Once a year, during the summer, in the sixties and seventies, I would leave the safety of my parents’ flat on Balham High Road and temporarily set up camp with my paternal grandparents in a rented house on the coast somewhere.
For several years, we rented a house at Greatstone, on the Kent coast; we were so close to the Dungeness nuclear power station, I’m surprised I never grew a third arm.
Money was tight and our humble abode reflected this (even the squatters had given it a bad review on Trip Advisor) and for our evening meals we were given a budget of 8/6 (42.5 new pence for my younger readers).
As we sat, waiting to order our evening dinner at a cafe in New Romney, mathematical juggling was the name of the game. (8/6 in 1970 is worth £6.24 in today’s money). Being good at darts as a 12-year-old stood me in good stead!
However, my dilemma was that I wanted sausage, egg AND chips AND cassata siciliana – the combined cost of which was ten bob – one and six over my allotted allowance.
Did I go the high cholesterol route or a lump of multi-coloured ice cream with random bits which’d stick in your teeth most of the holiday?
New Romney is famous mainly for smuggling during the 18th Century. I bet Dr Syn, the fictional anti-hero who operated around these parts, had more than eight and six to spend for his tea? I couldn’t even afford sherry trifle, let alone anything with brandy in it!