un-named stickiness is leakage from, say, a pack of raw chicken then it could potentially contain food poisoning bacteria, like salmonella or E coli. It’s frighteningly easy to contaminate food with bugs like that.  Babies and old people are particularly vulnerable, and hey – I’M nearly an old person!


I’m not a clean-freak.  Anyone who has seen the inside of my house will confirm that, but you might have to wait for them to stop laughing first.  I am also well aware of the fact that overly zealous cleaning and too much attention to hygiene may get you nothing but a compromised immune system, but there are limits.  And quite frankly I’m kind of stunned that in these days of accountability and litigation our food shops are paying so little attention to a clear health hazard.

The second problem is that huge numbers of people, including me, are allergic to certain foods.   This is something that seriously worries me.  Supposing that the package which leaked all over the belt contained white fish like cod, or plaice, and I put my loaf of bread down in that little puddle – bread from the bakery, I mean, not the sort wrapped in plastic. When I eat the bread I’m quite possibly going to suffer a severe allergic reaction.  Guess what? I don’t want to!

Maybe the ‘un-named stickiness’ was leakage from a tahini jar. They always have spare oil on the top, and always seem to leak if you lay them down on their sides and yes, there are some people who are severely allergic to sesame. 


Allergies are a growing problem.  Some children are so allergic to peanuts that nobody in the whole school is allowed to bring anything in their packed lunch which contains peanuts in any shape or form, because merely touching a surface where peanuts have rested is enough to trigger a reaction – poor little devils – and children are notoriously bad at keeping their sticky little fingers to themselves.

So. I find it hard to understand how supermarkets can get away with this kind of sloppy management.  Is it going to take a clear and attributable case of food poisoning or anaphylactic shock? Sometimes I really don’t like people much, selfish and lazy bastards that most of us are.

I actually complained last time I was in Sainsbury’s because the belt was so bad that we had to leave gaps in the belt where we quite literally refused to put any of our shopping because it was so dirty. ‘Wow, your belt is dirty!’ I said. But the young lady on the checkout said nothing. I tried again.

‘How often do these belts get cleaned?’ I asked, looking her in the eye.

She looked offended and told me they got cleaned every day. She didn’t, however, offer to clean it there and then. She just worked around the gunk.

Cleanliness can be achieved, because not all supermarkets are like it. I have no great fondness for Tesco, but the last time I was in one, I couldn’t help but notice that the checkout belt was nigh on spotless. It was incredibly clean! It nearly blinded me with it’s pristine sparkliness and clean black rubber. I took a peek at the checkout next door. Yep, just as clean and unblemished by soap powder spills or un-named stickiness. And no clumps of ancient dirt in the runners, either.

I just might have to re-think where I do my shopping. It’s either that, or bring along my own shopping trolley and checkout belt cleaning kit!