Wednesday, 12th October, 2022

[Day 940]

Today has been quite an unusual day. For a start, we got up a little late after we had (for us) a late-ish night for us after we had had a quick goodnight drink with our friends down the road, after my evening meeting at the church. Actually, we were awakened by the door bell ringing as our friendly driver from the Honda garage from whom we purchased our car getting on for some two years ago, was calling to pick up the car for its annual service. Things are made so much easier thse days than they used to be because our garage will come in a car that they leave with you whilst your own car is whisked away to be serviced, only to be returned to you later in the day. Also the benefits of modern technology means that the garage make a little video showing the remaining tread depth chalked onto the tyres together with a quick visual inspection of the suspension and exhaust systems (or the bits that are open for visual inspection) This video is then sent direct to your mobile phone and is incredibly reassuring. Upon the return of the car later in the morning which had been both washed and valeted, I noticed a small area of stain left behind evidently by a bird dropping. As I know this can etch into the car if left untreated, I did a quick search on the web to see if there were any readily available ‘tips’ to remove the potential etching. Amongst several home made solutions to this problem, one suggestion was to squirt a little WD-40 (of which I have a good supply) onto the bird dropping ‘etching’ and I have to say this worked actually like magic. Watching a ‘YouTube‘ video, I now realise that you need to wash off the WD-40 which has a slightly etching effect of its own on the clear layer which lies over your primer and base paint layer. Now for the car care tip Mark II. I have the most minor of bumper scuff marks after, I suspect, an unknown car park collision but I think that after a WD-40 treatment such as I have just detailed, I am prepared to live with the almost indiscernible visible part of the scuff mark that still remains. I seem to remember that when I moved into my present house some fifteen years ago, I had a white Honda Accord which had finished up with minor bumper scuffs on each corner of the car and not one of them caused by myself. But after the period in which one is ‘new car neurotic’ and parks one’s cars way away from any other vehicles in, for example, a supermarket’s carpark, you learn to live with these little irritants, annoying as they are at the time.

There is a great deal of turbulence in the UK’s financial markets at the moment, as well as elsewhere in Europe. In particular, the financial markets are acutely interested in how our Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, intends to fund the £65 billion of tax cuts and energy prices support announced in the mini-budget. Basically, the markets are holding their breath and believe that either the tax cuts have to be abandoned (and therefore do not need funding) or there will have to be swingeing public sector budget cuts. Liz Truss in the Commons today completely reiterated her pledge of ‘no public expenditure cuts’ and so the financial markets, the political parties and the public at large have no idea how the chancellor is going to fund the tax give aways. There are two deadlines upon which everyone is focused. One of these is when the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is going to deliver their own independent assession of the viability of the Chancellor’s stated intentions on 31st October, but that is still nearly three weeks away. A much more immediate deadline is next Friday which is the date upon which the Bank of England say they are going to withdraw support from, in effect, the pensions funds industry which is a major investor in government bonds. If the pensions industry have to, in effect, have a ‘fire sale’ of some of their assets in order to satisfy the banks from whom they have borrowed the money to buy the government bonds, then this might start a massive downward spiral in which the pensions industry causes a contagion in other parts of the financial sector. We have, of course, been here before in the financial crisis of 14-15 years go. Channel 4 news were interviewing a very respected financial journalist and international investor, Gillian Tett, who let it be known that she thought that Rees-Mogg’s defence of the government that it had no culpability but was merely the victim of wider international turbulence was ‘spherical objects’ (although she did use the Anglo Saxon word in her report) This took the Channel 4 reporter by surprise and they immediately issued an apology in case the Anglo-Saxon word actually used caused any offence. However, in the text version of the report given for the hard-of-hearing viewers, the actual word used was transliterated as ‘bullocks’.