A real dog

I am talking, in the first place, about the investment management industry of course.

This Woodford chap and his Equity Income Fund has really put the cat among the pigeons and caused a bit of a stir. Why? Well, because he’s brazenly taken exorbitant management fees in the face of mind blowingly bad results and he and his colleague bagged a 30 millionish salary last year. So much for the efficient market hypothesis and all that stuff? Isn’t that what this industry is all about?

This has been driven by the usual nonsensical hype and the rather adroit salesmanship of Hargreaves Lansdowne. Money for old rope springs to mind. I think Mr Woodford was creaming off a hundred thousand a day from hapless investors whose stocks were very much heading south. This has to change. It’s a sham and an embarrassment to the industry. Fees should and must be performance related. Surely? Not this ridiculous global 0.5 to 1 % charge on assets under management. That can result in huge fees for poor performance and some quite incapable people getting very rich indeed. Annoying what? It’s kind of like levying a mandatory 15 % service charge on your restaurant bill even if the service is crap. It stinks.

Fish soup!

I had a really bad fish soup in Fishers on the Shore on Monday and it cost me 8 and a half quid. It was tasteless and insubstantial and decidedly uninspiring. I am really going off restaurants that don’t care about what they put out, trying to rest on their laurels and supposed reputations and pretty locations. I guess that’s the massive benefit of having an owner-managed place with people who do care about what their customers are eating. And I suppose that’s why Jamie’s Italian chain rather collapsed. Because let’s face it- food is very important and it’s not going to wash that my pizza is made in a franchise-fronted joint living entirely off the reputation of some whipper-snapper cockney A-List celeb.

People want decent, honest food. Well at least I do.

Now politics. What a bloody mess we’re in. Or should I say the Conservatives are in. This leadership contest is one thing but I think as a party they are doomed. Well unless they have the guts to put Rory Stewart in. That would be a tonic for us all. National service is a tip-top idea and the citizen’s assembly takes away the need to try and get a consensus of MP’s. Ok he’s a rather well spoken Etonian, Oxford PPE bod. But that’s ok. I think he’s very well meaning.

But please not Boris. I couldn’t cope with five potential years of hair tousling, pretentious Homeric references and Bertie Wooster antics every night on News at Six. I will stick with PG Wodehouse for that. And just remember what a mess he made as Foreign Secretary. Dumb bloody blonds.

Anyway, we are forging ahead at Leftbank. It should be open by mid-July (2019). We have a clean slate here and will attempt to provide fresh food, great quality wine and beers, the best coffee, teas and hot chocolate. All in a beautiful space. It’s not just all about the bottom line for us and that’s our main credo. We want people to have a genuinely good experience. In this respect we really care. And I think that’s a good start, as it appears many don’t.

Here is my present roll-up bet. Constantinople in the St Leger, Matt Wallace the US Open, Fraser Clark MCBA champ, Rory Stewart PM, Japan World Cup Women’s footy and Men’s rugby, Federer Wimbledon and a K McLaren to miraculously pull off an historic win in the Jock Hutchison Trophy over the Old, after an amazing second round qualifying score of a hundred, to just secure the 32nd matchplay qualifying spot.

Yes miracles do happen.

The odds on this are a massive 350 to 1 and min bet the usual £100.

Thanks and tidings.




London Blast

A short visit to London with the objective of doing a recky on some pretty classy wine bars is not an unwelcome venture.

Alessandro and I travelled down on Friday and pitched up at Michael’s office just off Bond Street to be met by his most attractive assistant Andrea, who informed us that he was working but that she would take us first to some cafe’s.

This is an extremely trendy area where everyone looks eminently cool, sophisticated and basically loaded. Dairy products are fading fast and oatmilk and coconut milk are in by all accounts. Healthy eating is the name of the game here and if you’re not serving an avocado/spinach option on the breakfast menu then you’re going to be severely commercially challenged.

