Sunday, December 17, 2023

Pennies and Totoro

This is the house across the street from us. It's undergoing some sort of re-roofing or renovation project, and it has one of those massive scaffold sheds over it. As a Floridian, used to hurricane-proofing and tropical-storm preparation, I am skeptical of these things. Granted, we don't get many (any?) hurricanes in England but we certainly have high winds, and I'm just waiting for some of that sheet metal to go flying.

Yesterday was FABULOUS. I walked Olga in the morning, then stayed on the couch reading for a couple of hours. I am really enjoying "The Deep End of the Ocean."

I also did this:

Those are pennies and 2p coins (is the word "tuppence" still in use?). I've been saving them up for years in a pair of cups in the dining room, and I finally, finally had enough to package them up for depositing in the bank.

In the states, I'd roll the coins. But in England we don't use coin rolls -- we use these ridiculous plastic baggies that don't seal properly and threaten to spill the coins everywhere. The seal is a plastic flap that fits beneath another plastic flap, and let me tell you, they are clumsy and not that secure.

As we discussed a few days ago, I seldom use pennies (or any other coins) anymore. Once I get these out of my life I expect to remain pretty much coin-free, though I'm sure I'll still pick them up when I find them on the sidewalk. Even buskers and homeless people often discard their pennies.

Then, after lunch, Olga and I went to the cemetery. We passed this cute hat on top of a hedge on our street. Hopefully whoever dropped it will return to find it again. It looks like a character from Japanese animation...

...which brings me to my final activity of the day. Dave and I went to see "My Neighbor Totoro" on stage at the Barbican (after having dinner at the Barbican Brasserie, a restaurant overlooking the pond and fountains in the central court behind the theater building). This was my birthday present -- Dave bought tickets back in October but we couldn't get seats until now. As longtime readers know, I love the Totoro movie (and indeed all Hayao Miyazaki movies), and the show captured the movie's essence brilliantly. It was so well staged, with breathtaking sets and costumes, and it perfectly embraced Miyazaki's reverence for nature and evident skepticism toward modern technology. (You will never find a computer or a plastic bottle in a Miyazaki production.) I loved it. I bought a t-shirt on the way out.


Moving with Mitchell said...

Theatre sounds fascinating. I have a bowl of “brown” coins. I use 5 centimo pieces but rarely bother with 1s and 2s. I don't have a clue if coins are rolled or bagged in Spain... or anything. The bowl is brimming. I suppose I should check. SG calls the coins “brown crap.” I thought “I also did this” was displaying artwork you created with your coins and coordinating fabric. That house across the street is a charmer and I, too, would be nervous around that scaffolding.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

How dare you criticise the Great British method of banking coins! I want you to know that I am deeply offended and will be sulking and stomping about our house all day grumbling, "That bloody Yank!"

Andrew said...

Oh, the coppers. What was your return? £2.30? Rich man now.

That's quite a bang up to celebrate your birthday. Enjoy your time off, as I did when I worked before becoming a busy retired person.

Linda Sue said...

Totoro -we loved that animation and the story and the toys that we purchased at the Japanese market in Seattle- started a whole new obsession with the boys! Great to hear that it came across so well on stage! Happy birthday again. Nice to have two in a year and not get any older!
Some body somewhere is stashing the copper coins for the future. Copper is the new gold? Have a wonderful trip over the holidays! I would love to join you but the invitation got lost in the mail I am afraid… happy new year! Wags to Olga!

Ms. Moon said...

Those pennies on that cloth do very much look like art. Glen has a box on his dresser with many, many coins in it. I steal the quarters when we go to the Mexican restaurant in Monticello for the children to use in the machines there to get little toys and gum balls.
It sure sounds like you had a great time at the theater. I'm so glad it lived up to your expectations.

Bob said...

That's a huge process just to reroof as house. It actually looks like they want to build something on top of it!

Boud said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your birthday show. They have tuppenny coins now?? Just shows, turn your back for sixty years and they change everything.

ellen abbott said...

I've never seen a scaffolding shed like that except when you post pictures. how long does it take to replace a roof over there? why do they even need scaffolding caging the entire house?

glad you enjoyed your birthday outing.

Ellen D. said...

Sounds like a wonderful birthday present! I love your table cloth - it is so mid-century modern!

Susan said...

Some banks in the US have machines where you can pour a box of mixed coins in to the machine and the coins are counted and you are provided cash. It is a very convenient service. Your B-day film and dinner sounds fabulous and both meet and exceeded your expectations. The perfect celebration!

Debby said...

We have a carboy that we drop out coins into. Every five years or so, we dump them and wrap them. The last time we had $200. (The quarters go in a glass bowl because they come in handy, so they were not a part of this.)

Pixie said...

Canada quit using pennies in 2013, although I still have a few lying around somewhere. Now everything is rounded up or down to the neareat nickel.

I've never heard of that movie but it looks lovely. I think Jack and I would both enjoy it.

Allison said...

So far, in Tucson, we're doing a reasonable job of avoiding metal money. The Coin Star machines take 10% of your cash, unless you get a pre-paid card for one of the stores they work with. Last time we had a bunch of coins, we took the pre-paid thing at Lowes which took the sting out of how much a grill cover cost.

