Monthly Archives: July 2010

A Stunt?

The London ‘bike-scheme’ starts today with more than 11,000 keys already ‘sold’ to potential renters of the 6, 000 bikes.
The bikes are rentable for £1 an hour or £50.00p for a week. Anyway I hope it works out.
Such a scheme would be unworkable in the north as 6,000 bikes going for as little as a £3 ‘key’ charge would simply mean, for local kids, FREE bikes to wreck on the local skatepark!
And boy have I seen some tasty bike-wrecks after having a bike-repair-shop close-by!
Mind you, the word is that in London folk actually work most of the time, so bike-stunting is reserved for nights and weekends!
I have strong reservations about such schemes because in the daily news I read of other ‘funded’ organisations that for-ever cost us tax-payers dear. British Airways. British Petroleum. British Telecom. British Gas. Banks….I could add shedloads more but they became so expensive they were, after much government and employee kicking and screaming, closed-down.
In this world there are, after all, stunts and stunts.
Logging-on at the Mail this morning my tired eyes were suddenly opened by the ‘news’ that Work and Pensions guru, that nice Mr. Duncan-Smith, is to ‘tear-up’ the present welfare-system – especially Tax-Credits
Yikes, I thought, keep yer ‘air on old chuck! But I needn’t have bothered.
Rather than some real money-saving cut-backs they’re just going to phase-out the present Tax-Credit system and replace it with another. Apparently people earning up to £60,000.00p a year will be eligible to claim.
I just hope me and the other eight people that are left to actually fund this don’t mind!
Also opening today is the London Super-Car Hire Scheme! It’s just £5,000 for a key and the cars cost £20,000.00p per day.
Already 40,000 of London’s Hedge-Fund Managers and Banking-Staff have signed-up!
Tony Hayward said, “Brilliant! It will gimme summat to do!” as he checked the nearest car for oil-leaks then hired it for a month!
Upon seeing the cars The Mayor of London said, “DOH!”
Bikes indeed!
As I tinkered about here today I thought of the word ‘entrepreneur’ and, on a sudden impulse, put, ‘Entrepreneurial blogs’ into google.
Thousands of links came up but each had the familiar ‘.com’ suffix at url’s end and, when at the sites, money was $ and usually the sites were USA based.
I thought, mmmm…and put into google, ‘English entreprenuerial blogs’ into google. I was rewarded with stuff like,’…english-based entrepreneurial blog by (etc.)’ or, ‘entrepreneurial blog in english at (blah blah) .com’. Again the actual sites were American.
I obtained similar results for ‘British entrepreneurial blogs’.
So in the above short article about tax-credits please substitute the ‘eight’ with a ‘two’.
At one (US !?) site I noticed the initials: WIIFM. Boy, that took me back! (yawn!)

We’re not normal – official!

From the Mail today:

The American ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health’ (DSM) which apparently is a worldwide ‘bible’ for those that treat mental health problems, has had a major re-write.
Because of this the parameters for ‘mental illness’ have been so greatly widened that the suggestion is that no one can be considered ‘normal’!
In my case I hold my hands up willingly………….but must now smile gently and knowingly………….
every time I see a politician. (and/or NHS Trust Treasurers – see below!)
Bikes are in the news today as the Post Office says it’ll have to phase them out on health and safety grounds.
It should be fun on e-bay for a few weeks as there are about 14,000 such (redundant) bikes…….each probably ‘a collectors item’ but ‘buyer to collect’ as postmen find assembled bikes difficult to carry!?
Scientists have apparently discovered a distant meteorite that could be on a 2180 collision course with earth.
Watchout for a ‘Meteor Avoidance Tax’ being imposed from now on. A Meteor Evasion Tax would of course be illegal!
I read today that an NHS ‘manager’, called-in to save one of the trusts money, cost them £319.30 per hour plus £25.00p per hour expenses for 97 days! (I worked-out the figures without a calculator from daily/yearly figures published in Mail.)
Needless to say my Price for work will rise in accordance and I suggest other entrepreneurs follow suit.
Mmmm, I ask myself, have the re-writers of the DSM got a point?

Artistic Licence?

There is mention today, in some of the press, about charging folk that watch bbc programmes, on pc’s, the normal bbc licence fee. At present, apparently, such reception is excempt.

I am eager to watch dear old auntie sending billions of tv licence reminders – worldwide! (And to read some of the replies from abroad!) And they say the fee is for programmes!!
🙂 🙂

Trends???

