7 days ago
I have had Covid so everything tells me that I am already as immune as someone who has had the jab. I believe that jabbing me is therefore utterly pointless. But I can see that if I want to make it to Greece this summer, I will almost certainly need a Covid passport so on that basis I jumped at the chance to get the jab. The NHS showed its usual efficiency by contacting me five times by mail, text (twice) and email about the whole matter.
15 days ago
I am not wildly happy about having the jab. It has not been tested on folks who, like me, have had Covid. We also do not know if there are any serious long term side effects on all sorts of patients – yes, I know that all vaccines can produce some side effects. And having already had covid, all the evidence suggests that God has already vaccinated me and so there is no need for a second dose organised by the stupidest man in the Western world, Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford. But…
24 days ago
The Government’s latest covid travel restrictions are non-sensical,smash the young and the poor disproportionately and the penalties for flouting them are offensive. Matt Hancock, you are a disgrace.
53 days ago
I start on the Greek Albanian border in the 1970s. Then it is onto the dotcom boom in 2000 and bitcoin now and the idea of Institutional acceptance and validation. Then it is onto Versarien (VRS) and [email protected] Capital (SYME).
53 days ago
So says daughter Olaf who has repudiated her father’s DNA and is now identifying wholly as Welsh. She is perplexed that I laugh at the Welsh and its certifiable political class, predict that Independence in the short term would be an economic disaster for Wales as well as Scotland yet support the cause, as a Welsh resident, most strongly. Our starting point here is that my daughter is a teenager, lives in Islington and is a bit of a lefty. As such, she, by definition, does not really believe in jokes and many of my comments about cottage burners are said in jest and, thus, she does not understand them.
60 days ago
The last time I posted on the Facebook page of the last village in Wales was to say that if folks wanted to walk across our fields then they would be more than welcome to do so. At the height of lockdown, it seemed a decent offer and I had even cut back the grass so folks could do so in a socially distanced manner. That was met with overt hostility from some who saw this as an act of wicked selfishness.
63 days ago
We are good Europeans, the Mrs and I. We live in Greece as much as we can and love the place. The Mrs is a fluent Swedish speaker and she would, I suspect, live there again. We speak to each other in French when we do not want Joshua to understand and we happily toasted our freedom at 11 PM on December 31 with Metaxa, greek brandy. We love Europe, we detest the EU. The toast was to three great Eurosceptics not there to witness this great day: Ronald Bell, father of my friend
despite the day’s earlier humiliation Andrew*, my uncle Christopher Booker and my Grandfather Sir John Winnifrith.
64 days ago
This rather surprises me. I was convinced that the top 30 would be packed full of waspish, libertarian or anti-woke articles. But it seems that many of the most read pieces on this website are the ones the Mrs thinks no-one reads, about life at the hovels here in Wales but also in Greece. Anyhow, here are my top 30 non financial articles of 2020.
72 days ago
Gosh, the tree and its oak barrel container are heavy but a friend and I somehow got it inside for its 16 days of warmth. Then it will be back to the garden where it has lived for the past year, gaining about two and a half inches. I reckon it is now just under five foot nine tall.
72 days ago
The kitchen should have been ready by November 8. It is not yet finished. But, as of a couple of days ago, it became usable and last night we cooked a meal on and in the Aga for the first time and then The work unit with the Belfast sink should be completed January 20 by when a few other remedial works should be done. But we are now, as you can see below, settled in for Christmas. I start with the newly exposed arch which was once the front door looking into the room from the main house. On the wall opposite is the Mrs, the Aga and the old bread oven from the 1600s.
78 days ago
Daily, on our TV screens we are assured by “public health experts” whose jobs at the Ministry of Truth are safe, whatever happens to the economy, that tier 3 measures are more effective than tier two measures in controlling covid. That is to say numbers often rise enough to push a tier 2 district into tier 3 and then as controls tighten that district can return to tier 2 and eventually to tier 1. But there is a massive logical flaw in this claim which the media, collectively, fails to spot.
81 days ago
The chart is so simple that my cat could understand it, although it seems to be beyond the wit of Guardian-reading lockdown fanatic and mask jihadist Mr Darren Atwater. Point one is that lockdowns make no impact on the number of Covid deaths. Those who can ignore the hard factual evidence from Sweden HERE or Greece HERE and insist that lockdowns make sense will, like my Best Man, still not be persuaded. For them, facts do not matter. Point two is even more interesting.
87 days ago
The pompous, virtue signalling, radio presenter James O’Brien this morning apologised to his listeners on LBC for suggesting that all those questioning the Covid vaccine were swivelled eyed lunatics pushing alt-right crackpot conspiracy theories. Well thank you James, now how about an apology to those of us voting for Brexit? How about you admit we were not all alt-right freaks? Okay back to Covid.
