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Country notebook

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 16, 2012

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Usually, when my aged maiden aunt, great aunts or my gran gave me coins in exchange for a kiss on a powdered cheek, the gift was accompanied by "Put it in your moneybox and keep it for saving stamps." Once and only once gran gave me half a crown with the magic words, "Spend it. Buy some comics and sweets."

Down to Moules Newsagents in South Molton and the comic rack. Thirty pennies would buy a treasure chest of reading material and edible delights. A Dandy and Beano with Korky and Lord Snooty. Next the Topper and Beezer, slightly dearer but half as big again; real grown up looking comics. Another sixpence spent. The Knockout and Eagle took even more, but worth it for Billy Bunter and the Mekon. Finally the Tiger featuring Roy of the Rovers crammed into my satchel.

Next the sweetshop opposite with just about a shilling (5p) left to continue obeying gran. Liquorice bootlaces, aniseed balls, gobstoppers and a Mars bar. A thought entered my head, if I gave my aunt half of the Mars bar she might give me a whole one in a fortnight when the grocery delivery arrived at the farmhouse. But then again she might forget. Best not take a chance and I recalled one of her sayings, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Not that I'd ever seen a bird in her hand.

With a bursting-to-the-seams satchel I met my mother thinking that I'd obeyed gran down to the last penny. Never in their history of spending in a comic and sweetshop had so much been bought by one boy on one market day.

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