18 May 2009

A life outside the news

It puzzles me sometimes. I watch the news on television, and I often struggle to relate it to real life, at least as lived in our house.

Millions raised for this or that disaster: not from us (we continue to support the charities we normally do – they need to be kept going too).

People are confused – sorry, Confused. It doesn’t matter what it’s about, either. Heaven help us, people are even confused about the effects of alcohol, I don’t know how, considering that never a week goes by without someone, usually several someones, bobbing up to tell us about the awful effects of drinking. It’s even bad for you if you don’t do it, which must be some kind of record. We continue to have a bottle of wine between us a few times a week with food, as we always have.

Everybody is in trouble with debt. Happily, not here, or at least not yet. And not if we can help it.. But then we didn’t even like having a mortgage (which is only organised debt, after all) and paid it off as soon as we could. Cautious Baskets R Us.

Everybody wants a second home, or a property abroad, or property to rent. Really? One house is quite enough to look after, thank you, even before these Credit Crunched times. And you can only live in one at a time, anyway.

Shoppers are having a spending spree on the high street. Or not. Meanwhile, we continue as normal. I still spend money on books and food, and now and again buy a few new clothes or some piece of domestic equipment. But I really prefer to buy things that will last – I ‘ve never been able to understand shopaholicism, except as a mental disorder, and I certainly don’t understand the craze for having everything new all the time.

I don’t think this is just us, either. I guess I first really noticed this phenomenon in a major way in connection with Princess Diana’s death. The country was prostrate with grief, we were told – life had virtually come to a standstill, with memorial tributes and people sobbing into their hankies wherever you went. Well, no, actually: OK, maybe this will be more visible when I get to work. The citizens of Bethnal Green are perhaps more inclined to wear their hearts on their sleeves than many. Nope, not a thing. And this is the area that was brought to a standstill for the Kray brothers’ funerals, too. I gather that when Diana died it was fairly awful for the staff at Kensington Palace, who had to spend hours mopping up tearful visitors, but that was where she lived, after all.

The media do a superb job of making things up out of whole cloth, sometimes.


Jilly said...

You are absolutely right and I agree it frequently does seem to be made up out of whole cloth. There are always going to be people who are in debt and it is always the same people who are hit by a recession - and for the same reasons.

The only time I become anything resembling a shopaholic is when faced with books! Otherwise I can't understand it.

I've always thought of another property - either here or abroad - as more work. If I won a fortune I wouldn't buy a property abroad - or here for that matter - because if you've got money you can go and stay anywhere you want at a moment's notice. Much less trouble!

NAM said...

Yes; certainly; and absolutely!

In particular I think second properties are like a number of other things - race horses come to mind - not worth doing unless you have enough money to (a) do it properly (b) still be comfortable if something goes wrong and needs to be fixed and probably (c) better if you do it on a larger scale.

Give me books any day!