Hello and welcome to my blog. I've been getting some thoughts & feelings, exasperations and the odd happy moment down on the blog which helps my sanity and, I hope, provides a little entertaining read for you for a couple of minutes!

Right now I am mostly concentrating on getting through a rocky financial patch which I really hope will be cleared (all being well) by the end of Summer 2013. In the meantime I need to concentrate on continuing to do well in my "new" job (actually got it in Sept 2011 but it still feels new!) and living my life as frugally as possible.

Thanks for stopping by and if you leave me an encouraging comment, it'll make my day. :-)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bleak Times

Evening all.  Be prepared.  I may rant tonight.

How depressing it is today with the news that over a million young people are unemployed and unemployment as a whole is at it's highest peak for seventeen years.  No growth predicted for a year or two.  Petrol prices set to rise again and I don't suppose much else will come down in price will it?

I remember life in the 70's (I was a little kid) when Mum was on her own raising three of us and times were hard then.  I recall it being really cold with ice on the inside of the window in my bedroom because we didn't have central heating fitted.  Actually even if we did Mum wouldn't have been able to afford to put it on.  She couldn't afford any kind of heating apart from the fire in the living room, the occasional burst of the gas fire in the back room (if there was no money for coal & wood for the living room) and a paraffin heater at the top of the stairs for the whole of the top of the house.  God it was cold.

I remember lots of people being out of work and I remember strikes...,.specifically the bin men strike as all the rubbish had to be piled up on our local recreation ground in black bin bags!

Anyway to me it feels a bit like those times again....this time with internet and skinny jeans instead of flares.  But once again, bleak and depressing.

I really don't understand the stock market and banks and all that - and part of me really doesn't want to.  Because I know I would probably explode with the unfairness of it all and the greed that goes on in the financial markets.  I know though that someone somewhere is getting really rich (or will get really rich at some point) off the back of the struggles "normal" people are facing at the moment.  Because that's how it works...isn't it?  Peaks & troughs, buy low sell high and all that malarkey. 

Changing the subject slightly but still on the topic of money, I saw a snippet of a programme about Tamara Ecclestone, on Harry Hill's TV Burp the other day and then she was on the front of a newspaper I glanced on the train yesterday.  Now what I want to know is this:  why for f***s sake, are people watching this crap?  This person from what I saw, could burn twenty pound notes to keep warm all this winter if she wanted to.  She didn't go to a meeting with a client because she had a SPOT so she went to a private doctor.  Excuse me?  How is this relevant to the massive percentage of the population right now?  Why do people want their noses rubbed in it?  What has happened to people in this country that they would choose to watch this drivel and give this extremely rich woman even more publicity and ultimately, probably more money?  Why why why?  I don't understand and it's making me angry!  Reject this b*llsh*t!

And changing the subject again I would also like to ask people to reject something else....self service check outs in supermarkets.  Not only are they a royal pain in the arse most of the time, but they are also helping do yet someone else out of a job.  Jobs are scarce enough as it is and some people are grateful to work in retail (even if the Tamara Ecclestone's of this world wouldn't even know one end of a barcode scanner from the other) and they need their retail job to put food on the table and keep the roof over their head.  Please.....think twice before using one if you do choose to shop in the big supermarkets.  Just go to the shortest queue and help that human being stay in a job. 

I guess you could probably look at quite a few things in your community to see if you can help out.  Believe me I do want to save money but saving a few pennies at the expense of something greater (meaning, my community) seems a little selfish right now.  For example, petrol at the local Tesco is £1.329 per litre (or something like that) but it is £1.339 at local garage/shop/car repair place who also employs extra staff.  My car takes 35 litres (it's a little 'un!) so I would rather spend the money with the local garage every time for the sake of saving 35p if I feel up from empty.

If I need a few little bits of fresh veg or some teabags or whatnot, there is a little shop a stones throw from my house.  Definitely more expensive than one of the big four supermarkets and Aldi but, I would spend the extra on petrol to get to those cheaper places and probably end up spending more on impulse buys anyway.  So I am happy to use the little shop and hopefully help keep the young people that work in there (as well as some middle aged ladies!) in a rare job.  No I don't do my "main" shop there but I don't think they expect anyone to...it's there for bits and bobs and essentials.  You know the sort of place.

I have my windows cleaned bi-monthly.  I did go through a phase of cleaning them myself but do you know what?  It was a bloody nightmare.  I can't be bothered to faff about with the hard to reach upper floor windows and the pole bends all over the place, so £9 every two months for the local guy to do it, is fine by me.  (And he hasn't put his prices up in three years bless him!)

I supported the local firework display this year, I sometimes say "sod it" to making a hot lunch at home and walk down to the local chippy a mile away and have delicious fresh chips with salt & vinegar, we sometimes treat ourselves to a Chinese takeaway in the area and tip the driver a quid, I source local tradesmen if there is a job that needs doing in the house that we can't do, I used a nearby independent computer repair shop recently instead of "those other" PC global giants and he was probably a bit more expensive but you know what?  He knew what he was doing and got it right first time and didn't try and sell me anything else I didn't need.

I can say these things because I am in a job, I am not in debt any more and I make sacrifices in other areas of my life, so that I can budget accordingly.  I know that if someone is out of work, struggling to pay the rent or put food on the table then they probably won't care about window cleaners.  Quite rightly.  I am just speaking from my own experience and hope that people in the same or similar situations can see the picture I see at the moment, of supporting the local community, as well as yourself, during these tough times.  God knows Buttock Faced Cameron won't help them out.

But there is one thing everyone can do which won't cost a bean.  If you don't already please do check out Freegle or Freecycle in your area.  If you have got anything at all that can be of use to someone else, I really hope you'll put it on there, then wait a short while for your responses so you can choose the person you believe needs the item the most.

I absolutely love my local Freegle and you just don't know how helpful you are being.  We had an old king size mattress to get rid of - clean, very clean, but just old and not massively comfortable.  But we advertised it and were honest about it not being the most comfy thing in the world...........a fella took it who had split up with his wife and had a single mattress on a king sized bed frame.  He was so grateful he had something to tide him over till he got back on his feet. 

There is obviously the desire to donate to charity shops and that is fine, but, if you can, please offer up useful things from time to time for those who just need a break.

I think I need a paracetamol.  I got so wound up about Tamara Ecclestone's zit that I have given myself a headache.

Thanks for reading, I really needed to get all that off my chest. 

Take care.


  1. Great post. I feel the same about why anyone could possibly be interested in Tamara Ecclestone and others of her type. Not only are programmes like that insulting to our intelligence, but they are insulting to good, hard working people with many more worries than a zit. If everyone boycotted rubbish like this perhaps we could get them and their types removed from our televisions.

  2. Tamara Ecclestone - who's she? Never heard of her.
    Love from Mum

  3. Grief she is a shallow as a puddle..i refuse to watch tv anymore in the evenings unless rugby is on..decent game that...i support my local greengrocer and have free cycled enough stuff to probably furnish a small house...
    On the subject of strikes..was too small to remember but hubby does..he had emergency plans afoot...barbecue for cooking,candles and torches for lighting..and lots of tinned foods for cooking with..bless him..he had a panic when he realized it could get that bad again.
    Better to let it out than keep it in hun or is that for wind..haha..either way chin up lovely..