'It's not fair', could often be heard spilling from me or my siblings lips when we were children, along with a few tears and tantrums to emphasis the unfairness of it all. Crying to mum made no difference at all, there was no sympathy there, because she had brought us up in a household where we were all equal.
Everything we had was shared out within our four walls. A rare box of Quality Street once a month was shared equally. When mum went to the shop and could afford a treat we all got the same, a tube of Smarties, or packet of Fruit Pastilles. All pudding portions had to be equal, and we could all choose one programme that we wanted to watch on the television. Friday night was my Ready Steady Go night.
Mum went to great pains at Christmas to get us presents of the same value so no one felt left out. We could choose our own big present, but there had to be three of everything else.
Then we started noticing that other kids seemed to have more than us, so we asked mum if we could have a new this and a new that. We always began the request with 'I want', and was immediately rebuked. 'You don't say, I want', she said, 'you say, please may I have'. We were taught manners from an early age.
But when you are young, you can't understand why some people have more than you do, it doesn't seem fair. We had some friends who lived across the road who seemed to have loads more toys than we did. It was great to be invited into their garden to play with their dinky toys. I loved dinky toys, think that's when I discovered my love of lorries, I should have been a boy, ha ha.
It was a Sunday, and they were called in for dinner, me and my brother were allowed to stay in the garden and continue playing. There was such a lot of dinky toys, we suddenly thought how unfair it was that they had so much, and maybe they wouldn't miss a few if we took some and hid them in our garden. We shared everything in our house, they should share with us.
Of course we knew that it was wrong, mum taught us not to steal what didn't belong to us. But we did it anyway. Later, when the theft was discovered all hell broke loose. Mum was horrified and rightly so. Me and my brother had a good slap across the bottom and sent to bed for the rest of the day. We both shed a lot of tears.
My little sister who had nothing to do with this, gloated. Oh how we hated her, the sweet little angel who never did anything wrong. We heard the chimes of the ice cream van as we lay in the darkened room, and the next minute she was parading around the bedroom licking the ice cream that mum had just bought her. It's not fair, we cried. A sibling slanging match broke out and mum had to come and intervene.
Of course, it was fair, she was rewarded for being a good girl, we were being punished for being naughty. A lesson that has stayed with me ever since.
Nowadays, when I look around me, it doesn't seem fair that some people have more than others. Greed can be an evil force. The media have a lot to do with greed, if you didn't know what other people had you wouldn't be bothered, and you would just get on with your own life, but because it is paraded every day in the press and television, it arouses feelings of resentment and envy. Why do people feel the need to drape themselves with designer labels, to clutch the latest gadget, and to jet off all over the place? Something must be lacking in their world, lacking in their personality, that they live their lives through what they own. Consequently, money is a prop for them, strip them naked and there is not a lot left.
Don't get me wrong, I am not totally anti money, I admire people who have worked hard in business, and had a vision to build something, because they have given work to millions of others. Some of these self made business millionaires have also given away a lot to charity, they have shared some of their spoils. All well and good.
Getting back down to the me and you types of this world, we may not have a lot, but we have got our self respect, our dignity, and our honesty. No one owns me, I don't have an agent demanding I go here and I go there. No one owns my body or my soul. So that's the trade off, you allow money to own you and it chips away at your self worth.
I don't cry, 'it's not fair', any more, because I know there is a price to pay if you desire all the trappings of a 'must have' lifestyle, and I am not willing to compromise. I don't need a television set, I don't need to switch the heating on, I don't need to buy new things, I don't need to eat out, I don't need to go down the pub and be part of a crowd.
And I certainly don't need any dinky toys any more, thanks mum.
When I Woke This Morning
9 hours ago