We eventually caught up with Michael and headed to Isabel Mayfair which is one of the swankiest joints in town, where you don’t want to look at the prices on the menu unless you fancy a wee cardiac. This place stinks of money and is the only establishment that I’ve been to where they have a smiling attendant to open a fantastically lit, granite laden toilette, smelling decidedly Yves Saint Laurent and really most opulent.

Mind you, when a glass of wine comes in at sixteen quid and a small plate of serrano ham hits you at twenty-eight you realize that the guy paying the rent bill is not dealing in minor sums.

Of course we rather lorded it. Michael is not the sort of guy to do things by halves and add to this a bit of Palermo panache and a nutter from Morningside then you have a rather brutal cocktail, if I may carry on using a metaphor in the fashion boisson.

Fortunately, Michael had to work next day so we didn’t go to excess. A pizza and a wee night cap in the bar of the Leonard Hotel climaxed a pretty fun evening where the three business partners had august, insightful thoughts on the Edinburgh bistrot venture, decided that life was pretty rum, or indeed 15 year old Glenlivet in Alessandro’s case.

Next morning we headed to Portobello Road where Mike sells his jewels and that sort of thing and we caught him looking rather worse for wear, went to a superb cafe called Gail’s where it’s all smiles, excellent gruyere, fresh bread and good coffee. To top it all and would you quite believe it? Temple of Heaven came in by a short head in the 4.20 at Newbury by slightly nudging out Well of Wisdom and so paid for the whole trip.

A complete winner.

I trust Leftbank will be like this. But not quite at these prices.

Seven thousandth swing change and on meeting Mr Usher

Had a fine day out in Edinburgh and the fortune to bump into Mr Stuart Usher who runs the Edinburgh Guided Tour company.

As well as being the most affable chap, he affirmed my thoughts about the Scottish Tour Blue Badge Guide thing and I felt rather satisfied that I had not bailed out 9 grand on a painfully intensive one year course. He has been going seven years now, has no qualifications, is fourth on Trip Adviser and is seemingly growing rather exponentially.

Yes, I suppose it’s a bit like the degree thing nowadays. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has one but is it what counts if you want to get on and do your own thing outside academia? Certainly my business partner could have gone to Uni but decided that he very much wanted to be his own man. And now very much is I may add.

Now what is going on in the world? It’s all a bit up in the air by the looks of things. The horrible thought is that we may now have to listen to Nigel Farage for the next few years. This is dangerous. The man is utterly unbearable. He’s almost on a par with Lyndsey Graham, Trumpy and that Roger Stone bloke.

It’s all utterly desperate and despicable and is enough to drive any sane man over the edge.

On the golf front I was rather glad Matt Wallace didn’t win the British Masters. No. I’m not a great fan of the man. I once sat down for lunch with him and he really had a struggle making eye contact with me.  A man who at times acted like a spoilt brat to his lovely caddie, Dave McNeilly, and has a serious temper issue when things don’t go his way. He is lucky that Dave McNeilly is a very decent bloke and has stuck by him.

My golf is nearly there. I surprised myself by hitting over the Swilcan Bridge from the back tee of the first on the Old. A bit of a silly shot in all honesty taking the driver, but I’m a fairly silly person.

My seventh thousand swing change is working swimmingly. It’s a much flatter and uncomplicated plane, inspired by a comment on the practice area by 31 handicapper, most excellent restaurateur, Alessandro Costa and validated by a tip-top butcher in Bruntsfield..

Isn’t life a strange old thing that I can get a top tip and insight from a relative novice to the game? Thank you Alessandro. And thank you as always Mr tip-top butcher.

Our bistrot is progressing well now. The new shop front is in and looks swell. It should now come together in the next few weeks. We are all heading for a weekend in London to look at a couple of Mayfair wine bars that Michael likes.

And I dare say we may even go into them. Not that Mike and Alessandro are massive imbibers, but it would be silly to travel all that way and not sample their wares.

And I’m sure the taxman will see this as a most necessary business expense.






Ding Junhui, Zhou Yuelong and de Gea have had a mare of a week

And I will tell you why.

