Online shopping is great. You can surf for bargains, compare prices, check reviews on electrical items to discover which is best, then buy whatever it is you want at the click of a button and wait for it to arrive at your front door.

I’ve bought loads of stuff this way and it is simple, easy and relatively safe if you use trusted companies and Paypal.

The only trouble comes with the delivery.

Have you had to stay in for 13 hours waiting for a white van man to turn up?

That’s what I was told when I bought a pair of super dooper training shoes for my fitness regime. I opted to pay extra for next day delivery and was then told the man in the van could arrive at any time between 8am and 9pm.

Which is a bit tying, even if, like me, you work from home. What if you want to go to the shop for a newspaper or a loaf of bread? What if you want to take a walk?

Sorry. You have to stay in and wait.

How do people who work full time manage with online shopping? Easier, I would have thought, to wait until Saturday and go into town and do it the old fashioned way.

And yet the internet is the way forward, we are told. Supermarkets, fashion chains and hardware stores all have websites and offer home delivery.

A report from the Centre for Retail Research predicts the growth of online shopping could lead to the closure of one in five high street stores by 2018, which will mean 316,000 job losses.

Well I have an idea about how to alleviate those retail redundancies.

The former shop workers could be re-employed as house sitters to wait in for 13 hours until your training shoes are delivered.


These days, if you Google “set pot” on the internet you will be offered sets of pots at bargain prices. Dig deeper and you could find offers of marijuana.

But in times gone by, the set pot was the great essential of any Victorian kitchen and houses with a cast iron fire and cooking range.

Local historian George Redmonds of Lepton researched the term for the Yorkshire Glossary that he is compiling and discovered it has been used in the north since the 18th century.

A set pot was a large iron or copper pot which stood above a fire grate and was used for boiling water, washing clothes, brewing and even cooking on special occasions such as Christmas.

George writes: “In 1976, Miss Annie Walker of Slaithwaite reminisced about the traditional rent dinners provided for tenants on the Dartmouth estate.”

“Mutton, tongues, beef, veal and bacon all cooked together in the set-pot.” The dinners were held in local public houses. “In the evening, whatever was left over was put in the set-pot with dumplings and ‘the company’ had it.”

Which must have been grand as long as you were not a fussy eater.

George recalls that the set-pot was still remembered in the 1960s when he was living in Linthwaite.

“A neighbour who had a hangover said to me he had ‘a yed lahke two set-pots’ – not just one!”

Words, phrases and traditions inevitably die out over time, which can be a shame. I was looking at other terms which are no longer in widespread use. Do you remember these: bazzerking (relaxing), black bright (very dirty), chuddy (chewing gum), kay-lie (sherbert), scran (food) and spogs (sweets).

I haven’t heard flower used as a term of endearment since Charlie Williams, and one delightful and emotive word is dowly: a dull, gloomy or misty day.

One term everyone probably knows is chip ‘ole. I remember many decades ago when a relative, attempting to be posh, said: “I’m just going to the chip hole. Do you want anything?”
 

I'm thinking of turning our kitchen into a health spa.

This is after reading that an alternative therapy spa in the Midlands is charging £50 a time for a snail facial.

This is available to men and women who lay back while three snails are placed on their face. An attendant stays close by to make sure the creatures do not go too close to eyes, mouth or nose. The procedure lasts for 20 minutes during which time they leave behind a trail of mucus which is said to contain beneficial proteins and anti-oxidants.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

The snail facial comes from Tokyo where it is marketed as a Celebrity Escargot Course and costs £161. Which is money for old snails.

Just think if someone combined this with a restaurant.

The French think snails are delightful and you could provide the beauty treatment then cook the creatures that gave it and the recipient could have her facial and eat it.

Which is where my kitchen comes in.

Of late, it has been plagued by slugs that come out at night for a nocturnal wander. Now I know a slug doesn’t sound quite as appetising as a snail which carries its home upon its back but they are both gastropods and leave the same slimy trail. A slug is, in fact, merely a snail with a housing problem because it doesn’t have one.

And River Cottage chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who seems able to eat anything, even has a recipe for snails in tomato sauce.

So if any adventurous lady fancies a snail facial, she is welcome to lay down on my kitchen floor one night and let the happy little gastropods do their thing before I pick them off and cook them for breakfast.

Facial followed by bacon, egg and snail for a fiver. Can’t say fairer than that.