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Chapter 4

WHEN I ARRIVE at my parents’ house, they are in the mid-dle of an argument. Dad is halfway up a stepladder in the garden, poking at the gutter on the side of the house, and Mum is sitting at the wrought-iron garden table, leafing through a Past Times catalogue. Neither of them even looks up when I walk through the patio doors.

“All I’m saying is that they should set a good example!” Mum is exclaiming. She’s looking good, I think as I sit down. New hair color—pale brown with just a hint of gray—and a very nice red polo-neck jumper. Perhaps I’ll borrow that tomorrow.

“And you think exposing themselves to danger is a good example, is it?” replies Dad, looking down from the ladder. He’s got quite a few more gray hairs, I notice with a slight shock. Mind you, gray hair looks quite distinguished on him. “You think that would solve the problem?”

“Danger!” says Mum derisively. “Don’t be so melodramatic, Graham. Is that the opinion you really have of British society?”

“Hi, Mum,” I say. “Hi, Dad.”

“Becky agrees with me. Don’t you, darling?” says Mum, and points to a page of Past Times, full of 1930s reproduction jewelryand trinket boxes. “Lovely cardigan,” she addssotto voce . “Look at that embroidery!” I follow her gaze and see a long, purple coat-like garment covered in colorful Art Deco swirls. I’d save the page and get it for her birthday—if I didn’t know she’ll probably have bought it herself by next week.

“Of course Becky doesn’t agree with you!” retorts my dad. “It’s the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard.”

“No it’s not!” says Mum indignantly. “Becky, you think it would be a good idea for the royal family to travel by public transport, don’t you, darling?”

“Well . . .” I say cautiously. “I hadn’t really . . .”

“You think the queen should travel to official engagements on the ninety-three bus?” scoffs Dad.

“And why not? Maybe then the ninety-three bus would become more efficient!”

“So,” I say, sitting down next to Mum. “How are things?”

“You realize this country is on the verge of gridlock?” says Mum, as if she hasn’t heard me. “If more people don’t start using public transport, our roads are going to seize up.”

My dad shakes his head.

“And you think the queen traveling on the ninety-three bus would solve the problem. Never mind the security problems, never mind the fact that she’d be able to do far fewer engage-ments . . .”

“I didn’t mean the queen, necessarily,” retorts Mum. “But some of those others. Princess Michael of Kent, for example. She could travel by tube, every so often, couldn’t she? These people need to learn about real life.”

The last time my mum traveled on the tube was about 1983.

“Shall I make some coffee?” I say brightly.

“If you ask me, this gridlock business is utter nonsense,” says my dad. He jumps down from the stepladder and brushes the dirt off his hands. “It’s all propaganda.”

“Propaganda?” exclaims my mum in outrage.

“Right,” I say hurriedly. “Well, I’ll go and put the kettle on.”

I walk back into the house, flick the kettle on in the kitchen, and sit down at the table in a nice patch of sunshine. I’ve already forgotten what my mum and dad are arguing about. They’ll just go round and round in circles and agree it’s all the fault of Tony Blair. Anyway, I’ve got more important things to think about. I’m trying to figure out exactly how much I should give to Philip, my boss, after I win the lottery. I can’t leave him out, of course—but is cash a bit tacky? Would a present be better? Really nice cuff-links, perhaps. Or one of those picnic hampers with all the plates inside. (Clare Edwards, obviously, will get nothing.)

Sitting alone in the sunny kitchen, I feel as though I have a little glowing secret inside me. I’m going to win the lottery. Tonight, my life is going to change. God, I can’t wait. Ten million pounds. Just think, tomorrow I’ll be able to buy anything I want. Anything!

The newspaper’s open in front of me at the property section and I carelessly pick it up to peruse expensive houses. Where shall I live? Chelsea? Notting Hill? Mayfair?Belgravia, I read.Mag-nificentseven-bedroom detached house with staff annex and mature garden. Well, that sounds all right. I could cope with seven bed-rooms in Belgravia. My eye flicks complacently down to the price and stops still with shock. Six point five million pounds. That’s how much they’re asking. Six and a half million.

I feel stunned and slightly angry. Are they serious? I haven’t got anything like £6.5 million. I’ve only got about . . . 4 million left. Or was it 5? I stare at the page, feeling cheated. Lottery winners are supposed to be able to buy anything they want—but already I’m feeling poor and inadequate.

