The people of St Kilda went to extraordinary lengths to forage for food and I thought of them on Wednesday when I made a 30-mile round trip in search of Coffeemate.
It’s not that I can’t find Coffeemate, I can, but it’s gone up 130% in price and is now on a shelf in the Co-op surrounded by security guards and reinforced glass.
I did manage to get a selfie in front of this valuable item before being pushed out of the way by the crowds of tourists who had queued to stand in awe of it and marvel at the price tag.
Climber wants to try sea stack again
Since the cost-of-living crisis started in late 2021, I reckon I’ve forked out so much for Coffeemate – and petrol in search of it – I could have bought myself a Starbucks franchise.
I mention St Kilda because a climber who recently scaled The Thumb sea stack now says he wants to go back and give it another shot, this time completely unaided.
Islanders used to make the climb barefoot, using ropes made from horse hair in case they fell into the water.
In September Robbie Phillips from Edinburgh was among a team who took on the 230ft Stac Biorach to become the first people to reach the top since 1890.
I would say some folk just like to make things difficult for themselves, but I’m the one who refuses to have milk in my coffee so who am I to scoff?
Hopefully, this Coffeemate shambles may be about to ease because the Co-op’s perceived monopoly in Stonehaven has taken a hit.
Tesco is to take over one of its four sites in the town, which should foster healthy competition and be good for everyone, even the independent stores, as it’s another reason for shoppers to stay local.
There was also good news for the struggling Bon Accord shopping centre in Aberdeen which is seeing increased footfall after the NHS took over an empty unit as a vaccination centre.
The centre has had its lease extended and will now also be called the Aberdeen City Vaccination and Wellbeing Hub to reflect the range of services it offers.
It’s estimated that up 700 people attend appointments there every day, bringing them into the hub and the wider city centre.
Vaccination centre reviving Bon Accord Centre
With the Covid Inquiry on constant loop in the background this week, I thought about how much has changed as a result of the pandemic.
If a vaccination centre can somehow help revive the fortunes of a shopping centre that lost so much during lockdown, what a strange but welcome turn of events that would be.
Even Santa Claus has been tempted into Aberdeen and has taken time out of his busy schedule to make an advert encouraging shoppers to take the bus into the city centre.
Santa goes Doric
Despite his North Pole roots, he adopted some local dialect for the commercials, explaining that the weather will be “affa caul’ in Aiberdeen” and hinted that he’ll be taking public transport instead of his sleigh.
I thought this was quite a departure for Santa, who as we know is a stickler for tradition (and has always sounded sort of German whenever I’ve met him in a grotto) but apparently the bus gates are such a success he’s changed his routine.
The adverts have been likened to the much-loved John Lewis Christmas adverts, which is ironic seeing as there now is no John Lewis in Aberdeen for shoppers to visit, by bus or otherwise.
It also emerged that Netflix series The Crown sparked fresh interest in flying into the Granite City after viewers were attracted by scenes of Balmoral and Royal Deeside.
Searches for flights to north-east soar
As the final series airs, price comparison website Skyscanner revealed it saw a 53% increase in searches for flights to Aberdeen after viewers watched the characters at their Scottish country retreat.
It is true that this series shows off our spectacular landscape to full effect and serves as a reminder that we’re lucky to live in such a beautiful country.
You really don’t have to travel far before you’re surrounded by outstanding natural beauty – even if that is during a 30-mile Coffeemate run.