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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Another hour in Brighton town centre yesterday morning, and I'm up to 9 out of 15 Christmas presents. There's also been a noticeable hike in quality levels, since I found a rustic gift shop which sells handmade craft items, fashioned by impoverished African farmers. I presume they're impoverished because the shop pays them precious little for their handmade craft items. But the good news is that they pass the savings on to their customers, so I was able to pick up a couple of bargains. I'm sure the metal sculpture of a dung beetle (with added dung) will go down particularly well.

In the afternoon Lisa and I joined with members of her family, and a bloke from Durham, for a trip to the local dog track. I was confident of success, having formulated a strategy whereby I do nothing but £1 reverse forecasts (predicting the first two dogs home in each race, at a cost of two quid). So we walked in five minutes before the first race, I plonked down my £2 bet, and promptly won £9.80. Whereupon I was forced to admit that I hadn't actually expected it to work.

Seven losing bets later and I was feeling much more comfortable. I was even able to enjoy my sausage and chips, safe in the knowledge that I was leaking money like a sieve. At which point my luck - sorry, I mean my skill and judgement - changed. Lisa's mother returned from the other end of the grandstand with the news that she'd overheard a man on the phone saying that he'd backed dog number 3 in race 11. We were only on race 8 at the time, so as someone who never looks beyond the next race, I knew this must be inside information of the cast-iron variety, courtesy of a serious professional gambler.

I'd never have picked dog number 3, a rank outsider with little chance, but I put down my money with complete confidence. Lisa and her mother then followed suit. They're nothing if not easily led. And brace yourself...

Dog number 3 won. Lisa made £6.50, her mother won £13, and me... well I picked the second dog home as well, so I won £38. Marvellous. Even marvellouser was the fact that my £1 reverse forecasts started coming in like there was no tomorrow. (Although as I'm writing this the following day, I know there is). I successfully picked another two pairs, making me £21 and £11, and finishing the afternoon with an overall profit of £60.

So if I'd bet £20 on each race instead of £2, I'd have made £600. There's a moral there. The other moral is that eavesdropping pays.

Right, I'm off next door now. Lorraine's neighbour stuck her head out of the window yesterday when we arrived home, and asked if I'd pop over today to see if I can sort out a problem with her computer. Lisa's at work, the neighbour is young, female and scantily clad (probably), and I'm going round to fix her computer. It sounds like the opening scene of a soft porn film.