I shove the paper aside and reach for a freebie brochure full of gorgeous white duvet covers at £100 each. That’s more like it. When I’ve won the lottery I’ll only ever have crisp white duvet covers, I decide. And I’ll have a white cast-iron bed and painted wooden shutters and a fluffy white dressing gown . . .

“So, how’s the world of finance?” Mum’s voice interrupts me and I look up. She’s bustling into the kitchen, still holding herPast Times catalogue. “Have you made the coffee? Chop chop, darling!”

“I was going to,” I say, and make a half move from my chair. But, as always, Mum’s there before me. She reaches for a ceramic storage jar I’ve never seen before and spoons coffee into a new gold cafétière.

Mum’s terrible. She’s always buying new stuff for the kitchen—and she just gives the old stuff to charity shops. New kettles, new toasters . . . We’ve already had three new rubbish bins this year—dark green, then chrome, and now yellow translucent plastic. I mean, what a waste of money.

“That’s a nice skirt!” she says, looking at me as though for the first time. “Where’s that from?”

“DKNY,” I mumble back.

“Very pretty,” she says. “Was it expensive?”

“Not really,” I say. “About fifty quid.”

This is not strictly true. It was nearer 150. But there’s no point telling Mum how much things really cost, because she’d have a coronary. Or, in fact, she’d tell my dad first—and then they’d both have coronaries, and I’d be an orphan.

So what I do is work in two systems simultaneously. Real prices and Mum prices. It’s a bit like when everything in the shop is 20 percent off, and you walk around mentally reducing every-thing. After a while, you get quite practiced.

The only difference is, I operate a sliding-scale system, a bit like income tax. It starts off at 20 percent (if it really cost £20,I say it cost £16) and rises up to . . . well, to 90 percent if necessary. I once bought a pair of boots that cost £200, and I told Mum they were £20 in the sale. And she believed me.

“So, are you looking for a flat?” she says, glancing over my shoulder at the property pages.

“No,” I say sulkily, and flick over a page of my brochure. My parents are always on at me to buy a flat. Do they know how much flats cost?

“Apparently, Thomas has bought a very nice little starterhome in Reigate,” she says, nodding toward our next-door neigh-bors. “He commutes.” She says this with an air of satisfaction, as though she’s telling me he’s won the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Well, I can’t afford a flat,” I say.“Or a starter home.”

Not yet, anyway, I think. Not until eight o’clock tonight. Hee hee hee.

“Money troubles?” says Dad, coming into the kitchen. “You know, there are two solutions to money troubles.”

His eyes are twinkling, and I just know he’s about to give me some clever little aphorism. Dad has a saying for every subject under the sun—as well as a wide selection of limericks and truly terrible jokes. Sometimes I like listening to them. Sometimes I don’t.

“C.B.,” says Dad, his eyes twinkling. “Or M.M.M.”

He pauses for effect and I turn the page of my brochure, pre-tending I can’t hear him.

“Cut Back,” says my dad, “or Make More Money. One or the other. Which is it to be, Becky?”

“Oh, both, I expect,” I say airily, and turn another page of my brochure. To be honest, I almost feel sorry for Dad. It’ll be quite a shock for him when his only daughter becomes a multimillion-aire overnight.



After lunch, Mum and I go along to a craft fair in the local primary school. I’m really just going to keep Mum company, and I’m certainly not planning to buy anything—but when we get there, I find a stall full of amazing handmade cards, only £1.50 each! So I buy ten. After all, you always need cards, don’t you? There’s also a gorgeous blue ceramic plant holder with little ele-phants going round it—and I’ve been saying for ages we should have more plants in the flat. So I buy that, too. Only fifteen quid. Craft fairs are such a bargain, aren’t they? You go along thinking they’ll be complete rubbish—but you can always findsomething you want.

Mum’s really happy, too, as she’s found a pair of candlesticksfor her collection. She’s got collections of candlesticks, toast racks, pottery jugs, glass animals, embroidered samplers, and thimbles. (Personally, I don’t think the thimbles count as a proper collec-tion, because she got the whole lot, including the cabinet, from an ad at the back of theMailon Sunday magazine. But she never tells anybody that. In fact, I shouldn’t have mentioned it.)

So anyway, we’re both feeling rather pleased with ourselves, and decide to go for a cup of tea. Then, on the way out, we pass one of those really sad stalls which no one is going near; the kind people glance at once, then quickly walk past. The poor guy behind it looks really sorry for himself, so I pause to have a look. And no wonder no one’s stopping. He’s selling weird-shaped wooden bowls, and matching wooden cutlery. What on earth is the point of wooden cutlery?

