• Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 24d
    An investor has been following the steadily falling price of Oil and when he believes it has reached rock bottom he buys 10,000 barrels at 70p a barrel. Sadly for him the price continues to fall and reaches 50p a barrel, so what is his smart move:- 1) Sell ASAP and cut his losses. 2) Hang on and hope/wait for the price to recover. 3) Any other,--specify.
  • Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 2mo
    A press item on Labours plan to impose VAT @ 20% on Independent/Private schools and made me reach for my calculator. A little research soon supplied some numbers to crunch and although they vary slightly depending on the source, the order of magnitude remains similar. The facts are very interesting as the following shows. In the UK there are2600 independent schools and they charge an average of £16,000pa per pupil and they educate 615,000 children which creates a market of £9.84billion. If VAT@ 20% is impose this will raise £1.968billion in revenue for HMRC. This is fine provided there are no repercussions from this action, which is improbable, since it is bound to force some parents to forego the private sector and revert to State funded education thus reducing the VAT while increasing the cost to the State. Additionally the existing school infrastructure would have to find new places for these pupils as well as teachers to teach them. Let us now speculate upon the possible effects of this action. According to gov.uk figures (2021/2) the State spends £1,485’s per capita pa.so if we hypothesize that 10% of private pupils are forced from private to state education, then the loss of VAT would be£1.968million and the additional places required would 61,500. Further, if the exodus were to rise to 20% then the reduction in VAT become £393.6million and the required places to 122,000. We have members with teaching experience whose comments on the feasibility of this possible result would be welcome. The Shadow Education Secretary, Bridget Phillipson, say that independent schools will not need to raise their fees as they could absorb the VAT by cutting costs, so let us examine the feasibility of her ideas. For simplicity let us treat the market as if it were one big school whose fees are £9.0billion, which at 20% would raise £1.8billion of VAT. Now if fees are not to be raised then the invoice value has to be reduced to £7.5billion. Now if the POR is say 30% ( reasonable) then the operating cost, including net profit must be £4.5billion or a reduction of 25%. Seriously is this woman so stupid as to believe that any industry could survive with an inbuilt wastage factor of 25%? However the industry could make some cuts quite easily by withdrawing the £1.2billion that it gives in assisted fees and its involvement in partnerships with State Schools. Surely anyone with half a brain would question the wisdom of such a cockamamie proposal but instead the electorate is allowing itself to be led around, by politicians, like sheep to the slaughter because they are failing to ask the question “what if” and do a few simple calculations to evaluate what they are being asked to vote for. WE GET WHAT WE DESERVE, BY OUR INDOLENCE.
  • Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 3mo
    IS MONEY ON THE MOVE? The title question is posed as those that study the financial gurus will have observed that they are indicating resurgence in the bond market which has been unattractive for some time. Two weeks ago I had a meeting with my financial adviser which resulted in the revision of our portfolio requirement from –maximise income with capital growth to match inflation, to a more capital growth configuration, which meant discarding funds that produced 72% of annual investment income in favour of better growth oriented investments. This decision is based on the assumption that Labour will win the next election, judging by the by-election results (not known at the time) seems even more likely, therefore with Labour historical ability to always screw up the economy, protective action is necessary. It would appear that Stammer’s current approach of promising people what they want rather than what they can afford, is already causing the markets to close ranks and when, rather than if, they do then his promises will be even more hollow. Without the markets’ support he can’t govern, Liz Truss proved that. One has to recognize that in taking investment action of this kind there are risks, however on balance it is fairly certain that if it is wrong the losses will only be an odd thousand or two whereas if it is right it will almost certainly stop 10’s of £1000’s being wiped off our savings. Finally, this post is not intended to be considered as financial advice, but it might prove helpful in provoking some thought, and is backed up by the fact that I have put our money where my mouth is.
  • Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 4mo
    Here are some facts culled from Andrew Neil’s piece in last Saturdays (7/10/23) Daily Mail. While one may not subscribe to his views, experience has shown that he has a very good and reliable research team. Most members are familiar with my pessimistic views on the future of Planet Earth, but even I was appalled at these facts. FACT 1 Paul Johnson of the IFS, despite previous denials, now admits that the cost to the UK of going “green” will be £’s trillions, most of which will fall upon the poorest in our society. FACT 2 France has ruled out the banning of gas boilers and will not commit to a date for ceasing to use fossil fuels. FACT 3 Germany is recommissioning several coal fired generating plants and already has 7 out of 10 of the most polluting coal generating stations in the EU. FACT 4 The UK is responsible for ONLY 1% of global Co2 emissions, a fact well known but worth repeating. FACT 5 China, the world’s biggest polluter, and responsible for 32% of global Co2 emissions is giving planning permission for two new coal fired generating plants EVERY WEEK, and in 2022 approved a further 106GW of coal fired power capacity. China now has 243GWs of coal fired power capacity (1 GW = 1 power plant) planned or under construction. FACT 6 India, the second largest polluter, is also building more coal fired power plants. FACT 7 America, which has the third largest coal-fired generating capacity, if it were to close it all down now that capacity would soon be entirely replaced by China. FACT 8 Also building new coal fired generating plants are, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, S. Korea, and Vietnam. FACT 9 The Asia- Pacific now accounts 80% of global coal demand. QUESTION. Can any member please explain to me how it makes any sense for the costs of the present policy, that are being passed on to the hard pressed tax payer, for a global reduction of Co2 that is insignificant. Consider that were the banning of gas boilers to be in place now, and that your present boiler needed replacement it would cost you about £2,000 for a similar appliance but £20,000 for a heat pump. Surely it is time to put the present policy on hold until better financial conditions apply.
  • Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 4mo
    In last Saturday’s Daily Mail there appeared two very interesting articles. Putting aside the political bias of this paper and concentrating purely on the facts we are faced with a very interesting choice as follows:- HEADS 1) The government has agree to grant India owned Tata Steel £500million of taxpayers money to convert their Port Talbot coal furnaces from coal to green arc furnaces, thus preventing the closure of the plant. Tata will add £750million bringing the total to £1.25billion. 2) Tata Steel employs 8,000 workers and supports a supply chain of 12,500 jobs but the conversion will create 3000 redundancies but will save the remaining 5,000, together with those in the supply chain. 3) It is estimated that the conversion will reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions by1.5% i.e. 4.71Mt which equates to 0.013% (my calculation) of Global Emissions. TAILS. 1) The steel industry is vital to the UK’s defence industry, also the car industry, and with war in Europe even more so. 2) The UK steel industry has already declined from 300,000 jobs in 1970 to 39,800 jobs at present. 3) Tata is a major investor, Jaguar/Rover, in the UK and will invest £15billion, over 5 years, in the conversion of the car industry to green production, including £4billion for a new car battery plant. Further it is one of the few inward investors that are strongly backing the UK. 4) Tata’s primary investments in the UK are a main contributor to the UK’s growth that has seen us become the world’s 8th largest manufacturing hub overtaking France. 5) A further benefit could be that by supporting Tata, the Government will be improving relation with India while we are negotiating a tariff breaking new trade deal. MY COMMENT. The anti-green lobby will say that this is not a cost effective way, in times of economic stress, of reducing CO2 emissions which is clearly true. The Trade Unions in their usual dog in the manger approach say it is a shift to green at the expense of the workers while ignoring the saving of some 17,500 jobs that will otherwise be lost. Progress is usually less labour intensive. In this group there are those who, while never having had to make a significant decision in their lives, and who, with the clarity of hindsight, always know what is the right action. For them here is an opportunity to come out of their foxholes and express an opinion BEFORE the outcome is known. MY OPINION. To spend £500million to achieve a 0.013% reduction in Global CO2 emissions while losing 3,000 jobs would be stupidity of the highest order, however, taking into account all the other considerations then it is surely right to make this investment and regard the CO2 gain as a fortunate spin off, not a reason. I will await comment with interest, NB. The figure for CO2 emissions vary depending on the source but the ones that I used are of the right order, and I hope I got 0’s right.
  • Posted in: Carers and Caring

