Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Things can only get bigger

After the brutal downsizing of the past couple of years, the Cashman project is looking to expand again. As I might have explained, we sold the gaff in Majorca and a couple of city centre apartments, which means we’re down to just the house in Abersoch and our drum in Alderley Edge. Life has been tough, of that there is no doubt.

So now things are picking up again, I’ve decided we need a bit of an upgrade to reflect my profile and lifestyle opportunities. Mrs C agrees, obviously.

I’ve found this house that will do just fine. And it’s off-market so you can’t look it up, by the way. According to the details, it was built about 100 years ago in the style of the Arts and Crafts Movement – it has these turrets, pointy bits on the top and that black and white pattern – just like the very first starter home I bought in 1990 – a mock Tudor mansion in Bramhall.

Sounds good? Yes, well I levelled it. The bulldozers have been in and now we’ve got these diggers and excavators drilling down. The problem is, you have all the local muppets saying you can’t build high around here, so I’m going low instead, which has never been a problem for me.

The non-negotiable essentials include a bowling alley, wine cellar, cinema, ensuites, a gym, the hot tub, dining area, a wet room and a pool, obviously. I’ll need a garage for the Hummer, the Ferrari and the Porsche Cayenne. And her indoors wants an Orangery. To get all this in the lads on site are digging so deep we half expect to find a couple of Chilean miners, but needs must.

Some old geezer sniffed around, who reckoned the digging would cause the Edge to collapse. Well, if it does, then it might make a nice cave in the future, and it has a better ring to it in my opinion.

Obviously I’m up for a scrap with these local do-gooders. Their blood’s up at the moment – one of the lads is being forced to rip up his tennis court because it obscures the view from the Edge. If it was me, I’d paint a cock and balls on it just to show them.

We’re going to rent out the old gaff too, it’s part of the investment strategy. So if you know any Johnny Foreigner footballers who fancy living in style while they’re taking the piss out of Man City for a couple of years, then the going rate is £10,000 a month. You know where to find me.

Going downhill rapidly

Usually the toughest decision I have to make in the new year is St Anton or Val d’Isere, but this year I’ve quite rightly been asked to join so many different parts of the government’s new push to suck up to entrepreneurs I’ve decided to say pretty much yes to everything.

I’ve copied down the list of various things I’m going to be sorting out. George Osborne, the MP for Alderley, taps me up for tips on what to do; there’s the Greater Manchester Chamber thingy, where we complain about gypsy camps and traffic; I was asked to join something called the Small Business Group, but was so offended that anyone thought I would ever even think “small” that I told them where to stick it.

But the biggie is the Entrepreneurs’ Forum with James Caan from Dragon’s Den (good lad, by the way) and that old bloke who looks like he could do with a rocket up his backside, Vinny Cable. It’s a chance for me to point out where they need to cut back the layers upon layers of red tape that the socialists tied us all up in. Health and safety? Why? Employee rights? Why? Discrimination Act – there wasn’t even a grant to put in wheelchair ramps, so where’s the incentive?

I’ve also jumped on this thing called a Fraud Forum. At first it was good way to second-guess what some of the more enterprising scammers are up to, but basically it gives you the nod on what the financial plod are chasing up, which has proved to be a good source of new business ideas.

I’ve heard there’s a VAT scheme that allows individuals to use their disability status to buy vehicles VAT free. At first I thought it looked like a bit of tawdry sticker trading – to be honest I wouldn’t have a blue badge just to park outside San Carlo, I’m not that desperate.

But once you buy the motors and then flog them to a company you set up in Belgium or Amsterdam, or somewhere, you can bring them back, claim the VAT and everyone’s a winner. No-one even needs to know they’ve been modified, you probably just put a bit of board behind the seat or something. The details can come later.

No doubt they’re going to ask my opinion on the Irish bailout. I’ll be honest, I think it’s probably not the best use of our tax, but an Irish government bond with a 9 per cent yield is a pretty good investment if you’ve got a cheeky half mill to invest. I sounded out some of the IMF boys over a round at the K Club and the time to get in is now. To be sure.