Live Below the Line – Day Four

No picture today, I ate exactly the same lunch as on day two and dinner was a) not photogenic and b) rushed.

This morning I went for a run about an hour after my breakfast of two slices of toast and marmalade (9p). I felt well-rested, well-nourished and tolerably well-hydrated. It was somehow easier to run than it’s been any other time, which I took to be a very good sign. When I got back I had a fromage frais – 7p.

Lunch was spaghetti with vegetables again, costing a total of 39p (possibly actually slightly less, as I didn’t use as much pasta: a mistake in retrospect). It was good, again. While in the kitchen I gathered up a few things that had been left in a Free Food corner, since everyone is moving out this week, so I now have some sesame oil, tabasco sauce and bulgar wheat. There was also a packet of fancy fusili but I’m well stocked on pasta so I’m leaving it a bit longer to see if anyone else wants it. I’m always staggered that people leave behind such large amounts of food. They must be going somewhere, and surely they’ll need to eat there as well? Anyway, I have acquired some excellent things in this way before: most of my tea selection was gathered from where it was abandoned (often unopened) in kitchens.

Back to today. I decided to try and fend off any evening hunger by making a slightly more substantial sandwich for dinner, so I heated up a sausage, boiled an egg, and sliced both to make a very protein-heavy sandwich for 38p. Before leaving for choir, I had another slice of marmalade toast (5p) to try and see me through until we had time to stop and eat.

Quite frankly, it has been utterly miserable doing this challenge in the same week as recording a CD with the choir. Today in particular was horrible: two of the girls had a birthday, and some of the others baked a cake. A friend of the choir has baked brownies, flapjacks and buns every day this week. Some more people made an enormous batch of cookies. Basically everyone was eating in every single break throughout the entirety of the four 10-hour days, and I couldn’t have any of it. It isn’t even a sensible restriction, considering that if I really were living on £1 a day out of necessity I would have eaten any free food I could get, but since people in such dire straits are unlikely to be offered home baking on a daily basis I felt it wouldn’t be in the spirit to accept. But it was very hard, particularly this evening when I started to feel hungry and a bit faint. I’m extrememly glad that tomorrow is the final day because I am not sure I could manage any longer. The irony is that I’ll have food left over from the £5 which I haven’t been able to fill up on, because it would bring me over budget – another unrealistic aspect.

Perhaps it’s simply because I’m tired and hungry that I’m feeling a bit low about this today. It’s true that I haven’t raised even half as much as I hoped (if you would like to donate to improve this situation, you can do so here until July 1st) but I have raised something – thank you to everyone who has donated! – and it has been educational. Quite apart from the fact that it’s shown me what it feels like to be hungry and not be able to do anything about it, I have discovered that I can eat much more healthily and still enjoy my food. I just need a little more than this challenge has allowed me, particularly on days when I’ve run several miles and spent six hours singing.

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