Whenever you want to moan about the state of British retailing, then go visit a branch of Lakeland. Of course, I am old enough to remember when they were Lakeland Plastics, but they are about so much more these days. But one thing that remains is the terribly nice, mainly ladies, who work there.
I went in there today, in the pouring rain, to find a very nice lady handing out plastic bags for umbrellas. Lovely.
I then found more things for making jams and preserving things than I thought existed. I restrained myself from buying the Tefal Electric Jam Maker, although I understand it takes the stress out of jam making. Or, in my case, remembering to stir it regularly so not to burn the sugar on the bottom.
I did finally buy an easy-fill jam funnel to make entry into jars much easier, not to mention less messy. I resisted all the twee jam covers though. Which is possibly why my jam is always passed over at the Horticultural Show, due to it being in a recycled pickled onions jar.
I remember the time I had bought a jelly straining kit from them, only to find it had, in error, no straining bag. And I had a pan full of boiling elderberries on the stove waiting to be strained. The lady on the helpline was very helpful, and laughed with me as I considered what I was going to strain with whilst awaiting the replacement she was sending me (M&S 15 denier as it happens).
So if you ever find yourself in need of an extra bit of kitchen kit, some unusual foodstuffs or just generally stuff you’d never thought about, then Lakeland is the place. It’s also one of the best sources of gifts for foodies that I know of. Not posh, but definitely useful! And such lovely people!