There have been a lot of updates to the website and the shopping site over the past couple of weeks, and this is the first chance I've had to note them.

I have deleted the Ecover range from the online shop - in the past 18 months we have not sold a single item from the range through the online shop. In its place I have expanded the spirits range with some interesting products such as the Pusser's 15 year old.

This close to Christmas our stocks are changing by the minute - basically if you want draught beer we will do our best to help but the range is going to be limited. We have a small amount of draught cider in stock and plenty of bottles. Beers are OK - the range is mainly local but we do have rarities such as Samiclaus on the shelf, and a few Thomas Hardy's left.

If I don't post again, I hope you have a great Christmas and please check back in the New Year when I hope to have a new online shop in due course and hopefully some good news about a more physical shop...more on that later!

Cheers! :-)


A new initiative - whenever we re-paint the blackboard outside the shop (about once a month) we will photograph it and post the image to our new, special, blackboard blog.

Click this link to see the boards so far.


I have updated the homepage with a link to the lantern parade, placed our Christmas and New Year opening hours on the About us page and updated the product A-Z.

We have just taken delivery of some more Ashgrove cider from Marden in Herefordshire - very nice indeed. We have also received a selection of beers from Das Beerman, who specialise in German brews. They are now on sale.

Shopping site

I have changed the way customers who order from our website will pay for delivery.

In the past we have used a complicated systems of weighing the items, then using different prices for different shipping weights. All well and good in principle, but a pain to explain to people and complicated to administer.

Instead we are implementing a flat rate delivery charge of £7.50 per order, whatever the size or weight. There are two key exceptions: 1) A new product in the form of some really nice Ugandan vanilla pods which will carry a flat fee of £1.00 per pack, and 2) If you order over £100.00 from the shopping site carriage will be free.

This is an experiment for the next few months but talking to other businesses who do things this way it seems to be a better option. Time will tell.
I have updated the product a-z this morning, sitting in my un-heated office with a kitten trying to "help" on the keyboard. The things I do! I have also worked on the links page, about us, pages of interest and the home page.

Tonight we are doing our first ever bar for Coombe Bissett village hall, and on Monday night I am selling mulled wine in the Market Square for a dance event.


Now here's an idea I like - being paid to surf t'internet. It seems pretty obvious - there are vast sums floating around in profit for companies like Google, so why not share a bit with the end user. Maybe that it all a bit utopian, but there is a company promising to do just that and I have signed up.

The best bit is if you sign up as well, by clicking the link below, you can start earning and I get my first referral fee.

So, get clicking, and get paid to do what you are already doing.

Art Trail photo gallery and more

Since the Salisbury City Art Trail has now finished I have created a couple of gallery pages to record the artwork displayed in the shop for posterity. It was a pleasure to exhibit the works of such talented local artists, and a good number of people visited the shop to see the pieces.

The product A-Z has been updated, as has Draught Cider.

I have also updated the home page with a link to this blog.

Weekend in Town, new page on website

Its amazing what a night away in London can do for your spirits, although I was also in London last weekend after spending a day in Ghent. Yes, I thought I was mad as well, but isn't it nice that we are close enough to the continent that going out and back to Belgium in a day is feasible, although very tiring.

So last night I went to see the magical Alabama 3, at the London Astoria. Unfortunately the venue is due to be pulled down and although it is rather grotty inside it does have character and a very bassey sound system. The Alabama 3 were in fine form, all 13 of them at one point, playing a selection of tracks from at least 3 of their last four albums. A good night and nice to see them again at the Astoria. I think I must have seen them live at least 10 times now.

I have come back today and given the website a bit of a tidy - the homepage has been updated with the events we will be attending in the next 2-3 months and I have created a whole new page that explains some of our environmental initiatives. It is very fashionable for large companies to announce they are spending £xxx million on being green - I've always thought the best idea was to save the planet but also some money at the same time.

Therefore I am proud to announce that Abbey Stores is spending £0.00 on becoming green, but I think if you visit the new page you will see we are already doing quite a lot without spending extra. As always suggestions and comments are gratefully received.

Salisbury Food Festival

As September 23rd draws closer I am trying to keep the homepage up to date with the latest offerings for the beer, cider and wine tent. I am pleased to announce that the new Keystone Porter will enjoy its first outing at the Food Festival, and Alasdair the brewer will be on hand for part of the day to take comments from drinkers.

