Wednesday 2 July 2008

The plastic bag nemesis of Sir Stuart

13st 12lb, despite the piggery; 2.0 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,313; Longframlington.

Oh, look! Marks & Spencer has issued a disastrous profit warning. Apparently their food business, in particular, has slipped right down the khazi. Could this by any chance be related to irresponsible shoppers like me thinking, “F*** this for a game of environmental activism. If they won’t give me a bag to take my bloody shopping home, I’ll go and buy it somewhere else.”

Those implausibly large pink grapefruit they sell don’t taste even half as good as they look, either.

I’ve got a really sore throat today and don’t feel like doing anything much. It’s handy that I’ve only got a Border terrier to support and no demanding clients, then. I spent the morning painstakingly writing “thank you” cards for various recent treats and favours, even though I know for a fact that 99% of the population find my handwriting totally illegible. But it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

I also rang my stockbroker in an attempt to raise some money to bridge at least part of the huge gap between my meagre earnings and expensive tastes. He successfully persuaded me that today would be a bad day to sell shares, probably mainly because his computer was down and he couldn’t face ringing some smart-arse in IT to sort it out. On the plus side, he did reveal that I had some cash on deposit of which I was blissfully ignorant, and offered to send me that instead. I took the opportunity to ask how come I was never, ever invited to any social events by his firm, while my girlfriend (who is not actually a client of theirs) is eagerly anticipating their annual piss-up on the river, known inevitably as the “Booze Cruise”. He ummed and arred for a bit, then came up with the sort of excuse I used to offer when angry clients asked why the hell they hadn’t been invited to my old firm’s annual cocktail party.

“It’s not actually for clients,” he said. “It’s a networking event for young professionals.”

I naturally immediately wrenched the word “professional” out of context, and pretended to be outraged that he was branding my girlfriend a prostitute.

I bet he’s really looking forward to my next call, particularly as I will no doubt be taking the opportunity to point out that I could have liquidated my share portfolio on 2 July, before what we will no doubt come to call The Great Crash of 2008.

After that, almost a month late, I was taken out for a Birthday Lunch by my brother and my aunt (combined age: 153). Rather good it was, too. Though I was a bit disconcerted, as I carved another slice from the fillet steak that they were paying for, by the scorn that they heaped on today’s Joseph Rowntree Foundation report claiming that the minimum income required by a single person to achieve a basic but acceptable standard of living is £13,400 a year. They both claimed to be jogging along quite merrily on less. The main difference, no doubt, is that the Foundation established by the former fruit gum purveyor will have allowed for rent or mortgage costs that they no longer need to worry about. Still, £13,400 a year. It made me think. I reckon I waste that on operas and lunches at expensive London restaurants alone. In fact, just about the only thing that I enjoy doing which isn’t extravagantly expensive is writing this blog. Best keep it up, then.

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