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13 December 2011

Posted by DMC on 14 December 2011 in Diary |

Another Tuesday, only two more to go before Christmas. Although it was a lovely day, bright and sunny, it was extremely chilly but I still went to the club because today was the Geriatrics Christmas Lunch. There was a good turnout and it was great seeing all my old mates again. I very much doubt that I shall grace those portals again until after our 49th wedding anniversary on 16 March. That is my next target date, assuming, that is, I don’t keel over before Christmas!

I didn’t get back until nearly 4 o’clock so has nothing much to report today other than the arrival of a lovely Fortnam & Mason’s hamper, a very generous Christmas gift, from my nephew Tom Grand, who is also ‘my lovely’s’, godson. It has lots of goodies in it with which we spoil ourselves over the Christmas period , before going on that guilty post festive season diet that scarcely lasts a week or so .

Two of my grandchildren are in Christmas plays this evening. Little Lara and Seb both go to the same primary school, and as Seb is in a rock ‘n’ roll version of the Nativity play – the mind boggles – I wonder what on earth little Lara is doing?! Having said that I would love to be there but we will be represented by son Smiler and Kimberly. Kimberly is a great photographer so hopefully we will see some pictures when they report back to us.

There was an interesting money programme on television, last evening, in which they took three different families, each on a net income of £40,000 a year, to see if they could manage on that amount. They examined what the family spent their money on and how they controlled this expenditure, if at all.. One of the husbands, for example,
was obviously a bit of a control freak and had created reams of charts for every conceivable head of living; running the house; maintenance; food; travel etc and built up little funds for emergencies and contingenics. You have to admire his determination to live within his means but, I’m not sure that I could go to such extreme lengths. Having said that I must say they seemed very happy and his wife, who didn’t really approve ,dutifully went along with hubby’s eccentricities without making a fuss.
How many of my lady readers would do the same?

Another couple, without any children, spent without any thought,.It seemed to me that the wife used most of the spare cash to buy shoes. What is it about women and their shoes? I remember the President of the Philippines’s wife, Emalda Marcos, admitted to having over 200 pairs, when her husband was deposed. All paid for, of course, from her own money!

The final couple, if I recall correctly, were dissatisfied with their level of income as I suspect, by their deep suntans and weather beaten skin, took, at least, two sunny holidays every year.

One interesting thing that came out of this programme was, that be it rented council house or mortgaged Villa; chidren or cihildless, they all spent between £100 and £120 a week on food. I don’t know what sort of food they bought but my ovely and I, on a fairly bland diet of healthy food, certainly have always spent more than that for just the two of us (extra when the the children come home, or we have guests..Maybe I have been over paying the dear old thing, these past 49 years or so. If so, it’s far too late to raise the matter as I can no longer write and’ my lovely’ has completed control over my cheque book. In any event, I have no complaints whatsoever about my food (I better stop digging before the hole gets too big for me to get out ) The other thing that must have slanted the expenditure was the mortgage payments as they all lived in different value houses, so I’m not sure that the comparison was a true one all but only one family said they could do with more money. Well they would say that wouldn’t they.

Looking at the broader picture, as the austerity which is going to come, from the credit crunch, has not really affected people lives up to now, those who on a fixed income are going to have to make some lifestyle changes. Certainly cutting out the McDonald’s and Pizza Hut houses etc and be more imaginative about making meals at home. You can make a perfectly delicious soup from left over scraps, for example. Interestingly, out of those who were interviewed the average spent only around 20% of their income on food. Compare this with the French who apparently spend, on average, more like 30% but then many more of them live in rented accommodation and do not have the burden of a mortgage

The one thing that came out of the programme, was that everybodywas aware that they were going to have to make changes, tighten their belts etc. It may be that we will take 10 years or so to get back to the prosperity that we enjoyed in the 80’s but really there’s not too much wrong with the way we live now. If anyone feels hard done by then, just sit back and imagine yourself in one of the many countries that are suffering from drought, floods. earthquakes etc. where people have lost everything, including their homes and their only concern is to get enough food to keep themselves and their little ones alive, and hopefully they will then realise how very, very lucky they are.

That’s enough sermonising, click here to see why we all love children..

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