diary of a couple of nouveau poors

about januaryish this year i was asked to ‘write something funny’ for a charity newsletter that deals in all things related to parenting/pregnancy and suchlike, it comes out every three or four months or something – i’d written a babies’ horoscope piece for a previous edition but that was shelved for reasons beyond the readership’s intelligence (i paraphrase) – so i tried to write something that would get in this time

the subject of this newsletter was money and how to save it……..i live in cheshire, considered to be an affluent county, with members of this charity struggling daily with the school run in their 4x4s – i am not one of these (the 4×4 part that is) as are many others, however, i very often can’t resist taking the piss – so i thought i’d take the line that the nouveau riche have had their day, it is now the time of the nouveau poore (sic), which i discovered was a genuine thing – late again – just without the latter half being french

and here it is; the first part is the husband, the second part is the wife…..and my question is, is it actually funny?

i haven’t read it since the newsletter came out; i’m about to copy, paste then read; and this is the un-edited email version, it was tweaked slightly to make it fit but i don’t know where that version is…..wish me luck

Day 1

Today is the first day of our penny-pinching ‘experiment’, my wife’s idea, and quite frankly I think she’s mad; the little spots of indulgence that we have come to love and in some instances need in order to maintain household sanity have been banned….or at least diluted to such an extent it would make a homeopath laugh. And if she thinks we’re trading in for an X3 she’s living in cuckoo land.

The first thing that went was the fresh brewed coffee, we now have to put up with that instant tripe, and apart from the fact that there are a multitude of sources that show fresh is cheaper, I came down this morning to find my beloved Elipta espresso and filter combination coffee maker with cup warming feature gone! No ceremony, no farewell last taste, just gone! Along with the taste and smell that no longer stimulate my senses of a morning I also found a multitude of secondary pleasures now wanting; the performance of making coffee! From the grinding of the beans in my KitchenAid with 15 precision grinding levels, the familiar taps, knocks, shakes, the low growling through to the climactic roaring that showers forth pure liquid gold! I had no idea I needed all these things to make my morning coffee the experience it was…..but my protestations fell on deaf ears……there must be an App available for such emergencies.

I still retain my iphone….though with an App purchasing limit.

Day 3

Due to the lack of decent coffee I got a headache, had to lie down, and so possessed no inclination to write yesterday; there’s a little electricity saved. Speaking of which, I type this wearing for the second time – double that which I thought I’d have to suffer it – the abominable Christmas jumper knitted for me by Great Aunt Flo; the heating has been off all day and coming home from the office it felt like entering a morgue, the coffee failed to warm me but thank heavens Harriet had dug out this jumper for me to wear!

However, it was dinner that suffered the most tonight under the new regime; duck with oranges rather than cherries I can abide, but what I will not stand for is ice cream without the little star-shaped chocolate sprinkles doused all over it!! Needless to say I stood for it……I took the dog for a walk, I did threaten to take it for a drive as a high meat diet supplying the calories for said walk creates a greater carbon footprint than driving…..but I didn’t want to risk the prospect of meat-free meals.

Day 7

It’s been a week and the only plus side I can see to the ‘experiment’ is that I’m not the only one reduced to wearing a silly jumper! Regardless of my efforts to maintain the status quo, last night was ‘vegetarian night’ and due to the 75% ‘success’ rate it is to become pluralized.

We are having a family meeting later to run through the figures and see how much we’ve saved….my suggestion to have a professional look them over was ignored.

We appear to be doing very well…praise was given all round with an especial emphasis placed upon my coffee and packed lunches…I thought it was probably a little overstated but I’m not ashamed to admit I felt a pang of pride.

Day 10

There is foul play afoot! As I was rummaging through the rubbish in search of the copper wire I’d inadvertently thrown away I spied not one, not two, but three Penguin wrappers!!! Not since the very beginning of this laudable crusade has the biscuit of the gods been seen under this roof; a collective sacrifice of a greater impact I’m confident in saying has not been made!

