“This does not happen to ordinary people like us”, they all shriek. That’s the nonsense you always hear when someone has won so much money they need a wheelbarrow to take it to the bank.
First of all, it used to be football pools, then Spot the Ball in every newspaper worth its salt and then Wheel of Fortune with Nicky Campbell. Then in 1994, our windfall method changed. A big hand with a pointed finger came out of the sky and a voice boomed: “It could be you.”
Unfortunately it hasn’t been me, but many people have had their lives changed by the National Lottery. Many millions have been scooped on the Lotto, the EuroMillions, the Hotpicks, the Thunderball and the Set For Life. That’s where you can win £10,000 every month until you die, or for 30 years – whichever comes along first.
After 30 long years of trying to find ways to spend £120,000 per annum, I’d be ready to kick the bucket.
Relishing the Instant Wins
Then, of course, there are the Instant Wins. That’s when you buy a scratchcard in the Co-op to divert the attention of other people in the queue while you sneak a half bottle of something into your shopping bag. You think I don’t notice what you housewives and househusbands get up to?
Islanders took home tidy sums ranging from £21,425 to £193,055. Not to be sniffed at. ‘Good luck everyone,’ I hiss covetously
I would never lower myself to squander the housekeeping on such fripperies in the foyer of a bustling supermarket. Why would I do such a thing when I can log in on my phone in the privacy of my own drawing room and select my Lucky Dip numbers as I unfurl on the chaise longue?
That way, there’s no chance of a Free Church elder loudly tut-tutting behind me while he’s tucking the Smirnoff deep into his basket under the posh nosh like the salmon, the sauerkraut, and the souchong. Slàinte, Mr Macleod. You enjoy those communions now.
£3 million for 101 islanders
Meanwhile I am raising my glass to the staggering £3 million won on the Postcode Lottery by 101 folk on North Uist and Berneray which was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary broadcast at the weekend.
Islanders took home tidy sums ranging from £21,425 to £193,055. Not to be sniffed at. “Good luck everyone,” I hiss covetously. And to the star of the show, Duncan Campbell, who is 83 years young.
Last year, 101 residents from North Uist & Berneray scooped a share of a whopping £3 MILLION prize pot!
— Postcode Lottery (@PostcodeLottery) June 5, 2021
Mr Campbell is like Johnny Mathis. I don’t mean he sings When A Child Is Born every Christmas. He may do, for all I know, but I mean he doesn’t look his age. He’d easily pass for someone 20 years younger. And Johnny Mathis, now 85, still looks as he did on TV every time since the year dot.
Because the fresh-faced Mr Campbell was shown cutting peats, it prompted one London-based newspaper to describe him as a peat farmer. They’re obviously thinking of those haggis farmers. Easy mistake to make – if you’re a silly Sassenach.
Spend, spend, spend
With his win a mere £21,000 plus, Mr Campbell set out his priorities for doing a Viv Nicholson – the late Yorkshire housewife who won £152,319 on Littlewoods Pools in 1961. She vowed to spend, spend, spend. Like many a big winner since, she did – and blew the lot.
Allowing for inflation, Viv won £3.5 million in today’s money – just a bit more than the Uist and Berneray windfall.
Duncan’s spend, spend, spend involved going to the hardware shop and purchasing a swing top bin and a pan or two. Oh, and a new plasticky wheelbarrow. That was the priority.
Time for a new barrow?
Duncan was asked what he was going to do with the shoogly old barrow that had been patched up many times and had lasted him about 40 years. Throw it away? Give it to anyone who wants it? Looking wistful, Duncan said: “Well, I think I’ll sell it.”
Good idea. Now it’s been on telly, it’ll have doubled in value. You’ll get £2.
I have just heard about another Uist man, Finlay, who used to work for a construction company down there. His foreman said: “Finlay, a bhalaich. We need a new wheelbarrow. There’s a shop up on Benbecula. Go and buy a new one and charge it to this company.”
Off went Finlay as he was told. He was back an hour later with two wheelbarrows. One was stacked inside the other. The foreman was not happy.
“Oh dhia dhia, Finlay, what are you doing? I told you to buy one barrow.”
Finlay nodded and replied: “Well, yeah. But you didn’t expect me to carry it all the way back here, did you?”
If you have issues with gambling and need help, there is advice available on the NHS website