We had a lot of reminiscing today. Firstly Mum told me all about her unofficial delivery job with Nestles. When she worked in the office, she would go down to the production line and be slipped the odd chocolate by the ever lovely Ladies of the Line. Then, at the end of the week, she would buy pound bags of seconds. These were not used chocolates but ones without a shiny top.
They cost 1 shilling and 10 pence for each 1 pound bag and she would buy them for half of Trinity Road. Ten of them she bought every week. She would sling them from the handlebars of her bike and pedal home, wobbling a bit. I can just imagine everyone hanging over their front fences, money in hand to be replaced by a big, bulging bag of sweetness.
This led us on to what might have been the first loyalty card scheme. It was introduced by the Co-op and was called a divi number. Unlike the loyalty cards we have these days, back then, Co-op members benefited by way of dividends (thus the ‘divi’) on profits. Eventually this became far too expensive and they finally went with a normal loyalty card like everyone else.
Anyway, according to mum, all the kids would go and do the shopping and yell out their Mum’s divi number. Mum can still remember Grandma’s. It was 044917. She can’t remember her own because she didn’t get one until she was married.
Interestingly, the Co-op (which still exists in the UK but operated a little differently) was originally formed in 1863 and just went on and on and on.
I remember the Co-op in Shottermill where I’d sometimes shop. It always had good fruit and veg but never anything even remotely exotic. Like sea salt, or basil, or oregano. Actually, it never had any herbs at all!
Then, at some stage, mum found her travel diary and she started reading it to me. Then, suddenly, she read this:
Friday went to Keep Fit with Jacky than after lunch went to a place called Farnham to see the castle but was closed. From mum’s travel diary, April 1988
How bizarre. I’m amazed that someone could go from Camberley to Farnham and have nothing to say except that the castle was closed. Even in 1988.
The bulk of the day was very enjoyably spent at Denise’s place (and not just because she has air conditioning). It was TACO DAY! Yay! And we had a lovely long chat which strayed into such diverse topics as the man who wouldn’t remove his shoes and how to avoid flying teriyaki.
It was a lovely day and a good chance for Mum to build up her driving confidence by having me in the car with her.