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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, March 08, 2003
    Lent Challenge - am I too well off on it?
    Phone call from Jim in Anfield, echoing Kathy BennettÕs call last Sunday that £80 is quite a lot to have in my pocket on a minimum wage. Some listeners to my Radio Merseyside interview when I revealed that figure would probably think that was no hardship at all. TheyÕd love to live on that much.

    I agreed, and explained to both that it reflects my somewhat privileged position of not having to pay rent - thus having far fewer deductions than most. Also underlines an observation I made when I looked at how much I currently spend in a week on bills, food, petrol, books, cds, leisure, etc - that my present lifestyle is unsustainable on mimimum wage. Take rent off £80 and IÕd be left with what - £20 maybe??

    Jim wanted me to consider two things - one, dropping rent out of my weekly sum, which I said would just be a false figure, rather IÕll just keep on saving half of it the way I have begun doing, with a view to possibly borrowing back if need be later on in the month.

    His second idea disarmed me - he offered to be my ÔservantÕ for the day, do housework etc, to illustrate conditions for low-waged workers. I couldnÕt have that, (a) because IÕd feel terrible having someone ÔdoingÕ for me in that way, and (b) because it seemed to reverse the challenge - IÕd be the ÔLord of the ManorÕ in that position. All food for thought, though, which is the idea really. Said IÕd contact Jim later on in the month to talk over how itÕs going.