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Friday, 30 January 2015

Deport them NOW!

See .

4 men are jailed for kicking in a lecturer's face so badly that he needed reconstructive surgery. Why not deport these common thugs now? Why do we have to pay their board and lodgings "at her majesty's pleasure" for even a single day? They have no right to be here.

Catholic Church and C. of E. out of step?

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Is the world flat?  Was it created in 7 days? Is the evidence of fossils all wrong? Yet again we seem to be having a Canute moment within the main churches. DNA engineering could prevent thousands of needless deaths. Sorry, C.of E. and the Catholic Church, but I think you are totally wrong.

Syrian hostages?

The fate of the Japanese reporter and the Jordanian pilot under the threat of execution in Syria seems to have gone "off the radar". There is no BBC news on this so far today and even has no information. I wonder if news agencies have been asked to say nothing? I do hope for a peaceful outcome.

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Our neighbour's garage

Garage footings under construction
Our next door neighbour is having a garage built next to his bungalow. It is not in our view and it will not affect us. Sadly access to this is disputed between him and our local museum who own part of the access track he wants to use, as I understand things.

I don't want to get involved in the dispute as I am friendly with both sides. It seems to be a dispute that could so easily have been avoided though.  Silly how such petty arguments can be the cause of so much distrust and bad feeling. If it had been me I'd have put the garage in the same place but gone in directly from the road instead, thereby avoiding all the bad feelings created.

FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 share index has fallen this morning, although it may be staging a bit of a comeback?  Sepura shares (my old company) also seem to be sliding a bit too.

Snow - at last

We get very little snow over here these days. Today we had the first real snow of the winter, although amounts were small by the standards elsewhere in the UK. This photo was taken this morning around breakfast time.

UPDATE 1525z:  All our snow has now gone. Winters over here are far less severe than they used to be.  Global warming? If we get even a few days with snow on the ground is now the exception. If the wolrd is warming, it could be critical later in the century. The evidence does seem to be pointing to a warming world, although the increase has perhaps stalled in the last 10 years. The sooner we stop subsidising fossil fuels and adapt to renewable energy sources the better.

At one time we could count on at least a couple of weeks of real snow. Last winter we only had a couple of mild frosts. I am not complaining, but if the world

Thursday, 29 January 2015

MH370 mystery

The Malaysia airliner disappeared 6 months ago and not a single trace of it has been found. It is presumed tragically lost in an accident with total loss of life of all on board, somewhere in the South Indian Ocean. Conspiracy theories continue, and will continue, until some evidence of its crash is found.  It is surprising that nothing at all has been seen.  By now I would have expected something to have been spotted.

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Stroke update

Last year I was expecting to be fully back to my old self well before now. As it is, I am still some way from that position. Overall, I think I am still improving, but the big leaps I was expecting don't seem to be happening. Perhaps I should be satisfied with slow, small, moderate steps?   I still feel as if I am living in a bit of a dream world, I still feel drunk when walking (feel giddy), still tire easily, and drinking thin liquids is still not easy.

Overall, I am getting slowly better, but perhaps I should expect to be left with a level of disability and will be pleasantly surprised when I get fully fit again. Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic? Whatever, I am not giving up: I want my "old self" back again this year.

FTSE 100 down today?

London's FTSE 100 share index is currently down 58 points, probably as a result of Greek default fears and its impact on trade into the Eurozone. Currently it seems to be stabilising down.

UPDATE 2204z:   The FTSE 100 share index ended the day 0.22% lower than yesterday.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Lavenham, Suffolk

The Swan Hotel in Lavenham (see image RHS) was where our younger son and his wife had their wedding reception. Years before I came here on a course. Food was fabulous and after a week I had put on 8 lbs.

Today we visited Lavenham and ate a simple lunch at the Angel Hotel opposite the Guildhall. It had recently gone back to being a real pub with soup and sandwiches on the lunchtime menu.

Weather was January! 5-6 deg C, rainy and miserable, although it brightened up after lunch with a cold, biting wind.

Anti-Jewish feelings?

It saddens me that so many Jewish people find the UK is anti-Semitic but many Jews chose to live apart: separate schools, avoidance of eye contact in the streets (try it - it took 15 minutes or more in a Jewish part of north London to make any eye contact and the Jew who eventually did make eye contact was shocked!). Sorry, but in an inclusive society all groups must try to integrate. This applies to all groups and not just Jewish people.  By the way, some of the kindest people I know are Jewish. I am all for love and kindness between all peoples.


I continue to be puzzled by the Euro and the fact that so many different economies have been prepared to share the same currency when their underlying economic strengths are so different. Take for example Germany and Greece whose economies are poles apart. At the present time the Pound to Euro exchange rate is very favourable. One pound Sterling buys about 1.33 Euros. Greece has said today it will not default on its loans,but how will it pay its debts?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Auschwitz - 70 years on since liberation

Some years ago I visited Auschwitz. Even in the 21st century this Nazi death camp still gave me shivers. It is a miserable place and during WW2 it must have been horrific.

Today, hatred of the Jews seems to be on the increase. I have no sympathy for Israel's position over Gaza and Israel's position on the Palestinian people. All I wish is that everyone can respect the views of others and of their right to exist and worship as they wish, even if they chose to do so differently. Life is too short for hatred.

Arab, Christian, Jew? It matters not. What matters is we all share this little planet together, and should do so  in peace.

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Park and Ride

Every Tuesday I drive into Cambridge (Newmarket Road Park and Ride) where I pick up the Park and Ride bus into Cambridge, where I attend my U3AC course called "Maps in the Computer Age". It is an excellent course with good supporting notes and links. Apart from the £1 to park, travel into the city is free as I have an OAP bus pass.

Visit by son and granddaughter

Today our son and granddaughter visited us from London. It was good to see them both. She is very good at 24 piece jigsaws on the iPad. She did about 6 or 7 without any help whilst sitting on my lap. Seeing them always cheers me up. She is 4 in May.

Monday, 26 January 2015

FTSE 100

Amazingly, the FTSE 100 share index ended the day slightly higher than it started, despite the turbulence of the Greek's voting into power a government that is mostly composed of the far-left Syriza party that wants to renegotiate its bailout terms.

NHS poor communications

I have concluded (yet again) that NHS communications is very bad. My speech therapy sessions were cancelled out of the blue (no reasons given). When I tried to email the address given it bounced ("not recognised"). So I tried another email address given on their website and again this bounced ("not recognised").

Also, I found out today of someone awaiting a rearranged chemo session for cancer who was asked to phone first but for a whole hour the phone was not answered! The appointment the previous day was cancelled as "everyone has gone home".  Sorry but NHS communications is unbelievably poor. Nobody takes ownership. Frankly it is CRAP.

The NHS needs to smarten up its communications. If this was the private sector, there would be ownership (individual responsibility) and someone would be sacked if things did not improve.

Every day, the NHS probably throws away millions of unnecessary pounds. The sheer waste is staggering.

I believe in the NHS but get very frustrated by the evident inefficiency.


Against all currencies, apart from the Euro, the pound is stronger. I was expecting the pound to strengthen against the Euro today following the Greek vote yesterday. Markets are fickle! Even the FTSE 100 share index has hardly changed. It has bounced around all day but, at the moment, is little changed all day.

Greece (more)

So the left wing Syriza party was just short of an overall governing majority and has formed a coelition with a far right anti-austerity party. The next few months will be critical for the Euro - will Greece pay its debts and will it leave the Euro? - and how will Greece cope? Will the coelition of far right and left work? The calm before the storm?

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Sunday, 25 January 2015


I am not sure what to make of Greece. Life currently is very hard for the Greeks with great austerity and very high unemployment. On the other hand they say "you reap what you sow". For years tax avoidance had become a way of life. Their future will become even more uncertain with a very left wing Syriza government.

RSPB bird count - again

I am repeating my 1 hour bird count today, this time at the front of our bungalow overlooking the grass patch, hedges and windmill near our local village museum. I expect to see fewer birds, but it will make an interesting comparison. 

This morning, there was a crow actually on the birdtable and a red-legged partridge underneath.   Both were missing from my count yesterday!

UPDATE 1725z Although there were fewer species spotted at the front (4 rather than 6) the number of starlings was much higher as there is a roost on the windmill sails. I saw 26 unique starlings but had this been an hour later it would probably been 100+.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

RSPB birdcount weekend

Any 1 hour, record max number of each species seen in period. Last year just 1 wood pigeon! At previous house often saw 10-12 species.  Weather was setting full sun, about 5 deg C.

