Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'Britain's snowfall has been surprisingly harsh on my wallet'

In The Red
Click to follow
The Independent Online

So far this week, I’ve paid for five taxi rides, three train tickets, two takeaway croissants, a pair of wellington boots, a pair of socks, an umbrella, and countless other bits and bobs that have virtually no future use. The umbrella, admittedly, would have some potential – were it not for the fact that I already own five.

Why the unexpected extravagance? Because of the weather. This, I promise, is not some excuse I’ve cooked up to feed to the bank manager (cf. Lauder’s leading lipstick indicator). No, Britain’s heaviest |snowfall in two decades has been surprisingly harsh on my wallet.

It started on Monday. Not realising that London |buses were cancelled, I allowed my usual half-hour to get to work. Of course, as soon as I stepped outside, I realised that I had little hope in hell of getting in on time. I tried the Tube, only be told that the station |wasn’t open. My boyfriend decided to flag down a |taxi, which, after 20 minutes of frantic waving at already-full cabs, we did. Then we hit the |delightful Limehouse tunnel to discover that not only was it closed, but it was also surrounded by |several square miles of gridlocked traffic.

So we got out and walked; funnily |enough, patent leather shoe-boots don’t |make for ideal hiking apparel (hence the wellies, bought from |an opportunistic |roadside hawker).

Our trudge was an appetite-inducing (the croissants) hour and a half through ankle-high virgin snow. In some ways, it was quite fun: picturesque, refreshing, athletically challenging. Mostly, though, it was bloody awful: cold, wet, and fuelled by the fear that only a 5pm deadline can inspire.

And of course, the novelty wore off with the week. Each day, my morning commute became more and more elaborate as I grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of normal service.

More frustrating still was the dent in my bank |balance. When something unexpected happens – a surprise guest, for instance, or a bout of flu, or, indeed, a snowstorm – it’s all too easy to see it as a free pass to splashing out. Were it not for London’s arctic blitz, the first week of February would have been a breeze. I had no plans to go out, no birthdays to celebrate, not even an outstanding bill to pay. Instead, it’s been a |bloodbath. To say that this week’s budget went awry would be an understatement: it’s gone completely through the roof.

Quite what I’m going to do about this unexpected erring from the path of virtue, I’ve yet to decide. I only know that for the rest of the month, I’m broke.

Looking for credit card or current account deals? Search here