We will also be selling a couple of new ciders from the Newbury area, that have not been seen in Salisbury before.

I have updated the product a-z today as well.

See you at the Food Fair.

Pink Panther Pelham Puppet

Sorry, puppet has now been sold for £110.

I am auctioning a Pelham Puppet - Pink Panther. This is the SL30 model and is quite a rare one.

The listing finishes on 19 September and can be found here:

Website updates

I have now finished a two-day marathon of website updates, that has seen me make minor and not so minor changes to nearly every page on the site. I have also increased the linking between pages, posted a new testimonial, embedded a google map and clarified some of the text. Any comments? Please let me know!

Salisbury Scrutineer

For followers of Salisbury life, and interesting places to eat, drink, and live, I am pleased to announce that the Salisbury Scrutineer is back up and running, with two posts today from the latest guest!

Set up by my good friends Tom and Tehm it is well worth a look. We hope to add more guest autors in the coming months so if you have something to say about Salisbury feel free to email me for consideration.

Out and about dates for your diary

Well, it would be fair to say the Zil135 trip mentioned in my last post was not a resounding success: 1.5 hours sleep in 36, many miles driven and no truck collected because it had broken down. Buy me a pint sometime and I'll tell you all about it, or else have a look on in the gallery for pictures of the beast.

Back to the website: I have updated the front page with 3 dates for your diaries when we are out and about rather than being stuck in the shop. 2 of the dates have offers connected with them - basically email me your address with the key phrase (on the home page) and receive either a free pint or a discount against some food. Can't be bad.

There will hopefully be a new shopping site in the next couple of months: CSY who make our EPoS system are working on an extension to the software that allows e-commerce with the product database driven from the database we use everyday in the shop for over-the-counter sales. I have been asking for this for the last four years, so it is nice to now see the finished product nearly ready. The demonstration site is at if you are interested.

Hmmm, must update more often...

Anyway, the website has benefited from my attentions recently and therefore we now have a really good range or real ales available to order, an updated product a-z list, some cider changes and a small alteration to the online offering.

I'm off to France this weekend to collect a Zil 135 and bring it back to the War and Peace show at Beltring, so will hopefully have some photos to post after the trip.

Glastonbry lift offered

I am offering up to 3 seats to Glastonbury Festival on Wednesday 20th June, in the morning. I will be returning from the festival on Monday 25th June - time to be decided.

Please email me if you would like a seat. Plenty of luggage room (long wheel-base Land Rover) and we should be able to get on and off the site even if it is a quagmire! I will be travelling on the Blue Route to enter the festival near the Theatre area.

Email or contact me through the shop:

I've added more beers to the draught beer price list - we now have access to a really comprehensive range of local ales, both in bottles and in larger containers, eg 17, 35 or even 70 pint casks.

The updated page is here: Draught real ale.
Big update today:

New product a-z
Revamped real beers page - new layout and prices
Re jigged home page - a bit clearer up the top.
Anna has added new products to the Polish foods page

I have received my Glastonbury ticket! Less than 2 weeks to go!

Its Saturday night, I really should be down the pub...

but instead I am working, and suffering, because my blasted hayfever means I cannot leave the house without sneezing, nose running, eyes itching etc. So therefore, I am updating the website.

Thanks to Anna, her picture is in the gallery, we now have a page about our new Polish food range. The sausages, with a good dab of mustard and horseradish, are superb.

I have added the new Wilkins cider to the real cider pages - if you are in Somerset and want some real cider, none of your Magners crap, then check out Roger Wilkins. His details can be found on UK Cider and what a find!

I have had to take the real beer pages down until I can update the range and prices - I will probably make it look a bit prettier at the same time.

And I updated the product A-Z yesterday.

That's it for now, more next week.
Quick update to product A-Z, added bank holiday opening hours to home page and shop and updated prices in the shop (one went up, one went down).

Crazy drug deal of the week

This morning I popped round the corner to the ever helpful local pharmacy, to but some more hay fever tablets for myself. I used the One a Day Benadryl and I have to report that is normally does a good job. For this, for the last 3 summers that I have been using it, I have paid £4 ish for a week's supply. That is 57p per day. Not bad I thought for a day free of sneezing, itchy eyes, general unpleasantness.

