Living below the line: Day One

Before I even started, I knew I’d need to remove temptation. So the day before I began I gorged myself on pizza and millionaire’s shortbread and coffee and pastries. That night, I ate up all the food I have in my cupboards – cake, cheese, butter, fruit – everything perishable that might tempt me to supplement the £5 of food I have to live on.

When you’re not allowed to eat beyond certain limits, you realise food is everywhere.

At my church on a Sunday we are given doughnuts halfway through the service – Krispy Kremes in crisp white boxes. In the kitchens the smell of frying onions for the homeless lunch wafts up the stairs. After the service people discuss the roast dinner they’re going home to and make plans to invite others.

I went home and heated up my (boiled carrot and kidney bean) soup.

It was a beautiful day but not really warm enough to sit outside. The kind of day when you find a sunny window to sit in with a cup of coffee and read all afternoon. But I can’t buy a coffee – an extravagant waste equally almost half my budget – so I can’t justify sitting in the sunny window. Instead, I boiled my own kettle, drank hot water, read my book and napped like a cat on our sofa.

I dreamed of coffee. That was possibly when I realised my head hurt – caffeine withdrawal is a cruel thing when you consume so much of it in normal life.

I cooked my dinner (11 green beans, one egg, one sardine, 70g rice, 1/5th of an onion), ate it as slowly as possible, cried off going to the pub to drink tap water and went to bed. Without caffeine in my system I slept for hours.

But my head still hurts…

Join the Live Below the Line challenge and raise money for UNICEF’s work with children 7 – 11 May www.livebelowtheline.co.uk/unicef

And now you can sponsor me too!

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