90 days ago
The big event of the day was the return visit of Guardian reading L&G to the Greek Hovel. Joshua is a big fan of L in particular and his excitement at the prospect of splashing him in the pool mounted all morning. Aware that our friends like a drink or two, I headed into Kambos for supplies.
95 days ago
I have noted before that the former babysitter to ex-wife Big Nose, that is to say Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, is insane. He has now announced new measures here in Wales to destroy what is left of our hospitality sector and I urge the men in white coats to drag this wretched man away before he cancels Christmas. You may remember that we suffered a “firebreak” lockdown here in Wales between 23 October and 9 November to stop the spread of the virus…
100 days ago
I have yet to complete my diaries from the Greek Hovel 2020 so you may not be aware that I am now in business with Nicho the Communist and his son but I am am and on that matter I spoke to both the son and also to lovely Eleni at the Kourounis Taverna today. How I wish I was back in warm Kambos rather than wet Wales. Or do I? A lot has changed.
142 days ago
The Guardian columnist and perennial guest of the BBC, Ash Sarkar, again seeks out controversy with the tweet below in which she describes Britain as a “cursed island”. I wonder if the Britain of 2020 is really that terrible? Where would Ash describe as less cursed? Iran? Turkey? Russia? Overall, while we can all find fault with Britain, it also has so many redeeming features. I do not identify as British but as vaguely Irish and in so many ways I wish that I lived in Greece but I am always struck, as I drive across England, of just how gorgeous the countryside is. For that alone, it cannot rank as “cursed”. But there is more in Ash’s tweet.
169 days ago
Since the start of lockdown, the number of Brits under the age of 60 with no known underlying health conditions who have died within 28 days of testing positive of Covid is just 307. In other words, the number of folks who actually had no underlying heath condition and actually died of Covid while under 60 is far lower. In the same period, UK total deaths were more than 300,000.
171 days ago
And so Uncle Johnny was set to fly back to Covid Britain. His departure was uneventful; we waved goodbye to him as he donned his face nappy outside Kalamata’s small airport and our thoughts turned to our own return a week later.
199 days ago
I was, of course, travelling back from Greece, and while my colleagues penned articles in my absence, here is the bearcast you all wanted covering Eurasia Mining (EUA), [email protected] Capital (SYME) and also Curzon Energy (CZN). Today’s bearcast will follow a bit later.
199 days ago
I start with a few words on my poisoning activity today in the snake-infested land around the Greek Hovel. Then a discussion on why the stock market is NOT as Donald Trump and the media class think (telling you that we will see a V shaped recovery) and why there is mounting evidence that we will not.
199 days ago
I start with a few thoughts on the possibility that Greece might be added to the UK’s Covid red list – feck you Boris you utter clown and here’s why. Then I see that old Warren Buffett has finally seen the light on gold and I have a few thoughts on that. Then a bullcast on why Jubilee Metals (JLP) has crossed in inflexion point and is now such a perfect investment.
206 days ago
He is not in fact anyone’s Uncle. In India, an older man is always termed an uncle so Joshua has lots of uncles including both his godfathers, Johnny and Lucian Miers, Uncle Brokerman Dan and the list of unsuitable and disreputable “uncles” goes on and on. However, this uncle is in fact a relation. He is something like the third cousin of the Mrs but for historic reasons, these distant families were quite close.
213 days ago
Feeling rather sleep deprived after our early Saturday morning flight to Greece, Sunday saw a collective lie-in at the Greek Hovel. Even the pest himself, my son Joshua, was snoring until well after ten. Then a morning swim. The pool is full and wonderful. Whatever time you get in the temperature seems just perfect. I am not sure how George the architect managed to fill it as there seems to be a bit of a water shortage. Now before you say global warming as some readers have already been quick to suggest, here are the facts.
213 days ago
My wife’s young cousin – L – and her young man will arrive shortly to our house to cat sit and the Mrs, Joshua, and I can head to the Greek Hovel. I wonder what Covid restrictions there are in Greece and how they will be applied? Here in the UK, BoJo has new rules and I ponder if they will mean the death of Cineworld (CINE). On the subject of death, I discuss Versarien (VRS) and also its moronic shareholders and why ADVFN (AFN) scores an own goal in not banning them. I look at Coro Energy (DOG) and also International Consolidated Airlines (IAG), British Airways as was.
227 days ago
As a part time resident of Greece, I am most delighted by the EU bailout. Not only does the mightly Hellenic Republic have almost no cases of Covid now, but we are also going to get shed loads of cash from other EU countries for our politicians to steal. Oops… I meant to invest wisely in rebuilding the economy. Fabbo. As you can see below, Greece is the fourth biggest winner from the great EU Covid lottery and, in terms of per head of population, I think we have (again) topped the handout table. Ouzos all round in Greece. Elsewhere, others are not so happy.