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 3mo
    For the last 18 months, since I have had to take on a full time caring role needing full time watching over I have lost 21 lbs in weight which is a big bonus as being no longer able to indulge in playing golf increasing weight has become a problem. With a heart condition of my own this is a real asset as I might be around for a little longer than I thought.
  • Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 5mo
    This is an emotional hot potato but:- Now that the media outrage and hype surrounding this heinous and horrendous crime is abating and that our emotion and horror are becoming less acute, now might be the time to stand back, take stock, and calmly allow our heads to take over from our hearts. Sadly we cannot undo what has occurred but surely it is our duty, to both the victims and their families, to learn all we can from this awful crime in an endeavour to try to prevent a recurrence. While, despite copious reporting on this crime there has been little said, and what has been said is all negative, about what is surely the most important question of all namely, “Why did she do it?” . If we fail to resolve that question then we are missing the opportunity to derive anything positive from this horrible business. We are going to lock up this monster for the next 50/60 years, at great expense, so it makes sense to use every means at our disposal, including drugs if necessary, to determine the answer to that all important question, so that others might be saved. Secondly, there is the question of the verdicts in this trial since if one analyses the results I believe, there arises an interesting question to be explored, relating to our jury system. Consider, if you will, that of the 22 indictments which for murder there were 7 convictions 1 unanimous and 6 majority verdicts, while for attempted murder there were 7 convictions 2 unanimous and 5 majority verdicts. Of the remaining indictments 6 were hung juries and finally 2 were not guilty. This result means that, of the 22 indictments, on 85% of them the entire jury could not agree as to guilt, and only on 15% was there total accord. Now the jurors were ordinary people, might have been any one of us, chosen at random to serve, yet despite what appears to be overwhelming evidence of guilt, there were some who were not convinced. I would suggest that the doubters were probably the most level headed and dispassionate of the twelve. My question is, that in view of the severity of the tariff due for these crimes, should we not be trying to determine what gave rise to those doubts?. It must have taken a great deal of courage to register those doubts rather than being swept along with the herd, so surely it is important for us to understand and to know why they chose to do so. In this case the minimum of 10 to 2 would have been required.
  • Posted in: Carers and Caring

