"Have you ever thought of owning gold? "asks a direct mail shot which offers to sell me one or more of the latest issue of sovereigns from the Royal Mint? Sometimes but not for long. Even if I could afford a hoard of sovereigns I have mixed feelings about gold. Midas and his uncomfortable fate haunts me as does that poor girl murdered by being painted in gold paint in Goldfinger before James Bond could save her. Gold has risen in value by 140 % since 2007 and could well go on rising. And sovereigns don't attract VAT or Capital Gains Tax. So for manipulators of capital where little else appreciates in value, it could be a good bet. And then there's something rather beautiful about the metal isn't there? Above all the sense that it doesn't tarnish and glitters for ever in the dark or in the light. Beautiful but poncy. Gold is not for the modest and I am all for modesty and circumspection in these critical times.
I don't usually read thrillers unless on holiday. But the cold weather which has restricted outdoor activities provides an excuse for me to read one called Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It certainly keeps me riveted for a day or two, but none of the characters is particularly attractive and attracts little sympathy. When I reach the end - and here is the only reason to mention it - I find something new in a paper back novel. At least new for me. This is a section called Reading Group Notes consisting of topics for discussion and an interview with the author about her views on them. So absorbed was I in the story that for a moment I think that is yet another unexpected dramatic device. Something I decide that I can do without.