Saturday, 14 July 2012

The European Parliament broke up for the summer on Thursday.  I had a particularly hectic end of term tabling amendments on Offshore Oil Safety, the Common Agricultural Policy (apparently there are in total over 5000 amendments) and lengthy somewhat circular negotiations on banking laws. 

I have been asked by the Federation of Small Businesses from Norfolk to take part in the buy local challenge for a week.   This means not shopping in supermarkets for a week but instead supporting smaller retailers and farm gate sales.  I think this will be fun.  I have meetings in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and Norfolk.  Where I see interesting food retail opportunities I will stop off en route. 

For this week I will try to go back to blogging more regularly, telling readers what I have been doing and tweeting.

I've just loaded up with eggs, cream, chicken and lamb chops from my local butchers shop. bought a birthday present (new gloves) for each of my nieces and dog food from the local pet and outdoor suppliers, these are wrapped and will go off via my local post office on Monday morning.  Although many people think this part of East Anglia is quite accessible, actually my own village on the Essex/Suffolk/Cambridge boarder is 10 miles from the nearest bank.  The local shop and post office is a vital lifeline, especially for older people.

We will also eat from the garden, as despite the rain and lack of tending my veg plot is full of potatoes, salads, sugar snaps and strawberries.   I have sausages, pork chops and joints in the freezer as every so often a friend and I share a pig together direct from a Norfolk farmer.  This is an extremely cost-effective way of feeding the family.  I'm really lucky to have a local dairy, and a milkman who delivers daily.  

I don't regularly go to just one Supermarket.   I am usually away from home 3 nights a week and with such a large region to cover as MEP means that I often pick up groceries in many different locations.  Recently we have taken to getting Ocado to deliver our basics (they are based in Hertfordshire and I visited their amazing warehouse a few months ago as their MEP).  Apparently their deliver to the door grocery model is much more fuel efficient than traditional supermarkets.  

As I am away so often I don't get a chance to volunteer much in my own local community.  But I have put myself on the cricket tea rota for Saturday. So the Ford family will need to produce sandwiches, cakes and buns for 40.   That will be a challenge!

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