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Open a B&B

Retirement at 45. You’ve done well. Very well. Come on, don’t be shy about it. You’re flush. Loaded. Wonga’d up. Vis-à-vis the readies, you’re replete. To your credit, you’re in credit. And the punchline is you made it all working for Lehman Brothers. Ha!

Yet after a couple of years golfing and loafing you’re bored, so you and Mrs Parsons (that’s assuming your name is Parsons) decide to buy a big house, a very big house, in the country – Dorset to be precise. You get the decorators in, build your own website, put an ad in the Yellow Pages, polish the doorknobs and BOSH, you’re open for business. Your first guests are the Pattersons from Rotherham. They stay only one night. “We don’t like it here,” they say. “It lacks charm.” Your next guest is a single man of fifty. Rather shy and avoiding eye contact, he leaves a one word message (“charmless”) in the visitors’ book and, more disturbingly, a small round turd on the pillow.

“How can we make this place more charming?” you ask Mrs P. “Do you think it could be us?” It couldn’t be your wife. She was still turning heads at 44 though to be fair this was mainly because she still worked part-time as an osteopath. Perhaps it was you. You check your breath and armpits. Both needed work. “You do swear too much sometimes, love,” says Mrs P. “You mustn’t say c*nt in front of the guests. People don’t like that word.” “What word?” you reply absentmindedly. “C*nt. They don’t like the word c*nt. People flee the city to escape the word c*nt. They don’t need to find it so liberally blurted out here in the country.” You wrack your brains. “Perhaps we should put fresh flowers in the rooms. Or buy organic bacon: nice bacon adds a certain charm, don’t you think?” “Let’s get a dog!” says your wife. “All B&Bs have dogs! Dogs are charming.” A week later you are the proud owners of a beautiful border collie. Later that day new guests arrive. “What a charming dog,” says the woman, scratching him under the chin. “What’s his name?” “My wife wanted to call him Steadman,” you reply. “But in the end I decided upon Mr Fuckshit.”