I retrieved the three wrappers and concocted my plan on how to catch the usurper…….

As you well know, Penguin wrappers have printed on them what are akin to Christmas cracker jokes, my idea was to drop some references to these and through the observance of subtle eye movements, body ticks and breathing rates I would determine the culprit…………………

I’m now partaking of tomorrow’s wine allocation with which to console to myself.

Day 11

After leaving both the kitchen and bathroom lights on all last night, and the fridge door open I have taken the decision to forgo the search for the Penguin pincher and concentrate on more productive means of money-saving: namely energy-saving light bulbs. Did you know that by changing just one inefficient filament bulb with an energy-saving alternative it could save you about three whole pounds a year? I did not know this, and that swapping all the bulbs could save you around fifty-five English pounds? Again I must confess my ignorance. But did you also know that the majority of the 650 million light bulbs in the UK are inefficient ones, and that changing them all will add up to a significant reduction in the nation’s energy consumption? Well you do now, and this I am told is a laudable aim to which we should all aspire.

Day 12

I was lead to believe that from the very term ‘light bulb’ I was to expect light to be emitted; for it is certainly not an apt description of its weight.

Day 13

I have a broken toe and began an hourly subscription to the swear jar.

Day 14

At the family meeting this evening I took the opportunity to unveil my new energy-saving device that I have calculated will generate enough electricity in order to bring back ‘Computer Game Night’ to twice a week! A number of free-standing, waist-height ‘windmills’ will be dotted about the house, all we have to do each time we walk passed one is spin it, they are all wired up to a storage device into which can be plugged whatever area of pleasure you wish………this last choice of words did dampen the dramatic unveiling somewhat as the laughter took some time to subside, but it was welcomed most favourably and I trust it not remiss of me to say that it wasn’t just the one area of pleasure opened that evening……


Day 1
Today is the first day of our new and much-needed economy drive, needless to say my husband is opposed to the idea and has begun to stomp around the place huffing and puffing, and mumbling about household dynamics getting thrown off kilter – amusing in itself as these comments would suggest at least a fleeting knowledge about how this household is run…..
My remarks about the X3 seem to have had the desired effect….does this man not know me at all?!
My first unilateral decision was to get rid of all his infernal coffee-making paraphernalia; the noise that must be suffered and the contraptions that must be clambered over in order to reach the teabags, just for him to have one of his silly little espressos in his silly little pre-warmed cups was enough to make that decision an unconscious one. And I had no idea that he was so attached to the minutiae of coffee-making that his monologue on the subject nearly had me in sympathy……….nearly.
Day 2
Quiet day today; the ‘droppings of the devil’s own rabbit’ as he is wont to call instant coffee have given him a headache so he went straight to bed when he got in.
I’ve cut back on the amount of time the heating is on during the day and I’ve no reason to see why it should be on full blast of an evening either, so I’m preparing myself for the……Arctic reference I’ll plump for……..and have dug out the family’s set of reindeer jumpers from Great Aunt Jo. I wonder whether I set myself up for Grayson’s rants but the children and I just find them so comical that I’m loathed to give them up, and besides, I think he quite enjoys it; after a day of kissing arse at work he needs the release.
Day 3
Checked all the use by dates on all the food this morning and resisted the temptation to bin everything that was past it; there were only a couple of things anyway, namely the duck and the oranges which made the decision as to what we were having for dinner an easy one. As well as money-saving I’m also going to try to instil a little more healthy eating and environmental awareness; there’ll be a vegetarian night at least once a week – the amount of carbon produced by the meat industry is frankly criminal – and certainly no more of those pointless chocolate star sprinkly things, I don’t think anyone really likes them anyway and only eat them because they’re there; the habit of buying stuff because I’ve always bought it I need to shake!
And it was a morgue, not the Arctic.
Day 4
Faith and I in order to save water are converting to showers instead of baths as the simple yet effective experiment conducted today showed. She’ll be fine with it, we’ll have one more each to use up all the Moroccan Rose Otto bath oil and then it’s over to less exotic means of replenishing one’s skin, as it does dry out if proper care is not taken.
We’re sticking with the more expensive dog food……needless to say Barnabus was not happy with his change of diet.
Day 5
I’ve succumbed to buying myself a packet of ‘Boss’s Perk Penguins’……I do feel a little guilty about it…..but when that chocolate coats the inside of my mouth all guilt disappears, leaving only a decadent taste of forbidden pleasure…….it’s only day 5.
Day 6
Vege’ night was a triumph! The spinach and ricotta gnocchi was inspired (thank you James Martin!) With three votes in favour of upping it to two nights next week, and one abstaining – which frankly is as close to a ‘yes’ as we’re ever likely to get from a man who seriously believes that vegetarians are lacking a chromosome!
Day 7

