Tuesday 22 November 2011

Every one's a winner!

So I put all my spare money into the pub syndicate to win the raffle, right?. Not just my local pub, you understand, no this was a special regional affair. They came round after the whelk man, once I'd had a few pints and they made me an offer. Pay us, they said, a hundred pounds a week and you can join our club. And in return you will be entered into all the regional pub raffles and you'll win all your money back with interest in the end. Plus, they said, it would help do all sorts of good things for local charities.

If I'm honest I didn't really want to and I wasn't sure how the charities would benefit and I couldn't really afford it, but everybody else was doing it, they said, so I had to borrow the money in the first place and now I work overtime to be able to afford it. But it was a great idea they said, it was in my interests they said. This was an offer I couldn't refuse. This was a few years ago, you understand?

I wasn't fully convinced, but I went along with it - because, they said, it was best. I tried to work out the odds; a ton a week is quite a lot and I could look after myself quite happily on that, so I asked around all of my neighbours who were doing the same. Nobody else knew the answers either, but they all thought it might be better than just keeping our own money and saving for a rainy day. Probably. Possibly.

I noticed one neighbour, the one without a job, had a new kitchen fitted. And another one got a better car. And another one put a caravan in his front garden and moved in all his family from outside the area... and then they all got new cars. This seemed odd until I was informed that they too were in our syndicate and they'd come up in the raffle. Good for them, I thought. When I asked my out-of-work neighbour how he managed the £100 a week he said, "Do what, mate?"

Over the next few years, the street started getting a bit crowded. All my neighbours on the south side of the street have to do something to keep their spirits up (because they don't have jobs, poor things) so they have all sorts of parties. Some to the left of my position, some to the right, but they all sound exactly the same and in the middle of the night I can't tell what side they're on while I'm trying to get to sleep. I have to get up for work in the morning; somebody has to fund all their winning streaks.

I'm not bitter about it, jolly good luck to them I say. But I'm hoping that I'll win the raffle one day and then I can have a party as well. At the moment I'm still 'investing in the project' as they call it. Oh, and it's gone up to £200 a week now, because some of my working neighbours have moved away and left the club. Short-sighted fools! They'll never win the raffle now. (Although they can afford to go on nice holidays, it appears. I get postcards. "Get out now!" they say. I think they want me to come on holiday with them. Bless.)

I'm never quite sure when the raffle is actually drawn, so I've never been there to see the process in action - they do it in a pub miles away from me - but I'm sure it's all fair and above board and I'm convinced that one day my numbers will come up - the syndicate keeps telling me it would be daft to pull out now. And it's not like I'm chucking my money into a black hole, is it?

As for saving for that rainy day? It's absolutely pissing it down out there, so I hope our politicians have something put by - it doesn't look like our numbers are coming up in the big raffle any day soon.