Digital banking.

I was listening to the wireless recently and left the room for a moment and when I returned I caught the end of an article about a digital bank which said they had no branches as the were digital, which set me thinking.

Many years ago we used to have a family bakers business which in those days dealt mainly in money, not digital money you understand but old fashioned notes and coins.

This is going to come as a surprise to some of my younger readers but at the end of each days trading we would count the takings and put it in bags which we placed in another small leather bag which was called a night safe wallet. On our way home the night safe wallet was deposited into the bank through a hole in the wall that only customers with a key and an agreement to bank in this fashion would have, the bag being opened in the morning when the bank opened.

Some of the takings would be kept behind in our small safe at the shop to use as a float for the next days business, I’m assuming you’re with me so far, I’m only asking as the concept of moving bags of heavy money around may not be that easy for young people to imagine. Probably most of them are asking, well why didn’t you just do it with your phone?

During the trading week we would travel to the bank during opening hours carrying yet more bags of coins and wads of notes which were deposited for safe keeping in the banks vault. All of this carting of heavy coin was a great substitute for having to be a member of a gym, which may explain why folk in old black and white photos look so much slimmer than their modern counterparts.

I’m glad to say it was a fairly rare occurrence when men in balaclavas, or with stockings over their heads armed with sawn off shotguns would rush into the bank demanding the cash from the vault and then jump into the Mk 2 Jaguar waiting outside for their getaway.


Obviously having to stare down the barrel of a sawn off shotgun would have been a very traumatic experience for the bank manager and his staff, which may have had some bearing on the banks closing branches, especially in the countryside and pushing everyone to on line banking. This is a shame for older folk who still tend to use old fashioned money as the concept of paying by touching ones mobile phone on a terminal is a step too far!

It is quite a strange juxtaposition where the old fashioned bank would protect our money physically by putting bars at the window and latterly at the counter and storing our money in a large safe in the basement.

Whereas the modern digital bank doesn’t actually have our money for safekeeping at all for it only exists in a digital form and is only protected by a young computer programmer writing some code to keep the digital robbers at bay. Not quite as brave as the bank staff of old staring death in the face at the end of a gun barrel.

I’m lucky in that my bank still issues me with a cheque book which I have to admit I use very rarely, however I joined the Friends of Sywell Aerodrome which is a small art deco aerodrome in Northamptonshire and they requested payment by cheque.

How I wonder would younger people dealt with this situation, place their phone in a jiffy bag and head to the post office, if they can still find one that is open as they too are the victims of the digital world in which we live.


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I can sleep on a clothes line.

When I first moved to the countryside I was surprised at how many things were different from town living, one of the most obvious to me was how quiet it was. As we speak I am sitting at my desk typing and I can’t hear a sound from outside and this is not because we have the most modern double glazing, it is because there is no noise outside.

It sounds like we live in the wilds of the countryside but no, we live in Hatfield Heath which is a fairly large village near Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire, although we are lucky in that our house is fairly well set away from the road.

Coming from London where even in the suburbs there is constant noise virtually twenty four hours a day, when first arriving in the countryside one is very aware of how quiet it is especially at night where you could hear a pin drop, except when a fox is having sex which is a very strange noise and surprisingly noisy.

I am exceptionally lucky in that most of the time I have no problem sleeping, I think it’s fair to say I can sleep on a clothes line as the old saying goes.

Image result for Victorian sleeping on a line

The above picture explains where the expression sleeping on a clothes line comes from, one could pay 4d (four pence old money) for a nights sleep on a very thin mattress of straw, or if you were even more poor a night on the line for 2d.

Life in Victorian Britain was fairly harsh for the poor, although obviously the rich had a somewhat better time of things. Many of the upper classes would dress in their “common clothes,” for a night of sightseeing and entertainment in the boarding houses and streets of the slums, hence the expression, “slumming it.”

Compared to this, people today don’t know how lucky they are, which reminds me of another expression once used by one of our ex Prime Ministers, Mr Harold Macmillan who in 1957 told the nation, “you’ve never had it so good.”

God only knows what expression he would have come up with to describe the current level of wealth enjoyed by most people, “rich as Croesus,” springs to mind!



