Two Old Codgers

How the World strikes us

HARD UP
I’ve lived a long time (Some would say too bloody long!) and at various times I have been ‘hard up’. When I finished my National service in 1949, I went back to my job in Lancashire as a camera shop assistant (Nowadays I would have been called a ‘Customer Technical Advisor’). I stayed with my old firm for a few months and then got a similar job in Somerset with a wage of £8 a week. I paid £2.50 a week for dinner bed and breakfast but don’t remember feeling particularly poor.

Mind you if I think back to my two years in the RAF I do remember
AC2 Arthur
being hard up. I was paid four shillings a day (20p in todays money) or £1.40 a week. All my food and clothing were provided so £1.40 was spending money (Mostly cigarettes). However, as I went home most weekends my mother was allocated half of my pay which brought me down 70p each week. Things did get tight, in fact I remember once raffling HALF a jar of jam at a half penny a ticket in order to buy five Woodbine cigarettes. (A half penny was 1/480th of a pound) and I think 5 Woodbines cost about 6p (or two and a half pence in new money).

When our three children were young we still managed to eat reasonable well. Luxuries were few and far between and ‘Eating Out’ was a rare
Husky
trip to a local cafe for something like boiled ham and chips. Things did slowly improve, we didn’t save much, if at all, but managed to keep mostly free of debt. We bought our first terraced house for £2,100 with a twenty-five year mortgage and I remember being puzzled a few short years later when we bought a secondhand Hillman Husky Car for £460 which I agreed to pay for on Hire Purchase over two years - £2,100 over 25 years and £460 over 24 months! We just shrugged our shoulders and got on with it.

I am sure if I asked "Do you want more money?" the automatic response would be a clear unequivocal ‘Yes!’. How about "Do you
need more money?". I think that requires a bit more consideration. Would you simply add it to what you already have and increase the number you see at the bottom of your bank statement? Or is there some fundamental need that could be rectified by an injection of more money? One thing is for sure, it doesn’t matter how much you have, we all want more. From the family living in poverty to the owner of the luxury yacht with helicopter pad, enough is never enough. Why? They (whoever they are) want us to spend more which means we will want more and like hamsters in a wheel we keep going round and round.

My guess it is all to do with consumerism, we are persuaded night and day that we
party politics
need more of everything. Watch any commercial TV channel and time the adverts in an hour. I think it is about ten or twelve minutes during prime time viewing but if you add adverts for forthcoming programmes it gets even longer. Some of the best (or worst) examples are televised football matches. Not during the actual play but in the lead up to kick off and half time breaks.


Add to that Party Politics Broadcasts and you could almost end up
jumping up and down on the TV remote control.


Renote

A comment from Plato (Via Peter!)
"The greatest wealth is to live content with little"


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