This year, 6 species recorded late PM (3.10 to 4.10pm):
  • 2 dunnock, 
  • 6 starlings,
  • 5 wood pigeon,
  • 1 blackbird, 
  • 3 mallard, 
  • 2 black headed gulls.
NOT seen, but often seen in garden, were long tail tits, blue tits, great tits, robins, jackdaws, rooks, crows, red legged partridges,chaffinches,collared doves.

Saudi Arabia - double standards?

Lots of double standards over the death of King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia as world leaders fly in to show their respects. Why does the cynic in me say this has more to do with arms and the oil trade? At the same time this "nation" is brutally beating a moderate blogger with 1000 lashes after Friday prayers most weeks and it has subjected him to 10 years in jail. Cameron, Obama and other world leaders - use your influence on the new king! I know Middle East politics is complex, but this punishment is brutal and not in keeping with the 21st century and true democratic values, Saudi Arabia should change.

Friday, 23 January 2015

7 party TV election debate?

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It looks likely that one of the TV election debates will include representatives from 7 main parties. There is also a debate planned between Ed Milliband and David Cameron.

Cambridge United v Manchester United in the FA Cup 4th round

This match was on BBC TV this evening.

Humble little Cambridge United (non-league until this season) held mighty Manchester United to a 0:0 draw and win a replay, worth an estimated £1.5M to Cambridge, at Old Trafford. It was a great game and Cambridge outclassed the Premier League team for quite a lot of the time. Well done Cambridge!

Greece - Sunday's election

At the moment Syriza, the left wing party, looks set to win in Greece on Sunday. If so, an exit from the Euro, and the EU, is possible. This could have dramatic ramifications for both Greece and the rest of the EU, including the UK.

Saudi King Abdullah dies

So the 90 year old king, the longest serving king in the world, has died and he is being succeeded by a 79 year old. Many are praising the old king. Call me stupid if you like, but to me he represented a backward, if oil rich, nation that still does not like the idea of women driving cars! We were friends with this dictator because he had lots of oil and bought our fighter jets. Sorry, but I wish this place would become a fair society for all its citizens. It has some way to go. The 10 year jail term and 1000 lashes in public after Friday prayers for a moderate blogger, says a lot to me. Move forward. The world expects more humility and kindness please. The world does not want you to be another USA, but it does expect all nations to respect its citizen's right to freely express views.

The new king promises "continuity".  What does that mean?   Little change?   See .

FTSE 100 - modest gains this morning?

At lunch time the FTSE 100 share index was still in positive territory - just.  At the moment it is anyone's guess how it will end the day, but barring any shocks, it is likely to end the day little changed.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Public life on show

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It must be so hard being right in the public eye as with Prince Andrew this week. Whatever the truth, it costs money and time to defend a reputation. I am quite pleased to be just me, a nondescript blogger.

Climate change again

We were meant, according to the newspapers, to be having our coldest winter in the UK for over 100 years.  It was all down to the position of the Jet Stream. Well, although some parts have had snow on the ground, we have had just a few snow flurries and not a single day yet with snow staying on the ground. Last winter was very mild with only a couple of mild frosts and no snow. I know things could yet change, but I doubt we are in for a very bad winter.

There is plenty of evidence that the world's climate is changing and our winters, here in the UK are, on average, getting less cold. I am basically a believer that the world's climate is changing, but I remain to be convinced by some of the worst projections. Another 10-20 years of data should indicate what will happen. In the meantime, we should be seriously moving away from fossil fuels.

UK crime figures down again?

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According to the official statistics, recorded crime is down yet again in England and Wales. I am a bit suspicious of the figures. Is crime really lower or is it just that the police don't record crimes as they used to (it would spoil their numbers) or that people no longer report all crimes? If correct, this is good news. It certainly does not feel safer, although we have, thankfully, not been a victim of recent crime.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

FTSE 100 jumps

The FTSE 100 jumped 1.63% today meaning it has almost made up ground recently lost. With great uncertainty in the Eurozone, especially with elections coming up in Greece, further big falls are possible in the weeks ahead.

Free upgrade to Windows 10

Apparently Microsoft is offering users a free upgrade (for 1 year) to its soon to be released Windows 10 operating system. I am unclear whether users have to pay for the upgrade after the first year or whether it remains free for early adopters. Microsoft jumped from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. There has been a low uptake of Windows 8 and 8.1.

See .

