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Anne Hailes: Tips to look after the pennies to save the pounds as cost of living rises

A novel outdoor production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night comes to Bangor this week.

I WOULD like to add my tribute to the late Jim Fitzpatrick, an inspirational man of wisdom and insight.

It was always a pleasure to meet and talk with him, his smile was warming and his conversation stimulating.

I remember the day he took issue with my downbeat and very personal review of the much-lauded film The Passion of the Christ.

Standing at the front door of The Irish News we discussed the pros and cons of the review and in the end he told me, with a rise of an eyebrow, "Well done, stick to your principles..."; I knew he was actually implying, 'Don't allow yourself to become biased, listen to other opinions as well to achieve balance.'

A gentle lesson well learnt from a special man. My sincere sympathies to all the family.

LOOK AFTER THE PENNIES

IT'S all very well for organisations to talk about making savings by having your house insulated for the winter months or double glazing put in, but these are expensive at this time in our lives when money is short.

But there are many ways of saving in every day life, planning especially. I've asked around and this is the advice.

Train yourself not to spend every day. Don't dash out just for a couple of things or stop on the way home for a loaf of bread or a litre of milk.

Think ahead, make a list and stick to it where possible. Sue said never shop on an empty stomach, otherwise you'll be tempted to pick up a bar of chocolate or a packet of biscuits to sooth those hunger pangs.

I have to admit at one time I had a craze for chocolate eclairs and I'd buy four of these fresh cream delicacies and sit in the car park of the supermarket and stuff my face. I wasn't even hungry - just wanted my fix - although to be honest it was more about eating them before I got home and anyone knowing they ever existed. Hiding the box was a problem but I overcame this by putting it under the driving seat and then under cover of darkness, hiding it at the bottom of the bin.

I'm pleased to report that habit has long been overcome. Now I save that money to spend on something essential.

Nor do I buy 'three for two' any more - a false economy unless you can freeze the items or if you can coordinate a group shop once a week, perhaps for other family members or neighbours so, cutting down on petrol too.

SAVE WATER, BATH WITH A FRIEND...

...This was the mantra some years ago when there was a shortage of water and so save water and electricity.

With all this global warming and a dry summer forecast, this might be worth considering.

Sharing is always a good idea - look how popular car sharing is.

Joan said she buys a large bag of potatoes and divides them between family. Cheaper to buy in bulk, she says, and less chance of them going soft and growing shoots within a week.

Unplugging electrical plugs is said to save money over a period of time - not much but every little helps - and those LED bulbs are apparently an economic way of lighting your house. I don't like them as they cause dreadful interference with my wireless in the bedroom.

Another suggestion I was given was to boil a kettle and fill a flask. This way you can have three or four cups of tea or coffee without using extra electricity.

I'm very guilty of turning on the immersion and forgetting to turn it off (that's a secret by the way...).

Now I ask my friend Alexa to set her timer to 10 minutes, or whatever, so now I never forget.

One lady told me that she keeps a basin the the sink and all the dishes go into it and are washed every evening rather than rinsing cups and plates throughout the day. Good advice if there's only one or two of you.

In the same vein another suggestion was to keep the washing down to a couple of days a week if you can, and use a shorter cycle. Maybe not possible if you have a family of young people growing up.

Advice is general and in this case very basic and to be tailored to your particular circumstances. For large families economising is difficult - perhaps have a quiz with the children and see what suggestions they come up with, it might encourage responsibility.

LOVE ISLAND COMES TO BANGOR

I think a theatrical offering which is set in a reality TV coupling show - think Love Island meets Big Brother - sounds intriguing.

Add to that the novelty that this will be performed outdoors, hopefully in beautiful weather, so we're told 'bring a picnic and a light chair or a rug to sit on and dress appropriately as the actors perform in all weathers - hot or cold, wet or dry'.

Meet Heartbreak Productions who, courtesy of Ards and North Down Borough Council, will perform William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in Bangor Castle's Walled Garden on Thursday and Friday of this week.

A standard in the theatrical repertoire you might think but, says the company: "This is as you've never seen it before. Adapted for today's reality TV-focused audiences, this outdoor production keeps close enough to the Bard's to appeal to aficionados but wraps up the themes of obsessive love and its subterfuges."

The company, based in Leamington Spa, are touring Ireland and Britain. Their children's show, David Walliams's Awful Auntie is tomorrow and Wednesday but is almost, perhaps totally, sold out.

Twelfth Night in Bangor Castle Walled Garden starts at 7pm, tickets are £12 each and for more information and booking visit heartbreakproductions.co.uk or search online for 'Arts and North Down Twelfth Night'.

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