The Anonymous Widower

The UK’s Unhealthiest High Streets And Gluten Free Food

In this report on the BBC, they published a list of the healthiest and unhealthiest High Streets. This is the unhealthiest list.

1. Preston

2. Middlesbrough

3. Coventry

4. Blackpool

5. Northampton

6. Wolverhampton

7. Grimsby

8. Huddersfield

9. Stoke-on-Trent

10. Eastbourne

Of these I have only ever been looking for gluten-free food in the first four and Wolverhampton.

In the first four, I drew a blank even in Marks and Spencer on getting anything tasty, except for a gluten-free quiche in Middlesbrough. Although, I did get a gluten-free pizza in Pizza Express in Preston and a Polish gluten-free pastie using a cabbage leaf in Wolverhampton.

What makes things worse in these places, is that none has a Marks and Spencer Simply Food at the station. Preston is so bad at the station, that when I got stuck there once after football in Blackpool, I went home via Piccadilly, so that I could have supper in the Carluccio’s there.

It would be interesting to see how many coeliacs have been diagnosed in these towns.

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Food, Health, Travel | | 2 Comments

A Dreadful, But Totally Avoidable Train Journey

As a coeliac who avoids gluten and also because I’ve had a stroke and am on Warfarin, I have to be very careful about my diet. For this reason I plan my pit-stops well when I travel by train. If I do change trains, I usually arrange this at a station like Birmingham New Street, Cambridge or Leeds, where I know there is a good M & S Simply Food or a selection of restaurants that I trust.

The last couple of days, I have been in Scotland and on the way back I saw Ipswich Town play at Middlesbrough.

As Middlesbrough is a particularly difficult town for suitable food, I decided to come south as soon as possible after the lunchtime match. I did get lunch of sorts from the M & S in the town.

Quiche And Lemonade On A Bitterly Cold Day

Quiche And Lemonade On A Bitterly Cold Day

It was bitterly cold and I ate it in the gardens in from of the Crown Court. But hey, two of my family’s bloodlines are Jewish and Huguenot and I reckon at times, they’d have found my simple lunch a veritable feast.

A couple of weeks before, I’d tried to book a First Class ticket from Middlesbrough to Kings Cross, but found the prices rather stratospheric, so in the end I bought a reasonably priced First Class ticket from Middlesbrough to Peterborough changing at York, from where I could get a Great Northern train into London.

I had assumed that the difficult availability of tickets was because of the England-Scotland match at Twickenham and at no time did the on-line booking process on East Coast inform me of the real reason for a ticket shortage.

It was only, when I caught the Virgin Trains East Coast train at York, did the staff inform me of the reason. The East Coast Main Line was subject to engineering work and we’d be using a diversion.

Unlike some other companies, East Coast’s gluten-free offering is non-existent, so I was getting hungrier by the hour, as we were shown the delights of the GNGE in the dark.

As the train  was going on to Kings Cross and there were plenty of empty seats, I asked the conductor if I could buy a ticket to complete the journey on the train, rather than decamping at Peterborough to purchase a ticket for another train.

Astronomic prices were mentioned, which bore no relation to the twenty pounds or so, my phone said I would need to spend on-line for a Standard Class ticket. So I got off and bought a ticket in the Booking Office for around ten pounds for Great Northern. Incidentally, the Off-Park Single with a Railcard for East Coast is £14.75. So where did a price of three times that come from?

I finally arrived in London six hours after I left Middlesbrough. To cap it all, the only gluten-free food left in M & S at Kings Cross was one packet of sandwiches.

I could say the sandwiches were stale to add colour to this tale! But they were excellent!

If the works on the line had been flagged up when I tried to book the ticket, I would have only used East Coast as a last resort. After all, I could have gone via Sheffield or Manchester, where I can at least get something to eat. The Booking Office clerk at Peterborough had told me that they have to tell personal callers that there are problems! So why not on the web?

The conductor on the train, said it was all my fault, as I should have gone to Kings Cross, to read all the information about engineering works. Doesn’t that remove one of the advantages of booking on-line?

