I AM a one-man cashless society. Never carry the stuff any more, unless I’ve taken a tenner out for something, and then I’ve never used it, whereupon it sits in my wallet for weeks, even months.

However, I’m sure there must still be uses for actual hard cash, maybe like putting cash in a Christmas card if you lack the imagination for presents, or for collections at funerals and church services. The bloke coming round for the donations surely can’t be expected to wait for umpteen beeps on contactless cards. Mind you, at least a card doesn’t give you away as a cheapskate like the telltale jingle of coins when everybody else is putting in notes.

It’s seemingly easier for the really poor – rather than just journalists – to work with cash. Cashless is more difficult. My brother died horribly in abject poverty – tell you about it one day – and it must have been shameful for him to go into the building society to ask for the last 89p to be taken out of an account.

I remember, too, being outraged when autobanks (ATMs) made the minimum you could take out a tenner, though one I used in Leith still gives folk fivers.

That must be pragmatic. Banks have no social conscience. Not like Gerard Kelly in City Lights (mind that?). They’ll only ever pretend to have one for advertising purposes. I was going to say they should all be shut down, but they’ve been doing that themselves already.

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Apparently, my old one, in central Edinburgh, a delightful place with classical pillars and a cupola, has been replaced by something like an Apple shop, all bright white interior design, with smiley young people in casual clothing standing at clutter-free desks. A stand-out feature is that leitmotif of the dumbo modern world: a complete lack of helpful signage (there are even cinemas now that don’t tell you what films are on. You have to look it up on your phone. What is that, readers? Correct. It’s mental.)

This week, it was revealed that, in places known as “ATM deserts”, cash could be delivered with takeaway meals or picked up from shops. That should help. It’s comforting to hold the folding stuff. With direct debits and online banking, folk keep dipping into your pocket. You think you’ve got 50 quid left, then the leccie comes along and nicks it.

But, still, it does make it easier to buy stuff online. It seems daft now queuing up at an ATM to take out folding notes, which you then take over to a fashion store and hand to an assistant, who presents you in return with your Y-fronts in a bag.

And ATMs were always edgy. I remember, in the early days, walking miles to find one and, when I did, it wasn’t working. We didn’t work with debit cards in those days, only credit. I ran up thousands on mine, mainly on ferries and planes. For a while, it felt like you were getting to go aboot for nothing. Then you got your statement.

Moves towards a cashless society are mirrored in the aim of a paperless society. I suspect this is a good idea but, recently, asked for my bank statements to be paper again as it’s easier when doing the accounts, particularly if the dreaded inspectors ask to see your working.

Similarly, I’m not sure we’re ready to go cashless yet. So-called “progressive” societies like Sweden have declared it as their aim, but they always tend to take things too far. In Sweden, bald people can vote and own property, but I think we’re a long way off from that sort of thing here.

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At the time of going to press, I still have a tenner in my wallet, taken out weeks ago for something and then not used. I could have used it yesterday, when I was in the chemist buying homeopathic drops for my syphilis, but completely forgot and just used the old contactless out of habit.

I think I might just turn up at somebody’s funeral and stick it in the collection.

Bean there …

I LOVE tatties, me. Chipped, roasted, boiled, I adore ’em all. However, undoubtedly, they make you put on weight. Same with breid. Try giving them up for a day if you want to lose three or four stones.

Now, they – aye, thaim; the usual suspects – are saying they’ve found a healthy alternative to the tattie which, it’s claimed, will have had its chips in a few years’ time. You’ll have seen this story in your copy of the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, where it’s reported that a “potato bean” once enjoyed by Native Americans is full of healthy protein and fibre.

Its leaves are as nutrient-rich as berries, and it doesn’t need fertilisers. It tastes like a tattie but a bit more nutty. And scientists from Scotland say it could easily be grown here.

The killer line, though, is: “They could be in the shops within five to 10 years.” Ah. So, it’s like these health cures that will be available in five to 10 years’ time but never, ever materialise? Yep. This alternative to the tattie won’t amount to a hill of potato beans.

Ears a thing: musical plants

DO I speak to my plants? Yes, of course. I also speak to the Lord of the Rings figurines on my mantelpiece and to the birds in the garden. Nobody ever interrupts me and, unlike speaking to you Earthlings nowadays, I needn’t worry about what I say. God, how I hate hate speech.

You think this peculiar? If you’ve a cat or a dog, you speak to it too. So, welcome to the Nutters' Club. The question is: would you play music to them?

A report in that Herald newspaper says playing music to plants helps them thrive. Lewis Capaldi, in particular, seems to work well. I must admit I’m unfamiliar with his oeuvre, but would have thought that light classical music, rather than Capaldi’s techno-rap, would have been the better genre.

Isn’t there evidence that light classical soothes coos? It’s what I play in the car when transporting a humanely caught mouse to the wilds. Pretty sure I had the same wee rodent twice. Usually, they’re a bit apprehensive, but this wee fella just cleaned himself nonchalantly and said: “Get the nice tunes oan, Rab.”

Ta-ta tatties?

SOME idiot mentioned chipped potatoes earlier, and it seems that fish and chips, more than any other food, makes well-meaning attempts at veganism fail.

A poll of 1,000 vegans found 44 per cent had lapsed after the chippie weakened their resolve. Roast dinners and bacon butties didn’t help either, but it’s the chippie that really does the job.

I guess, if you’re vegetarian or pescatarian rather than vegan, a fish supper is fine. It’s a shame for vegans. Their hearts are in the right place, and I wouldn’t hear a word against them.

But imagine you’d been living off all these wretched ready meals or cooking yourself a cauliflower surprise (it’s just cauliflower and nothing else – surprise!), then you take a walk by the shore, where the smell of the chippie on the sea air is most alluring: you’d need a will of iron not to give in.

There are vegan recipes offering alternative fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and bangers and mash, but I suspect most of us wouldn’t get past a vegan sausage roll or steak bake from Greggs.

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