Blowin’ in the wind

It’s started; I am officially turning into my parents. I am not sure which one I am going to end up as, but it would seem, with this current cold snap, it’s more likely I will be metamorphosing into my dad. When I was a kid he was the one patrolling the house, turning off the lights, closing windows and tutting if any heat or light was being squandered. These days it’s me: obsessing about keeping the shutters shut and getting stressed out about unnecessary expenditure.  If you don’t live in Mallorca you really can’t understand how unpleasantly clammy it gets in the winter. We have recently recreated my Dad’s take on Seventies’ double glazing and fixed thick plastic sheeting over doors and windows to prevent draughts. It feels as if we are preparing the family cave for the winter ahead.

Our ever increasing frugality has in part been prompted by the recent financial news from Ireland. I’ve been trying very hard, with the help of my clever husband, to understand what the hell has happened over there, in preparation for what might happen to Spain. My husband must have told me in five different ways, but I still don’t get it: how can a country go bankrupt just like that? What idiot gave Ireland a credit card without checking if it could make the repayments? Probably the same bank which gave me one when I was 19 (ahem).

One thing I think would boost our economy enormously would be to help the small business and self employed people on the island to have a better shot at making some money rather than grinding them down on taxes every three months. I met the President of the PP in the Baleares last week, and asked him if he thought it was unfair that we can’t claim for our daughter’s after school care as a business expense (she officially finishes at 2pm, so that makes a working day of 5 hours a day, realistically we should have the right to claim for help to care for her until the end of the afternoon, otherwise how can we both work?). We’re not on contracts, if we run out of work we can’t go cap in hand and get the paro, but we’re expected to pay a lot in taxes and social security. Bauza was sympathetic, but he’s not in a position to change anything, yet.

Meanwhile, until a tax miracle happens, the dogs are being fed cheaper food (but they will eat anything, they are scavengers, after all), we’re homing in on the ‘economy cheese’ and getting very keen on buying ‘twofors’ when we find them.  I don’t know if I am happy about replicating my parents’ budget behaviour from the seventies, but I certainly appreciate now why they always seemed to be in bad moods: constantly being in a state of ‘draught alert’ isn’t what I want to be doing in Mallorca.



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