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Our local windmill and museum

Today, the volunteers at our local museum moved the hut, where people pay an entrance fee,  to nearer the windmill. The fully restored windmill is now part of a museum visit. The volunteers are also busy making a real cafe.

See .

Monday, 19 January 2015

Summer holidays

We are trying to book a cottage near a sandy beach somewhere in England that we can share with one of our sons and his family. It is proving quite hard.

At present, my poor health means I really don't want to drive too far. By the summer I may feel better, but I was expecting to be well last year and it did not happen. We thought we'd secured a place on the Isle of Wight but this was an error and it was already booked the week we wanted.

I'd be happy to go to a village in Norfolk (on the coast) as I could manage the drive without stress.

FTSE 100 and Sepura shares

So far this morning the FTSE 100 share index has been up and down, but remained in positive territory.

Sepura shares (my old company before I retired almost 7 years ago) have gone down very slightly, but are still pretty good.

Climate change?

There seems little doubt that our climate is changing, but opinions seem very polarised between those who are very worried by this and those who who see it as little threat. One issue is that the world has, apparently, warmed less than expected and sea levels have risen less than suggested.

I am open-minded, but tend to side with those who think we should consume less carbon dioxide and fossil fuels. If the world became more hooked on renewable energy sources it would be no bad thing.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Al Jazeera

Often it is good to see news from a different perspective. Often Al Jazeera carries news that is not on the BBC at all, or way down so you rarely find it. Al Jazeera is an Arab broadcaster based in the Middle East.

Beating polio in Pakistan

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There seems to be a campaign in parts of Pakistan that has been holding back vaccinations to eradicate polio. Pakistan is one of the few remaining places where this has not been wiped out. Those stopping these vaccinations must be ignorant. Vaccinations are not a Western plot: they help stop people dying or being maimed for life. It is particularly cruel to children. Please, allow people to be vaccinated.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

First whisky in a very long time

Since my cerebellum brain bleed (Sept 2013) I have not been allowed to drink alcohol until shortly before Christmas. I used to enjoy red wine (in moderation) but now it tastes sharp and unpleasant. This week I have again been enjoying a little bread and cheddar at night, so this evening I tried, for the first time since Sept 2013, a very small glass of whisky. Although it went down OK, it was not pleasurable.  Maybe the pleasure will return with time.  At the moment I get very little pleasure drinking alcohol. Perhaps this is a good thing?

Blog numbers

This puzzles me.  For days they remain "average" and then suddenly, for no good reason, the numbers nearly double.  Perhaps the blog gets mentioned somewhere and this attracts new visitors? The post content always varies, so I very much doubt it is this. There have been few external links in my recent posts, so I don't think it is people leaving and returning and being double counted.  My amateur radio blog attracts about 10 times more visitors than this blog.

Top of the hill

Being in East Anglia, hills are in short supply. Our bungalow, right next to the windmill, is on an East Anglian hill, although those living in the West or Wales would think our "hill" was just a small bump. We live on the highest spot in the village nonetheless. Views from the top of our roof are very good and even better high up in the windmill.

Rose pruning time

This afternoon, as it was bright and sunny, I decided to prune the roses at the front of our bungalow. There have been several flushes of roses with the last one at Christmas. I pruned them back heavily last winter and this was obviously the right thing to do. There are those who advocate careful trimming back to just above the growing points and others who advocate simply slashing them back. I am somewhere in between.   It probably depends on the rose type. Anyway, they are now pruned and the proof will come with the new growth.

A walk to the local baker and local butcher this afternoon was good for the walk in the cold January sunshine, but both closed at lunch on Saturday, so I came back empty-handed!

Errors or typos?

Almost every time I do a blog post, write an email, or post on Facebook, I seem to make at least one error that I have to go back later to correct. This may be a simple typo or perhaps my stroke leaves me unable to spot errors quickly? Either way, I try to correct the mistake as soon as I do spot it. This seems to be nearly every time I post.  Let me know if you see any I've missed please.

The most common errors are "i" and "o" interposed, extraneous full stops and "m" and "n" interposed. These could be my poor keyboard skills and nothing more, but I'm sure I'm more error-prone than I was.

