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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The EU Referendum

With only a few weeks to go, the outcome is hard to judge. Yes, the EU needs to reform, we are probably better off as a nation IN the EU than out of it, the campaign has been poor, leaving the EU would be hard but not a disaster.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Plymouth Argyle in Playoff Final

Plymouth Argyle are playing AFC Wimbledon at Wembley tomorrow (3pm kickoff) in the League Two playoff final. I hope they win. If they win, they will gain promotion to League One.

UPDATE 2144z: They lost 2:0.


On of my wife's friends has, out of the blue, been told she has breast cancer that has spread. It was a total shock. It was picked up by a routine screeing. She had had no pain or warnings. She has been told she has less than 5 years to live. Both my father and grandfather died in their 60s of heart conditions. I know my time is limited. Maybe I'll live to 95 or I could die next week. However I have hope. What she has been told is, in effect, a death sentence. I'd find this hard to accept. Clearly she is very worried. She has not been helped by her doctor who was rather uncaring about the whole thing. With cancer there is always hope. Some do recover and surely she should have been told this

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Australian In-laws

For the last few days we have been hosting our son's Australian in-laws so my blogging has been restricted. This morning, they returned to my son and family in Kent. It was very good to see them.

Monday, 23 May 2016

EU referendum

The UK votes in a referendum on whether to remain in the EU or leave on June 23rd 2016.

Like many, I am undecided.

The UK is not a world power with an empire - this went years ago. The EU is a gravy train for bureaucrats and is an unelected quango in the main creating so many laws that most small companies cannot keep up with them.  At the same time, WW3 starting in Europe has not occurred and as long as there is an EU is unlikely. There is much wrong with the EU, but much of it is a force for good. The EU needs to reform.

No I am still undecided.

What I do know is this is a very important decision which will effect us for years to come. I think the vote will be very close. Should we vote to leave, I think others will follow too not many years down the line.

My gut says leave but my logical self says stay in. The best outcome would be if the EU was a real force for good in the world. It puzzles me why so many countries seem to accept it as it is.

UPDATE 1400z:  I am really fed up with NEGATIVE messages and spin.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Interest Rates

The Fed has indicated that interest rates in the USA could rise as early as June. In the UK, the FTSE 100 has fallen as a result. In the UK we have had low interest rates for years now and young people have no idea about living with higher rates and all this means. Debt suddenly becomes expensive, mortgages go up and savings rates improve. There is also the issue of balance of payments as foreign governments become more reluctant to lend us money to live beyond our means.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Chibok girls - Nigeria

See .

The BBC reports that the first girl abducted in 2014 has been found. If this had happened in the UK or USA can you imagine how this would have developed?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

More Devon

A view of Burgh Island in the evening sunshine. We did a short stroll this evening from the cottage where we are staying which is very close to the coast.

Saturday, 14 May 2016


So, I was going to do some radio operating from a bench on the coastal path, but instead we went for a walk along the coastal path in the glorious sunshine. In all I walked about 3.5km, which in my current state is quite good. Years ago this would have been trivial.  The first image is Thurlestone, Devon looking towards Burgh Island.

Earlier in the day we were in Salcombe where I was brought up.  These days it has become gentrified with locals priced out and local shops replaced with clothes shops for the well heeled.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Nuclear Fusion and Cars in the Future

There is lots of research going on into nuclear fusion.  Unlike nuclear fission which is used today and results in long-term nuclear waste, nuclear fusion could use the almost endless supplies of non-polluting deuterium in seawater. It is probably decades away from being commercially possible as the technical challenges are immense. Research is starting to yield results though.  Nuclear fusion holds the potential for almost endless, low cost, energy.  It could hold the keys to the future, but it is not yet possible, although the research must continue. This is one area where worldwide collaboration would benefit us all.

As for electric cars, although a "good idea" I think range is a real killer. Most journeys are short, I know, but ranges of several hundred miles on a single charge are really needed and I just can't see this even with the best battery technology likely in the next few decades. Replacement batteries for electric cards are very expensive. No, this is an area where a lot more research is needed both in transport for the masses in an age beyond carbon and in battery technology. We need some "thinking outside the box" in these areas. Cars that do not need diesel or petrol are essential. We have to crack this one and come up with good solutions.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

BBC under threat?

Who doesn’t love CBeebies? Kids love it, and so do parents. BBC children’s programmes, like CBeebies, allow us those precious few minutes in a day to make a cup of tea. And we can trust that our kids are watching quality TV.

But children's TV as we know it is under threat. It's being reported that the government plans to take money away from the BBC’s children’s programmes. They want to give money-making channels a chance to compete for children’s shows.

