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Married couples allowance

I haven’t written anything for ages as we have been quite busy for semi retired people. I have been helping a friend with some filming and been driving in The Lake District and Glasgow and I’m heading up there again tomorrow.

Listening to the radio this morning though I heard the latest stupid proposal from another party desperate to win votes from a disinterested public. This time it’s the Tories ahead of their Manchester conference saying that they’ll give £200 a year tax breaks to married couples.

For fooks sake. I’m in my mid sixties, reasonable stuck in my ways, a lover and supporter of the sanctity of marriage, but that’s just so utterly irrelevant and in fact insulting I don’t know what they could be thinking of. What must the hundreds of thousands of single parent families think of that? What must the poor sods who’s other halves have died think of it? And all the perfectly normal strong families that aren’t married?

I’m not sure which is worse. This crap from the Cons or Ed Milliband’s stupid idea of freezing energy prices. OOK, prices are hefty and going up scarily fast, but freezing them isn’t going to help a lot, and is only expected to save people a hundred odd quid a year.

Bloody hell I try not to pay attention to politics and it’s stuff like this that makes me turn against it. Complete bollocks from Eton. I hate the principles of that other arse Farrage, but he might be the only one talking sense at the moment.

Whoa! Calm down old man and take your medicine! Yes, a pint of Landlord for the old man please!


The Lakes

Oh blimey.

How has a month gone by without me writing anything at all?

I’m sure we’ve done loads of stuff, we have certainly been down to Cornwall to our mate’s luxury self catering cottage New Forge. That was at the start of September. I think we had the last of the great British summer that weekend.

I was treated to a night in a lovely boutique hotel as well for my birthday. Called The Old Coastguards, Mrs BB and I had a fabulous dinner and a comfortable night in a huge four poster with the windows thrown wide open and the gentle roll of the sea lulling us to a deep and beautiful sleep.

But right now we’re in the Lakes, in Ambleside’s Salutation Hotel. After heading up a few hills this morning Mrs BB is taking her reward in the form of a massage in the spa, and I thought I’d catch up on a bit of story telling. It’s a shame I didn’t think of this before.

I even had a swim yesterday morning in a lake just up the road called Rydal. The chef told me about it and said that he often swims there in the dawning light before he starts service in the kitchen. It’s supposed to be the warmest of the lakes, but it was still pretty chilly to me, but I was the only one swimming without a wet suit.

The hotel breakfast is amazing, but the place is full of old biddies. When I said that to Mrs BB she pointed out that they aren’t any older than me – older in spirit though I think!

Less rant, more joy.



View from Y WarrenThis is the view we have woken up to for the last couple of mornings.

It’s pretty spectacular. And the scenery around us is even better, there’s mountains and the sea, and if you’re lucky, both together.

I can’t initiate another rant when I’m looking at this. We have had great company, and some pretty deep and interesting conversations, including one on our understanding of gender – that was sparked off by an essay title and catching a news item that had us all in stitches.

It was a piece on the American Serviceman called Bradley Manning, the guy who leaked three quarters of a million state secrets (that takes some thinking about doesn’t it? can you even contemplate 750,000 of anything?). So Manning’s trial must be a pretty serious event in the US, tantamount to treason I guess, but then he came out on Thursday and said that he considers himself a woman and from now on wants to be know as Chelsea! What the heck is that about?

It’s so completely off the wall that it’s a story in itself.

I guess unless you know someone close to you who has a trans gender crisis it is a difficult situation to understand or believe, and as we aren’t in that category I have to admit we’re just going to sit back and laugh. Sorry Bradley, or is it Chelsea.



And another thing! VAT


Yesterday I quite enjoyed my little rant about the bastards at HSBC charging even the smallest businesses for holding their accounts. I did actually spend the rest of the day plotting how I could raise people’s attention to the amount of money they have in their accounts, and the fact that they could be earning if not lots of interest, then at least some by simply moving it around.

Then I was caught out by someone I bought off who advertised their price, but didn’t state that the VAT had not been added in.

That really gets my goat!

It’s not a real price if the VAT is added after because everyone has to pay it, but only bigger businesses can reclaim it. So if you’re an individual, or a small business then the price you pay is not being fairly displayed.

Blimey what is happening to me? I’m supposed to be the benign geezer gently supping his pint in the corner, offering wisdom when asked, but otherwise keeping his own council. It’s not like me to get all het up about stuff. But I bloody well am at the moment.

Let’s see what else I can find to rant about over the bank holiday! Given that we’re driving out to North Wales later today I’m sure traffic and other people’s driving will feature in the equation.

HSBC out to nobble small businesses?

The banks are yet again under scrutiny at the moment, this time for a new scandal over proof of identity.

Hot on the heels of PPOI, I knew this one was coming as a mate of mine is working at CPP in York trying to sort out the shit storm that’s going on there.

However I want to know why HSBC is being able to get away with using the bad news as a moment to bury other potentially damaging PR as it has now introduced bank charges for even the smallest of businesses.

I still have a business account that has a trickle of funds in it which I maintain pretty much solely for paying tax dues on my previous businesses. It has a large credit balance (well, to my mind it’s large, anything above a grand is a lot of money in my book), very few transactions, and all of them online, and yet they now want to charge me for the account.

If I had the energy I’d kick off a campaign to alert people to what’s happening and encourage them to leave the smallest possible balances in their accounts. I’ve checked my business savings account and it’s paying a measly 0.01% credit interest on balances up to £100,000! Are they taking the piss or what?

If all the busy business owners wised up to this they’d see that their money is actually depreciating while sitting in the bank. If we all just left the smallest amount in then the banks would have to reverse their strategy and do stuff to encourage us to pay more in.

Angry Bee Beard!