Not a lot!!
Well, actually, not quite true. Most of last year was taken up with this strange idea that we should move from our village into the nearby town. My idea. I'm not complaining. It was a good idea. Instead of being stuck in the middle of the countryside, very nice though that was, surrounded by nice people, it meant travelling for everything I needed to do. After several false starts we finally found, bought, and redecorated, a nice little flat right in the middle of town, ten minutes or so walk from everywhere. But it took all year. Writing took a back seat and I've promised myself I will make a new start.
I would have started last week but had a cold. I don't do colds well, I'm not one of those who fight it and carry on no matter how red and sore my nose is. I roll over and die for a week, hopefully keeping the bugs to myself.
But now I am up and running. That's another reason for moving into town, increased exercise. Walk to the shops, swim and hit the gym at the leisure centre!
This morning I did my first major shop of the year. We were away over Christmas and last week I just got a few essentials to keep us going until I felt better. Today I tackled the Supermarket. I won't say which one as that is free advertising, but it was one of the big ones, only two or three years old and I'm quite happy with it most of the time. Today I spent a fortune, but that was because I bought some extras in the sale, and was topping up in case we have snow over the next couple of weeks. Don't want to trudge down there in the snow!
When I got home I thought I would check my first receipt of the year against things I bought last year since moving in here. I'm not too worried about shopping bills, yet, but I thought it would be interesting to see if and what rises in price there had been, especially with the dreaded Brexit looming. I generally buy pretty much the same things most of the time so it is fairly easy to see if things have gone up. And some had. Cheese, muesli, tea, some frozen favourites and all gone up by 5, 10 or 15 pence. Which set me thinking.
It's annoying but not surprising that things have gone up but looking down the till receipt I noticed that ALL prepacked, frozen or processed food ended in 0 or 5. And this is what I wondered. Why? We have a choice of 1,2,3,4,6,7,8,& 9 pence. Why do supermarkets only deal in 0 and 5? I'm glad that most shops have dropped the 99p thing. This has mainly happened in shops where women shop. You rarely see a clothes shop that sells things at £9.99 these days, although there are still some around. But why are other things ending exactly 0 or 5p?
It could be to save having loads of change in the till, I suppose. But you have to have all the coins in the till anyway. And with more people using contactless for small purchases or paying with chip and pin, the argument for change is rapidly fading.
The thing is, as customers we are paying at least an extra 5p whenever there is a price rise. Over a large shop that might not be that noticeable to some people who don't have to worry about shopping bills. But the shops are getting an extra 5p for every items they sell. I have no idea how costs are worked out for your packet of cheese, but surely in this day and age it is possible to raise the price by 2p or something similar. It's not as if big major stores actually pay their suppliers in cash, everything is paid electronically these days so prices could easily be more precise. Petrol is constantly going up in pennies and then back down again, so why not food?
Things that are weighed come out in precise pennies. So why can't a packet of biscuits be 87p instead of 90p? Yes, I suppose it will make labelling the shelves more complicated if you have to have different prices for every single item. But in these days of trying to keep costs down maybe this is one way of doing it.