Tag Archives: Priorities

Où Est Christopher?

29 Jul

(I apologise for consecutive French titles—I’m just in that sort of mood, I guess.)

I find it quite charming that I’ve received a few emails asking about Christopher’s whereabouts. It’s sweet that you care about someone who is, ultimately, globally inconsequential.

It’s true Christopher has been somewhat absent from Everyone Needs An Algonquin in recent weeks. This is partly because business has been relatively serious as of late and let’s face it, Christopher’s critical analysis skills aren’t really his strong points.  But I’m afraid there has also been some trouble between us.

It’s potentially problematic mixing the professional and the personal in relationships.  I learned that many years ago when I worked as a seamstress for Henry Kissinger. My remit was purely stitchery, but the Secretary of State and I eventually grew quite close. We were both taking a lot of heat in the press (for him, it was his role at Columbia, and for me, it was the breath-taking but room-dividing ensemble I debuted on the red carpet at that year’s Oscars ceremony). I felt comfortable sharing my opinions when it came to his choice of haberdashery, but when I saw my own views on the Balkans coming out of his mouth during a television interview, I realised that a boundary had been crossed.

Christopher and I have maintained a very solid balance for most of our time together. I thought we were both quite content with the set-up: he was available to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and in return I was willing to expose him to glamour, prestige and excitement that otherwise he could have never even dreamt of accessing. Win-win, no?

Sadly not, according to Christopher’s friend, Apollo, whom he met earlier this spring at an event sponsored by one of their boys-only clubs (which I have never had a problem with Christopher joining, even though their very nature excludes me and half of the world’s population). From the very first day I met him, I knew Apollo was what the kids call “bad news.” However, Christopher is his own person and therefore permitted to make whatever mistakes he chooses to.

I noticed little changes in Christopher early on in their friendship. He started combing his hair into a very peculiar style, his shoes grew pointier and I know for a fact he booked in to at least two spa treatments in one month. But I said nothing. I am his employer and also his friend, but I am not his mother (DNA has confirmed this). Eventually, though, Apollo’s influence began to affect Christopher’s work and therefore my own life, which came to a head during what should have been an enjoyable trip to Castle Howard. This is where I had to put my foot down.

I encouraged Christopher to take some time away—to think about his priorities, clear his head and (I was hoping) come to his senses. In the end, the righteous won out (as we so often do) and Christopher has returned home to my side. It turns out Apollo was not all that he seemed to be. I don’t doubt you’ve seen reports in the local paper, so I shall save all of us the embarrassment of rehashing it here.

So there is the explanation for Christopher’s brief absence.  The equilibrium of our household has been re-established and all is well in the world again. Except, of course, for all the recent tragedy around the globe, most of which, I don’t doubt, Apollo has probably had a hand in.

A Sense of Pride, Yes, But £200k?

25 Feb

A new report claims that the total cost of raising a child is now £210,848. Below is a breakdown of the costs.

I apologise in advance for their inconsistent use of ampersands.

Some of these figures are a little startling and indicate a real problem with priorities. Parents are spending over thirty thousand quid to keep their kids entertained (with holiday, hobbies, toys, leisure and recreation) yet just barely a thousand for personal care? I also wonder what on earth the children are buying with their £4543 in pocket money if their parents are already providing them with food, shelter, clothing, furniture, vacations, entertainment and even a car. I can’t imagine what that leaves left except for fags and no child should be smoking over 4000 quids’ worth of fags, even I will admit to that. Most upsetting of all, though, is the fact that parents spend £67,430 for childcare and babysitting. You could buy over 23 acres of land in North Yorkshire for less than that. Instead, parents choose to have children and then shell out the cash for someone to take them off their hands.

To pour salt on the wound, the “news” article I read about this report claims that parents can save money in the following ways: by taking advantage of bargains on entertainment; by buying “used” toys; and by cutting their own cost of living through shopping around for cheaper rates on insurance, credit cards, mortgages, etc. If I were a parent (which  I am not), I would be more than a little offended by these so-called suggestions. Firstly, on principle, I take umbrage with anything connected to the word bargain. Secondly, facts are facts: kids chew on things. When a toy is described as “used,” what they mean is “has already been chewed on.” In my mind, purchasing a pre-chewed-on toy for another child to chew on is tantamount to abuse. And finally, faced with the knowledge that I as a parent (again, I’m not) am expected to disburse over £200,000 of my hard-earned money for this little kiddie, if someone suggested that I alter my own cost of living by wasting hours upon hours on the internet trying to save 3 quid a month on my car insurance, well, I hope said advice-giver is wearing a bulletproof vest, because I’d have a gun and one of us is going to die.

I believe that children are our future. We should treat them well and what not. However, there’s already over two billion of them on the planet; I’m not sure we really need any new ones. Doesn’t it seem like a wiser investment to buy that land up North, make a donation to UNICEF and have a few bob left over to get yourself something nice on a rainy day?