A special guest appearance

By | April 20, 2020
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The other day, Tim was on the phone to his mum and dad, and they were talking about different ways to get essentials delivered at the moment – what with the supermarkets struggling to keep up.

After that, he and I sat down and bashed out ideas for all the different types of shop and delivery service we could think of – and then he wrote a nice long list for his mum and dad.

We thought other people might find it useful too, so without further ado, I’ll hand you over to my husband for his special guest appearance…

After talking to you yesterday, I thought I’d send a list of various places you can order food etc from online. I’m not sure if all of it will be useful, but worth a look through.  Having done this I might give it to Julie to share on the newsletter, too, as I bet other people would find it helpful too.

  • Ordering online from the supermarkets.  As you know, the big issue is they don’t have enough delivery slots available for everyone who wants to use them.  If you can, set up online accounts with each of them so you can check when new deliveries are added – it’s worth checking each day.  Then if you get a slot, you can go through choosing what you want to order (best to get the slot first, rather than going through choosing what you want only to discover they have no slots available).  By the way, I’ve heard that the government is passing lists of vulnerable people to the supermarkets so they can get priority treatment but I don’t know exactly how this’ll work in practice. Keep an eye out for an email or something similar.
  • Morrisons and M&S (and maybe others) are also doing boxes of food you can order.  This is separate from their normal online ordering and instead of being delivered by the supermarket themselves, it’s sent via a courier like DPD. You don’t get much choice – I think Morrisons have four boxes you can choose from, but the idea is it gives you most of the food you need for a week.
  • Morrisons are also doing what they call “doorstep deliveries” for people who are vulnerable and can’t go to the shops.  The choice is much more limited than the online shopping but you ring up, tell them what you want and they deliver it to you – here’s the list you can choose from if you want a look  (You do need to pay by contactless card when they deliver, though, so you’ll need to go to the door when they arrive.)
  • The supermarkets also offer “Click and collect”, which hasn’t tended to be quite as hard to get a slot for as home delivery. You choose what you want online and then pick it up from a place in the supermarket car park, but you do need to get out of the car to get it.  Could be handy if a friend is picking it up though, rather than sending them with a list, as long as you make sure your friend has the receipt or whatever they need to collect. 
  • Online delivery services.  There are loads of more specialist companies online that sell food.  Online butchers, veg box companies, eggs, fancy cheese and so on. I’ve found a few but there are loads of others – it might be worth doing a web search for anything in particular you’re after.  This food is often more expensive – it’s not that they’ve put prices up (the ones I’ve seen haven’t) but they sell posher food than typical supermarket fare so it’s more expensive. For example Campbell’s Meat and Muscle Food are both butchers, and The Food Market sells all sorts of high quality foods – but there lots of others, depending on what you’re after, so I’d have a look round rather than just using those.
  • There are also some local food shops that are delivering – or I’ve heard of some where you drive to them and they put what you’ve ordered over the phone straight into the boot of your car so you never get out.  You can do a web search to find any near you but also try searching on Facebook or see if there’s a local Facebook group – they might be mentioned on there.
  • Milk deliveries have become more popular again in recent years, so most areas have one (or more). You can do a quick online search to find one in your area or again, have a look on a local Facebook group (more on that in a tick) or search on Facebook.  Some do eggs and so on as well. Some are too busy now to take on new customers but many are accepting new ones – though you might not get the choice between glass or plastic bottles that you normally would (we did though!)
  • There are also some local wholesale companies that are currently delivering to individuals.  You’ll have to do a bit of looking online to find them and some of them you have to ring up, others you can order online – but it’s another way to get a decent amount of food delivered.
  • A lot of takeaways are still open – but not for taking away, only for deliveries.  Some of them you can order over the phone or on their own website or some of them you can find through the “Just Eat” or “Uber Eats” websites or apps.  Maybe not for every day but nice to still be able to have a treat now and then even if you can’t go out to a restaurant. 
  • Local volunteers.  In a lot of parts of the country, there are loads of people offering to help by picking up shopping (or prescriptions) for people who can’t get out.  The best way to find out is probably to look and see if there’s a local Facebook group and join it if so. You might find people saying on there that they’ll help anyone who’s stuck and you might also find a list of local services that might be helpful.  (Or you can ask on there for help if not). When you’re looking, try searching for your town or village name or a district if you’re in a big city. You could even try searching for your street name or if there’s a nickname for the area try that. Just make sure you get the right one – there might be an area with the same name at the other end of the country!
  • There’s also an official phone number from the government.  It varies by where you live as it’s run by the council, but there should be a phone number you can ring if you’re stuck and they can pick up shopping etc for you – either by putting you in touch with someone who’s volunteered with them or some council workers who are doing that instead of their normal jobs.  If you’ve had a letter saying you should isolate, there should be a phone number given on that – or you can look on the local council website.

Take care

I hope you find that list useful, and if you have any other ideas, please feel free to share them!  The more the merrier! If you’ve got any suggestions that you’d like to let other readers know about, just pop them in the comments at the bottom of this webpage version of the newsletter – I’ll look forward to reading them…

Look after yourselves

18 thoughts on “A special guest appearance

  1. Sue Matthews

    Our local pub/hotel have signed up to http://www.mypubshop.com and are offering a click and collect service for groceries and a meal delivery service. If you register you can find out if there is a pub near you offering the same service. This had been lifeline for us and may help others.

