Posted by: billpurdue | February 1, 2013

Life begins at 100?

ImageThey say we are all living longer these days, so perhaps it’s not that improbable to write a story about someone who is one hundred years old. Well, I’ve just been reading The Hundred Year Old Man who climbed out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. It’s another product from Scandinavia, but this time there’s far more humour than crime.

 

Allan Karlsson is not looking forward to the party which has been arranged to celebrate his one hundredth birthday. He’s in a care home and the lady in charge of the home is not one of Allan’s favourite people. So why not go out – anywhere to get away from the party? That’s just what Allan does – in his carpet slippers. He wanders over to the bus station and buys a ticket on the next bus to leave. Whilst waiting for the bus, he meets a young man with a large suitcase, who asks him to look after it whilst he goes to the loo. Allan does more than look after it – he takes it with him on the bus. It turns out to be a special suitcase, containing as it does rather a lot of money.

 

So begins Allan’s adventure involving drug runners, one or two murders, incompetent police and an elephant amongst other things. Whilst his current adventures are being told we also get to know in great detail the story of his past life in which he gets to meet a large number of the world’s leaders and a very forgetful waitress. It’s a great story, full of humour, but perhaps some of the encounters with the great and the good – or bad – can be a little too contrived. Perhaps also the story does go on a little too long, to the extent that I wasn’t sorry to get to the end, but I wouldn’t have missed that ending for the world. It’s a long time since I found a really humorous novel that made me laugh, so I was really glad to get my hands on it.

[Hesperus Press £8.99 978-1843913726]

 

Banking – doing it right.

ImageWe occasionally look after a little Jack Russell dog at our house for a friend. Some time ago, one evening when we were watching the news, the picture of the then CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland came on the screen. The dog for some unknown reason began to bark for all he was worth, until the picture changed. Do you have that feeling towards people who are in charge of the banks?

 

Well one man who thought he could start a bank himself and make a profit is Dave Fishwick. Dave is a successful businessman making and selling minibuses. He’s from Burnley and he wanted to provide loans to local businesses that needed that helping hand, when the well established banks were just not lending as they were supposed to do. He also wanted to provide a decent interest rate to those who wanted to save with his bank. On top of all that he decided to give any profits he made to local charities.

 

Starting your own bank is no easy task, with many hurdles to overcome, the biggest of which is obtaining a banking license. Dave spent a lot of time doing research and talking to the right people and eventually, to the surprise of many, he did it. Now Burnley Savings and Loans is up and running and you can read about how he did it in Bank of Dave. (You may also have seen the Channel 4 series about it too)

[Virgin Books £12.99 9780753540787]

 

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