Earlier this week I took several bags of small change to the bank, the contents of each one counted carefully so that there was exactly £1 in 1p or 2p coins, £5 in 5p’s or £10 in 20p pieces. Having never worked in a shop, or been involved in any business that uses slot machines, I do this sort of thing every seven years or so. Some of these coins had been counted and bagged up years ago but I waited until there was a rucksack full of them to make that trip to the bank. As the teller weighed up the bags (and found that one had 5p more than it should have, and another had 2p less than it should have) it struck me that this is probably the last time I will ever make such a trip. This was not a gloomy or morbid thought, just a recognition that we collect far fewer coins than we used to. Even though I’m a keen user of cash for small transactions I increasingly go contactless: the contents of my pockets are lighter than they used to be. Also, all being well, if we ever accumulate enough copper and silver coins to justify bagging them up, one or both of the children will be old enough to take them to the bank next time.
It got me thinking of other tasks that I might do for the last time, or might already have done for the last time, things that other people will continue to do regularly. Will I ever change a nappy again? Probably not. Unlike Jacob Rees-Mogg, or my father, and in common with Alice Cooper, I changed thousands of them over the years. The prospect of becoming a grandparent is many, many years away, if it happens at all. If it does, I don’t expect to be especially “hands-on” in my duties. This chore will be part of other people’s daily lives for many years to come, but not mine.
Last month I attended a Quiz Night at my daughter’s primary school for the last time. I’ll tell you about it in a later post. [You can read it here.] It was the last such event for me because my daughter is in Year 6 and next September will move on to secondary school (High School or senior school if you prefer).
On a different note I have been trying, without success, to track down something I read or heard many years ago. It concerned a man who had been advised that he only had a short time to live. As he came to terms with the news one of the many things that crossed his mind was whether it was worth getting his shoes repaired. What was the point? If the diagnosis was correct they would probably last him for the rest of his life. It would be a waste of money. He had already made his last trip to the shoe repair shop. This same story crossed my mind last month, when taking my oldest pair of smart shoes to the local cobblers to be heeled and soled, probably for the last time. By this I mean that this is probably the last time those shoes will be repaired. The heels and soles might well outlast the leather uppers. I hope to make many more trips to the shoe repair shop in the decades ahead, and hope to track down the source of that story of the man who decided he wouldn’t. If you have any details about it, could you let me know?