I have been a customer at the Knutsford branch of what used to be the Midland Bank since 1969. Why Knutsford you may ask, as I have never lived in that green and pleasant part of the UK during my 74-plus years?

Well, it’s a long story but, suffice to say I was introduced to the then manager by a mutual friend when I was employed as a musician at the Poco a Poco nightclub in Stockport.

He sorted me out with an account when I was going through a period of penury and would have had difficulty getting arrested in a bank, let alone served.

I should add that my friend boasted about having considerable clout at the Midland and told me that if he chose to move his account from the Knutsford branch, it would close overnight.

Since the advent of telephone and internet banking, I no longer need to make the long, hellish motorway trip to shake hands with whoever runs the place these days, or check that my money hasn’t disappeared down the same plughole as that which has claimed trillions of pounds of other people’s.

I have never bothered to move the account to Bolton and in the late 1970s became friends with yet another Knutsford manager, sadly now deceased, and regularly brought him back thimbles from the places we called at when I worked on cruise liners. They were for his wife, an avid thimble-collector.

Even when he retired, and notwithstanding the name-change to HSBC, I considered it would have been an act of treachery had I chosen to leave Knutsford, so I stayed. Anyway, my direct debits and standing orders have always been paid on time, thanks to the super-efficient, computer-driven robot, no doubt made in China, which they employ at Knutsford to look after my interests.

So I got a shock when I went into the spanking, relocated HSBC branch in Victoria Square, Bolton, looking to pay a credit card bill with cash, only to be told by a smartly-dressed, articulate young man that “we don’t handle cash”.

Recognising the blank expression which spread across my face, he explained that I could pay the bill with my bank card and he would show me how. He had clearly been strategically-placed to guide senior citizens through the pitfalls of modern-day banking, but could do nothing to assist this particular senior citizen as I had left my card at home.

Ignoring my withering dismissal of a bank that didn’t handle cash, the HSBC’s patient, well-mannered tyro directed me to take myself, cash and credit card bill to the bank’s Astley Bridge branch, where, thankfully, they still deal in hard currency.

Driving to Astley Bridge, I pondered that banks which actually handle cash could well be the next thing to disappear from our high streets. Mind you, the turmoil in world financial markets may well see off a significant number of them anyway. Will that be the end of money usage as we know it? Maybe we should let crooked financier Bernard Madoff answer that one. He’s already got rid of billions which vanished into the ether.