The cost of everything, no longer has value.

Whilst waiting at the bar, to be serve, two young men finally finished their food and drinks order. As the barmaid totalled up the cost on the electric till the lad standing next to me whipped out his mobile phone and to my astonishment placed the phone over the card reader on the bar. In seconds the barmaid turned to me to take my order, for which I paid cash. Since the lads money was instantly debited from his account directly into J.J.Moons coffers I couldn’t but help think that that young man probably pays for everything via his phone. So how does he know how much is in his account?

Back when I was just a boy, my Mum had a number of pots, jars and tins, lined up on the kitchen mantelpiece – each was neatly labelled rent, coal, gas, dinner money etc. even down to “bag-wash”. The tin was green and labelled ‘Lyles Golden Syrup’ and the lid was very firmly shut each time, as soon as Dad had given Mum her housekeeping money for the week. It was a ritual, usually on a Friday evening, when the money was divided among the various receptacles and that way Mum was never in debt and moreover she knew exactly when and what bills had to be met that week and how much she had left over for food.

On the other hand my Granny, who had remarried after her husband had died of consumption, when I was just a baby. She married an ex-soldier who had served many years in India who was a very uncouth man who thought nothing of swearing at Gran. I also suspect that he hit her a number of times after heavily drinking down the pub. As I was not old enough to go to school then I was left in Gran’s care whilst Mum did a small cleaning job for a disabled neighbour who had lost a leg in the first world war. On any number of occasions Gran would say “put your coat on we are going out” I stopped asking after a few times “where are we going Gran?” and always got the same one word reply “Uncles”. With her husband’s best and only suit neatly wrapped in brown paper and tied with string we would go to the corner shop with the three brass balls hanging outside. Although, Gran must have found the money to redeem the suit on a regular basis, it was only at best a couple of weeks before “Uncle” looked after the old man’s suit once more. Gran died in 1950, and I found out much later – that Mum had had to look after the old Man with whom I was never left alone for a moment. Frankly he frightened me. I remember being in his smelly bedroom with Mum one morning when all of a sudden he grabbed up his smelly eiderdown and slung it at me shouting “cook that, for your mother’s dinner”.

He went completely mad just before he died in 1952 from syphilis. Both Mum and Dad really deeply resented having to get a loan from the Prudential, to bury the old man. I guess Mum felt she had to do it for her Mum.

Mike.

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