Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 18 August 2016
Work hard, play hard
We will have storms this weekend. An Olympian butterfly farts in the Brazilian Rainforest, and there is a tsunami in Weston Super Mare.
Every morning at about 5.30 am - Winter and Summer - I hear the sound of a very expensive supercar traversing the bends on the road beneath our compact but adorable city apartment.
For the last couple of years now, I lie there in bed thinking the same thoughts as it growls off into the distance and out of earshot.
Did the driver of this car become able to afford it by getting to work at six every day? Is it really true that the early bird catches the worm? Would I be making the same noise and waking others if I had worked as hard as this driver all my life?
Well I know the answer to the last question anyway. If I could afford a car like that and still be able to pay the bills, then I wouldn't go to work at 5.30 every day. Chickens and eggs. In any case, I know ambitious young masons who start work at 6.30 every day and still earn peanuts. They will continue to earn peanuts until they die, retire, or both.
I have a friend who has always owned a supercar - Maserati, Bentley, Ferrari, etc. - since he was about 25 years old. He is not particularly wealthy, but earned enough money to fulfill his passion when young, buying his first car, then trading it in for a slightly better one a year later. He reckons he loses about £2000 per year on each transaction, which is the equivalent or less than someone who buys a boring car from new, on credit. They still have to go to work early, but not in as much style as my friend.
His cars are all about 400 horse power and he would not want - or be able - to put 200 lbs of marble in the back of them, and mine are about 180 horse power and I do. Is this a compromise, or is it the best of both worlds?
Yesterday, I bought a telescopic, lightweight, poacher's-style fishing rod for £5, brand new from a charity shop.
A few years ago, I decided to get involved with fly-fishing - a sport which attracts the same sort of obsessive behaviour as, say, golf - with countless books written about it, ton upon ton of associated accessories to buy for it, hour upon hour of casting practice on dry land which has to be carried out - but I managed to curb this potentially ruining pass-time as I did when noticing that I was developing an unhealthy interest in expensive watches.
I bought two fly-rods, three reels quite a few tied flies, leaders, lines of varying weights, a licence and permit - and I went fishing only once.
A Hardy fly rod can cost you £12000, but a £20 is just as good for catching fish, if that is what you really want to do. Ok, your cheap rod may not cast as far, but if you fish for Brown Trout in our local By-Brook, it is simply a case of dropping the fly on the water from a distance which is slightly shorter than your 10 foot rod, and any attempt at casting would have to be made from the middle of the field, and would almost certainly end up in the trees.
So I will chuck this rod in the back of the car for when I suddenly feel like going fishing, and it will probably get forgotten about until next year.
My £70 military watch tells the time just as accurately as a £20,000 Rolex, and I do not get up at 5 in the morning, but if I had attended Sandhurst as a young officer, I would have been retired for over 10 years by now on a military pension - and I would not have paid for the watch.