287 days ago
Those who read my From Athens with Love dossier on InternetQ (INTQ) in 2015 when it was AIM listed will have been in no doubt that its users and sales were pure fiction. Today there is final vindication for me, this is yet another massive fraud from Greece.
398 days ago
The 12 EU flags I had bought to burn on Brexit day seem to have disappeared. I have my suspicions. The Mrs may have voted the right way but has still not dared to admit as much to her lefty pals who, being public sector workers, have nothing better to do than post comments on facebook about how 17.4 million of us are stupid, ill educated racists and how they are considering a permanent move to Tuscany. She does not wear her beliefs, on this one, on her sleeve. That is probably wise as it cannot be long before University lecturers who are found to have voted for Brexit are no platformed and accused of being members of the alt right. But I am not a man to give up easily as you can see below.
428 days ago
In today’s podcast I start with a bit of abuse for the welfare junkies of the Greece of the North as they enjoy yet another day of idleness. Then I look at G3 Energy (G3E), Nostra Terra Oil & Gas (NTOG), Sound Energy (SOU), Anglo African Oil & Gas (AAOG), Big Dish (DISH), RedX pharma (REDX) and Bidstack (BIDS)
443 days ago
Well that made my day. Lovely Eleni from the Kourounis taverna in Kambos called to wish my family a Merry Christmas and to say thank you for the books for her two kids which arrived today. I am not sure what her son will make of Tin Tin but if it helps his English a bit all is good. Eleni asks how I am? Cold say I.
453 days ago
Even half way up a mountain in rural Greece, news reaches me that the spoof that is the Vox Markets NEX Lobster Pot IPO following the collapse of the merger with Align, looks to be devolving from the sublime into the ridiculous. NEX is a great place to list if you want to lie to investors but not if you are expecting any liquidity at all in your shares.
457 days ago
In today’s bearcast I reflect on the start of Advent which I miss in Wales and on its start here in Kambos Greece. I look at pay at the big accountants and what it says about the sanctions against such folk when they screw up. Then it is onto Neil Woodford’s biggest cheerleader in the press until recently, Jeff Prestridge of the Mail on Sunday and his demands for action against the guilty parties in this scandal. Jeff misses out two of the guilty parties and misses the point on the rest.
465 days ago
I still have not worked out what it is called these days but other than the name nothing changes.
473 days ago
The scene below is from the front hall at the Welsh Hovel. The paints and other materials belong to the decorators who are hard at work on the final touches to the restoration of what will be a magnificent living room from the mid 1600s. But the half barrel? That is me being just so goddamn green.
576 days ago
Pity me dear listeners, I think it is only c20 degrees here in Greece today. Okay I think you are not pitying me are you? In the podcast I discuss Verseon (VERS), Bluejay Mining (JAY), Spud U Like and the minimum wage, Providence Resources (PVR), Lansdowne Oil & Gas (LOGP) and Thor Mining (THR).
697 days ago
George the Architect sends over photos from the Greek Hovel where there is good news and bad.
743 days ago
George the architect has made it up to the Greek Hovel for the start of the spring campaign to completion. He will take a few days out in March to come to England/Wales to help draw up plans for the Welsh hovel. But for now it is full steam ahead in Greece. Or rather not.
815 days ago
I had far too much to drink last night. But it really was not my fault. Thus as I travel across Greece today and back to Bristol I feel a bit worse for wear. In this podcast I comment on Hollywood Bowl (BOWL) in light of yesterday's corrupt journalism bearcast. I look at Andalas (ADL) forced to make a belated statement by this website's expose on Saturday HERE. I cover Big Sofa (BST) and LB Shell (LBP) another AIM Casino dog whose sole purpose was to support the lifestyles of crony capitalists.
820 days ago
I have been sitting on this account of the final day of the 2018 olive harvest for some days as I am rather cross. I know the sums involved are trivial but none the less….
820 days ago
Yes I am a rabid Brexiteer. I want the country where, regrettably, I spend most of the year to be free to make its own laws, set its own taxes, control its own waters and chart its own destiny. I have faith that Britain can do that. Yet for sneering metropolitan elitists like the twit who tweeted me last night, as you can see below, that is incompatible with liking your fellow Europeans. Au contraire..
850 days ago
I have just booked my next flight back to Greece. It was cheaper than a super off peak train ticket to London. By late on 26th November I should be in Kalamata and the next day I shall pick up a car and head up to the Greek Hovel where I sincerely hope all will be ready. For I have a guest, a volunteer to assist myself and George the Albanian with this year’s olive harvest. Step forward a Woodlarks walker, Mr Andrew Bell, chairman of AIM listed Red Rock Resources. I am not sure how skilled Mr Bell is at olive harvesting but we will soon find out.
