Years ago, my life was very different. When a friend of mine came to visit, we’d start off with a good gossip over a mani-pedi at my local “beauty parlour”. Then, we’d go out for lunch and continue our chatting.
After lunch (which would probably include a glass or two of wine), we’d indulge in a spot of shopping at a local market shopping mall before heading somewhere for dinner. The following morning, after breakfast, my friend would head to the pool while I’d get some work done. Depending on how quickly I got through my work, I’d either join her at the pool after lunch, or we’d go to a bar and listen to some music. Sunday brunch in the Ritz or the Conrad was always a given.
If my friend was staying for more than a week, we’d fly to Thailand or Vietnam or take a ferry to a small island. Even if we didn’t make it that far, we’d always manage a day in the outlet stores in Malaysia.
We were living a life of privilege and we knew it.
Now, circumstances have changed. The closest I get to a mani-pedi is buying a new emery board in Boots. Champagne brunch is something I have pictures of – and a few corks kept for nostalgia’s sake. The house I’m in now doesn’t even have a paddling pool. My passport expired last week and I didn’t panic and/or grit my teeth as I applied for an emergency one – because I’m not going overseas anytime soon.
When my friend comes to visit, all meals will be home-cooked and eaten at home. If there is any wine, it will be from the supermarket – and then, only if it’s on special offer. We may all pile into my car and go to Galway for a day out, but that’s only If I can afford the petrol. We will still enjoy each others’ company. We will still chat. We will still laugh. We will still reminisce. We will still dream.
My point? Dr Tom Cloonan asked this question on Twitter this morning:
I’m fairly sure we all know the answer. There’s no way the Troika members will be staying in budget accommodation, while terminally ill children have their medical cards taken from them. If my friend arrived here and expected me to fly to the South of France with her for the weekend and expected me to starve my children for a week in order to do so, I think I’d have a few stern words with her.
The Troika is happy to march in here and tell us what we should be doing with our money, but seems to have no understanding that in our time of financial difficulty we need to cut back on everything. Everything. Including our hospitality spend. Including our hospitality spend on them.