Monday, 1 July 2013

Wheel of Fortune

In the past couple of weeks it  feels as though my self has split in two. There on the one side, the side my mother often praised, is the sensible-with-money, superbly organised, prodigious daughter. She is currently standing looking aghast from behind a glass wall as the feckless and ditzy dream-headed oaf  that is the other me begins to open the box and let out the furies... each one waving a humongous bill in its fist. None of them are Nick Fury. Uh-oh.

When I initially realised I'd missed a huge bill, it was very hard not to be downhearted about it.But I'm trying to put it in perspective.

  • I'm not alone.
  • I'm not as bad off as a lot of people, not by a long way.
  • It's a setback, yes, but only in the short term.
  • I will soon put this behind me and wonder why I got so worked up about it.
  • I have avoided the bill getting even bigger by sorting it out now.
  • I do bloody owe the bloody money.

So... lots of grown-up conversations have taken place where OH and I have tried to work out what our life priorities will be over the next ten years. It's been a bit like Compare Your Life (a lifestyle programme that could be much improved by the introduction of meerkats). Do we want to live by the seaside or near family? Do we want the dream house? Does it matter where that is? Do I want to start up a new business, and when would be the best time to do that?

And in the short term, getting the most out of our lives while we face this fiscal blip. (Yep - still sounds like a euphemism.)

It's a damn shame, but I'm going to miss out on a fantastic weekend camping in Wales next weekend because I can't travel up with other people on Friday as I have to work, and trains are now out of the question.

Ah well... at least there's always something interesting happening for free round here. Take this pop up allotment display in the market square this weekend.
Pretty, but basically some pick and grow lettuce re-planted in a box.

There were army vehicles on show too.

This fella felt like a bit of a star, posing on bikes for the British Legion.

I have no idea if this man has anything to do with the British Legion or if he just liked sitting on their bikes.

If time weren't an issue this weekend, I'd half be tempted to hitch to Wales. I've been reading Kath Kelly's Thumbing Through:Hitch-Hiking Tales From my Diaries (£6.64: Amazon Kindle). She is the author of my all-time favourite frugal-living book, How I Lived for a Year on One Pound a Day.

Kath Kelly walked into some slight controversy earlier this year when she apparently agreed* with IDS about it being possible to live on £53 a week. (*Caveat - according to the Daily Mail). Well, of course it's possible. It's the grim and awful reality for a lot of people.
Nonetheless, Kath Kelly is an awesomely inspirational writer. Reading her hitch-hiking anecdotes has re-affirmed my desire to see more of the world and to bear in mind to 'pay it forward' when dealing with my fellow humans. You can tell Kath has developed a philosophical attitude to living her life to the fullest. She seems to have always picked up jobs that afford her great experiences and time over income, and so has had to thing creatively about getting from A to B when she hasn't got much cash to spare - hence hitching.
In becoming a devotee of travel by thumb, Kath has been able to meet a huge variety of people. It seems motorists pick up hitchers for a number of reasons: someone to talk to and help pass the time; people wanting to practice their language skills; people wanted their children distracted; people wanting someone to hear all their troubles. It's an honest and frank account, detailing some of her more risky journeys, but playing them down at the same time. One situation had me shaking my head at her book - why did you accept dinner from that guy? But on the whole, I felt admiration for her gutso, and envy of her experiences. She's a very good writer, too! Recommended.

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