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Last winter I had stopped at a Service Station to fill up. It wasn't one I normally stopped at and I got chatting to the middle aged gentleman behind the counter. The wagon was empty and was taking ages to fill, there were no other customers and the gentleman had quickly engaged me in conversation. We covered the weather and the last AB game and moved smartly into electricity prices.

My latest bill was crouching on the table at home, my phone bill had landed at the same time, an unexpected vet bill was looming and I was trying to keep smiling as I heard the diesel gurgling down the pipe and into the wagon. It was cold and, in the back of my head, I was wondering if I should freeze or starve this month.

Turned out this gentleman had it sussed. His life, and financial position, was simple because he had a lifestyle that was well within his monetary means. His day consisted of leaving his little flat early to walk to the Service Station where he was warm and where he had pleasant and varied company all day. His meal plan (purchased at the Service Station at staff rates) was inexpensive but wholesome and his evening entertainment was to turn the lights out, climb under a thick duvet and watch tele – this was his one luxury ... he had Sky. He was happy, he was content, he had balanced and valued contacts with other human beings, and he had no stress ... he had retired from the battle of life. I was rather envious.

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