A close shave … Phew!

You’re striding down the street whilst chatting to your loved one on your mobile. It’s a serious conversation about what to pick up for dinner. Suggestions fly back and forth … Bray Bentos Steak and Kidney pie, Spam, Bangers and Beans or maybe a nice bit of New Zealand Lamb. It’s agreed that Spam and Chips is the choice for tonight as the conversation moves onto the menu for tomorrow night. You’re multi-tasking as you clutch your ultra thin mobile to your ear whilst still in conversation. Your other hand shovelling into your pocket to see whats scooped out in the way of cash. Your stride picks up as the conversation the on the phone gets a bit heated … ‘So what if we had Liver and Onions last week’! You’re charging towards the supermarket when suddenly your stride is brought to an abrupt halt by the screech of tyres on tarmac. You’re in the middle of a road you don’t remember stepping into. You glance down at the bonnet of the car … distance between you and the bonnet … about 2 inches. You quickly look up at the traffic lights and notice its glaring Green! The driver who almost wiped you out, compliments you on your skills of observation … each descriptive word beginning with ‘F’ funnily enough. As you get your shock ridden self out the road, the driver screams out ‘Green Cross Code’!

 

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Stop, Look and Listen! You didn’t do any of these so you were a few inches away from disaster. A sense of shame and embarrassment embraces you as you think back to your childhood days. You recall the day you met the big man with huge shoulder pads and a Green Cross on his chest. You remember this big man watching you cross the road unassisted and giving you a pat on the head because you followed the protocol to perfection. The protocol was drilled into your young mind … find a place free from parked cars, stop, look and listen before stepping into the road. You still even have your Green Cross Code badge hidden in a tiny keepsake box at home.

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You consider what the Green Cross Code would sound like in 2016 … End the conversation you’re having on your mobile and approach the curb with caution. Remove any head phones you have covering or plugged into your ears. Do not be tempted to send a sneaky text message whilst waiting for a break in the traffic. Look out for cyclists as well as motorists as they both have a tendency to jump Red lights. Once you’ve stepped out into the road, keep looking and listening. Once you’ve made it across the road and back on the pavement, keep an eye out for mobility scooters as they will mow you down!

 

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The Green Cross Code Man. He’s a character most of us have fond memories about. He kept us safe on those mean streets. What would the 2016 Green Cross Code sound like? Any thoughts?

Opposites Attract

THE CITY: London. The year: 1984. Bus number 266 from Harlesden to Brent Cross Shopping Centre. It was a  journey I did about once every couple of months. I can still remember sitting on the top deck of the bus and staring out the window. Many of the times I did the journey the days were grey and dull and there was an aroma of damp on the bus. As the bus travelled through Cricklewood, there was a used car dealership on the right  hand side of the road. This car dealership had a range of used cars displayed in the forecourt. Nothing special about the cars or display … in fact I never saw a potential customer clocking any of the motors. I don’t even remember the name of the dealership. I was intrigued by this this bulk standard car dealership. I was intrigued as I imagined what the owner of this used car dealership would look like. My imagination of owner of this car dealership can be summed up by a name which is associated with dodgy dealings, fake promises, ducking and diving and in general being extremely slippery. I imagine the owner having to employ someone to protect him from the angry mob on his trail. I imagine the owner to be named Arthur Daily!

 

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Minder. Many of you will have fond memories of the well dressed, well spoken, cigar smoking gentleman who was the proud owner of a used car business. First impressions can be deceiving and if you were unlucky enough to buy a car from Arthur Daily, you’d be fuming whilst stuck on the North Circular Road with the car bonnet up. Yep you’d had been scammed!

This mild mannered, Jaguar owner Arthur Daily did not just dabble in used cars, he had a stream of other avenues he dabbled in … import and export of fine wines, furniture sales, fine art, cutlery, electronics, fine clothing, shoes, event marketing and even protection. His lockup was the central storage location for all the items to be flogged to innocent buyers.

 

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How could such a man get away unscathed from all these dodgy dealings? Enter Terry McCann … his Minder. Terry was the opposite to Arthur … honest, loyal, hardworking and thoughtful. Words didn’t flow from his mouth as eloquent as they did from Arthurs’, but he was a likeable chap. As an ex Boxer, Terry was useful with his fists which is the reason why Arthurs’ empire survived. It was not unusual for Terry to punch up numerous furious customers who had come to break Arthurs’ legs. So for all the loyalty shown by Terry, how did Arthur treat and reward him? No different to how he treated his innocent customers … ripped him off, gave him dodgy jobs, had him shifting furniture and would call at unsociable hours to ensure that his business stayed afloat.

 

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Relationships … they say that opposites attract. That’s certainly true in this case. Terry threatened to leave his employer on many occasions. Sometimes he did leave but soon he would return when his smooth talking ex employer talked up big wads of cash to be earned. Typical of some couples who argue, threaten to leave, leave and then eventually come back to each other … opposites attract. The strange thing was that both Arthur and Terry were both likeable chaps in different ways. Arthur was slippery but you would find yourself chuckling at his antics. Terry was just … well … a likeable chap and all round nice guy. I have a sneaky feeling that for all the hostility they showed towards each other, they thrived off each other and couldn’t do without one another. That’s what happens when opposites attract.

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Valentine’s Survival Guide

The First day of February … still got a couple of weeks to get your loved one a Valentines present. 8th February … you still have not had the chance to get a present for your loved one but there’s still time. 13th February … What? Valentine’s day is tomorrow! You’ve still not got your loved one present and the clock is ticking swiftly. What should you buy? Where should you go? You had been pull this one out the bag pretty sharpish or single life could be a serious reality.

