Frugal on holiday

Here I am, back at the frugal chalk face after a week off. I didn’t go away as DJ has run out of holiday time and was at work (ah…poor chap! How I pitied him when he rushed off to work and I was still tucked up in bed…!), but just pottered about visiting friends and popping into London.

The tricky thing about holidays is avoiding spending money. Obviously, while you’re working you’re occupied – and being paid for it – but on hols you have to find things to do, and that can mean spending cash. There’s only so much time you can fill lying about reading cheap detective novels until you get cabin fever.

Visiting friends at home is a cheap option, although if, like mine, they are spread out across London you have to pay to travel to them. K and Vix I saw last week live in Enfield and Croydon, which are a bit of a hike. And you can’t really turn up empty handed either if they’re making lunch. But taking a box of chocolates along is cheaper than going out for lunch. In a moment of frugality (probably induced by meeting her for a non-frugal lunch earlier in the week) I baked K a marble cake which cost me nothing as the ingredients were already at home – and it went down well!

Fortunately many of the London museums are free now, unless there’s a pricey exhibition on. I went to the BP Portrait exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery on Friday, which cost £1 although the gallery likes a voluntary £3 donation. Stupidly I didn’t have any change, though, so I wound up buying a £3 pack of Christmas cards from the shop to get my £1!

Admittedly, I dragged DJ to the West End to see Glengarry Glenn Ross last night as it was high time we experienced a little more culture in our lives beyond watching Spooks (usually from behind the sofa). In my defence through I got £25 off tickets normally £45. OK, we could have got tickets in the Gods for a tenner each, but the view would have been of actors’ bald patches anyway.

We hadn’t been to the theatre for nearly two years – mainly because it’s so expensive. The last thing we saw was Otherwise Engaged with Richard E. Grant and Anthony Head (the librarian in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and we paid £50 each a ticket. Ouch! Fortunately it was good! It’s a shame because I love the theatre – I was a student thesp – but often in the West End the seats are uncomfortable, the leg room restricted and sometimes the performances disappoint. Whereas, nobody moans about paying a few quid to see a rubbish film. Last week for the first time we used the Orange two-for-one cinema offer and saw Death at a Funeral. It cost £3.50 each, the seats were comfortable and the view excellent. It was every bit as enjoyable as Glengarry, Glen Ross.

We may try the local am dram society’s production later this week if we have time – the tickets are £6!

Do you think the theatre is a rip off?  Got any cheap holiday entertainment tips? Let me know.

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