There was a junk shop we used to go to in Caterham. I suppose it was called an antiques shop, but a lot of it was stuff the charity shops wouldn’t take. However, one of the best things, while my parents were looking at paintings and smaller items of furniture, was to be found at the counter.

There were a good dozen small cardboard boxes, each containing different coins from many years before – pennies and farthings and sixpences, that sort of thing.


One of the lucky things about being my age is that I missed decimalisation. I struggled enough with maths, there was no way I’d have managed converting currency from pre to post 1971.

Anywho, I had some difficulty when it came to finding appropriate birthday presents for my Gran. She was seventy-six years older than me. It was tricky to know what she might have liked.

However, when I found the tiny cardboard boxes of coins, I knew. It took a fair few minutes but I found a large old penny from 1906. My Gran was from 1906.


With some assistance from my Dad, I turned it into a medallion-type necklace and – it would have been too big for her. Like all grandmothers, she was tiny. However, she loved it.

I have a feeling it was the same birthday that my Dad bought his mother a bottle of Baileys.


She wasn’t much of a drinker, and she asked my Dad what sort of drink it was.  My Dad said, “It’s a bit like milkshake.”

She served herself a pint of it.

I think she had a good birthday.