January 19th, 2007

International Kittens of Mystery

Crime and Poetry: Part Three (The Dream)

It's September 1995 again. We'd just survived eight months in France and then this happened. Someone stole my identity and grabbed our life savings. 'Why did I have to invest all our money in the stock market?' I wailed to myself. The answer was, of course, the dream.

Although some might call it a vision. It was July 1994 and I suddenly awoke one morning with the certain knowledge that the London Stock Market had reached its bottom. From now on, my dream informed me, it could only rise. Whether this came from God or His financial adviser, the dream didn't say. But what I did know was that after years of non-profit dreaming, I was, at last, given something I could use.

Well, that's not exactly true. I'd had a vaguely similar dream when I was seventeen. That time I dreamt that a horse called Hatherop was about to win a race. Which was a pretty strange thing for a seventeen year-old to dream about, as Hatherop was neither a famous horse nor a name that readily tripped off the tongue. I awoke in a sweat and ran to find the morning paper, almost tearing the pages in my anxiety to find the racing pages.

Incredibly Hatherop was running that day and priced at 16-1. That afternoon I stopped off on the way to school and placed everything I had - four shillings - on Hatherop to win.

He didn't.

My faith was destroyed. What was the point of a shoulder tap from the celestial racing correspondent if the information was duff? And I'd lost half my paper round money in the process!

My mood was not helped when Hatherop went on to win his next race - at even longer odds. Shouldn't prophecies be more specific? Have a date stamp or something?

But this Footsie dream was different. I was sure of it.

Shelagh reminded me of the £1,000 we'd invested a week before the 1987 crash. And what about the pound? Three days after we left England on our first house-hunting expedition to France, the pound crashed out of the ERM and nose-dived towards parity with the Franc.

But I couldn't be shaken, after all, I was the person with the vision. So we diverted some of our savings into an index-linked unit trust ... and the stock market began to climb - exactly as my dream said it would.

A month later we bought shares for the first time. I dowsed the Financial Times and decided Southern Electric had a distinct aura surrounding its name. Three months later Southern Electric almost doubles in price and I have the golden touch.

After that, where else could I invest the money from the house sale but the stock market? Which is when I contacted Simon Gardiner at Eastleigh and Howard and asked him for suggestions. He came back with a proposal for a portfolio of unit trusts held in an off-shore insurance bond. I'd have the flexibility of selecting the unit trusts whenever I had a suitable dream and the whole would be held under the tax efficient umbrella of an insurance bond issued by Mutual Friendly in Dublin.

That is, until it was even more efficiently cancelled a few weeks later.

I'm not sure which is worse: never having a prophetic dream or having one and then finding your winnings are void - the bookie having legged it before the first bend.

(next instalment: in which an important letter is discovered)