If you say you want to collect a ticket from a station that is not the  starting point of your journey, the train purchase web sites ask you if this is what you want to do. Surely, a warning if there are works or likely delays on your route could be similarly indicated.

The real losers in this tale are Virgin Trains East Coast, as they had an empty seat between Peterborough and Kings Cross, for which I would probably have paid a reasonable amount. Next time I go to York or Doncaster where there is an alternative, I will also probably use it.

March 14, 2015 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

A Fully-Reliveried Virgin East Coast Train

This train was waiting at Leeds.

I hope that the gluten-free offering gets better than East Coast’s non-existent one!

March 5, 2015 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Lunch On A Clothes Line

I had a nice gluten-free salad for lunch at a restaurant called La Corde a Linge

The salad was called le corset, as a lot of the dishes were named after clothes as the restaurant had once been a laundry.

They knew their gluten-free and also sold a decent cider.

It was also delicious and good value.

February 19, 2015 Posted by | Food | , , | 1 Comment

Frankfurt At Night

I went and had a look at Frankfurt by night.

I ate supper at Fisch Franke and it was an excellent gluten-free fish and chips.

The only problem I had was that it was bitterly cold and getting back to my hotel I got lost and a ten minute walk took thirty minutes. Frankfurt is not too well served by maps.

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Food, World | , , | Leave a comment

Serial Cooking – A Simple Kedgeree

This simple kedgeree comes from Lindsey Bareham in The Times.

It was one of the best meals that I’ve cooked serially.

I only ate half and will pack the rest for my trip to Rotherham on Saturday.

February 3, 2015 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

Three Parent Babies

MPs are set to debate the ethics of so-called three parent babies today.

I was reasonably lucky with my three children and there won’t be any more, as I’m had the snip.

But I’m certain, that C, would have been distraught, if she’d produced a string of handicapped babies. I certainly would have been and any technique that stopped problems is to be welcomed.

So let’s hope narrow-minded religious minorities don’t stop the adoption of this technique.

It is interesting to read this article in the Telegraph, which gives the view of Lord Winston, who is an Orthodox Jew

On a related point, I have a genetic disease, but sadly I only found out about my coeliac disease, when I was fifty. If I’d known earlier, it might have meant that my son, who died from cancer, had been found to carry the disease, so perhaps he would have led a better lifestyle.

If it had been known to earlier generations of my father’s family, I suspect that the family wouldn’t contain the large number of childless females and those who have suffered from serious cancer that it does.


February 3, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Going Gluten-Free In Malta

I  know it’s a holiday area, but I had no problems being gluten-free in Malta.

Everybody seemed to be pretty clued-up and I even had very good gluten-free rolls for breakfast in the hotel.

January 28, 2015 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment

Lunch At Rye

I stopped off at Rye for lunch at the Mermaid Inn, which was a gentle walk up the hill from the railway station.

I had a simple but excellent lunch of grilled plaice, new potatoes and some freshly-cooked broccoli, washed down with half of real cider.

It really isn’t difficult to create a simple gluten-free meal, as the Mermaid showed. In some ways, it’s ironic to get a good gluten-free meal in a town with the name of Rye!

It was just what I needed on a bitterly cold day.

My only problem with Rye was that there weren’t any maps at the station and if it hadn’t been for the map I printed off the Mermaid’s website, it would have been difficult to find.

I shall go back in the sun and explore Rye. I’ll certainly find the Tourist Information and give them a piece of my mind on the lack of information.

January 21, 2015 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Searching For Food In Paris

I know quite a few good places to eat in Paris, but partly because it was Tuesday and my favourite creperie was closed for January, I ended up not finding anywhere to eat.

Searching the Internet I found this bakery and restaurant called NoGlu. But you’ve guessed it! It was closed, but I was able to take pictures.

Next time I go, I’ll give it a try. It’s certainly got good rcviews on Trip Advisor.

In the end I had a very nice steak and chips at a cafe near the Gare du Nord, called Paris Nord Cafe. They weren’t specifically gluten-free, but they knew how to make sure my meal was safe.

January 13, 2015 Posted by | Food | , | Leave a comment


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