I was sitting with 'er indoors the other night when I heard the news that George Cole, who played Arthur Daley and the classic TV program, Minder, had passed away.
I particularly paid attention to the series because a lot of it was filmed in my manor, West London, the Winchester Club not being far from my home.
Anyway, Arthur was a pioneering British entrepreneur, only matched by Derek Trotter. His view on golf is similar to my view on running your own business business - 'Golf is like a love affair. If you don't take it seriously, it's no fun; if you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart.'
He had a view on all things, especially antiques, which is something I was involved with, until last year -
[looking at a writing desk in the auction house]
- Arthur Daley: Your modern entrepreneur is constantly gazing into the crystal ball of opportunity.
- Terry McCann: And what do your crystal balls tell you about that then, eh? Is there gonna be a big rush on firewood?
- Arthur Daley: No, Terry. That is... that is "an Indian ebony and porcupine quill workbox, nineteenth century". Described as "distressed".
- Terry McCann: Distressed?
- Arthur Daley: Yes, that is a term they use in the auctioneering world.
- Terry McCann: Yeah, loosely translated as "knackered"!
- Arthur Daley: As with most things in this life, Terry, it is in the eye of the beholder. One man's firewood is another man's porcupine wotsisname.
Like most of us, he was always after a nice little earner, to make a few sovs, but, winning or losing, he always looked on the bright side, firmly believing that 'the world is your lobster'.
He was also a great judge of character, able to spot an invertebrate liar with ease.
One of the big lessons I leaned from Arthur was 'a friend in need... is a pest!'.
However, his biggest lesson was something that is extremely relevant in these days of online auctions and direct selling - "You make contact with your customer. Understand their needs. And then flog them something they could well do without.”
He was a great believer in hard work - "You only get out of life what you put in and a bit more if you can find a couple of mugs.”
Surprisingly, he loved VaT!
BTW, I wonder if Arthur ever found out what was the French for 'en suite facilities'?
RIP Arthur Daley AKA George Cole