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'OW THINGS (Loose) CHANGE
by
Peter Reeves

Quite a number of years ago
We was sortin out sum junk.
(Yer know the kind o' things yer find
In an old drawer or a trunk)

We cum across an old terbacca tin
An' inside sum old pennies,
An 'ALF-A-CROWN, a THRE'PENNY-BIT,
A FARTHING an two Rennies!

Our little son (who was at that time six),
Picked up the THRE'PENNY-BIT,
An says "'Ere Dad, wot's this un,
With a castle gate on it?"

So I started explainin to 'im,
Well there's eighty in a POUND,
An two in ev'ry TANNER,
(Which was silver, small an' round)

Yer see a TANNER was 'alf a SHILLIN'
(Wot's FIVE PENCE now ter you an me)
But wen thre'penny-bits was in full use
There was five in ONE AN THREE!

'E looked a little stumped at this,
So I said I'd start agen,
An' said There's twelve pence in a SHILLIN',
Twenty-two in one and ten.

I cud see 'e adn't gorrit,
So I started from square one,
There's four FARTHIN'S in a PENNY, see,
Two HA'PENNIES are also one.

Well, wen 'e found the 'ALF-A-CROWN,
We was really in a fix,
Explainin 'ow 'ALF-A-DOLLAR
Was worth just two-an -six!

"'Ow many pennies in this one then?"
I answers, "Well, there's thirty."
'E still adn't got the 'ang of it,
An' started gerrin shirty.

So I told 'im Two an a 'alf dozen
An thought we'd gorrit straight,
But 'e looks at me an' says,
"But Dad, TWO-AN'-SIX meks eight!"

"Look Son," I says, "It's simple,
There's no complicated tricks,
A TWO-BOB-PIECE and 'ALF-A-CROWN
Adds up ter FOUR AN' SIX!

There's six HA'PENNIES in a THRE'PENNY-BIT,
Of which in a BOB, there's four
An forty TANNERS to a QUID,
Now need I tell yer more?"

"Yes Dad, he says, "Just carry on
About this 'ALF-A-CROWN,
Where would yer get a FULL one from,
I ain't got that wrote down."

"Ah, yes," says I, "now theer's a point,
Ter catch the imagination,
We on'y used to ave a FIVE-BOB-BIT,
Fer a Royal Weddin', or Coronation!"

"Well wot was this full CROWN thing worth?"
Says I, "NEW PENCE or old?"
But 'e says 'e dain't really care
As lung as 'e was told.

"There's twelve PENNIES in a SHILLIN', see
An' a QUID is ten TWO-BOBS
Which is two 'undred and forty PENNIES,"
'E says, "An the same ter you with knobs!"

Well, I give up! I says to 'im,
"If yow can't work it out,
Yow youngsters with computers,
Don t know wot Life s about!"

But then agen, I dain t let on,
Like you, I've naggin fears.
I still call a FIFTY-PENCE... Ten Bob
After more than thirty years!

 
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