(Eels) To eat or be eaten, that is the question!

If you were to wander along the High Street in Walthamstow you’d see the latest building to have been awarded Grade II status by Heritage England. It is the “L. Manze Eel, Pie & Mash Shop” and has been perfectly preserved. Stepping through the doors will transport the visitor back to the style of the 1920’s when the shop first opened, serving the same type of fare of the day too. A selection of pies, mash and gravy. Also eels.

Image: Michal Zacharzewski

Image: Michal Zacharzewski

Happily for current owner, Mrs Cooper, she’s not likely to have some bloke in a white coat carrying a clipboard arrive and tell her to repaint with fire-retardant paint in the interests of “health-and-safety,” because all the walls are tiled from floor to ceiling in keeping with the décor of the day. The shop looks like it is worth a visit and is proving to be popular with tourists. But any tourist who hopes to go there to get “the eel treatment” while they eat their pies, is going to be disappointed. And even though eels are on the menu, they are for consumption.

The “eel treatment” is the latest beauty trend imported from China. Interested folk sit around with their feet in buckets while the eels nibble away at their skin. This treatment is designed to exfoliate and leave the skin lovely and smooth. Apparently there are health concerns over this treatment as well as questions being raised about the qualifications of those who administer the treatments. It seems that one needs to have a “level-two pedicure” national occupational standard in order to put someone’s feet in a bucket. It would also be a stocktakers nightmare trying to distinguish the edible eels from the working ones on a spreadsheet.

The challenges of any stocktaker never cease to amaze – Jon Rutter and his team of professionals need to look at every angle in helping their customers operate efficiently and stay in profit but at the same time give the paying public the value for money they deserve and look out for. With this in mind, one wonders how supermarkets are going to follow the politician’s suggestion to give their staff a pay riseto help them deal with the cost of living” when their margins are so tight? This could develop into a vicious circle of increasing expenses (salaries) which leads to increasing the price of product the consumers have to pay which leads to the consumers able to afford less so they need an increase in order to “deal with the cost of living” etc etc. In the end, someone has to pay or something’s got to give – cutting the coat according to the size of the cloth. A concept professional stocktakers work with all the time.

This could be the reason there has been a recent boom on folk seeking and using allotments. People have been viewing their respective “cloths” and deciding that the principle followed by Tom and Barbara in The Goodlife might work for them. Many have also put some fun into their hard work by entering some of their produce into competitions and exhibitions. Whether one wins or loses, the main prize is being able to consume what was entered.

Perhaps there’s a modern day Goodlife-style reality show on the cards? – “I have an allotment, get me out of the supermarket!