My dreams of being a property mogul are dashed by son

Torbay Weekly

My daughter was due to start work early one Saturday morning.

By early, I mean 8am - an untimely start to a weekend morning, I dare to suggest, necessitating a 7am awakening and a generous chauffeur service from my husband, who had no desire to unleash our precious offspring to the wilds of the Bay at such an hour on a non-school day.

Feeling magnanimous, I graciously informed my husband that I would arise with him so that we could steal away for a clandestine coffee in advance of any other children awakening.

He was somewhat unflatteringly sceptical about my projected wakefulness - although why I simply cannot imagine, despite the magnet adorning my fridge that bears the testimony 'I don't do mornings' bestowed upon me by my own mother.

He murmured his cautious appreciation, but no-one was more surprised than I when 7am struck the hour and I hopped out of bed, fresh as a daisy and raring to go.

We duly delivered our daughter to her place of employ and, pausing to procure a takeaway coffee, trundled up to the Downs, where we caught the sun's early light slanting through sharp blue skies and setting a sparkle upon the calm waters beneath.

Sipping cappuccinos and gazing out at the magnificent cruise ships, we chatted inconsequentially for some time, cocooned cosily in the car lest we disturb the jumble of joggers and dog walkers gracing the paths in the day's first freshness.

Batteries replenished, we returned home to enjoy a Saturday in the bosom of the family.

Our prompt beginnings facilitated a rare, indulgent feel to the morning, which we whiled away on breakfast and books.

The sense of languor and liquid time lingered decadently until lunch, after which our younger son proposed a family game of Monopoly.

He had received the Voice Banking edition featuring the vocal guidance of friendly host Mr Monopoly a couple of Christmases ago, and was the undisputed champion of the game.

His somewhat unconventional tactics combining reckless buying, heartfelt beseeching and shameless cajoling were lethally effective, should you happen to be an opponent.

All too often have we fallen prey to his clamours for clemency and submitted to his entreaties that we resist the allure of Mayfair's ownership, thus leaving the way open for him to pounce upon it with cold efficiency.

Should he already be the proud proprietor of that penthouse of postcodes, we are instead exposed to his pleas to trade a lesser property for Park Lane to fulfil his desire to own the colour set and, as with tender innocence we acquiesce, our good-natured generosity is ruthlessly shot down in flames as with triumphant glee he thrusts houses and hotels upon the infamous purple streets, cackling maniacally when they Chance card bids us poor sops Advance to Mayfair…. Nonetheless, it's a game we generally enjoy, and it pulls our youngest away from screens, so, with varying degrees of grace, we parents and elder brother complied with his request that day.

There followed an hour of highs and lows. My husband stoically refused to be manipulated and claimed early ownership of Mayfair.

Our elder son swiftly secured three quarters of the stations. Our youngest swept round the board, spending money without regard, raking in rent and Passing Go more times than seemed egalitarian.

His avaricious plans laid waste to my dreams of being a property mogul almost from the outset.

All I managed to procure were Euston, Vine Street and, in the final flurry, Bow Street, deftly establishing a house upon the latter in time to sting one of my opponents for a steep rent.

I was under no illusion however, glancing round at husband's and sons' progress, that I would be in pole position.

Indeed, by the time we were obliged to abandon the game to collect our daughter from work, our enquiry of Mr Monopoly as to who was the victor had a predictable response.

Even without Mayfair's merits, our youngest had ruthlessly wreaked havoc upon our bank accounts and was champion once again.

We didn't begrudge him, though - he played a good game, managed to stay out of jail and always paid his rent on time. Let's hope he plays the game of life with the same level of skill.