I can’t actually remember when I started getting pocket money, it seems a life time ago (now a grumpy old man of 61 ½). It must have been when I was around 9 or 10 years old, I remember my uncle Norman (I was named after both him and my Grandpa Norman) slipping me a Florin every week when he thought no one was looking. Yes, a real whole Florin to myself, can you imagine that? Can you remember what a Florin was? Yes, of course it was sixpence short of a Half Crown. Still not ringing any bells? Well, it was two shillings, 24 pence in old money. There were 5 Florins in a pound so it was worth 20 pence in today’s money. So what did I spend my new found wealth on? Easy, comics - the Beano, the Dandy and the like, often with free gifts like flying saucers or bang making machines. Then, when I was a little older, Commando comics and even some of the exciting American comics telling tales of the original Batman and Superman. When I was old enough, I used to be allowed to take the bus into town with friends and spend hours in a comic shop that specialised in American comics. I’m sure the guy who ran it used to think we would never actually buy anything, just spend hours reading his stock, but we always did.
I also remember being out on the street in front of my home at night with friends sitting under the street lamp reading each other’s comics and swapping them around till they were all read over and over again. I suppose that’s where my love of reading comes from. As a teenager the pocket money was supplemented by a paper round that helped buy records, Manfred Mann to start with then Led Zeppelin and Uriah Heep (much to the dismay of my parents).
Pocket money was great and it also taught me how to budget, you still had to be able to buy the odd sweet or two from the penny tray in the local shop on a Friday before getting your pocket money on a Saturday. Even a bag of chips from the local chippie on the way home from Friday night Boys Brigade had to be saved for. My parents never let me take it for granted that if something was more than the worth of my pocket money that they would throw in a few extra pence or shillings to get me a toy. If I wanted it then I had to save up for it and amazingly that must have three or four weeks later often went completely out of my mind despite having saved up for it, did I really want it or was the latest record or book from a favourite author coming along.
Fond memories of pocket money and as a fairly new Grandpa myself I’m sure it’s a topic I’ll be returning to before too long.