Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Rogues Gallery.

Here they are folks; the three most dangerous people to hold positions of power in recent times. One from the US of A, one from the UK, and one from Germany.

The true extent of their collective folly is not yet at its peak; it'll be in the decades to come when everything goes thoroughly wrong. Believe me; at the moment we're simply experiencing the relative calm before the storm.

The world has already celebrated the fact that two of them no longer weald power; and it looks as if more Champagne will soon be opened, as Matron Markel is possibly on the way out too. 

Now all we need are people with enough clout to limit the bloody mess they've left in their wake, and, frankly, it will take a bleedin' miracle.

Hold on to your hats!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Jam Jars, and Lids.

Following-on from yesterday's posting, I found this a bit odd.

Like many, we tend to use old Bonne Maman jam jars for our own jams and jellies. The only problem is that the lids have built-in obsolescence; two years re-use is probably their maximum. I have plenty of glass jars, but a fastly reducing supply of usable lids.

Mr Amazon suggested these 12 lids (above) for $17.08 (€14.74 or £12.91). $1,40 each seems a lot of money just for a few simple lids; that's about the price of a jar of jam!

So, whilst shopping yesterday morning I bought a pack of 6 brand new Le Parfait jars, complete with lids, for €4.99 ($5.50 or £4.10).

Something, somewhere, don't seem right!

Also whilst chez Leclerc, I plumped for the Aberlour Single Malt Whisky for my winter tipple. I decided against the Jim Beam. I think I made a wise decision.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Jam Days.

I enjoy the growing, and I enjoy the preservation.

At the moment it's jam making. We've already had our Strawberry glut, and now the Tayberries/Raspberries are going crazy. They need to be preserved for the lean months; and that means mostly 'Jam'.

I'm a relative newcomer to Jam making, but I really enjoy it; it's a very satisfying process. 1 Kilo of fruit, 600 gms of special Jam sugar, a splash of Lemon juice, 5 mins stirring; and viola!

We have loads of Red Currants, and loads of Black Currants too, but I'll leave the making of jelly to Lady Magnon. She's already made her first lot of Apricot jam; the store cupboard is starting to fill.

The Walnuts are now pickling, and there are Girolles in the freezer.

We're getting there!

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Jim Beam.

In about 1966 I was managing The Fine Art Gallery in London's Devonshire Street. The gallery was situated next door to Peter Langan's infamous Odin's restaurant.

One of the gallery's regular clients was a young officer from the US naval base in Grosvenor Square. He exclusively bought beautiful Piranesi prints; a very discerning collector.

Through some jiggery-pokery he had managed to acquire himself two books of discount tickets for his PX store, and supplied me with bottles of Jim Beam bourbon at a few shillings a time. He offered all sorts of goodies, but I stuck to the bourbon.

I have just noticed that my Supermarket has a special offer of litre bottles of Jim Beam (above), so I've decided to make this my this coming winter's bottle of 'whiskey', instead of Scotch. It's been nearly 50 years since I last tasted it, so I hope it lives up to my memory.

p.s. The last time I saw the above mentioned officer, he was heading back to Grosvenor Square to smash-up equipment. It seemed that the Embassy's naval base had an annual budget, and that if it was not fully used, they had to break-up equipment to such an extent that the budget would be increased the following year. Everything that they smashed had to be classified as 'Lost at Sea' (in the middle of London!).

Lunacy exists the world over; I hope my bourbon purchase doesn't also prove to be lunacy.

Saturday, 16 June 2018


I am absolutely amazed by seemingly ordinary folk who think nothing of stealing. From what I see, almost anyone these days sees theft as acceptable everyday behaviour.

Personally I have never stolen. OK, maybe a pencil from school or a paint brush from college, but I have never knowingly, on purpose, taken things that do not belong to me.

It is accepted that every new invention or service will have the criminal world racking its brains how to abuse it, and I suppose that the Amazon delivery service must have been aware of this.

Many Amazon delivery vans now have an accompanying queue of followers, ready to pounce on whatever package is left on a doorstep (see above). What a dreadful bloody world we live in.

Friday, 15 June 2018


It is often said (by gardeners who know what they're talking about) that one should begin harvesting your veg' as soon as it becomes edible.

I tend to ignore this advice, as I like to see things grow to a reasonable size before tucking-in. 

My last year's Red Onion crop is a good example. I hardly touched a single Onion before they were fully grown and harvested, then at the end of this last Winter I threw away several kilos that had gone bad.

This year I plan to take the advice, and have already started to harvest Onions, Courgettes, and Spinach, all of which would normally be regarded as far too young to eat. 

In about a week's time I will also have Caulis, Cabbages, and Broccoli, all of which will look as if they've come direct from the 'Mini Veg' department at Waitrose; but without the air-miles. Trendy, or what!

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Bulls, Bears, and Coffee beans.

                                Image associƃ©e

I have been an investor in Equities since the age of about 15, I was a much later punter than the infamous Rees-Mogg; although, like Rees-Mogg, I bought my first shares whilst still at school (any similarity ends there!).

On leaving school I worked on the London Stock Exchange as a 'Blue Button'; a sort of trainee, dogsbody, stockbroker. Share trading was an everyday part of my early working life.

Much later on, back in the early 1980's, I became interested in the London Commodity Exchanges, and joined a small Wheat/Barley trading syndicate. Eventually my interest became concentrated on the trading of Coffee futures (above is the London Metal Exchange; I couldn't find a picture of the 'soft' Exchanges).

I visited a well known Commodity brokerage; established an account, and continued with my 'theoretical trading' at home for another year or so, before making my initial trade. I studied charts, and followed prices on the very basic Ceefax TV service. I learned as much as I possibly could, being away from London.

Commodity futures trading is much like Equity trading in that prices go up as well as down; but opposed to Equity trading, one only places a 10% margin on any Commodity trade, making one's profits or losses multiplied by 10.

This type of trading is not to be recommended for people of a nervous disposition or a weak heart. It is extremely stressful, and full of serious financial pitfalls. Many a bankrupt has lost everything through his/her Commodity trading.

As it happened all went well, and as a result I instantly decided to quit whilst ahead. I walked away a happy man, and have never returned. It was simply far too risky for someone with my limited amount of available assets. My aim had been fulfilled, and that was that.

Trading both Equities and Commodities can be great fun, and occasionally profitable; but take my advice..... stick to the Equities.

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