When you wake up with that special feeling
Last Wednesday I woke up in high spirits. Today is my lucky day, I thought. Nothing unusual, sometimes I start a day like that, sometimes I don’t. To cut to the chase, the previous day was a lottery draw for £58 million and I felt, no, I knew, it was going to be me.
I don’t like queuing for tickets at a kiosk because when I win a fiver and go to collect, the guy behind the counter hands me the money and tells me ‘you’ve won, well done’. He’s giving me that winning smile, so I nod appreciatively. Well done! That fiver cost me ten; I lost! My way out of the unwanted squirm was to commit to buying tickets online. Now, on the odd occasion I get a little cash back they send me an email telling me I’ve won something.
Wednesday morning I got the email, yippee!
‘Do not open it’ I told my good lady and spent the next few days planning what I was going to do with this vast fortune. To start with, I had my eye on a sailing boat that’s on sale for a mere three million; I’ll buy it and charter it out, I decided. Doing it that way meant it wouldn’t lie unused on the quayside and I could have use of it for a couple months of the year – sorted.
Needless to say, that isn’t me and my wife in the picture below.
Having kicked off my iPad and accidentally seen the picture above, I thought I’d have to resign myself to only winning hundreds of thousands rather than millions, so I asked my wife to check the email. I won three pounds and the investment, once again, had been ten, so it wasn’t to be that I’d be jumping in the air and kicking my heels together. In truth, I was closer to banging my head against the nearest wall. I’m not going to tell you I went as far as crying because I didn’t … but I was pretty close. So, I’ve watched my boat sail off into the sunset without me and I’m left sitting here typing out this letter in the blistering heat of the day. Ah, but did I learn anything from it? Hell no, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I’ll be exactly the same next time a big rollover shows up.
My emails aren’t necessarily about getting you to buy stuff. When my thriller author acquaintances tell me they have free or discounted offers going on, I’ll let you know. Same goes for my stuff. But otherwise, I’m just keeping in touch to share some of the rather bizarre thoughts that run through my mind. And this week, apart from the lottery thing, I’ve been nursing a few notions about the Kray twins.
|There aren’t many people who haven’t heard of these villains, so I’ll keep the outline brief and tell you why they’ve been on my mind: Identical twins, Reggie and Ronnie began life in Hoxton, East London in the 1930’s and moved to Bethnal Green a year or so before the second world war broke out. It was there they thought they might become boxers of note, but after being conscripted into National Service and spending time in both the Tower of London and Shepton Mallet military prison for assaulting a policeman while being absent without leave, their boxing careers came to an abrupt end.
They turned to full-time crime, bought a run-down snooker hall in Mile End and used it as a front for protection rackets. But it was from insurance scams like arson, robbery, and hijacking that funded the rest of the clubs and properties they acquired. Peter Rachman, the landlord terrorist, gave them an up-market nightclub in Knightsbridge and it was from there they became popular with those in high places.
A banker hired and funded the twins to provide protection against the Richardson gang, also known as the Torture Gang, and things became fraught. Cutting out the bits everyone already knows, George Cornell, a highly placed Richardson gang member, and Jack The Hat McVitie, from their own gang, were murdered; Ronnie killed George and Reggie killed Jack. It was the killing of McVitie that probably forged cracks in the foundation of The Firm, as it was known. It was after the killings, Bobby Teale, a Kray gang member, began working undercover with the police to bring the rule of Britain’s most infamous gangsters to an end. Bobby worked with the police after seeing the changes in the brothers, Ronnie in particular. To validate Bobby’s worries, Ronnie ended up in Broadmoor, an institution for the criminally insane. The twins had started turning on their own without reason and Bobbie feared for his family. It was evidence and leaked details of goings on from Bobby that eventually got the twins banged up.
And that’s it, I said it would be brief. You must be wondering why I’ve dredged up the past? Well, the Krays were becoming ever more popular in the land of the London celebrity and beyond. Even from prison, they were believed to have run a firm of protection and security consultants who protected the likes of Frank Sinatra as well as other Hollywood stars. My mind ramblings turned to speculation and I began to wonder. What if Bobby Teale had never turned Queen’s evidence? What if the Krays had never been jailed? These happenings are always a cat’s whisker away from reality, so had they lived their lives out as free men, where would it have ended? With the contacts they had, there would be no ends to the height of respectability they could have achieved. Maybe ending up as landed gentry, who knows?
That’s it, Folks, until next time.
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