Sunday 19 June 2011: How to con a tourist....
After a long walk around London trying to follow the silver jubilee walk we finally sat down for a sandwich by HMS Belfast at the side of the Thames.
There were three of these chaps with a little cloth, three cups and a small egg-shaped ball. They swapped the ball around between the cups and got punters to bet on which cup the ball was in. Highly illegal AND highly fixed! We watched for a while and worked out that each juggler had 3 stooges in the crowd who were deliberately placing large bets (£20) on the outcome. Of course, they quite often won and thus persuaded real tourists to have a go. They would sometimes get it wrong just to make the game look easy or give the juggler the chance to offer a 50:50 chance to a passing tourist. The lady in the purple is a real punter - those around her are the stooges.
We watched for a while and I managed to sneak a couple of photos without attracting the attention of the con men. Then, all of a sudden, all three sets of cloths, cups and balls vanished and the teams strolled off....just before two police officers came past.
We must have walked over 10 miles before we got to the Drill Hall for the Milton Jones BBC recording. We managed to get in and collapsed in the bar for an hour and a half before the recording began. It was great fun, if more like a sauna by the end - the air conditioning unit was too noisy to use during the recording.. They recorded two shows that will go out early in July on Radio 4 at 6.30 pm.
Quick dash for the underground, train and then taxi to get back just before midnight.