On the way home from a good day out in the Smoke with Celia I bought a copy of the day’s Guardian and a lottery ticket. We’d walked, talked, eaten, been to the British Museum; Celia to the Scythians exhibition, me to look at the Assyrian galleries in greater detail.
The day was colder than I’d thought when I left home. I was glad of the hat I bought in Leigh on Wednesday. Lunch was in a small Korean café in Museum Street called Bimimbab. Delicious. I’ll happily go there again.
Doing the lottery routinely is a relevantly new thing for me. In the past I have bought the occasional ticket; at one place of work I was part of a consortium that never won anything; but buying a ticket every week is a recent development. It has a lot to do with Brexit and my fears for the future. The chances of winning the lottery are extraordinarily remote, but a touch less remote than if I had no ticket.
On the whole my expectations are low. I think of it as my weekly contribution to supporting the arts, sport and local good causes. But in the moments before I check my ticket, and it can be two weeks before I get around to it, I fantasise what I would do if I were suddenly the recipient of a large sum of money. That deferment is part of the enjoyment. Before I’ve checked and seen that my ticket has no matches there’s always the delicious possibility of untold wealth with my name on it. I talked about it with my cousin Russell and discovered he does the same thing, as does my friend Judy.
I can be quite serious in my fantasies, or rather quite discriminatory. When you don’t have money so much in the shops looks desirable. Acquire even just a little and you become fussier, more choosy. Or is that just Russell and me? So in those moments before I find out that yet again my ticket is destined immediately for the recycling bag, no passing Go, no collecting £200, I look at MasterB and think about the work I’d get done on das Boot, wonder what sort of home we could have. I don’t get much further than that, but it’s surprising how focussed I can be, how comparatively modest my financial ambition is. I said to Celia today that half a million would be do, a lot in many places but about enough for a two bedroomed flat in the area of London where I live now. Maybe a quieter part of it with no drummers living next door.
So if by the time you read this I have discovered I am as rich as Croesus it’ll be interesting to see if the scale of my projected spending has changed and I’m already house hunting in Chelsea or Hampstead, or if Sunny Walworth or surrounding neighbourhoods still float my boat, and if my boat still floats in east anglia, or if it, or a more luxurious successor, is moored closer to home.