Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Last Cheque That I Will Ever Write

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Last Cheque That I Will Ever Write

Article excerpt


IAM probably the last non-pensioner in Britain to carry a cheque book, despite the fast diminishing range of opportunities to use it.

Perhaps it is because I still remember how grown-up and liberated I felt when I wrote my first cheque in 1972.

Until recently I also took pleasure in using cheques that were perfect museum pieces of fine copperplate calligraphy, from a bank that even styled itself "Messrs" (a title once universal in business, but now as defunct as that of Prince Bishop).

Naturally, like everything else in this country that is old-fashioned, quirky and uplifting, these have now been modernised into bland conformity. Because we remained in denial about the demands of parenthood until our son actually arrived, it dawned on us rather late in the day that we needed to replace my wife's car, since it could accommodate neither a baby seat nor a buggy. We duly went out one Saturday morning, in the teeth of the worst recession in living memory and clinched a deal in the first car showroom we could find that was not completely overrun with eager customers.

Most regrettably, this was in Cheshire, because that was the location of the car Mrs Hann wished to trade in. Yes, I know that the basic idea of cars is that they are mobile. But while she has very many excellent qualities, driving is definitely not my wife's strongest suit.

She likes to proceed along the crown of the road at a steady 40mph, attracting ridicule on motorways (where she has been known to reach 50mph downhill), anger on single carriageway A-roads, and a steady stream of speeding tickets in town.

Couple this with the fact that she has no sense of direction, and you will appreciate why having her follow my car for 220 miles to Northumberland was not top of my list of fun ideas for summer 2009. …

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