“That’s nice!” I say brightly, and pick one of the bowls up.

“Hand-crafted applewood,” he says. “Took a week to make.”

Well, it was a waste of a week, if you ask me. It’s shapeless and the wood’s a nasty shade of brown. But as I go to put it back down again, he looks so doleful I feel sorry for him and turn it over to look at the price, thinking if it’s a fiver I’ll buy it. But it’s eighty quid! I show the price to Mum, and she pulls a little face.

“That particular piece was featured inElle Decoration last month,” says the man mournfully, and produces a cutout page. And at his words, I freeze.Elle Decoration! Is he joking?

He’s not joking. There on the page, in full color, is a picture of a room, completely empty except for a suede beanbag, a low table, and a wooden bowl. I stare at it incredulously.

“Was it this exact one?” I ask, trying not to sound too excited. “This exact bowl?” As he nods, my grasp tightens round the bowl. I can’t believe it. I’m holding a piece ofElle Decoration. How cool is that? Now I feel incredibly stylish and trendy—and wish I were wearing white linen trousers and had my hair slicked back like Yasmin Le Bon to match.

It just shows I’ve got good taste. Didn’t I pick out this bowl—sorry, this piece—all by myself? Didn’t I spot its quality? Already I can see our sitting room redesigned entirely around it, all pale and minimalist. Eighty quid. That’s nothing for a timeless piece of style like this.

“I’ll have it,” I say determinedly, and reach inside my bag for my checkbook. The thing is, I remind myself, buying cheap is actually a false economy. It’s much better to spend a little more and make a serious purchase that’ll last for a lifetime. And this bowl is quite clearly a classic. Suze is going to be so impressed.



When we get back home, Mum goes straight inside, but I stay in the driveway, carefully transferring my purchases from her car to mine.

“Becky! What a surprise!”

Oh God. It’s Martin Webster from next door, leaning over the fence with a rake in his hand and a huge friendly smile on his face. Martin has this way of always making me feel guilty, I don’t know why.

Actually I do know why. It’s because I know he was always hoping I would grow up and marry Tom, his son. And I haven’t. The history of my relationship with Tom is: he asked me out once when we were both about sixteen and I said no, I was going out with Adam Moore. That was the end of it and thank God for that. To be perfectly honest, I would rather marry Martin himself than marry Tom.

“Hi!” I say overenthusiastically. “How are you?”

“Oh, we’re all doing well,” says Martin. “You heard Tom’s bought a house?”

“Yes,” I say. “In Reigate. Fantastic!”

“It’s got two bedrooms, shower room, reception room, and open-plan kitchen,” he recites. “Limed oak units in the kitchen.”

“Gosh,” I say. “How fab.”

“Tom’s thrilled with it,” says Martin. “Janice!” he adds in a yell. “Come and see who’s here!”

A moment later, Janice appears on the front doorstep, wear-ing her floral apron.

“Becky!” she says. “What a stranger you’ve become! How long is it?”

Now I feel guilty for not visiting my parents more often.

“Well,” I say, trying to give a nonchalant smile. “You know. I’m quite busy with my job and everything.”

“Oh yes,” says Janice, giving an awe-stricken nod. “Your job.”

Somewhere along the line, Janice and Martin have got it into their heads that I’m this high-powered financial whiz kid. I’ve tried telling them that really, I’m not—but the more I deny it, the more high powered they think I am. It’s a catch-22. They now think I’m high poweredand modest.

Still, who cares? It’s actually quite fun, playing a financial genius.

“Yes, actually we’ve been quite busy lately,” I say coolly. “What with the merger of SBG and Rutland.”

“Of course,” breathes Janice.

“You know, that reminds me,” says Martin suddenly. “Becky, wait there. Back in two ticks.” He disappears before I can say any-thing, and I’m left awkwardly with Janice.

“So,” I say inanely. “I hear Tom’s got limed oak units in his kitchen!”

This is literally the only thing I can think of to say. I smile at Janice, and wait for her to reply. But instead, she’s beaming at me delightedly. Her face is all lit up—and suddenly I realize I’ve made a huge mistake. I shouldn’t have mentioned Tom’s bloody starter home. I shouldn’t have mentioned the limed oak units. She’ll think I suddenly fancy Tom, now he’s got a starter home to his name.

“It’s limed oak and Mediterranean tiles,” she says proudly. “It was a choice of Mediterranean or Farmhouse Quarry, and Tom chose Mediterranean.”

