CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Cotswold Mother: Stocking up for winter

PUBLISHED: 17:02 04 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:38 20 February 2013

Cotswold Mother: Stocking up for winter

Cotswold Mother: Stocking up for winter

Our new columnist Emily Carlisle ponders the great freeze... How will the family eat once the shelves of the Co-op have been cleared of larder essentials?

Im a big devotee of online grocery shopping. Any activity I can do in my pyjamas whilst watching Eastenders gets my vote, and sadly there are far fewer of those now that my husband has banned the television from our bedroom. Unfortunately sometimes the cupboards are so bare I cant wait for the delivery van, unless I want to explain to Social Services why the children are living off cat biscuits and butter, both of which we always seem to have in abundance.

Reluctantly I visited my local supermarket on Saturday to stock up on essentials, only to be greeted by post-apocalyptic shelves and a dozen half-crazed women fighting over bottled water. Snow was clearly heading our way again. The supermarkets are always mobbed as soon as the forecast gets bad, its terribly predictable. In fact I suspect I could do without a weather report altogether, forming an accurate assessment instead on the basis of the Co-ops bread aisle. On this occasion I decided against fighting over the last baguette (I got there first, but my opponent had a gimlet stare and a steely grip that could crack walnuts). I headed home with my dignity intact and my shopping bags decidedly empty.

Back at home I wondered how wed fare if bad weather did actually set in, and we had to make do for a week or so. Or perhaps longer maybe that woman with the trolley-load of beans had insider information? I should have watched to see what else she stock-piled. We are regularly snowed into our part of town each January, yet I am just as regularly woefully underprepared. Last year the children had no waterproof trousers; with eight inch deep snow and legs only a little longer, we were housebound for a fortnight, relying on helpful deliveries from those more mobile. This year the children are properly equipped for a Cotswold ski fest, and all that is left is to plan our provisions.

I pulled open the larder door and perused its contents. The larder is voluminous and rammed to the gunnels, and at first glance you might think it appears well-stocked, but on closer inspection it doesnt actually seem to hold anything useful. Why do I have so much treacle? Im not even sure I know what to do with treacle. And three tubs of bicarbonate of soda?

I counted seven packets of jelly and four of Angel Delight, two empty cereal packets and a mouse trap. It would seem our larder doesnt hold anything we can actually eat. My Living the Good Life book suggested we might store root vegetables harvested at the end of the summer to carry us through the winter. Delicious though they were, it didnt seem worth packing our 12 carrots into sandboxes, and they were eaten in
a week.

I shared my concerns with my husband who seemed relatively indifferent about the matter. Wed just eat one of the chickens. I was outraged how could he be so callous? The chickens have been with us for over six months. Theyve dutifully provided us with breakfast, lashings of superb manure and an immeasurable amount of feel-good factor. They are surely as much a part of the family as the children themselves, and considerably less effort.

Which one would you eat? I asked, curious in spite of myself. We surveyed the chooks as they roamed around the frozen garden. Mrs Greedy doesnt have a scrap of meat on her, but Princess Layer is positively ripe for the roasting tin. Great chunky thighs and a large plump breast nestle beneath golden feathers. She caught us salivating and retreated behind the compost heap as if she could read minds.

So could you actually you know? I checked that the chickens werent looking and mimed a sort of poultry-throttling motion.
Of course I could. My husband appears to have re-invented himself as Ray Mears. Any day now Ill find him crouched down in the sitting room whittling a make-shift weapon. If we were starving.
So if we got snowed in today, I said, with just the food weve got in our cupboards how long before youd kill a chicken for me? I was keen to establish just how hungry Id need to be before my hunter-gatherer spouse sharpened his axe. Just a bit peckish? Or positively weak with exhaustion, fingers barely able to pluck
out the feathers before slathering Princess Layer with butter and poking an onion up her bottom?

If the children were hungry, he said nobly, I would find them food. He looked around the garden as though bursting from the undergrowth were armfuls of edible flora and fauna, instead of a dozen tennis balls and a rusty bucket.

I hope the children like treacle.


More from People

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

25 years in business is no mean feat – and the owner of Lauren’s Catering has lost none of his ambition

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Julian Dunkerton has moved his family’s cider-making business from Herefordshire to the outskirts of Cheltenham, where it boasts a state-of-the-art production unit and a stylish new shop. But don’t think the heart of the business has changed one whit: it still honours the core values Ivor and Susie Dunkerton held dear when they planted their first apple tree, nearly 40 years ago

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

If you want to spread some Christmas cheer to those in need, here are some fantastic charities in the Cotswolds to donate to

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Harnessing the power of social media, charity awards and dreaming up new projects - it’s all in a day’s work for Gloucestershire children’s charity Pied Piper and its corporate supporters

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Cotswolds’ very own Prince of Wales turns 70 this month, so we looked back on some of the highlights of his life and career, and wondered what birthday pressies we would buy for the man who has the world at his feet

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

When landowners are looking to sell their land, and want a transparent journey that delivers them best value, Rosconn Strategic Land is here to take them through the process.

Read more

Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini has secured a payout from prosecutors over unfounded allegations of historical sex offences. The presenter, 69, was arrested in 2013 over a claim he sexually assaulted two teenage boys in the early 1980s. Mr Gambaccini always denied the claims, calling the case “completely fictitious”. He spent a year on bail before the case was dropped. Two years later he gave this interview to Katie Jarvis

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Barn Theatre’s artistic director, Iwan Lewis, talks to Candia McKormack about a rather special project aimed at bringing the Cotswold community together in commemoration of the Great War’s fallen

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The environmental charity set up to protect Stroud’s industrial heritage now enhances the lives of its own volunteers. Katie Jarvis meets chief executive Clare Mahdiyone to hear about her Cotswold Life

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Alex Caccia was in two minds about setting up Animal Dynamics as a limited company, but a shark attack warning changed all of that. Tanya Gledhill meets a man on a mission to change propulsion, one animal at a time

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

He quit his job with a few thousand pounds in savings and an empty garage. In less than a year, Nick Grey’s technology company Gtech was flying. Tanya Gledhill meets him

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

How does it feel to interview Sir Michael Parkinson, the nation’s best-ever interviewer? Katie Jarvis takes a very deep breath – and finds out

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

When Charles Martell became the latest High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, he started discovering things about the county he never knew – not to mention things about himself, too. Katie Jarvis spoke to him about saw pits, walnuts, peaceable towns and pink-headed ducks

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search