The cost of living crisis has me wrecked … and broke! With most of the line-up for the new I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here unrecognisable to me anyway, I wondered if there was room for one more?
• I KNOW that I’m always moaning about something or other, but sure why fix what’s not broken, isn’t that right? ‘There’s always something wrong with you …’ say my nearest and dearest affectionately (or hang on….). Anyway, this week it’s my house insurance that’s got me all disgruntled. It’s not usually the most terrifying bill of the year but when I rang to renew the policy I was hit with an unexpected sting. Turns out that relieved (different to smug) feeling I had for getting the house over the line before the building cost boom kicked in was without a solid foundation. The chap at the end of the phone dutifully informed me how, with the cost of building gone through the roof, off the scales, into infinity and beyond, well, I’d have to pay more. Basically before it would have cost ‘x’ to rebuild a 2,500 sq ft house, but now it would cost ‘x’ and lots more exes, and a few ys as well. I won’t lie, I did consider revising down the size of our humble abode, especially as internally it’s still a work in progress. Drop by any day and you’ll see naked light bulbs (NAKED!), exposed wires, and unfurnished ‘zones.’ So to have to pay more to insure the gaff, which will ultimately make it harder to complete the gaff, was a lot for my little brain to take in. But sure once that ‘what if….’ creeps in you’re done for, so of course I paid up.
• I know these are all just little things in the greater scheme of things, but they do tend to add up, and seep into your psyche. I’d describe mine as a little battle-hardened right now in the war I’m waging against the cost of living. Take for example The Weekly Shop. The capital letters are deliberate to denote the significance of the event. So before you would have nonchalantly grabbed the bags for life, some sort of a list, and probably the value club card and flitted out the door, now it’s a whole different regime. I’ll have done the meal plans for the week (if anyone is looking for versatile and relatively tasty ways to cook minced meat, let me know and I’ll send them on), I’ll have scoured the pantry, and crucially will have had a snack (shopping on an empty stomach is pure reckless). In my (crazy) mind I feel a bit like Tom Crean might have as he headed off on his expeditions: both of us armed with steely grit, determined to explore new territories. For the Kerryman it was the uncharted Antarctic, while for me it’s the previously unexplored bottom shelves in the supermarket, after I heard a most enlightening segment on radio last week. It revealed cheaper brands are usually stocked on the lower shelves, with more premium products at eye level. I’ve no back problems, thank god, so I’m definitely prepared to stoop to save, just mind you don’t trip over me. The same slot advised bringing along a calculator to figure out the cost per kg of products, particularly washing machine and dishwasher tablets, as a bargain mightn’t always be what it seems. To be honest I’m not sure that one is for me. I’m still traumatised from those primary school maths riddles. You know the ones, ‘if Johnny had five apples, eats three and gets a present of one how many does he have?’ My immediate thought would always have been: who gives a present of an apple; or poor bloke must have had an awful belly ache. I think I’ll bend for the bargains for now and see how I get on.
• So on a lighter (perhaps slightly disturbing?) note what did we all make of those pictures of country and music stars Nathan Carter and Philomena Begley in bed together? Once I got over the initial shock and realised it was to promote a new music video, I found it hysterical. It was for the video for Nathan’s new song, The Morning After The Night Before, where 80-year-old Philomena plays a taxi driver who picks up 32-year-old Nathan from a bar. He says he’s no money for the taxi fare, and she gives him a wink before driving off. Next thing we see a topless Nathan waking up to discover that he is in bed with Philomena. Pure gas! Fair play to Philomena is all I can say.
• If someone like her was in the line-up for the new I’m a Celebrity which is starting in a few weeks’ time I might be a little more interested. The line-up has been revealed, and among the very few I recognised were former professional rugby union player and member of the British Royal Family Mike Tindall, who is married to Princess Anne’s daughter Zara. Will he have the Queen turning in her grave? Who knows. Sue Cleaver who plays Corrie’s Eileen Grimshaw is in there, some Hollyoaks star I never heard of and also Boy George who reportedly is the highest paid star of the reality TV show. Would there be any place for a Woman on the Verge I wonder? Just imagine all the savings I’d make if I was in the Australian jungle for a few weeks?