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The pheasants are revolting.

There was a story yesterday about an angry pheasant who is terrorising a neighbourhood by biting and clawing residents, chasing pets and postmen.

Apparently this bird is so vicious that postmen are forced to defend themselves by squirting vinegar spray after high pitched alarms and gun noises failed to do the trick.

Residents have taken to carrying umbrellas with which to defend themselves, whilst one had to use the umbrella to rescue a postman who was trapped against his front door.


Now, I’m an open minded sort of chap so always try to see the other fellows point of view, or in this case the other pheasants point of view, so let’s look at the facts.

Open season for pheasant shooting started on 1st October so already this bird has been living on borrowed time for some two months; two months where he can hardly dare to show his face for fear of being shot at.

Having survived the carnage that has been inflicted on his friends and relatives during the pheasant shooting season and hoping to keep his head down in a quiet residential area, he now finds he is being attacked with vinegar spray, loud scary noises and umbrellas, it’s no wonder the poor sole is angry.

I’m sure that if all the residents were to start treating the bird in a more civilised fashion he would respond accordingly as I have generally found that if you treat someone as a gentleman they tend to act like a gentleman.

I have to say in all fairness going round attacking people (or birds) in the street with umbrellas just isn’t cricket, it is more the actions I expect from a cad or a rather beastly¬† Russian assassin squad.

Please be more pleasant to the pheasant as we don’t want the poor bird to be caught by the shooting party and end up requiring the services of a pheasant plucker or a pheasant plucker’s son.




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Adolf Hitler and the wonderful view.

When I was much younger and still taking holidays with my parents I can remember being taken to the countryside or the seaside and my parents commenting, “oh what a wonderful view.” Whereas I was thinking, “is it really, I can’t see it myself, I would rather be at home riding my bicycle to the woods for a crafty fag with my friends!”


Perhaps, in retrospect I should have paid more attention to the view as I later went on to become addicted to Marlboro cigarettes and used to smoke eighty a day, a habit I am delighted to report I managed to give up some eighteen years ago.

I was reminded of this thought when watching a documentary on the television about Hitler and Eva Braun and how she gradually became more powerful in the relationship, from initially being his girlfriend and never being seen in public to taking control of The Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat in the Bavarian Alps. Eventually they married and then committed suicide when all was lost and the Allies were entering Berlin.


Eva was a very keen photographer and took many cine films which showed the wonderful view of the countryside from The Berghof and how smartly everyone dressed, especially the SS officers in their all black uniforms designed by SS- Oberfuhrer Prof Karl Diebitsch and Walter Heck which were produced by The Hugo Boss Company.

It’s rather lucky than World War Two wasn’t a fashion parade as the British uniform wasn’t anything to write home about, had that been the case we could well have finished in last place.¬† The only chaps who could present themselves properly were The Home Guard who initially had no uniforms and had to go on parade in their three piece tweed suits.

This post was prompted by the phrase, “what a wonderful view,” which reminded me of the immortal sketch by John Cleese as Basil Fawlty about the view that was expected from a Torquay hotel bedroom window…..”Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically…..”


I shall leave you with part of the script from that very amusing programme Fawlty Towers.

Mrs. Richards:
And another thing. I booked a room with a view.

[quietly to Manuel] Deaf, mad and blind. [Goes to the window] Yes, this is the view as I remember it, yes, yes, this is it.

Mrs. Richards:
When I pay for a room with a view, I expect something more interesting than that.

That is Torquay madam.

Mrs. Richards:
Well it’s not good enough.

Well, may I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically…?

Mrs. Richards:
Don’t be silly. I expect to be able to see the sea.

You can see the sea. It’s over there between the land and the sky.



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M1 closed for twelve nights.

As I mentioned previously I am attempting to keep this site more related to matters of concern to people living in the country which is not as easy as you might think, especially for an ex townie like myself.

However, that was yesterday and what should fall into my lap today but the perfect story for me to write concerning beautiful fluffy dormice who just happen to be sleeping at the moment and their well being is in danger if they are woken up too soon during the freezing winter weather.

