2 SEPTEMBER 1972, Page 26


Into the property pool

Nephew Wilde

The troubles on the industrial front never seemed so far away as during this last August Bank holiday weekend. And I am convinced that the plethora of such breaks from routine enjoyed by the Americans and the Continentals is prima facie evidence when comparing their 'higher productive output with our own usually sluggardly performance. I imagine many days lost through absenteeism or token strikes in this country are only the result of a desire to break the tedium of work in the factory.

Anyway I certainly feel greatly refreshed myself. It seemed as though I had escaped from the bastille of humanity when, on Saturday, after leaving London I arrived in a remote part of Suffolk. The ancestors of my hosts had had the good, sense to build their Tudor mansion away from the bustle of neighbouring life and even today, as far as the eye can see, one looks out on the family demense. I appreciated this more on hearing of the invasion of privacy to which local villagers have been subjected — even to the extent of tourists taking photographs through their windows. In my pristine surroundings I was not even troubled by the brother and sister who were my hosts. He, being a farmer, rapidly took to the fields when I offered him the use of my umbrella for protection against the sun while driving a tractor. She, bless her, with supreme culinary skill fully assuaged my ravenous appetite.

This was the setting for a few days of idle repose. But alas, too soon I returned to the Metropolis where thc very air seemed miasmatic. No wonder Aunt Maude, on coming back from her frequent visits to Ireland, never announced her return for at least two days. In this period, ' believe, she visited the old graveyards of London or read epitaphs in St Paul's Cathedral, as she felt this pastime best suited her melancholic mood.

In order to rehabilitate myself on this occasion I made haste to telephone my stockbroker, Wotherspool. He himself rarely leaves London, finding greater amusement in nightclubs and casinos than anywhere else. On Saturday, in fact, he had been rather lucky playing roulette and was brimming with enthusiasm when I contacted him.

"Ah, yes," he said. " I've been giving a great deal of thought to what you should be buying and I have come down strongly in favour of Northern Developments. Doubt if you've heard of it, old chap, but it's a property developing country with an Al record. Imagine, over the last four years Northern has maintained an average compound growth rate of 60 per cent per annum."

"Sounds good," I responded, "but what about the current year. Frankly I err on the side of caution when I see these go-go companies; they always look like one day wonders to me."

"No worry there," interrupted Wotherspool, "The chairman of the company is pretty optimistic about prospects. And something else in favour of Northern is its excellent land bank, which is about the best backing for the share price you can get."

So Northern Developments joins my portfolio and I say farewell to part of my holding in Guthrie.