Since I’m not allowed to talk about what happened yesterday (mystery! Also a mystery that doesn’t actually concern most of you but I’ll explain in a few days) and it’s raining for the second afternoon in a row, I thought I’d do a post about what I’ve been spending and what I’ve been eating etc.
Having chosen to live the snail lifestyle, not buying much has been a pretty easy. The only thing I buy is food or occasionally something tiny or necessary, like nail clippers or a pair of shorts (the buying of which chased the sun away, as I predicted), plus of course paying for accommodation.
I’ve been mostly buying one big meal a day and making one or two or having snacks. In my bag I try to keep food that doesn’t need refrigeration and can’t be squashed, which doesn’t leave a whole heap to choose from. Today I bought:
I’ve been eating a lot of apples and cherry tomatoes for fibre and to eat something raw. I keep a long-lasting cake or packet of biscuits, like the ginger brack pictured (a rich fruit cake according to my hasty research) to eat over a few days. A piece of hard cheese to mix into pasta lasts a week and porridge is easy and quick. My jetboil is rubbish for cooking anything milk-based or thick as the heat is so intense and it immediately burns. Even constant stirring makes no difference. Basically it’s for boiling water, so cooking pasta or pouring hot water into oats or couscous works well.
I have some little tins of tuna, a packet of 2 (or 3, depending on your nationality) minute noodles and half a packet of pasta shells in my room, altogether it would be enough food for three days if necessary.
So I worked out that I’ve spent $113 AUD a day on average so far. Staying at The Sun in Coniston blew my $100 budget a bit, but with a few more camping and hostel days I’ll be back on track.
Keswick YHA’s lovely common room.
Eating out costs about $12 for breakfast (eggs and toast) or lunch (soup and toast or a decent sandwich) but dinner out is more like $20-30 depending on what I have and how many drinks I have. I nearly always eat in a pub and the food has almost always been excellent. I don’t normally have more than a pint of cider and maybe a glass of wine too – I don’t want to be getting up five times during the night, whether it’s out of a tent or disturbing my room mates.
If I make my own food during the day it costs about $10 max for the whole day. It is nice to try the local places though. Today I had lunch in a cafe that someone had recommended to me on the basis that it was quirky.
There was lots of art on the walls, all the food was home made and the place looked like an artist’s lounge room.
I had the cream of zucchini soup and it was delicious. They also had a communal sewing project – anyone could pick up the needles and continue it.
Compared to travelling to the UK twenty years ago, things are much cheaper for Aussies now. Supermarket prices are much the same as at home, or cheaper.
I compared beginning teacher wages here and home to see how affordable groceries were, comparatively.
A graduate teacher in the UK earns the equivalent of $35-36K a year. In Australia a graduate teacher in Victoria starts at $63K. Quite a huge difference!
House prices in Manchester for a three bedroom property average around $300K, the average in London is a bit over $1 million. In Melbourne the average is around $900k but in country towns it’s more like $350K. Right now Aussies seem to have the better deal, making it a far more affordable time to travel here than when I first came in 1999.
Anyhoo, I did get out this morning and managed to get up Latrigg after a few wrong turns. Most notably one road was closed due to logging and strewn with downed trees that I started to clamber over and then thought better.
The view over Keswick, the Derwent and all the way to Bassenthwaite Lake was lovely, if a little grey under the incoming clouds.
I climbed a little way up towards Skiddaw but the wind had picked right up and it was another slippery gravel path.
I passed this lovely monument that honoured three local shepherds who died a long time ago. A sheep obligingly stood still long enough to stay in the background of the shot.
Once again the hordes only seemed to start up as I was coming down. I’ve not been in the area long but it seems that rain mainly happens in the afternoon and most walkers set off just in time to catch it. Maybe they like it?
They were mostly wearing t-shirts and shorts while I lumbered along in my long top and pants, fleece jacket, long hooded raincoat and headband to keep my ear warm, still freezing for lack of gloves. I caught my reflection in a shop window on the way back into town and my khaki raincoat and lumpy backpack made me look like a sack of potatoes. Still, I’ve no one here to impress and the scenery makes up for my lack of glamour.