Last Friday – I was watching The Bank Job (starring Jason Statham) on television. Remembering I had a ticket for the x14 rolled over EuroMillions lottery draw, which had taken place earlier that evening, I turned over to check the numbers.
68.8 Miles away in Haverhill, Suffolk – Adrian Bayford was lying beached on his sofa. He too reached for the remote and turned over from The Bank Job to check his numbers. That’s where the similarities ended. For whilst I won £2.90, Mr Bayford was coming to the realisation that he had bagged the jackpot of £148,656,000, beating odds of 1 in 76,275,360.
Tuesday August 14th – Early afternoon – I am walking along the street eating a Toblerone, bought with the profits from my Lottery windfall cashed in moments earlier at a Waitrose supermarket. On a big screen in the window of the estate agent beside me, I caught sight of a rotund and jovial couple spraying champagne, before holding a giant cheque in front of them in characteristic Camelot pose (see picture). The couple are the Bayfords.
I stand and watch the proceedings, unable to comprehend why it is that the Bayfords of their own free will are walking up to the Camelot gallows and willingly placing their heads in the hangman’s noose. For by waving their right to anonymity they are surely leaving themselves and their progeny open to a deluge of begging letters, con men and the prospect of being overcharged in shops and harangued in the street. And this is to say nothing of the ever present threat of robbery, burglary and kidnap. Then there’s the plethora of other potential problems such as extortion and the unpredictable nature of peoples’ jealousy and greed. Imagine walking along the street with people throwing themselves to the ground in front of you, before claiming you tripped them over and commencing legal proceedings.
I close my eyes and picture the Bayfords, alienated and alone in their new mock Tudor monstrosity of a home, as they peer through a gap in the Chanel curtains at a hostile world where they are now the prey. Imprisoned within this tomb to their decadence, they are too afraid to drag their corpulent carcasses outdoors to the swimming pool complex, for fear of the mass of tabloid journalists swarming overhead in helicopters like angry wasps.
Incidentally the main protagonist in my book is called Adrian though he is a rather different Adrian to the Adrian of the moment, Adrian Bayford.