Both Ding and Zhou led by 9-7 going into their final sessions of the World Snooker Championship and never thereafter won a single game.

David de Gea on the other hand, followed up lousy form in his two previous games, to make possibly the worst attempted save in professional football, in Man U’s game against Chelsea.

The snooker has been fascinating to watch though. It’s a remarkable game in that a whole match can change on the back of one marginally errant shot. The entire ebb and flow dramatically alters, energy is sapped, momentum lost and reversed. It’s basically curtains.

The most fascinating thing about football is the ongoing verbal garbage espoused upon the game. I mean Ole Solskjaer, the now not so enlightened Man United manager, kind of defended De Gea’s shocker by saying ‘it was just one of these things’.

No it wasn’t. It was a fundamental error which should never have occurred at this level of football. De Gea should have caught that very tame shot and never parried it. A stand-in, inebriated, second division, Sunday-league pub team goalie could have caught that ball. All day long.

I probably could have caught that ball.

Now America. What the hell?

Trumpy is now suing banks over issuing details of his financial interests. In fact he is suing all and sundry as far as I can see. What a charlatan he is. But I suppose this is how he made buckets of lucre in his business dealings and it’s the way the hideous man operates. The only problem is that he is running the country and some people expect transparency. Which is what his Attorney General Bill Barr says he’s all about, but isn’t in fact even willing to pitch up to a House Judiciary Committee meeting for questioning. What a complete load of bull.

But did we expect popular capitalism to end up any differently in a country like America? Or maybe America is just the inevitable climax of popular capitalism. A phoney, jumped up state, drunk on money and drugs and sex, run by a cheap and dodgy, chat show host billionaire who doesn’t give a flying fart for truth, decency or integrity.

And it seems the mass of the electorate may not either. So long as the Dow continues to climb and their taxes are getting cut.

It’s really all pretty awful.

But that’s enough of that stuff as there is only so much you can take of that smug faced and intensely irksome individual.

My golf is shocking by the way.

I played in the first round of the Freddie Tait last week against a one handicapper. The Freddie Tait is basically the prestigious scratch knockout tournament, open to every player in town.

I screamed a drive off the first of the New and acknowledged some degree of surprise from my opponent (he knew my handicap was 9), who may have then thought that he might have a match on his hands. However, this was immediately dispelled on the next shot when I missed the green from 30 yards. I got hammered 7 and 6.

Otherwise things are swell. The builders have put the new shop front in the bistrot, the floors are down next week and the furniture should be here in two.

So my life is going to change dramatically soon. No more swanning off to golf, shooting the crap in Taste, dreamy wee days in Edinburgh or harbouring idle thoughts about writing for the Oldie, day-long sipping Amarone and a fine life of leisure.

This is now getting serious.

And some may say it’s about time too.






What have they done to the Old Course?

Well, they’ve put what resembles a piece of the M1 through the middle.

Ok slight exaggeration but they have put tarmac on the main track which leads out to the loop! But why oh why? The Old Course is a beautiful historic links and a place of great natural beauty. It’s very old (the key is indeed in the name) and shouldn’t be tampered with like this.

But the Links Trust has decided to tarmac it. Mind you, they are the crew who changed the name of the Old Tom Morris Shop and called it ‘The Open’. And that sure doesn’t have the same historical ring or give rise to any real stirring in the guts of a true afficiando of the ancient game.

So got that off my chest. But poor, poor show by some of the unimaginative bods sitting on the Links Trust.

What a Masters by the way? Ok, my lay on Tiger didn’t turn out triumphantly, but at least I got Molinari in the top six and successfully laid Mickelson for a top ten place.

But what a shame for the stalwart Italian. He was going swimmingly until he hit the water. (Sorry!)

However, It was indeed prescient when he said in his interview on the night before the final round that ‘this is golf, anything can happen’ Unfortunately it did.

Anyway, hearty congratulations to Tiger. But I’ll be betting Molinari next year.

