police station

I didn’t say ‘in the police station’, did I? So this is not about me turning to crime – however tempting this is, listening to our politicians – but about driving; and (not) finding my way around.

I didn’t learn to drive young – my attitude to driving was always similar to that of Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman: I reckoned my first car will be a limousine and I’ll have a driver. By the time I was in my late twenties there was no limousine, no driver and I was getting really fed up with waiting at the bus stop in the cold, dark and rain.

So I learned to drive: my patient and generally lovely driving instructor on occasion will growl

“Uncross your legs, you ….[add a rude word of your choice]”

and my favourite song while driving was

“It ain’t mean a thing if it doesn’t have this swing.”

Eventually, on the second attempt, I passed my test but you get the picture; and I drove to work every day but never enjoyed it. Not least because most of the time I have absolutely no idea where I am, how to get where I wish to be or what the map is trying to tell me!

John, on the other hand, claims that driving is smooth and beautiful like poetry. Which makes the division of effort in this area clear: John does most of the driving. As to me, I’ve already told you: once I realised exactly how much my employer charges me to park I stopped driving to works; this was almost three years ago.

Today was the day when after about a year of not driving at all (yep, it is true and also means that I have not driven our new car) I had to drive myself to karate lesson. Briefly considered going on my bike but had to give up when John burst out laughing and said he could imagine the headlines in the yellow press:

Woman in karate suit found cycling to Stratford-upon-Avon!

And I needed to get to Stretford in Manchester. Driving it was and the sat nav was fully armed. After a string of missed turns and closed roads (today is the Manchester marathon) the pleasant female voice told me to turn left and I’ll be at my destination – the Stretford leisure centre. I did! Looked around and the first thing I saw was a big sign saying

Police Station

The second thing I saw was two policemen walking towards me and smiling – it was that obvious that I have managed to get lost.

When I finally arrived at the leisure centre, heart pounding and blood pressure as high as Mont Blanc, the class was cancelled. So I drove back home and went for a 6 mile run – now I feel calm enough.

Thank goodness I can find my way around the internet so much better than my way to my karate class; otherwise who knows where I may have ended up.

Now, it’s time for the articles that caught my attention this week.

You know how sometime you read the medical dictionary (well, I know that one ought to be fairly strange to do that but then again some people go train spotting and others play cricket) and you discover you have most of the illness described? Well, this is almost what happened to me this week. J.D. Roth over at More Than Money published an article about having ADHD: I was reading thinking ‘yep, I have this and that, and also that’. True, I have all symptoms he mentions – I have been thinking that it is tiredness but maybe I should talk to my doctor.

Have you heard about the Diderot Effect? OK, let’s try this slightly differently: have you heard the story about the man who bought a new sofa and it didn’t fit in his house? Well, next thing, he had to buy a bigger house, needed to decorate it, wanted more furniture and needed to spend more to keep it warm and in shape. Next the house felt empty so he got a wife and ten children (ok, I made this one up). Still don’t get it? Read Paula Pant’s article on this; and for the record, the Diderot effect sounds so much better than ‘lifestyle inflation’.

Have I mentioned that I seriously believe that science policy is easy: we ought to put all public funding in finding another planet and developing ways to get there – it is probably too late to save this one. It is still worth trying though, right? Roger at The Amateur Financier certainly thinks so and has suggested eight ways to do that and save money at the same time. Some of these make sense; but were you to decide to clean your house with vinegar be warned: it stinks.

Should your teen get a job? Cindy at Midlife Finance asks a question close to my heart at present and I will answer ‘yes, without a doubt’. At the same time I am not a great example of that myself – in fact I remember some friends and John discussing their summer jobs; after they has been through waitressing, washing in a kitchen and washing the walls in a psychiatric hospital, I piped in that I’ve had summer jobs as well: on an archaeological dig.

Honestly, I have tried reading investment sites; and…and nothing. I am not ashamed that I find Kant easier, more pleasurable and more educational to read (and this is telling you something because Kant didn’t write about investments). Then I found Makin’ Sense Babe! Simple, fun and useful; who can beat that? Go and read/watch this one and then read/watch some more. I certainly will!

Can you live on almost nothing? Well, not nothing but about £1 ($1.50) per day for food. Many in the UK are taking the challenge; My Money Blog is also taking the challenge of living below the line. Menu look delish but there is a problem: too much carbs and too little protein. Nothing should stand between a woman of a certain age and her protein; and I also think that we shouldn’t need to eat on less than £1 in the 21st century. Then again, I’ve been wrong before.

Finally, Simple Living in Suffolk talks about two things I am very interested in: capitalism and chocolate. Of course, my interest is different in each; but if you wish to know why you may be prepared to pay a lot for little chocolate read the article.

Now, how did The Money Principle do this week?

We were included in four personal finance carnivals:

Yakezie Carnival at Thirtysixmonths.com
Carnival of Retirement at PF Carny
Carnival of Financial Planning at Planting Our Pennies

This is all for now, my friends. Speak soon.

photo credit: Danny McL via photopin cc