Flaming credit crunch

Right you lot, it's time for a bit of positive mental attitude (PMA)

I am sick and tired of all this flaming credit crunch nonsense: I'm tired of reading about mounting food costs and monstrous petrol prices.

So in light of the fact that we are all about to become jobless and homeless, I have kindly compiled a list of my favourite things that are free, cheap or priceless.

If you have anything to add to the list, do get in touch.

1 One of my favourite free things is yawning. I like to do it when I'm talking to someone I don't like. If they have really irritated me I like to eat a packet of Wotsits first so they are engulfed by my cheesy breath and can see all the masticated bits stuck to my teeth.

2 Being mucked about by members of the opposite sex. Admittedly this has a downside, but there's still nothing better or more indulgent than listening to sad songs while staring out of the window at the rain, waiting for a call.

3 Despite the fact that a small tin of ravioli is now 75p, those liquorice sticks filled with sugar are still only 10p. A delicious treat that appears to have escaped inflation rates.

4 Listening to other people on their mobile phones. This is an excellent way to pass the time and much like a lucky dip, you never know what gems you're going to come across.

Just the other day I was on a train and began to earwig into a conversation drifting over from the seat in front. The man talking into his phone was effing and jeffing and ranting and raving for ages.

His anger about the world, the train, and other people was endless. He was, quite simply, being horrible. At the end of this verbal sewage he signed off with 'OK petal, love you too, see you in a bit."

5 Whenever I've had a bad week I look forward to bin day. Then I wait until midnight before dragging my wheelie bin back into the garden. The noise is deafening and wakes everyone up. Then I am happy because I know I have shared my bad mood.

6 Judging other people. For this you need a cafe with a glass front. Go in with a friend and order a small cup of tea and then judge, judge, judge those passers-by. Judge their walk, their clothes, their choice of mate.

It's free, morally corrupt and excellent fun. But there is a small downside, because the next time you walk past a cafe with a glass front it's your turn.

7 Telling my mum I have a new boyfriend. The sharp intake of breath, the long pregnant silence, the loaded questions (I tend to collect waifs, strays and felons).

Exactly like Who Wants to be a Millionaire but with more tears and less prize money.

8 There is a hedgehog that visits my garden every night at about 8pm. I like to watch him snuffle about. Tax that, Gordon.

All further suggestions to: alison.goulding@northeast-press.co.uk

(unless your computer has been repossessed. Boo. Hoo.)