Saturday, August 2, 2008

a trip to Tesco's

Maxima's brother Arietinum is visiting us. We needed to get some supplies, and got a bus out of the draughty old fen and ended up in one of Cambridgeshire's larger Tesco's. I filled him in about the ongoing saga unfolding in Cantabrigia's Mill Road, whereby a Tesco's store which had received basic planning permission was receiving a level of opposition unprecedented in Cambridge because it was...Tesco's.

After the planning meeting before last, when permission for air condithe no mill road tesco campaigntioning and refrigeration plant was refused, but the planning permission remained, the No Mill Road Tesco campaign threw a wobbly of epic proportions and sent in the squatters, who proclaimed that the shop area was now the Mill Road Social Centre. It ran events such as comedy nights, women's rollerskating sessions and tango classes; there was also talk of martial arts classes at one point, in order to prepare for "aggro when the police come", but that notice was soon removed. Anyway, the police raided it again yesterday, evicting five or six squatters. I imagine it'll soon become a cause célèbre after the fashion of the storming of the Bastille. I hope Tesco's moves in soon, if nothing else it might make the Co-op put its prices down a bit.

Arietinum brought over a bag of herbs and complained that he knew a shop in London where he could get six times the amount for a lower price. I invited him to take another bus journey into Mill Road to one of the shops that are supposedly endangered by Tesco's (like the Chinese/Korean/Malaysian/Afro-Carribean deli's and the head and wig shops, I suppose). He demurred. I asked him why he hadn't brought supplies up from the shop he mentioned if it was so great. He replied he'd first been attracted to it because it sold feta cheese in basins of salted water, then fell out of love when he saw the shop-owner filling up one of the basins with the contents of tins.
furred and feathered friends
We had a brief verbal tussle over the eggs, as Arietinum had once had nightmares after visiting a battery-farm. Personally, I'd debeak the buggers myself to make our budget stretch further, and give me time to concentrate on sink estates, knife crime and corrupt governments. (Professor Calculus, no animal welfare activist, disagrees: he says that if you can tolerate battery farms then you can tolerate anything.) But Arietinum won, and somewhere a hen is enjoying a better lifestyle than many British people.

And so we caught the bus back to the draughty old fen. I hope that by Arietinum's next visit Tesco's will have a store in Mill Road, so that Arietinum can buy herbs, lentils and overpriced eggs to his heart's content, and I can buy mince, tatties, the
papers, milk and a bottle of wine in the same store for a reasonable price. If Tesco's is busy, I'll go to the Co-op - that's how choice works in a free society. And everything on the one bus journey. click to read John Redwood's 'In Praise of Tesco'


  1. huh? the no mill road tesco people had nothing to do with the squatters lot at all.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Thomas.

    The squatters may not have been part of the no mill road tesco campaign officially, but there were certainly links - for example, the window of the shop was used to advertise the campaign.


Please feel free to leave a comment - Frugal Dougal.