Last week’s Budget was an unwelcome reminder of this ugly recession. As if we needed reminding. It was a call to rethink my spending yet again, as I grappled with figures trying to understand what the Budget’s implications were for me.
Throughout the broadcast I rang my unemployed younger brother, forgetting of course that he would be asleep and I should ring back after dark…At 21, he just missed out on having his dole halved and can continue his oversleeping at ease..
My other brother reckoned he would be cutting back further as his taxes went up, his wages went down and a general air of uncertainty hung over his job. Paying rent in town has already meant having to curb his socialising. Never one to sit in on an evening, ever, I was sure he was finding it hard to watch tv on a Monday or be satisfied with jogging on a Tuesday.
Before, when times were good, his diary overflowed with mid-week activities, cinema trips, pub quizzes, comedy nights, while the rest of us struggled to stay awake during the soaps. His endless energy had him out till all hours and still up before dawn. Even after being struck with Typhoid while travelling last year, no sooner was he safely returned to us from the hospital in Bangkok than he was off out drinking, relishing in his dramatic tale and ignoring all instructions to rest.
Certain that he was finding a more moderate lifestyle difficult, I wasn’t surprised to hear he had a new hobby, but I didn’t expect it to be – baking! Picturing him in an apron and up to his elbows in flour was a hysterical thought, considering I’m use to seeing him with a pint in one arm and a girl on the other. Usually something as girly as baking would invite sniggering all round from him and his friends..
However, a surplus of ingredients after Pancake Tuesday had developed into a nightly event of creative confectionary treats being whipped up in his kitchen. On visiting I was greeted with the most delicious desserts, dripping with chocolate and oozing with calories, jam sponges, cup cakes and cookies. While he and his lads swapped beers for biscuits, their female housemate pounded the pavements in fear of her waistline.
Funny how a lack of money can unearth new skills and interests in people. Heading home for dinner yesterday, I was hopeful for some of his desserts as an Easter treat. Unfortunately, his baking has yet to infringe on bank holiday drinking so he was off to the pub.
Once he got our younger brother out of bed…