Somehow nothing seems to get better.

Fahed's car had died. I just spent £800 on it and within 10 days it decided to die outright. new engine. Just not happening. Instead I MOT'd, insurances and am about to tax Ahdel's car (currently unused in a bid to save cash by car sharing with his girlfriend) so that Fahed & Ahdel can share. Another fortune spent. Neither of them is on any kind of public transport route for their work plus they have to take all manner of weird things (woggles etc!) with them. To make it even better their work times are often the same (swimming teaching is mostly after school or weekends obviously) but in different directions. Hmmmm. So that was Stoptober 'gone' west'.

My energy contract runs out next Wednesday so I logged on to check my options and things are going to increase by a minimum of 20%. Marvelous.

To cap it off nicely I came home this week to find that we had been fitted with water meters. I didn't even get the chance for a final bath. I have stressed that we wont be wasting water and think I actually got through to Jamal when I explained that increases in utilities and water, caused by long showers or baths when I am out of the house, would just mean I didn't have enough money to pay for sky (so, TV/phone and broadband). The thought of losing broadband did get a flurry of interest from everyone. As its only £10 per month it will be the last thing to go, plus I think it pays for itself in savings and available knowledge. However I am not above playing dirty when it is required.

At least we have managed to get used to the lower food spend. One day this week I swear we had felafel (chick pea rissoles) served with houmous (chick pea dip). Somehow Fahed didn't make chick pea soup with it but I can feel we are moving that way. Not entirely sure we are looking any skinnier at all but deep down I feel we are more healthy.

Fahed got through to some of our family in Syria by phone yesterday. My brother in law told him to call often as he never knows what will be the last call. They city is 75% destroyed and they are to the stage where they don't expect to live through it anymore. They are really out of money so we are trying to send $500 each month which can be divided among the families who haven't managed to get out. It certainly puts my own concerns about water usage into perspective. I wish I had any idea how to do more.


  1. Wow Lizzie, that is an overwhelming amount of stuff going on. I just hope other families are also getting through to relatives in Syria and are able to send money too. Is it even safe for them to go out and get food? Is your energy contract with a private provider?

  2. Hi MW
    Thank you MW. I hope so and they are a generous hearted people so if they have anything they will share among neighbours. I dont know if they can buy food but what can I do? It doesnt feel like enough but I dont know what else to do. Fahed was brought up in Lebanon during the civil war so he knows how it is, which I think makes it worse for him.
    Sadly, they are all private here. There are only six main providers so its almost a cartel.

  3. Hi Lizzie;

    I just read that the International Red Cross is now allowed on the ground in Syria to provide relief as long as they stay neutral. So I just made a donation to them (they have a section specially for Syria) and hope they will be able to reach as many people as they can as soon as possible.

    All private?! Maybe a few will offer some deal to get more market share. Otherwise if they all work together, it is tough for everyone.

  4. Bless you it all helps I am sure. We need something to come from the arrival of the UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. He is hoping for at least a temporary ceasefire. I am crossing my fingers but I cant imagine that is helping!
    Yep all private I believe the idea was to privatise and encourage competition, market forces and all that. The PM has said he will intervene now but we shall see

  5. That certainly does put a sobering perspective on the daily trials of thrift and stretching a dollar. I certainly hope your friends and relatives are able to get some place safe very soon.

  6. I believe they are afraid to move from where they are. But so far, so good, at least they are all still there!


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