The Anonymous Widower

Are Coeliacs More Risk-Averse?

I am coeliac, which means, that I am allergic to gluten!

So I have to be very careful about what I eat.

I have perhaps been glutened two or three times in the twenty years since I was diagnosed. With me it is nothing serious, but it does mean being close to a toilet for some hours.

If I look at my behaviour generally, I sometimes wonder, if I have become more risk-averse since my diagnosis.

I think too, that I’ve probably become more risk-averse since my stroke, after which, one of the world’s leading cardiologists told me, that if I got the Warfarin right, I’d never have another stroke.

I intend to prove him right! So I watch my INR like a Control Engineer would monitor reactor temperature in a nuclear power station.

I would assume that my risk-averse behaviour is fairly normal.

So if you have had a serious illness or near-death experience from which you have been able to almost fully recover, are you doing your best to make sure that you avoid COVID-19?

May 12, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 4 Comments

Thoughts On eScooters!


  • This article on the BBC is entitled Emily Hartridge: TV Presenter And YouTube Star Dies In Crash. It is an extremely sad tale and it has led to the inevitable call to ban electric scooters.
  • There is also this article on the BBC, which is entitled Iris Goldsmith: Teenage girl dies in ‘quad bike’ accident. This is another extremely sad tale and many are questioning, what a teenage girl was doing, riding a quadbike.
  • And then there’s this article on the BBC, Which is entitled Govia Thameslink Fined £1m Over Gatwick Express Window Death.

Young people and some older ones too, often do stupid things.

Many also crave danger and go mountaineering, riding on the tops of trains or jumping into rivers from a great height.

Doing things out of the ordinary is a natural reaction and is one of the reason, why humans are the most successful species on this planet.

I think the problem is the way we bring up children.

  • My parents let me do anything I wanted up to a point.
  • They also taught me lots of skills.
  • From about twelve, I used to cycle all over London.
  • I spent endless hours in my father’s print works doing things that would be frowned upon now, because they are too dangerous.

A couple of months ago, I was interviewed by a sixth-form girl student, in the volunteering I do at Barts Hospital in giving experience to prospective doctors.

She had lived in an over-protective environment and hardly left home on her own.

It was almost child abuse. She didn’t say, but I suspect she’d even been driven to and from school.

When it came to our own children, C and myself were fairly liberal and it was strange how, two became very street-wise and had the occasional scrapes, whereas the other was generally well-behaved.

Perhaps, we didn’t get everything right, but I like to think, we gave them a good appreciation of risk!

And that is one of the mot important things to learn in life, as often, those that ca’t assess risk, come to unfortunate ends.

I do feel my youngest son’s unhealthy lifestyle was a factor in his getting pancreatic cancer, especially if he was coeliac like me! But then he wouldn’t get tested!

His daughter though, seems to have a good appreciation of risk, but then if your father dies, you probably do!

To return to the eScooter, which is where this post started.

They Look Fun!

They certainly look fun and I constantly want to have a go on one.

Remember, I have crashed a twin-engined aeroplae and ridden horses in the Masai Mara.

At seventeen, I also sat on the back of a motorcycle, the wrong way round and went through the Mersey Tunnel.

Was I wearing a helmet? Of course not!

Are They Dangerous?

The risk depends on where they are used and how competent the rider is!

Ask any A & E doctor, what sport causes the most injuries and they’ll say something like rugby or horse-riding!

When A & E doctors start complaining about eScooters that will be the time for action.

Would Training Help?

Training isn’t the important thing.

However experience, especially that gained in a safe environment is important.

But to legislate that training should be mandatory will only have the reverse affect.


It’s a difficult problem, but we must teach everybody to appreciate risk.

When I joined ICI in 1969, I went on a formal Health and Safety course.

It has proven to be invaluable all my life an I haven’t worked on a chemical plant since 1970.

July 17, 2019 Posted by | Health, Transport, World | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Insurers Seek Rule Change To Invest In Green Power

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

The mouthpiece for the insurance industry has called on the regulator to overhaul rules to make it easier to invest in green energy projects, such as wind farms and solar power.

Green energy projects are bad investments for the first few years, as they just burn money during construction. After that, the wind or solar farm, just produces electricity, which gives an adequate return fpr perhaps around thirty years.

As the rules stand, the returns in the construction phase are a dodgy investment.

The Prudential Regulation Authority, who make the rules, was setup in 2013, with probably a bunch of dinosaurs drawing up the rules, based on the past not the future.

These figures show the total energy generated by wind power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 5.4 GHh
  • 2009 – 6.3 GWh
  • 2010 – 7.9 GWh
  • 2011 – 12.7 GWh
  • 2012 – 20.7 GWh
  • 2013 – 24.5 GWh
  • 2014 – 28.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 40.4 GWh
  • 2016 – 37.4 GWh
  • 2017 – 49.6 GWh


  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by wind power has doubled.
  2. In 2017, seventeen percent of our electricity was generated by wind.

These figures show the total energy generated by solar power for the last few years.

