A tale of two chickens, passwords, Heat and a little bit of shopping

folded pages of heat magazineThis week started badly. Very little sleep (my fault) Sunday night meant an exhausting Monday so I turned to my emergency list of DoDiffDaily’s – suggestions for just such a situation. ‘Read a celebrity magazine cover to cover’ – excellent I thought, nice and easy. I picked up a copy of Heat as I whizzed through a station.

Do you know Heat? Here’s an online review:

If Gossip in your thing then Heat is the mag for you. Every week they manage to jam it full of the latest Goss, Celeb pics, Interviews and other titbits! Seeing as they make all their money from getting close to celebs they certainly don’t pull their punches. It can be really cutting and make you wonder why anyone would ever want to be famous.

So I read it. Cover to cover. Took 40 minutes. I tweeted: I am on page 27 & have no clue who most of the people are. And then later, Not doing well with Heat. Page 58: “This is the time to have fun! By the time you are 50, you’ll probably have dementia anyway.” I am 46.

I felt old, out of touch. I was frankly bored by the facile commentary (wondering again if I was being a snob again).

Just now I completed a survey online about Heat. They asked which age I was: Age under 16, 16-24, 25-30, 31-35, 36-40, over 40.

Clearly I’m too old to read Heat. In some ways, a relief.

i player on my computer screen - showing the Great British Menu with subttlesObviously because of my advanced age, I continued to take it easy on Tuesday – I stopped work early when the kids came home from school and watched catch up TV on iPlayer. Usually by the time they arrive I know I have just 2 hours left and I go into typing overdrive – trying to finish off articles, construct emails, create complex Excel spreadsheets. It was nice to just stop, join in with their jokes, start the evening early.

Wednesday and Thursday’s #DoDiffDaily’s were prompted by an incident on Tuesday night when my email account was suspended. No emails for the next 15 hours. You really don’t want to know just how ridiculous my emotional response was (you’d have think I’d lost a limb, seriously).

a wordpress screen on my computer asking for my user name and passwordSo, apart from mentally logging that I need to do a #DoDiffDaily of a day without email (but on a day of MY choosing), I decided to spend that day changing passwords & (crucially) writing down the random answers I’ve given for security questions. It was a LONG day.

Just in case all your passwords are the same (as mine were) – here is a link to an article to scare you. I didn’t go as far as LastPass but I was tempted. Feeling smug now though.

On Thursday I just followed on in the same sort of vein – what other preemptive actions could I take? I’m usually only pushed into ‘computer action’ when a crisis occurs, could I sort out some things beforehand and save myself pain later?

So I did some research and installed the best spam filters on my websites and drove off to get my main laptop fixed before it breaks down completely (since the end of Nov its only been starting up with an odd and unusual selection of key strokes). Good job I took it in, was a simple fix but if I’d gone on with it as it was I would have damaged the hard drive. Smug again.

a pile of shopping bags - mainly H&M, some body shop and lush too. On the back of a buggy.Friday was lovely. I’d won some money (a draw for filling in a questionnaire on a train) and the cheque arrived. Instead of just banking it I decided to see it as a gift, and spend it all. Not just me; I gave some to people in the family too so they could buy themselves gifts. Very not sensible, very not me and also enormous fun.

I’m usually quite cautious with money; a bit tight even. I enjoy a bargin, love Freegle and Freecycle although my interest is more environmental than purely financial. When I do buy something ‘for me’ on a whim, I often feel guilty.

I’m not alone, it’s a well documented situation, but be warned:

Obsessive saving creates an unhealthy life outlook of constant scarcity. If you are always saving every penny for fear of the doom and gloom scenario that will suck you of all your life savings, then your spending habits are being controlled by fear—and that makes for bad life energy. Allowing yourself to spend money means you are trusting life that everything is going to be just fine.

‘Being controlled by fear’ – that’s one of the driving forces behind this year of doing things differently for me. I don’t want my actions in the world to be only the ones I wasn’t scared to make.

I’m not in debt, have good control over my finances, could afford to spend the money, so spend it was. And I really enjoyed the allocating – who could have what – and the researching and the clicking the ‘pay’ button (yes, there was a spread sheet, yes it included a number of colours). I loved sending the kids off with cash and watching them come back with bags and smiles. I’ll love a few boxes arriving next week in the post too, and I’ll definitely enjoy wearing new purple boots (you know the poem about getting old and wearing purple? It’s one of my mantras!)

white writing - scrawling notes - on a black padOn Saturday I spent the day taking notes by writing white on black – a suggestion from a friend of mine. It really makes the notes stand out, as its not what you expect, and I’m sure will make the contents stay with me. Another friend commented that it might link back to childhood memories of blackboards and chalk – all pushes towards learning and memories of learning. I’ll let you know!

And Sunday was the chicken challenge. Two roast chickens – one free range and costing over £10, one the cheapest one on the shelf, a mere £3. Who can taste the difference?

two uncooked chickens ready to go in the oven - one pale and one golden.They actually looked quite different colours, as the free ranger was corn fed so slightly yellow. We shifted it to which tasted better. Interesting results – 2 for the cheap, 3 for the expensive and one for both – ‘I just like chicken’. The two that preferred the cheap liked the softness and ease of eating…

I keep chickens, and have killed and eaten my own in order to make a point (I felt that if I was to eat meat, I really ought to be ok with the whole process. I was, it was fine). I have a ready supply of fantastic eggs and love my girls.

I wish I could say I bought free range chicken all the time. I was inspired by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall’s Chicken Out campaign, and did for a while, but then the prices just kept startling me and it stopped being quite such a common occurrence.

The horsemeat scandal has pushed it all into the headlines – cheap meat is crap meat, end of. And so, yet again, only those with money can have ‘the best’ and that just doesn’t sit right with me. I reckon we’ll see a big surge in synthetic meat soon – meat that’s ‘grown’ in laboratory’s to feed our hunger for eating flesh… Me? Am certainly going to have a vegetarian day or two this year (you know the environmental damage from eating meat?)  Now making a Sunday dinner for my family without using meat – that’s an idea to go on the emergency list…

All my own photos and if you want to follow the blog along, do sign up at the bottom right of the screen (and if you want to find out more about me, check out my other site www.joverrent.com).


One thought on “A tale of two chickens, passwords, Heat and a little bit of shopping

  1. Pingback: Just what is Jo doing this week? | Jo Verrent

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