What makes other people’s groceries so engrossing?

When you think of a collector you might imagine, say, Sir John Soane, Henry Wellcome, Charles Saatchi or Peggy Guggenheim, the fabulously wealthy, amassing their statuary, paintings and penis gourds in order to furnish their Xanadu palaces or display their good taste and fortune for the benefit of the nation. But there are other kinds of collectors: normal people. Most of us at some point have had a little collection on the go – stamps, pebbles, gonks, succulents, Pokémon cards. I remember at school there was always great competition for Panini football stickers: everyone seemed forever to be in search of the elusive Kenny Dalglish. Of course there will always

In defence of Waitrose

I recently had a call with my accountant, a miniskirt-wearing, swashbuckling bon vivant and wine connoisseur. To soothe myself before we rang off – tax is always depressing – I brought up Waitrose, saying by way of apology for my erratic finances that most of my money went in the supermarket, a large branch of which is between my nearest Tube station and my flat. She hemmed knowingly down the phone. We both agreed it was a good use of funds. Life’s short – or might be. If one can, surely one ought to eat what one wants? And if that means a pair of smoked salmon, pea and lovage

Rewilding will kill Waitrose

‘Do you care about the woodland? Do you care about the wildlife?’ shouted the bearded Woodland Trust volunteer from his table of tree-hugging paraphernalia set up outside Waitrose. He had pitched his camp – a trestle table covered in leaflets and bedecked with pictures of foxes and badgers – so close to the supermarket entrance on Cobham High Street that it was impossible for customers to get through the doors without running the gauntlet of his leaflets. No doubt these leaflets explained that the Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the United Kingdom and is concerned with the creation, protection and restoration of our native woodland heritage.