Donald MacInnes: I'm hoping Branson wins his bet, otherwise it's so long sis

In The Red

Readers of this column – from the less-than-occasional to the samurai-level devoted – will be aware that, although this reporter rarely, if ever, bets on anything, I am often much impressed by those who do, my friend Ken in Aberdeen being the punter to whom I most often refer and, indeed, defer.

He once spent six hours drawing tiny numbers on unpopped popcorn and then ran a sweep on which ones would pop first. He and six mates crowded round the microwave window, urging on their favourites. Ken made an easy, if noisy, £50.

This level of punterdom is way beyond me. Although, having said that, I did gamble last weekend, buying a scratch card in Tesco. But that was really just because the woman who sells them on the customer service desk is the most aggressively miserable human ever to have drawn breath and I occasionally like to cheer myself up by being near her enormous rage. I didn't win, but the rush of the scratch was worth it.

Although things degenerated when some of the juice from the lemon the woman was sucking squirted into my eye and she thought my winking meant I fancied her. Her fury subsiding, she winked back, idly twirling the hair on her chin into a single strand. I screamed and ran out.

But to this week's point (or what passes for a point in this column).

In terms of big bets, you would struggle to better this: Sir Richard Branson, below, has bet British Airways a million of your English clams that the Virgin Atlantic brand will still be alive and swooping in five years' time.

The reason for the wager was that the softly-spoken squillionaire was forced to poo-poo claims from Willie Walsh, boss of International Airlines Group (which owns BA) that the Virgin Atlantic brand was headed for oblivion. Like a gang of bees approaching the Gale's honey factory, the industry had been "abuzz" with rumours that Dicky B was of a mind to sell his 51 per cent stake in the airline.

But he quashed swiftly the veracity of the jungle drums by saying: "We have no plans to disappear. Virgin Atlantic was my baby 28 years ago when we set up with just one plane… Virgin Atlantic is still much cherished."

This is good news for me. Whenever I visit my sister in Miami, I only ever go Virgin. If I had to go back to one of the American airlines – the cabin crew of which are about as friendly as a frying pan to the face – I may have to conveniently forget where my sis lives and proceed directly to the Amalfi Coast.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

    £65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

    Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits