Week twelve: the calm before the storm

Five minutes of sunshine at The Folon Foundation, Belgium

Five minutes of sunshine at The Folon Foundation, Belgium


Wake up with: £50

Go to bed with: £29.01

I’m returning to the fatherland (Belgium) to visit my dad this weekend, so I spend my first £20.99 of the week on a keg of beer for the old man and a top-up for my Oyster card; the bike isn’t equipped to lug huge suitcases half way across London. I donate the measely £1.52 I have left from last week to a homeless gentleman who has taken up residence by the cashpoint.

Today is indeed an exciting day: I’m meeting my beautiful, gentle sister at St Pancras so we can travel over to Belgium together. She is eight-months pregnant and I haven’t seen her bump for three months. I know it’s a cliché but she positively glows, radiating femininity like Venus in Botticelli’s Primavera—long, lithe limbs stretching out from the womanly swell of her stomach. We spend the journey gossiping and arrive in time for a very late supper. I miss my sister: I hate that we live so far apart.


Wake up with: £29.01

Go to bed with: £29.01

No lie in for me today: the stepmother wants to buy some things for the bump, so we set off to the nearest retail park to look at teeny tiny things. We get back in time for lunch and—as it is pissing down with rain (quel surprise)—unanimously elect for Plan B: a trip to the Folon Foundation to admire the illustrator’s watercolours. The weather obliges us with a five-minute walk around the park before the heavens open once more so it’s back home via Leonidas.

The whole extended family pile round for supper and we feast on produce from dad’s kitchen garden, not to mention his wine cellar. Delicious.


Wake up with: £29.01

Go to bed with: £7.56

There’s just time to pilfer some of the fruits of my dad’s kitchen garden before we have to leave for the train. He is mystified; why do I want to carry potatoes all that way? I neglect to tell him that I can barely afford to buy potatoes, so carrying them cross-border is the least of my problems.

I get the bus home and arrive to find the house in complete disarray and the husband covered in paint. I dump the suitcase in the only available space, don my decorating gear and start painting. After three radiators and a coat on all the walls in the hallway, I’m done in. I’m getting too old for this. We right the sofa and promptly collapse on it. The husband begs for a curry and I’m too tired to contradict him.


Wake up with: £7.56

Go to bed with: £7.56

I almost plead exhaustion and cancel supper club before I discover that the new season of University Challenge starts this very night. Yes, I am very cool. The husband is instructed to purchase a chicken and some salad. There is nothing quite like roast chicken and friends to cheer the soul and make everything alright, I find.


Wake up with: £7.56

Go to bed with: £7.56

The whole company has been summoned to a ‘team meeting’ on Friday. Oh great. Last time I got one of those overly cheery yet strangely vague meeting requests, I lost my job. Note to management everywhere: you only ever send out non-specific, yet bizarrely breezy emails when you are giving some poor bastard the chop. We all know this.

I get home in time for another scintillating evening playing real life Tetris with the furniture in our flat. Dinner is a leftover special: chicken salad. The decorating continues…


Wake up with: £7.56

Go to bed with: £7.56

The husband is supposed to have the day off, but business has finally picked up so we make an executive decision to get a builder in for the day to finish the painting. He does an incredible day’s work and when I get home, I discover the good news is that phase one of the painting is finished. The bad news is that the house looks like a bombsite, everything is covered in dust, there is paint on the sofa and the hoover has been blocked. This is a living nightmare.

Then I discover that SOMEONE has used the last loo roll without a) buying a replacement or b) telling the Chief in Charge of Household Supplies so they can buy a new one. Reader, this is almost the last straw but SOMEONE rescues the situation by paying for the new pack and a couple of peppers to boot, so I can turn the remaining chicken into a curry for tea. And thus another day of married bliss ends in peace.


Wake up with: £7.56

Go to bed with: £0

Thank god for Marks & Spencer’s mystifying approach to customer service is all I can say. For if M&S had been able to deliver the elusive item I have been charged with sourcing for my best friend’s wedding directly to my work, home or even to my nearest branch, then I might not have had to go to Kingston tonight. And that would mean that I would have to spend another night in the house from hell, with no internet and no TV. I charge my Oyster card with the remainder of this week’s cash and set off on a blessedly dust-free mission. I get home in time to unblock the hoover and painstakingly pick the paint off the sofa before bed. The carpet for phase one is due tomorrow, so if all goes according to plan, my husband and I will have survived an entire week of DIY without having an argument. Miracles will never cease.

Tell me reader, how was your week? Thank you ever so much for stopping by!

  1. Sophie Bird said:

    Really enjoying your blog since I’ve found it. We seem to come from the ‘same place’ and you certainly inspire me to stick to my meagre weekly budget in saving for the promised land!!!

    Made your gnocchi last week, simple cheap and tasty. I froze some for this week, fingers crossed it worked OK.

    Have a great weekend.

    • Oh wow, Sophie, thank you so much! So pleased the gnocchi worked out (I haven’t got enough money to test my recipes more than once!) They should freeze a treat – but I ate all mine for lunches all week! Have a fabulous weekend and happy budgeting! X

  2. Mark Ratcliffe said:

    We also finished Phase 1 decorating this week. Finding that supplies for everything ( not just decorating) are cheaper in Suffolk. Hope everything goes well with phase 2.

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