The family meeting went well, and although I’m sure Gray noticed the slightly patronising extra emphasis placed on his good behaviour with regards to coffee and packed lunches, I definitely heard a more pronounced self-satisfied tapping coming from the keys of his laptop this evening. In all seriousness he is doing well, and although he doesn’t want me to catch him I have noticed his little ‘to be repaired’ pile that previously would be in the ‘to be replaced’ one, and with no more quips about turning up to an earthquake with a dustpan and brush whenever he puts anything in the recycling boxes I think we’re on the way, if not to a full-blown conversion, to at least a vague idea of in which direction Damascus lies.
Day 10
I’ve been rumbled!! I knew I should’ve taken more care in disposing of those Penguin wrappers! Gone are the days when one can close the lid of the bin in the sure and certain knowledge that the next pair eyes to lay upon its contents will be that of a landfill gull……..oh lord he’s coming to confront me!
Inspector Morse he is most definitely not. Even Inspector Clouseau is leagues ahead; what on earth was he thinking? It took all my strength not to burst out laughing as he made inane reference after inane reference to penguins; what they like to drink, their mating habits and where they go when feeling ill; it was only after Harvey told him to go away and take his perverse penguin-love with him that he skulked off and helped himself to tomorrow’s wine allocation.
It was odd though that he had no idea who out of the three of us it was, I assumed I was so transparent that he would immediately oust me as the culprit…..with more time to think I suspect he will come to the correct conclusion.
Day 11
It appears his time is up. With lights left on and a fridge door where it shouldn’t be, M. Poirot is now feeling too guilty to continue his investigation and has been sent to the shops to stock up on energy-saving light bulbs, but it seems he has left his brain somewhere else; rather than just make a list of the numbers of bayonets and screws and their sizes and take that, he proceeded to remove every light bulb we have in the house and take them all with him……I despair.
Day 12
One step forward, two steps back – we all had to suffer the wrath today due to the flagrant lack of immediacy shown by the new light bulbs. I admit they take a little time to reach their full strength but I don’t believe this to be a bad thing; it allows one’s eyes to gradually become accustomed and just so long as one doesn’t go charging head long into a semi-lit room nothing will get broken.
Day 13
Me and my big mouth. And the swear jar hasn’t seen such action since Barnabus’ not inconsiderable head made violent contact with his master’s nether regions one Sunday morning – I even had a call from Harvey’s form tutor asking where my usually so polite and chastely spoken cherub had picked up such a cacophony of iniquitous language? I explained the situation and Mr. Bent – why on earth he went into teaching with a name like that is beyond me – fully understood.
Day 14
Bless him, bless him, bless him, he tries so terribly hard at times and if his new-fangled contraption wasn’t enough to have us in stitches then his suggestion that we all have sex with it certainly was. But we played our parts admirably, and when the children had gone to bed, and the lights were dimmed more than usual, I allowed him a decadent taste of forbidden pleasure – we ate Penguins in bed.


so there you have it….enough links for you all? i hope you didn’t click on any of them; they’re of no help to anybody, except maybe the penguin one for the americans