Z shops locally and wishes everyone did

The quality of English wine has improved remarkably over the last few years. We had a bottle of a Norfolk red, this evening: Winbirri’s Signature. I bought half a dozen bottles from this vineyard/winery five years ago – and I’m sure I blogged about it – and the four whites were very good and the red, which I think was a pinot noir, was acceptable. This red wine is more than acceptable, as is our local Flint vineyard/winery’s Précoce.

I think it’s a matter of improved expertise and of finding the right grapes for the climate and the area. I responded – a rare event – to a Facebook ad the other day, from a supplier of East Anglian wines – he’s a winemaker himself and, in email correspondence, it transpires that he and Ben from Flint were trained at the same university, though not at the same time. So I bought six bottles, all different, from Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex winemakers and we’ll enjoy trying them out. The company is The English Vine, if you’d like to investigate. Neil said that they were due to visit Flint this year, but lockdown intervened.

In other local news, my poor greengrocer said this evening that he’d had the worst day’s trading in three years and wonders if he can carry on. So many people appreciated him and other local independent traders during lockdown, when they delivered and managed to source food when the supermarkets were running out, and people promised not to drift away afterwards. But they have, it seems. I wanted more wet walnuts and bought a few more things, to make it worth having queued. But, though I went away with a full carrier bag, I hadn’t even spent ten pounds. When I was involved in the National Statistics survey a few weeks ago, I totted up what I’d spent at the greengrocer’s in the previous month, which was about £100. You need a lot of people doing that to keep going.

But we do our best. On the way home from Lowestoft the other day, we saw a hand-painted sign offering kindling, so we went to investigate today. The net bags cost £4 and we bought a couple of them. I tipped the contents of one into a bag I used to get from my previous supplier and it almost filled it. I should think they cost about the same – not that I’m quibbling over a few pence here and there, but anyway, it looks as if we’re okay for now. And we were only a few yards from the nice farm shop, so we went there and bought a brace of partridges and a few other things. So today it’s been support local day.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Norwich to meet Ro, Dora and Perdita for lunch. We’re going to Notcutts, where they have tropical fish, because the baby will like to see them. I haven’t seen them for more than a month, so it’ll be lovely.

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