Thursday, 27 July 2006


Every family has its little sayings… My family had one that was used endlessly and which (even though I am now the last survivor of the line) I still find myself saying from time to time - unintelligible though it may be to everyone else!

I was five or six years old and on holiday with my parents at the blissful Kentish seaside of Broadstairs.

One Saturday, my paternal Grandparents joined us for a day by the sea and it was on that afternoon that my Grandfather famously insisted on taking us all out for "A really nice CREAM TEA!"

The tea-shop - along the road to Dumpton Gap - was the usual kind of Olde English establishment: chintzy curtains, chequered table cloths wheelback chairs and copper kettles hanging from the old oak beams.

The cream tea, however, was decidedly not up to snuff. It was, of course, during the austere 1950s, so maybe the scones were a little dry or the cream a bit thin or the portion of jam somewhat measly.

All I know is that my Grandfather - a generous man who never penny-pinched in his life - was deeply unhappy with the quality of our Cream Tea and downright scandalised by the bill when it eventually arrived!

Today it seems amazing that a cream tea for five people (however indifferent its quality) should have cost as little as seven-shillings-and-sixpence (in today’s money, a mere thirty-seven-and-a-half pence!) but for my Grandfather it was far too much for the far too little that we'd received!

All the way back to the beach he stomped along, shaking his head and snorting in disgust: “Bang goes seven-and-six!”

And that is how I remember that day and my Grandfather and if you ever hear me say “Bang goes 50p!” - or “£5” or any other amount - then you’ll know the reason why!

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