As years go I’ve had better.
Take 2001 for instance, boy was that a good year for a case or two of Chianti, it was that drinkable I got through loads of the stuff. Then there was 2002, the town I was living in was suddenly and unexplainably a very fashionable place to live, my house virtually doubled in value overnight!
Before I knew it, it was 2003 and yet again another fantastic year for the old Chianti, with my new found property wealth I bought even more cases.
2004 was especially good, for the fifth and sixth season in a row; Ferrari won the drivers and constructors titles respectively, with Schumacher winning a record thirteen races in a season (you might like to take that in for a second, “Thirteen straight wins in one season!”) and his Seventh world title. I drank a few glasses to that.
2005 dawned and automotive history was made. The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 was unveiled, produced by Volkswagen Group subsidiary Bugatti Automobiles SAS the 1.1 million Euro beast was a serious piece of kit, it was also the fastest accelerating and decelerating car in the world, with a top speed of 253.81mph making it no slouch, unbelievably two of these wondrous cars were wrecked during production, but hey, it was only money and car manufacturers had loads of it didn’t they?
July 2006 and there I was up close and personal backstage in the paddocks at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, a well connected friend in the business not only got us press day passes but we were allowed in the VIP enclosure as well, all very posh and cucumber sandwiches with some excellent wine thrown in for good measure. There was the usual array of Astons’s, Mclaren’s, Zonda etc: but the one car causing the most stir was of course the Veyron, not wanting to appear too enthralled I sidled up to the throng of photographers and “beautiful people” awaiting my turn to sit behind the wheel while all the time posturing as if this was the sort of thing I did every day. While I was waiting I chatted idly with a scruffy bearded American chap and his equally scruffy son about the virtues of such a wonderful machine, he was really quite knowledgeable and did seem to know his onions when it came to exotic breeds such as this, his excited son asked his father if they were going to get one, I doubt they will even let you sit in it dressed like that I thought, and as for buying one, dream on!
Turns out that Mr Scruffy knew a bit about film making as well, it was George Lucas and son!
2007 and things were looking even better, my house (along with just about everyone else’s) was now worth a third world country’s debt and cars were flying out the doors of showrooms up and down the country at a rate of knots, including mine, forget selling the product, you didn’t need to, “just sign there sir” or “which card are you using today madam?”. Sales of the 2007 Car of the year the “Fiat 500” went into overdrive with people queuing up for the stylish retro designed fun box, we all had ten plasma televisions, and thirty mobile phones, and Tom Tom Sat Nav in every car we owned (which was at least four) and X Box 360s, and Hot Tubs, and hundreds of credit cards, oh happy days…
But then 2008 came along like the proverbial bad penny, suddenly, very suddenly, it all came to a halt. My house went from being worth zillions, to about a Fiver in what felt like less than a minute! Banks imploded before our very eyes on a daily basis. Governments reeled around the world, stocks and shares went into freefall and you’re entire life savings disappeared in the time it took to have the car washed! A tank of fuel cost more than a fortnight in the Caribbean, and in the last week of September following the crash, more Ferrari’s were advertised for sale in London and the Home Counties than at any other time in history. Credit cards, those lovely rectangle bits of plastic that held so much promise lost their allure virtually overnight, Saturday mornings would never be the same! No more customers queuing up at the streamline machine to pay for their shiny new motor car, no more commission cheques from Finance Houses willing to lend to Albert Bankrupt and Son, in fact no more “put it on the credit card” period! It took maybe a decade or more of phenomenal growth to get to where we had been, but about five minutes to realise the days of cheap everything were well and truly over.
So here we are at the end of 2008 and what have we learnt? well for starters, don’t be tempted by high interest saving accounts with Icelandic banks, don’t buy six houses, live in one and hope the other five will provide you with enough capital growth to live in luxury in Dubai for the rest of your life, don’t buy a Perodua Nippa, (goes without saying) don’t apply for a Credit Card of any sort (you won’t get it anyway) don’t expect this, or any other government to help you……. Do keep buying things though, it’s what makes the world go round, Do go out in the New Year and look at that car you’ve always promised yourself, it will never be cheaper! Do have a great Christmas and New year 2009 with family or friends, (it’s what you can’t buy that’s really important anyway) and talking about important things I almost forgot, there was one outstandingly good thing above all else in 2008, the Chianti Classico Vintage was superb!
Roll on New Year’s Eve!