For an instant I consider saying I would have chosen Farmhouse Quarry. But that seems a bit mean.

“Lovely,” I say. “And two bedrooms!”

Why can’t I get off the subject of this bloody starter home?

“He wanted two bedrooms,” says Janice. “After all, you never know, do you?” She smiles coyly at me, and ridiculously, I feel myself start to blush. Why am I blushing? This is so stupid. Now she thinks I fancy Tom. She’s picturing us together in the starter home, making supper together in the limed oak kitchen.

I should say something. I should say, “Janice, I don’t fancy Tom. He’s too tall and his breath smells.” But how on earth can I say that?

“Well, do give him my love,” I hear myself saying instead.

“I certainly will,” she says, and pauses. “Does he have your London number?”


“I think so,” I lie, smiling brightly. “And he can always get me here if he wants.” Now everything I say sounds like some saucy double entendre. I can just imagine how this conversation will be reported back to Tom. “She was askingall about your starter home. And she asked you to call her!”

Life would be a lot easier if conversations were rewindable and erasable, like videos. Or if you could instruct people to disre-gard what you just said, like in a courtroom.Please strike from the record all references to starter homes and limed oak kitchens.

Luckily, at that moment, Martin reappears, clutching a piece of paper.

“Thought you might cast your eye over this,” he says. “We’ve had this with-profits fund with Flagstaff Life for fifteen years. Now we’re thinking of transferring to their new unit-linked growth fund. What do you think?”

I don’t know. What’s he talking about, anyway? Some kind of savings plan? Please don’t ask me, I want to say. Please ask some-one who knows what they’re talking about. But there’s no way they’ll believe that I’m not a financial genius—so I’ll just have to do the best I can.

I run my eye over the piece of paper in what I hope looks likea knowledgeable fashion and nod several times. It’s a letter mak-ing some kind of special offer if investors switch to this new fund. Sounds reasonable enough.

“The company wrote to us, saying we might want a higher re-turn in our retirement years,” says Martin. “There’s a guaranteed sum, too.”

“And they’ll send us a carriage clock,” chimes in Janice. “Swiss-made.”

“Mmm,” I say, studying the letterhead intently. “Well, I should think that’s quite a good idea.”

Flagstaff Life, I’m thinking. I’m sure I’ve heard something about them recently. Which ones are Flagstaff Life? Oh yes! They’re the ones who threw a champagne party at Soho Soho. That’s right. And Elly got incredibly pissed and told David Salisbury fromThe Times that she loved him. It was a bloody good party, come to think of it. One of the best.

Hmm. But wasn’t there something else? Something I’ve heard recently? I wrinkle my nose, trying to remember . . . but it’s gone. I’ve probably got it wrong, anyway.

“D’you rate them as a company?” says Martin.

“Oh yes,” I say, looking up. “They’re very well regarded among the profession.”

“Well then,” says Martin, looking pleased. “If Becky thinks it’s a good idea . . .”

“Yes, but, I really wouldn’t just listen to me!” I say quickly. “I mean, a financial adviser or someone would know far more . . .”

“Listen to her!” says Martin with a little chuckle. “The finan-cial expert herself.”

“You know, Tom sometimes buys your magazine,” puts in Janice. “Not that he’s got much money now, what with the mort-gage and everything . . . But he says your articles are very good! Tom says—”

“How nice!” I cut in. “Well, look, I really must go. Lovely to see you. And love to Tom!”

And I turn into the house so quickly, I bump my knee on thedoor frame. Then I feel a bit bad, and wish I’d said good-bye nicely. But honestly! If I hear one more word about bloody Tom and his bloody kitchen, I’ll go mad.



By the time I sit down in front of the National Lottery, how-ever, I’ve forgotten all about them. We’ve had a nice supper—chicken Proven?ale from Marks and Spencer, and a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio, which I brought. I know the chicken Proven?ale comes from Marks and Spencer because I’ve bought it myself, quite a few times. I recognized the sun-dried tomatoes and the olives, and everything. Mum, of course, still acted like she’d made it from scratch, from her own recipe.

I don’t know why she bothers. It isn’t like anyone would care—especially when it’s just me and Dad. And I mean, it’s pretty obvious that there are never any raw ingredients in our kitchen. There are lots of empty cardboard boxes and lots of fully prepared meals—and nothing in between. But still Mum never ever admits she’s bought a ready-made meal, not even when it’s a pie in a foil container. My dad will eat one of those pies, full of plastic mushrooms and gloopy sauce, and then say, with a per-fectly straight face, “Delicious, my love.” And my mum will smile back, looking all pleased with herself.

