The Anonymous Widower

The Spectacular View From The Cable-Car

Today was exceedingly clear and I was able to take this image looking back to where I had walked earlier.

The Spectacular View From The Cable-Car

It’s just a pity the reflections got in the picture.

October 14, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Walking From Leamouth To Canning Town Station

This morning in what could be the last of the summer sun, I took a 277 bus to Leamouth and then walked to Canning Town station along Bow Creek.

The area is one of the more interesting in London, with the River Lea of which Bow Creek is part, gradually silting up and reverting to reed beds. The inside of the bend used to be the the home of the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company and now it is one of the tunnelling sites for CrossRail. The successor of the works football team of the Thames Ironwork still exists as West Ham United, but the company is long gone, deespite building many ships for the Navy and companies like P & O.

From Canning Town station, I  got the DLR, the Emirates Air-Line cable-car and the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf for lunch. I suppose, I could have taken the Jubilee line from Canning Town station, but the cable-car has better views.

Thinking about the route, you could take the 277 bus from any number of places like Highbury and Islington and then go back to Central London on the Jubilee line.  but on a sunny day, don’t cut out the cable-car as it gives some spectacular views.

October 14, 2012 Posted by | Sport, Transport, World | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Good Are The Companies You Deal with?

I found this on a financial forum, but it applies in so many fields. The guy is talking about where he invests his hard-earned money.

One criteria for me was to Google Maps the address of each company (a crazy idea maybe but try it). put the yellow man on and walk past the firm

Is it a big corporate office or is it above a pizza take away (as one is).

Whilst offices might not mean a lot (Equitable Life,Alba,Northern Rock,Icelandic banks etc)
it is one yardstick

I aren’t giving my money to a firm that is not filthy rich.

I’ve tried it with a few people I deal with in various areas.  In one case the results surprised me.

October 14, 2012 Posted by | Computing, Finance, World | | 1 Comment

A Building For Eureka Moments

The winner of the Stirling prize was announced last night and it’s reported here on the BBC’s web site. I particularly liked this bit, about the winning building; the Sainsbury Laboratory at Cambridge University.

Stanton Williams received a £20,000 prize. Director Alan Stanton described the design as a 21st Century cloister, which encouraged scientists to interact and exchange ideas.

“Two scientists working on two pieces of research could bump into each other in the corridor and have a eureka moment, and say, my God, there’s the possibility of some really interesting scientific breakthrough here,” he said.

“Quite often, accidents are important, in science as they are in any creative endeavour. The building is there to try to ambush scientists into meeting and talking.”

I’ve worked in some crap buildings, most notably the electronics lab at Enfield Rolling Mills, but some good ones too, like ICI’s state-of-the-art offices for the 1960s in Runcorn. But then until probably about 1980, I rarely saw a scientist, researcher or innovator in anything pleasant. Even banks in those days had some really grim premises, if Lloyds Bank’s offices in Lombard Street were anything to go by. The Chief Management Accountant, who I effectively worked for, had a dingy office tucked away on a mezzanine behind a stair-case.

Could all of this, explain our dismal economic performance in those years? Anybody with a brain felt unwanted and went where they were appreciated.

We really don’t take working conditions for researchers and innovators seriously. Hopefully, this new lab in Cambridge will set the new standard.

October 14, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Getting A Loan Of £5,000 Or Less

I don’t need to borrow money, but I do have a trap setup to make sure that I get information about Zopa and the other peer-to-peer lenders, as obviously I want to put my money in the best places.

I found this article, entitled.

 Money Insider: Want a loan of £5,000 or less? Shop around,

In yesterday’s Independent. The article has some interesting things to say about borrowing money and this in particular about Zopa and Ratesetter, two of the peer-to-peer lenders.

Zopa, the first peer-to-peer lender in the UK, is now in its eighth year and RateSetter, one of the more recent lenders in the peer-to-peer market, both offer some of the best value deals at 9.5 per cent APR and 9.7 per cent APR respectively for a £3,000 loan over three years. Just because you’re not familiar with the names doesn’t mean you should discount them — the peer-to-peer market has quickly established itself as a credible alternative to the big banks — and the interest rates are much better than you’ll find on the high street. Zopa has already lent more than £230m and RateSetter has advanced more than £36m to personal customers.

It also highlights another prudent way to borrow from MBNA.

Another option is the Rate for Life card from MBNA. Although not strictly a personal loan, there’s nothing to stop you using this long-term fixed-rate credit card in the same way you would as a loan. If you transfer your balance to the card and set up a monthly standing order for your current account, it works exactly the same as a personal loan.

All of this adds up to the fact, that the banks are under pressure to maintain their traditional place in the financial field. The second paragraph I’ve highlighted illustrates this, in that conventional wisdom says that borrowing on a credit card is an expensive business and should avoided at all costs.  If I’d heard this in the pub and not read it in a respected newspaper, I wouldn’t have believed it.

But as in all things these days, the rule of innovation applies; innovate or die. The banks do little of the former and are flirting with the latter.

October 14, 2012 Posted by | Finance, News | , , | Leave a comment