I see McLeish has been sacked by the SFA. Seemingly on the back of his poor record while in charge. 12 games, 5 wins and 7 defeats. But hey wait a minute, what’s wrong with that? this is Scottish football we are talking about and I don’t recall us ever being at the forefront of the world stage. 5 wins out of 12 is not that shabby. I guess the 3-0 drubbing by Kazakhstan didn’t help. But let’s face it, anyone can have a bad day. I mean, I shot a ton in the second round of the Jock Hutchison, but this doesn’t mean that I’m not a world class player. So give the guy a wee chance. Poor soul. And remember that he wasn’t even on the pitch. The eleven players should take some of the flak.

So here is my political forecast for what it’s worth. Moggy and crew team up with Farage and win a snap general election to give ‘No Deal’ a welcome push and end the Brexit fiasco. Done and finally dusted. Decisively onwards.

On the American front, Trump finally runs out of luck, the market crashes and he joins Manafort and that hideous, botoxed Stone character in the clink.

The bistrot in Edinburgh has stalled as we are awaiting the builder to finish the new shop front. Looking to the end of May now. Michael is presently in Catania and has unearthed some mega Etna wines by all accounts. I mean they sound pretty volcanic. It’s hard to please the palate of Mr Gardner.

I hit my finest drive of the week on the 17th of the Old on Friday, taking the line between the ‘L’ in the Hotel sign and the actual Hotel and landing it twenty yards from the Jigger wall. This is very fine positioning for the Jigger Challenge which would have involved jumping the wall, ordering and consuming a pint of Guinness before the guys had cleared the green. Unfortunately I didn’t and then paid the price by hitting the most massive shank which headed towards the University Management Building.

Marvellous as Cologne Tom would say.

Yes that would have been the perfect riposte to that shot, should I have had a caddie.

I did actually here Cologne Tom say that to an American chap when out caddying with him on the Castle, after his guy topped the ball. My player turned to me in an aside and said with some slight concern and a not insignificant intonation of disbelief ‘Bert topped it and Tom said ”marvellous” ‘.

I still laugh at that now.

Cologne Tom is the most wonderfully entertaining individual. One of our truest characters.

Why on earth our caddie master didn’t put him out with Obama I will never understand.

But hey ho, he seems to have an issue with colourful caddies and works for the Links Trust as well I suppose.
















remembering Henry Longhurst

As a kid I was besotted with the writings of Henry Longhurst, as then columnist of Golf Illustrated. He was poetic, kind hearted, funny and wrote quite beautifully.

Henry and I share a couple of things in common. We both have Desmond’s in Economics, his Cambridge and mine St Andrews, and we both played on our respective University golf teams.

The only difference is that Henry was a good golfer, playing off scratch for twenty years and winning the German Amateur of all things.

But he also encapsulated something that was very upstanding and very British. Something rather rare nowadays. He was your Sunday afternoon village green cricketer, supping beer in the folds of smiling chestnut trees and laughter and deck-chaired bonhomie. A gentleman.

He was Grantchester and Wootton and Slad all rolled into one. Rupert Brooke and Auden and Laurie Lee I suppose. Except, all sunk into the deep pasture of a beer embraced village green. England there England and all that.

God get me a train!

Anyway enough of nostalgia. Life has been busy here in the Home of Golf. We are well into the season already, the tourists are piling in, the competitions are stacking up, the students are back and I’m an ageing old hack.

The horses have been running like donkeys I’m afraid. Apart from Kemboy who made up for falling at the first in the Gold Cup with an emphatic win in his next time out at Fairyhouse. We are on him at ten to one for next year’s Gold Cup already.

I’m going for Rose and McIlroy in the Masters and will lay Tiger for the cut.

But what about Watford versus Wolverhampton in the semi-finals of the FA Cup? That was the come back of all come-backs. Two ahead with eleven minutes left, the Wolves manager told his players to take the foot off the gas. They did, conceded two goals and then lost in extra time. Ouch.

Managers are my bugbear, of course. For goodness sake, let the guys play football. It’s got far too analytical in my mind. It’s all got a bit ridiculous. I mean when you get a substitution nowadays you have some really official looking guy pointing out stuff on an iPad to the oncoming player. I mean what on earth is that all about? Is he just going through rudimentaries like showing the player where the goalposts are located and reminding him that the idea is to get the ball into the other teams net? That’s what it looks like. And it sure looks like the oncoming player is not listening.

Ok now to politics…..

That’s enough of politics.

Leftbank is motoring ahead and we should have the new shopfront in this week. The furniture is on the way, as is the first barrel of Dark Star, by all accounts. That will surely have to be tasted. Quality control is immensely important.

My swing tip for the week is balance. I’m very much rolling along with this one and took it down to the new practice area yesterday. It;s working well.

I like it because it fits my new life philosophy and is what underpinned Sam Sneads lovely, elegant swing. It indeed also has resonance with Dai Rees’s eloquence.

And you may well be wondering how I know?

Because dear Henry Longhurst told me so.




Catch the bloody thing

Of course I’m talking about professional goalkeepers, who seem rather incapable of doing the most obvious thing when a ball comes towards them.

This was highlighted last night when Tottenham’s Lloris decided to parry a ball that was surely made to catch. as it was going pretty much into his chest. But he weakly tried to parry and it unfortunately then hit the foot of his defender and went over. So they lost a vital and hard fought match in the last seconds.

I suppose given I’m a rugger player my instinct is to catch a ball coming towards me, but I’m sure that most blokes at Anfield yesterday knew that football was for catching. The other option was far too dangerous. And I’m sorry but if you can’t attempt to catch that then hand me your gloves.

It would be ok if it was a Sunday afternoon kick around, but that bloke’s getting paid millions to do that.

So I’ve got that off my chest.

Now the Brexit thing is stuffed. I hope there is no revocation mind, as that would have very serious ramifications. The core of this is democracy, the peoples democracy. Stuff your perfuntory Peoples Vote.

My golf is erratic as ever. In the Charles Grieve Cup on Saturday, I was sitting pretty at four over on the fifteenth tee of the New, only to finish with a glorious 84! And there were no seagulls involved. It transpired that a couple of bogey’s and par’s in the last four holes would have secured me the trophy, everlasting immortality in the annals of history in the St Andrews Golf Club and continued my sequence of knocking off one trophy per year (I say ‘sequence’ in that it would have followed my victory with Alex Paton in the Ayton thing last year)

Trump now looks in a stronger position for 2020. God help us.

Leftbank should be open in six weeks. So Murrayfield will soon have a decent eaterie and a cool place to hang out. It’s going to be as successful as Montpeliers I hope, but without the nasty backstabbing of the partners.

The difference is that I have real friends and decent human beings with me in this.

My brother unfortunately didn’t.

Yes, it’s not all about money and that is going to be our mantra. We would much rather people got a very good glass of wine than that the margins are maximised at every turn. That would be far more satisfying.

My tips now for the rest of the year are Ms Pafois in the National, Man City, Oxford (boat race), Japan (rugby world cup and Olympic ski long jump), Shug in the MCBA champ, that chinese chap in the snooker, Dominic Raab for PM and Scotland to win the cricket. (that’s any cricket)

Roll up at boost odds of 420 to 1. £500 min bet.









Digging Deep

Of course, I’m referring to my second qualifying round for the prestigious Jock Hutchison Trophy at the St Andrews Golf Club and not Theresa May’s Downing Street speech.

32 qualifiers get through to the match play stage which is played over the Old course. I had a reasonable first round of net 69 over the Eden. However last Saturday over the New, it was raining and it was raining hard.

I finished my round, caught a severe chill and scored a 100. Yes a ton. More than that, I missed a 6 to 1 horse winner in the 2.50 at Hexham, as I’d left my phone in my locker. Sod’s law of gambling number one.

A hundred is not a good score by anyone’s standard. In fact it takes some doing in all honesty. One par, no birdies and a whole lot of very ugly play.

The upshot was that I amazingly came 33rd after being tied with Ian Mason who, with his second round of 88, easily beat my hundred on the count back. In fact by twelve (100 minus 88).

To say that I was gutted was an understatement. A few hundred quid lost on the gee gees, a miserable day on the links, a bag full of very wet clubs, a dose of influenza and just missing out on qualification after being tied for 32nd spot. That’s not what I call recreation.

However, the surprising end to my wee story is that I got an email from the St Andrews Golf Club on Monday, congratulating me on qualifying! Yes one of the thirty-two couldn’t make the match play stage.

So, I expect I’m the first player in the long history of the Jock Hutchison Trophy to qualify after shooting a ton.

Of course the wonderful maxim of this story is never to give up. On the golf course, on the racecourse and in life for that matter, I expect.

Apart from this and on some positive notes, we have ordered the furniture for the bistrot and it should be open in May, I’ve put in the sweet peas, manured the roses, my diet is working, I’m rejoining Mortonhall, Brexit means exit, the Pope’s a catholic, and the R&A is a very fine place altogether.

And so is the House of Commons for that matter, but I can’t get my head around British Parliamentary procedure and that tiresome Speaker bloke Berko.

It’s enough to turn you into a Gilet Jaune or indeed, make you yawn.



Done by a birdie and the bookies

Yes a seagull. Well in command and hitting a straight drive down the middle of the 16th of the Eden in last weeks McGregor Trophy, it transpired that a seagull must have picked up my ball as there had been a flock sitting there. Silly me, not knowing the proper rules (I could have dropped one for free) I ran back to the tee and carved a ball far right. I didn’t finish the hole. With a par I would have won by two shots.

But that’s golf I’m afraid and you are supposed to know the rules. Well I’ve learnt that one the hard way.

But what the heck. It’s racing at Cheltenham this week and we have a few bets on. One day I’d like to head down as I love the Cotswolds and would probably nestle into that lovely 18th century coaching inn at Hollowbottom and savour the atmosphere. It’s a bit like the Woolpack in Slad which is one of my favorite places. Time stands still there. And the beer is rather good. You can spend a lovely afternoon in the beautiful rolling hills and believe that life is quite a rum thing altogether.

Our bistrot project in Edinburgh is gathering pace. It’s now looking like it will be open in May. Our designer Paula has got some great ideas and I think the place is going to look rather fancy. We’re all heading down to London soon, so Mick can show us a few places that he likes that are near his office in Hatton Gardens. Yes Mick has an office in Hatton Gardens, as he does something with diamonds.

Anyway that should be a bit of a fun trip and it will be nice to hang out in Mayfair wine bars I dare say.

I’m wondering if I’m going to be able to commute from St Andrews to Edinburgh for a bit. Get the 7.50am bus in for 10 and then get the late train home. I think I could manage that for a while, but it looks like I will have to live in Edinburgh . Now that’s by no means a bad thing, as a lot of my friends are there and it’s a pretty fine place.

I do feel that home is partly here in St Andrews now though and I have met some great people here. It is a super place to live and of course the golf is unbeatable.

So here are my present hot tips: Duc Des Genievres for the Arkle, Justin Thomas for the Masters, General Election on the first of April, Trump impeached, England Six Nations, Matt Wallace The Open, Hugh Anderson MCBA champ, stock market crash in May and lastly, I get invited onto Strictly after a miraculous stroke of luck resulting from a certain video facebook share.

The roll up on this is 200 to 1 and bets close on Friday. No cheques please.

Talking of gambling rip off’s though. BetVictor claim to give you best-odds guaranteed on wins. However, in the 2.30 at Musselburgh yesterday Wishful Dreaming went off at 5 to 2 and won. Yes it won. So good, but these sods only gave me 15 to 8, the price I had bet it at! I queried the fact that they advertise best odds guaranteed on their site and they came back saying ‘they had made a business decision’ not to give me it any longer. Well stuff that!

