I’ve had a strange week. I did finally manage to get to the hospital for my blood test. I was in and out in 10 minutes, which left 20 minutes on my 30 minutes parking. At a pound for 30 minutes, it seemed a shame to waste it. The car park was quite full though and so I decided not to join the Costa Coffee crowd, although the Taste Cafe was a little tempting. (more…)
We haven’t been affected much by the floods here in the Black Country. The River Tame flooded a little and I managed to get a photo. It probably flooded a bit in Sandwell Valley Countryside Park too, but the excess would go into Forge Mill Lake. Maybe they need a balancing lake on the Thames?
Today’s picture is the Birmingham canal at Tipton. I’m hoping this photo will win the waterways calendar competition. Tipton isn’t the prettiest place in the country. In fact the whole of the Black Country can’t be described as pretty. I do take some good photos though, I just wish the planners could see views like this. (more…)
Today’s photo was taken on the Walsall canal at Ocker Hill. I do try to show the Black Country in a good light; that’s when I get a good light to take the photo. This is one of the pictures I’ve entered for the waterways calendar competition.
The present and the future are connected to the past and partly determined by it. If we have prepared for the future, we will have a better future. That might mean guarding against the bad things that might happen in the future by driving carefully, taking precautions and saving for the future. We just have to find a good balance between our present and future needs, so we can enjoy both. (more…)
Another week ends as a New Year begins. We are still at the beginning of winter in Britain and some parts of the country are on severe weather warnings; there has already been flooding. We need a little luck with the weather now, less rain and we need the rest of the winter to be mild. No snow like last winter please! (more…)
Christmas is coming and it’s getting colder in the UK. The energy companies are increasing the prices of gas and electricity as usual. If the people running these companies or the regulators had any morality at all they would at least increase prices in the spring or summer. Like the government they are immoral.
My local readers will recognise the shop in today’s picture. Teddy Grays is famous in the Black Country. They sell a delicious selection of sweets. When an International student visited me last Christmas, I gave her mice made of sugar from Teddy Grays, Cadbury’s miniatures and a few other delights that we used to find in our Christmas stockings as children. We’re never too old for Teddy Grays…
I have finally ordered myself a new mobile phone, complete with car charger. I might be able to get a signal now. I will be able to update Facebook, tweet and maybe even Skype too. I used my Barclaycard, because I get the legal protection on a purchase over £100.
I watched a few programmes on TV last night about the British rock bands that invaded America in the 1960’s and since. The onslaught was led by the Beatles and then the ‘ugly’ band; the Rolling Stones. That was a great export and Sweden took on the world with Abba too. America used Hollywood to take on the world with movies. Now the Chinese have taken on the world with consumer goods, maybe we need a new cultural revolution in both Britain and America.
We all have money coming in and going out and it helps to keep track of all your money on paper or a computer. I prefer a simple accounts book. It doesn’t have to be a a special book. I use a simple hard backed book from Poundland. (more…)
My first investment blog post was nearly 2 years ago now. I wrote that after buying shares in Premier foods for 4p each. The company was heavily in debt, but the shares went to 18p before a 1 for 10 share swap. They are still at 129.59 at the time of writing. That’s a return of over 220% so far!
If you’re a regular reader then you know I opened an account with Zopa in 2011. It doesn’t make me a fortune, but the return has been more than from the banks. The current return for investing over 3 years is about 4.5% after fees. On the savings the average household in the UK has, that’s about £90 a year.
Tonight, as part of the Euro-millions lottery there will be a draw for the UK Millionaire Raffle. In theory, 100 millionaires could be created assuming all the winners claim their prizes. A million pounds, it sounds such a lot of money…
Last Friday, I upset a reader with my post about the benefit system. That programme was on TV again last night. I thought it didn’t do justice to anyone involved. Most of them seemed to be playing to the camera. The media studies graduate was trying work as a carer. Why not pair him up with a television or radio presenter? That was what he has a degree in.
I watched Nick and Margaret| We all Pay Your Benefits on the BBC last night. The programme seemed to look at common misconceptions about unemployment and benefits that are spread by newspapers like the Sun and the Daily Mail. I picked up a copy of the Daily Mail in the hospital waiting room yesterday. It was absolute rubbish, but people believe that propaganda.
I admit I’m not very good in the garden, but it is getting better. I have brambles everywhere, the lawn was overgrown and I have ant hills! I’ve attacked the lawn with a strimmer and hover mower and it looks much better. I’m having another go today. My garden looks great in photos though and I discovered yet more flowers that I don’t know the name of today. I’ll take photos!
Where does wealth come from? What is wealth? Most people think of wealth as money, but what can the money buy? It buys goods and it buys services. The goods are made out of raw materials that are mostly found on earth, the planet we live on. The petrol we put in our cars comes form oil from the earth.
Large companies know how to sell, they have whole marketing departments dedicated to selling their products and services. They have all kinds of devices and tricks to make us part with our money. We can use some of those tricks to sell stuff too! It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling crafts or your used car.
I read this morning that Amazon will be opening another London office with space for another 1,600 employees. That gets another cheer from Boris Johnson and boos from the North of England. Why does all new investment go to London? Why not Britain’s second city Birmingham or even Newcastle?
It’s difficult these days to even define what money is. It can be coins in our pockets, notes in purses and wallets or numbers on bank account statements. Money can be just bits in a computer or tokens of any kind.
In theory, competition and supply and demand should regulate prices in a free market. In practice that isn’t the case. There are monopolies and cartels. There can be a lack of competition. There can be government interference in the market, such as the government’s ‘help to buy scheme’; that can distort the property market. An increased money supply can also mean increased demand.
When I was younger, there was a lot of industry in the Black Country. Working and making money was hard, but there was also ‘easy money’. Making beer could be considered a lot easier than working in a foundry or down a mine.