Rosie Millard: Thrifty Living
Polonius was right - borrowing is always a bad idea
Saturday 10 February 2007
Don't talk to me about money for nothing, since Dire Straits is about the word for it. Last year's tax bill, this year's tax bill, my VAT bill, the nanny's tax bill. And that's just the start. Factor in an ill-advised obsession with a Serbian personal trainer (£40 an hour, I know, but he is very effective), and you will appreciate that I am well on the way to becoming a lost sock in the Laundromat of Eternity. Albeit, a fabulously toned one.
"In troubled times like these," went a song at a children's show I saw recently, "people turn to Cheese." Actually, in troubled times like these, I turn to Tony Blair. Not personally, as I'm sure a session with him is a good deal more expensive than with my Serbian, but in order to give me heart. I mean, just look at the state of his finances, or those of his party, to be more precise; it makes my problem look like a piece of thistledown. Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul, or to be more correct, Sir Christopher Evans and Sir David Garrard.
These two gentle spirits bankrolled, sorry, loaned, the party several million, and they must now be paid back, whether with or without access to the Upper House. But the Labour Party - being about £23m in debt - is in no position to pay anything off. And then, riding over the horizon on a snowy charger, a bit like David Beckham in those Disney ads, here comes good ole Lakshmi Mittal and his £2m hand-out.
Again, there are comparisons chez Millard, since the Mittal payola is rather like those (sadly rather rare) moments when a cheque bearing several zeros from a corporate do arrives chez Millard. Cer-ching! Except poor old Blair can't use the Lakshmi millions to repay either Sir Chris (currently owed £700,000) or Sir Dave (currently owed £2.3m). Even a part-repayment of the £3m won't wash. This is because Labour has pledged none of the Mittal money will go towards repaying these loans. Why? Who knows, but whoever drew up that side of the bargain should have his wrists slapped.
All of which means that nice Lord Levy will have to do a bit more work on the repayment front.
Tony and the rest of them are learning, a mite tardily, that borrowing money off Real People, as opposed to Banks, is problematic.
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be," said Polonius to his son. That was the chosen quote for my birthday in our Shakespeare Birthday Book. It always rendered the rest of my family into helpless peals of laughter, because obviously I have been overdrawn since the age of 14. But Polonius was right. Borrowing, if not off an institution which has chequebooks as a sideline, is a Bad Idea. Even if it's a tiny amount of money. As Blair is now publicly learning, it's always rather embarrassing to be in hock to someone.
Currently I owe a friend of mine a tenner. Not a lot of money. But on the other hand, quite a handy sum to have in your wallet. A tenner is easily enough, even in prime central London, to get you out of trouble, shell out for a cab ride or pay for a chicken and some potatoes for the evening meal.
I borrowed it from her last November when I needed to register for a child's violin exam. What more worthy reason is there for a loan but a) a child, and b) a violin exam, I ask you? Paying this £10 loan back, however, has become rather tortuous. Naturally, I never have any cash on me when I see her at the school gates, but obviously sending her a cheque would seem totally weird. So I now feel I must start hiding from her, because I cannot face doing the "sorry, I haven't got any cash AGAIN on me, ha ha" number, but nor do I want her to think I have forgotten about it.
Last week, while crouching behind a table in the school office, I came up with a solution. Invite her out to lunch, then pay the bill. Great idea! Except then the problem is that we will go to somewhere like Carluccio's and have a slap-up lunch followed by a £55 bill. She will insist on going halves, although in fairness she should pay £15 and I, £35, if we are going to honour this by now exceedingly dated loan.
Blimey. Imagine doing all that social manoeuvring for £3m. You can see why Blair has ordered the House of Lords go-in as collateral. What can I offer my dear friend? A place in the 2nd South Islington Brownie Pack?
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way
Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...
Day In a Page
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village