‘Do you have your wee pennies, love?’ The question filled me with childish ecstasy

Michael Harding: Random encounters are the perfect medicine for melancholy

“I don’t have my pennies,” I confessed, and so she returned to me £4.95 in a collection of coins that filled the palm of my hand.”

“I don’t have my pennies,” I confessed, and so she returned to me £4.95 in a collection of coins that filled the palm of my hand.”

I stopped at a filling station outside Belfast recently when I was touring with my book. I put £15 worth of diesel in the tank and then went to pay. In fact, I had overshot the £15 mark on the pump by 5p and I was hoping the girl at the till might let me off and hand me back a £5 note when I offered her £20. Sterling coins always get mixed up in my pocket with euro, and I end up having arguments with parking meters in the South.

The girl at the till was chewing gum, and she had rings on two fingers and one thumb.

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