  • 2008 – 0.17 GHh
  • 2009 – 0.20 GWh
  • 2010 – .0.33 GWh
  • 2011 – 2.6 GWh
  • 2012 – 1.3 GWh
  • 2013 – 2.0 GWh
  • 2014 – 4.1 GWh
  • 2015 – 7.6 GWh
  • 2016 – 10.3 GWh
  • 2017 – 11.5 GWh


  1. Between 2013 and 2017 electricity generated by solar power has increased fivefold.
  2. In 2017, 3.4 percent of our electricity was generated by the sun.

This paragraph from Wind Power In The UK on Wikipedia, shows the major growth in offshore wind power.

The total offshore wind power capacity installed in the United Kingdom as of February 2019 is 8,183 MW, the largest in the world. The United Kingdom became the world leader of offshore wind power generation in October 2008 when it overtook Denmark. It also has the largest offshore wind farm in the world, the 175-turbine London Array wind farm, located off the Kent coast.

I don’t think the Prudential Regulation Authority saw that one coming.


The rules should be changed



March 11, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Risk Assessment – Japanese Style

Obviously, the nation that gave the world, that amazing game called Endurance, the method of risk assessment at Tokyo Zoo will be different to anywhere else in the world. This video shows them dealing with a rhino,that has been assumed to have escaped.

This scene is doubly funny for me, as C always laughed like a drain, when Clive James showed the clips of Endurance.

February 8, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Transparency International and the Blackrock Sovereign Risk Index

I’d never heard of Transparency International until yesterday, when it was interviewed about corruption in Moscow and the problems of investing there on the BBC.

They publish a Corruption Perception Index for around 180 countries world-wide. The link points to their data for 2010.  It is interesting reading.

The Blackrock Sovereign Risk Index does what it says on the tin and says how dodgy it is to deal in sovereign risk for various countries.

I wonder if the two are related, in that is a country low on the Country Perception Index, high on the Blackrock Sovereign Risk Index?

I shall be doing some investigating.

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment

Practical Risk Taking

David Spiegelhalter is Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University. His personal home page doesn’t look like most you find for academics of his august reputation.

We will all have the chance to see him on television tonight.

Not in some economics program about what the various rating agencies think of the euro or a discussion on the risk of smoking, but in the first edition of the BBC’s new series called Winter Wipeout. In an article in The Times today, he said that he considered it an obligation under my terms of employment to apply.

What did the University’s Health and Safety Department say?  He does not disclose this in The Times.

Let’s hope though, that after his performance, where I hope he does well, that the politicians, bankers, businessmen and the general public take statistics more seriously. And act on what they say they should do!

December 17, 2011 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

This Guy Has a Big Job On

David Spiegelhalter is the Professor of Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge. He has written a very good article on the subject of risk with respect to insurance in today’s Times.

So he has a big job on to knock sense into politicians, lawyers, insurance companies and the general public.

But it will make little difference, as we are the most statistically-untrained generation for perhaps a thousand years.

By the way his superb name is literally translated as mirror owner.

February 25, 2011 Posted by | News, World | , | Leave a comment

Simon Calder

Simon Calder is my favourite travel writer and I spent quite a bit of the journey from Peterborough to Newcastle reading the travel section in The Independent.  Or should I say his travel section, as a lot of it seems to have been written by him.

For a start there was a piece about how to spend two days in San Francisco, although I don’t think it was written by Simon.  And as I am going there in May, it is something that appeared at the right time.

Simon’s editorial was entitled “The week of travelling dangerously” and was about the problems of the Icelandic volcanic ash. The last two paragraphs of a very good article sum up why we ended up in such a mess.

Travel, like life, is about risk management. Flying is far safer than travelling by road. Britain has the best aviation record in the world over the past 20 years, thanks to an obsession with safety on the part of pilots, air-traffic controllers and engineers. But there are limits, which were overstepped this week by a spokesman for the aviation regulators who insisted that only “complete safety” was acceptable. The only way to achieve zero risk: ground all flights, forever. If we all switch to cars, the increase in risk to us, and other road users, increases dramatically. This was the week of travelling dangerously.

“Complete safety” is a laudable but unachievable aim. To suggest otherwise gives credence to the assertion among some pilots that CAA actually stands for “Campaign Against Aviation”.

Taking up Simon’s point about increased risk in cars, how many people have been injured or perhaps even killed in their journeys home by perhaps dubious methods?  Thank goodness, I’ve not heard of any yet.

He also had a marvellous article about travelling on a container ship.  I’ll do that one day.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Taking Risks

In this article in The Times yesterday Carl Mortished was arguing that we need more risk-takers. He ends with these two paragraphs.

The solution to our economic problems is not to tie everything down but to unwind the screws, loosen the bolts. We want true risk-takers, those people who centuries ago might finance a ship destined for a spice island. Someone truly prepared to risk the shirt on their backs, who fears that his “monstruosity” might bite off his own head.

Financial capital is now fleeing Britain, heading to the Far East. A long queue of companies is chasing the money, including our own Prudential, which is floating a business on the Chinese stock market. The true venturers are over there, not in Britain.

He is absolutely right.

So am I still taking risks?


For a start I’m going round the world. Not much you’d think, but I’ve lost my wife and youngest son in recent years, five weeks ago I had a small stroke and the medics have said I’ve got a leaky heart valve and the heart rhythm is up the creek.

So take risks and enjoy life.  Live the quiet life and you’ll never understand what it’s all about.

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Business, Finance | | Leave a comment