Long before the coronavirus set off an initial round of panic buying, our house was already well-stocked with those things that we use on a daily basis. We both arrived from the US with a hurricane mentality that ensured a ready supply of consumables to last through an unknown amount of time without electricity or water. In Atlanta we had a car so it was easy enough to visit a giant warehouse store, fill the trunk with cases of whatever we needed, and drive that home. Here we’re on foot, bicycle, or city bus so we buy smaller amounts more often. A variety of shops, including a grocery store, are steps away from the house so even during lockdown when we couldn’t venture more than a kilometer (about half a mile) from home it wasn’t a hardship for us. Ironically an out-of-stock situation last year of a vital household product at our local grocery store prompted us to take action back then.
If you look closely in the photo above you can probably tell that one of the items there, famously hoarded, is toilet paper, yet that was never our intention. We liked a particular brand that we could no longer find locally so Bill was able to locate something similar online that was available by subscription but you had to buy a minimum of 48 rolls at a time with a maximum interval of 6 months between shipments. And voilà, as we hear daily, suddenly we’re set for the year.
What else might we need in a crisis? Coffee! The British are understandably known for their tea and we think that equal accolades should go to the French for their coffee. We used to take kilograms of the beans home with us from annual vacations here yet it just never tasted quite the same once we got it back to the States. Now, every cup is exactly as we remember.
Although the city gave every resident a cloth mask, Bill sewed several more for back up. Then when paper masks became available for non-medical personnel, we bought a box of those as well for travel. To ride the trains you must don a mask as you enter your departure station and leave it in place until you exit your destination station. This way we can drop it in a trash can on the way out with no concern of sterilizing it once we get to our vacation accommodations.
There’s a wine store at the end of our street and numerous other shops in the neighborhood that sell wine, so finding white, rosé, or red is never a problem. Even from the bakery you can take home a bottle with your baguette. When friends Sally and Larry offer a winery road trip in their car, however, we can’t resist. That explains all of the sparkling wine you see above. In addition to free transport right to our front door, we can sometimes find wines that aren’t available anywhere but at the source.
Although I mentioned “hurricane mentality” we think that “party mentality” might be more appropriate in our case. In Georgia our house had room for a home cinema plus a British pub and shelves full of food and drink to take care of lots of guests. Now we live much more modestly but haven’t lost the desire to entertain. We’re ready with the TP, coffee, and sparkling wine, cheers!