Thursday, 5 August 2010

At Last!

At Last 1. Rain! We had some rain overnight Tuesday/Wednesday then it started raining on and off from about lunch time yesterday. There was also a little thunder rolling around somewhere in the distance. Although still nowhere near as green as it normally is, the grass is looking a little better. It is now four weeks since I last mowed it and I am usually mowing twice a week at this time of the year.

At Last 2. Yesterday afternoon Mrs BP was discharged from the hospital. No, she hasn't been an in-patient but has merely been receiving therapy for the wrist she broke back in January. Yesterday's session was the last.

At Last 3, or How Times Change. Way back when, before I realised my mistake, I worked for one of the High Street banks. After almost a year in one of the busy branches in Brighton I was transferred to a small branch in a sleepy mid-Sussex village where I was to be the ledger clerk. Although on two mornings each week I had to run the sub-branch in the even sleepier village along the road, my principal job was to post the ledgers. This was a pen and ink job - way before the advent of computers-for-all. The branch had a total staff of six people (I think). There was the manager, his assistant (I can't remember his title) who also ran the second till if the usual second cashier was on holiday, the two cashiers, a machinist who typed customers statements and did all the junior work, and me. Every day the work had to be balanced, or, as we used to say, the sides had to be got right. As most of the entries could not be posted on the day of receipt, the work was finally balanced the following morning, although several parts - such as the cash holding - had been balanced the day before. Now, in theory balancing the day's work should have been a piece of cake. Everything leading up to this had been checked and double checked so it was simply matter of listing the various sub-totals of debits on one side of a form and credits on the other, adding them up and seeing that the two sides agreed. In theory. In practice, it rarely happened. I then had to track back to find the mistake(s) and get them corrected. On one particular day I had more difficulty than usual in finding the numerous errors and it was not until well into the second lunch hour that I finally got the sides to agree. ‘At last!' I exclaimed.

As the second cashier was on holiday and the first cashier at lunch, the number two in the office - a tall, gangly man with a prominent Adam's apple named Mr Thornton (the man - not the Adam's apple) - was running the second till. After he had finished serving a customer, he turned to me (my desk was immediately behind the cashiers' run) and said, ‘Mr BP, kindly moderate your language'. (Yes, those were his exact words. And yes, we were called Mr or Miss So-and-so - none of this Christian name nonsense in British banks in those days.)

‘But...,' I stammered, ‘what have I said, Mr Thornton?'

‘I distinctly heard you say, ‘Blast'.

I remember it as if it were yesterday!

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