IT DOESN’T SEEM he has, though, because on Saturday, I receive a card of a pre-Raphaelite girl
Looking coyly over her shoulder. Inside, Tarquin has written:
Many apologies for my uncouth behavior. I hope to make it up to you. Tickets to Bayreuth – or,
Failing that, dinner?
Dinner with Tarquin. Can you imagine? And what’s he going on about, anyway? I’ve never heard of
Bayreuth. Is it a new show or something? Or does he mean Beirut? Why would we want to go to Beirut,
For God’s sake?
Anyway, I’ve got more important things to think about today. This is my sixth day of Cutting
Back – and, crucially, my first weekend. David E. Barton says this is often when one’s frugal regime
Cracks, as the office routine is no longer there as a distrac-tion and the day stretches empty, waiting to be
Filled with the familiar comfort of shopping.
But I’m too strong-willed to crack. I’ve got my day completelysussed – and I’m not going near any
Shops. This morning I’m going to visit a museum and then tonight, instead of wasting lots of money on an
Expensive takeaway, I’m cooking a homemade curry for me and Suze. I’m actually quite excited about it.
My entire budget for today is as follows:
Travel to museum: free (I already have a travelcard)
Curry: £2.50 (David E. Barton says you can make a wonderful curry for four people for less than £5.00 – and there are only two of us.)
Total daily expenditure: £2.50
That’s more like it. Plus I get to experience culture instead of mindless materialism. I have chosen the
Victoria & Albert Museum because I have never been to it before. In fact, I’m not even sure what they
Have in it. Statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, or something?
Anyway, whatever they
have, it will be very interesting and stimulating, I’m sure. And above all, free!
As I come out of South Kensington tube, the sun’s shining brightly and I stride along, feeling pleased
With myself. Normally I waste my Saturday mornings watching Live and Kicking and getting ready to go
To the shops. But look at this! I suddenly feel very grown-up and metropolitan, like someone in a Woody
Allen film. I just need a long woolly scarf and some sunglasses and I’ll look like Diane Keaton.
And on Monday, when people ask me how my weekend was, I’ll be able to say, “Actually, I went to
The V & A.” No, what I’ll say is “I caught an exhibition.” That sounds much cooler. (Why do people say
They “caught” an exhibition, by the way? It’s not as though all the paintings were thundering past like bulls
At Pamplona.)Then they’ll say, “Really? I didn’t know you were into art, Rebecca.” And I’ll say, “Oh
Yes. I spend most of my free time at museums.” And they’ll give me an impressed look and say. . .
Come to think of it, I’ve walked straight past the entrance. Silly me. Too busy thinking about the
Conversation between me and. . . actually, the person I realize I’ve pictured in this little scene is Luke
Brandon. How weird. Why should that be? Because I table-hopped with him, I suppose. Anyway.
Quickly I retrace my steps and walk nonchalantly into the entrance hall, trying to look as though I come
Here all the time. Not like that bunch of Japanese tourists clustering round their guide. Ha! I think proudly,
I’m no tourist. This is my heritage. My culture. I pick up a map carelessly as though I don’t really need it,