My dad died when I was six, so pocket money wasn’t regular. It was a special treat reserved for my uncle’s shore leave from the navy. When he came home, my sisters and I luxuriated in rare undivided adult attention. We’d lie on the living room rug, feasting on stories of places we vaguely knew from maps and books.
His pockets were always fat with change. Treasure, he told us. It was only pennies, but to us it was a fortune – one understood in quantities of Smarties, Space Raiders and Crème Eggs, earned through answering general knowledge questions, singing or improv skits. Best of all was when he stashed around the sitting room for us to feverishly unearth from the backs of clocks, curtain folds and sofa cushion dunes.
Because pocket money was unusual, it was memorable. The powerful itch to spend it made athletes of us as we sprinted to the village shop. In those days we could imagine nothing finer than sitting together, bums on sun-bleached summer grass, lips cerulean blue from the Slush Puppies our riches had bought us.