Search This Blog

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Hong Kong

See .

The recent political unrest in Hong Kong could just fizzle out or result in one of 2 outcomes: firstly the Chinese could clamp down hard on Hong Kong along the lines of Tienanmen Square or secondly it could result in yet more liberalism. China is still dangerous and I fear the former:  don't rattle their cage too much.

Next week, my brother and his wife visit HK to see their daughter, husband and their child. I hope they steer clear of the troubles.

After all.since 1997 HK has been a special region of China with its repressive regime and one party rule.   Interestingly, the one party system seems to have done China plenty of good economically.

Black Friday - pure commercialism

Individually, practically every US citizen I have known has been kind, warm hearted and generous. I like them - they are genuinely a kind people.

But, why do we have to copy them all the time? We now seem to have adopted "Black Friday" which was unheard of until this year. Soon we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving holiday, just to copy them. Let us enjoy our uniqueness and not forever try to copy those in the USA.

Black Friday is pure commercialism and belongs in the gutter. It is "in your face" big time in the UK. Whilst having a good moan, why does Christmas start in October?

NHS - more money?

See .

Apparently the chancellor has found another £2bn for the National Health Service. To me, this seems like cynical electioneering.  Although I fully support the NHS - health care should NOT depend on the money one has - there is no doubt in my mind that billions could be saved each year if they learnt more from the private sector.

In particular, communication within the NHS and to its customers could be vastly improved. From just my own experiences and those close to me, I can see ways to save literally thousands. The more people I talk with, the more waste I hear about.

Career politicians

There seem to be far fewer UK politicians who are there for genuine altruistic reasons. Maybe it was never so and ALL politicians are/were there for their own gain?

I think not. In the past there seemed to be far more politicians in positions of power because they genuinely thought they could help build a fairer and better world. These days the House of Commons seems filled with toffs who went to public schools, work in share dealing or the big banks, make a career (on the side) of politics because they may be able to modify policies to their personal gain. Sadly, I think this applies to politicians of all parties. It is dangerous to generalise I know. I hope that those to whom we grant power to create and modify our laws do so with care,humility and for good reasons. It would be a very sad day if we totally lost faith in our Parliament.

Last night we went out with close friends to a concert at the West Road Music School in Cambridge given by the CCSO (City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra) and it was excellent.

See .

Their next concert is Feb 14th 2015.

Saturday, 29 November 2014


Yesterday, as the weather was mild and sunny, we decided to visit the grounds of Ickworth House, a National Trust property near Bury-St-Edmunds. It was very autumnal there with most trees now without leaves. Come the spring it will look quite different.

Middle East politics

The politics of the Middle East is hard to fathom. Over the years there have been plenty of injustices and many continue even now. I do NOT have the answers but wish that the people of the region could live in peace and mutual respect - many are different e.g. Arabs and Jews, yet surely more is gained by acceptance of each's right to exist than forever trying to annihilate the other?

It saddens me to see a region so troubled.

I wonder what will happen when the world learns to live without oil? Our heavy dependency on a peaceful Middle East will end. I suspect the West will just leave them to their own devices.

See . In Egypt I have no idea about the rights or wrongs of recent events, but I am pleased the judge dismissed charges of murder against Egypt's past president.  All should learn that forgiveness is the most powerful force in the world. It has always been so since the dawn of humanity.

Plebgate multi-millionaire?

According to The Times newspaper, the MP at the centre of the so called Plebgate scandal will be selling some of his property empire to fund his legal bill. Often reporting such matters is wrong but I don't wish to be ruled by people living in a parallel universe.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Falling oil prices

Oil prices continue to fall worldwide for many reasons.  See I think North Sea Oil is a minor part of our trade figures these days. Had Scotland become independent, the falling oil revenues might have been very serious.
"Welcome to the new world of oil," said Michael Wittner, Societe Generale's senior oil analyst. "Saudi Arabia and Opec will no longer be the mechanism to balance the market, they have relinquished that role. Instead, the market itself - prices, in other words - will be the mechanism to rebalance the market. We cannot overstate what a dramatic and fundamental change this is for the oil market."
I think this is good news. The Middle East is no longer holding the world to ransom. Also, we are (too) slowly weaning ourselves off oil.

