the skinflint philosopher

Attempting to thrift our way to a better life, with a toddler in tow!


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The philosophy of Snow White

Tackling as we are, the thrifter’s life in Bulgaria, we are always trying to scrimp and save wherever possible. For example, I spent some time this week attempting to mend Tiddler’s story book and that has given me a few things to think about.

The backstory of course is that we set off from England as my good and faithful readers know last September, in Leo the campervan, though while sufficient for our basic needs on the two month journey pottering through Europe to get to Bulgaria, was rather lacking in library space. So, a swift calculation means Tiddler (i.e. me) has been reading the same twenty story books in some sort of spiraling rotation for around five months, with my nemesis the pop-up book of Hansel and Gretel appearing on a far more regular than it was due basis. Who knows why Tiddler loves this story so much. I think I made a rod for my own back when I once ad-libbed that the witch was ‘burnt up to a crisp’. Now if I don’t add that specific detail in every time I read of Gretel’s fiendish escape plan I get reprimanded by Tiddler for missing out part of the story i.e. the grusesome nasty bit.
There are a smattering of English language books in the bookshops here, but very expensive, and the town library was no help either. So Granny Westcountry kindly scoured her home for my niece and nephew’s old books and popped them in the post to us as an emergency package of books as frankly, if I have to read Hansel and Gretel one more time there are going to be consequences.  Much excitement all round! The joy of new (to us) books! Unfortunately, seems Tiddler’s cousins had been a bit heavy handed with Snow White and the seven dwarves, and a book had arrived which needed a good dose of TLC.
“Are books alive?” Tiddler asks. Inward snigger from me at the innate cuteness.
“Do books have skeletons?” Cut-off snigger as I have to answer honestly, “Well they do have spines, that much is true”.
“Are books made from lots of ingredients? Have we got the ingredients to mend this one?”
So given the circumstances, I don’t want to throw this book away, and I also believe strongly in the importance of Tiddler understanding the need to take care of her possessions. Money doesn’t grow on trees and all that. Things do still have a value, and a use, even if they are old. Why replace something if it is not broken. Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. I think you catch my general drift on this theme without resorting to further proverbs. Suffice to say, this is not just about money. Rather that I want Tiddler to be happy when she grows up. I cannot make her life a luxurious one, or guarantee no sorrows or troubles, but I hope I can equip her to be content with her lot, which will foster the skills of being practical, with common sense, and the emotional stability to make wise decisions.

Question: “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
Answer: “The one who is happy”

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Quotes to give us a few more thoughts on this theme today:
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Is happiness on your bucket list?

Bucket lists, for those familiar with term but not sure of it’s origin, were things to do before you ‘kick the bucket’, i.e. die. That phrase in itself is linguistic derivation from, amongst possible choices, stepping off a bucket on a hangman’s noose, the bucket or beam a pig is hung from once slaughtered, or even from the French trebuchet for balance. All meaning that this post is starting off on a much more morbid theme that I intended when I wrote the title. Bear with me folks!
So if our bucket lists are things to do to make us happy, why should we wait before we do them? Do they have to be grand schemes- only swimming with the dolphins or base jumping off the Matterhorn actually count? My happiness quota today got filled as simply as by spotting the first baby courgettes forming on a plant in our yard (after I had planted the seeds much later in the year than advised on the packet).
In order to help us consider what to add into that scribbled down bullet-pointed bucket-kicking list, be it on a calendar, a back of an envelope, or just in your head, please make sure you include ‘Be happy’ on there too. So to help you out with your philosophical thinking for today, the article here and the audio that goes with it might throw a few sage insights your way.
http://www.philosophytalk.org/shows/happiness-0

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