Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could go to a shop and know that you could eat anything on the shelves?

Most of us, of course, can go to any supermarket any day, and don’t even notice the extraordinary range of choice available. We pick up the same old things, and toss them into the basket, without a second thought.

But what if, when you go to the supermarket, there isn’t a choice?

This is the way it is for coeliacs. There may be a shelf or two with gluten free products on – and, of course, many things are naturally gluten free – but there isn’t the vast cornucopia of food that is available to the Normals.

My coeliac daughter had the Normal experience this weekend – or very nearly!

We travelled to Brighton for a family wedding – about six hours drive south of us. Johnsons Dietary Provisions - gluten free cateringJust off our route was Johnsons Dietary Provisions, a company which sells gluten free food. I’ve bought from them before online, and exchanged emails with Helen on various topics – as well as chatted on the gluten free messageboard.

Johnson’s is primarily a web business, but Helen does open up to retail customers for a few hours four days a week. This was one of them.

We detoured – much to the alarm of my mother, also driving south but in a different car. “You’re going the wrong way!”

Which we were – but also, we so weren’t.

Hot and sticky, after 6 hours in the car, we unloaded our three children and headed into the shop. It was great to meet Helen at last, who was welcoming and informative, and very relaxed about being invaded by five noisy and excited people.

But the best thing was that (except for one set of shelves in a corner, which were dedicated to nut-free foods) our daughter could eat everything in the shop.

“What would you like? You choose …”

Of course, she couldn’t choose, overwhelmed by the possibilities. We loaded up a basket, and came away happy.

Those who can choose anything from thousands of products on the shelves of a supermarket every day can have no idea what an astonishing experience this is. If you are a Normal, next time you go to the supermarket, take a moment to look – really look – at the huge variety of food offered, and enjoy making your choices.