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My old house gave me a present

We are renovating a Victorian cottage in Scotland, and it’s like an archaeology expedition. Under the hall carpet, we found a mosaic tile floor. Behind several layers of wallpaper, there was the boarded up doorway to the kitchen that I just knew HAD to be there somewhere, because surely the sensible people who built the house would have had a direct route from kitchen to dining room.

And underneath another elderly carpet, we found this (dated Monday, January 25, 1965)—


Everyone I’ve shown this to has had a different reaction.

  • The Hub wondered if it means the old carpet was 51 years old, and maybe we should ask Tim the Carpet Man for a 50-year warranty on the new carpet. [Note to self: The Hub and Tim must never meet.]
  • Willie, who has been helping get the garden back into shape, wondered what it would be like to get the paper for only 3d (thruppence), or to book a 54-day world tour including first-class airfare, luxury hotels, and private cars for £850.

[BUT I DIGRESS…OF COURSE I DO! ] Before the UK currency went decimal in 1971, a favorite British pastime was to quote incomprehensible prices to tourists. For example, the 3d that The Daily Telegraph charged its readers back in 1965 was a fourth of a shilling (of which there were 20 in a pound) But don’t go thinking that you now know anything about British Old Money because that doesn’t even scratch the surface of a currency system which includes the half-groat, sixpence, half-crown, half-guinea, and Sovereign to name a few. And THAT doesn’t even include all the coins that are less than a penny—farthing, halfpenny, three farthings. And THEN on the off-chance that some hapless tourist was starting to catch on to this system, vendors would quote prices in tanner, ten bob (10 shillings), florin, quid, and guineas—something which as far as I can tell, wasn’t even an actual coin. Many, in a post-Brexit Britain are calling for a return to this fun system. If that happens, I’m just going to carry around a jar of coins with a scoop and tell people to help themselves.

  • I noticed the message from the Queen. Yes, that Queen.

The whole world is the poorer by the loss of his many-sided genius, while the survival of this country and the sister nations of the Commonwealth, in the face of the greatest danger that has ever threatened them, will be a perpetual memorial to his leadership, his vision and his indomitable courage. —Signed: Elizabeth R.

Can you imagine any of our current political leaders or wannabes ever inspiring such a tribute?

Nope. I’m not getting there either…



What was your most fun/unexpected find?