  2. josephcooper19@ ymail.com

    Thanks for your weekly newsletter- one of the few regular emails I look out for!
    Tim could have included Parsleybox, Wiltshire Farm Food nd Oakhouse. I have not used any of them but have had Parsleybo strongly recommended to me by a reliable friend. You do not need a freezer either. Cheers nd thanks,

  3. Joan Bagnall

    I am 78 years old, but happily do not have an underlying health condition so am not on the priority list. I have tried all the big supermarkets and none of them will let me register for home delivery or click and collect. I rely on small local shops or tradespeople like Milk and More or a local butcher who delivers.

  4. Charlie

    Hi as a OAP and recently my wife sadly passed away and now this lock down it’s sort I am finding a bit difficult but looking on the `bright side of life’ there is a community spirit around me and my family do get shopping when required. What I have found and been using for ready cooked meals is a company called `Wiltshire Foods’. Place a order and usually get it delivered in a week, so it`s freezer goods and micro-wave or oven when cooking required. Found W F to give good service and can phone a order in if no access to internet.

  5. Richard Coates

    Not a food delivery service but a useful local contact service is Nextdoor. A sort of local gossip/advice social media website. Started in America (we used to live in Florida during the winters for many years) where many people use it and it’s now increasingly in use in this country. Everything from lost and found dogs and cats to who can suggest a good local painter and decorator and why is there a police car at the corner of so and so street. Now also being used for such as which local businesses deliver food. So worth checking for your own local area.

    1. David Bell

      In my area – and I understand in many others – NextDoor provides a list of people who have volunteered to help those who are self-isolating. They introduced a map of the local area a couple of weeks ago on which such helpers can be marked. So, if this is operating in your area, you can pick a volunteer who lives close to you.

  6. Bryan Hewitt

    Hi Tim, it’s nice to hear from you again. Can we look forward to more “guest” appearances?

    Regards, Bryan Hewitt.

  7. Sally

    If you have a problem with something electrical, go to http://www.espares.co.uk. They supply everything from switches and springs through to motors. They have masses of how-to videos, so you can surprise yourself with doing your own repairs. They are extremely helpful, so when I couldn’t find a part I needed (rare), they sent me a complete blow-up diagram and I was able to work it out.
    They deliver rapidly. I live in France and I use them whenever necessary, not only resulting in being pleasantly surprised at my DIY skills, but saving a lot of money on call-outs.

  8. Anne Barrell

    We have many of your books. But it is not ‘buying’, but big hearts for you to share so much information with us and in your good straight-forward way which gives me courage to explore on the internet. My motto is “if Julie and Tim say it, I’ll cope, and I usually do.” Thank you and keep safe yourselves.

  9. Anne Barrell

    We have many of your books. But it is not ‘buying’, but big hearts for you to share so much information with us and in your good straight-forward way which gives me courage to explore on the internet. My motto is “if Julie and Tim say it, I’ll cope, and I usually do.” Thank you and keep safe yourselves.

    1. Angie

      I agree with Anne, it’s not just the books. It’s your big hearts at Helpful Books, that go that extra mile
      to help us stay connected. So I raise a big cheer to all the team. Lovely to hear from Tim again.🥂🍺 Keep well and safe.

  10. Thomas Dowthwaite

    I recently had an E mail from M&S informing me of their food outlet at Shirley, Southampton. I pointed out that where I lived (Sunbury-on-Thames) was merely 60 miles each way, and through 3 police ares to negotiate. I didn’t get a reply!

  11. Mike

    I have come across a website which may help those of us who have trouble in finding a delivery slot.
    It searches 4 supermarkets for slots,and lists any available,you may have to be quick to book one though!.
    The website is shoppingslot.co.uk
    Well worth a look.

  12. Hilary Margaret Hall

    Hi Tim and Julie, Your emails are so helpful and well explained, I don’t know how you do it. You spend an awful lot of time and it is well appreciated. I don’t always comment , but always read your interesting helpful emails. I know where to look when I need advice on anything. Keep up the good work and Keep Safe both of you.

  13. Richard Holden

    What a wonderfully helpful email for a couple of pensioners.

  14. Jenepher Allen

    I am 80+ so am relying on kind neighbours to do my shopping etc therefore have to have what they can get. However, the local farm shop – voted the best in the country for several years – has got its act together and are now doing nationwide home deliveries. It is expensive but excellent quality, well packed with cool packs to keep it fresh AND is delivered two days after ordering. Those over 70 in the local area are eligible for free delivery. The shop is Darts Farm, Topsham, Devon https://www.dartsfarm.co.uk

    Many thanks, Tim, for the info which has proved very useful for friends not online.

  15. Martin Reynolds

    Besides the on-line versions of daily newspapers available on subscription if your local newsagent does not deliver Old fashioned newspapers there are businesses who deliver old nationwide to those who prefer the paper version, including – newsteamgroup.co.uk and deliver my newspaper.co.uk


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