Red said...

I never use change so it accumulates and then the MM organizes them to buy things.

Kelly said...

Maybe my wheat penny helped inspire you to bag up your loose change! 😉 The last time I tried to turn in rolled coins at a bank, they unrolled them and put them through the coin machine.

I'm glad you had such a fun day. A great start to your holiday break!

Sharon said...

I left so many things on my list undone on this last trip to London. I wanted to do some exploring around the Barbican and I never got there. One lesson I learned on this last trip was that I don't need to get cash before I go. Everyone takes cards these days. I had brought with me a 5 pound note left over from my trip in 2016 and of course, no one would take it so I stopped at a bank. The teller was nice and she exchanged it. I asked why the currency changes so often and she just shrugged. But she added "don't keep any of this currency. It will be obsolete within months to introduce the new currency with King Charles on it." She added, "don't keep any of that either, he's not going to last that long". That made me chuckle.

Margaret said...

What a wonderfully creative and appropriate birthday gift! I sometimes throw away pennies and then feel guilty about it. But really, they are worth nothing.

Ed said...

It is getting harder to turn in coins over here. These days, not every bank will allow it and those that do require accounts. If I had more change than I do, I would almost be to the point of just melting it down for the metals.

gz said...

I am surprised to see the sheets on top of the scaffold...I would expect to see a huge thing like a tent over the scaffold

The Bug said...

I thought the coins on the tablecloth was an art installation too - it would make a really interesting puzzle. Ha!

Rachel Phillips said...

Tuppence related to the old pennies pre decimalisation days. It has never been used in respect of decimal currency.

Jim Davis said...

An interesting way to deal with loose coins, I'm with you though, seems a bit clumsy at best.

River said...

We no longer have 1 and 2 cent coins here in Australia, the government phased them out years ago. I still have a few, from the years the kids were born. There talk now and again of the government phasing out our five cent coins too but it jasn't happened yet. We have plastic bags for our coins to take to the bank, but they are the ziplock kind so there's no chance of coin spillage.
I like the house undergoing the renovation, it looks nice. is it a single residence or divided by floors into flats as yours is?

Steve Reed said...

Mitchell: If you have a lot of mixed coins I'd try to find a Coinstar machine (or whatever the comparable device is in the EU). Why they even make the "brown crap" anymore is a mystery to me.

YP: I am open to being educated on how those bags are better than a coin roll, because I'm not seeing it!

Andrew: Yes! Two pounds and some spares. Won't even buy me a coffee or a tube ride, but at least now it's out of the cups on the desk.

Linda Sue: Our "coppers" aren't even really copper. They're magnetic, for one thing, so I think they're mostly iron.

Ms Moon: I just can't stand huge quantities of coins sitting around the house. It seems like so much wasted potential!

Bob: You should see it from the side. It's actually a bit terrifying.

Boud: There have been 2p coins since decimalisation in 1971!

Ellen: I think it's because London houses are so vertical -- high and narrow -- that ladders won't reach and scrambling around on the roof would be dangerous without something to catch a person if they fall. Hence, scaffolding. The big shed roof just keeps the (constant) rain out.

Ellen D: Linda Sue sent me that cloth from Washington state! It IS from the 1950s.

Susan: Yeah, if I had a lot of mixed coins I'd search out a machine like that, though I have no idea if we have them here. Don't they take a cut of the proceeds?

Debby: I had to look up the word "carboy." I've never heard that before!

Pixie: We should do the same, as should the US. All this useless copper money is ridiculous. Every time the UK government talks about it the right-wing tabloid press gets into a snit: "Don't take our coppers!"

Allison: Yeah, that's what I thought -- they take a cut. Didn't know about the gift card exemption!

Red: Really, we should phase out coins altogether, especially the small ones.

Kelly: Not unless it was subconscious! Here the tellers weigh the bags, and I guess they can tell if it's the correct weight.

Sharon: Ha! That's funny. I read that story to Dave so we could both get a laugh!

Margaret: I can't bring myself to throw them out, and in fact I always pick them up if I see them on the ground. I think my mom gave me so much grief about "respecting money" that I can't treat them as trash.

Ed: The good thing is, it really IS going by the wayside. We won't be using it much longer, I suspect.

GZ: Yeah, a tent seems safer, doesn't it? But here in London they use sheet metal. I've seen it on other scaffolds too.

Bug: I almost changed the tablecloth just so I could shoot the pennies on a blank background, but now I'm glad I didn't do that!

Rachel: AH! Thanks for solving that mystery! I knew I hadn't heard the word used anytime recently. In fact, possibly not since "Mary Poppins"!

Jim: It's a terrible system.

River: Now a ziplock bag I could understand!

Blondi Blathers said...

When I saw your top photo I thought you'd done a coolly unique collage art. I loved the idea! Imagine my disappointment to discover you were only collecting for the bank. Joke's on me.

Jeanie said...

I've got to take my coins in too. In my spare time. They have a coin changer at the credit union which makes the rolling of it unnecessary. That's a good thing!

I remember reading reviews of Totoro in Londonist or something similar. I'm so glad you enjoyed it -- sounds like a fun night out!