Milk, addictions and money

It’s quiet here at 326 on a Sunday morning and I’m having the usual weird thoughts that flit from one subject to the next.

If you use Oat milk you are more helpful to the environment. Oat Milk uses far less water in its production than stock standard cow’s milk, almond milk and others. 

One of my daughters feels guilty every time she orders a latte and the waiter asks her preference. ‘Dairy,’ she says, ashamed. 

Another daughter drinks only oat milk. It began for her because of a lactose intolerance but now her boyfriend has joined her in drinking said milk. ‘Because of the environment,’ he tells me.

Even though it’s twice the cost of cow’s milk and the particular brand, the only brand my oat milk-drinking daughter enjoys is hard to come by. You’ll find it at Woolworths, not Coles, and more often than not they’re out of stock. All for something as basic as milk, which has undergone many transformations throughout my lifetime. 

When I visited Holland in 1980, I remember my shock at the shelves piled high with several varieties of milk from low-fat to no-fat to full cream to extra creamy. Now we have these varieties here and we all take the choice for granted. 

Everything changes. 

We’re introducing the new National Broadband into our household now that they’ve allegedly finished installing it in our neighbourhood. The cheaper less effective version because our government did not want to spend the extra. 

I’ve heard so many horror stories about how much worse the system is than the original and I live in fear. Fear of losing my online connection to the world. 

Sounds pathetic. 

Years ago before the mid 1990s, I would have wondered what all the fuss was about. In those days I valued the computer for its word processing capacities. I scarcely used Google and I still read books at twice the rate or even three times the rate I do today. Today I read a huge amount online but fast and mostly articles and essays. 

It’s just not the same as a good book. I feel more guilty about my reading habits than I do about my dairy drinking habits. 

The same way I came to feel guilty about smoking cigarettes. It was the shame that took me off them in the long run. The shame of being seen to be a desperado who needed a cigarette and could not care less about inflicting her stale cigarette smoke on everyone else. I couldn’t bear to hear the occasional advertisement or discussion opposed to smoking. I knew it was bad for you but then I imagined I might live forever.

In the years when I smoked and sat under the bright sun.

Banking has changed too. It’s all now online and increasingly less mysterious. To me at least. Now that I know my way around the system and can see how easy it is to shift money from here to there. To transfer debts owed, to set up accounts and to take them down. 

I keep an eagle eye on these events now in a way I could not bear to know years ago when life was hectic and full of the needs of children growing up, a husband who worked long and intense hours, my own daily analysis and the demands of my work. 

All of it left me feeling the best I could do was talk to folks from the bank from time to time and watch as our debts rose. We earned large incomes, we had reasonable assets mainly in the form of our family home and so we were able to borrow and in the heady eighties and nineties and even beyond when the banks tossed money at you, it was easy to borrow. No questions asked. 

Unlike the first time I went to the CBA Bank in Glenhuntly Road and spoke to the manager about our chances of getting a home loan. He wanted first to speak to my husband. Before I married, I had taken out a small loan as a single woman to buy my first car. I paid it off in the required time. I was a good risk, but my older brother needed to get the loan approved by doing all the talking because I was a single woman. 

Yesterday, when I sat at the bank with a less than manager type, a youngish man trying to help me set up a new business account, I considered how much things have changed. But at least he was prepared to talk to me and did not ask to see my husband. 

2 thoughts on “Milk, addictions and money”

  1. I, too, should feel guilty for drinking milk but I don’t and the same goes for meat. I’m not saying I’m too old to change but I am too old to want to change. I bought a can of iced coffee a while back—a rarity for me because they’re so damn expensive—but I failed to read the fine print and, lo and behold!, was it not made with oat milk and it was disgusting. They can call it milk if they like but it’s not milk. (I remember a kerfuffle back in 1973 when the EU wanted the UK to stop calling chocolate ‘chocolate’ because to be truly chocolate is had to have x% cocoa or whatever and it took them until 2000 to finally resolve the matter. (Your tax dollars at work, folks! Or whatever the British equivalent of that is.)) I’m not unsympathetic and if people can stomach being vegan good on them but that’s not how I choose to do my bit to save the planet and I do do my bit. Maybe even a bit and a half.

    Jumping forward to 1980 now, that was the first time I applied for a bank loan, £1800 from the Royal Bank of Scotland. No idea why I didn’t ask for a nice round £2000 but there you go. I had to see the bank manager and I remember clearly the smell of urine in his office; it’s an unmistakable odour as you well know. My mind worked overtime trying to image under what circumstances someone might pee themselves and I finally settled on intimidation. I had to work for that loan. It wasn’t a matter of presenting my case and letting the number do the talking. Maybe I did ask for £2000 and he would only give me £1800. Suffice to say the bloke enjoyed his power a little too much for my liking. (For the record the first thing I bought with my money was Billy Connolly’s ‘Raw Meat for the Balcony’.) My first mortgage, about ten years later, was arranged in the general area at the front of the building society and it was just a clerk who sorted it. The second one was done over the phone. So, yes, times are changing but not for the better. Too easy to get into debt these days. Far too easy. Apparently the average UK household owes over £15,000. How did we get into this mess? For Christ’s sake our own government owes over £1 trillion. It’s embarrassing.

    As for smoking I never did it seriously and even when I did have a puff I didn’t do it properly. Apparently you’re supposed to inhale the smoke. They forgot to tell me that and so I never did. And it was YEARS before it dawned on me. I’m not normally slow but the idea of breathing in smoke was so preposterous it never crossed my mind that’s what people were actually doing.

  2. What a journey you’ve been on Jim, with that bank manager especially. Such intimidation. I’m glad those days are over. But what we have now may not be much better. Thanks, Jim.

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