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There ARE some reasons to be cheerful: Fifteen glorious things you can still do for free


By Ray Connolly and David Thomas

Last updated at 11:16 PM on 30th September 2008



So Armageddon has arrived. Spiv City traders have been short-selling our lives and now we're all billions of pounds in debt. And it's raining again - after the dullest September for 14 years. But hang on... there are plenty of things we can enjoy that don't involve spending money. Here is how you can enjoy the best of them.


1. Understand the credit crunch is no walk in the park. So why not take a real walk in the park instead. This year, after all the rain we've had over the past few months, it's going to be a dazzling autumn.


2. On your walk in the park, why not watch children play their impromptu football games? It's often more entertaining than their professional counterparts. And you'll never see a bad or violent tackle.


3. This year, hedgerows are filled with juicy blackberries. The wet summer delayed the blackberry harvest, but it also plumped up the fruit. So pick these free gifts from Nature, then use them to make blackberry jam.






article-1065392-02D9056300000578-877_468x339.jpg Autumn splendour: Lucy Davies, three, enjoys the leaves of the 150 acer trees at Barthelemy nurseries in Wimborne, Dorset


4. Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse are back on TV in Harry and Paul. Paul Whitehouse's multi-lingual football manager's address to his team of many nationalities a few weeks ago was inspired. It'll become a classic.

5. Watch the recording of your favourite TV programme for free. Tickets to the recording of most TV shows, from Strictly Come Dancing to Top Gear, are widely available online.


6. Share a bath - just as we were advised to in the Seventies to save the gas bill. After all, austerity is meant to bring people together...

7. With supermarket prices soaring, why not turn your gardens into an allotment to grow your own vegetables.


article-1065392-02D9050000000578-9_468x321.jpg Stunning: A walk in the park is absolutely free, and this autumn will be dazzling after all the rain we've had recently


8. Museums and art galleries are free and absolutely stuffed with treasures. No monarch was ever able to enjoy the vast array of art that we can appreciate for nothing.


9. Already gas and electricity are becoming toxically expensive, to use the latest buzz word, so go to bed earlier and cuddle up.


10. Or if we've no one to cuddle up to, why not borrow a book from the library. They're free, remember?


11. Then there's music. Never in history has there been so much variety for everyone to enjoy at the click of a radio switch.


article-1065392-004811D700000258-667_468x295.jpg Graceful: If you live close enough, watch the deer in Richmond Park


12. In need of a makeover? Pop to your local department store and get a new look - free. A few clever questions to the people behind the beauty counter about make-up colours and skincare - then take their advice away. And don't forget the free samples!


13. For pure pomp and ceremony head to Buckingham Palace and the world famous Changing the Guard. A wonderful spectacle - that costs nothing.


14. If you live close enough, make your way to Richmond Park, the New Forest or Exmoor and watch the deer and ponies as they wander through the purple heather. As free as large animals can be in Britain, their grace and beauty is a gift to all of us.


15. With the frosty, clear nights just around the corner, you can enjoy one of nature's most wondrous freebies. Just look up and enjoy the sight of a thousand twinkling stars.

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