The Art of Getting By

Pull up a seat and join me in my local Cafe Rouge. I have ordered what I always order in my favourite French restaurant. A Full English breakfast. Et pourquoi pas? A good meal, cooked properly. In theory. While I wait, I will have a browse through the paper – I subscribe to the digital edition of The Times. It tells me each day what type of doom awaits me tomorrow, so I can be properly prepared.

Gas prices are rocketing. Each day the wholesale price of the stuff reaches new highs. I’m on a cheap fixed deal till the end of the year, then my bills will shoot up by £20 to £30 a month. But that’s ok. Our internet service is currently on a super fast fibre plan that we really don’t need, and I’ll save £20 to £30 a month by signing up for a more appropriate deal.

Petrol prices are soaring as well. But that’s ok, because Mrs P works from home two days a week, saving me at least half a dozen trips. On top of that, lockdowns over the last year and a bit meant fewer car crashes, and my annual car insurance dropped in price by over a hundred pounds as a result. So I’m quids in there.

Rishi Sunak’s budget wasn’t kind to me. Higher taxes are on the way. But that’s ok, because I’m going to cancel my television license after Christmas. That should cover the extra cash I’m paying out to HM Treasury. Inflation is on the up too. But that’s also ok, because I pay nearly £20 subs to my union each month, to ensure they beat inflation busting pay rises out of my employer.

We all do what we need to do to get by. Cafe Rouge has been hugely impacted by the coronavirus restrictions and by Brexit, in what was already a very challenging sector of the hospitality industry. My breakfast arrived at my table a bit slower than used to be the case, a bit smaller than it used to be, not quite as well cooked as it once was and yet a bit more expensive.

I have rumbled Cafe Rouge’s plan on how they are intend to get by. Less for more. It’s a popular ruse. But I like the occasional treat of a Full English here, so I’ll continue to bite.

4 thoughts on “The Art of Getting By

  1. My fuel oil will run about double this winter, the electric is up due to natural gas being double last year’s price, it was a-cheap-cheap-cheap price (just over 2 USD a cubic thousand), none of the two utility costs are more than I’ve paid in some years past.
    The restaurants are cutting hours of operation, due to a shortage of help-people my age are retiring in droves, it adds up. Petrol is selling at 3.20 USD a gallon, I’ve paid 4.20 within the last decade. I’m not getting excited just yet.
    When I retired in 2008, I figured on 4% inflation when I did my numbers on retirement income and what I needed. The numbers have mostly been below 2%, I’m way ahead as near as I can figure. We’ll have 4-5 % inflation this year, wages were depressed, supply lines were too fragile to hold up and the government pumped a boatload of money into the poor and middle class’s bank accounts-people who actually spend government froth.
    The economists were fretting about low inflation ,(I’ve never understood that stance), now they have 4% and they are having a hissy.
    I’m off to the hardware store for some pipe fittings-I’m sure I will pay more than the last go-round with my pipes but it will not break me. You and I sail the same boat, 4000 miles apart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once upon a time, at the beginning of my working life/end of Thatcher’s reign in the early 90s, I worked for a convenience chain called WH Cullens. It was a small chain, but quite prestigious. My work mostly entailed repricing the entire shop each week. We had to try to keep up with inflation which peaked at nearly 10%. Still, at the beginning of Thatcher’s time in office, inflation reached 11.5%. At the start of her leadership of the Tory party, it topped 25%. I suspect we will survive a period of 5% inflation.

      If my salary keeps up with inflation and interest rates stay low, that’s all fine by me. It’s the easiest way to pay off a goodly chunk of my mortgage.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “[A] bit slower than used to be the case, a bit smaller than it used to be, not quite as well cooked as it once was and yet a bit more expensive.”

    The mantra of modern man.


    1. I had in mind your favourite phrase from Calvin Coolidge. I couldn’t work it into the post though, because I came up only with five problems. And none of them ended up in a ditch. The good news is that I am managing to bat them all safely away. So far.


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