Where has all the money gone?

Tesco it would seem to judge from their reported profits…

Money is much on my mind today. I am off at lunchtime to talk to the bank manager or one of his/her “minions”, I have been summoned for the annual review of the overdraft limit – usually this appears to be an attempt to persuade me to take out products and other such stuff, who knows what’s going to happen in these restricted times !

Tomorrow’s budget is also making me a little nervous. Whitehall departments are due to be slashed and required to make efficiencies. As an employee of an Agency I have learned over the years that when your sponsoring body has its budget cut then the chances are they pass the cut on to all the Agencies associated with the departments work.

In the 8 or so years I have worked for my current employers I have seen the “roll” fall from 20,000 employees to, I can’t remember whether it is 14,000 or 11,000. Its only about 2 years ago if that since we were last required to make efficiencies of some 25% across the board – and you can tinker around with the stationery supplies as much as you like, but it’s a universal truth that when an organisation needs to make “efficiencies” its in the staff “roll” that you can have most effect…so just remember tomorrow when the chancellor starts talking about “efficiencies” in Whitehall departments he mostly means job cuts.

Public sector pay and pensions? Most public sector workers put up with pay that does not in anyway compare with private sector equivalents because the pension provisions are respectable and relatively stable. The rank and file of us do not have large pensions, it’s done on a % of your final salary depending on the number of years you stay with the organisation – there may be some at the top who do get what the government describe as “large public sector pensions”, but its not them that tend to suffer with the cut backs, they just move on to another high profile job…

I think tonight I feel the need to bake…either that or a G&T…perhaps both!

Even a Tart has a lemon in her fridge…

as Nigel Slater memorably said in one of his books (think it was Real Food) and then went on to explain that amongst other things it was indispensable for G&T’s. For me admittedly the lemon in a G&T makes the drink simply “summer in a glass”, the very sight of it just cheers me up , although bizarrely our family always drinks its gin with limes…today I could do with one as I desperately need cheering up, but I have to wait until Saturday (I’m on a once a week alcohol regime)…

I knew the economy was going wrong when the price of lemons went up – for as long as I can remember they have been about 18-20p as have limes – when they went up to 30p it was obvious something was wrong – and I object even to  paying the lower price as Dad used to grow them…but that was a long time ago “and in another country…”

When we returned to the UK, lemons most usually appeared in our kitchen in the form of Jiffy lemon – confusingly the same name as the lemon scented  sink cleaner (now CIF)…but towards the end of the 80’s they became more common in shops and I think I would find it hard to cook without them. They are one of the ingredients that I let myself off the “buy local, buy seasonal” hook for.

Tonight I need cheering up, if the finances ever recover then I’m taking the family off to Italy, to Sorrento where the lemons grow (and near Versuvius as they all have volcano obsessions) but only if we have enough airmiles…I’m not holding my breath though as just when you think you are drawing ahead of the game someone knocks you back down again…

In the meantime I appear to have lemon grass, a lemon, lemon squash, lemon essence and lemon oil in the cupboard and a recipe for cake involving SR flour (as that is all I have left in the cupboard apart from wholewheat bread flour) in mind….

If you google “nigel slater” and lemon you get a wonderful recipe for lemon polenta cake. I recommend the article itself purely as a spirit cheering exercise, it really makes you smile and feel better – but I have no limoncello and no polenta so it’s lemon muffins for me (recipe to follow when I have time to type it in).