Better born lucky than rich

Claudia Carroll geniet in Ierland grote faam als actrice, waar zij speelde in toneelstukken van Oscar Wilde en Jane Austen. Ze is vooral bekend van haar rol in de populaire Ierse soapserie Fair City, maar geniet inmiddels ook grote bekendheid als schrijfster. Ze brak door met Hij houdt niet van me, hij houdt van me (2004). Sindsdien heeft ze meerdere boeken geschreven. Omdat Carrol nog steeds in Fair City speelt, schrijft ze haar boeken vooral in haar vrije tijd of in de kleedkamer als ze even geen scenes heeft. Het is haar droom om fulltime te gaan schrijven. Onlangs verscheen haar succesvolle, nieuwe boek Je staat in mijn sterren, welke deze maand de status Boek van de Maand geniet op! 

My dear departed Granny used always drum it into us; better born lucky, than born rich. No arguments there. Trouble was that she’d long shuffled off this mortal coil before I could ever confront her and ask this; supposing you happened to be born neither lucky nor rich, like…..ehh…..well, like me?
Because never once have I won anything in my entire life. And I wouldn’t mind but I’m forever buying tickets in the hope that I’ve just been on a forty-year long losing streak that’ll end any day now. My handbag is stuffed with Lotto tickets, raffle stubs and the odd scratch card, all of which are about as much use now as a fistful of shares in Lehman Brothers.
My pal Julie is different now, she’s forever winning things. She’s one of those people that one minute could be standing at an airline check in desk, minding her own business, next minute, balloons have fallen from the ceiling, vuvuzelas are wailing and there’s a TV camera crew in her face congratulating her on being the one millionth passenger and offering freebie upgrades for life. See what I mean? Born lucky.
So when Julie rang me up and said she’s tickets for the Curragh races, I knew exactly what was coming. She’d effortlessly pick some horse that would glide elegantly down the racetrack like Nijinsky and win a race by about eight furlongs, while I’d pick a nag of a yoke that looked to weak and unfit to pull a milk float and so unfancied that the bookies would politely try to stiffle their guffaws as I placed my bet. Then scribble out a makeshift ticket for me, as they probably don’t even go to all the bother of printing up betting slips for kind of poor aul semi-lame thing I’d back. Ho hum.
Nor, may I point out am I what is known as a ‘sporting loser’ either. In fact, the reason I stopped going anywhere that involved any kind of gambling; dog racing at Shelbourne park, the nags, etc., is that all I seem to do is hand my cash straight over the bookies, then, when I lose, end up holding onto resentment and bitterness for longer than a Confederate widow. But this is the Derby, my pal assured me; you don’t even need to gamble. Apart from anything else, the place should be stuffed with SAS-type guys. (New code we have; Single, Attractive, Successful.) Well that, if nothing else, finally persuaded me. Right then, I told her, I’m in. Because this just got interesting.
So off we trot to the races, a gang of eight of us in total, with me all dickied up in a frantically cobbled-together outfit that looks like something that came to me in a fevered dream. My pal Mary is with us too and as all her family are bookies, she’s something of an expert on the more complex aspects of betting. She’s the only one of us that understands Yankees and combination betting and what exactly is meant by an accumulator.
“I have a betting plan,” she explains ticking off form sheets, the confidence of a seasoned gambler practically ricocheting off her. “Everything works better with a plan. Weddings, murders, everything.”
So for the first four races I sit, fists balled into my pocket, watching all around me scooping up win after win. They’re all laughing and skiting around over my head, gleefully counting out their sweaty wads of rolled up fifty Euro notes, while I sit, teeth clenched, with a false, ‘I’m so happy for you all!’ smile pasted to my face.
“Can you believe it?” Mary roars laughing, knowing right well it’s goading me right through to my soul, “I’ve won enough to pay for my daughter’s Summer camp fees!” As they buy a celebratory bottle of champagne with their winnings, I’m monstrously polite, otherwise I’d gladly have taken lives.
And then it happens. One of our gang gets a text from a friend of a friend of a neighbour’s first cousin of a casual nodding acquaintance of a trainer who has a tip for the big race, the Derby.  A horse called Cape Blanco. It CANNOT  lose, we’re told. Not even if cursed with a bet on it from me. So emboldened with this thought, I cautiously hand over my bet to the bookies. A fiver each way, but then that’s me, the last of the big spenders. 
The race starts and we all yell like fishwives for the horse who….miracle of miracles… out ahead of the field. Well this can’t be happening, I tell myself. Something that I bet on….is going to win? Wait till you see, he’ll trip up now, or the jockey will have a heart attack or the horse will do a Devon Lough on it and just decide to have a little lie down in the middle of the field, two feet shy of the winning post. But no, to my total disbelief, he romps home in first place…meaning…oh my actual God…..that I won! After all these years, finally a burst of astrological beneficence from the Universe!
Thinking that they should make pills to exactly replicate this feeling of euphoria, I don’t so much walk as strut back to the bookie, winning ticket in hand, literally bathing in the moment and half wondering what I’ll do with my winnings? Buy dinner for all my pals? Bottle or two of champagne? Short weekend break away in some posh country house hotel perhaps?
“Ah congratulations love,” sniggers the bookie, “you had the winner. There you go now, don’t spend it all at once.”
I look at what he hands me. My money back plus… lousy Euro forty. In small coins. Not even enough to buy a bottle of water. Turns out the horse was the seven to four, odds on favourite, so no one cleans up on this one.
Plus ca change……….. 

Je staat in mijn sterren

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    Jessie Woods heeft een geweldige baan, woont in een villa en wordt verwend door haar droomprins, sexy Sam. Maar op een dag gaat alles gruwelijk mis. Jessie wordt ontslagen, Sam laat zich niet meer zien en zelfs haar creditcard houdt niet meer van haar. Er zit niets anders op dan terug naar huis te gaan om bij haar valse stiefmoeder en haar twee aartsluie stiefzussen te gaan wonen. Zal het Jessie ooit nog lukken omhoog te krabbelen uit haar diepe dal?

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