BLOG: Day one – Could you live on just £5 for five days?

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  • Helen Burton from Pevensey Bay took on the Live Below the Line challenge recently
  • She is living on just £5 for five days, with some help from her chickens providing eggs
  • In today’s blog the reality of the challenge starts to kick-in
  • You can read about her daily struggle every day this week here on the website
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Well it’s been an interesting first day. I started off with a cup of camomile tea which seemed like a great idea until I later realised that you are supposed to use the flowers, not the stalks as I did! I later made myself a mint tea as I regularly do in the summer and that was much nicer.

Breakfast was easy as I keep chickens so I could enjoy free eggs. I made an omelette with chives and half a chilli from the garden and had some baked beans with it. Lot of protein, very filling, no problem. By 11am though I was hungry and had chocolate spread on toast. Lunch and dinner was some spaghetti with various greens from the garden, mainly wild rocket and some perennial onion stalks and a little of the value brand spaghetti sauce. The meals were ok but very bland, and due to the lack of protein the meals weren’t very filling. In the evening dish I put some kidney beans to help with that.

It’s been ok, but no fun. I’ve spent a lot of time working out how best to spend my money, and once it was spent that’s it. If I’ve made a mistake it’s tough, and I really wish I hadn’t spent 79p on mushrooms. I should have got more protein. This week is going to be tough.

I went to a committee meeting for Incredible Edible Pevensey and Westham today and we were discussing planting herbs and edible plants on a site close to Pevensey Castle. Projects like Incredible Edible can do a lot to alleviate food poverty by growing food in public spaces for all of the community to share. It’s fun getting people together to grow food too! At the end of my challenge we are holding a village ‘pot luck’ supper where everyone brings a dish of food, something to drink and then we all share what we have. It’s a great way to socialise within a community and hopefully it will be productive too, as we want to grow food all over the parishes of Pevensey and Westham.

It’s important for the nation that we get back into the habit of growing more food ourselves, whether it be on public land or in our own gardens. With food prices on the rise growing our own makes sense. It’s cheaper, fresher and doesn’t have to be hard work.

I don’t have a vegetable patch in my garden (yet), but I was grateful today for the perennial vegetables and herbs that I grow. These are plants like wild rocket, chives and mint that you plant once and harvest from year after year. Very little effort required (my kind of gardening!). Many common garden plants are also edible, like campanula, sedum and heuchera. As well as that there are lots of edible weeds in my garden which I intend to try out like dandelions, plantain and bittercress. I’ll let you know how I get on!

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