EVER thought of packing in your job, selling your house and travelling the world? London economist Conor Woodman did just that. Using his haggling skills, expertise and his own money he travelled the globe, buying and selling goods in some of the world's oldest trading heartlands.

Conor's adventures, featured in a four-part Channel 4 documentary sponsored by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, are now revealed in hardback book version, exclusive copies of which are available through Citygate's Volkswagen Van Centre in Colindale.

Conor tested his former City skills to negotiate and charm locals, and spot a bargain as he traded his way across the world, buying local products in one country and selling them in another, hopefully for a profit.

If his hunches were right, trading Sudanese camels for Zambian coffee and South African red wine for Chinese jade would stand him in a strong position to make a lot of money.

The Harrow Observer has teamed up with Citygate Volkswagen, in Edgware Road, to give away 30 copies of the book Around the World in 80 Trades.

As well as giving readers the chance to win Around the World in 80 Trades, Citygate Van Centre has also issued advice to drivers on avoiding expensive damage to vans caused by potholes.

With complaints about potholes reaching unprecedented levels, the van centre has recorded a 200 per cent increase in damage to customers' vehicles.

Robert Graham, Citygate's brand manager, said: "Hitting a pothole can damage the tyres, wheels, suspension or steering. It could even cause an accident.

"Commercial vehicles are particularly vulnerable, as they are heavier than normal cars, and often carry loads.

"The most common repair work is on broken wheel rims, split tyres and wheels forced out of alignment, causing steering problems.

"Drivers may not be aware that if you hit a pothole that hasn't been reported to the local council and damage your car, you can't claim against the council because they can say they didn't know about it.

"We're advising drivers to inform the local council of any potholes, so they can be repaired and reduce the damage to other vehicles using the road."

For further information on the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles range of vans and passenger carrying vehicles, or any of the latest finance offers at Volkswagen Van Centre Citygate, call 0845 3460 008 or visit www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk/ van-centres/citygatecolindale.

Ian Proctor

COMPETITION QUESTION

To be in with a chance of winning the book, answer the following question:

* What road is Citygate Volkswagen Van Centre Colindale located on?

Simply send your answer along with your name, address and telephone number to: Volkswagen Competition, Harrow Observer, Trinity Mirror Southern, 89 Eastworth Road, Chertsey, KT16 8DX.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday, March 31. Normal TMS competition rules and regulations apply and the editor's decision is final.