I'm suppose to look puzzled, not angry!

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I have a book to publish. Editors love it, marketing departments say 'up the media profile'. So here I am 'upping it' and writing about the book, food, and life in general.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

How many bottles of wine does it take to feed a family for a week? Five . . .

Two weeks ago our local paper reported that families were starving in my home town.  Some children were going to school with nothing more than a slice of bread or a couple of biscuits in their packed lunch boxes.  A local church was asking for food donations to help out the desperate.  I decided to tackle Ged-the-husband about it.

"Darling, we have to give up drinking wine on school nights."  I could see the fear in Ged's eyes.  I could see my fear in Ged's eyes.  The idea of not sharing a bottle of wine over dinner every night was very scary.  We were having this discussion at 9.20am but the thought of not drinking wine that evening was making me desperate for an immediate shot of alcohol.  Did that mean I was an alcoholic?  Probably.

"Think of the benefits Ged.  We'll be slimmer, healthier, our skin will glow, we won't get wrinkles, we'll have boundless energy . . ."  I believed some of it but not all.  I've spent years convincing myself that the wine I drink cuts through all the fat I eat and sort of breaks it down so I can wee it out, no harm done.

For the first two days of our abstinence I  could think of little else other than my neeeed for a glass of wine.  I don't know if it was physical or psychological but the craving was impossible to ignore.  But we did it and this is what five days of no wine bought - yes, a whole bootful of food.  That's only £25.

I've been telling just about everyone I meet about the starving families because I've got a big mouth and I can't help it.  My big mouth is a blessing and a curse.  It means well but is often misunderstood.

The average response is, "The government provide enough money. These parents must be spending it all on booze and fags instead of feeding their children."

I'm sure in some cases the parents may drink and smoke but if children are starving then they have to be fed by someone.  Most families are struggling because there is no work, housing benefit has been cut and they have to spend their meagre government handout on topping up their rent and paying fuel bills.  Even if they don't put the heating on they still need to pay for lighting and hot water.

700,000 parents who work and claim Family Tax Credit are still living beneath the poverty line. Their children are not entitled to free school meals and it's not bloody fair.

If anyone feels they can help in any way please contact the lovely Suzanne Waddicor at the Grassroots Centre.

Two weeks down the line we are still waiting for the boundless energy and glowing skin etc but I'm sure it will come, all in good time.

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