MT Business Lifeforms: The self-made man

Derek Tarling may look like a Costa-tanned rich geezer but he's a real diamond.

To visit Derek Tarling's Surrey estate is to enter the land that taste forgot. Stone-effect lions flank the gates. A Versailles planting 'n' portico scheme takes you up to a Tudorbethan pile that looks like a Barratt home on steroids. Mercifully, the superannuated Footballer's Wife that is Mrs T put her stilettoed foot down when it came to a novelty doorbell chime.

Tarling himself does not disappoint. He's portly, with a Costa complexion and shiny suit. Fond of a drink, enjoys a cigar, likes his golf, loves his motors, votes Tory, hates Tony, loves Spain, hates the EU ... In fact, if you want stereotypes, we're not doing badly: Derek seems the self-made archetype - the scrap metal merchant (in his case, fresh produce haulier) made good, a fat, happy ex-yobbo living the life of Riley, cocking a snook at the middle-class business types, who despise and envy him in equal measure.

But who is the businessman behind the man?

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