Everybody is cutting back. And I mean everyone. Even the rich. Mind you, rich people never spent much anyway. That's how they got their money in the first place and how they keep it.
I remember once doing a charter flight to an exclusive ski resort in the French Alps and the passengers being outraged about having to pay for the Champagne. Almost all of them decided to opt for the wine instead, for which there was no charge. Now I'm sure they'd smuggle in their own wine if they could. From Lidl.
Last year at the races, the girl at the Champagne stand told me she was struggling to sell bottles. A few years ago the ladies in the fancy hats wouldn't have been seen dead drinking anything else. It's a real sign of the times when the ladies who lunch now order sparkling wine and get the bus home afterwards.
Most people don't mind tightening their belts. Anybody with a shred of sense shops around for a good deal. I used to feel a tad sorry for people who made lists of what they wanted to buy, and who fussed at the top of the check-out queue with cut-out coupons. I wasn't one of those people holding up the rest of the line. God, no, but parenthood changed all that. Now I know the price of a pint of milk and a loaf of bread. And I couldn't tell you the price of a cocktail in any Dublin bar.
Mind you, most people don't scrimp and save when it comes to their kiddies. They cut back on their own luxuries and after all, it seems very unfair to take the recession out on kids. After all, they didn't live it up for the past few years, or think that an apartment in Bulgaria was a wonderful investment, or put their name down on a waiting list for a 'must-have' designer bag. And sure, what's the point in having kids if you can't give them stuff?
It's so lovely to see the joy on their faces when they get something new. Even if that joy lasts no longer than 10 seconds. And they're then yelling for something else.
I cannot pass a baby shop without buying something little like a pair of mittens with a teddy on them. As a shopaholic, I can't possibly cut back on shopping for my child. But I can cut back in other ways. Or can I?
Gary's hair had got very long recently and was in his eyes. I thought I'd cut it myself instead of going to the barber.
Big mistake. Gary now has a pudding bowl cut. And there's a bit of unflattering zig zagging going on with the fringe. Yes it's the same awful hairdo that we never forgave our own parents for giving us back in the day. So sorry, my son. It'll never happen again.