Archives for posts with tag: budget

This poem is based on the day in 2012 when I finally took the plunge and bought a laptop in London. The incessant “£299 on Strand” echoes my personal obsession with the cost of things, which I really am trying to transcend in 2014 (…both the cost of things and the obsession). This close attention to price minutiae has proved fruitful for writing, though. The tallying has found it’s way into other verses: At the moment £2 and Now here is something to marvel at…

While my favourite blend of coffee is still £2,30 at my local Sainsbury’s, fortunately soya milk is back at 59p. My palate has had enough of sultanas, so now I bypass that shelf. More recently I’ve been into dates with my morning oats. Waitrose does a 250g bag for 99p and my local Cypriot greengrocer offers two trays for £1.

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Oh, good. For now 
sultanas are back at 84p.
(Bizarrely, they were 92p for a while.)
Coffee, my favourite blend, now
ONLY £2! That’s a 28p saving

but coffee’s not on my list 
for today… Kiwi fruit –
Enjoying those at the moment 
(since “basic apples” – I know
they’re the windfall ones –
have risen from 68p in the summer to
the current £1/kg)
Kiwi fruit at the moment: £2 
for 2 bags. So, a 25px2 saving.

Only will I get through x2 bags 
in a week? Fruit budget is £2.
A whole week of kiwi fruit?
But a 50p saving on kiwi fruit
plus a 28p saving on coffee
gives us a total 78p saving!! On a £3 spend
on two items
I had no intention
of buying this week.

4/12/13

Today’s lines bring to a conclusion a week of poems connected by the subject of London life. As you will note from the date, these thoughts were penned at the end of last year. I had relegated them to the not-to-be-seen draft papers thinking that readers surely didn’t want another poem about the minutiae of a poet’s budget. (See earlier offerings “Now here is something to marvel at…” and “£299 from Strand”.)

I was reassured otherwise by a chance reading of Gogol’s “The Coat”.

(Here, a diversion as to how I arrived at Gogol’s short story. My reading had been spurred by online video versions of the famous tale. I stumbled upon these after watching – at @brainpicker’s recommendation – Yuriy Norshteyn’s animated classic, The Hedgehog in the Fog (1975). Hedgehog is beyond enchanting. Watch it now if you have 11 minutes to spare. )

At least a third of “The Coat” concerns itself with the minutiae of salary and budget and the cost of things, notably the title coat. This gave me courage. If Gogol could put such in a story, I could type up about my Sainsbury’s shop and the kiwi fruit and coffee on special.

P.S. I should have bought more of the coffee at £2. It’s now £2,30/ 227g. Happily, a bag of kiwi fruit is still £1 for 6.

I have published two books of poetry:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
AND
Shining in Brightness

Follow me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill.

BeadedQuill is also on Facebook.

Saturday 14th Jan.             Yesterday I met

a friendly piebald cat and ladders.

So today I took the plunge:

£299 on Strand. Friday the 13th

 

passed unscathed.          If I don’t spend

the money now, it won’t be anymore.

A dinky 11.6” this HP Pavilion (dm1-4020sa):

£299 on Strand. Sunday morning, 00:05

 

15th Jan. one two.            I’ll get the job

and find the flat. This is that year!

My laptop will bring all of this at

£299 from Strand.

 

Reminiscent in tone and spirit of “Now here is something to marvel at…,” the poem above (which comes from the same time period) echoes a recurring personal obsession with the cost of things. It’s a very middle class trait, which has provided me with poetic material on prices and bank balances.

At the moment my local chain grocery store is offering 2 for £1 on boxes of green tea (20 bags; usually priced at 80p, which is up from the 60p they used to cost). At the risk of providing free advertising, it’s that giant with the orange logo. But then last week I spent £3,99 – the equivalent of two plus bus fares, a tube journey into town, three weeks’ worth of soya milk – at the local florist on a pot of bluebells for myself.  At the moment I would balk at spending £3,99 on cosmetics. But after a couple of days planning and sleeping on it, if I just plunge and don’t think, I’ll spend it on a pot of bluebells or (as I did recently) a ticket to a Xu Bing exhibition.   

I found a red and white chequered tablecloth that evokes a laid table from a sunny Bonnard painting. With my bluebells in the corner, I catch a glimpse of an imaginary Provence in spring bloom and my inner bohemian’s budgeting priorities. 

I’ve been writing poetry since 1999. You can read selected poems in my volume “Shining in Brightness,” which is available for preview at Blurb Books.

Follow me on Twitter as @BeadedQuill. I tweet regularly about chasing my bohemian dream while trying to live a middle class, suburban existence.