Friday, 19 July 2013

Martin's Bank - home of the mighty grasshopper

Scrubbing its face?
The moths are rather British this morning, ie small, browny-grey and thoroughly muddling to me, so instead we'll have the story of Penny's birthday grasshopper. Here it is, above, on one of a selection of carefully chosen presents from her husband.

Make sure you do behind the ears
This is a nail brush with the bristles on one side sloping sideways, something she dropped hints about, saying that they were surprisingly hard to get. This is true. If the chemists and cosmetic shopowners of Oxfordshire have get-togethers and the subject arises of a man questing vigorously after such a brush, it was me. Even Bicester Village let me down, for Heaven's sake.

All done?

Then off you go to play outside

Hats off to Bicester Lloyd's then, which came to the rescue at the eleventh hour. And maybe this little grasshopper - I think a youthful Common Green but maybe a passing orthopterologist will judge - was a ghostly tribute from another great commercial concern with which I had memorable dealings as a boy. This was Martin's Bank, sadly subsumed into Barclay's in 1969, but surviving gloriously in an outstanding website run by former employees and fans.

I am one of the latter, having been given a Martin's Bank moneybox - which excitingly only the bank could open in my presence at the Headingley branch - when I was only about six. Like many others, I love the way that the grasshopper, a symbol of fecklessness ever since Aesop libelled it in contrast to that Nazi of the natural world, the ant, was the symbol of a mighty financial business. Martin's, with its grasshopper and Liver bird (following a merger with the Bank of Liverpool in 1914), was specially strong and even loved in the North of England. Modern bankers would do well to think on.

I've interspersed these financial observations with some pics which from the website's archive. The little girl leading the elephant even got in touch with them as a much older woman to explain how it was done. The series also included her with a camel.

Grasshoppers for ever!


Countryside Tales said...

I didn't know it was possible for anyone to quest vigorously after a nail brush, but I love the mental imagery! Leopard moth in the box this morning yipee! I've noticed we seem to get your moths a day or two after you- does this mean we are now in for a bunch of brown ones?

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there! The attractions of nail brushes are great indeed. I was curious as to why nail specialist shops didn't have them but Penny explains that people who take extreme care of their nails probably don't garden which is where the brush comes in.

It's also very hard to buy a British bed which isn't 6ft 3ins (yet no one makes a Daily Mail-style fuss about this, unlike all the anti-EC nonsense)

Excellent about your Leopard. Alas, no similar sensations since but the moths continue to be plentiful indeed.

all v best as ever