Paedophile Doctor

See .

How sad that a doctor was so driven by his unhealthy sexual interest in young boys that he has ruined his career and is likely to face many years in gaol. His sentencing hearing has been adjourned until Monday when his fate is likely to be known.

I think questions need to be asked why he was able to commit his offences for so long. He betrayed trust and must face his punishment. It is sad he was not helped to overcome his addiction long ago.

Stroke update

In the last few weeks, I seem to have made little progress. I still find many liquids hard to drink, I still get giddy when walking and most physical activities exhaust me, although on many days my level of stamina may be a little better. I do so want to be back to my old self again.

Immigration and the Conservative party

With not long to the next General Election here in the UK, the Conservatives are now trying, against the odds, to win hearts and minds in the debate on immigration. The latest idea is to grossly restrict benefits for 4 years for people who immigrate to the UK. Unfortunately for a small island like ours (?) we find ourselves real magnet for people wanting to move within the EU. Those that move and work here help our economy with growth in the UK stronger than in the rest of Europe. Whether or not this latest idea will reduce nett inward migration I do not know.  UKIP is making its voice heard and the Conservative party is rattled.

I still have no idea which party to support in the General Election next year. The outcome is likely to be close with minor parties holding the balance of power or being asked to form a coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives.  I actually quite like David Cameron, but slightly prefer Labour values. Sadly I think the Labour leader is not too charismatic or good as a leader. Last time I voted for the Liberal Democrats.  In the EU elections (not first past the post) I voted Greens.

See .

Sepura (SEPU) shares and FTSE 100

Sepura (my old company) shares gained even more today to end up at 147p, 2% up on the day and the strongest level for some time now. After a day largely in negative territory, even the FTSE 100 index made very slight gains by the end of the day.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Sepura (SEPU) shares

Shares in my old company have increased in value by around 10% lately. Good, but they have been even higher.

La Hogue cafe

We went to place our Christmas order in the local farm shop, La Hogue,  and then stayed for lunch. For the first time (since my stroke) I managed a full coffee.  I also had a ham and cheese Panini with all the trimmings and managed most of it.

BBC and FTSE 100 data

See .

The BBC seems to have fixed its glitch with market data. Their main news page is again showing this information. For a few days it was either missing or wrong.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Royal Mail

Once upon a time, a letter posted locally in the morning would be delivered locally the very same afternoon. Not any more - just one delivery a day and most of that is JUNK delivered to help profits and promptly just binned. Such a WASTE. Collections are as bad. Things go backwards. Progress?

As far as I am concerned the post is like energy - an essential service that should not be run for profit. It seems odd to me that we have to have a postal service that is not cheap, is run to make profits and very dependent on JUNK mail. Stupidity.

BBC News and the FTSE 100 index

The main BBC News page seems to have given up on reporting the FTSE 100 stock index: for several days the BBC  reports have contained errors blamed on a  technical error. The BBC Business page seemsto be valiantly plodding on.

Now only 3 of the 4 stroke symptoms?

In the last couple of days I seem less tired.  This does vary though: 3 steps forward and 2 back etc.

Although my swallow of some (thin) liquids is not good and I still feel giddy when walking - although I do not fall - my level of fatigue seems (generally) lower. This is a good sign.

My speech is still hard to understand and I get very frustrated by this. To me, it sounds fine, but clearly others do not understand me. My wife says I need to sound first and last syllables more clearly and that I am very quiet.

My recovery is taking far longer than I expected.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My brain

I am still puzzled by my brain. Most mental functions seem fine, but when I do an email or blog post I seem slow to spot errors like spelling mistakes or missing full stops. Usually I try to correct errors before sending, but looking back I still spot mistakes that I've missed.

If you see errors please let me know. I want to correct the errors and know when my brain is not doing its job right.

Driving again

After a ban on car driving of around 14 months because of my brain bleed,  I am now allowed to drive again.

In the car I do not get giddy and feel safe, although I drive slower than before, at least for now. In the last year,things seem to have got faster, although I am sure this is me!  My wife thinks I should be wearing a hat!

Up to now, I have driven fairly locally and my wife is usually in the car with me. The exception for the last few weeks has been a solo drive to the Newmarket Road, Cambridge,  Park and Ride site, where I catch the bus into the city for my U3AC course on Human Evolution, a course I am really enjoying. For several years I was too busy for U3AC, but this year is different.

Although I am usually suffering from at least 2 of the following, it is good to be doing "normal" things again and mixing with healthy people.  My remaining issues are (1) giddiness when walking. (2) poor liquid swallow, (3) tiredness following physical work of ANY kind.  Today, I don't feel tired whereas for several days previously I had been totally exhausted.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Al Jazeera - news from the Middle East

Occasionally, it is good to get news from totally different sources. One example is to see how Middle Eastern broadcaster Al Jazeera has covered Ebola in recent weeks.

See .

Sometimes Al Jazeera has news that we never hear about on the BBC.  For example I had no idea that Tripoli airport in Libya was recently attacked by unidentified jets. If the BBC covered this then I must have missed it.

Nations spying

See .

It looks like some nation state is intent on stealing our data.   Regin is a newly discovered computer spyware program recently discovered by Symantic.

My voice

My poor speaking voice really frustrates me. On the phone I say, to me it is clearly, that my wife is out and "please ring after 2". Then the caller says, "when shall I call?". Darn it, I just told you, but you clearly did not hear me!

The problem is at my end - either I speak too fast or not clearly enough to be understood.  It really does cause so much confusion and frustration. Stroke! I have to learn to speak much slower and much more clearly.

Saving government money

Although I welcome my free bus pass and winter fuel allowance, I am sure money can be saved by targeting these at people in real need, and not just shelling these out to all over 60?

Surely they can address the winter fuel allowance another way, for example by increasing the tax free income allowance? Much lower cost and it targets those in most need.  Most would pay tax on this allowance whereas those on really low incomes would not pay tax.

Likewise free bus passes. Maybe a nominal sum for all trips (20p?) or only make the bus passes free for OAPs receiving an old age pension? Males over 60 but not yet getting an OAP would have to pay a bit longer.

On both these the government should be able to save millions. The free bus pass and winter fuel allowances are "good things",  but surely in this age of austerity they both need to be better targeted at those who really need them?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Immigration - the OTHER side of the story.

See .

A lot of UK citizens chose to live or retire in other EU countries. When we talk of restricting immigration into the UK we must remember that many also want to live elsewhere in Europe.

I think the real issue is we remain a very small, overcrowded, island.

Strictly Come Dancing

When a teenager I enjoyed ballroom dancing with my girlfriend Ann. It is very many years since I have danced. I really want to keep those memories as they were.  We made a good dancing couple.

These days, I watch "Strictly" on TV, but pretend not to! I hope Frankie wins as I vote for her most weeks on-line for free. Lis votes by phone.  Frankie looks a bit like my dear wife Lis when we first met. Frankie is a good dancer, of course.

"Strictly" is a "feel good" programme, ideal to cheer you up. I never take it too seriously. It is the nearest I come to reality TV.  I absolutely abhor "Big Brother". Every time I have (accidentally) watched small parts people are either sleeping or arguing. I just do not see what fun it is to watch.

Hamilton wins F1 championship
I do not follow F1 racing, but I see Lewis Hamilton has won the championship for a second time. I have no ideas what his future plans are. This remains a dangerous sport. I admire his bravery.

See .

UK immigration

See .

The Home Secretary has said on TV that UK immigration target are unlikely to be met.

The Conservatives published some very ambitious targets, that frankly, were a joke unless the immigration pattern was drastically changed. This remains a very contentious issue central to the next General Election. Making such STUPID claims about immigration targets serves no good at all.

We are a small, overcrowded, island and HAVE to be able to manage our immigration numbers. Currently we are a magnet for people and we need to understand just why this is so. I hope we can find a way of controlling immigration and stay in the EU, but if we don't we may have no choice but to leave.  If we go, others will follow us.

Incidentally, free movement within the EU means about 800000 UK people now live in Spain. It is not just people coming into the UK,although our small size makes net immigration an acute issue. Some skills we definitely need and this is likely to continue to be the case. We just need better controls, whether by looking at points, welfare or whatever.

I am no UKIP supporter, but I do understand the issues.

Grandchildren have gone home

Our "Kent" grandchildren and their parents have now returned home. They come to stay again before Christmas.

Although the house is now quiet, I am still very tired, as a result of my stroke. People tell me this will get better. I do hope so as I still get profoundly exhausted with any physical effort, quite unlike how I used to be.   I want to be able to do all I did with my grandchildren before,  but I get so exhausted.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Profound tiredness (stroke)

These last 2 days I have felt more tired than at any time I can remember. I think this related to my stroke, but I have been PROFOUNDLY exhausted.  I have no understanding just why I have felt so very tired.  I hope it will pass soon. I thought my tiredness was lifting, but like so much about my stroke, it keeps surprising me.

Friday, 21 November 2014

FTSE 100 and Sepura shares

With about 15 minutes until UK markets close, it looks as if the FTSE 100 index and Sepura (SEPU) shares will end the day in positive territory.  This year, both the FTSE 100 index and Sepura have lost some ground, but in recent weeks these losses are being clawed back.

 UPDATE 1900z:   Both the FTSE 100 and Sepura (SEPU) shares ended the day in positive territory.

UKIP recent successes

In the last few months, UKIP has gained its first 2 MPs taking votes from the Conservative, Labour and the Lib Dems. As I said before, in the General Election next spring it could all be very different At the moment  UKIP is picking up protest votes and this is unlikely to be the case in a General Election when people are electing the party to govern us for the next 5 years. Both the major parties will have been rattled by the results of the by-election results from Rochester and Strood. The Lib Dems did very badly indeed with the Greens polling higher than them.

See .

I still do not know who to vote for in the next General Election, but it will not be UKIP.   To me, this party is maybe OK as a protest, but it would be a disaster if they helped form the next government. They seem to stand for just one thing: get the UK out of the EC.  Personally, I believe our relationship with our European friends will change somewhat, but I hope we remain close partners with our friends in mainland Europe.

Stroke update

I had my cerebellum brain bleed (stroke) in Sept 2013 and in all honesty I was expecting to be fully fit again by now. I think my wife and I had no idea how serious this was and just how long recovery was going to take. Nearly 15 months on it is a mixed picture.

All my limbs, my eyes and ears and my cognitive functions seem to work OK. But I still have poor liquid swallow, poor speech, giddiness when walking and I tire on the least physical exertion such as washing dishes or gardening. My stamina is better than it was, but it is still far from right.  I am still clumsy.

I am told a full recovery is probable, but this will take time. This last year as been very hard. I sincerely hope 2015 will be a better year for us.  In summary, I have felt old suddenly. Until last year I felt as if I would last forever. Now I feel far more vulnerable.

God willing, I'll see quite a few more seasons yet. My greatest wish is to see my grandchildren grow. At the moment they are all very little.

Thursday, 20 November 2014


In WW2 my dad was a flight engineer in 582 squadron, flying Lancasters.  In his lifetime he rarely wanted to talk about those days.

Last night I went to a talk on the Pathfinders. My dad was incredibly brave and one of my greatest regrets was not telling him so.  He was lucky to survive the war. I can only imagine the sheer terror of getting into those cold, cramped planes in the dead of night knowing that he risked being killed over enemy territory on every raid.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

By Election this Thursday.

Tomorrow is the Rochester and Strood by-election. Although UKIP is expected to win, I think this would be a protest vote which could be reversed at the next General Election.   UKIP is a strange party: I can see why, between General Elections, it picks up protest votes. Voting in the party that will actually govern the nation is an altogether more serious matter.

See .

Sepura and FTSE 100 shares

Sepura (SEPU) shares rose again today ending up at 138p today. The FTSE 100 fell very slightly, but it would not surprise me if it returns to positive gains tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Dawlish Railway Station

See .

I cannot help but think this delightful line along the coast is going to have to go. It has been there for over 150 years and was once on Brunel's 7 foot gauge. At one time there was an inland route from Newton Abbot to Exeter but this was lifted about 50 years ago and now part of the A38 uses the route. The only other alternative would be to re-lay the Tavistock to Plymouth line. This would be expensive and would leave the Dawlish area with questionable rail services. I don't have the answers,  but think the time is drawing close when some serious decisions have to be made. One positive, it would create jobs whilst the line was being created.

FTSE 100 and Sepura

Markets puzzle me: on a day when inflation has risen slightly, the Middle East is likely to erupt in yet more violence, the world outlook is "challenging", the FTSE 100 index looks like ending 30-40 points higher!

Likewise, Sepura has today gained a few percent on recent days.

All odd.

UPDATE 1720z:  Brent Crude Oil (spot and futures) is now around $78 a barrel - very low.  The FTSE 100 ended the day 37 points higher.

Middle East

I fail to understand Hamas.

The latest attack on a Jewish synagogue is an open invitation for yet more revenge attacks in Gaza in which yet more innocents will be killed.

To my mind, such attacks serve no purpose and help to RUIN the cause of the Palestinians. Why do it?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Oscar Pistorius - appeal

The prosecutor in this case is appealing that the prison sentence is too lenient. Not being at the trial, it is hard to know if this is so. He is likely to be out under house arrest after about just 10months and that does sound not much for shooting dead someone. My inclination is to let South African justice take its course.

Weight loss

Since my brain bleed in Sept 2013 I have not been allowed to drink alcohol at all.  My weight has dropped from 12st 4lb to just over 11st, my ideal weight for my age and height. I am now allowed to drink alcohol again, but have yet to do so. When I do drink again, it will probably be just a very small glass of wine only.

Sunday, 16 November 2014


See  .

The latest G20 meeting seems to have "oiled wheels" on this trade deal between the USA and Europe. David Cameron is in a difficult place as the USA wants to deal with Europe and not with Europe less the UK and the UK.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of the G20 on climate change policies. Australia is the worst emitter of greenhouse gases and did not really want to talk about it.

Ebola latest

See .

The press seems to have generally taken less interest in Ebola in the last week. This may just be because they have focussed on other more news worthy stories, or perhaps the number of new cases really is dropping off? The latter seems hopeful, but with treatments starting to appear we can hope. If Ebola spreads across the planet it could be hard to control.

Guess who caught a cold?

Last week my wife caught a common cold. Yesterday, I got it. Usually, common colds cause sniffles, sore throats and general feelings of misery. They tend to go, in their own good time, after a few days. My worst effect is my throat which makes drinking even harder.  You may recall my stroke last year still makes drinks hard work. Food usually is not an issue these days.

See .

UPDATE 18.11.14:  cold has nearly gone now.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Sutton Hoo trip

Today, I made my longest trip yet since being allowed to drive again after my stroke. We went to Sutton Hoo a National Trust location which is the far side of Woodbridge, Suffolk where a famous ship burial was discovered in WW2.  This was a round trip of around 122 miles, mostly on the A14.  Driving was fine:  I get tired when walking, but in the car I am fine. Whilst there I managed some soup and bread.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Oscar Pistorius

There seems to be a lot of comments in the press saying that Oscar Pistorius may NOT be released to house arrest after 10 months because they cannot tag to his prosthetic legs. I am sure this is a solvable issue. What bothers me is the number of people who seem to want to be judge and jury and think he should stay in gaol for a very very long time. Not being part of the trial I think we should NOT judge.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Convicted rapist - training with Sheffield United?

If I was Sheffield United I would NOT allow a convicted rapist, now out from jail on licence, to train with the squad. In effect he has served only half his sentence so far and is only out of prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. Any misbehavior and he is back inside. He committed a very serious offence and so should be made to pay for this. He should not have committed rape. Come back later, maybe?

See .

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Dawlish railway line

It appears that huge cracks have appeared in the walls built to protect the railway line in Dawlish, Devon and big gales are forecast. I can see that a new inland route will HAVE to be built before long. The current route is one of the nicest train runs in the country but it will not withstand storms and rising sea levels for too much longer.

See .