Snow shower

As we awoke this morning there were quite big snowflakes falling. I took a few pictures, but you cannot even see the snowflakes!  Within an hour the snow had stopped and now there is no sign of it.  It is pretty cold outside and snow later is possible.  So far, our winter has been just about snow free and quite moderate.  It could all change.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Saudi floggings

Sorry, but Saudi Arabia has done itself, and Islam, no favours at all by choosing to give a moderate blogger 1000 lashes and a long prison sentence. If I had my way we would cease all trade with this barbaric place. I gather that (because of media outrage?) they are to review his case. Allah be praised!

See .

Saudi Arabia comes across as a medieval society, best avoided. If they want to improve their image in the 21st century they know full well what to do.

Where I lived as a child

As I child, I was brought up in Salcombe, Devon. To this day it remains a very beautiful place. This video by Birds Eye View Productions shows Salcombe from the air with videos created by drones.

Longer days

Already the evenings are about 30 minutes lighter than they were and the rate of increase speeds up as we get further through the month. I noticed that quite a lot of daffodils are in bloom in Cambridge. Well before the end of January is very early indeed.

By mid February, when we do our walk at nearby Landwade, we expect to see all manner of winter flowers in bloom.

See .

Ascent of Man U3AC course

Mid afternoon, I start my second U3AC course (University of the Third Age in Cambridge) in Cambridge this academic year. It is called "Ascent of Man" following the work of Jacob Bronowski  who did a TV series some years ago. I recently got a second hand copy of the hardback book which accompanied the series. It was much cheaper than a new paperback copy.

The University of the Third Age has a huge range of courses in Cambridge. We are very lucky.

UPDATE 1745z:  The course was very disappointing. Also we almost immediately divided into 4 groups of 3 to discuss questions and formulate answers.  This is a format I just detest and with my poor voice I find discussing topics very hard. The lecturer was not very good as well.  I may change courses. Already I have contacted the U3AC office to check availability on another course.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Rising shares?

Sepura (SEPU) shares ended up at, what I believe is, their highest ever level today at 154.5p. Also after a dodgy morning the FTSE 100 share index ended up with gains on the day.

Relaunching the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Computer

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A Nottinghamshire company is to relaunch the world famous ZX Spectrum computer with an SD slot and preloaded with thousands of games. The project has the blessings of Sir Clive Sinclair.

Very many years ago I was approached by Sir Clive to advise on antennas for his tiny TV. This was back in the 1970s. It was nice to be asked for help! He was interested in a joint venture on ICs at the time with Pye Telecom.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

FTSE 100 - heavy falls today

The FTSE 100 share index fell 2.54% today - a very bad day indeed. Let us hope the index stages a recovery. Forecasts of the index being over 7000 by the year end look very hopeful at the moment.

North Norfolk

Before I had my brain bleed, my wife and I made a point of going out "somewhere different" mid-week, usually on a Wednesday. Today we restarted doing this again and we went to lovely North Norfolk. There was actually a thin covering of snow up there although we have had no snow here so far. It was a lovely bright, but very cold, day.

We stopped at Castle Acre on the way but our usual coffee stops were closed so we went on Kelling where the old school is a tea room and bookshop. We have been there many times, but not since before my illness. I managed a tomato soup, 2 egg sandwiches  and an unthickened coffee and we bought a book and some chutney.

It was so good to be back doing our "old" things again.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

FTSE 100 up

Surprisingly, to me, the FTSE 100 share index is currently up about 36 points. I thought it would start lower (it did) but it has been climbing most of the morning so far.  Perhaps the low UK inflation figures (0.5%) have helped? In mainland Europe, in the Eurozone, they are worried by deflation i.e. falling prices. The recent UK low inflation is mainly due to falling fuel prices.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Wrist healing

Our granddaughter broke her wrist last week and today she had her plaster cast changed. She seems fine by all accounts.  All being well, she will be healed in about six weeks' time.

When I broke my leg years ago it hurt for a few days only at the start.

I see her dolly also broke her wrist too! I expect she will enjoy nursing her dolly and will want to be a nurse when she is a grown up. She's a tough cooky and a damaged wrist will be little handicap. Bath time must be a challenge though keeping the cast dry.

Cyber attack on US military Twitter account

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IS has hacked the Twitter account of the US Central Command and the Twitter account has been taken down. I don't know the full details, but you would expect better security from these people. A wake-up call certainly. As the BBC say they did not hack into the most secret parts, but no doubt extra layers of security will now be added. Cyber crime is now a real war-ground in the 21st century.