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 6mo
    I found this procedure by accident. To ensure the correct dosage it became necessary for me to dispense my wife's medication so I decided to do this as the first task of the day, immediately on waking up. One morning I awoke early so got up, pulled the curtains and dispensed the medication and as I was ahead of schedule I sat up in bed and relaxed for 10 minutes or so, and I noticed that when I got up to start the day that I was functioning much more efficiently, so I tried it again with the same result. Now I rise earlier so that I can dispense the medication, with 10 minutes to spare to sit in bed, relax and plan the days activity, I find this very helpful, perhaps you might find it so too.
  • Posted in: Carers and Caring

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 6mo
    I post this as it might make an odious task a bit less unpleasant. When there are medical issues to be coped with it is sometimes necessary to collect poo sample for analysis. The NHS supply a leaflet saying how this may be done without the sample touching the water, none of the methods are particularly convenient. Having recently been faced with this problem I have found the following solution, get a shallow plastic food packaging tray (the sort they pack meat in) about26 x 17 cms which you will find will fit under the rim of the toilet basin, line it with toilet paper and clip it into place. Having made the deposit, take the sample and then just empty the tray down the pan. Very clean and with the minimum of unpleasantness. Hope this might help someone stuck with this problem
  • Posted in: Carers and Caring

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 8mo
    Not directly about caring but associated with it and some may find it helpful. I have just taken up 24 Hour monitoring cover with two pendants with fall detection as I find it difficult to provide 24/7 watch on my wife. Clearly one needs 24 hour access for emergency services which in turn means a key safe outside. Having spent a large part of my working life buying Hardware I have always been wary of key safes fearing that they can advertise that there are vulnerable people in the property, however needs must etc. Further I was concerned that fitting the safe, a job that only 5 years ago would have taken 30 minutes, might be beyond my present capability. My fears proved to be groundless, I bought a Police approved box with cover, cost a bit more but definitely worth it, and with the modern fixing screws, supplied, fixing was simple although took a bit longer, just over the hour with careful planning and rests. Hope someone will find this helpful, any questions please ask or if you prefer PM me.
  • Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 8mo
    Having got his revenge on Sunak by torpedoing him fore, aft and amidships, what do you think is his next target, Mayor and then PM again?. Much as I despise the guy, by resigning he has given me a faint chance of being able to vote at the next election if the Tories can produce a creditable economic package. It looks pretty certain that the other parties will have little or nothing to offer so the Tories are my only hope, otherwise it will be another spoilt ballot paper.
  • Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 10mo
    Have any of you that have followed the Dominic Raab situation, asked yourself the question, "What if he is right?" Are we at risk of being governed by a left-wing coterie of senior Civil Servants, because if we are, it won't matter which Party you support it will count for nothing. We already have a BBC whose "impartiality" department is full of self confessed left-wingers, and it shows, so what next. If we get to the state when Ministers can't ball-out civil servants for doing a poor job or better still firing them then, I submit that, we are in trouble.
  • Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 10mo
    My sympathy for the nurses and their strike action was severely dented this week- end when I read the results of the ballot on the rejection of the latest pay offer. The result is listed at 54% rejected, 46% accepted on a turnout of 61%. This means that nurses as a whole voted as follows, 33% rejected, 28% accepted and 39% could not be bothered to express an opinion. How can the RCN claim that this is a fair representation of nurses opinion?. Far more likely IMO to be the political motivation of the left wing leadership which it's self is under question by it's own membership. Surely it is time that legislation was introduced to ensure that votes of this sort are made to reflect the true opinions of any of the Trade Unions members.
  • Posted in: Anything !

    Robin Bird @adler Cowley - updated 10mo
    There have been many claims, and on this loop some comment, on the energy savings given by air fryers. I give below some facts, make of them what you will, they are based on monthly meter readings. 1) Jan - Mar. 7 year average usage 1508 kWhs 2) Jan - Mar. Year 2023 1173 kWhs Difference 335 kWhs or 22.2%. The appliance was introduced in Dec 22 and has replaced much of the fan oven use.

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