Here are a few tips to prevent you getting dumped followed by months of emotional torture.

Start the romantic day off in by bringing your loved one up a nice freshly brewed cup of Brooke Bond Dividend Tea. Serve in the best bone china you can dig out from the cupboard. Gaze into the eyes of your loved one as they sip on the hot cuppa. Once the cuppa has been finished off, head back to the kitchen and brew up again. Your loved one will appreciate you making Two trips to the kitchen.

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Keep the momentum going by flinging on an apron and cooking up a Valentine’s breakfast. Fried eggs, baked beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, bacon and sausages. Make sure the sausages are Wall’s sausages … only the best will do for your loved one. Add a drop of cooking oil to your pan, heat up and sling in the sausages. Listen to them sizzle whilst being browned. The aroma will bring a beaming smile to you loved ones’ face.

 

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Now that you’re in full flow and your loved one feels super special, it’s time to pop out the pressie. Due to your quick thinking on the previous day, you managed to nip into Ratners and pick up that 9 carat bit of jewellery. Stand back and watch your loved one pop open the box and gasp with delight. You reveal a slight smirk as you’d sneakily managed to get hold of the 9 carat pressie at a knockdown price. The day just keeps getting better.

 

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After the lovely dinner you’ve prepared is gobbled up, present your loved you with a box of Terry’s All Gold. See the face you love light up as you hand them these delightful chocolates.

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As Valentine’s Day draws to a close you pull out one more delightful surprise. Run you loved one a nice warm relaxing Radox bath. Let them relax and have thoughts about how lucky they are to have you as their partner.

 

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A successful Valentine’s Day. You have avoided the dark depths of Singletoness.  Your loved one will love you even more. You’ll be happy that you made the effort. Remember … Valentine’s Day is not about spending a huge wad of cash, it’s about making the effort … even if all the effort was put in at the last minute. Valentine’s Day is not really about showing your loved one how much you love em … it’s about survival! Stick to the retrohen tips to avoid slipping on the banana skin of St Valentine. Happy Valentine’s Day.

How to win at Monopoly

Ever fancied yourself as a property tycoon?

Ever wanted to be the landlord of some of the most prestigious properties in London?

Well stop thinking about it, roll your sleeves up and just do it! Round up Four other wannabe property tycoons and challenge them to a game of Monopoly.

Follow my simple steps and you’ll be collecting rent from all directions and your pockets will be bursting with cash!

Step 1. Volunteer to be the Banker. Being in the position of the Banker gets you the necessary experience with dealing with lots of Dosh. Once you have the experience it won’t be a shock to your system when the rent starts abundantly flowing in your direction. Another benefit of being the Banker is that you can sneakily help yourself to a few £500 notes if things get a bit tight … every little helps!

Step 2. Portfolio is key. Now many will look to snap up those dark Blue properties (Park Lane and Mayfair) or the Green ones (Bond Street). There’s nothing wrong with that train of thought but now it’s time to think outside the box. Ever considered Old Kent Road & Whitechapel? What about the Blue’s of Angel Islington, Euston Road and Pentonville Road? Think about it … if another property tycoon is going through a tough financial time and has just collected £200 for passing Go, you can swipe that £200 (and a tad more) straight out of their hand if you have 3 houses on The Angel of Islington. A good mixture of cheap, mid-priced and expensive properties make up a portfolio that will send your competitors into bankruptcy.

Step 3. Jail can be beneficial. ‘I’ve done nothing!’ you argue but you’ve got to go. You may be possession of a ‘Get out of Jail free card’ but think twice about using it (you can sell it to the highest bidder to top up your cash). A little spell in Jail can give you valuable thinking time whilst you take a bit of a break from wheeling and dealing. Once you’re out, you’ll be shrewder and make your competitors weep whilst they are whittled down to £1 notes.

Step 4. Don’t ignore the Stations! These stand bang in the centre on each side of the board. They are not yet privatized and are still owned by British Rail Again these can be a nice little earner … £50 rent if you have a couple of these stations … not bad eh?

Step 5. Don’t dismiss the Utilities! Just like the stations the utilities can be a nice little earner. Snap up the Electric Company and Water Works for a bargain of £300 and hope that your competitors’ lands on them with high amounts on the dice … they’ll need to fork out 10 times the amount shown on the dice. Again can be a nice little sneaky earner.

Step 6. Take the rough with the smooth. Face the fact that you will get stung at some point when it’s your turn to scoop up Chance or Community Chest. You may have to fork out for offences such as Speeding and Drunk in Charge or maybe your houses are in need of general repairs. The other side of the coin is that you can get tax returns, do well in a beauty contest or even collect a few quid due to a Bank error. It really just comes down to pure luck and you have no say in the matter.

Step 7. Keep on building. Gobble up as many houses as you can and progress to a hotel. A big Red hotel is intimidating for your competitors … watch them sweat like a Pig in a Sauna as they approach your stretch of properties. Red equals danger … and landing on a property with a hotel could mean ending the career of a wannabe property tycoon.

Step 8. Keep your eyes peeled! Sadly there’s a lot of dodgy dealings between property tycoons. In Monopoly there are no regulatory bodies such as the FSA to keep property tycoons in check. Watch your competitors like a Hawk! The only one allowed to cheat in this game is you … the Banker!

Step 9. Be ruthless. Once a wannabe property tycoon has run out of dosh and property to sell, boot em out the game! Offer no IOU’s or cash. Get rid of them!

Step 10. Patience is the key. The games of Monopoly can last for hours so don’t be hasty in your decision making. Set yourself up mentally for a marathon not a sprint. Stick to these simple 10 steps and you’ll be a very wealthy property tycoon and the other wannabe’s will be in awe of your shrewdness.