Leaving is never easy to do

While it is exciting to start a new job it is equally hard to leave an old one. On Wednesday I did my last shift at Sainsbury’s (a large supermarket chain here in the UK) and I confess I left with a heavy heart.

When I returned from a sabbatical of several months for family and travel back in 2018 I needed to find a job. Having commuted to my previous employment top of my new job wish list was ‘MUST BE LOCAL’! I wanted to be able to get to work under my own steam either by bike or foot.

This was not as easy as it might appear. I live in a fairly rural area and it has not always provided much choice of work – Covid has changed this a wee bit – but after a slight panic about actually getting a job along came Sainsbury’s.

Sainsbury’s has an egalitarian recruitment process – they have staff aged from 16 years to septuagenarians – which definitely helped me (no Spring chicken) as did the fact that a whole new store was being built in Kendal and every post needed filling.

It was a revelation to me. I had never worked in a supermarket before and it was fun to discover all the work that goes on in one. For my first job I was part of the price control team. Ever wonder who prints off and goes round the store changing the price tickets on the shelves? It was interesting and I always knew where the bargains were but often I worked on my own.

As I watched the team of early morning online shoppers whizzing about I hankered to join them. The joy of a supermarket is that, if staffing allows, your requests for sideways moves are usually granted. I became an online shopper.

To answer a couple of frequently asked questions. We do not do one person’s shop at a time we do parts of up to 8 customers shopping on each run we do, then the lovely folk in the back bring them together as they load up the vans. We are given suggested substitutions on our handsets and do not do them on a whim. Sometimes what a customer wants is just not there and we always try and provide something.

We have had an action packed 18 months in supermarkets and I think the online departments saw the greatest part of that. Online deliveries were a relatively small part of the overall sales in our store in 2019. Then along came a global pandemic and a Prime Minister telling us all to stay indoors and get our shopping online! EEEK.

Obviously we couldn’t stay indoors so armed with my ‘Essential Worker’ letter I cycled in for my shifts. We started work earlier (3am!!!) and every half hour brought a change as Online was ramped up to deal with the HUGE increase in demand. New staff were recruited, new vans brought in and new practices were instituted. I have read that online food deliveries went up by 100%, I can well believe it. My legs and shoulders definitely can.

It was a tough time and some customers were not kind (although many more were) but I think we really bonded and pushed together. We had some marvellous new staff, students who couldn’t go to Uni and sadly for them some that had lost jobs or businesses. Managers were busy spinning plates and I think did well to keep calm and share a smile and the occasional tub of sweeties.

Now however it is time for me to say goodbye to this:

And hello to this (and similar!):

Mmm strange how I have gone for the same colour palette.

My lovely online colleagues sent me off with all best wishes, super cards and thoughtful gifts (including a voucher for my favourite Kendal eatery, Waterside).

I love that they got me bulbs instead of a bunch of flowers as they knew everything needed to be packed in my panniers. They also suggested that when the blooms come out in Spring it will remind me of them. Hey folks don’t you worry you will never be far from my thoughts as I will be back in many a Saturday for my ‘two panniers’ shopping!

I think I found the perfect card to thank them with:

Bye all at Sainsbury’s Kendal. You are a wonderful bunch of hard grafting people. I have loved working with you and look forward to catching up with you all soon.


PS There were more of these vegan chocolate bars. I have scoffed all but one of them ‘cos they are delicious!

PPS My card was produced by these folks:

They have some great humorous Bayeux Tapestry style cards. Mx

Tales from the Bus – Yew Tree Barn and the Newtons, Cumbria

Hi All

Since last we met back in January I have stopped being a train commuter and have adopted the bus as my get-me-to-work mode of transport.

I live in an area blessed with fantabulous bus routes and my current commute travels along one such: the X6 from Kendal to Barrow. Trouble is when I am on my way to work I am unable to disembark and explore. Time for a change. This afternoon I rode the bus for fun leaving it at one of those stops that look so inviting when I pass through in the early hours. Today it was time to visit Low and High Newton.

What a great start. Despite there being no discernible bus stop I was dropped right at the door of Yew Tree Barn, Low Newton. DSCI0532 I have always been curious as to the contents of this reclamation emporium and once I knew it had a cafe there was (of course) no stopping me.

From the outset I was blown away. But before I could explore the hoards of goodies held within and without I had to stoke up my calories. I could see I would need a lot of energy to cover this Tardis of reclaimed wonderfulness. And when I say calories I mean calories ….. (at the risk of being one of those people that show you what I am having for lunch …. erm …. here is my lunch)

An all day veggie breakfast cannot be ignored! and yes that is a certain well-known brand of brown sauce poking its head into my otherwise tasteful photo ensemble. My Northern roots are showing again. Bless ’em.

Harry’s Cafe – sited at the heart of Yew Tree Barn – is well worth a visit. Not only is the food homemade, delicious and locally sourced but I knew I was onto a winner when I got my pot of tea and was asked to let them know if I needed more hot water. Music to the ears of any ardent tea drinker. Now into the Barn.

This place is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Every nook and cranny (and there are many of these) is packed with … with …. just about everything! Here is a mere snippet of what I found inside

and out

The sometimes strange juxtaposition of antiques DSCI0570 added to the wonder of the place. You just don’t know what you’ll find next. DSCI0545 In addition to the old there is also the new. Yew Tree Barn boasts several artisans: a blacksmith,

a wool crafter, a book binder and conservator and a furniture maker. The Barn also sells a large selection of crafts and goods many of which have been produced in Cumbria. Needless to say I am going to keep my eyes open for exhibitions and workshops that Yew Tree Barn run too!

This place is such good fun, a local shop with knobs on. DSCI0579 (I had to get that gag in somewhere).

Time (nor the X6) waits for no one. So off I tottered – that was SOME breakfast/lunch – to cover the miles (yards) between Low Newton and High Newton. By the by it seemed to me that High Newton is lower than Low Newton…. DSCI0581 Passing the goats and sheep I see every weekday I couldn’t resist a (rather wobbly) snap or three,

Dear reader I’ll have you know that I did this at some personal risk. Being very careful to always ask before taking pictures of people’s property I forgot to extend the same courtesy to the rather beautiful doberman who was determined to protect her goats from any passing paparazzi. She was not pleased and I was glad of the gate separating us. I would have taken her picture too however she was doing her job so splendidly I thought it expedient to leave before she figured out how to get over the fence.

I strode on valiantly – trying not to think of the damage a gleaming set of canine gnashers could do to my more than ample posterior – and was rewarded by being able to amble around the little village of High Newton. With its peaceful streets lined with an historical mish mash of quaint housing

and best of all The Crown a traditional seventeenth century coaching inn which tantalizingly peeks out from a little way off the main street. At last I could walk right up to this pretty pub DSCI0592 and carry on inside DSCI0594I was greeted by the friendliest young man who was obviously as proud as punch of the pub and enthused about the beer garden where he could pick freshly grown mint to dress the cocktails. DSCI0596A super welcome. Shame I didn’t have long to rest and sample the menu. The buses here abouts run like clockwork and I had to tear myself away from the lovely Crown and rejoin the X6 for the short journey home.


Until next we meet, Moke x