This morning I heard a few of my retired neighbours talking (well, they were standing in my front garden. I seem to live in that post war era where neighbours are friends, broken fences are mended together and kids wander into any open door and ask for a biscuit) about what they were doing today. ‘Washing the car and cutting the grass’, ‘going fishing’, ‘going metal detecting’. I know these neighbours well. I’ve lived here for eleven years, ok so I”m still a newbie but we’ve all become great friends. I’ve been drunk too many times in front of them, arm wrestled and lost, stole things from restaurants with them and they were all at my wedding. They’re great people. I like them.
They all dreamt of the day when they’d retire and could kick back, chill out, drink beer and leave the stress of work behind. And that is exactly what they’re doing. Wall sitting and cider drinking is a common occurrence.
One guy inherited a bit from an Aunt, keeps it in a suitcase in the loft, one guy is tight, the seriously squeaky kind, you know short arms long pockets and the last guy, well he’s got your average ‘need to be a bit careful’ pension. Rich? No, not one of them. Happy? Of course. They’ve all lived in the same eight house close for over thirty years, family members come and go but you’ll always have your neighbours. That’s their motto.
So it’s totally unfathomable to me, how the likes of the Rausing’s (you know, the Tetra-Pak family), worth £6.5bn, can lose their way so distressingly. Eva Rausing was found dead on Monday and Hans, her husband, has been arrested. A young couple at just 48/49, but recent photographs puts them at least twenty years older. Drugs, allegedly. Bloody drugs. After all the innovation, excitement at selling your product, philanthropy, hard work, charity work, yachts, diamonds, meeting royalty and the finest Chelsea address, happiness was sought in a small plastic bag of crack cocaine and heroin.
I know what you’re thinking. If it was you, and you were the billionaire, you’d be different. You’d be happy, you’d know how to manage the money and still be happy. You’d take nice holidays, but be sensible, give some to the kids, friends, a charity or two, maybe a bigger house, a better car? That’s what I’m thinking too.
But when I look outside my front window and listen to three blokes in their late 60’s, laughing at one of the guys falling and breaking his false teeth and then talking about when they were going to start fixing our fence for us, I think I’ll stick with what I haven’t got as I honestly don’t think it’s worth the risk.