The government is expected to announce the cut to the BBC children's budget this Thursday. So a big petition, standing up for advert-free BBC children's television, will show that there's huge public opposition to the government's plans.

Please can you sign the petition to save BBC children's television?  See

Personally  I have a problem with children being bombarded with adverts for things they do not need. The BBC is good as it is. There is a danger our government will ruin it.  Save it!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Corsican wind?

Years ago we spent a couple of great holidays on Corsica. My wife is trying to do a quiz in the paper and is stuck on a wind in north east Corsica with the second letter "i" and the last letter "t". I tried Googling to no avail. I thought I knew this, but obviously I don't.

American hotels and breakfast

One of my first surprises on trips to the USA was that few (no?) hotels offer breakfast. They expect you to get this down the road. Most have places to eat very nearby, but if you are not used to this it comes as a surprise. I have an old work colleague who is in Indiana for a conference and he was caught out.

Once, in eastern Canada, we stopped for breakfast at a roadside cafe. There were 6 fried eggs and lots more on the plate. It was huge. We did not go hungry!

Weather - settled spell ended

Yesterday we probably had the last warm and sunny day of the current spell, so we spent a lot of the afternoon in the garden with our son Tim. On the right is our ornamental cherry tree (full of blossom) and on the left our garden shed with the new bird-box just to the left of the shed window. It is probably too late this year but maybe it will be used next spring? Today it is dull and raining!

Next door's sumac tree is only just in leaf. See .
9th May 2016

Monday, 9 May 2016

Life on Mars?

See .


Well, today we probably saw the last of our warm, sunny weather. Tomorrow rain is forecast. We have had very few settled period  this year with mostly low pressure systems and maybe a few sunny days. In the last few days we have had warmth and sunshine and the garden has really come on.

UPDATE 2220z:  It has been raining here now for several hours.  Ho hum - was that it? Spring and summer over?

Sepura Shares

Shares in my old company Sepura (SEPU) ended the day nearly 5% up. They fell heavily a few weeks ago.

See .

Sunday, 8 May 2016


Garden Shed
Yesterday I did most of the re-sealing of my garden shed. I still have a bit to do in the sunshine later as well as the garden bench, a gate and the bird table. I am taking it in easy stages as I get tired easily these days.

At least the last few days have been sunny and warm - ideal for these sorts of jobs.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Stroke update

2.5 years after my cerebellum brain bleed, I am still suffering. The worst are the poor speech, the profound exhaustion I suffer after most mental or physical exertion and feeling drunk all of my waking hours.

To others I look fine. This is part of my frustration: everyone thinks I am fully back to normal, whereas I know different. It is very very hard to accept.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Secure blog connection

Set your link to this blog to if you want a secure link. This is a recent Google change. The old link should still work. Note the https:// and not http:// in the URL.

RRS Sir David Attenborough

The new polar research vessel has been named after Sir David Attenborough and not Boaty which was the outcome of a popular vote. I think this is the right decision.

See .

Change - a fact of life?

It probably happens to everyone and certainly does here. One go along a path that is little changed for years and then something happens to change things - like someone stops working, you move, or someone close dies. I guess we all have to accept that change happens. It is part of life. When it happens it comes as a shock, but one has to move on.

In my case I had a stroke 2.5 years ago. At the time I expected to make a full recovery: 2.5 years later I still drive and walk and my intellect is still fine but my voice is very poor, I tire very easily with almost any physical or mental effort, and life is still a fog. Oh how I miss being my old self.

Names you no longer hear about

If you live in the UK the names Peter Skellern and Richard Stilgoe may sound familiar. These pianists and singers were popular in the 1980s but I have not heard them or seen them for many years. As far as I know both are still alive, but they seem to have dropped from view. Perhaps they've had a change of career?

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sepura shares

Although a long way below their peak, Sepura (SEPU) shares are rising again today despite a large fall in the FTSE 100 share index. At the moment they are trending upwards.

See .

Monday, 2 May 2016

Lichfield, Staffs, UK

We were in Lichfield for my brother-in-law's 70th birthday party, so I was not able to update the blogs. It was a good family get-together. I guess it won't be too long before some of us meet for funerals! It will be some years before there is a round of grandchildren's weddings. For some of these we may be around, but it is unlikely we'll see them all get married. Still, this is how it has always been since time began.

Lichfield is a small city to the north of Birmingham. It has a very nice cathedral with three spires. Unusually, the cathedral is made in red sandstone. It has some fine carvings over the entrance. Lichfield itself is charming with many fine old buildings and a pedestrianised centre. There are 2 large lakes near the cathedral. I guess at one time these were stocked with fish for monks nearby?