DWJ sans frontiers

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Jun 9 16:30:01 EDT 2005

>Minnow said...
>> I suppose it is possible that one could scratch a CD if one really worked
>> at it, and maybe getting them covered in stickiness and dust isn't a very
>> good idea, but it isn't the same as the way it was for LPs, certainly.

Dorian replied:

>Actually, one can scratch a CD without even working at it.  My CD of The
>Mission's greatest hits is scratched to hell and back and won't play
>properly, and I've *no* idea how it got that way.  Very irritating.

I haven't (yet, cross wood and touch fingers) managed to scratch any CDs,
but I am now warned and will treat them tenderly.  Do they also melt if
left in the sun?  I suspect I may have been treating them as I would an LP
and never leaving them out of their cases, now that I think about it.

>> It occurred to me yesterday when I was reading *We Didn't Mean To Go To
>> Sea*, set in the 1930s, that when Daddy gives out shillings to each child
>> because they all sighted land at the same time and he had said "A shilling
>> for the first to sight land", this was a lot of money.  We know that from
>> context in other Swallows and Amazons books, though: they buy an amazing
>> quantity of rope for five shillings, at some point, and I remember being
>> quite envious when I read that bit in the late fifties.

>IIRC, from reading far too many children's books from that period and
>earlier, a shilling was a week's pocket money for a child in a
>comfortably-off family.  Isn't there a bit in "Ballet Shoes" where, when
>Pauline and Petrova are earning well, each of the girls can have a shilling
>a week pocket money, but later they have to go down to sixpence, which means
>Pauline can't go to the theatre (as audience!) as often as she'd like.

Hey, anyone else who read *Ballet Shoes* as a child: that question at the
end of the book -- was there any doubt in your mind which of the three
Fossil girls you'd have chosen to be?  :-)

But they weren't a comfortably-off family at all: they were stony broke all
the time, and wore hand-me-down dresses and skrimped and saved and took in
lodgers to meet the household expenses, and in the end they had to sell the
house because there was no money left at all.

Chapter 15, near the beginning: "they very seldom got any pocket money, and
never more than a penny or twopence".  Pauline is suggesting that now she
is fourteen and the London County Council and the law no longer stipulate
that a third of anything she earns must be put into her Post Office Savings
Account, she wants to give each of them two shillings a week so that she
can save it up and go to the theatre sometimes, and Petrova can buy books,
and Posy can go to the ballet.

When I was a child in the fifties I got one penny per year of my age, given
to me every saturday morning.  I don't rmember ever feeling that all my
friends at school got more than I did, so I think that may have been a
usual sort of amount.  It went up to a whole shilling when I was ten, which
I wasn't expecting.  When I had to have four teeth removed by the dentist
when I was nine because there were somehow far too many to fit into my
mouth, the Tooth Fairy left me 5/- per tooth because for once I had been
Brave about dentistry, and I was staggered by the enormous wealth I
suddenly possessed.  I remember that I bought a really good penknife for
4/6d and then spent about a month wondering what to get with the rest: it
was too much to spend on sweets, and I didn't have any really important
yearnings for anything but a good penknife.  (I've still got it.)


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