Shoogly Banking

Until recently, we had a RBS branch just down the street. A sonsy example of Scottish Victorian town planning, in sparkling grey granite. A ramp and a cash machine showing things were keeping up to date. 

Unfortunately, modernisation has continued, which is why this branch has closed. In a matter of weeks developing a dusty, neglected and depressing appearance. Now, if customers wish real dialogue with real members of staff, it’s either the fifty mile round trip to Stranraer or use the mobile bank which spends about an hour in the car park twice weekly. That is, if it hasn’t developed what are vaguely described as technical problems.
Despite having beenborn and bred in Scotland, I don’t enjoy standing around on a windy pavement; especially whenas well as a gale funnelling along the river and under my collar, hard, sleety rain is stoatting all around. However, I needed to indulge in banking transactions well beyond the capabilities of the cash machine wedged into the Co op’s big window, so there we were, Husband, Lady Detective and me.
And it wasn’t just us. Waiting for opening hour was a queue like the execution; all huddled into jackets or swathed inscarves. Nor was this a queue of aged, cyber shunning inadequates. Ages ranged from twenties upwards; local tradesmen, bauchles in bunnets, and wee wifies like me, out for the weekend shop. Some had probably arrived by car, but judging by the comments referring to being drookit already, obviously most had walked.
As the queue slowly shuffled on, Husband warned me there were steps to climb but, there were handrails. This struck a chord with the wee chap just in front of me, who mused as to what a puir sowel in a wheelchair wid dae. Comments were suggested. Would the customer just have to shout through the open door? Then, someone noticed a wee button offering assistance and we all agreed this would bring one of the staff out into the weather, where everybody would enjoy listening to whatever financial situation had brought this client out.
By the time I’d clambered into the van, I was regretting not wearing gloves, as all feeling in all digits had been lost. Husband, the Lady Detective and I breathed in collectively, thus allowing the previous customer to jiggle his way back to the steps.
Writing a signature, when you can barely see the end of the pen is always difficult. It’s even worse with frozen fingers and worse still when there isn’t even a desk on which to lean one of those important, wee bits of paper on which the banking system depends. I did my best; two vertical squiggles and a line with dots above it.
Actually, if I’d had to stay any longer in that vehicle, I’d have been sick. Walking up to the temporary counter, Irealised the true reason why this is called a mobile bank. The floor swayed and jebbled like a ship in heavy weather. I can only assume the two lassies manning the bank had already taken anti seesickness tablets.
Transactions completed, the Lady Detective and I tackled the steps. The handrails were wet, cold and unpleasant to the touch; the steps were wet, steep and narrow. However, it was just a case of being careful and trying not to snap at the Helpful Eejit bumbling around, right where dog and I were attempting to place our paws back on terra firma. He clicked and clucked at the Lady Detective, getting annoyed when she just ignored him.
The queue was, if anything longer now. The mobile was timetabled to visit various burghs down the Machars. I just hope the folk waiting in the rain in Wigtown and Whithorn were well wrapped up, as I’ve a suspicion, by the time everyone in that queue had had their financial needs met, things would be running a wee bit late.
Ignoring the weather, which Idon’t think is the fault of dogy financiers, all I can say is, so much for progress. Shoogly steps, a cramped and jebbly van, no apparent privacy. Progress? Aye right!




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