UK Ebola nurse no longer critical

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The good news today is that the nurse in the UK is slowly improving and is no longer described as "critical".  I do hope her recovery continues and she gets back to full health very soon.  She must have been very frightened but at the same time she knew her treatment in the UK would be better than she would have had in West Africa.

There are slight signs that the disease has peaked and an end to the West African outbreak may be in sight. It will be many months before we can be sure.

France - after the terror attacks

France is a traumatised nation. Its people have witnessed cold blooded murder in the name of (false) Islam. Most Muslims think the atrocities totally wrong and that they are against everything they believe and stand for. It amazes me that these extremists believe they will be rewarded for their acts in paradise. I'd think the opposite. I suspect most Muslims do too.

What I hope is that France can gather strength and comfort from the unity rallies across France over the weekend - the turnouts were huge - but that the far right does not gain support as a result of these (very few) extremists. It is quite possible that this will happen, in which case the terrorists have literally "shot themselves in the foot" and they will have achieved the absolute opposite of what they (misguidedly) set out to achieve.

In the end, good will triumph over the evil done by a misguided few. Nonetheless, all nations need to be fair to all citizens who all deserve to be treated with value and dignity.

FTSE 100

This morning, the FTSE 100 share index is hovering above its close but is very up and down. A guessing man would say, ignoring any dramatic news, that it may end the day perhaps a little up on the day. Of course, anything is possible but it does not appear to be moving too far today, well so far.

UPDATE 1342z:   The index has just moved into negative territory.

UPDATE 2232z: At the end of the day it was 0.28 higher, so virtually no change after a yo-yo day. Looking at the USA markets, I think the FTSE 100 will start lower.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Nice football story

See .

A Bristol City fan has been able to watch his favorite team for free all season from the roof of his shed.

Huge support of French anti-terrorist rally

Over 1 million people were on the streets of Paris today to show their total revulsion with recent terrorist attacks in that city.   This included many world leaders.

See .

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Tax return (continued)

I completed my online tax return today but will check it over tomorrow before actually submitting it. I really should have done it earlier, but kept putting  it off. This is an annual task that has to be done, but my "foggy" brain (as a result of my brain bleed) does not help. I am pretty sure it is right.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Saudi "justice"?

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The news that Saudi Arabia is to publicly flog a liberal blogger every Friday outside a mosque until he has received 1000 lashes (50 lashes every Friday) filled me with horror. I thought Islam was a religion of compassion?

Tax return woes

My tax return (online) is due at the end of the month and I have been struggling with it all day. The main problem is finding all the data I need. I should complete it tomorrow, but it is a task I do not like doing. I actually started before Christmas but I usually do it earlier.

Charlie Hebdo hunt: Police storm both hostage sites

According to the BBC, French police have stormed the two French hostage sites, and killed the men who killed twelve at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris. Details are sketchy. What I fail to understand is just how these killers have such certainty of paradise when so many (the vast majority) of the Muslim community believe they have done great wrong. I would not choose death in such circumstances.

See .

Thursday, 8 January 2015

UK Ebola nurse latest

The last I heard, the UK nurse who became infected with Ebola in West Africa is likely to remain "critical" for some time. I do so hope that she fully recovers. That she is still alive must give us hope.

See .

USAF to leave Mildenhall, Alconbury and Molesworth bases

This will impact our local economy but I am not sorry to see the US leave these bases. They were always sinister places that gave me the creeps driving past.

There was some talk of moving Marshalls plane repairs from Cambridge to Mildenhall. I guess that becomes more feasible now? Of course the negative impact of these places closing as USAF bases is a loss of thousands of local jobs It also means lettings of homes to US airbase personnel will end too.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Ebola - UK nurse still critical

See .

The UK nurse who caught ebola whilst treating others in West Africa is still described as "critical". She is receiving experimental treatment, but the outcome is uncertain. We all hope she makes a full recovery.

Speech therapist

Today, a new speech therapist called and she has set up further sessions most weeks during January and early February. The good news is she can tell things, with my speech and breathlessness, can be improved and she has given me more exercises to do.

I was favourably impressed with the new girl.

My speech is the most obvious of my disabilities: I find communicating by voice hard work currently, although I am hopeful that this will improve. My aim is to be able to communicate by voice as I used to be able to do.

