Mundane Money

One of the two cash machines in the Allen Valleys

That’s right, there are actually two cash machines, one in the East River Allen Valley at MarketPlace/Post Office just off the market square of Allendale. The other one, in the West River Allen Valley, is on the main road outside of Whitfield Pantry, turning right at the bottom of the hill from Allendale beside The Elk’s Head and a few hundred meters on. Both of these machines are very busy.

But you can also get cash, if you want it, by cash-back opportunities offered at Allendale Co-op at the point of sale. I don’t think there’s another place really in the patch that does that.

Some folks, I believe, can remember a time when there were two bank branch offices in Allendale: Lloyds or LloydsTSB, and the Midland. You could just about count the Co-op Bank which operated out of the office at Allendale Co-op, as the third. But bank services dwindled and dwindled, with the Midland pulling out long ago, and LloydsTSB following suit, after cutting its services down to two days a week, perhaps a decade ago now. I think the Co-op Bank had ceased trading as a bank out of the Co-op before LloydsTSB finally threw in the towel. Deposit matters can still be facilitated at the Post Office, of course, so there’s a variety of work-arounds in place of the branch office that used to be so familiar.

The banking custom has changed dramatically, and often mundane money isn’t required anyway, is it? Not with debit cards used universally (the new card machines are very inexpensive for traders to acquire, not like even a decade ago when an expensive three year contract was required to offer customers a card payment service). Though I don’t really understand why we’ve been offered the magic option of contactless for purchases under £30, to save a few microseconds of time. Never mind, the technology and service moves steadily along.

But money does feel incredibly mundane. If I have to handle it, I might keep a tenner in my wallet, and when I use it, the change inevitably goes into the loose change bank at home which somehow seems to end up in our grandson’s piggy bank! There are still some people, of course, who work off-grid, as it were, using only cash for their transactions, for reasons of their own, and why not. But that’s when the money machine at the Post Office comes in handy. Rather than making a trek all the way to the banks in Hexham, a couple of synchronised visits (along with other errands, of course) to the Post Office machine will elicit sufficient cash to pay the handyman for his labours over the past week. And that’s a very satisfying feeling, putting the money into his hands with grateful thanks for a brilliant job well done.

You don’t get that sort of feeling with a BACS transfer into someone’s account; you can email them and thank them, you can tell them personally the money’s in their account. It’s not the same as hard cash in their hand for hard work.

Anyway, with a sort of wistful sense that money is making a kind of valedictory bow, as we use it less and less, we’ve come to the end of this entry. Would you like a receipt for that?


  1. Check your local pubs too as many like us at The Allenheads Inn offer a cash back service with any purchase of £5.00 and over. Very handy service for walkers and bikers who need a bit of cash in their pocket for a cup of tea and a snack a bit further on the route. Also saves locals having to drive too far for cash.

  2. People’s shopping habits have changed dramatically and now people are accustomed to doing it on line. There will always be a place for a friendly coop or post office but juggling work and family takes its toll. I buy most of my clothes ( mainly new) on ebay and like to think my ebay addiction keeps the Royal Mail in work.

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