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The Euro resolution

By Paul Flower on Jan 1, 09 11:20 AM

I appear to have lost my resolve. Not the fizzy hangover cure - though God knows I could use it - but the spirit and intent that we're meant to have at this time of year.

I've never been great at resolutions, I'm generally too indecisive to even make a list of things I could and should change about myself. The other thing is that whilst I can see the use of having a 'benchmark' like the New Year to start something positive, it's not usually a good time given that we're at our weakest from a long period of over indulgence and inaction. Or maybe that's just me. I haven't even contemplated work for about 8 days now and I have to force myself to sit and type this, despite having a plethora of blog ideas spilling from my brain.

Perhaps I just lack willpower. If I had resolved to improve my diet I'd have blown that within 15 minutes of waking this morning as I consumed two chocolate biscuits for breakfast. In my defence we did receive about four tins of biscuits at Christmas, is that really a defence? Similarly if I'd resolved to waste less time it would've been broken just after the biscuit incident as I spent 45 minutes on Mario Kart trying to unlock the Funky Kong character (and failing). Maybe I should resolve to get better at Mario Kart, if only I had more time!

I suppose I may have resolved to try something new at least once a month - something I started in November when I learned to ride a bicycle, and continued yesterday when I had my first ever cut-throat shave, performed by an expert of course. Who'd have thought there was an expert at such things in Holbrooks, Coventry? Although I guess the locals do regularly wield sharp instruments on their average night out so they probably have the practice!

chest of drawers.JPGI have sort of resolved to spend less money this year, something brought upon us all by necessity I imagine. Again though my timing is a little awry as I have to replace our bedroom furniture this month, another product of necessity as it is literally falling apart. I shouldn't be surprised by this as I built it from an Ikea flatpack and I have no manual skills of any kind. This photo was not staged - it does really look like this, the top two drawers having disintegrated in the last few wks.

I also need to buy a bike as I learned on a borrowed bike and should probably return it. Unfortunately the fabulous 'sales' I've been hearing so much about do not seem to have materialised for products that I'm interested in. Far be it from me to suggest that hype is at work here, but is stuff really any cheaper?

I did think about monitoring my spending by keeping a daily record and publishing it in my other blog , this seems a bit obsessive though and may only serve to illustrate ridiculous spending patterns. No doubt some retailer or other would also use it as market research. The other problem is that it sounds like too much hard work.

My friend Gary is a life-coach, psychology-expert and all-round-know-it-all. He's constantly reminding people about the need to set realistic goals. I appreciate the concept but lack the resolve. You should probably be looking to him for help, not me. If I remember I'll even put a link to his site here.

The fun of being European

I have recently been experiencing the irony of being a British citizen in Europe. There are no trade barriers, we can all work and live there but thanks to the slump in the pound we now can't afford to visit Europe.

I've been in Ireland twice in the last few months as the pound continued to slide. After Xmas I spent two days in Dublin which became considerably more expensive than I'd planned for. The value of currency is never a reality until you experience it and realise that European prices were set when the pound was about €1.45, consequently anything costing ten pounds sterling would be around €14.50 in a European City.

The most notable example of this is also what I'd consider to be one of Ireland's national emblems, a pint of Guinness. Normally in Dublin I'd consume many of these, probably more than is healthy and far more than you can imagine. This time around I had one pint, just one. It cost €5.50 which, at the current value of the pound, is over five pounds for a pint.

I doubt I'll be back in Dublin at any time soon which is a massive bloody shame as it's a great place and I love to travel. Unfortunately the economy has removed this pleasure, we'll all have to stay at home and welcome our European friends coming here for bargains instead. Bugger!

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