On joining the Sheraton Spa

Well it kind of makes sense as we’ve bought a wee pad next door and I’m working just round the corner to it too at Dean Banks’s fab restaurant at The Pompadour (now No 3 on Trip Advisor!). So you could say it’s a no-brainer. Also they dish out fresh towels every time you pitch up and the showers are tip-top and very hot. There is a 25 metre swimming pool which few people seem to use and a rather plush aqua suite. Also it’s open from 6.30am till 10pm. Ok, it’s not cheap but I figure if I can get in there about 4 times a week then it’s justifiable.

However what I’ve forgotten about is that Edinburgh is a wee village. This was proven on my first visit as I bumped into two old acquaintances. Chris Turnbull with whom I used to work with at Ivory and Slime and Smu, who was a fellow ski instructor at Hillend and started up the very successful Edinburgh based school ski trip company, SnoTraxx. Smu got a bit of a major surprise on seeing me in the changing rooms as we’ve had a slightly chequered friendship (long story) but I greeted him with a big smile. The past is the past and we should move on. He was holding a wee toddler and I said ‘wow things have changed’ as I’d known him as Mr Batchelor. He said ‘what do you mean?’ which I felt was an interesting response in the least. I alleviated any misunderstanding by declaring ‘well you’re holding a baby’ (which I presumed was his)

I think he got my point. Smu is actually a very decent guy underneath all the Merchistonian surface facade thing going on.

But this is going to be well interesting now to see who else is a member of the Spa. The issue is that I’ve been quite eclectic in my activities in Edinburgh life and have spanned a few industres in my work, been active in many different sporting and extra-curricular activities (yes I really was a member of The Really Terrible Orchestra), all spanning several interlinking social groups (all Edinburgh social groups are interlinked on some levels). Added to this I’ve been a not infrequent visitor to many of Edinburgh’s drinking dens. All told I know a lot of people. Or let’s say I know who a lot of people are! Even if some individuals care to forget who I am or just suffer from a worrying and deep amnesia. I remember I bumped into Les Rennie, an Edinburgh property mogul (I much prefer the word ‘mogul’ here than ‘tycoon’ as he is rather a good skier) in the Old Course Hotel a couple of years back. Now I swear that he claims he didn’t know me from Adam. But this was the guy who I had met through an old girlfriend and who had personally invited me up to dinner in one of his new chalets in Le Chatelard (Les has three rather nice chalets in Val D’Isere) when I was doing one of my season’s there. I remember the evening very clearly indeed and got rather too inebriated on the back of his very generous hospitality.

Mind you Les has a property developer acquaintance who I sat next to at a dinner many moons back and the conversation went exactly like this;

Me: ‘What do you do?’ Other chap: ‘I’m a property developer’ then there was a momentary pause when I guess he either thought I didn’t know what property developers did or didn’t like the potential non-plussed expression on my face, as he quickly added ‘I sold twelve flats today’

He never asked me what I did which was just as well as I was then an aspiring jobbing gardener.

Anyway he ho. Aren’t people funny.

I’m playing back at Mortonhall next week which will bring back many memories indeed. Like stepping back in time. It’s been about ten years since I last played there as a member. So much has happened in that time.

However I’m sure Morty won’t have changed and I see from the start sheet that there are still some old stalwarts hanging on in there, a lot like me creeping into the Seniors category. Now I think they should reclassify that as the Vintage category, capital V with a well rounded finish like a good Rolly Gassmann Alsace and my new follow through.

Now, they’re all going to be well surprised when they see me pitch up next week for the Seniors Team Tournament.

If they remember me that is?!

I don’t quite get it

I mean Elizabeth Holmes and her antics.

A first year drop-out from Stanford who is told by her professor that her blood testing idea will simply not work, but carries on to charm investors into piling millions into a Silicon Valley start-up and nab the seat on a Harvard University board on the back of a fat cheque from one of Daddy’s friends, a pretty face, a faked-up oh-so-husky voice and doing everything to mimic a Steve Job persona. Thereby calmly creating a 6 billion dollar business and getting her cute visage on the front cover of Vogue Magazine.

All on the back of a well sold lie! Some achievement all said, no matter what you feel about the red lipstick.

But not the best advertisement for modern capitalism and the efficient market hypothesis what? That one got through the loophole some.

However, I suppose if you are able to get Henry Kissenger and Rupert Murdoch on board, anything is possible. Well maybe not Rupert because it was his paper, the Wall Street Journal, which eventually spilled the beans on the farce. And that must be applauded, if wondered at (I mean that Rupert allowed the article to be published)

And get this one, straight from a broker’s ‘research note’, discussing the major Chinese developer, Kaisa, where 98 buyers were not able to register for title of ownership as their properties had been used as a pledge to one of the company’s lenders:

‘we think this could affect image and future contract sales…’

No shit Sherlock!

But of course I’m a massive sceptic of all this big business financial show, as you know. A lot of it is way too cozy, slap on the back stuff for my liking and there is far too much money flying around for anyone’s good. Crazy money to be honest. Didn’t that Woodford bloke rake in £600k for doing nothing last year? while 300000 of his sorry investors sat worrying about how much of their money they might get back. Patient Capital Trust all right Woody? And don’t some ridiculously poor performing funds (mostly ’boutique’) still rake in 2 per cent of their value each year in fees?

Unfortunately yes. It would be a wonder to calculate, if you could, an index (the kilted caddie index of course) showing the value of all the investment houses as a percentage of all stocks (minus the financial investment ones) and get an idea of how much is being squeezed out in fees? For a lot of these investment houses in fact invest in each other and a lot are using fancy financial instruments, futures and options for example, to hedge etc.

And at the end of the day few of the ‘houses’, boutique or nay, beat the index. But the fees involved are stratospheric? Shocking. Jobs for the boys and fat cheques and fat cats. Adam Smith would be reeling. Well, unless he’d maybe picked up a few non-exec’s!

Cynic moi?

But heho, I’m well out of the stock market now. I’m heading out to (up to?) Silicon Valley as I’ve got a real tip-top idea up my sleeve. I’ve been meditating upon it for 7 hours a day, gone all vegan and minimalistic, invested in several black turtle necks, a Lower Moray Firth accent and plan to knock on the doors of a few top-notch celebs to get things rolling. That Meghan bird seems to have a bit of traction and that’s what I’m after. Traction.

Should be a bit of a breeze really.

Whose up for a wee punt? Or a wee surf maybe? hint hint, say no more (‘meditating upon’!).

Californian dreemin.