I know how they feel as I myself hate to be woken too early, especially during the colder winter months, although unlike the mice I am not in danger of dying, I just get a little bad tempered.

Dormice have disappeared from 17 counties and only 45,000 are left in Britain

Apparently they are turning a portion of the M1 in Northamptonshire into a smart motorway which means turning the hard shoulder into a fourth lane.

It seems that to do this they have to fell trees which are in the way and which are close to where the dormice are hibernating, the story continues that the trees will have to be felled quietly and lowered gently on to flat bed trucks.

I have to admit there is a certain amount of ambiguity about this story as I am wondering where they are going to acquire a silent chainsaw and silent lorries and workmen.

Whatever the truth of this story, if there are any fluffy dormice in danger whilst the roadworks are taking place, as someone who much appreciates his car and the use of the motorway system I am also concerned for the well being of the fluffy mice and I would be quite prepared to wait until they have woken up.


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New year, new beginning.

It’s a new year and therefore I am making sweeping changes to my life, well that may be a slight exaggeration I am in fact doing nothing more than rearranging my blogs and websites, starting with this one.

When I first wrote this site some many years ago it was exactly what it said on the tin, it was a blog about my shock at the difference between life in the country and life in the town.

For example when in town and one ventures forth to the pub it can be fairly late, whereas in the country especially in the winter if you leave it too late by the time you get there it may well be closed.

Elder flower, don’t get me started on this subject, just scroll down the list of subjects and review my wonderful blog on the subject.

This is the sort of change I am putting into practice, this site will revert, hopefully to subjects more closely related to life in the country, although as I have been here for quite a few years now I’m finding it harder to find subjects on which to blog as I quite like the place now.

Luckily I happen to have one handy which concerns country matters and the exploits of the local farmers and I suspect some of you who live in the country may have experienced what I am talking about. Massive housing developments on farmland.

Everywhere you go all you can see is massive housing developments taking place on what was once farmland, it’s come to the point that if a building worker bends down revealing the crack of his arse someone applies for planning permission for a small block of flats in his trousers.

I have become a NIMBY, I don’t want the country to become the town, where drivers push their way into the road and stop the traffic with their car as a means of turning right. I much prefer the old fashioned way it used to be when I first arrived in the country where everyone waited for a gap in the traffic before emerging. The more gentlemanly way of: “After you Claud.” “No after you Cecil.” seemed to work well and as they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Just to simplify things, this blog is for matters relating to the country.

I have a new blog which I shall use purely for my book news and new releases which is called Joe’s book page the link to which is;

The link to my other blog called Joe Wells of whom it has been said which covers anything but books and country matters is;

There, hopefully that should make perfect sense, as they say in the advertisement, “simples” I’m off to do some bird watching.


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#FOWC Revenge.

#FOWC Revenge.

I have absolutely no idea what I am doing with this post today, except that I am attempting to take part in Fandango’s One Word Challenge, hence the rather peculiar #FOWC at the beginning of the post.

Further to my post yesterday I am delighted to have been contacted by other bloggers who seem to be just as annoyed as I am with the stupidity of computers, so thank you for that, I am not alone.

To take part in today’s challenge I have to create a pingback and have to attach the #FOWC, although I have no idea why I am doing either but have received instructions and am following them to the best of my feeble abilities.

I was rather hoping that should I complete this task it would be my revenge on the stupid computer as it would require the thing to be rather clever to follow the instructions and fulfill the task, although it would in fact be me who had been the clever one as I was instructing the computer how to do it.

On the other hand should I make a complete pigs ear of the thing it would of course be yet again the computers revenge on me.

Well, I have fulfilled my part of the challenge in that I have written a post using the one word revenge all I have to do now is highlight the text and click Insert/edit on the toolbar and enter the URL where I want the text to link to, simple. The only slight problem is I have never seen a toolbar on this site nor have I ever clicked on it, never mind I’m going to give it a go, wish me luck!

Well, this is my third go at making this link thing work and I am fairly certain it’s not doing what it was supposed to do, although it does have a link in the #FOWC Revenge text at the top of this page but I have no idea if it’s pinging, so as usual the stupid computer has its revenge on me.


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