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January 2010

Tesco, the sleepwear-free supermarket

No pajamas in Tesco
ABOVE: Show up at Tesco in your PJs, and you may find yourself flying out the door.

If you feel the urge to shop for a midnight snack in Cardiff, Wales, don't reach for your bathrobe. Instead, do the decent thing and get dressed--at least if you plan to shop at the Tesco supermarket in Cardiff where a sign now reads:

"To avoid causing embarrassment to others we ask that our customers are appropriately dressed when visiting our store (footwear must be worn at all times and no nightwear is permitted)."

According to British news sources quoted in a Huffington Post story, Tesco has declared war on shoppers who show up in pajamas, nighties, and dressing gowns--regardless of whether they're somnambulists in search of cigarettes or hurried, harried mums who stop in for groceries after dropping the kids off at school.

Could Tesco's puritanism represent an opportunity for Sainsbury's? And why are Tesco's management so uptight? Maybe they realize that some people go to bed in the buff, and they're afraid that nocturnal naturists might up the ante by sleepwalking au naturel in the organic-food aisles?

Photo: Craftvision.

From the Wayfarers: A Jane Austen walking vacation

Hiking in Hampshire, England
ABOVE: Footloose Jane Austen fans will feel at home in Hampshire. INSET BELOW: Oakley Hall, which may have been the inspiration for Mansfield Park.

Tours with Jane Austen themes aren't new, but the Wayfarers--a 27-year-old American company that specializes in walking trips--has come up with an interesting twist on the Austenian theme: a six-day "Jane Austen Country" walk through Hampshire's village lanes and footpaths, exploring the region that was portrayed in many of Ms. Austen's books.

A spokesperson for the Wayfarers writes: 

Oakley Hall Hotel "Among the stopping points are Steventon, home to Jane's father's rectory; the village of Chawton, where the author moved at age 33 and the site of today's Jane Austen Museum; and Oakley Hall, the 18th Century manor house hotel that is considered to be the inspiration for Mansfield Park.

"After strolling along paths and passing classic cottages familiar to Jane Austen, walkers arrive at the ancient Winchester Cathedral, Jane's final resting place. Other highlights include a song recital and a pre-dinner discussion led by a Jane Austen expert."

The six-day, five-night trip costs US $3,595 per person, double occupancy, with a single-room supplement of $420. The price includes hotels, meals, trail snacks, wine with dinner, entrance fees, van transport for baggage (or walkers in need of rest), taxes, tips, and more. The "challenge level" is described as easy, with a pace of six to 10 miles per day

The tour will be offered on three summer departure dates: June 27, July 25, and August 29. For more information, visit the "Jane Austen Country" page at

Photos: (top) Hampshire County Council, (inset) Oakley Hall Hotel.

Bordeaux Wine Experience attracts oenophiles

Bordeaux Wine Experience 

ABOVE: Spend a "wine weekend" in a private cottage next to a French chateau. INSET: Ronald and Margeret Rens, owners of the Bordeaux Wine Experience.

Ronald and Margaret RensWe haven't yet sampled any of the wine and culinary tours from the Bordeaux Wine Experience, but they do sound tempting. Proprietors Ronald and Margaret Rens offer  week-long "grand tours," day tours, and even helicopter tours for well-heeled oenophiles who enjoy viewing vineyards from above. Winelovers who'd rather stay put (and perhaps enjoy a bit of romance with their Bordeaux) can book "wine weekends" in gĂ®tes or cottages on the grounds of a chateau just outside the city. 

Two of this year's week-long tours were already sold out when we wrote this post, but the two remaining tours still had spots--and one, the Bordeaux Fall Harvest Tour, sounded especially intriguing.

For more information on the Bordeaux Wine Experience, visit