857 days ago
And thus on the final evening in Greece, Joshua and I set off on the walk up to the house of Charon my closest, in fact I think, only neighbour for several miles.
858 days ago
On our last day in Greece, The Mrs, Joshua and I showed the Greek Hovel to an elderly British couple, diehard lefties from a village up in the mountains above Kambos. The highlight of their visit was ornithological of which more later but what I really picked up on was a throw-away comment that the area around the hovel might be one of the “seven Cities.” My father and I discussed this in Shipston on Sunday and have been chatting by phone ever since.
861 days ago
It is Oxi day here in Greece and I explain the historic context of that which brings me to why the EU has enabled conman Darren Winters to keep cheating the vulnerable and parting them from their money. I then look at Crawshaw (CRAW), Blue Jay Mining (JAY), Great Western Mining (GWMO) which is the ultimate penny dreadful, SalvaRx (SALV) and VR Education (VRE). And I should warn my old pal, the offshore based asset stripper, Jim Mellon that I have more bad news for him over the weekend.
863 days ago
Today's bearcast is recorded outside the Greek hovel as Joshua does not seem to understand why hard working folks here in Greece have an afternoon sleep. In the podcast I look at Yu Group (YU) in detail, Challenger Acquistions (CHAL) and MX Oil (MXO) en passant and, in real detail, Totally (TLY) where either CEO Wendy Lawrence or scumbag, low life, morally bankrupt PR Yellow Jersey, or both, must think investors are truly stupid to swallow the horse in today's trading statement.
864 days ago
Today's podcast is from my portable studio in Greece, today parked in the rain at Kalamata marina. Today I look at MX Oil (MX), MySquar (FRAUD), IQE (IQE) and Urals Energy (UEN).
868 days ago
I start with reflections on a rather plump young lady not wearing a bra parking her truck in front of my makeshift studio here in Greece. Moving swiftly on, I have a go at Malcolm Stacey over this piece and at James Bowden over this piece. I stand with Chris "three brains" Bailey on the recruitment stocks. Then it is onto BCA Marketplace (BCA). is it still "The Big Short?" I discuss in light of news both from Pendragon (PDG) and from the USA yesterday.
868 days ago
As I sit with an ouzo in Greece, a country with 49% youth unemployment and where pensioners mist live on 9 Euro a day thanks to the EU, back in London, about 100,000 generally very affluent middle class folks are marching to overturn the wishes of 17.4 million of their fellow citizens. The organisers and the BBC and the rest of the liberal media claim this is a big demonstration but that is just fake news.
869 days ago
I run these photo articles every autumn for you folks who only come to Greece in the summer and know it as a country of burnt brown grass and vegetation. Right now with autumn rains kicking in the area around the hovel is bursting into life. The patches of green are expanding rapidly and the brown is in full scale retreat. Meanwhile, everywhere, you see reds, blues, whites, purples as little flowers spring to life. It is almost alpine. All we need now is snow on the Taygetos mountains behind us. It will be here by Christmas.
872 days ago
I see that London’s hapless Mayor Sadiq Khan is tweeting like a man possessed, pleas for folks to travel to his great City this weekend for a mass exercise in anti Brexit Remoaning. I would have thought he has more important things to do.
904 days ago
The irony referred to has nothing to do with the new Head Master of Warwick, Dr Smith but is at the foot of this article. Following lunch with my father in Shipston, Joshua and I headed back to my alma mater to discuss the sadistic abuser Geoffrey Eve and other matters.
908 days ago
Penned at Gatwick airport on Saturday as I waited for a train. Some bald Northern prick was blocking the escalator on the walking side. I said “excuse me.” He said “It’s not bloody London.” I suggested that rules about standing/walking up were national. “What’s your hurry you will only get stuck at passport control.” I pointed out it was my choice and rules were rules and as he moved aside I concluded my sentence “and you can fuck off” as I stormed on ahead to passport control where there was almost no queue.
910 days ago
As I pack my last things at the Greek Hovel, prepare to empty the eco loo, one last time and head to the airport the Mrs sends me a few photos of me walking here in Greece this summer with Joshua on my back, wearing either his hat or hers. Happy, if rather tiring at the time, memories....
911 days ago
Recorded at the bottom of the valley underneath the abandoned convent, to avoid the noise of hard at work labourers at the Greek Hovel, this is my last full day in Greece. In today's bearcast I look at IQE with reference to the growing short; at Tekcapital (TEK) and getting a new broker; RM2 (RM2 and at Gear4Music (G4M) which is surely massively overvalued?
