Tag Archives: £1


So it’s June. The garden has been tackled. Largely, I must admit, by my girlfriend. Which is how she came to find a pound coin, a penny and a 5p piece in the front garden. I live in a Victorian terrace on a main road. From time to time, street urchins (it’s a Victorian house, remember) perch on my front garden wall, hailing passers-by with phrases such as ‘Spare us ‘aypenny mister’ and ‘Our Mavis will flash ‘er petticoat if you do’, ‘Flare up, my never-sweats!’ and, far more incomprehensibly, ‘I was, laaak, well gu’ed an’ that, lak, isit.’ Ah, the new made-up accent of the streets these days lacks the charm of our Victorian forebears, don’t you think?

So, closing my ears to the mindless, grating bile that the kind of oiks (got to love that word) that hang around on the streets these days spew forth, I’ll also turn a blind eye if they sit on my wall. Provided they drop their money.

If you’ve not visited the logo design competition page, there are a number of entries now. I think a closing date is in order. The 30th July seems a good date. But we DO need more entries, so please, circulate the website address amongst your family, friends and colleagues.

Back at the keyboard

Actually I’ve been at this damned keyboard every day for the past x months. But back and logged into the Small Change dashboard.

Anyway, here’s a quick breakdown of what small change I’ve found over the 13 months since I first came up with Small Change.

402 days have passed since then. Yesterday I sat down and emptied out my VW campervan moneybox, and did a spot of counting. I’m a terrible counter. I can do it, I understand the whole 1+1=2 business, and even double figures don’t faze me, but I’m a self-doubting counter. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Or was it 9? Did I already have 9? Hang on, I’ll start again. Ad infibloodynitum. Takes forever. I grit and grind my teeth in exasperation, and I’m sure all that makes things worse. Anyway, after what felt like several hours, I finally got my counting done. The sums afterwards were easy.

Thanks to my calculator.

Ok…I’ve found 166 pennies. A couple are barely recognisable as such, but definitely ARE.

I’ve found 71 two pence pieces.

I’ve found 110 5p pieces.

Sixteen ten pence pieces.

Thirty 20p coins.

Three 50p coins.

Nine pound coins.

So…over 402 days, I picked up 405 coins. The total value?


No, not life-changing on its own. And I know of two jammy buggers who’ve found £20 notes (and yes, kept them for their Small Change kitties despite the obvious temptations), so for all my effort it seems a trifle unfair.

But look at it this way. If ten of us had found that, we’d be looking at £266 for charity. I’ll let you do the other 10x table extrapolations, but the message is clear. One person’s collection mightn’t be so amazing, but the more we spread the word, the greater the combined impact will be…

Who to give to?

It’s a rather overcast Sunday morning, but warm. Yesterday’s sudden downpours and half-hearted thunderstorms brought a little respite from the humidity, but I hear Monday and Tuesday we could get temperatures of over 30 degrees…

The week got off to a good start cash-wise. I came across a pound coin in the supermarket car park. It sat centrally in a parking slot, so whoever dropped it clearly couldn’t be bothered to scrabble around under the car to pick it up again. Good…

Apart from that – a very quiet week – a couple of 5ps, and that’s about it…

So I thought I’d mention the possible charities themselves, and how we’ll go about choosing them. Yes – we. Because I’ll set up a poll later in the year that collectors can vote in. I think two or three charities, and split the money between them…

So suggestions really would be welcome. I would like to avoid charities with any religious affiliation, simply because that might alienate some people. Some people also seem reluctant to give money to charities that support the needy abroad – on the basis that they believe UK charities should come first. I don’t actually buy into that, in part because money goes a lot further in the developing world. If I bung two quid at a homelessness charity, for the sake of argument, in this country, that might buy a box of teabags, but in Africa it will buy text books for a village school. Big difference…in my opinion.

Animal charities divide opinion too. It’s rather a tricky topic, all in all.

The only other proviso I’d like to enter is that I don’t think we should necessarily go for the best known charities. Breast cancer charities, for instance, while obviously enormously deserving, raise millions every year and enjoy an extremely high profile. There again, Save The Earwigs in That Tiny Village The Name Of Which Nobody Can Spell But It’s Quite Near Andover And The Pub Does Great Chips would obviously be rather obscure. Probably doesn’t even exist actually. Just a big con. Someone should investigate.

Hmmm…just something to think about chaps…

Broken necklace marks the spot in Broken Britain

Early early early. Up at 5am, cup of tea and then strolled in the crisp morning sunlight into town.

I beat the street cleaners today. Which was good and bad.

Within 50 yards of my house I found a 2p piece on a drain cover, which augured well.

The ‘bad’ of beating the street cleaners rapidly became apparent. Beer cans balanced on railings and the foliage of plants. Smashed pint glasses and alcopop bottles. Flattened gold beer bottle tops, looking irritatingly like pound coins in the sunlight. Plastic forks and innumerable polystyrene fast food containers, usually with their half-eaten contents congealing across the pavement. Crushed cigarette packets, cellophane wrappers and enough dog-ends to keep a town of tramps in smokes for a week. Greasy chicken carcasses in charity shop doorways. Plastic bags and cardboard burger boxes abandoned within yards of bins. The occasional dried stain of urine run downhill from a wall or patch of pink spatter in the middle of the street marking a head-spinning stagger and retch towards the end of the night.

I think, though am quite prepared to accept that my terrible memory misleads me, that it was David Cameron who first coined the phrase ‘broken Britain’. I don’t like the phrase. I don’t like the concept. Most of all I don’t like the insinuation that our country may be beyond repair. But walking through town that phrase rushed to the forefront of my mind, I felt my eyes grow heavy, and my heart grow leaden. Our shallow, greedy, gimme-it-now pop culture is really rather a damning statement on the country’s health, though this interesting article suggests at one point that perhaps by thinking in such terms we exacerbate matters. Hmmm, I dunno, but I can’t help thinking that rather than issuing a fine for dropping litter, dishing out some early morning street-cleaning to any offenders might be more effective. Community service is something I’m very keen on.

But moving onto the positive…my eye was drawn to the middle of the road as I walked through the town centre. Two coins, made into a percentage mark by a black costume jewellery necklace dividing them diagonally. A £1 coin and a 50p coin! Yes, that does merit an exclamation mark. Having bragged the other day about my 55p haul, today’s total, including a couple of other coppers discovered as I continued my walk, beat that by a full one pound sterling.

I need a digital dictaphone, I’ve decided. I write constantly in my head as I walk, and those who know me are aware that I write much as I speak, and I speak much as I think. I do own a dictaphone, but it’s so old Henry II could have used it to play back his REAL complaints to the knights who slew Thomas Becket through misplaced loyalty. The usual quote is “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”, which while poetic is not, it is generally accepted, correct. See Wikipedia’s article on Henry II for more info if you’re interested.

There you go – amateurish social commentary, half-remembered history and just over a quid for charity. Not a bad morning’s work…