‘When loo rolls seem like luxury items, we know our economy has gone down the pan’

Talk of the mini-budget with all the shorting of the pound and cancelling of tax rates, the IMF and OBR goes straight over my head.

All I know, for sure, is that shop prices and household bills are rocketing. Things are bad when Greggs add extra pennies to their pastries and I start to question whether I can afford my favourite M&S rhubarb jam at £2.50 a jar.

When loo rolls seem like luxury items, we know our economy has gone down the pan.

I know Martin Lewis is a genius at money-saving advice. But maybe I could be his mouthy sidekick?

I’d speak at world conferences, telling the nations to stop spending billions of pounds sending rockets to space when its our people here on Earth who need the help. Why send a probe to Mars when people are sending their kids to school hungry?

I’d insist anyone who wears designer gear is daft. It doesn’t take a fancy spreadsheet or pie chart to prove I can walk just as well in a pair of Primark trainers as ones 10 times the price. A fancy logo or bit of embroidery does not improve performance or status.

And the fact Saudi Arabia is hosting the Asian Winter Olympic Games in a city that doesn’t yet exist is farcical.

People are really spending money to recreate winter weather in the heart of the desert?

This week marked the 86th anniversary of the start of the Jarrow March, when 200 unemployed and hungry men marched from South Tyneside to London in a protest against poverty and malnutrition. The fact we face the same problems today is a devastating disgrace.

I’m like Zippy to stop being nippy
There was a time when talk amongst my friends was about mini skirts and dresses we’d bought for the weekend dance.

Now it’s how we all keep warm at home without burning tenners.

When I FaceTimed Sheila this week she was snuggled up in what looked like a skinned teddy.

She told me fleecy teddy fitted sheets on beds and onesies are all the rage and keep her toasty.

So me and Beryl treated ourselves to taupe-coloured teddy blankets, which were £10 from Dunelm, and we’ve never felt so cosy.

But now Beryl looks like Bungle from the kids’ TV show Rainbow. And with my mouth, I’m like Zippy.

So, although we’re warm, we’ve accepted we’ll never be cool.

Sheila take a bow
My friend Sheila’s kindness is endless. But if anyone who didn’t know us overheard us, they’d think we were a pair of squabbling scrappers.

This week, Sheila brought me a delicious beef stew, five Fry’s Chocolate Cream bars and four homemade mascarpone and lime cupcakes.

I can’t cook like Sheila. I can’t run out to the shops. And I couldn’t send her flowers because she warned me I’d better not.

So I sent her a little gift voucher just to say thank you for all her generosity towards me. That’s when the fighting talk started.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she said down the phone. “I don’t want your gift card.”

“Fine,” I said. “Take a lighter to it and burn it.”

Not Delighted
I’m not sure I’ve ever looked forward to chocolate as much as the Fry’s Chocolate Cream bars Sheila found in B&M Home Stores this week.

Just looking at the original flavour, peppermint, orange and two Turkish Delight bars made me feel excited. It took years off me because it’s so long since I’ve had one.

But when my eldest son Jonathan popped in unexpectedly I made a big mistake in offering him one without thinking it through. He said: “I’ll have a Turkish Delight one mum, thanks.”

I was gutted.

If you’d like to contact Val, please email [email protected] or write to: Val Savage, PO Box 7290, E14 5DD. The Mirror makes a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society in lieu of payment.