I was thinking maybe I should issue an Alternative Autumn Statement. If George can issue an Autumn Statement, despite the fact that, being so near the end of November, it's more of a Winter Statement, then so can I.
I should, of course, have leaked a few juicy details to the press in advance but to be honest I only thought about the whole Statement idea a few minutes ago. I expect George spent quite a long time over his Statement
but mine has just kind of evolved over the course of, well, at least a quarter of an hour.
Timing is everything and today is one month away from Christmas. As a result, given the combination of Christmas,
the Twinkles' first birthday and Our Jack's Coming of Age, the household economy is suffering from a Run on the Bank. Hopefully we will avoid heading into deficit and it is anticipated that the New Year may see a slight recovery, only hampered by the sheer
number of January birthdays in the diary.
At the time of writing, it is hoped to reduce cuts to a minimum especially as Mr B suffers from the shivers whenever I am foolhardy enough to turn the heating down.
Certain other budgets will also be protected, in particular the Christmas card budget and the knitting wool budget (toys for the making of) though I am prepared to out-source the latter to the charity shop down the road, so effecting a savings of around 30%.
Mr B made a stand in the Upper House on maintaining the cigarettes and whiskey budgets intact, using his bargaining power to agree that he would forego the temptation of "wild, wild women." It seemed wise, given the strength of the opposition, to execute a
swift U turn though obviously I am not describing it as such. Having recalculated the amount of money saved on car parking by using our free bus passes, a concession in the Interests of Contentment can now be afforded.
On the housing front, I am delighted to report that we have contributed to the relief of the national housing shortage by welcoming new neighbours on both sides. Both houses were actually sold several months ago but nobody moved in, giving us cause
to wonder whether it was anything to do with us. Occupation has now been effected and I have posted Welcome to Your New Home cards to both houses. This is a small investment towards future Good Neighbourly Relations, an Invest to Save Initiative which is expected
to reap rewards over time.
My other major Invest to Save initiative is in coffee shop loyalty cards of which I possess so many that it is impossible to shut my purse properly. This leads to frequent spillages
of coins into the depths of my handbag which is is A Good Thing as it means there is usually a Hidden Fund which can be pillaged in difficult circumstances. As in affording a decaffeinated skinny latte in the M &S cafe when I haven't totted up enough cuppas
to qualify for a freebie.
Education remains a priority, being pursued via the venerable University of the Third Age which has life-long learning as one of its core tenets. My table of four at our Nomination
Whist group this afternoon proved that we still have a lot to learn, our Scores on the Doors being so painfully low that Avril suggested we should accidentally on purpose spill coffee over the score sheets before the other table (on which Mr B was reigning
supreme) asked to see them.
We did, however, find time to discuss Elderly Welfare at some length, enabling Pat to identify exactly what she is looking for in a male companion. Namely (i) height - over six
foot for preference; (ii) a full head of hair (grey or silver no obstacle) and (iii) intelligent conversation. There is no doubt that Elderly Welfare, on this showing, may remain a considerable challenge.
On the Environment, we continue to carry extra Bags for Life in the boot of our car for unexpected trips to the shops. The cupboard under the stairs is so crammed with Bags for Life that it is impossible to find the vacuum cleaner without turning everything
out onto the hall floor. It is unlikely, given my Great Age, that I will live long enough to wear them all out. However in Economy Related Matters one should always consider the value of Future Proofing.
for Climate Change, well, Mr B and I remain extremely concerned about it. I mean, it's suddenly got really, really cold outside, don't you think?
There can be no better way to end an Autumn Statement than
with an uplifting message so I will turn to Little Orphan Annie: "The sun will come out tomorrow.... Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow. You're only a day away."
When it comes to making a statement, somebody
should tell George that there's nobody to beat Annie. Whatever the season.