Showering and shopping

Yesterday, I was having a working-from-home day. There’s a lot to be said for staying at home in your jarmies to work. But I also had my instructions from Simon Gear to follow. He had asked two things from me in his book, Going Greener.

Eat fresh fruit in season to avoid the air miles, flying things across the globe so I can eat it all year round.

Shower rather than bath to save on water.

I adapted the first one slightly, given that I was looking for vegetables, not fruit. But the message was the same. Buy as locally as possible to avoid the air miles, one of the most environmentally-damaging things I probably take part in, on a day to day basis.

I decided that, actually, I would shop entirely British for eveything I needed for my planned cottage pie. So I approached the vegetable section. I needed tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and herbs.

Well, I almost gave up on the tomatoes and the herbs! All the tomatoes were from Portugal and Spain. After searching all through the different varieties, I found one variety of vine tomatoes that was grown in Britain. Phew! The cottage pie could make a start.

The herbs were from everywhere but Britain. Jordan, Egypt, Spain, Morocco, Mexico… Nothing. As I wandered off, I saw pots of herbs with little British flags printed on their labels! Hurrah! My cottage pie could have flavour! I got myself some thyme and some chives and suddenly, the world of reducing my air miles and shopping British smelled fabulous!

Next was potatoes and these weren’t hard to find. The carrots were also British, not too much trouble there.

I didn’t need mushrooms but in my excitement that so many of them were British, I got some anyway.

I learned, at this point, that lots of vegetables are from Israel. The other British ones I saw were chicory and lettuce, neither of which I needed but will keep in mind.

The beef mince was easy enough because the nice stuff in Waitrose happens to be British beef so no compromises needed there.

Getting cereal bars was fine because I know Jordans is a British company but a surprising amount were from America.

I wanted to pick up some tupperware to keep left over cottage pie in (another instruction from Simon Gear is to freeze down individual portions for emergencies then you never end up eating rubbish takeaway or bowls of icecream for dinner) but the tupperware was made in Vietnam so that was out.

I must say, it was a bit of a faff checking the small print on everything I bought but I felt sooo much better leaving the shop and knowing I’d made the effort to reduce my personal environmental impact. I also didn’t wrap my vegetables in plastic and I brought my own bags to pack my shopping in.

And now for the second challenge. This one, I knew, would be more of a mental hurdle than anything else, due to the simple fact that when it is cold and wintery, I like to have a hot bath and listen to an audiobook and pretend I am a lady of leisure.

As Simon rightly points out in his book however, when taking a bath, you use more than twice the water of a shower and, disgustingly, all the dirt that was on your feet ends up in your hair, and vice versa. Now I know this, of course I know it. But I like to pretend I don’t, due to the lady of leisure thing already mentioned.

Yesterday, despite the current cold snap and flurries of snow, I resolved to stop being a water-hog (one who hogs water, not a pig who lives in a river) and get a shower instead.

I put the plug in, to test the theory about how much less water it uses, turned it on hot and danced around a bit to some music to stay warm. After a few minutes, I could stop dancing and just enjoy it because it was quite nice actually. The cold from outside was like a test of strength. If I was tough enough to handle the cold, I could do anything!

At the end of my shower, which took 5 minutes instead of the requisite 30 for my lounging around bath sessions, the water was only just approaching my ankles. It was barely a tenth of what I use for a bath. I felt great, tinged with guilt for all the other times when I had bathed instead of showering.

And that was that! Two more boxes ticked on my quest to become more useful!

18 responses to this post.

  1. but what if I LIKE eating ice cream for dinner? 🙂

    I’ve also been trying not to put my veggies in plastic as well. it’s surprisinly easier to deal with when I get home too because I’m not digging through bags and bags AND BAGS!


  2. I’m so socially conscious, I have been showering forEVER! Yeah, no idea that was better. In Portland, we can’t get plastic bags at the grocery store or at any store, they are banned within the city limits. Never mind that they are cheaper to produce than paper, most are now recycled and compostible and I always forget my reuseable bags in the car. Sigh.

    Well done dearie! Why don’t you grow herbs in your house? That seems like an LLM thing to do.


    • I have thyme and chives now! I don’t like to grow things in the house as I find little bugs congregate around them and then the bugs live in my kitchen. I grow herbs and tomatoes and chillis in the garden once the weather gets nicer.

      I love that rule about plastic bags! I’m totally getting on to David Cameron to do the same here!


  3. Laura, you’ve inspired me to shop more greenly, made me laugh, and encouraged me to keep up my shower habit. Well done! 🙂

    Blessings ~ Wendy


  4. Might I suggest one slight alteration?: Allow yourself to purchase Tupperware or something good and similar one time. The air miles might turn out to be less in the long run as you get to store items. The other possibility is plastic wrap for a lot of things, but that’s not very reusable.


  5. Posted by Alex Jones on March 29, 2013 at 12:06

    I have located a potato merchant near me where I shall buy my potatoes in bulk. I have no car so the fun is in the carrying.


    • O, fabulous! I wish I had a farm or potato place or something near me. I have found one in West London which will take about an hour to get to but I can do it on a day off.


  6. […] has been a revolution in my world. Following my instructions few days ago, to try and reduce my air miles while shopping, I made sure that nothing I bought had been flown in from other countries. It was difficult because […]


  7. […] P. S. Following on from previous posts, I have not been to a supermarket for 12 days. So for 12 days, I have only bought or eaten food that was grown locally, by people who I have taken the time to do some research about. It feels great. I have also not taken a bath, since I was told to shower instead. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: