Friday, 28 November 2008


Am I still in England? Do I still live in a democracy? I ask these questions because the event occuring in the last twenty four hours, which saw a member of Her Majesty's Opposition arrested, seems more like Zimbabwe than the England I want to live in. Damien Green is Shadow Immigration Minister and the information he has brought into the public domain is of vital public interest. Illegal immigrants employed by the Home Office and working in the House of Commons shows security was a complete sham. The public has a right to know these sort of things.

We are now on a very slippery slope towards a one party Police State. In the same context as yesterday's arrest, Winston Churchill would have been arrested in the 1930's for disclosing information leaks about our lack of preparation against the Nazis.

What are the chances come 2010 that ZaNu Labour will declare a State of Emergency due to the ongoing economic situation and not allow an election? And no doubt the EU would fully support them.

Perhaps you've just read that last paragraph and you are thinking "what overblown scaremongering". Well remember we've had the introduction into British law of the Civil Contingencies Act which gives the government the right to terminate democracy in an "emergency" of its own definition. Also the introduction into British law of the Terrorist Act which allows the government to prevent political demonstrations and hold people without charge for a month. To paraphrase Vince Cable "from Mr Bean to Stalin". Be Afraid - Be Very Afraid!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


This is my second posting in the Seven Things series following my tag by rob clack. This time it is “7 things I do now” but I’m actually just going to give you four things. Pleased don’t feel short changed, I will explain in a bit of detail why I do them now. So four is enough!

Chill and Relax – the best thing about retiring early has been the virtual elimination of stress from my life. Mrs Troy believes, and I tend to agree, that if I’d kept on going as previously I wouldn’t have lived to the normal retirement date. The early rise, the commute to Central London, the manic and incessant e-mail demands for information, the staff out sick, or on holiday, or extended maternity leave. The work that still had to done to ever tighter deadlines. Stop! Stop! STOP! I want to get off!
And I did. Of course I miss both the money and the social aspects of working in an office. But I’m so much happier now and so much more relaxed and free of stress. So if you can (and I know it is far from easy) save, invest and try to retire early.

Enjoy long walks on the beach – I’ve always liked the coast. Now we live just a fifteen minute ride from the nearest beach and it is not much further to many other beautiful beaches. My favourite local beach is just south of Dovercourt leading on to the Walton Backwaters. The views are nice, the sand is soft under foot and it is frequently totally deserted. Well just me, a picnic in a rucksack, the waves lapping onto the beach, a gentle breeze and the sunshine. There are yachts, power boats, ferries and container ships offshore adding to the interest as well as many small wading birds scurrying along the tide line. Bliss!

Invest in Gold – gold (and silver) used to be everyday money. But then governments around the world decided we’d be better off instead with their bits of paper backed by just their written promises. A Gordon Brown promise – yeah right! So I wanted to find a way of investing in something that was independent of governments and I found gold. Not in the ground or in a stream, but after much internet searching I discovered “Bullion Vault” a company who facilitate the secure purchase and sale of gold bullion, simply and with low charges. . My gold is stored safely in vaults in London and Zurich, it is not at home under the mattress! Obviously I’m not recommending buying gold to everyone but many experts do advise keeping 5%-10% of your wealth in gold. Which is strange, after all it is just a lump of metal, but over the years it has proved a safe way to preserve the purchasing value of your wealth independent of governments. Follow the link above to find out more (but caveat emptor!).

Follow Ipswich Town FC – three years ago I didn’t give Ipswich’s results a second glance. But having moved to the area with a view to settling here long term I wanted a sporting interest. Now I’m totally hooked. I can’t wait until next Saturday afternoon to get down to Portman Road and cheer on my team. I feel strongly that people should support their local team not some distant Premiership team. Get a season ticket, get to know the players – and support them through the good and bad times.

I’ll be back next week with my 3rd posting in the Seven Things series. Please stay tuned!

Monday, 24 November 2008


What a totally disgraceful and pathetic pre-budget report I’ve just had the misfortune to sit through this afternoon. It is difficult to get one’s head around the levels of borrowing that Chancellor Alistair Darling will now be running up as a result of this Government's incompetence in handling the economy over the last few years.

£78,000,000,000 in extra borrowing in this financial year, plus

£118,000,000,000 extra borrowing in the financial year 2009/10, plus

£105,000,000,000 extra borrowing in the financial year 2010/11

At this rate it could soon add up to a big number!

And who pays the interest on these enormous borrowings? Me, you, and for many, many years to come, so will our children. Yes we are spending as if there is no tomorrow and our children will have to pick up the tab. To the next generation we leave all our worldly debts!

Perhaps you are cheering the 2.5% drop in VAT? Last week Marks & Spencer had a 20% sale yet I stayed at home. Debenhams had a 25% sale over 3 days last week and still I stayed at home. Now Mr Darling is expecting me to rush out next week on a personal spending binge once all the poor retailers have had the time to change all their prices to reflect a 2.5% reduction in VAT. Yeah right! Perhaps he wanted to reduce it further but the European Union doesn’t allow their EU regional governments to set the standard VAT rate below 15%.

There are lots of handouts of child benefits and extra payments to pensioners paid for by an increase in the tax on jobs – National Insurance.

Last week two Scots apologised and resigned due to the parlous state into which they had got their organisation (the Royal Bank of Scotland). It is too much to hope that the ultimate incompetent Scottish duo – Brown and Darling – will now have the decency to do likewise and call a General Election!

Sunday, 23 November 2008


How the weather has changed in the last two weeks. These two photographs were taken in our back garden only two weeks apart - on 9th November and 23rd November - but what a contrast!

A very autumnal feel here with many leaves on the ground but also many still on the trees. A nice bright autumnal sun adds to the view.

