LIZ JONES’ DIARY: In which the energy crisis hits

What I say most often, almost every day, isn’t, “My father fought the Nazis” or “I’m not a 1950’s housewife” to delivery drivers and men trying to get into my house with shoes on. Although I say those two things quite often. No, it is this:

“How do people possibly cope with children? With the provision of food, every day. And heat the house, dress them? Do laundry every day! you going somewhere?’

Growing up, I didn’t really think about how on earth my parents fed and clothed seven children. Mainly because my dad was in the army then worked for the NHS and my mum never had a job. Lack of money only crossed my mind twice: once when Mum revealed she was too scared to go to Grocer Thomas as she owed them £60.

And second, when I was on a school trip to St. Paul’s Cathedral. My orange squash wasn’t in a proper container so it leaked (a can of coke was considered too expensive) and I didn’t have the two shillings required to climb up to the Whispering Gallery so I had to park on a bench, alone.



“I don’t think anyone appreciates the horror that comes with that until you’re in financial trouble,” writes Liz Jones

When my memoirs were published, there were some slightly choppy reviews saying I wasn’t really poor because I took horseback riding lessons as a kid.

Nobody appreciates the horror that comes with financial difficulties

You seem to have skipped the part describing how I took a job washing dishes in a pub to pay for tuition, wearing used jodhpurs and trainers instead of riding boots.

We had no central heating, just a coal fire in one room, which my mother never lit before 6pm.

There were hooks on the outside of the living room door so you could put your coat back on if you had to venture out into the chilly bathroom. I was so cold in bed—despite a hot water bottle staining my thighs—that in order to read a book, I had to alternate my hands: one holding the book until it froze, replacing the hand hiding mine between them Thigh.


  • Octopus Energy
  • my printer
  • My landlady, who, when I expressed my dismay at having to run up a steep hill to get home in time for a Saturday morning viewing that was canceled at the last minute, said, ‘Okay, I’ll see you on Divide Monday, with two months’ notice!’

I say, “How do people get along with children?” as I have emailed back and forth with Octopus, my electricity provider. Since moving into my twin and twin cottage in late 2018, I’ve been paying £325 a month by direct debit, which seems a lot considering I’m just one person (although I’m not allowed to). hang a clothesline in the garden, I use a tumble dryer).

I never understood the mania of these companies to stop sending quarterly bills for everything that was used, but still. I agreed.

The meter was read on August 31 by a man (who, of course, had to take off his shoes: “I’m not, etc.”). In September I logged in and saw that my account had a balance of £2,500.

As they don’t pay interest to lend my money I emailed asking for £500, the maximum, to be credited to my bank account. Someone got back and asked me to send photos of the meter readings that clearly show the serial number.

I did as I asked, even though I was tempted to reply, ‘I don’t work for you.’

Yesterday I received this: “Dear Miss Jones. Thank you for the readings. They currently owe us £12,000. Love and strength, the Octopus Energy Team.”

I’m thinking of calling Liz Truss and asking why she keeps robotically repeating: ‘Nobody pays more than £2,500 a year.’ Of course we now know, although she didn’t bother to explain, she meant ‘ not your average household”. But I would have thought I was below average, not above average. I tell them it must be a mistake. They agree to send a technician to check the gauge but if it’s not faulty they will add £80 to my bill.

Unless you’re in financial trouble, no one appreciates the horror that accompanies it. the threats. The indifference. The sleepless nights. The blame. Even from smart people who should be on your side: people you pay, colleagues, friends, family, partner.

You live in constant fear that something might go wrong. Little things get you down: a chipped mug when you only have two. You burn the last slice of bread. LIZ JONES’ DIARY: In which the energy crisis hits

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