911 days ago
George Cawkwell is the greatest living scholar on the subject of ancient Greece. His son, my friend, the philistine Simon, aka Evil Knievil. refuses to come to the Hellenic Republic on the grounds that the wine is all awful. He is wrong and I intend to prove it to him and lure him out here to open up his mind. My father attended George's lectures I must educate Simon.
912 days ago
So on Sunday as the Mrs sought a few hours to catch up on her important work, Joshua and I set off exploring with my young son on my back. Part two, the climb to Zarnata castle, I have already recorded HERE. part one was to head off around the back streets of Kambos and the pictures pain a mixed picture as you can see below.
912 days ago
This article may cause a bit of upset and I have no solutions to what is a problem for Greece and an unresolved human tragedy for an ancient people, the Roma. I merely observe and report. I remember the Mrs and I giving a lift to two elderly and rather smelly Greeks in the deep countryside a couple of years ago. Their English was more or less non existent but they pointed at her dark skin and said "Roma". They thought she was a gypsy and it is clear they were not big fans. I was glad to drop them off after a few miles.
925 days ago
And so daughter Olaf has survived her first night at the Greek Hovel. She slept in the Rat Room, I slept in the Bat Room. She is even using the eco-loo without complaint. Meanwhile building work continues at pace as you can see below.
941 days ago
My business at the Greek Consulate in Birmingham was done with all the efficiency you expect of Greece - that is to say with long delays, over-runs and numerous stamps impressed on my piece of paper. I then hurried back to the civilised south of England as fast as I could.
946 days ago
You wonder why the Greek economy is such a trainwreck? Of course there are all sorts of reasons: the scorched earth policies imposed on Greece by Germany, the EU and IMF banksters; the debt Greece should never have been allowed to take on, the bloated public sector, corruption, they all play a part. But, as I discover again today as I try to rebuild the Greek Hovel, it is the smothering bureaucracy that kills enterprise. Take my marble, stuck at Kalamata.
949 days ago
Just a few more photos which arrived late last week from the Greek Hovel. We start with the inside of the roof above the new wing once again. Then it is the plastering on the extension of the rat room leading down to the new stone wall at the end encompassing"the rock". Finally more on the tiling of that roof. Eta Greece 16 days! Bring it on.
965 days ago
My 32 mile walk for Woodlarks with my fellow rogue blogger, Brokerman Dan, is now just two weeks away and I am conscious that most of my training has been on the flat. What better way to prepare for the Surrey hills than to walk up a Greek mountain in the burning summer heat? And so at 8.30 AM off I set....
967 days ago
I have not kept up to date with my training for about a week and am conscious that my 32 mile charity walk for Woodlarks is now not that far away – July 28. I meant to have a quick six mile practice stroll along the coastal road out of Kalamata yesterday afternoon but IT snags caused a postponement. And so I headed off at noon today in the mid-day sun. I think it was about 34 degrees.
969 days ago
Both men attended last night's UK Investor presentation and then plied me with drinks after the event and then at a pub. I rarely drink anything these days and I reacted very badly. God knows how I made the plane but, in the end, I did and woke up in Kalamata. A bit on last night and on Greece and then I look at Telit (TCM), Online Blockchain (OBC) where Clem Chambers' spoofing seems to be having less and less effect and finally the fraud MySquar (MYSQ). It is day two of the trial it wont tell you about.
972 days ago
Bearcasts may be sporadic over the next few days as I explain. By Wednesday I shall be mountain walking in Greece for my Woodlarks training. Think of me with the snakes and in 35 degree heat and donate HERE. Today I look at Optibiotix (OPTI), Audioboom (BOOM), Andalas (ADL), Frontera (FRR), Boxhill (BOX) and KPMG and in some detail at Jim Mellon's failing gold play Condor Gold (CNR).
973 days ago
By noon London time on Tuesday I shall be up at the Greek Hovel to survey progress. I gather that the polished concrete floors, a very smooth white surface, in the rat room and the new wing have been laid and expect to post photos before I go. Next week the roof really does start to go up, something the Mrs and daughter Olaf - who arrive in 40 days view as important. Pedants.
977 days ago
As it happens I am in the process of buying a number of new mattresses for the house I have rebuilt in Greece. And it seems a remarkably simple process buying what is a commodity product. When my friend Nigel Wray says his mattress company Simba is revolutionising the market I cough and change the subject. But he is not the only one who thinks that mattresses need “disrupting”. Natch, Neil Woodford, the UK's most conceited fund manager, also thinks that, like washing machines, mattresses are ripe for a revolution. He owns just under 30% of Eve Sleep (EVE) shares of which are now in free fall.
