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Money isn’t everything - but it’ll do for now

PUBLISHED: 11:10 06 May 2018

Look after the pennies.... and the pounds will look after themselves. If someone's not got to your piggy bank first, that is...

Look after the pennies.... and the pounds will look after themselves. If someone's not got to your piggy bank first, that is...

Archant

Never lend money to people - it gives them amnesia, says Keith Skipper.

An ancient Norfolk adage about financial housekeeping needs our vibrant vernacular to give it full value … “When yew’re got plenty, yew’ll hatter use it sparingly, so when yew hent got nun, yew’ll allus hev sum.”

Indigenous remnants with cocoa tins full of white fivers under the bed and bad memories of other tough eras will nod eagerly and suggest that is exactly where the world has gone wrong.

Living beyond the means. Putting too much tick into the borrowing time-bomb. Failing to give enough credit to multiplication tables in schools. Forgetting that the best way to keep bills down is to use a paperweight.

Counting my allowance carefully, and wondering again why there’s so much month left at the end of the money. I made my way to Norfolk’s leading exponent of fiscal enlightenment. Ethel Halfpenny divides her time between clearing house in Ten Mile Bank and Winfarthing.

Her first bit of advice is so staggeringly obvious that most seekers of improved situations are left feeling both gullible and guilty. “Never lend people money,” she purred. “It gives them awful amnesia.”

She proved her feet are well and truly planted on Norfolk ground with a tip to public houses replacing the Happy Hour with a Misery Month. “That helps prepare you for a long period of old-fashioned austerity. It’s beneficial to have a common theme, something all can moan about for quite a while without fear of going out of fashion.”

Ethel Halfpenny offered to take me to such a hostelry if I treated her to a candlelit supper of Granny Polly’s Late Riser Surprise (with chutney), and a pickled egg washed down with a vintage bottle of Vimto (1929).

Thankfully, it was the gypsy violinist’s night off.

“Money isn’t everything,” I offered as Ethel beamed. “No,” she agreed before adding in her best hedge-fund voice, “but it’s a fair way ahead of whatever comes next.”


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