Wednesday April 23, 2014


Goat Milking in Greece – Lesson 2 a triumph captured on video
A Money Making Idea based on Cats & my nervous Mrs - Luxurycathotel.com Ltd
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PERSONAL, UNDILUTED VIEWS FROM TOM WINNIFRITH

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Goat Milking in Greece – Lesson 2 a triumph captured on video

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One of my ambitions in life is to get the hang of milking a goat. Okay, it is not quite playing for West Ham or changing the world bit it is achievable but a lot harder than you may think. A year ago I had lesson one which was captured on video HERE and was not exactly a triumph.

However I was back with the in-laws of the Mrs during Easter and the wonderful Stavroula (pictured below) consented to let me try my hand again.

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Easter Day Goat in Greece

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Easter Sunday was spent with the in-laws of the Mrs who live in a tiny village south of Kalamata and naturally for lunch (for 16 of us) it was goat. With vegetables aplenty and an amazing lentil and feta salad it was a true feast. But at the centre of it all was goat.

So here is a before shot….all say aaaaaaagh.

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Blinkx, Roger Lawson & ShareSoc – Time to come clean?

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ShareSoc does great work campaigning for private investors, for greater boardroom accountability and transparency. But right now with regard to blinkx (BLNX) it is ShareSoc and its deputy chairman Roger Lawson who have the questions to answer. 

Lawson has posted five times on blinkx since Ben Edelman raised very serious questions about part of its business. On April 5 at the UK Investor Show Edelman produced damning new evidence relating to the assets and operations of Zango which were bought by blinkx after the FTC fined Zango and shut it down for breaking the law. Ben showed very clearly for the first time on April 5 that blinkx was, via those assets, still engaging in the same practices. Surely this was a grave matter of concern for anyone interested in corporate governance, etc? Er…

Lawson reacted by stating that there was nothing new in the presentation. He furthermore accused Edelman of being a showman and cast doubt on his financial motives for exposing blinkx. As an aside he accused me of making defamatory remarks about blinkx’s lawyers.

I posted a reply on his blog pointing out that I had made no defamatory remark and that even blinkx’s bully boy lawyers have not suggested that I did. My post and another which criticised the Lawson analysis were promptly removed although an anonymous poster supporting blinkx and attacking me had his post unedited and it remains on the site.

Why does this matter? Well it matters on a number of counts.

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Happy Easter from Greece

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Greece takes Easter a lot more seriously than we do.  In many ways it is more important than Christmas. Since Thursday the night air has be split by the sound of home-made fire crackers going off. No bothering with elf n safey here. In fact it has just turned midnight and suddenly the crackers are sounding off with a new intensity and I can hear bells from Churches all around us. Happy Easter, Christ is risen.

On the evening of Good Friday we drove down to the local village to see a candlelight procession. At the front a young man laboured to carry a huge cross. Behind him the local priest bossed a gaggle of young kids carrying smaller crosses. Behind the priest several strapping men carried a shrine and incense was swung. And behind them virtually the whole village trouped along carrying candles on their way to the Church a mile away.

In my wife’s brother in law’s village about seventy miles away instead of a shrine they carry a coffin.

After the service, having forsaken many things for lent the eating begins. It is for this weekend that lambs were born.

Tomorrow we will no doubt be dining on young goat over with the in-laws. At breakfast in that household as in this hotel room we will play some game with dyed eggs seeing whose egg is most resilient to being cracked. The Mrs has tried explaining it to me but I am not sure I get it. Anyhow, we have been presented with our own coloured eggs for the morning.

And then it is off to the wi-fi free zone of the in-laws. Chocolate for the kids, goat for the adults and large amounts of alcohol. With a hangover, I shall then stumble out of bed on Monday for my second lesson in how to milk a goat.

From the Mrs & from me, we wish you all a Happy Easter

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A Money Making Idea based on Cats & my nervous Mrs - Luxurycathotel.com Ltd

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The Mrs booked our two cats, Tara and Oakley, into what seemed like a nice cat hostel before we left. We were told about how they would share a chalet and be well looked after and it would cost £15 a day. I shall not name the hostelry but suffice to say that they neglected to mention that it was VAT on top and then compulsory insurance (60p per day per cat) and then VAT on that. Oh and they charge for the day of drop off and the day of collection as well. 

For providing a basic cell and 2 bowls of food a day per cat this is money for old rope. Okay the concentration camp has now had to take two calls in six days from the Mrs worrying if her “puddings” are alright. The Gauleiter says that they are and braces herself for another call next week.

But this makes me think that there is a great business opportunity out there. The most shared images on twitter and facebook are …cats. So how about this as a business plan?

I set up a cat hotel which offers not the thin prison blankets that poor Tara and Oakley were provided with before the Mrs intervened (the darlings are used to a duvet after all) but luxury rugs. We offer twice the space of a conventional hotel and all day heating not just at night-time. And we also fix a webcam in each luxury en-suite facility. And then we stream the pictures

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Weekly Political Video Postcard #63 the Mani history and the future tragedy of Greece edition

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This week’s video postcard comes from the Mani, the region which is at the southernmost point of mainland Greece. But do not be fooled into thinking I am lounging by a swimming pool it is frigging friezing here.

It is however gorgeous. Everywhere one goes the mountains stare down at you. Some still have snow on them, most seem to be covered in rain bearing clouds.



The history of the Mani is fascinating. It was here that the flag of revolt was first raised at the start of the Greek war of independence from the Turks. The Maniots, like the fellow below, are a fierce lot.



My video postcard covers some of the history of the Mani but then moves onto how the local and wider Greek economy is "recovering". I think any recovery is illusory and explain why as a long term bet Greece is buggered.

My weekly financial postcard covers short term stock movements and how tipsters are irrelevant. It can be viewed here

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Master Chief in Greece? MeThinks Not

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In our wicked English way we always have a little fun at how the foreigners mangle our language. In that vein I bring you a sign from outside what brands itself as one of the top cake shops in the Mani region thanks to its superb cook. Well he is clearly the boss anyway.

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Blinkx – the diminishing power of spurious releases as the bubble pops and the Edelman firework of April 5 spelled out for two thick journalists

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When a stock is “hot” it can announce news of no import whatsoever and its shares zoom. When the “believers” start to ask about the Emperor’s new clothes in detail, when faith clashes with uncomfortable reality the reaction to such PR fluffery is negative. Blinkx (BLNX) is now in that phase as it refuses to deal with the fireworks delivered by Ben Edelman on April 5 at the UK Investor Show.

I have noted this phenomenon of how PR fluffery becomes a sign of desperation and is actually counter productive when a company cannot deal with hard questions before in relation to Globo (GBO) HERE. Blinkx yesterday served up some total non-news about a new partnership and its shares fell. The financial import of its latest deal will be negligible and it knows it. So do investors.

And so to Edelman. The strategy here has been to persuade thick journalists such as Harriet Denys of the Telegraph and Bryce Elder of the Financial Times to run with the line, or should that be lie? “Edelman said nothing new on April 5 so there is no need to comment.” Or “There were no fireworks.”

Hmmmmm. Bryce you may like to suck PR

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Should Shareholders Oust the Gulf Keystone Board?

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I sense that the tide is turning in Bulletin Board land with regard to Gulf Keystone (GKP). A while back I was universally hated for saying the shares were overvalued. If those who slated me had listened and thought and sold rather than just abusing me they would be rather richer today as a result. Hey Ho. It is their loss. I still think the shares are dramatically overvalued and will see 50p this year. But I sense the mood is changing. These days Todd Kozel is even more hated than me.

There is open discussion about whether shareholders should seek to oust the board. Could they? Should they?

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