991 days ago
Hell's teeth: I do not even support England, but the sneering elitism of the metropolitan elite, as exemplified by the little read Independent newspaper (below), almost makes me want to. For the avoidance of doubt, with no Irish team in Russia, I am hoping that England triumph. I would not go as far as some of my neighbours in flying the cross of St George but I understand their pride in their country and why they do so.
994 days ago
Business partner Darren is still obsessing about the dead snake and rat photo and unable to focus on the real progress made at the Greek Hovel. Okay, he is not the only one. But as you can see below, the pointing of the walls is now almost complete - in one shot you can see a completed wall next to an undone one. Next up are the roof and floorboards and having just whizzed a large sum out to Greece that should start next week. Doors and windows have also been ordered. The last major work will be the floors on the ground floor of the new wing and in the rat room and then it is on to power points, installing a range cooker, a woodburning stove, lighting etc. We are getting there...
1012 days ago
Here in Greece it is a national holiday as we celebrate Holy Spirit Monday, the day 50 days after Easter when the Spirit came to the Apostles and urged them to spread the word of the Lord. Naturally that makes me think of devout Christian Julie "lingerie on expenses" Meyer who, herself, does her bit to spread God's word. I bet he is delighted about that.
1017 days ago
When I am in England I do not think much about snakes. Okay, three times a week I pick Joshua up from his nursery and he says "snakes" so, on the way home, we pop into Pets At Home and go to see the snakes. They are tiny little creatures, corn snakes, which nearly always hide in their houses and only rarely peek out. When they do, Joshua gets very excited. Most of the time we see no snakes so Joshua just says "bye bye snakes" and we head on past the fish where Joshua says "fish," past the hamsters and gerbils where he says "mice", and to the rabbits where he says "By Bye Babbits" and we head home. And I think nothing of it.
1018 days ago
As I head off to Greece later this week it will be to start training at altitude in the Taygetos Mountains. Only kidding. But i have been taking to the gym and starting some modest walks. I really do not want to be shown up too badly on 28 July when Brokerman Dan Levi and I walk from Horse Hill to Woodlarks.
1031 days ago
Harry has never been to Kalamata even though during the war of Independence that started in 1821 his family were fighters (for Greece natch) who lived near there. As I live near there now I have suggested he pay a visit. But not until he has created some real value for we shareholders in Kefi Minerals (KEFI). Here is Harry with his plan...
1037 days ago
At this very moment the man who exposed Greek based AIM superstar Globo (GBO) as a total fraud, Gabriele Grego, has just concluded a speech in New York. Ed Croft need not worry, for once the mega scam Gabriele has debagged, is not a stock he has tipped, as he did with Globo. We have the full dossier Gabriele has prepared and it is explosive.
1075 days ago
In Greece in a couple of weeks they will celebrate Easter with real eggs dyed a range of bright colours. It was, as it happens how we used to celebrate here as well. I remember my mother preparing such eggs on our hippy dippy self sufficient homestead in 1970s Northants. We did it at Easter to celebrate the re-birth of Jesus, the idea of new life bursting out. Don't tell kids today but that is why we all have eggs at Easter.
1097 days ago
I start with one reason I am thinking of quitting running businesses: folks who say that they will do something and then don't do it, letting you down. I have had two this weekend and it is just poor behaviour, very tiring and something that bores me. Then it is onto discussing a crap headline article in the Sunday Telegraph on Interserve (IURV) and another on Carillion (CLLN) before my main subject - my 22 hour trip home from Greece. EazyJet you are bastards and this is why I loathe, despite and pity you for being lying scumbags.
1110 days ago
I am still a bit confused as to why it was Carnival day all on Sunday but all over Greece folks were celebrating. I watched on TV as in Naxos they paraded through the streets dressed, I think, as ghouls. Somewhere else, a name containing absolutely all those Greek letters I can't pronounce and just give up on - they were dressed as sheep or was it goats, but they had bells on. With the carnival over Lent has now begun which means that the devout will eat no meat although it will still be served everwhere for Godless souls such as me and the Albanians.
1112 days ago
I think that I have published articles similar to this before but it is a point worth making again and again, there is a hidden Greece that so few of we Northern Europeans never see. for most of us Greece is a place we only visit in the stifling hot summers. If we bother to leave the coastal strip we see grass burned brown by a constant sun, if not scorched black by the forest fires that happen all too often. But there is another Greece, the Greece of winter and spring.
1112 days ago
I had a call from Amur Minerals (AMC) yesterday to correct my bearish view. I did not appreciate the tone, I'd rather not be lectured. I explain why I am still short term bearish although also put the company's view. I also explain to the woman dubbed the Harvey Weinstein of European tech, Julie Meyer MBE, why she has yanked the wrong tiger's tail. Elsewhere I comment on Saffron (SRON), Haike Chemical (HAIK) and Graphene Nanochem (GRPH). And now it is off to Greece. God willing tomorrow's podcast will be from Kalamata.
