Monday, 11 October 2010

To Hunger's End and Longford Lake...

In another shameful display of either sheer laziness or pure fatigue – although more likely a bit of both – I took the train home from Merstham after our cycle to Hunger's End where we enjoyed tea and toast and a read of The Sun.

Map shows Merstham High Street, home of Hunger's End
and, of course, Merstham Railway Station.
As promised by the weathermen, the weekend was good. Not sunny on Saturday (as predicted) but not raining and not cold. Andy is still wearing his shorts, put it that way, and I'm not yet reaching for the gloves, so the weather's been pretty mild and we've yet to get a soaking. In fact, as we discussed, we've managed to avoid a soaking since the beginning of the year. I say the beginning of the year, but it was probably something like April or May, I'll have to check the archive. I've checked and, believe it or not, it was August 1st on the way back from Westerham.

I wasn't really up for cycling to Merstham to be honest as I'd not slept well and had woken up around 0350hrs and then found it difficult to get back to sleep. The week prior, I'd managed to walk the best part of 30 miles (roughly six miles a day, five days a week) and that must have contributed to my general state of weariness, although the lack of sleep the night before the ride did it for me.

Shameful evidence! My bike spotted by the fitness police
outside of Merstham Station, Saturday 9 October 2010.
The ride was good and we decided to go 'the short way' by turning right on the A25 and not going across and down towards Church Town and the Enterdent.

After bidding farewell to Andy who, to be fair, had a shorter return ride than I would have had, I loitered around the music shop looking at the bass guitars before free-wheeling down to the station and buying a ticket to Purley, from where I cycled home.

At Purley, one of the minicab drivers outside the station stopped me to discuss my unusual saddle. He was refering, of course, to the Spongy Wonder. We chatted for a while and then off I went home to work out what to do with the rest of my weekend.

Off-road outside of Westerham, en route to Longford Lake.
The sun shows through the trees around 8am, Sunday 10 October.
Sunday saw us riding along Pilgrim's Lane towards Longford Lake in Chevening, Kent. A nice ride and I was feeling much more alive. We talked about this and that but our main topic of conversation, which we'd started in Merstham, was the EuroMillions British winner of the £110 million jackpot. What, we wondered, would we do with such a huge sum of money? We both agreed that we could offload around £30 million to friends and family, but that would still leave £80 million.

My plan would be to invest in property as I simply don't trust the banks anymore. I'd probably build a few housing estates for those who can't afford to buy their own house, holiday lets, that sort of thing; and I'd definitely travel around the UK visiting hospitals and finding out what they needed in the way of scanners and such like. I'd like to see whole hospital wings built using my money and possibly named The Moggridge Ward or whatever, some kind of lasting memento of my philanthropy.

Our big question as we returned home from the lake was how Camelot hand over the money. Do they place it electronically in the winner's bank account or hand them a cheque? How worrying it would all become in the sense of not being able to trust the banks. There is, of course, a £50,000 limit on monies refundable should the bank or banks go bust, meaning that you'd have a load of different bank and building society accounts. I reckon that you could put away a couple of million in that way, ie £50,000 in the Halifax, Lloyds, Nat West and so on, then, of course, you could whack away £30,000 in premium bonds, but remember we're dealing with something like £70 million after you've been generous with friends and family. Oh, and all that philanthropy would bring it down a bit too, but what a headache! I wonder if Camelot has it's own bank? The Bank of Camelot. That simply doesn't sound right. A bit like Toytown Bank when you were a kid and I know I wouldn't invest my hard-won cash in THAT bank!

My bike resting against a fence along Pilgrim's Lane.
I wonder if winners get offered a choice, ie would you like several cheques of £50,000 made payable to different banks and building societies? Yes, please!

Either way, it made no difference to Andy and I as we didn't win. I don't think Andy got any of the numbers and I only got number 35. In fact, the only reason I bought a Euromillions ticket (I bought two, one was a lucky dip) was because a man with no right hand in Belgravia made me a cup of tea and brought me one of the slips to fill in. I figured: man with one hand, this could be some strange soothsayer from another dimension offering me fame and fortune, so I filled it in and exchanged it for a ticket and then hoped for the best.

Andy on Pilgrims Lane, Sunday 10th October 2010.
But Andy and I cycled home, in the heat (Sunday was like a mid-summer's day) knowing we'd both be going to work on Monday and not having to worry about how we would keep track of hundreds of bank and building society accounts and fretting about how the banks might be trying to swindle us. In many ways, I think we were both glad we hadn't won the jackpot – but no, I think that's a load of old rubbish as we'd both love to have the headache of simply looking at bank statements once a month.

The lottery is like a religion, it provides false hopes to millions.


  1. again mate you are not alone- did a big walk with my son last Sunday and have not been ablew to turn a wheel on a bike since, often waking up at 3am as the train is not too bad!

    Love the last line too!

  2. Thanks, Simon. Glad to know I'm not alone.