Posts Tagged ‘credit crunch


Offered: one kidney. Slightly wizened, a bit temperamental, vintage condition

I have been chewing my lip due to worry (and something to do that’s free and simple) and now resemble a heroin addict from those information films from the 1980s. I think this is a fitting way to see in 2009, by this time next year I may also be thin enough from the enforced gruel eating to actually star in one for real.

By rights, my worry lines should now be as deep as a freshly-ploughed field, but my stock of snake oil anti-ageing moisturisers remains fairly high, so I’m staving off the worst effects of eating badly, indulging in unhelpful vices and generally taking as much care of my appearance as a coma victim. By the time I run out of that lot, there’s always the polyfiller supplies in the shed to tide me over.

Having scanned the internet for money-making opportunities, I have decided that if all else fails, I shall sell a kidney. Having two is very 2008 and, after all, one should recycle as much as possible.

Only problem is that only one of my kidneys works properly, and I’m loathe to give up the good one. Perhaps I could offer the wizened one (which looks very much like something you’d find withering at the back of the fridge) at a knock-down rate. There’s a credit crunch on, you know, people are desperate.

(On this note, I am remembering that film where someone has a hand transplant and the new set of digits take on a life of their own and start murdering people and so forth. Would my kidney force its new owner to write for newspapers and magazines or expect he or she to get up at 3.45am every morning to go to the toilet, like it does me, do you think?)


The best things in life aren’t free. Unless your expectations are really, really low

It’s often said that the best things in life are free.

This is all very well, but in my experience, some of the best things in life are really bloody expensive and some of the free things in life are really, really shit. You have to put these things into context: a fantastic sunset on a winter’s evening may be beautiful if you’re watching it from the patio doors of your second home on the North Norfolk coast, but slightly less magical if you’re seeing it from your piss-soaked sleeping bag on the 10th floor of a multi-storey car park where you’ve bedded down for the night. Although that’s not to say that the homeless can’t appreciate a good sunset – God knows I don’t want to offend any of that lot, especially the ones with past convictions for violence.

Here are 10 things which are really good which aren’t free:

1)    Houses
2)    Cars
3)    Trinkets
4)    Baubles
5)    High maintenance younger partners
6)    Anti-ageing products
7)    Holidays
8)    A second car
9)    A second house
10)    Flights into space on Virgin Galactic

And here are 10 things that are really good that ARE free:

1)    A smile from one of your loving children
2)    A thank-you from one of your loving children. Even once would be nice
3)    A compliment from a stranger (preferably before they kidnap you and lock you in the boot of their car)
4)    Nose-picking
5)    Spot squeezing
6)    Indulging in a spot of character assassination with a really bitter friend
7)    Having a wee when you’ve had to hold on for ages
8)    Watching a teenager fall over in the street
9)    Thinking up a really great new insult
10)    Coming out of Waitrose and realising that there are several items that have fallen under your Bags for Life that you didn’t pay for. Not that I am condoning theft, or anything.

Being skinter will undoubtedly make me a better person. I will think more about the money I spend, waste less and save for the things I really want. Do I want to be a better person, though, or would I rather just be a worse person that can still afford Clinique Moisture Surge?


Free to a good home: the tired old rubbish I can’t be bothered to take to the tip

Before financial penury beckoned and I could afford to benevolent, Freecycle was primarily a service I used to off-load the tired old shit I had hanging around the house which was gathering dust. Or, rather, the tired old shit I had hanging round the house that even I could not longer justify the existence of. It saved me a trip to the charity shop or the tip and simultaneously made me feel like a kindly lady of the manor when I handed over a bin bag full of books, an unwanted miniature sewing machine or a dismantled high-rise bed (I didn’t mention the teeth marks on the rails – they were made by my daughter when she was very young, but if they chose to think that I was some kind of reckless sexual adventurer in a single bed, so be it).

Befitting my status as an all-round benefactor to the poor, I found it helped if I created elaborate back stories for the people coming to collect my rubbish, many of which involved them having Tiny Tim type characters gently fading away on a dank mattress back at the slum, drink problems, gambling addictions and a long-term benefit fraud habit.

In reality, most people I met through Freecycle were posher than me, and probably lived in solid gold castles with Champagne moats having raised a fortune at car boot sales selling other people’s tired old shit.

These days, thanks to the credit crunchm it’s time to start accepting that people will soon start making up back stories about me when I finally pull my finger out of my arse and start applying for things which could really come in handy and which I can no longer afford. It would probably help if I actually read the message postings more than once a month instead of half-heartedly logging into Yahoo! infrequently in the hope that someone has an excess stash of Crème de la Mer they need to offload in a hurry. Today, I logged in to find 1,592 messages in my inbox. The crème de la crème (not Mer, although plenty of Merde) of that list I publish below, so you know what the good denizens of Norwich have to offer the wider world. Well, the wider world in terms of a five mile radius of the city centre, at least.

WANTED: Crinoline petticoat hoops.

OFFERED: Two freestanding ex-bakery shop display cabinets. One chilled, one ambient [presumably these would be suitable for a Hard House or a Garage]

TAKEN: Five cabbages

WANTED: Items for role play [I have seen this Freecycler. The mind boggles]

RE-OFFERED: Windchime Waterfall CD [bearing in mind that I managed to get rid of an ugly, broken lamp on Freecycle, this stands as proof that no-one, even the desperate and down-at-heel wants to listen to bloody windchimes or waterfalls on CD]

WANTED: Star Wars biscuit cutters [I didn’t know they existed. But now I want some too]

OFFERED: Lightbulbs (used)

OFFERED: The Struggle for Existence by Weber [a cheery tome I remember from my degree studies, a real page turner for the suicidal]

WANTED: My Family Christmas specials on DVD [surely a wind-up? In comparison, watching the Test Card would be positively stimulating. And funnier]

TAKEN: Drum kit [one set of neighbours rejoicing, another set about to be given an unwelcome New Year present that may well lead to bloodshed)

On the plus side, at least someone has taken those cursed crinoline petticoat hoops away giving me room for five cabbages and some used lightbulbs. And however bad things are, at least I’m not miserable AND listening to windchimes and fucking waterfalls.

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