But tonight it’s not foil pie, it’s chicken Proven?ale. (To be fair, I suppose it almost does look homemade—except no one would ever cut a red pepper up that small for themselves, would they? People have more important things to do.) So anyway, we’ve eaten it and we’ve drunk a fair amount of the Pinot Grigio, and there’s an apple crumble in the oven—and I’ve suggested, casu-ally, that we all go and watch telly. Because I know from looking at the clock that the National Lottery program has already started. In a matter of minutes, it’s all going to happen. I cannot wait.

Luckily, my parents aren’t the sort who want to make conver-sation about politics or talk about books. We’ve already caught up with all the family news, and I’ve told them how my work’sgoing, and they’ve told me about their holiday in Corsica—so by now, we’re grinding to a bit of a halt. We need the telly on, if only as a conversational sounding board.

So we all troop into the sitting room, and my dad lights the gas flame-effect fire and turns on the telly. And there it is! The National Lottery, in glorious Technicolor. The lights are shining, and Dale Winton is joshing with Tiffany fromEastEnders, and every so often the audience gives an excited whoop. My stomach’s getting tighter and tighter, and my heart’s going thump-thump-thump. Because in a few minutes those balls are going to fall. In a few minutes I’m going to be a millionaire. I justknow I am.

I lean calmly back on the sofa and think what I’ll do when I win. At the very instant that I win, I mean. Do I scream? Do I keep quiet? Maybe I shouldn’t tell anyone for twenty-four hours. Maybe I shouldn’t tell anyoneat all.

This new thought transfixes me. I could be a secret winner! I could have all the money and none of the pressure. If people asked me how I could afford so many designer clothes I’d just tell them I was doing lots of freelance work. Yes! And I could trans-form all my friends’ lives anonymously, like a good angel.

I’m just working out how big a house I could manage to buy without everyone twigging, when a voice on the screen alerts me.

“Question to number three.”


“My favorite animal is the flamingo because it’s pink, fluffy, and has long legs.” The girl sitting on the stool excitedly unwinds a pair of long glossy legs, and the audience goes wild. I stare at her dazedly. What’s going on? Why are we watchingBlind Date ?

“Now, this show used to be fun,” says Mum. “But it’s gone downhill.”

“You call this rubbish fun?” retorts my dad incredulously.

“Listen, Dad, actually, could we turn back to—”

“I didn’t say it was funnow. I said—”

“Dad!” I say, trying not to sound too panicky. “Could we just go back to BBC1 for a moment?”

Blind Datedisappears and I sigh with relief. The next moment, an earnest man in a suit fills the screen.

“What the police failed to appreciate,” he says in a nasal voice, “is that the witnesses were not sufficiently—”


“Where’s the television guide?” he says impatiently. “There’s got to be something better than this.”

“There’s the lottery!” I almost scream. “I want to watch the lottery!”

I know strictly speaking that whether I watch it or not won’t affect my chances of winning—but I don’t want to miss the great moment, do I? You might think I’m a bit mad, but I feel that if I watch it, I can kind of communicate with the balls through the screen. I’ll stare hard at them as they get tossed around and silently urge on my winning numbers. It’s a bit like supporting a team.Team 1 6 9 16 23 44.

Except the numbers never come out in order, do they?

Team 44 1 23 6 9 16. Possibly. OrTeam 23 6 1  . . .

Suddenly there’s a round of applause and Marline McCutcheon’s finished her song. Oh my God. It’s about to happen. My life is about to change.

“The lottery’s become terribly commercialized, hasn’t it?” says my mum, as Dale Winton leads Martine over to the red button. “It’s a shame, really.”

“What do you mean, it’sbecome commercialized?” retorts my dad.

“People used to play the lottery because they wanted to sup-port the charities.”

“No they didn’t! Don’t be ridiculous! No one gives a fig about the charities. This is all about self, self, self.” Dad gestures toward Dale Winton with the remote control and the screen goes dead.

“Dad!” I wail.

“So you think no one cares about the charities?” says my mum into the silence.

“That’s not what I said.”

“Dad! Put it back on!” I screech. “Put-it-back-on!” I’m about to wrestle him for the remote control when he flicks it back on again.

I stare at the screen in utter disbelief. The first ball has already dropped. And it’s 44. My number 44.

“. . . last appeared three weeks ago. And here comes the sec-ond ball . . . And it’s number 1.”

