“10 shillings to go and a pound to come”

Monday, 23 December, 2013

In my mother’s time, life in the foothills of the Galtee Mountains was simple and, sometimes, short. When it came to illness, various traditional “cures” and treatments would be tried before the doctor would be called as he represented a considerable expense for people who eked out a living on tiny farms. “10 shillings to go and a pound to come” was the maxim that applied to the doctor, meaning that it cost 10 shillings to attend his practice and that he charged one pound to visit the home of the sick person.

When, for instance, a child was unwell and refusing to eat, jelly would be made as it was sweet and consisted mostly of water. Anyone unable to eat jelly was a considered a case for the doctor and then it was a question of spending either 10 shillings or a pound.

One pound

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