While in the pharmacy I remembered seeing somewhere a suggestion that one should always ask for the generic brand of drugs, as you would save money by doing so. Yes, you could say that!

The generic brand, with the same ingredients and dose, and therefore effectiveness, is 62p per packet. Not a bad saving I thought, for 7, except that it is actually boxed in 30s. That is 0.02p per day.

The moral of the story is always ask for the generic brand. The packaging is not so glossy, and you won't find the brand name on the television, but you certainly save a wad of cash.
I have updated the product A-Z, updated the real cider pages and posted the job advert on the home page.

Job opportunity:

We are looking to employ an extra person over the Summer and possibly permanently to work in the shop, help with outside bars and events and deliver to customers. If you are interested in around 20 hours a week please do come in to the shop or contact us for more details.

After a month of not doing very much I have:

Added and removed the Bank Holiday hours from the front page.
Updated the product A-Z.
Fixed the Erol shopping software (thank you to Erol tech-support) and remade the links to the shopping site, and processed some online orders! It works!
Removed some old products from Erol but added thumbnails to the shopping home page showing the range we carry.
Minor text edits to the main home page.
Updated product A-Z, removed Easter hours from front page, Erol shopping software is broken AGAIN, so I have had to remove the shop from the site until it can be mended.

Easter opening hours

Just a quick update to post the Easter holiday opening hours on the front page. Also updated the product a-z.

Erol shopping cart software

We have been using Erol for our shopping site software for about 12 months now. I'm really not sure about the useability of the software - I have just spent about 2 hours trying to put a product listing on the front page and in the end settled for using the auto-generated sitemap instead. It works ok, although nothing seems to be intuitive as fr as managing the site goes.

I now want to be able to list more products - the version I am using the the Startup version and that restricts me in theory to just 25 products, although I have found in the past that if I try to list 24 the whole thing corrupts. I just don't know whether to invest more money in Erol, and upgrade what we have, or whether to write that off and start again with something more user friendly. My main concern is that if I find the site difficult to use, and I have received training, then what about an untrained potential customer? They are just going to find another shop.

Corky's Vodka shots

Due to popular demand I have added the Corky's Vodka Shots range to our online shop. Enter the shop using this link:

Abbey Stores online

and click on "Spirits" on the left hand side menu.

Please note that if you purchase any three bottles from the Corky's range online you will save 10% before shipping at checkout. Creme Egg vodka anyone???!?!?!?

The full range of flavours is as follows:


SAFED driver training

Myself and Penny have just returned from an excellent 1/2 day course at the local A1 Roadcraft centre in Salisbury, where we have been school in the art of advanced driving under the SAFED scheme.

The morning is spent driving a fixed route, having first brimmed the vehicle with fuel. Once driven the number of gear changes made and the amount of fuel used is recorded. The instructor then drives the same route, again noting the variables but also giving you best practise hints and guidance.

Lunchtime is spent doing a theory test and also learning some manoeuvring skills, then after lunch we went back out to re-drive the same route and demonstrate what we have learnt. Again the vehicle is filled to the brim before and after each drive.

The course really does teach one how to drive sensibly, anticipate the road ahead, save wear and tear on the vehicle, drive safely and ultimately save fuel. Over the 9 mile test route I was able to cut fuel consumption by 50% - not bad at all!

I really enjoyed the course and hopefully this will lead to better things - I really want to pass my Category C licence so that I can drive my friend's Russian truck.

A1 Roadcraft are at:

A1 Roadcraft Centre
Livestock Market
Netherhampton Road

More details about SAFED courses can be found online at:

My friend's Russian truck, a Ural 4320, can be seen here:
Right, very quickly, after our annual stock counting fun yesterday we are all knackered (10 hours on top of the usual 60+ hour week is a long day). I have:

Put the products in the right departments
Hidden a lot of non stocked items
Updated the product A-Z on the website.

I have also spent all morning filling in Temporary Event Notice forms to send to the local council and police for some events this summer. Why can I not do this online and save paper, postage and huge amounts of time? Perhaps someone from HM Government who has set up this licencing act fiasco of 2003 send me some answers.


Hmm, been a bit lax lately and haven't updated this page even though I've been doing work on the main site. Anyway:

Updated product A-Z - lots of new products now listed and lots of old junk taken out.
Updated Real cider page with new products.

