Some of you may have noticed that yesterday would have been my Nanny Joyce's 96th birthday. For those of you lovely readers who have been with me from the start, you'll remember the painful days of late January and early February, interspersed with moments full of love, laughter and on many occasions, red wine a-plenty.
Last night, the family came together to celebrate her birthday. Even though she was missing from our table, she was with us in spirit, knocking back the red wine like Prohibition was coming into effect the next day. I'll update you on the gossip tomorrow.....
Going back to yesterday, I had to go through the complete humiliation of having to ask a twelve year old how to run my finances. Now either I am getting older (probable) or the banks are recruiting straight from primary school. Jack, as the boy was called, was obviously old enough to shave (or not, as he was fuzzy faced from the nostrils downwards), and his voice had broken. That is where any similarity to an adult stopped. He welcomed me with an 'Alright?'
This immediately brings on an almost allergic reaction, where I have to slip into a 1950's voice similar to either Joyce Grenfell or the headmistress out of St Trinian's (the original black and white one) so I proffered my hand, with an almost regal 'Good afternoon Jack. I hope that you are quite well?'
'Yeah, fine. Wanna follow me?'
Wincing at his obvious inability to include all of a word's letters when spoken (he was like a poor man's Danny Dyer) I followed him into the side room which all banks seem to have these days.
Well Jack looked like he'd borrowed his suit from his dad as the sleeves on the jacket brushed past his knuckles. He did have rather an odd tattoo on the inside of his wrist, so maybe the long sleeves were a request from the bank management? I think it said 'DUDE', but as the last letter was hidden by his replica James Bond watch, it could have said 'DUD'? I'll never know.
He was wearing white socks with his brown shoes (since when did it become acceptable to wear brown shoes with a black suit anyway?) but they were barely noticeable until he sat down, as the trouser legs concertinaed round his ankles like wooly, black puddles. (His dad must be quite a bit taller than him). The top two buttons of his shirt were undone, and he WASN'T EVEN WEARING A TIE....I caught a glimpse of the army dog tag he was wearing (one would assume that considering he was barely into double figures where age was concerned, this also was fake).
I had gone there to ask for some in-depth advice for investing some money for university fees. The boy's opening gambit was,
'Well, our rates are rubbish, but 'ere's what we've got right now'.
At this point he turned a piece of paper round so that it was facing me, and one by one, rejected all of the savings accounts bar one.
Nodding like I understood, I said,
'OK. It looks like that will be the one then.'
Joyce Grenfell then re-appeared, and asked him whether he got paid any extra pennies for helping people with their savings and investments.
Pointing at the list, he said, 'Yeah. I get commission on that one'.
Aah..that will be the one which he recommended. It suddenly all made sense..
Not as stupid (or naïve) as he looked then...