Sunday, 4 May 2014

Final day Living Below the Line

Yesterday was day 5 of Living of Below the Line.
Having been quite strict at the start of the 5 days we found we had a reasonable amount left to play around with. Now if you are very strict with the rules of Living Below the Line you should only have £1 worth of food each day. That means you can't eat 25p for first 4 days and then £4 on the last day. However, this wasn't an intentional thing, it just happened that we had extra on the last day. I suppose for those people living in poverty they wouldn't be eating up leftovers on day 5, I guess they'd be pleased to have stretched their limited budget a little further and that they'd have more to spend the following week.
An example of this was lunch. We had our luxury item, a pack of sausages, to eat, and we also had 2 eggs leftover. This meant both me and dear hubby were able to have a fried egg and sausage sandwich for lunch. Which was delicious!
Realistically I could have had either the egg OR the sausages, not had both together.

My sister in law (SIL) and her fiance came to visit, which was lovely. We had to warn them that we would still be Living Below the Line, but they offered to sneak off if they needed food.
We went out for a little walk and some geocaching. If you haven't done this its super fun, you get the GPS coordinates of some item someone has left and you go find it. Some are boxes you can put a small token in and write your name on a log book to say you found it, some are tiny and can only fit in a tiny piece of paper for names. My SIL has the app on her phone and we found 5 at Rivington Reservoir, there were a few more, but the battery on her phone was dying, not to mention EJ was getting grumpy.
Going out was a challenge because we would normally stop off for icecream or a cup of tea, but we didn't have any funds, so instead we took some squash in a bottle and the last few custard creams.

When we got home for tea we were having the left over bolognese, and I defrosted some bolognese from the freezer for SIL and future Brother in Law (BIL), so we could eat together.
Pudding was pancakes, a definite favourite all around.

Monkey enjoying his pancake.

One thing I've realised today is that having friends or family round, or showing hospitality to people costs.
We take for granted that we can invite people round for a meal, for a brew, for a meeting, and that we'll have food/drink for them.
 Almost every week at our bible study group we meet at our house, and often have cake or biscuits. This week we couldn't even offer a drink other than water. Now obviously everyone who came was fully supportive of what we're doing and didn't mind at all, but imagine if you had people coming round and you couldn't afford anything for them. What would you say/do? Find an excuse to postpone or just not offer anything? If you struggled to make ends meet how would you feel if your kids wanted a friend round for dinner? A work friend who has 3 kids told me she regularly has 7 kids round for tea. How can you do this if you're struggling to even feed yourself?

So how did we end the 5 days? Unbelievably we had some food left:
 800ml of milk (mainly because Monkey and hubby didn't have breakfast)
 1/3 jar of jam (10p)
 1/2 a loaf of bread (23p)
 3 yogurts (24p)
 500g Cornflakes (28p)
1/2 banana (5p)
4 portions of lentil soup (40p)
So £1.30 worth. Don't worry it won't be wasted. I froze the soup in portions so I can take them to work, and the rest is gradually being used now.

I enjoyed my breakfast this morning immensely. A cup of tea and toast with butter. This few days has been a real challenge, but mentally as much as anything. I have found it really humbling to think again about just how much we have, and hopefully it will have had a lasting effect.

I heard a great song yesterday on UCB, called Do Something which I thought was very significant for what we'd just been doing. I just wanted to share the lyrics:

"I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how'd we ever get so far down
How's it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"
Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, "God, why don't You do something?"

He said, "I did, I created you"

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something

I'm so tired of talking
About how we are God's hands and feet
But it's easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It's alright, "somebody else will do something"
Well, I don't know about you
But I'm sick and tired of life with no desire
I don't want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
"I'm gonna do something"

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we're never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won't stand still 
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something"

 Matthew West - Do Something Lyrics 

If you'd like to Do Something you could donate to help those in extreme poverty here.
Thanks for reading about our Live Below the Line journey. I'll post one more follow up post tomorrow!

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