Silent running…


Ola… or should that be Hola?

I’ve been sorting a few things out over the last couple of weeks or so since my last post, have visited one or two places that I’ve never been before and I’ve been trying to do some shopping.

Food is always the easiest one to sort out, even at this time of the year, especially when supermarkets are kicking out discount vouchers left, right and centre.

Not that I’m complaining, but the thirty odd pounds worth of coupons from Tesco and Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s have ensured that we’ve stocked up on coffee, food and drink before the seasonal madhouse usually found in UK supermarkets at this time of year.

Our baskets and trollies have been empty compared to some we’ve seen, even though supermarkets and other shops are typically closed for one day over the next fortnight or so.

Our last minute shopping run is probably going to be confined to milk, bread and any bits and pieces we’ve forgotten about rather than a humungous pile of stuff that would probably pile on the pounds (or kilos depending on your location) and increase the waistline.

The supermarket loyalty cards aren’t the only ones kicking out vouchers or offers. The M&S one ensured that I got two plain black cotton t-shirts priced at £6.00 each for a till total of just £4.60 thanks to a 20% off t-shirts promo offer and a simultaneous £5.00 Just For You code being added onto my card when I checked it on the in-store terminal.

Shopping for stuff that’s been around for a while has also paid dividends – £5 for the first series of the Kevin Spacey take on House Of Cards was one offer that was taken up, as was that for a long sleeved Rohan Stratum polo shirt that’s just been ordered (£47 reduced to 37.50 with the added benefits of free delivery) and a rare decision to buy some Merrell shoes from John Lewis as a) there was a 20% off promo on the go b) free delivery and c) the added benefit of having a £5 gift card that was sent to me by the John Lewis loyalty card people earlier in the week…

Playing ones loyalty cards right hasn’t been the only way that we’ve saved money recently.

My folding bike needed some new tyres, and Caroline needed a new spare for her bike too. As neither were needed immediately, I tried to get them three weeks ago at a bike shop in a nearby city. And failed, largely because the assistant got a bit arsey with me…

The same company got the sale for that Panaracer Gravel Kingfor Caroline’s bike, two Schwalbe Marathons plus three Schwalbe inner for my folder , but over the Internet rather than in their local branch.

Savings? £2 on the Panaracer and £6 each on the Schwalbe Marathons compared to prices in other retailers…

Fortunately it’s been a different story in other bike shops recently where the staff were only too happy to help out, even though we were only in search of socks, energy bars and new skid lids.


Caroline at Tan Hill Inn, North Yorkshire, May 2016.

Step forward then Sowerby Brothers in Mirfield and the Leeds branches of Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative and Evans Cycles.

Caroline had had a spot of work done on her bike at Sowerby Brothers a few weeks ago whilst out on a club ride, so she headed there to sort out a bike service last Thursday whilst I stocked up on Clif Bars.

Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative have been a pleasure to do business with for years now, as have Evans Cycles.

A set of lights plus a fluorescent Specialized helmet was bought by myself a few weeks ago (Caroline renewed her lid there too) and when Caroline needed some warm merino wool based cycling socks a fortnight ago, these came courtesy of Evans Cycles, as did an extra front light for the folder.

So, will the money we’ve saved be used to buy coffee, beer and tapas in Andalucia next year?

You might think that, but I couldn’t possible comment…

About Keith Rickaby

I’m a writer and photographer who has worked in the tailoring trade and the outdoor/travel clothing, equipment and footwear game. Past lives include working as an outdoor instructor, managing three bands and doing PR work through an agency or my own contacts. Was a student in the mid-90s and whilst I'm originally from the North East, I'm now based in Yorkshire & back out there working for a travel and outdoor activity based retailer.
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