The Anonymous Widower

Katherine Jenkins At The Marathon

There seems to have been a lot of criticism of Katherine Jenkins at the London Marathon.  It’s reported here on the BBC. This is an extract, containing comments from a Daily Mail columnist.

She then criticised the singer’s appearance, describing her £200 Prada sunglasses, full make-up, “immaculate” ponytail and “raisin-sized” diamond earrings.

So what! She wouldn’t be the first runner, who wanted to look her best.

I actually saw her perform once at a private party and she was definitely worth whatever the organisers paid.

Is this just another case of Tall Poppy Syndrome?

If I was a celebrity treated in this way in these circumstances by a columnist, I’d challenge them to a race, with the loser paying several thousand to a charity of the winner’s choice.


April 23, 2013 Posted by | News, Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Love Is All You Need

I saw Love Is All You Need tonight at the Barbican cinema.

It was I think the first Danish film, I’ve ever seen and it was certainly one of the few films at which I cried at the end.

But then the two main characters were a widower and a woman going through breast cancer.  I am of course the first and C suffered a bought of breast cancer, which she successfully overcame.

On the whole though it is an excellent film and quite uplifting.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Speak As You Find

I have taken horses to the breeding establishments of all the major owner/breeders in the Newmarket area. Most are very professional and you’d have to go a long way to find a better organised and managed stud, than say the Nunnery, Banstead Manor, Cheveley Park, Lanwades or the Royal Studs.

One stud, I went to a couple of times, that was not of the same standard was Sheikh Mohammed’s Dalham Hall.  You couldn’t pin what was wrong, and I never had a problem, but the quality of staff, wasn’t of the same order as at other top class studs. And they were always changing! By comparison, when I went to Sheikh Hamdam’s Nunnery, you were always recognised like an old friend and they usually asked how I was getting on without C.

So when I read on the BBC’s web site, that Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation is involve in a doping scandal, I am not surprised.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Sport | | Leave a comment

Kings Cross Square

This must be a classic design for a barrier to keep people out of a building site.

Kings Cross Square

Kings Cross Square

Kings Cross Square is going to be a welcome addition to London’s streets.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

An Unusual Place To Play your Drums

This guy was entertaining everybody at Kings Cross station.

An Unusual Place To Play your Drums

An Unusual Place To Play your Drums

You can’t question his ambition. He wasn’t too bad either!

April 23, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

A Bus Stop With A Carluccio’s

The Carluccio’s in Upper Street, Islington, is a uniquely convenient restaurant.

A Bus Stop With A Carluccio's

A Bus Stop With A Carluccio’s

Today, I had to get a snack lunch and then go on to Kings Cross station to pick up some rail tickets for my trip to Burnley for the last day of the football season.

So I got a 30 bus to this bus stop, had my lunch at Carluccio’s and then after lunch got on another 30 bus to the station. It really, is a conveniently placed restaurant, at one of those mini-bus interchanges, you get all over London. And Carluccio’s is not the only restaurant in walking distance of this bus stop.

I do think sometimes, that those who open restaurants forget about the buses and don’t think to place their hostelries, where passengers change buses. I can think of a couple of bus interchanges, where the cafe offerings are distinctly poor.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Food, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Everybody Was Happy In London Yesterday!

From the guys on the barriers at stations, and the guardian of the First Class Lounge at Paddington, to the waitresses in Carluccio’s, London was happy yesterday.

I put it down to the sun.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

So What Is M-Pesa?

In the post on the Scottish currency, I mentioned M-Pesa.  So what is it? I started by reading the Wikipedia entry. Here’s the initial paragraph.

In April 2007, following a student software development project from Kenya, Safaricom launched a new mobile phone based payment and money transfer service, known as M-Pesa. The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell phones, to send balances using SMS technology to other users (including sellers of goods and services), and to redeem deposits for regular money. Users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money using the service. M-Pesa has spread quickly, and has become the most successful mobile phone based financial service in the developing world. By 2012, a stock of about 17 million M-Pesa accounts had been registered in Kenya.
The initial work of developing the product was given to a product and technology development company known as Sagentia. Development and second line support responsibilities were transferred to IBM in September of 2009, to where most of the original Sagentia team transferred.

It sounds a lot more sophisticated than anything we’ve got here! Especially, as it works on the humblest of Nokia mobile phones!

It’s developments like this, that will empower individuals and kill off the unnecessary wunch, that some still call bankers.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Business, Computing, Finance, World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Scottish Currency Question

If I could have ten pence for every politician, who’s put forward his view on the question of what currency Scotland has if they vote for independence, i wouldn’t be just a rich man, but a very rich man.

Surely, the amount of energy expended by politicians, would power a reasonably-sized city like Glasgow.

All of these politicians are flying in the face of the new reality, which is starting to sweep the world.  Just read this article on the web site; about the future of banking. Here’s the first paragraph.

I was recently invited onto Evan Davis’ BBC radio and TV show ‘The Bottom Line’ for a discussion on alternative finance. Alongside me was Zopa founder Giles Andrews, the founder of Zopa – a UK peer-to-peer lending platform, and Michael Joseph, the former CEO of Safaricom, which set up M-Pesa, a mobile payment system, in Kenya. 

It is the last bit that is the most significant. It also says this about banking and particularly M-Pesa.

The day-to-day of banking is changing world-wide and banks are not the ones driving the innovation. For instance, by some measures, Starbucks is among the 200 largest banks by deposits in the US, having $3 billion on their in-store card in 2012. Both Google and Amazon are also talking about providing finance to users of their marketplaces. At the other end of the economic spectrum, 31 per cent of Kenyan GDP now flows through M-Pesa, which is so simple it can be operated on a very modest Nokia phone and has no physical bank branch presence.

So does it matter about whether an individual or a company has their bank account in pounds, dollars, euros, thistles or beans? It only matters to the individual concerned.  As someone living in and spending most of his money in the UK, I would probably keep my account in pounds! Although switching to euros, should be just a choice on the account.

Unfortunately, this transparent and convenient system would be unacceptable to the banks, as they make so much money on currency conversion.

I do wonder, if my new-found liking for cash, may be a personal reaction to the greed of the banks.  If I pay by cash in Carluccio’s, I can leave a tip easily. It also seems to get good service, as the staff in many restaurants know me and have the gluten-free menu ready immediately I walk in.  It’s also faster to settle up and there is nothing worse than waiting to get away, whilst a dim waitress struggles with a credit card terminal.

So to me, in a few years time, the Scottish currency question will be irrelevant to most people and companies in Scotland.  They will pay their taxes in whatever currency the Scottish government uses or is forced to use and keep their bank account in whatever is convenient for their lifestyle or business.

So let’s get going on research to capture all that hot air being spoken to generate lots of electricity.

April 23, 2013 Posted by | Business, Finance, News, World | , , , , | 1 Comment