Lorry queues, supermarket queues, food production, and Christmas dinner

Victoria helped me wrap some presents today. Actually, she was a right nuisance and ended up tearing the paper.

I went to the shops early this morning to beat the rush but still there was a long queue outside the food court at Marks & Spencer. I decided not to go in. I’m not a fan of queues. Instead I’ll go when it opens tomorrow. One of the shop assistants told me this is just because of Christmas but I also wonder whether people are stockpiling in advance of Brexit? We have a double threat looming: France has closed its border to the UK because of the new virus strain AND we have Brexit coming on the 31st December.

We import 26% of our food from the EU so closing the border is a real worry. We have seen images of thousands of lorries queuing for miles on both sides of the channel for several weeks now which they say is due to firms stockpiling in advance of Brexit, Christmas demand, and shortages caused by covid. I have noticed some things are difficult or impossible to get.

The good news is that all the Christmas foods that make Christmas feel Christmassy are seasonal and grown in the UK. That’s why they are traditionally eaten for Christmas. Thank goodness for traditions! This means we can still have our roast potatoes, beetroot, leeks, brussels sprouts, and pasnips because these are all British grown crops. The other things we eat plenty of in my house are lentils and chickpeas and I buy these in bulk anyway as they keep for a long time. Buy local, buy seasonal, eat legumes, and you’re all set!

The UK could be self-sufficient in food production if we all went vegan. The problem is most of the crops we grow are fed to livestock rather than to humans and we get less protein out of animals than we put in. It’s not a very efficient way to feed a large population. If we stopped growing crops for livestock then we’d be able to feed ourselves AND convert pasture land to forest, providing habitats for wild animals and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Almost half the land in the UK is used for animal agriculture which requires more land to produce fewer calories. It’s not sustainable.

If you want to try cooking vegan for Christmas this year – and there’s never been a better time to ditch meat given the zoonotic disease that’s caused us so much trouble – then I recommend Jamie Oliver’s best-ever cranberry & pistachio nut roast. Just omit the cheese and eggs or use vegan alternatives.

I’ve been buying liquid soaps in bulk for several months now. I’ve discovered a UK manufacturer of eco-friendly, zero waste cleaning products. They’re called fill and have a family-run factory in Northamptonshire. They sell liquid soaps in 10L boxes and I refill all the hand soap dispensers around the house myself. It means I’m not throwing away lots of single-use plastic containers. I’ve started doing it with their toilet cleaner now too. They can even provide reusable glass bottles for everything so you don’t have to use any plastic at all. You can buy their products from Wearth London. Given it’s a UK manufacturer you won’t have to worry that your order is stuck in Calais. One of my goals for 2021 is to consume less plastic.

3 Replies to “Lorry queues, supermarket queues, food production, and Christmas dinner”

  1. I have also been thinking about buying in bulk to reduce plastic, but we need good storage space in our homes for that. I deliberately bought a small flat to avoid the maintenance a bigger place brings, as well as deliberately restricting what I could fit into it, but I may have to re-think that idea. As you say, the world is changing, and we may find that everything that has been so conveniently and readily available from just a trip to the shops so far, stops being so.

  2. Good to see you getting help from your Kitty (Victoria is it?). We’ve got all our Christmas and New Year meat and veg. Those queues are quite worrying for the drivers stuck in them!! I hope you and your wonderful family have a great Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

    1. I’m glad to hear you’re all sorted for Christmas and New Year. That’s great. We got a local delivery of fruit and veg today so we’re all stocked up now too. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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