So there we were, walking the dogs one day. OH had Jeffie, and I was walking Sid. OH had ongoing disturbances of the right foot, commonly known in medical circles as plantar fasciitis. Jeffie had ongoing disturbances of the digestive system, commonly known as the squits.
Jeffie squatted and squitted. OH and I both watched as he walked forward without a care in the world. He had made his not-so-little deposit in an area of long grass, but as it was alongside the main footpath through the village we had a legal obligation to pick it up.
OH rustled a poop bag, half-heartedly*.
‘I’ll give you ten bob if you pick that up for me,’ he said.
Me: ‘Do you really mean that?’
OH: Yes, yes!! Ten bob if you pick it up. You know you’ll do a much better job than me, and my foot hurts.’
Me: ‘Ten bob?’
OH (with an air of great sincerity and confidence): ‘Ten bob!’
Me: ‘Ahahahahah! But there is no longer any such thing as ten bob!’
OH: ‘Oh .. please!!!‘
And so, being basically a very nice, helpful and generous person, I did. I picked it up. And did I get my ten bob? I did not.
A few months later, it happened again. And once again, OH stood and gazed at the offending damp and malodorous Jeffie Waste somewhat disconsolately.
OH: ‘I’ll give you ten bob if you … ‘
Me: ‘Yeah yeah. I’ve heard that before. You still owe me the first one. You do realise that if I pick that up, you’ll owe me TWO ten bobs? And I want the real thing – ten bob notes, just like we used to have. Orange, with Brenda’s head on them and everything?’
OH: ‘Yes! Anything!! Yes! Two ten bob notes. Orange, Brenda’s head, real thing … Yes! PLEASE pick it up for me!!’
And so, being basically a nice, generous soul, and not really expecting ever to see my ten bob notes, I did.
Fast forward to this morning.
There was a ring at the door. Jeffie (now cured of his Digestive Disturbances and putting on weight nicely) ran to do his new, self-appointed job of Guard Dog, and barked ferociously at the door. Sid followed, with a few half-hearted woofs of his own. Finally, OH brought up the rear and answered the door to Sally, our lovely Enid Blyton post lady. She was bearing packages, one of which needed a signature. I always let OH do it, because he has just a tiny little thing going for Sally, and it’s fun to see him answer the door to her in his pyjamas.
He came into the lounge after a few minutes and handed me a cellophane bag. The very one that you see at the top of the post.
Two beautiful, crisp, new ten pound notes!! I was stunned, and very happy to have them.
They are now out of circulation of course, since we have that nasty New Pence currency**. A pity, because bank notes are so much more beautiful than a base metal polygon with peculiarly cryptic designs on it – which is what passes for ten bob these days. And, I might add, I sometimes have to look twice to make sure I’m not being palmed off with foreign currency!
Ten bob was worth a small fortune when I was young. I remember saving my pocket money and Christmas and birthday money for ages to get one. And years later, my very first job paid the grand sum of six pounds and sixpence – a mere tadlet over twelve ten bobs. These days, ten bob would be worth precious little. While it’s true that that first job was pretty low-paid, I did earn a little more than the cost of two packs of sausages, so you see where inflation has got us.
So anyway. OK, they’re not the original orange ones, but they are still genuine ten bob notes! Dating from the late sixties, no less.
I only have one twinge of unease.
These notes are crisp, new, and consecutively numbered, so where the dickens did he get them? Has he got a stash? Do I need to worry about a knock on the door from the fraud squad?
* We’re very egalitarian. The dogs belong to both of us, but whoever is holding the lead picks up the poop. Unless one of us (usually me) is holding both leads, in which case the other person picks up.
** Nasty because a) I was brought up with old currency, so this new decimal stuff seems cheap and somehow not real, and b) don’t you hate all those coins with all those weird designs? Good grief, the stuff doesn’t even smell the same! I want the farthing back. And the thrupenny bit!