Mildenhall Museum

Mildehall is about 11 miles from here and today we drove over to see the Museum there. It is quite a bit smaller than Burwell Museum but it opens more often and entry is free. In my view, Burwell is the better of the two, but Mildenhall Museum is worth seeing.

There are lots of artifacts on show including the bones of the Lakenheath Warrior and very good quality reproductions of the Mildenhall Treasure; the originals are in the British Museum in London.
Mildenhall Treasure (very good copies)

Landing on a comet

See .

The Rosetta project culminating in the landing of a probe on a small comet, is still in doubt as I write as the harpoons designed to secure it to the surface appear not to have fired. The landing probe may actually have landed twice, possibly bouncing off the surface before settling a second time but only just resting on the very low gravity surface. It may be several days before things become clearer.

UPDATE 18.11.14:  We have found out that an old friend was Project Manager on Rosetta at Astrium.  Although now retired, he was invited back in to follow the landing. and was on TV.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Van Gall exit?

See .

Somehow I cannot see Mr Van Gaal lasting too much longer as manager of Manchester United Football Club.   He has not had a great season so far. The question is who will replace him?

FTSE100 climbing again

After a bad patch, the FTSE100 stock index seems to be climbing again. It has been higher earlier in the year and could again fall back but at least it is heading in the right direction.
See .

Meanwhile, Sepura (SEPU) shares have fallen back a little further. I used to work for Sepura.
See .

Baking and a well

When our "London" grandchildren came to stay over the half-term week, our little granddaughter Amandine did some baking with my wife. Here she is busy in the kitchen.  She had a lovely time.
The second picture shows her with her brother examining the miller's well next to the Burwell Museum. What is it about well's that so fascinate children? All our grandchildren enjoy throwing coins into it. It is about 10m deep.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Our grandson is 7 tomorrow

It seems a blink of an eye since he was born, but our eldest grandson is 7 years old tomorrow!   I can remember the day he was born so well. We had a lovely day with him and his sister and cousins in London today.

The birthday cake
Lucien today. 7 tomorrow.

Fall of the Berlin Wall

See ./news/world-europe-29974950 .

It seems amazing that it is now a quarter of a century since the Berlin Wall was removed.  I well remember it going up in 1961 when east-west tensions were high.  My dad died a few years before the wall came down and communism collapsed.  Had he lived,  he would have been amazed. The old certainties went in 1989.

In some ways the world is a now more dangerous and uncertain place. We have to help forge a kinder and fairer world in the 21st century. The future is ours to forge. It won't be easy,  but it never was. In many ways we are better able to forge that brave new world now than ever before. It is up to us.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A new cold war?

Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that the world is on the brink of a new cold war with Russia. He now looks much older - not at all the fairly youthful leader we all came to like (LHS). Somehow I feel he is correct as the current leader of Russia seems to have got the date wrong.  Someone needs to explain to him that the USSR went a long time ago.

See .

That £1.7billion EC surcharge

I am unclear whether or not Chancellor George Osborne really got a reduction from the EC or not.  Mr Cameron's opposition parties are claiming it is all "smoke and mirrors" and the UK tax payer will have to pay the very same amount. To me, it does smack of political games.  Sad and pathetic.

See .

Wicken Fen walk

Wicken Fen lode - bleak in November!
This afternoon, we went for a walk, at a rather bleak, Wicken Fen. As it was starting to rain, we decided to walk a little way along the (non-NT) path to the left of the lode. We did not enter the main part of Wicken Fen, e.g. along the board walk. Wicken is the bleakest of the National Trust properties near our home. It is ideal in this sort of cold and windy, November weather.  Wicken Fen is rich in wildlife, but many times one has to look hard to see things. Just around the corner to the LHS beyond the image is a large hornets nest. We heard some talk of seeing snow buntings. I have seen these on the north Norfolk coast. Years ago I saw a bittern coming in to land at dusk.  A bittern is a sort of heron.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Poisonous garden plant

See .

The attractive flower called "Devil's Helmet" (aconitum) has been linked to the death of a gardener. Apparently, you have to be very unlucky unless you eat the roots but it is probably safer to avoid it. It is part of the buttercup family.


Today, we continued to tidy up the garden before winter sets in. It now has an autumnal look with leaves falling and summer plants pulled up. The last sweet peas were taken up Nov 4th.  These, along with the cosmos, were a great success and we'll try these again next summer.

Yesterday we planted an evergreen holly.  This should look good all year around.

FTSE100 and Sepura shares

The FTSE100 seems to be regaining some of the ground it lost in recent weeks. It has still some way to go to make up all the losses but it has been better in recent days.

Sepura shares (SEPU) though seem to be slowly falling, with them valued at 134p the last time I looked. SEPU was up to 150p earlier in the year. It is over 6.5 years since I retired from Sepura - I find this amazing and I am totally out of touch nowadays.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Should Ed Miliband (Labour leader) step down?

As a real "floating voter" I honestly have no idea which party I shall be voting for in the General Election next year.  I have some sympathy with some of the policies of each party. We need to cut our deficit (we are living beyond our means), we need some control over our population explosion (mainly as a result of net immigration), the EC is still a mess etc.. I have no idea whether or not we should quit the EC. There are good points and bad about it. It is not what we joined years ago and I feel it lacks something.

At the moment, I am not happy with the leader of the Labour Party. Ed Miliband, who was elected Labour leader some years ago.  He seems poor: his speeches and actions seem weak and ineffective. There is some pressure for him to be replaced, but by whom? I scratch my head trying to think of a better Labour leader to replace him. The choice is poor. We lack real charismatic leaders in waiting. All seem to be "also rans".

No single party fits "my bill". In a way another coalition government would be good.  UK General Elections are "first past the post" unlike the recent European Elections in which I voted Green, but voting for the Greens in a General Election is likely to be wasted, in this constituency certainly.  I need to vote for a party that has a realistic chance of being "first past the post". That means voting Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Labour. Although I quite like David Cameron, I feel the Conservatives are more in favour of the rich, whereas Labour is more concerned with "the common man". Lib Dems, we are told, will lose lots of seats. I cannot abide UKIP, who seem a "one issue" joke party.

See .

Anglesey Abbey - Nov 6th 2014

This morning we went for an autumn walk at Anglesey Abbey, our local National Trust property. In the weeks, it is quiet and at this time of year a lovely place for a walk. Even at weekends, there are plenty of places to roam to get away from others.

Actually, it is beautiful at any time of year: there is always sometime to see in the gardens, and the house is also lovely. See .
Anglesey Abbey - Nov 6th 2014

Windmill at dawn

We are very lucky to live overlooking a restored 200 year old windmill. The sails turn some Thursdays and Sundays.

This was the view from our kitchen window early today, before breakfast time with the autumn sun shining on the mill from the east.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Safer cycling

I know of 2 decent local cyclists who were killed by cars. In my view headphone use should be totally BANNED when cycling, it should be compulsory to wear bright, reflective clothing and a cycling hat should be a legal requirement. Also if cycling lanes are provided their use should be compulsory. Cycles and cars are NOT good together.

It is true that most accidents are a result of motorised vehicle driver error, but cyclists often make it harder for motorists because the cyclist is hard to see. Cyclists give yourself a decent chance!

Senate now under Republican control in the USA

See . After mid-term elections in the USA the Republicans now control the US Senate. This must weaken the powers of President Obama, who is , of course, a Democrat.

I keep out of US politics but the so called Tea Party faction does seem to be a group of head-cases.

Last sweet peas

Yesterday (Nov 4th) we cut our last bunch of sweet peas from the garden. They have been flowering since June. We have put a fresh vase of sweet peas on the kitchen table every few days since June. This is a picture of Lis with this last bunch.  We'll grow more next year.

Also, our cosmos flowers have been good.  We took them out a week ago to make way for daffodil bulbs. Every day Lis dead-headed these at a rate of about 100 dead heads a day!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Rolls Royce cutting 2600 jobs

Sad news that Rolls Royce is to cut 2600 jobs next year. It is not yet fully clear where the jobs will go but most probably the aerospace division.

