This time last year, when I took on the challenge to live below the line (living on £1 a day for 5 days), I really didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. I decided to start my challenge the day after the official launch, as I couldn’t start it on a bank holiday. I’d be missing out on too much! I bought my shopping on the Tuesday morning, having just been to the Doctor’s surgery after injuring my foot in a freak dancing accident on the Sunday evening, whilst participating in the annual Fitzgerald ‘4th be with you’ birthday celebrations.
There was such a long queue at the Doctor’s that I thought I’d sneak out to Sainsbury’s and pick up my shopping, whilst waiting for my appointment. I was in quite a bit of pain, but I didn’t think it was that serious. Just a snapped tendon or something. I got a few bargains in Sainsbury’s, but it wasn’t as cheap as my experience this year at Morrisons! I managed to buy 47p instant coffee! More about how that tasted later, as I’m digressing.
Last year my £5 got me porridge, bananas, rice, frozen veg, baked beans, spaghetti in hoops, bread, stock cubes, a lemon and a lime. But no coffee. I would just have to make do with sliced lemon in water. I was quite pleased with myself. That was until I returned to the Doctor, who promptly sent me to hospital, who x-rayed me and informed me that I had broken a bone in my foot: fifth, right, distal, metatarsal, to be precise. So there began my challenge to live on £1 a day with my leg in a plaster cast.
This year, as I ventured out on Sunday night for those annual ‘4th be with you’ birthday celebrations again, at the back of my mind, I told myself to take it easy. I did not want to start my challenge with any broken bones this year, or with a hangover. Well, I’m pleased to say, that my bones were all intact when I woke up this morning, but I did have a bit of a sore head. When I went downstairs to have my breakfast, my Dad had been cooking his usual fry-up. It smelt lovely, and I was offered some of it numerous times. “Why don’t you start tomorrow?” “Can’t you accept food if someone cooks it for you?” My answer was a resound “No”. When I take on a challenge, I like to do it properly, so although no-one would have known, I went ahead and made my porridge with water and half a banana, and it was fine.
It kept me full until midday, when I ate the rest of the banana. I hadn’t intended staying in Reading past 12pm, so I didn’t take any more food with me. Just the porridge and bananas. Oh, and the 47p instant coffee. I couldn’t tell if it was the coffee or the hangover that made me feel a little queasy this morning! I have thought on a couple of occasions today, what else I could have bought with that 47p. Oh well, you live and learn I guess.
I didn’t end up leaving Reading until after 6pm, so my from midday to 7pm, my stomach was cramping and rumbling, and I had a headache and just couldn’t stop thinking about eating. It made me think about the people who I am raising money for. At least I knew that when I got home, I could have some spaghetti in tomato sauce and toast, but for many people, living below the poverty line (living on less than £1 a day), the hunger that I felt is something they have become totally accustomed to on a daily basis.
Hunger pains aren’t particularly nice, but it made me even more determined to complete my challenge this week. Doing this challenge is not like running a marathon, or climbing a mountain (although I admire people who do this and raise money in doing so), it’s different because it puts you in similar situations as the people you’re raising money for, which is really quite powerful.
So that’s it for now. I’m looking forward to my porridge and coffee in the morning, my banana sandwich for lunch, and my rice and veg for dinner. Until tomorrow.
You can sponsor me here: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/ybiggins