From the Archives November 17th, 1970
How we managed during the bank strike
The day the banks reopened after 30 weeks on strike, Maeve Binchy welcomed them back:
“Well hallo Manager, and how are you? Great, great. And did you have a good time in London? Oh, you weren’t in London, sorry I thought you all went to . . . no, no of course not, silly of me. Did you get a good job here in Dunnes Stores or something? No, well I see, yes isn’t it dreadful that they won’t take men in their sixti . . . I mean forties.
“Me, oh I’ve been fine, but you don’t want to hear about me. You do? I see. Well I went to America and Canada in August. It’s lovely over in the West, have you ever been there? No, no, I quite understand, it is foolish really to go to places like that on anyone’s salary really.
“What happened after Canada? Really, Manager, I mustn’t bore you with all these travel tales, they are so monotonous honestly, it’s just the same old thing in different countries isn’t it? And I have to do a bit of travel for the job, it’s kind of expected you see. Where did I go? Well I didn’t go anywhere for quite a while but I did go to Liechtenstein, for a weekend only. No I don’t think it was a mad thing to do, I thought it was great. There are cows with bells around their necks walking down the main street.
“And after Liechtenstein, no there wasn’t really much . . . nothing at all really. Oh, you do read the paper every day. Yes, yes. I must confess that I forgot Paris, but that was work, sheer work, and I didn’t buy a thing.
“Yes Manager, Holland is lovely, how do you know, oh you read what I said about it. Well that was work too. I know I said in the paper that it was all a mad carnival of enjoyment but I had to go and look at it to know that, didn’t I?
“New clothes, Manager, you must be joking, I’m going around in rags, always was. A fur coat, Manager, excuse me while I sit down and get my breath. It’s nylon, it only cost . . . I have the receipt somewhere here.
“My over-draft is what? I don’t believe it, I simply don’t believe it. It couldn’t be anything like that. I kept a careful account of cheques I cashed and most of the ones I wrote to pay bills. I’ll have to see the cheques. Well, yes that one does look like my signature, and that one. But this one for £50, nonsense. I never cashed a cheque for £50 in my life. Never.
“Oh I see I actually wrote on the back what it was for, well yes, I agree that it’s mine. Alright manager, I said it was mine and that I accepted it, what do you want me to do? Crawl?
“No Manager, I don’t think my tone is becoming hysterical, I think yours is. I feel this whole bank strike has got you down and that you’re riddled with guilt for having left the whole country to cash cheques in pubs.
“That’s another thing? What do you mean it’s another thing? The banks don’t like cheques being cashed in pubs. I don’t believe you, I don’t honestly believe you. Our supermarket only took personal cheques made out for £10 each time and we needed those for the housekeeping, and the pub was extremely decent and cashed cheques whenever any of us in the office asked them. I think they should be congratulated.”
Read the original at iti.ms/SXurBD