The Daily Mail
(which Huttonian buys for a neighbour he hastens to point out) claims that British Pension Funds have a black hole in them the size of Brazil's National Debt. Like the 54 Double Decker buses on top of each other such imagery of comparison will not resonate here. Our local pensioners, a handful of whom still physically pick up their pensions in cash at the Village post office I suspect would not care too much about the size of a black hole as long as they continue to pick up the readies, cash in hand. When the wife and I had (briefly) to run the post office in the Old Manse-something we inherited from the previous owner with the kitchen table I, as Post Master, had to sign a form making myself and staff (the Wife) responsible for any cash not accounted for. Theoretically we could pocket any profits after reconciling the account every Monday and Thursday-our kitchen table was in business from 9-1300 twice a week. This never happened but I spent long afternoons chasing the odd £1.78pp somehow mislaid when paying out the the 14 pensions or so on a Monday and the 3 or less on a Thursday. Once I thought I had overpaid £1000 0n a £450 turnover but this turned out to be a decimal point shift and the mistake was 10p which I replaced, after 5 hours checking and cross checking, from my own pocket to shut everyone up. So I suppose this was our local black hole which varied from the aforementioned 10p to the occasional £2.76. It was a great relief when our lodger from London assumed the post mistress role and I could sleep better at night.
After five years the Post Office left us for the Village Hall. A pity because it was a great chance to keep in touch with local affairs. We had a nice arrangement of serving Mulled wine and mince pies with the Christmas pensions and the young Post Mistress thought after a convivial morning that she had made a profit of a £500 plus. Sadly no and after diligent and increasingly acerbic investigation she had to settle for a a £3 loss after an afternoon wasted with the wrong type of pocket calculator whose battery died after tea. Happy days.