Thursday, 21 May 2009

Taking a Gamble

Apparently, gambling is on the increase due to the recession. Online gambling is one of the few growth industries at the moment, and it seems that many people, finding that their money is earning little interest, are deciding to see whether they can generate income by gambling with it instead.

I can smugly say that I don't gamble. Well, not much. I have bought a raffle ticket as part of the entry requirement to a school fete on occasion, and once I won a bottle of champagne which I then generously donated back to the school, since of course I don’t drink alcohol. I'd like to think that they re-raffled it, but I suspect that there was, in fact, some unnatural merriment in the staff room on the last day of term.

My other foray into gambling came in the latter part of last year. The jackpot to the Euro Lottery was up to £92 million and finding myself in the Post Office with a pound in my pocket, I decided to invest in the right to dream for a day, and I bought a ticket.In my 24 hours of planning exactly how to spend such a huge sum, I discovered some interesting truths about myself. For example:
  • However rich I was, there is no way I would ever have any plastic surgery.
  • Similarly, I would never send my children to private schools. Not because I think they are elitist and out-of-touch with the real world (much) but because my children are happy and doing very well at the schools they attend now, and those schools are within easy walking distance.
  • I am nicer than I thought - the plans which most excited me were those involving anonymously paying off mortgages or giving large cash gifts to friends and deserving causes.
  • However much money I had, I would never buy a brand new car. Probably a car that's one or two years old (as opposed to the twelve-year-old car I just scrapped), but never something straight from the production line. I just couldn't face seeing it depreciate by half its value as I drove it off the forecourt.
  • There are no houses currently for sale in my area - even with asking prices of over £1 million - which I like well enough to tempt me to leave the home I currently live in.
What I really learned about myself, then, is that I don't actually want or need £92 million. I think discovering that was well worth £1. The punchline to this is that I won. I got four numbers out of the six, and won £6.10. So despite a considerable return on my investment for my foray into gambling, I shan't be doing that again. Hubby Dearest (who is an accountant, and thus genius) says that the National Lottery is "a tax on people who are bad at maths". Anyway, I promise faithfully never to gamble again (unless it's the only way to get into the fete), however much I find myself longing to pay off your mortgage.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

A Worthy Winner

When I started this blog I had hoped that I would be able to spend a good deal of time talking about books. After all, my degree is in English Literature so I love reading good books, and I have been known to write the odd novel here and there.

Unfortunately, my hectic life seems to leave little enough time for blogging, let alone reading books. Not only that, but the books I particularly enjoy are LDS novels, and with the nearest LDS bookstore over an hour away, they are not easy to come by.

Casting an eye over my bookshelf the other day, however, I discovered that I had an LDS novel I hadn't read. I had been sent it by a friend and absent-mindedly consigned it to the shelf, intending to read it when I had more time. So I picked it up, and I'm halfway through reading it.

It is wonderful! The dialogue is pacy and real, the characters are well developed and believable, and the plot just races along with a new surprise on every page. Just when you think you know who is playing whom, something else changes. I'm absolutely loving reading it, and can't wait to find out what is actually going on. It is fresh, different and wonderful entertainment. I heartily recommend it. And apparently so do a good many other people, because it won a Whitney Award last month. The book is Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black, and deserves that award in every respect. Well done, Stephanie.

And a brief postscript that the friend who sent me the book is another Whitney Winner, and my favourite author - Kerry Blair. Congratulations to you too, Kerry.

So, any other friends want to send me great books?