Thursday, 29 January 2009

Taxes, Pension and Knowle

I finally buckled down today, finishing and mailing two important documents.

One was for my 2008 tax return. I use a very fine firm of accountants in Peabody, MA, and have done so since 2001. I was waiting on just one tax document, and it arrived today. So off went that packet. I do not expect to be billed for additional taxes, and with any luck I’ll get a refund.

The other was the application for a U.K. Social Security Pension, arising from my 12 year work history there. Last Monday I remembered that my “missing” birth certificate was probably stored in my locked box at my local bank, and so it was. Having found that, my mission was complete, and I mailed various forms to the U.K. Pension service.

You’ll be pleased to know that I was born, and that my birth was registered in the St. George branch office of the Registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths.

There was never a mention of gooseberry bushes or alien space craft. (This reminds me of a Chicopee parishioner who told me that when he had asked his Mom how babies came about she replied “I took a pill”!)

Also in the locked box was my year end U.K. tax form for 1968/69. This was helpful for it bore my “National Insurance Number” - necessary to the U.K. Social Security application.

In the tax year ending 5th April 1969 I earned 839 GBP. At that time this was the approximate equivalent of $2000.

From the 839 GBP I paid 124 GBP in taxes. So I “took home” approx. 700 GBP that year, about 14 GBP per week. And I was able to buy my first car!

The form reveals that I was working for the Westminster Bank at 286 Wells Rd, Knowle, Bristol. That was the same time that the Westminster merged with the National Provincial Bank, to form the “National Westminster Bank”

Nat West in turn was taken over by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2000.

The RBS group owns Citizens Bank, which has a large presence in the North Eastern United States.

RBS group itself is now in deep doo-doo, and is 70% owned by the British Government.

Back to the Westminster Bank in Knowle: I would drive my oldest sister Maureen to her work at “M.A.C” in Ashton, (where she met her husband Bernard), and then wend my way to Knowle.

I had a couple of dates with the Manager’s daughter, and we “snogged” one night on Devon Rd where I lived.

I had a crush on “D” who worked with me
A customer “Mrs. F” had a Sweet Shop across the street. She would give me free sweets, which was all very well except when her “take” fell short of the cheques she had written. Then my Manager would dispatch me to strong arm her.

Her son in law owned a Barber Shop about two miles away in Whitchurch, Bristol. So naturally I used him.

Whilst in his barber’s chair he “came on to me” a couple of times, but I was too naive, stupid, or scared to respond. After all, I knew that he was married, and in my 1968 state of innocence I could not fathom that married men might ALSO BE GAY!

Soon after this the Bank transferred me to its Chew Magna, Somerset branch to help with the process of changing from the historic British “Pounds, Shillings and Pence” to the new system of decimal currency in which “One pound was divided into One hundred pence”.

O Knowle Branch of the Westminster Bank. They were great years were they not?!

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