WEEKEND WEB: You wanna bet?

John Ward
John Ward
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WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

I used to wonder if there was anything else that could clog the advert slots up on the wide screen wonder in the corner of the room apart from assorted charities and alleged causes for both human, animal and those unsure but as I have pointed out before, if these so-called causes etc can shell out for the adverts to be made and broadcast, they must know there are people about who will ‘donate’ to further keep them going.

I now wonder no more as to what else can fill these slots as it being all too obvious as it’s gambling in assorted forms ranging from on-line bingo, oodles of different lottery type things both on-line and available in outlets etc. roulette, poker (and not the sort you use on the fire) plus others.

With this legalised malarkey in assorted forms of gambling, I am amazed we have not had an on-line version of ‘Pick-a-straw’ (nothing to do with harvesting) or ‘Hook-a-duck’ (and nothing to worry Sir David Attenborough about) or ‘Snakes and ladders (nope, nothing to do with reptile owners or window-cleaners either) but I would assume that may well have changed by the time this is printed as nothing it seems stands still when it comes to assorted ideas to disengage people from their hard earned money.

I would point out I am not against gambling, in moderation, such as perhaps a ticket on a sweep-stake on big horse races, the odd scratch card thing if I have some loose change after paying for something else or will any promises made by assorted world governments on assorted issues ever happen as this is a form of gambling but most of these said governments and kindred organisations rely a lot on people falling asleep while hearing or reading about it so once again those running it, win. With so much seemingly there to be ‘won’ it’s hardly surprising so many people become addicted.

Many years ago I can remember my parents discussing somebody they knew who had basically become destitute by way of the husband, plus being the father as well of three children, of the family concerned were facing eviction from their home due to the fact the husband/father spent his time and any money he could get his hands on at the local bookmakers.

For the faint hearted, I am not telling anybody how to run their lives but just stop and think every now and again won’t hurt.

I don’t really have the time to get me soapbox out and stand at Hyde Park Corner in London – it could have been in Spalding but with the ongoing roadwork’s only every 363 days of the year, it looks iffy – and preach about it all.

There is another side to gambling though that sort of makes your day and all quite innocently as I will relate the following that I heard on the radio some years ago now.

It was on the one o’clock news programme and it was one of those ‘and finally’ light hearted news stories you seldom, if ever, get these days that concerned a vicar who had won something like twenty or thirty thousand pounds on the football pools as he had a five shilling (25p in today’s shrapnel) ‘go’ on the pools and had won but once it became known he had won it, a man of the cloth so to speak, this was deemed to be ‘news’ as well as fodder for the ‘and finally’ slot all in one go.

The interview with the vicar was brilliant as he had entered his football coupon due to the fact the church roof was in dire need of repair and thought he might win a ‘few shillings’ towards its cost of repair.

However the line he came out that had myself, and others listening with me, was the following when the interviewer asked him how he felt about winning this amount (in today’s money it would be more than £100,000 plus at a guess) of money as he replied basically: ‘Well when I entered the football coupon I had no idea as to how much I would win, if anything, but in all honesty I really didn’t want to win all this much’ (!) and then pointed out the roofing would cost x number of thousands to repair and so he would have to ‘put his thinking cap on’ to work out what to do with the rest of it!

Those around me offered assorted suggestions as they shouted at the radio but can you imagine that happening in today’s greed obsessed world? – ssomebody saying they didn’t want to win ‘too much’.

Someone I worked with or nearby in real terms had a more straight forward outlook when it came to money and other relevant issues such as the cost of living going up by anything more than sixpence (just over 2 pence today) a bottle or two pence on a pint was paramount to getting a revolution kick started in his mind.

Make way for Arthur, soothsayer and man about tavern, whom passed on the following comments and observations.

Gambling equated to would we be getting our wages that week as rumours about the company cash flow, or lack of it generally, was always in contention.

We worked for a small company but as Arthur pointed out, the money the boss’s wife spent on her make-up requirements would have nearly paid off the debts of most third world countries in one swoop and anything left over was our wages but he did suggest some of that money could be spent on a decent quality mirror and she would find out that the money spent on her splodge (make-up) was not amounting to much in the final result (ouch).

He said that assorted stories of there ‘not being much money about’ was ill-judged as the wrong people had it and were hanging on to it longer. Arthur said that then he ‘popped his clogs’ his family could fight over whatever he was leaving but the saving grace was he would not be about to hear their squabbling and knowing him as I did, perhaps a safe bet.

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Boris, bridges and me