But then two weeks later we awoke* to this:-

The trees are virtually bare. Troy Junior woke us this morning with the news that the snow had arrived. We rarely get snow in this area of East Anglia and Troy Junior has yet to see a true deep blanket of snow. Perhaps he will get his wish this winter? I'm just glad I no longer have to commute to work in the winter.

(* for the avoidance of doubt - we hadn't been fast asleep for two weeks!)

Monday, 17 November 2008


I’ve been tagged by rob clack to do the “7 things” thingy. It appears that there are seven different categories altogether as follows:-

7 things I plan to do before I die
7 things I do now
7 things I can’t do
7 things that attract me to the opposite sex
7 things I say most often
7 celebrities I admire
7 favourite foods

Which means that I have to come with 49 items in total to interest you. That’s a big ask – so instead I’ll do one category now and do the other six categories in the weeks to come which should take us to the end of December (so stick with me folks!).

Let’s start with 7 THINGS I PLAN TO DO BEFORE I DIE ----

Go on a world cruise – this will have to wait until Troy Junior goes to University; pencilled in for October 2019. A long time to wait but also a long time to save up for it. If Mrs Troy is good, I’ll take her with me.
Tour New Zealand – having seen it in a number of films, like Lord of The Rings, I’d like to experience it for real. Also I’ve recently been given this strange ring to dispose of carefully.
See the Great Barrier Reef – why are these places all on the far side of the world? Perhaps in years to come the much heralded sub-space flights taking a couple of hours to get there will really come to fruition. And hopefully I’ll still have some Virgin air-miles to use up.
Buy a place abroad overlooking the sea – we had a weekend holiday home, we called the Beach House, overlooking the sea at Clacton but I sold it when I retired. You may think that was a strange thing to do on I retiring, or, you may be impressed that I sold it at the top of the market in August 2007. Clacton is convenient but it sure as hell ain’t exotic.
See England win the football World Cup – I’m hoping that England get to stage the World Cup in 2018 and that my Dad, Troy Junior and I can go and see England play in it at Wembley. In 2018, my Dad will be 88, I’ll be 63 (!) and Troy Junior will be 17. It will be great if the three generations of the family can enjoy this experience together. [Late addition : if our England "Reserve" team can beat Germany 1-2 in Berlin then anything is possible!]
Complete the Book Project (see earlier posting) – this should take 20 years to complete. If it proves to be a best seller it may fund some of the other items above.
See Troy Junior grow up to be a fine, confident and independent man - with only the one heir, I've got all my eggs in one basket. I hope he’ll be happy in love, happy in his chosen career and happy with his inheritance (that’s good genes; did you think I meant money!?!).

I hope you’ll return next week for my next instalment.

Monday, 10 November 2008


Oh dear, I’ve been tagged! Well actually a part of me is quietly pleased that someone took the trouble to tag me (thanks TarteTartan) but now I’ve got to come up with six random facts about myself which may (or more may not) be of interest to you, my dear readers.

I independently discovered a Comet
I’ve always had an interest in astronomy and in the early 1970’s I discovered quite independently a faint comet whilst observing the night sky with binoculars. At that time there was no internet to consult so instead I wrote to the TV Astronomer Patrick Moore. I got a reply, written on his old battered typewriter, telling me that yes I had indeed discovered a comet but it had been first spotted a little earlier by two Japanese observers. If I’d been a little quicker I would have had a comet named after me. Instead I’ve still got the treasured letter from Patrick Moore (now Sir Patrick).

Dealing with customer complaints in person at Butlins
Whilst I was a student in the mid 1970’s I worked the summer holidays at a Butlins holiday camp. I dealt with customers' complaints when they came to see me in my small office at the end of one of the chalet rows. This was my first experience dealing with members of the public and I tried to handle it with a smile and with humour. I must have done quite a good job because when I applied in the second year for this temporary seasonal work they took me back on and on arrival I discovered they had fired the incumbent when they knew I was returning! The great part about this job was my commute to work each day – a two mile walk along the beach.

A most useful invention – especially for students
I’m very proud of this invention – the folding air guitar. Again this goes back to the mid 1970’s when I had to travel each term from my home in Yorkshire to University at Nottingham (the real one, not Trent Poly). With so many things to pack and carry I found having a folding air guitar invaluable. This is so useful for anybody who likes music but does a lot of travelling. I’m disappointed that I’ve never had the recognition this great invention deserves. Perhaps I should take it onto the Dragons' Den?

Impressing the neighbour’s son with 850 million dollars
I recently told my neighbour’s son (Troy Junior’s friend) that I had 850 million dollars. He didn’t believe me. I actually had to physically show him the 850 million dollars before he would accept I was telling the truth. Then he was impressed. He would have been less impressed I think if he fully understood the implications of the words “Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe” on the banknotes.

I’m taking my elderly father to Hong Kong this December
My father spends his days caring for my mother who has very advanced Alzheimers. Every three months we encourage him to have a “Respite” break when my mother goes into a care home. This December I’m taking him to Hong Kong. He has never been before, and at 78 years old this may be his first and last visit to the “Far East”. He’s got a flat bed both ways on the plane and five nights in a five star hotel. He deserves it (and much more) for all the love and devotion he gives to my poor mother. Alzheimers is the most truly horrendous thing – I’m praying for a cure before I get old.

The Troy Family may be on TV next Spring
I’m not giving away the details yet but there is a chance that the Troy Family may feature in a Channel 4 documentary next Spring. The idea is at a very early stage so I’m giving no further clues but will of course let everyone know more if it does come to fruition.

Well that’s six random facts about me that you didn’t know before. I hope you found them interesting. I think I would have struggled to find a seventh one – I lead a quiet life. Regarding the book project (see below) – I’ve got my short list drawn up now and will contact the “victims” and move things forward this week.