A big surprise . . .


I’m not really a gambling person. I do the Postcode Lottery and the National Lottery Thunderball, but that’s about it. However, I do have a SkyBet online account. I opened it a couple of years ago, when I could not get to the local bookmakers, to place a bet on the Grand National. I wasn’t that bothered but a colleague at the time told me that a horse called Many Clouds stood a good chance and was being ridden by a friend of his. It was the only way I could get a bet on. The start-up was a minimum of £10.00 and they gave me a £10.00 single bet as a new customer bonus. It was a shame that I didn’t use that free £10.00 on the race, as the horse, Many Clouds won at 25/1 which would have been a good win. In fact, I didn’t even have a bet on the race as I had completely misread the starting time.

But all that is beside the point. I have this online account and I use it occasionally. The thing is I don’t speculate with large sums of money. I decided very early that having the opportunity to gamble whilst sitting at my laptop could lead to serious repercussions. So my betting account is just for fun! The largest bet I have made with it was a £5.00 bet on a horse that my sister-in-law’s partner has a share in. It lost! After that, I limit my bets to small wagers. Very small wagers. I like to randomly pick a venue, pick a race, and scroll down the list of runners and riders until a horse name strikes my eye. More often than not, that horse will not even be placed. Occasionally I will get a second or third place and get some of my money back. But they are never big winners, until recently that is.

Towards the end of March, I had one of my usual small bets, a 50p each-way wager (that’s how small my bets can be). It was the third race I had placed some money on and I didn’t even wait until the race had begun before I logged out and went to do some household jobs. It wasn’t until the following Monday, that I even checked the results. Big surprise, the horse had won and won at a price of 25/1. That gave me a return of £49.00! But it doesn’t end there.

Yesterday, I had a scroll through the various race meetings and I spotted that it was the day of the Irish Grand National. I scrolled down the list and picked a horse that was priced at 20/1. £1.00 each-way on that horse and then another one that was running at 10/1, another pound each-way. As a bit of a joke, I scrolled to the last horse in the race. The price was 125/1 and as I had an odd pound, I placed a bet, this time only 50p each-way. I logged out and completely forgot about it until this morning. Can you imagine my surprise when I checked the results and found that my ‘joke’ bet had won and my winnings were £75.00.

Getting back to work …


My boss texted me on Thursday about our re-opening. They attached a copy of the ‘flexible furlough’ scheme. Now I had not heard of this, but it seems that staff can be brought back to work, as part time. The employer will pay the employee as normal for the day/days they work, with the Government paying 80% (for now) for the days that the employee are furloughed. It is ‘designed’ to assist businesses get back to some form of normality. I’m not sure how this will work for someone (me) who only works two days a week. It has already been mentioned that they need to prioritise the full time staff, which makes perfect sense but leaves me wondering if they will ever need me. The place seats about 48 customers when full, but the tables are very close together. I can foresee that the number of seats could reduce to 20 or even less, which means that the number of staff needed would have to be reduced. I wait in anticipation.

<><><><><><><><><>

My strawberries are starting to ripen. My wife had the first two on Tuesday, but we now have four or five just turning that first shade of pink. I’m quite pleased with how they have turned out. I bought two small plants last year and when they finished fruiting I noticed that they were producing what a friend called ‘runners’. He told me that they were basically plantlets and that I should peg them down into small pots to created. I did this and it resulted in me growing on another twelve plants, all of which are starting to fruit. I think I initially lost about four of the plantlets, probably due letting them dry out too much as some were in very small pots. I wonder how they will fare next year, as some of the plants are already producing runners, which I have had to remove.