The seagulls and the bookies are ruining my life.

God, it’s enough to turn you to trigpointing.







Shocker of a week

That’s only on the gambling front mind. Two of our horses did no running whatsoever and it’s mostly been loss making. But that’s the way of gambling. It’s a bit like life really. Bit of a mare sometimes.

Apart from this there has been an upside. I got my funeral music sorted. It will begin with some upbeat stuff in Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees , then amble onto Imagine by John Lennon and finish off with some more reflective stuff with the Intermezzo of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, played by Martha Argerich of course.

Otherwise, I had a very fine day out at the Balmoral which included a spot of lunch and a huge wine tasting event organised by Liberty of London. A pretty rum time was had, it must be said.

We met a lovely Albanian lady who worked at Project Coffee, who agreed with me that their coffee is not great. I remember I once wrote a Trip Advisor review titled ‘Projectile Coffee’

I am just amazed that the owner doesn’t get this. It’s just not good coffee and is too bitter by far. That’s not to say that the guy is doing badly. In fact he’s going along swimmingly because he has got great venues around Edinburgh (six now in fact).

But that’s an awful lot of poor coffee to pour down the throats of the Edinburgh public.

The Cohen open interview with Congress was the high point this week, of course. Wonderful to see desperate Republican buffoons trying to make something of it. Urinating against the wind comes to mind.

I wonder how Trump really feels about all this? for the New York District are almost certain to indict him. That’s some web he’s woven.

My golf is consistent for the first time in thirty five years. I put this down to a very good butcher in Bruntsfield and the latent realisation that I’m very much a feel player. I have mostly chucked out the technical stuff. It’s all a bit like my wayward path through life really.

I should however add that it’s mostly consistent, as I did have a noteworthy lapse in the first medal of the year over the Jubilee. Level par after four, I hit a drive and six iron pin high on the par 5 fifth and incredibly walked off with an 8. Let’s just say that I tried to play safe and it all went pear-shaped.

Playing safe is just not me.

In the bistrot we have got the tiles down in the bathrooms and they look great. Lovely marble effect polished porcelain. Luxury Bronze nonetheless! Our designer Paula at Supertonic is forging ahead and there is a chance we may even open this year.

I see that the Leicester City Manager got the boot as they got beaten 4-1 by Palace. That’s a bit unfair as the poor bloke wasn’t even on the pitch. This manager blame thing is so unreasonable. Well apart from the Mourinho case of course, because he couldn’t even successfully pick his nose.

But imagine if professional caddies were sacked with the readiness and frequency of Premier League managers? It would be a field day for a budding golf caddie agent mind. What a mint you’d make. I mean that Sala agent was going to cop a million quid for getting him to play for Cardiff.

There is kind of quite a close parallel in reality ie top caddies get paid exorbitant amounts for not doing very much. Well unless of course you got Matt Kuchars bag!

But come on football world. We all know that it’s very much the Leicester players on the pitch that are to blame for getting beat 4-1.

I paid my £2394 to Hargreaves Lansdowne for their ‘advice’ on my pension transfer. This was very little short of extortion and does nothing to alleviate my jaundiced view of the investment management industry. Mind you, I used to work in it and saw how guys used to swan off for quarterly ‘management meetings’ with their wives to a rather plush 5 star hotel in the Maldives. Bit of a knees up by the look of the bar bill.

Well got that off my chest at last.

But this is an industry where only about 10 per cent of managers are able to outperform their benchmark and brazenly charge you 1 per cent of your hard earned money every year for doing so. No wonder lower-cost passive investment funds are coining it in. The penny is dropping.

But come on Hargreaves, that was a complete and utter rip and you know it. Value for money? No. Your advice was dressed up, perfuntory gobbledygook.

And don’t try and fob me off with your insurance liability nonsense to justify your charging. It’s my ultimate decision for goodness sake. You are giving advice and not coercing me. I am a free agent.

Come on. A four year old could take that on board.

Get in the real world please.