Cider by Rosie, as featured in Metro last year, is back. The first delivery of the 2006 vintage, which contains apples from my parent's garden is now available in the shop on draught and to celebrate its arrival we are offering a deal - normally £1.85 per pint if you fill a 4 pint container it is only £7.00 saving 40p.

I am trying to persuade Rose to bottle some of the still, draught cider so that people who cannot immediately enjoy the cider can take some on with them. Later there should be some semi-sweet sparkling available again in bottles.

New page on website

I have created a new page on the website for Ecover products that are becoming increasinly popular amongst our customers, so much so that we now only stock Ecover detergents and have very few "normal" brands left.

The new page is here: and any comments are welcomed.

Stonch's Beer Blog

A well written and frequently updated blog about beer drinking and general beer related enjoyment in London and elsewhere. Well worth keeping an eye on.

Stonch's Beer Blog

Friends of The Lewes Arms

I want to bring your attention to the fight that continues to rumble on in Lewes, Sussex. Too often the larger brewers and pubcos reduce consumer choice by only offering their own "house" brands.

Well done and good luck to all those involved:

Friends of The Lewes Arms
Updated draught cider page to reflect current range.
Added featured products to Product A-Z page for greater impact.

Website changes

Updated product A-Z.
Added Vuju to shopping site, home page and links page.
Removed unavailable products from shopping site.

Exciting new vodka smoothie: VUJU

Yesterday I received a visit from Carl at Krush Drinks, producer of the delicious range of new vodka smoothies called VUJU. Made only from crushed fruit, with no additives, preservative, water or sugar. I'm pleased to announce that not only are we stocking the drinks but we will also be listing them online for mail order sales.

SPECIAL OFFER: Buy any 3 bottles for £5.00 (normally £2.00 each).
Updated product A-Z.
Made some changes to the About us page although I have managed to duplicate some photos from the gallery. I will tackle that issue later in the week.
Updated the links page - added one, deleted one.
I've updated the product A-z - the list now includes the first three new products from EazyCuisine - really good frozen meals using only British meat. If they are popular we will add more.

We have also stocked up with ice cream just in time for the snow on Thursday. You know it makes sense!

Anthony Nolan Trust

We have received an information pack from the Anthony Nolan Trust, giving details of a registration session in Salisbury on Monday 19th February. The location details are below and I would like to encourage any readers to attend this or another session in their area. I feel it is vitaly important that we all support these initiatives because after all it could be you or me that vitaly needs a donor in the future.

Date: Monday 19th February 2007
Time: 1430 to 1800
Place: Rooms 1 &2, Education Centre, Level 5 , Salisbury District Hospital, SP2 8BJ.

Further information can be found at

Potential donors must be between 18 and 40 and be in good general health. Male donors, and/or those from ethnic backgrounds are most needed but really anyone is welcome providing they are in the right age group.

Website updates

I've pruned out a lot of dross from the product file and updated the list on the website.

I have also re-written the outside bars page to hopefully explain the process of booking us for an event more clearly. As always any comments about the website, or what we do, or anything else are much appreciated.

Twice in one day!

Updated the shopping site:

Added new products such as Pusser's Rum, red and white wine selections and Taylors Mustard makes a welcome return. Also some cracking fizz from the Alsace.

Updated main site with links to this blog, links to shopping site.

Website changes

This post marks the start of using this blog in the way that I used to use the change log. As changes are made to the website they will be detailed on here, along with more general posts as and when I can.

So far, in the last few days, we have made some significant changes to the look and feel of the Abbey Stores website, to make it easier for browsers to shop online. These include:

Embedding the shopping site into the main body of the static site.
Revising our delivery prices to be cheaper for heavier deliveries.
Changing the layout of the shopping site so that is displays correctly in its new position.
Removal of separate delivery and billing addresses so that it is clear that we can only despatch to the billing address.
Preparing for the addition of new products to the shopping site.

Future changes are being planned; they will include:

Removing Nochex as a payment option and replacing it with a Protx/Streamline solution.
Upgrading Erol (the shopping software) to the business edition so that we can list many more products.
Listing products that people are searching for.
Revising the main site to be easier to navigate.

As always, changes will be posted here as they happen.