To ‘keep up with them’ I take heed of the young. One such said, “…a chapter of a novel, placed at a website every week or month perhaps, may attract a few regular readers (visitors/traffic!)”.
So the ancient fictional archives of ‘Elizabeth Morris’ were delved, edited and updated and, as no earthly publisher anywhere wants the slightest thing to do with any of them, some will be placed here, a chapter (or two) at a time.
The first to read would be ‘Mrs Em’s for Murder’ which introduces the detective characters. This will be continued first….

Recently I sat through the first DVD’s of ‘Twilight’. Were these ‘trendy’? Apparently they are but another ‘young’ opinion is that they are not as they are about ‘good’ vampires and, in reality (?) such a thing cannot exist! Vampires must be bad! So for all real vampire fans the first bits of ‘Empyre’ are written here as a taster for all you suckers out there! More very soon on this one……………

For ‘ghost-hunters’, ‘The Lady of Holcombe’ starts………

The fact that recently e-books ( as a ‘trend’?) sold more than hardbacks, has absolutely nothing to do with it all!

🙂

Yikes!

Mmm…oh for a bike with a wicker basket! Even the Mail has a fashion article about them today. But it’s all just a fad – soon there’ll be a glut of Dutch-style ladies bikes, with wicker-baskets, hung or stood, gathering cobwebs in garages everywhere.
But we can get new models of this style of bike. No, I haven’t seen any new bikes, like this, for £25 (?) as many phone-callers ask! (You can’t get the basket, new, for that!)
Second-hand? It is possible – check-out ebay. There was a Brompton there yesterday bidded (then) up to £310 I think. Plus of course any necessary repairs.
The fact is; thanks to such bikes featuring in Miss Marple and other trendy TV programmes, they’ve become a fashion item, so at the moment you simply can’t get hold of them for back-pocket change.
For new, good-stuff, in this style, over £500 is sensible. Then, if bought via ‘net, you’ve got to assemble it.
Some real, although ‘virtual’, bike-shops do actually assemble such bikes; and deliver them to your door – all working and ready to ride – the baskets ready for use! Sadly, doing that costs………..and that might not be quite so fashionable… (but, oh to find such a shop!)
A tasty and fashionable bike of this style is the Dawes Graduate with really retro hub gears and brakes. It’s around £500 new (if we can find one 🙂 ) plus delivery charges, but the bike pictured: The Dawes Duchess, is similarly styled for about £300 plus delivery, if cost is more important to you than fashion! 🙂 I must point out that the basket, in both cases, is Rattan effect but what d’you want at the price? (It’ll last longer when hung in the garage!)
I have been watching some stages of the Tour de France bike race. It is great to see on TV with all the scenery etc. And the bikes!!!
They are superb. Ultra light. Little or no ‘rolling-resistance’ so they go like the wind.
The trouble is, I fear, they’ve gone a bit too OTT in weight-reduction and streamlining attempts. The tyres on these bikes are a point in mind.
They have little or no tread. So, when you go around a corner…they slip and you fall off.
Several riders this year have been so affected. Some quite seriously.
So, what’s the point of trying to save a few seconds (over a month???) by skimping on such vital components as tyres, when a fall loses you several minutes?
And having a tread on tyres would make 100 km/hour mountain descents far safer at the corners (and far faster!) – well, that’s how I’d ride ’em anyway….on me Raleigh.

Bicycle Repairs.

For Bicycle Repair enquiries please click the page-link above. We are busy (yes!) at the moment and, we are attempting to move house within the next few weeks.

For bicycle spare parts please visit our spares site – bicycleinnertubes – there is a link in centre column on this page.

Neither of these services is a free service and all work and parts must be paid for.

Work from home?