I can’t move. It’s taking place, before my very eyes. I’m actu-ally winning the lottery. I’m winning the bloody lottery!

Now that it’s happening, I feel surprisingly calm about it. It’s as if I’ve known, all my life, that this would happen. Sitting here silently on the sofa, I feel as though I’m in a fly-on-the-wall docu-mentary about myself. “Becky Bloomwood always secretly knew she would win the lottery one day. But on the day it happened, even she couldn’t have predicted . . .”

“And another low one. Number 3.”

What? My mind snaps to and I stare perplexedly at the screen. That can’t be right. They mean 23.

“And number 2, last week’s bonus ball.”

I feel cold all over. What the hell is going on? Whatare these numbers?

“And another low one! Number 4. A popular number—it’s had twelve appearances so far this year. And finally . . . number 5! Well, I never! This is a bit of a first! Now, lining them up in order . . .”

No. This can’t be serious. This has to be a mistake. The win-ning lottery numbers cannot possibly be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 44. That’s not a lottery combination, it’s a . . . it’s an act of torture.

And I was winning. I waswinning .

“Look at that!” my mum’s saying. “Absolutely incredible! One-two-three-four-five-forty-four.”

“And why should that be incredible?” replies Dad. “It’s as likely as any other combination.”

“It can’t be!”

“Jane, do you knowanything about the laws of probability?”

Quietly I get up and leave the room, as the National Lottery theme tune blares out of the telly. I walk into the kitchen, sit down at the table, and bury my head in my hands. I feel slightly shaky, to tell you the truth. How could I lose? I was living in a big house and going on holiday to Barbados with all my friends, and walking into Agnès b and buying anything I wanted. It felt so real.

And now, instead, I’m sitting in my parents’ kitchen, and I can’t afford to go on holiday and I’ve just spent eighty quid on a wooden bowl I don’t even like.

Miserably, I turn on the kettle, pick up a copy ofWoman’s Journal lying on the counter, and flick through it—but even that doesn’t cheer me up. Everything seems to remind me of money. Maybe my dad’s right, I find myself thinking dolefully. Maybe Cut Back is the answer. Suppose . . . suppose I cut back enough to save sixty quid a week. I’d have £6,000 in a hundred weeks.

And suddenly my brain is alert. Six thousand quid. That’s not bad, is it? And if you think about it, it can’t bethat hard to save sixty quid a week. It’s only the same as a couple of meals out. I mean, you’d hardly notice it.

God, yes. That’s what I’ll do. Sixty quid a week, every week. Maybe I’ll even pay it into a special account. That new Lloyds high-yield sixty-day access account with the tiered interest rates. It’ll be fantastic! I’ll be completely on top of my finances—and when I’ve paid off my bills I’ll just keep saving. It’ll become a habit to be frugal. And at the end of every year I’ll splash out on one classic investment like an Armani suit. Or maybe Christian Dior. Something really classy, anyway.

I’ll start on Monday, I think excitedly, spooning chocolate Ovaltine into a cup. What I’ll do is, I just won’t spendanything. All my spare money will mount up, and I’ll be rich. This is going to be so great.

OCTAGON *flair. . .style. . .vision






Ms. Rebecca Bloomwood    Charge Card Number 7854 4567

Flat 2

4 Burney Rd.

London SW6 8FD


2 March 2000


Dear Ms. Bloomwood:


Our records suggest that we have not received payment for your latest Octagon Silver Card bill. If you have paid within the last few days, please ignore this letter.


Your outstanding bill is currently £235.76.The minimum payment is £43.00.You may pay by cash, check, or on the enclosed bank giro credit slip. We look forward to receiving your payment.


Yours sincerely,


John Hunter

Customer Accounts Manager

OCTAGON *flair. . .style. . .vision






Ms. Rebecca Bloomwood    Charge Card Number 7854 4567

Flat 2

4 Burney Rd.

London SW6 8FD


2 March 2000


Dear Ms. Bloomwood:


There’s never been a better time to spend!


For a limited time, we are offering EXTRA POINTS on all purchases over £50 made with your Octagon Silver Card*—so take the opportunity now to add more points to your total and take advantage of some of our Pointholders’ Gifts.


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1,000 points

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5,000 points



(Your current level is:

35 points)


And remember, during this special offer period, you will gain two points for every £5 spent! We look forward to welcoming you soon to take advantage of this unique offer.


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Adrian Smith

Customer Services Manager


*excluding purchases at restaurants, pharmacy, newsstand, and hairdresser

**certain restrictions apply—see enclosed leaflet

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