1160 days ago
I start, as ever, in Greece and with a book written in 1951. Humour me as I travel to Monemvasia. This is is about how we humans can interpret two sets of data and arrive at a conclusion that is understandable but proves utterly wrong. And that brings me to the state of the stockmarket. I explain six reasons why, for me, a correction is a when not an if but also why it may not be the end of the world.
1185 days ago
Of course poor Tara, the lifelong companion of my three legged cat Oakley is now at peace underneath the rhubarb plant. But this friendly soul sitting near Miranda's in Kambos is her doppleganger.
1187 days ago
It looks as if the double share tip video will be out on Tuesday - www speeds in Greece are just too slow to upload it. In today's bearcast I start with the leaking of failed bids, ref Elegant Hotels (EHG). Who benefits and why do it? Then I look at the fund managers accused of colluding to drive down IPO prices. I really do have some sympathy with them and explain why. Then it is onto UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) and Alba (ALBA). Finally I take apart today's ludicrous claims about growing poverty in Britain. They are pure bollocks.
1189 days ago
I realise that it is colder in the UK than here in this part of Greece, the Mani is the most Southern part of the mainland. But to those who keep saying that I hope I am enjoying the sun here are a few photos from Kalamata this afternoon.
1200 days ago
Well it is a bad day on two counts. Fisrt it is the disaster that has hit our village in Greece and its olive harvest, as I explain in a photo article HERE. Then it is events at Premaitha (NIPT), a share we own. I explain why I am not selling. I look at Stanley Gibbons (SGI) and then at FastForward (FFWD) where things really don't stack up and where there are far more questions than answers.
1203 days ago
Sadly illness is still rife in this house so for this Thursday it is no coffee for me with the fit young mums. At least I shall be in Greece in five days time and that must be restorative to my health. In this podcast I start by looking back on UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) and its death spiral. I explain exactly how it works. Then a few further thoughts on Falanx (FLX) and why I am not selling our shares at this price. Then I look at Alexander Mining (AXM), another mega spoof from Clem Chambers, this time at ADVFN (AFN), at "Nomates" disaster RM2 (RM2)Fishing Republic (FISH) - a good zero bet - and at Regal Petroleum (RPT) which seems to be in a spot of bother in Ukraine.
1226 days ago
It seems that Easyjet has started direct flights from Bristol to Athens and I am booked in. It is now just over three weeks to D-Day and a trip to the mighty Hellenic Republic. I can't wait.
1228 days ago
Following on from today's truly shocking results from Lombard Risk (LRM) covered HERE I have more questions for the company not least on how secure is its overdraft on which it is, I suspect, already reliant and on the quite disgraceful salary compatibility review. Talk about rewards for failure. Then I look at Defenx (DFX), another horror story, before issuing a wake up call to our own in house Bulletin Board Moron Wildes and looking at Angus Energy (ANGS) and finally Dialight (DIA). Meanwhile it is now less than a month to the olive harvest and Greece. I cannot wait.
1269 days ago
It is hard to believe but on Saturday my son Joshua turns one. And s a treat for both of us my mother-in-law is coming to stay for four days, a truly long weekend. Yesterday he stood up for 14 seconds without assistance, he says a few words, plays with Oakley and in Greece went sea swimming for the first time. As for the pool, as you can see below, he is a natch...
1270 days ago
I have written many times about my Great Uncle David Cochrane who, in 1931, died falling down the mountain now named after him, opposite Delphi in Greece. He was at the time a student at Trinity College Oxford. As my father seeks to de-clutter his house a few paintings have been offered to his children and step children and feeling a stronger Cochrane link than most I took these two below.
1280 days ago
I am no particular admirer of my Oxford contemporary, the pompous MP for somewhere in Somerset, Jacob Rees Mogg. But my fellow residents of the Hellenic Republic should at once establish a committee to erect statues of the pin stripe suited buffoon in every town square in our great land. The heroes of 1821 should stand shoulder to shoulder with the man who has arrived at a solution to our economic misery and enslavement by the fucking Germans, sorry I meant the EU, and banksters. Jacob Rees Mogg is the new Byron.
1280 days ago
No this is not the nation that took over Greece in the 1940s and again via the EU seventy years later, this is the biggest computer accessory chain in Greece. Its Kalamata store is right in the centre of town within yards of my bank and also the office of my lawyer here, the charming Natasha. I am a regular at Germanos and earlier this week wandered in asking for a lead to connect my camera to my PC to bring you photos of Greece.
