Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Job for Susan (blurb)

When I was a very small boy, decimalisation was on its way in and  I can only vaguely remember the old pounds, shillings and pence. It's a bit bewildering for me when I read Jane Shaw books because they talk about something costing five shillings and I find myself wondering, "Is that a lot?" Bill's train set in Susan Pulls the Strings cost eight pounds, which seems to have been a fabulous sum in the early 1950s. But I wasn't around then, so I can't really be sure. I just have to admit that all this old money confuses me. However, the dust jacket of A Job for Susan brought back some distant childhood memories. At the change-over items would often have prices in both old money and the new decimal currency. Fortunately, my copy of the book is not price-clipped, and we can see that you could snap up the last of the Susan series for either ten shillings or fifty pence. My own recollections of decimalisation are distant memories of my dad, like many others, holding on to old money because it might be worth something one day, and my mother at the shops complaining that the new currency had resulted in astronomical price rises. Of course, by 1973 my parents had no old money left. It had either got lost or had been passed off to inattentive shopkeepers by my little brother and me. The old ha'pennies were easily confused with the new 2p coins and we were surprisingly successful at getting an extra bar of toffee or something by mixing them in with other coins. The devious mind of a seven-year-old! Seeing the unclipped dust wrapper brought those memories back...