Next Memory

The March Balance, With a Difference

by Norman Worwood


The 31st. of March, the end of the bank year, was the day when the Bank was closed for all normal business; all the accounts were balanced, the accumulated interest capitalised, and a start made on calculating the succeeding year's interest entitlement, which would be adjusted whenever any transaction occurred on the account during the forthcoming year.

That was broadly the theory of it, but what did the staff's families think of it? Much prior overtime work had been necessary, culminating in the arrival of the 31st. and on that Great Day itself staff turned up at the branch at 8 a.m. and finished at 10 p.m., after working non-stop with necessarily great accuracy. Wives and husbands of staff recognised the difficulties, but their young children were rather more puzzled. It was many years before my elder daughter told me of her recollections about the March Balance, as it was widely called both at home and at work. She knew that I rode a cycle to work; she knew that it was a very anxious time for me and others; she knew that I was away from home a lot; and she herself had learned to ride her small cycle using 'balancers' attached, so she knew all about the art of balancing. From all these facts, she concluded that I was a circus performer who at this important time of year was riding my bike in a high-wire act. Moreover, she decided that after leaving home I changed into a March Hare outfit, which she had seen illustrated in her Alice in Wonderland book. I suppose that in today's banking environment, she would have got the 'circus' bit right, but the idea of dressing as a March Hare……?