FTSE 100 and Sepura shares

This morning, the FTSE 100 share index has been up on recent days, although the markets are still volatile. Sepura - where I used to work - shares (SEPU) are up at the moment too. So far, a good(ish) day but a lot can still happen!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Museum today

It was a busy morning at the museum opposite our bungalow. A lorry was unloading timber for the new museum cafe.    Several volunteers were on hand to help. The top of our close had been coned off to ensure the lorry could get as close as possible.

See .

Further FTSE 100 slide

The  FTSE 100 index was down another 1% this morning, a very poor start to the new year. It may yet recover some ground, or fall even more during the day. I think we are in for some rough times ahead.

Monday, 5 January 2015

FTSE 100 index slides

The FTSE 100 share index is down 2% currently. I guess the market is being spooked by elections in Greece later this month and the continuing turmoil in the Eurozone.

The question is are the pundits right that the FTSE 100 will end the year around 7000? If they are right it is worth sticking with  any shares we might have. The only thing that is certain is the experts are guessing and no-one knows the future. Who expected oil prices to tumble quite as steeply?

UK Ebola nurse

The latest information is that Pauline Cafferkey,the UK nurse who was confirmed as having contracted Ebola whilst working in West Africa, is still critical but that here condition has "stabilised". I wish her well and so hope the experimental treatment she is receiving works. I guess we will soon know.

See .

Our back garden in early January

Our back garden in early January.
At this time of the year, the garden seems asleep and nothing much is happening. Under the soil though, things are stirring. In a few months the gloom of cold winter days will be over, blossom and bulbs will be out and it will again be time to start cutting the grass.

Every season has its pleasure but roll on spring and light evenings!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Canterbury by train

Grandson with some of his paintings.
Today we went by train to see our younger son and his family. The train takes about 2.25 hours each way and we get about 5 hours in Canterbury We could have longer but I find this long enough. Our younger grandson is only 5 but his painting and knitting are both excellent: he has real talent way beyond his years.

Both the young grandchildren, and my wife and I, really enjoyed their dad's cooking. He did an excellent meat and potato pie.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Sociable day

This morning we were invited to neighbours for coffee and this afternoon we went to other friends for  drinks and eats. We are still enjoying the Christmas holidays.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Finding a pile of ancient coins

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Imagine the massive excitement of discovering a massive hoard of ancient coins (estimated value £1M) that has been buried for 1000 years! When the true value is determined I understand the reward is divided between the landowner and the person who discovered the hoard.


This is a photo from our bungalow lounge window of our local, 200 year old, fully restored windmill that is, literally, just over the garden wall. When we eat breakfast we have a great view!

The windmill now sports 4 new sails and when the wind is from the west, they are usually pointing in our direction. Today, the wind was more from a north westerly direction as the sails are in the north west.

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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Bank bonuses

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Having worked for around 40 years and never getting a bonus ever, I was sickened to hear of the huge bonuses recently paid out by the bank Goldman-Sachs. Sorry, but they get paid silly money to be what?

In my opinion, no-one deserves this sort of money.  Like professional footballers, some people earn stupid money to basically gamble our money. I am sure these people lead stressful lives but so do lots of people who never ever get a bonus.

Stroke update

As it is the first day of the new year,  2015, it is time for some new resolutions and a health update. The latter is for me really so I can calibrate future improvements that I hope to see during the year.

Health update
Currently, I have 4 main issues. When walking or doing anything physical I get very tired.  I get giddy when walking. Drinking thin liquids (e.g tea or coffee) is hard and only possible in small sips. My voice is very poor and speaking tires me. I get breathless.  People find me hard to understand.  This is very frustrating as, to me, it sounds loud and clear. Although I am allowed alcoholic drinks, wine tastes sharp and I do not enjoy it. Most food is now OK. I can drive but, by and large, I have only driven locally.  Improvements have slowed considerably in the last 6 months.

  • To do exercises so that when I speak I can be understood;
  • To continue to improve my stamina;
  • To be able to drink wine again;
  • To be able to drink water, tea and coffee normally again;
  • To take a picture for my 365 project daily;
  • To do field experiments on my radio before Easter;
  • To visit the South Hams. Last year was the first time ever I'd not been to Devon.
More than anything, I want to get back to normal health again. 2014 was disappointing as I was hoping to be fully fit again by now.  Perhaps I was being naive and did not realise just how lucky I was to be as good as I am? Anyway, I really hope 2015 will be the breakthrough year.