The Anonymous Widower

A Reply From Birmingham

After Ipswich played at Birmingham a couple of months ago, I posted an Open Letter To the Mayor of Birmingham. I posted a copy to him and today, I got a substantive reply from someone at the council. This is the e-mail I received.

Thank you for forwarding me the link to your open letter and I am sorry to hear that your recent visitor experience to Birmingham was not a good one.


As you mentioned New Street Station is currently undergoing a major rebuild as part of the Birmingham Gateway project. In April this year the east side of the station complex (the side closest to the pedestrian link to Moor Street station) was closed to facilitate the rebuild if that part of the development. This means that until the reopening of the whole station in the spring of 2015, pedestrians seeking to travel to Moor Street station will have to walk a less direct route around the station from the west side entrance. Whilst temporary pedestrian signage has been put in place which is soon to be supplemented with permanent “way finding” signs, we will respond to your feedback and look at ways the current signing arrangements can be enhanced to improve clarity for visitors.


With regard to the issue of pedestrians crossing at the Bordesley Circus junction I am pleased to say the City Council has recently been successful in securing for the necessary funding from the Department for Transport to carry out whole sale improvements to the roundabout. These improvements will include the provision of signal controlled crossings to help the pedestrian movement you have described and completion of the works is currently programmed by early 2015 at the latest.

That is very fair and it is good to see that progress is being made on the dangerous junction at Bordesley Circus.

September 27, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

My New Stacking Chairs

My old dining chairs have had it and one has even collapsed. So I ordered two Castor stacking chairs from twentytwentyone.

As you can see I brought the two of them back on a number 30 bus.

The weirdest thing is that the size of the seat on the chairs and my old stools is virtually exactly the same. The new chairs are 36 cm. and the stools are 35.6 cm. It actually looks like the old stools, which were made in the 1970s are probably fourteen inches. They are also the same height, as you can see in the picture, which shows the end of my table.

September 27, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | 4 Comments

Kings Cross Square Welcomed In Vancouver

This report about the opening of Kings Cross Square appeared in The Province.

But then George Vancouver would these days take a train from Kings Cross to get to his birthplace at Kings Lynn.

September 27, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Zopa Approach A Million A Day

I keep detailed figures about Zopa’s lending and not just the amount of money I have invested in the peer-to-peer lender.

Over the last few days, the amount of money they have lent daily is now approaching a million pounds.

Perhaps a better figure is to look at the lending over a week and even that figure is around £600,000 a day.

That is a lot of money, for a business that didn’t exist eight years ago.

September 27, 2013 Posted by | Finance | , , | Leave a comment

The Long Arm Of The American Tax System

This story from the BBC entitled Goodbye, US Passport, caught my eye, as it was top of the BBC’s most read list this morning. It’s about US citizens living abroad, giving up their citizenship.

The number of Americans giving up their citizenship has rocketed this year – partly, it’s thought, because of a new tax law that is frustrating many expats.

Some examples are given, where Americans living in countries like Germany and Scandinavia are having to spend several thousand dollars with professional advisors just to fill in the complicated tax form required.  And then they are not actually paying any tax!

Would you give up your British citizenship, if say you wanted to live in Italy and the British government wanted you to fill in a complicated tax form, so you could be taxed on things that are nothing to do with the UK at all?

Years ago, I was in Denver at a conference and about seven of us of different nationalities, all sat down and discussed the tax we paid. It was strange some of the taxes that in those days Americans paid.  One guy who lived in Virginia, always ran an old car, as he had to pay a yearly property tax on his vehicle to the state.

In the end we came to the conclusion, that if you added up the cost of national and local taxes, property taxes and the cost of healthcare, schooling and universities, there wasn’t great differences between anywhere in the developed world.

I suspect it’s not much different now, if you take one of your average 2.4 families, where the parents do normal jobs.


September 27, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

C Would Love This Story

My late wife, C, would love this story on adoption from the BBC. Here’s an extract.

Nearly 4,000 children in England were adopted from care in the year to March.

The latest statistics from the government show an increase of 15% compared with the year before, and ministers say it is a record.

She had been adopted herself and much of her work as a barrister had been in the field of adoption.

September 27, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment