It's funny what comes to mind.
Watching Only Fools & Horses was a family tradition in our house. So many funny moments that make me smile to this day. I loved the specials including The Jolly Boys Outing. The moment the bus blew up and they had to find somewhere to stay in Margate on a busy bank holiday.
It reminds me of a few holidays at Great Yarmouth. Our merry pilgrimage in memory of my late father, Colin, and so many relatives who used to enjoy Great Yarmouth's Eastern Festival. The three-day meeting is a must-go every September. It holds so many special memories and I always imagine that somewhere in the bustling crowd my dad awaits.
As children, we stopped at the caravan park at Caister-on-sea. Even as a child I had gambling in my blood. Playing the slot machines. The sounds, smell and fun of being somewhere we really shouldn't. It led to a life of gambling, which morphed into a business.
Well, this story goes back a few years and another family holiday. I went to the casino with my two brothers, Tony & Gareth, and cousins Danny & Paul. They all love a bet. We went to Great Yarmouth horse races and won decent money.
Whether it's a good or bad news, Yarmouth has a casino, run by Grosvenor, down Marine Parade, a stone's throw from the seafront. The old listed building is a real gem. It has a royal heritage as it used to be a private house frequented by Edward VII, the king of England when his mother Queen Victoria died on the 6th May 1910. It is a beautiful building with majestic stairways, high ceilings, chandeliers and ornate fixtures. If you have never been there it is worth a visit.
Better, still, if you go to the races and bring your racing badge, you get a free alcoholic drink and free bet. I know a lot of bookmakers give incentives, which basically, give something for nothing. Not exactly bad news. It sure beats the disappointment of hearing Towcester racecourse has closed down. A familiar scenario to Folkstone a few years back although this time it went into administration.
I witnessed a lady, who clearly had no idea what she was doing, place her free bet on a single number on the roulette table. It came up and she won £10. Not realising she had won, the chips were left on the same number which came in next spin to £350 (£360 considering it was a free bet). You should have seen the look on her face. A day to remember.
Anyway, we left Dandy and Paul at the casino. It must have been 1am. It had been a decent night and won a small amount of money. We said goodnight and went back to the caravan.
The next day we were at the racecourse and noticed Danny and Paul in the grandstand. As we walked towards them, I could see a smile on Danny's face. I said what time did you get back? By all accounts, they had lost track of time.
Paul had been losing money hand over fist. They both play 3-card poker. They called for a taxi and played until it arrived. On the very last hand - he turned over a prial. Won about £600 in one hand.
Just like an episode of Only Fools & Horses. They left the casino. They were met by daylight!
In fact, it was 6am.
I joked, they should have stayed a little longer and gone straight to the course.