In WW2 my dad was a flight engineer in the Pathfinders, flying Lancasters with Rolls Royce Merlin engines. He was very lucky to survive the war. Many brave men did not survive the war on both sides. Wars are always a tragic waste of lives. WW2 was no exception. Fighting the evil of the Nazis was arguably "right" but many innocent people on both sides lost lives as a result. Was there a better way?  My dad rarely spoke of his war years. I think it troubled him that innocents died as a result of his actions.

See for more on Rolls Royce job losses.

FTSE 100 volatility

The UK stock exchange has been very volatile in recent weeks. After a few days of improvement, today it fell a bit further. This matters for those who have pension funds tied up in the fortunes of such companies. I think the other UK stock markets have been up and down recently (more down than up). If the UK decides to leave the EU in a few years' time, I wonder what will then happen?

Lewis Hamilton

It looks like Lewis Hamilton plans to do charitable woek when he retires from Formula 1 racing in the very near future.

See .

Stomach PEG removed - no pain during operation

I was in Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, this morning, to have my stomach feed tube (PEG) removed. As I was sedated it was totally painless. My worry beforehand was totally unnecessary.  I think I fell asleep as, apart for the initial things on the op trolley (being sedated by cannula into the back of my hand and insertion of my mouth guard) I was unaware of everything until I was recovering afterwards. Another stroke milestone for me. Still get giddy when walking, tired and speaking is hard work. Unthickened drinks are not easy. But I can eat most foods, all by mouth and, gradually, things are getting better.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Stomach PEG removal tomorrow.

All being well my stomach PEG (feeding tube) should be removed tomorrow. It has been in place almost a year since the day I was told I might NEVER be able to eat foods by mouth ever again. That was a day of many tears but thankfully I have eaten all food by mouth since June.

Chicago tightrope walker - he must be mad!


All I can say is "rather him than me"! See the daring feat of this person in Chicago, USA.

Sepura shares

These lost some ground last month, but they seem to be recovering a bit.  The last time I looked they had risen to 137p a share.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Fossil fuels must be phased out

See .

Fossil fuels must be stopped by 2100 or we face the prospect of irreversible climate change according to the IPCC. We need global agreements FAST.

Will we leave the EU?

See .

So Germany would rather see us leave the European Community than modify immigration rules. It now looks quite possible that, following a David Cameron referendum in 2017 (assuming he forms the next government) we could exit the EC/EU. We have always been "on the edge" in more than just the physical sense (as an island). I have no idea how this would impact the UK. We may end up better or worse as a result. For good reasons, the UK has never quite got on board "the European experiment". On this issue, I really have no idea how such a referendum would go.

Recent history might suggest we might be OK, but really no-one knows.

From the BBC website:

This is the first time that Mrs Merkel has acknowledged that the UK's exit from the EU is possible, Der Spiegel said.

According to the Sunday Times, Germany has already rejected a proposal to impose quotas on low-skilled EU migrants by limiting the national insurance numbers issued to them.

Der Spiegel reported that Mr Cameron was now looking at a plan to stretch the EU rules "to their limits" in order to ban migrants who do not have job, and to deport those who are unable to support themselves after three months.

On Sunday, Conservative MP and former justice secretary Kenneth Clarke defended EU migration.
"If you're going to have a sensible single market, if we want to compete with the Americans and the Chinese and so on and modern world, we need the free movement of labour," he told BBC's Sunday Politics.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "The prime minister will do what is right for Britain, as he has repeatedly made clear."

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The "new" Tides Reach Hotel, Salcombe, S.Devon

South Sands is about 2 miles out of Salcombe, S.Devon. There is currently a proposal to redevelop the Tides Reach Hotel located there at a cost of £13.5 million. If successful, the locals are hoping more jobs will be created for locals, but most hotel work attracts immigrant workers on minimum wages, shipped in from outside the area. It is very unlikely to provide many jobs for real locals.

To my mind, it looks a typical Spanish hotel like those found on the costas - grossly out of keeping with the surroundings. Salcombe is in danger of being developed in such a way that its unique identity will be forever lost.

If you want to see the proposals and comment see: 

I can see the hotel being converted to luxury apartments at a later date.