AFTER nine months of snaffling stories deep in the goal square for the Mail-Times, I’m about to jump on a plane to Paris and spend three weeks in Europe.

Why not go to Lake Bolac, you might ask.

It’s closer, the fish and chips are commendable and there are plenty of eels to look at.

And as far as torch tiggy in the caravan park goes – as I found on a cricket trip many moons ago – it’s a cracker.

I’m starting to wonder about the big trip myself.

Because you see catching a plane to another country is not as straightforward as it sounds.

I imagined it would be much like catching a tram.

As easy as standing on the Tullamarine tarmac, Metcard in hand, to hail down the appropriate jumbo.

Obviously not being concession any more I would have to fork out the extra couple of dollars, but I could cope.

It’s funny how needing to save an intimidating amount of money will turn you into a heartless Dickensian money grabber.

Recently I’ve taken receipts linked vaguely to the heath sector into Medicare in the hope they will miraculously lead to a $20 rebate I can spend on potatoes.

While pouring petrol into my car last week I caught people frowning at me as I lifted the hose and shook those precious few extra drops into the tank.

Those drops might have only got me an extra parking space down the road, but during Horsham peak hour that’s the difference between a hair appointment and death.

In recent months I have found myself staring a sheep in the face – as you do – wondering how much of it I could fit in my fridge if I shore it first.

One of my favourite television adventures is Man vs Wild, where a lunatic called Bear Grylls tries to survive in the jungle on a diet of grubs, snakes and the occasional

muesli bar he can tuck into off camera.

I used to make a point of watching the show while eating a toasted cheese sandwich – so I could laugh at him in a superior and sophisticated manner.

Now the program teaches me how to stretch out the following week’s food budget.

But when I hold a warm Guinness with a bunch of English and Irish mates who are in the middle of a festive few months after finishing their university degrees, it will all be worth it.

Until of course I arrive back home with debts bigger than Greece, and my dad will inevitably use the money I owe him on a fly fishing spending spree.

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