09 June 2001

Today at the Vicarage The

Today at the Vicarage : The Betsy, London.

Dribble, dribble and much gnashing of teeth. Accountancy. Paperwork and more accountancy. Preparing figures to persuade the bank manager to allow me to increase their already exorbitant profits by a matching increase in my indebtedness. Time was, when a bank manager would look at the cut of your school tie, ask after your father, and sign merrily on the dotted line. But no longer. High Street banks brutalized the country with their architecture (I use the word in its broadest sense), and now they are doing the same with the most useful bits of our old school tie culture. Managers are regularly moved so that they do not 'befriend' the community - or perhaps so that the manager, who encouraged you to take out a loan that you did not require, is not the same manager who tells you that they wish to take it back – a painful learning experience from my mid twenties.

Banks need figures. Surely they know the Vicar may be a trifle unconventional, but he always pays his own tab.

And anyway, what is half a million pounds between friends…….

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