When I was a child and people asked me what my favourite food was, I would always answer 'potato.' A strange choice for a young girl, but I loved the endless possibility; mashed, sauteed, chips, roasted - you could never get bored. Little did I realise how this would come back to haunt me and at a time of frugality, how utterly sick I would be of trying to come up with yet another recipe containing the staple spud.
Economising through credit crunch or marriage break up is to be expected but when you were already living on a budget - it is easier said than done. Aldi is no new revelation to me, nor is the factory shop and Ebay and I already have an Internet relationship. Tucked up in bed armed with the Sainsbury magazines budget busting special, I was more than a little disheartened to discover that most of its recommendations were already common place in this house. Reading about slow cooking cheaper meats did little to inspire but I did think fleetingly that I could go one step further than ox tongue, and use hoof shavings in place of Parmesan. Perhaps the children wouldn't notice, perhaps I will make millions marketing this new budget busting product.
Bargain and economising are my middle names but things have clearly got worse. I used to be smug at my forays to Costco in search of bulk buy saving until the time came that I could no longer afford either the membership or the petrol to get there. So finding ways of saving money is becoming tricky. I am going to have to resort to manually emptying the hoover bag, I have already started grating cheese to make the children think they are getting more than they really are. We already have the 'Do you want my bath after me' scenario and I may have to get my hair cut once every two years, instead of the rather flamboyant annual affair.
The children are already griping about the cost cutting. Since 'It' left they have had to say farewell to school lunches as he used to pay for them. The teenager has taken it very badly. A tendency towards OCD he has got it into his head that carrying around pre-made lunches is a health hazard and so is refusing to eat. I figure that either the when he finally keels over from malnutrition then a home made baguette will seem quite appealing. I suspect that it has more to do with the fact that I pointed out he is actually old enough to make his own. Apparently spending your wages is a better option.
As a result he now hates his job - he never was content with the 3.40 an hour he gets paid for pretty physical washing up in the very posh farm shop and it appears that it is failing to support his toast habit. I can see his point, there seems a little cruelty in paying anyone slightly more than a large Latte for an hours worth of frantic catering style washing up. So now we are both looking for jobs.
The job front is equally depressing. 15 years of staying at home does not make for a glowing CV. In fact, it does not make for a CV. The last job I applied for I filled in the skills section with 'Can make bolognese at the same time as cleaning the floor, singing Humpty Dumpty and checking for head lice.' I was rather stunned to get the job. Clearly employers are fussier nowadays.
On the subject of head lice, middle child was very excited about a documentary on vermin extermination. A nice bit of family viewing, we settled down to watch the man convinced he had bed bugs. His wife thought that he was insane and having clearly humoured him for months - a bed bug sniffer dog was brought in. Much to everyone surprise, smaller than the human eye bugs were found.
I have been itching ever since. Every night I have combed through my hair in search of the head lice that I am convinced must be there. I have decided that it may be worth training the Bitch to sniff out head lice. World famous, a film deal would follow and I would no longer be looking for cleaning jobs. 'Bugs - The Bitch returns' - I can see it now.