Here is our new unit of currency. The kilo of pasta which, for want of a better word, we’ll call the kipastalo.

Let me explain. Eldest son Benj is off to Uni and will be self-catering on a regular basis. His plan is to live on pasta since it’s one of the few things he can cook. We’ve offered to broaden his culinary repertoire many times and show him how to cook curries and cakes and pies, but he’s always declined, citing an undying love for pasta.

This kilo of pasta cost 89 cents at Super-U. I think it’s probably cheaper at Leclerc and Leader Price, but we’ll go with this value for the time being for our kipastalo. Benj is getting a grant to (in theory) live on. This would buy him 489 kilos of pasta per month, assuming this is all he buys. But of course it won’t be. He will have to sacrifice 241 bags of pasta to pay his monthly rent, 67 more than necessary since he could only get one of the more expensive student rooms. (See this post for the story of his accommodation crisis.) He’s 4 km away from campus (also due to this accommodation crisis). We can’t fit his bike in the car with all his other stuff so he’ll to manage a few weeks without it and either take the bus or walk. This will eat into his kipastalos, around 10 kilos or so a week I would think, either in the form of bus fares or en-route snacks. And Benj is a tea addict so he’ll be paying around 10 kipastalos a month for teabags, sugar and milk. We’ve suggested he gets one meal at the cantine on campus every day, a massive hit of around five kipastalos five times a week. Literally round the corner from campus is a Quick hamburger restaurant. A burger meal with trimmings would set him back ten kipastalos. Maybe he can treat himself every Saturday.

He’s been to two freshers’ week lectures and came out mentioning there were some nice looking girls. A girlfriend will probably cost 10 kipastalos a month in the form of extra shower gel and toothpaste consumed while preparing for dates, plus coffees and treats while out and about.

And there will be the running costs of toilet rolls, tissues, washing powder, washing up liquid etc etc, or at least I hope there will. I’ve kitted him out with several months’ worth (possibly the whole year) but we’ll ignore that for now and say it will cost Benj 5 kipastalos to keep his flat hygienic. Oh yes, and he’ll probably need some books, paper etc too, so that’s another 20 kipastalos gone per month. And I guess we should allow another 20 for sundries.

What does that leave us? I make it 33 kipastalos. Not even our Benj can eat 33 kilos of pasta a month, so it’s looking hopeful that he’ll survive studenthood and even have a little bit of money left at the end of it! Maybe.

We’ll all miss our Benj, of course we will, and Ruadhri more than most as the two boys are very close, despite their ten year age gap. Here’s a nice pic of the two of them I took today. But I know Benj will have a blast a Uni and make the most of the opportunity. And we’ll go and visit a few times each term, assuming he’ll let us!