Clare Teal: Paying the price for steady diet of annoyance on the road

You know me – I'm not one to moan… I have approximately three weeks to get into the size 12 suit I bought for the new album photo shoot. Dieting while touring is virtually impossible and until such chains as Salad Hut or Salad Express emerge, it will continue to be a problem.

Day one of a four-day stretch. Jazz musicians play well if fed chocolate biscuits – we secure two big packets in the boot so Mud and I can't access them. As Muddy fills up (diesel not tears) I go in search of something healthy to eat. This is never easy at a motorway service station, muffins and burgers loom large from every corner. Finally, I spot a basket of apples. I choose two red and two green, thrilled by their shiny appearance (it's nice to make an effort). As I put my wares down on the counter, I notice a dusty dog-eared box of individual fruit teas on top of the hot water machine, so order two cups of fruity infusion. I hand over a 10, saying "Sorry love I haven't got anything smaller". You could have slapped me round the face with a brie and grape Panini, so shocked was I to see my change – all 3.94 of it!

I met Mud outside, by now I was filling up, especially as she'd purchased a further two cups from the garage. All the way to Manchester I fumed while holding the additional beverages between my feet at an awkward angle (only two cup holders in a Chav 4). I was still seething by the time we pulled into the Royal Northern College of Music especially when I noticed the other two cup holders in the back. Grrr.

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The shiny apples tasted of apple-ish water and polish and cost 64p each. You can buy a bag of seven apples in the supermarket for as little as 49p. I could have bought 36.57 apples for 2.56! The mark-up is extraordinary. I can only think they were professionally polished.

That's nothing. A box of 25 brand name fruity infusions costs 1, that's 4p per bag. I could have bought 87.5 cups for 3 – not that we have enough cup holders mind. Visions of water being carried from the hills in thimbles gently warmed by matches struck one by

one spring to mind. Packed lunch from now on.