We come from a long line of bookkeepers and even today my family runs a Horsham Bookkeeping business helping local companies keep their accounts in order.
GG was the first bookkeeper in the family, as far as I’m aware. He was a meticulous man and I would watch him sitting at his desk writing carefully in his large ledgers.
Everything was done by hand in those days, of course, and I’m not sure whether he even had any type of calculator. He probably had an abacus, but I don’t really remember it. But I do remember that we had to be quiet when GG was working. Of course he’d officially retired by the time I was born but I think he made a little pocket money by helping out some of the local shopkeepers.
These days the bookkeeping business is completely different. What would we do without our computers and calculators? Filing tax returns and VAT online. I wonder what on earth GG would make of it all. He even had difficulty with the phone, so goodness knows how he’d have got on with a computer.
I remember, too, that GG had a notebook that he used for all his own notes. He wrote down what he’d planted in his garden and when it should flower. Then he’d keep a record of how well things did and what sort of fertilizer he’d used. That kind of thing. I suppose that was the bookkeeper in him keeping records for other areas of his life.
It certainly paid off for his garden, as I wrote about in this blog
GG also had another notebook, I remember it as being blue. This one was for his woodworking projects. He had a little shed, kitted out with basic tools, and here he made all manner of things for the house: cupboards, stools, step ladder. I suppose they had very little money in those days so everyone had to make do or make their own things.
I remember GG putting up a rose arbour one Easter. I know it was Easter because it was half-finished when we had our egg hunt and one was hidden under a part-built beam. Funny how that sort of thing sticks in your mind.
The blue book was where GG worked out how he’d build his projects and I suppose it also had the materials he’d need. I don’t suppose he had the money to buy new wood like we did today so he probably recycled all sorts of things. I do remember an old chest of drawers a neighbour threw out being converted into a side table. He was clever like that.
And GG always wrote with a pencil. I never saw him with a pen, but I suppose bookkeepers used pencils so they could erase any errors. I think it must have been a brain-aching profession without modern gadgets. Thank goodness for the laptop and smartphone!