A weekend of family activities where the cost is hidden:
1. We had a picnic lunch at a National Trust property yesterday. This being a British Summer, we ate it huddled in the car...
Entry to house and gardens: free. Lunch: cost subsumed in weekly grocery bill. Annual family membership of NT: about £60 (can't remember exactly, but we get our money's worth). Incongruity of rolling up to the ticket booth with Rap playing on the radio: priceless. (Blowing-the-whole-hidden-cost-thing-out-of-the-water with inordinantly over-priced ice-creams: £6.40...)
2. Driving in flash rain shower yesterday afternoon, windscreen-wipers straining against the volume, road turning into a water-course, and lightning splitting the sky.
Experience: free. Second-hand Opel Zafira: £7,000. Road-tax, insurance, MOT, ongoing costs: more than you want to think about. Tank of petrol: £40. Watching the lightning, and wondering what it would be like if the metal box we were travelling in got hit: priceless.
3. After church this morning, we took a trip to the Walk-in Clinic at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, because Jo had something lodged in her eye. Hardly counts as a family outing really, as they were advertising an-hour-and-a-quarter waiting time to be seen, so I took the kids home for lunch. As it turned out, Jo was seen very quickly, and got home not very long after we did...Having been seen at Walk-in Clinic and down the hall at Minor Injuries (we had walked past Minor Injuries en route to Walk-in Clinic), both teams agreed that there was an object in her eye, but they couldn't remove it - she needed to go to the Northern General Hospital for that. Jo came home for some lunch first, then out again - this time, without family in tow...
Multi-story car-parking at Royal Hallamshire: £2. NHS care at point of service: free. Being trusted to drive the kids home (okay, trusted is perhaps too strong a word, given that Jo really didn't have an alternative; but, hey, I got to do it!): priceless.