For about two years my home has been up for sale with an estate-agent in the normal way. We have had a handfull of viewers but most simply did not have about £20,000.00p, in cash, as a deposit for a mortgage.
I expect that all of the viewers worked locally i.e. in the north of England.
So today, I read in the Mail (and elsewhere) of the latest farce with housing benefit – this time it’s for a £2,100,000.00p five-bedroomed in a spot-on area of London. The benefits claimant gets about £8,000.00p per month just to pay the house rent. Other living expenses on top.
Within the past few days some jobsworth has come-up with the idea that yikes! why don’t millions well, thousands, well, a few hundred – perhaps – of car-commuting computer and IT workers just work from home and greatly reduce rush-hour traffic?
Apart from the fact that many folk already do (yawn) work from home in this way – what, in view of the apparent ease of getting £8,000.00p per month housing-benefit – is the frigging point? Why bother, either a) Scrimping to raise a deposit or b) working at all?
Normally food retailing companies have a reasonable time even in mega-tax-hike Britain. So watching for ‘weaknesses’? in this line of work is a barometer of reality.
Check-out Ocado the Waitrose ‘franchise’ – never made a profit in ten years and desperate for cash……….
The really big-boys in this line are (seemingly) ok but are diversifying. Every penny counts these days – however you get it.
6,000 bikes for hire in London – will it work? Who cares. Least of all Barclays who’ve funded it (apparently).
The cash would have gorn in tax anyway so why not put it down as a ‘tax-loss’ and get umpteen £billions-worth of free advertising.
To keep 6,000 bikes on the road (if they actually bother) will take quite an army of mechanics and spares – so the fizzle-out will probably be slow and prolonged. Then it’s back to the car with another shed-load of cash swirled down the money-sink.
With some Canadian bike maker/supplier comfortably on a beach…somewhere.
Downside? There are hundreds of Private bike-shops in London areas. How nice to be no longer really needed. Perhaps Barclays can fund redundant bike-shop owners/workers as they ‘sign-on’ eh? What you call a ‘hidden’ cost perhaps.
**A ‘Bicycle Mechanic’, locally, may be able to earn £10,000 to £15,000 gross per annum. Sadly once the whole farce goes ‘public’ Bicycle Mechanic may become something like ‘Pedalled Vehicle Assessment and Rectification Technician’ in The Guardian, with an advertised ‘salary’ (from public-funds) of say £45,000.00p per annum plus pension. Mind you, the poor bike-men concerned will probably be weighed-down with £20,000.00p or more of University Tuition-Fee loans in order to get ‘The Diploma’! **
Finally, in this ‘Work From Home’ Special – 🙂 – working from home may not be all that it’s purported to be. For the third year in a row the Vatican reports a yearly loss!!
Income: Eu 250,200,000
Outgoings: Eu 254,300,000
So what hope for mere mortals?

Pensioned off!

They’re at it again – only this time it’s far more subtle. Rather than just changing the taxation goal-posts on pension-funds, now the penny-pinching moves to the yearly increase – made to keep pace with inflation.
Up to now this increase has been in line with the Retail Price Index which is, currently, just over 5%.
In future the Consumer Price Index will be used and this is running at about 3.4%.
A subtle claw-back that will, as time passes, cost pensioners many thousand of pounds.
Watch-out for a small (?) tax ‘adjustment’, imposed on pension-providers, that will sideswipe the results of this payments ‘move’, as ever, into the money sink of government coffers.
I do know one or two folk getting ‘private’ pension payments that they’ve saved for over the years. In every case the amount of weekly private pension cash is deducted entirely from their normal state pension. So, what is the point? Doesn’t national insurance or tax cover the old-age-pension anymore?
Apparently the government are to ask the 23,000,000 members of Facebook where cuts in services are best made.
Such, it seems, is progress. 50 years ago this would have been impossible as the 23,000,000 would have been at work.
Some ‘think-tank’ committee somewhere has calculated that a single person needs about £15,000 minimum gross per year in order to live reasonably well physically and socially. Marrieds with say two children need about £29,000.
The recent press, in articles, asks if ‘you’ could live on this.
Live on it! Ye gods! I would positively thrive on that kinda cash every year!
Sadly if all those of my ilk opted for the cushy life with even a minimum-wage – there would be nowhere (Private) that anyone could so earn. And a public minimum-wage actually costs us about double…..
There are though ‘pensions’ and pensions.
Sometimes by another name…….

Money sinks?

There are umpteen ‘money sinks’ but a couple do feature in todays news. One is (as ever) the sheer cost of the eu. This year we’ll put into this money-sink par excellence £6,400,000,000.00p more than we get out of it.
Wot’s the point I have to ask meself?
**We’ve been ‘fined’ £150,000,000.00p by the third-raters at Brussels for not flying the eu flag!**
The present government have set-up a website so that the (online) populace can air their views on where ‘the cuts’ might be made. The costs, this year, of the website, are £20,000.00p.
On the one hand I rejoice that some canny hacker has pulled a bundle for his/her graft in order to pay his/her way, but on the other I cringe at the thought of tax-payers cash going down the sink seemingly so readily. How many estimates were sought for this website? Wouldn’t a wordpress off-the-peg have done?
Of course the other option – no website (and no costs at all) – doesn’t get a look in!
Rolls-Royce are doing nicely – production, because of demand, is up nearly 200% – yet, sadly, the waiting-list runs up to sometime in September. 2010 sales are expected to be double those of 2009.
About 15 Rolls-Royces are made per day.
🙂