Of Banking Mysteries, Swotting for Work, Memories of Mother, and a Happy Aunt

Back in London my local bank is being decommissioned. The letter I received explained that more and more people are turning to internet and telephone banking with the result that the footfall in branches has fallen. It suggested we could use the Post Office instead, or go to another branch some two miles away.

Goodbye NatWest

Goodbye NatWest

There are obviously a couple or three things wrong with that. A bank two miles away is a lot less convenient than one round the corner from where I live. But it also ignores the fact that this was the busiest branch of NatWest I have ever used. Absolutely no sign of reduced footfall there.

Bizarrely, other branches where there are acres of floor space and no queues stay open. I would guess that the author of the letter has never been in our local Post Office, where the queue often snakes out of the door.

I suspect it will be turned into a luxury block of flats. Everything else is.

I have quite a bit of work to do for jobs I accepted with gungho confidence, only to realise once committed that they are somewhat out of my sphere of knowledge. So some mega swotting required. The dusting will have to wait.

But I have come home from Aunt’s with a renewed resolve to clear some of my clutter. The extent of her hoarding is mind boggling. She is keen that we make inroads, but it is quite daunting. I made a start in the kitchen, and she agreed to cull her mugs.

Now she only has around twenty.

The cousins and I went to leave bags at the charity shop and then walked round to Mother’s bungalow. Then we took the route Mother walked early every morning by the cricket field.

The Cricket Field

The Cricket Field

She used to have dog biscuits in her pockets, and every dog and dog walker knew her. Later in the day she would walk around the field again, usually with Aunt. They were there so often they were invited to join the cricket club. The fixtures list would arrive in the post. Mother’s understanding of cricket made my own slender knowledge seem encyclopaedic.

There was a funeral at the church, and the mourners were just leaving, so we waited respectfully and I took some photos of the snowdrops for Aunt.
It’s the church both my parents attended, and where my father’s funeral took place on an equally beautiful day in April 1991. But then there was cherry blossom, not snowdrops.

The walk was great for several reasons. For me it was a memory jogger; for my cousins a chance to see a little of the town and its surroundings; for all three of us, the opportunity to cool down a little. Aunt’s flat is tropical. The heat is relentless yet Aunt is wearing several layers of clothing and worrying that we might be cold. If only.

Back at home I started to worry that Aunt had felt I was pressurising her into parting with her stuff. So was very relieved to speak to her tonight and for her to tell me how pleased she is with the little bit of progress we made.

She says it already seems ages since I was with her, and she’s missing the cat. When this work is done, I shall have to take him to see her again.


10 thoughts on “Of Banking Mysteries, Swotting for Work, Memories of Mother, and a Happy Aunt

  1. Isobel, the cricket field is lovely and I can see your Mother walking round it with dog biscuits. Your Aunt is happy with what you have done, don’t worry and yes be sure to take MasterB to see her again. It’s wonderful she has you and that you two have such a sweet connection.

    • I think she is missing the cat more than she is missing me. She exhibited a pride in him, and a sense of shared ownership when the Cousins were there. He is her cat by proxy I think.

  2. It’s possible the decision on the bank has been made based on which lease came up for renewal first.

    I’m sure your Aunt will not be deprived with 20 mugs – unless she holds regular soirées 😀

    • Perhaps, but it was not the reason given for the closure.

      Slowly I hope we can reduce her mug collection. I was just talking to another cousin who ‘phoned and trying to convince him that he really does not need to take her anything when he visits, and that if he could cull the casserole dishes it would be a help.

  3. Beautiful photos of the cricket field and snowdrops, Isobel. The walk with your cousins must have brought back a lot of memories for you. Shame about the bank, it seems to be the way of the world now. Customers and customer service just don’t come into the equation. Good luck with the swotting – seems a very good way of avoiding the dusting. I can’t come up with anywhere near such a good excuse. Tomorrow I’ll have to knuckle down as we’ve got guests coming.

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