Saturday, 28 June 2008

Lambs, water, Tesco

Listening to: Mediocre Bad Guys (Jack Johnson)
Weather: Clouding over after a sunny start
Successfully ignoring: the tennis
Getting ready to ignore: the Olympics

I turned the tap in the pigshed. Nothing.


I stomped back to the house, muttering darkly, reminding myself what a good idea it would be to get connected to the main supply.

The switch for the pump was on. I checked the cold water tank in the barn - nothing happening. I changed the fuse on the switch - still nothing, so it was down to the bottom field (swearing lustily) to check the pump itself.

We have lodgers in the bottom field. About 40 ewes and lambs are giving the place a clean-up. The lambs can just about be seen above the buttercups, dock leaves and patches of long grass.

One of the ewes was sunbathing by the door to the little pumphouse. She got up and wandered off as I approached and I noticed the door had been left ajar - I hadn't bolted it properly.

It was no surprise, therefore, when a startled lamb popped out of the door - a little more of a surprise that he was followed by three more.

Light began to dawn and, sure enough, the problem was obvious. It wasn't quite a Wallace/Gromit/Shaun the Sheep situation, but the lambs had managed to unplug the pump from the covered, outdoor socket. I plugged it back in and bolted the door firmly.

So, Malc's handy household hint for the day: If an electrical appliance fails to work, check there are no sheep in the area.

Which brings me to the subject of Tesco shareholders.

I'm generally wary of celeb bandwagons, but Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's campaign to force Tesco to adopt basic animal welfare standards struck a chord.

He went to the trouble to buy Tesco shares, raise (with the help of Compassion in World Farming) the £80,000-plus needed to bring a resolution to the annual meeting, but it was, we now know, a non-starter and was voted out by 80 per cent. Depressing.

Tesco are opening a new store in Kirkwall in a couple of weeks (Harrogate will be the only place in the UK without one, I believe).

I will not be shopping there and I urge you not to use Tesco either.


ziggi said...

I wonder if that's why the electricity has gone out in my garage/barn?? I shall check for sheep immediately! Thanks for the tip.

As for Tescos - I shall desist, it won't be difficult now I have a nice man delivery obscure veg and we are lucky enough to have brilliant butchers in the village owned and run by a local farmer, indeed a Malc of the SW! Only with cows and (his own) sheep as well as pigs.

fiwa said...

Oh, so THAT'S what has been causing the power to go out! I will keep my eyes out for bands of marauding sheep. Thank you for the warning, I was blaming it on the squirrels.

Good for you for boycotting Tesco.

Richard said...

Unfortunately, sometimes a case of having to use them here. I do use local producers when I'm able to and I don't buy their cheap stuff. I will definitely boycott your store though.

I was listening to their spokeswoman on the radio the other day justifying their continued purchasing of Zimbabwean goods through their tie-up with a farming concern over there. OK, it's a tough call. Do you stop trading with them and give Mugabe the finger (albeit a not very visible one) or carry on trading with them in order to give the employees something? Then you think - what have the employees got to spend their wages on anyway?

I'm currently writing this in the library. The bloke at the next terminal is on a dating site but he's just farted. Watch a catch.

dinahmow said...

It's not just Tesco, I'm afraid. And Richard's "horns of a dilemma" comment applies in so many cases.

Sorry about the pump drama. Possums did a similar thing to my Kawasaki 500 in the creek. We lost prime, had to drag hoses and buckets down the bank, do it all again,etc,etc. Life on the farm, eh!

Malc said...

I totally understand the dilemma many people face in their shopping choices (or lack of them) and I'm not about to criticise anyone for shopping at Tesco - I'm not that militant!

Good for Ziggi for using local producers, but I know not everyone has the choice. I lived in Shrewsbury where, unless you happened to be free to visit the town centre market on a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday morning, you had no choice but to visit a superstore for your food. All the local grocers and most of the butchers have disappeared.

Dina is dead right suggesting that none of the big supermarket corporations have much to be proud of. However, on the specific issue of animal welfare, Tesco are out on their own. All other corporations in the UK have signed up to some kind of reasonable minimum standard of welfare. Sainsbury and Waitrose have, I believe, gone as far as to adopt plans to go completely free range in the future.

My major beef with Tesco is that (for an organisation that makes annual profits of £2bn-plus) it could still afford to supply good, humanely-reared food to people on a tight budget. It seems they are either too greedy or too lazy - I suspect both.

susi said...

The "Chicken out!" campaign seems to have had a big impact, judging from the number of e-mails I have had about it (via our poultry website). In case you missed it, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall is all over the front page of the Sunday Times News Review today.

I, like the view, still said...

*scratches head* (no, not nits)

I shop in Waitrose. . . when I lived in the village I used to use the local butcher, fishmonger, greengrocers etc etc and the farmers' market at weekends; since I moved it's either W'rose or M&S

choice would be a fine thing

mig bardsley said...

I'm lucky to have two good local butchers and a choice of Sainsbury's Waitrose or Tesco. Haven't used Tesco for a good while.
However I've been wondering if the current food price panic is going to affect how the big stores live up to their promises.

I wonder if there are sheep sneaking into my kitchen and making the washing machine leak?

lampworkbeader said...

I'm with you all the way on the Tesco thing. I'm lucky enough to live within easy reach of a good butcher who stocks reasonably priced local meat and an excellent greengroacer. I try to avoid supermarkets as much as possible, too full of tempting rubbish.

Daphne said...

Just catching up on all your interesting posts after a week's holiday. I hardly ever shop at Tesco's and will now do my best to make it never.