1280 days ago
I am conscious of the phenomena of sharenting where folks flood social media with photos of their offspring to the interest of no-one but themselves. So feel free to ignore what follows but after a very trying day in Kalamata where my almost one year old son behaved like a total saint he posed, on his return, for three photos where he looks like an angel. The top photo was taken a week ago as his mother prepared him for his first sea swim. I am biased, I think he looks amazing. But all the other folks here at our hotel dote on him. They all say hello Joshua and he waves back. The two main waitresses blow kisses at him and he blows kisses back. Okay, judge for yourself.
1286 days ago
One day the Mrs will learn that me and the seaside really don't mix. She has booked us into a pleasant hotel, the Baywatch, which to her annoyance, is nowhere near the sea. It does, however, have a wonderful view of the bay of Kalamata, a pool which Joshua, the Mrs and I like and is relatively quiet. The guests are nearly all young couples so I am the oldest there and find the music at the bar mildly irritating. That is to say it is all post 1995 and thus, by definition, utterly crap. But the internet works so I can relax by tapping away while Joshua crawls around the floor, licks windows, pulls books apart and does all the other things that make him happy. The Mrs is reading a book on the philosophy of marriage and occasionally draws my attention to a passage which highlights one of my rare failings as a husband.
1288 days ago
I am afraid that I have lost a lead and so cannot upload photos just yet so you will have to bear with me as I describe the scene in the main square of Kambos, my home village here in Greece. I have returned after three months to discover that the creperie run by a French Greek woman has opened. Quelle horreur!
1295 days ago
Work continues on remodelling the existing structures at the Greek Hovel as we await final planning permission for adding new structures, including a roof. And so I bring you the new main doorway which is now almost complete as the photos below show.
1303 days ago
There is a snag. We have all the demolition permits but the building permit iss er. delayed. Yes that is the one we were promised by June 30. Now it is August so after eleven months of toil and endeavour the Greek State bureaucracy grinds to a halt. So the builders can do nothing until September. I head to Greece shortly and will be popping into the Kalamata planning department for words... However there is good news as you can see below.
1330 days ago
In Greece the summer rains are violent. Dark clouds gather above the Taygetos Mountains above the Greek hovel or sometimes out to see in the bay of Kalamata. The wind starts to pick up and you can hear it unsettling the trees, after a while the rustling of the leaves is so loud it sends a clear warning of what is to come. Thunder booms loudly, you start to see lightning and before you know it the rain is pouring down. You can be drenched, a dripping rat, within a minute or so as the skies empty.
1333 days ago
In England life is so clinical and clean and removed from nature. Our food is covered in plastic. Seeing your cat wander through the cat flap counts as a wildlife encounter. How different life is for me in Kambos, Greece.
1353 days ago
I am pretty much finished here in Greece as I explain in the podcast. And as such I start the journey home tomorrow to spend time in sun-drenched England with the Mrs, Joshua and - of course - Oakley, my utterly pampered three legged cat who is, I gather, now being given iced water to cope with the heat. In this podcast I look at Barclays (BARC), the SFO and the nature of fraud. I look at Thor Mining (THR) where events disgust me and at Ariana Resources (AAU) where I am dissapointed and less accepting than Nigel Somerville is.
1357 days ago
I think the last dripping in sweat, post frigana chopping selfie photo was not very flattering. Apparently some of you think that i have multiple chins. Au contraire. That was just the angle. I have not commented on my trouser size for a while but since we are on the subject...
1365 days ago
Amid a general feeling of despondenc and uncertainty, the one constant joy is my blood sugar levels as I tackle type 2 diabetes. It is eleven days since I got back to Greece and I continue my regime of moderate exercise and avoiding booze and carbohydrates at all cost. Well almost.
1371 days ago
As you may remember when I was joined in Greece my by wife and her family my type 2 diabetes control went badly off the rails. In the ten days i spent in England there were days when I almost gave up. I was not dreadful, I ate no chocolate and I did take some exercise but not a lot. But I had a few drinks and some days I skipped my medication. I was angry with myself and depressed. But my flight back to Greece on Tuesday marked a new beginning. So we start the clock again.
1381 days ago
I am back in Bristol for a few days and was wandering back from lunch with Joshua when we happened to pass the Conservative Club. The door was open and i was conscious that I needed to renew my father's membership. Though not a Tory, or indeed a Bristol resident, he likes the idea of being able to access cheep beer at a place not far from our house.
1386 days ago
Okay you come to Greece to star at the sea. There is no sea up in Kambos, the village closest to the Greek Hovel where I live. As you sit in Miranda's you stare up at the castle, you see cars, lorries or flocks of sheep wind their way along the road, and you see like in Kambos progress at its slow place.
1392 days ago
I could not sleep for reasons that I shall discuss later so was up at the crack of dawn leaving the Mrs and Joshua snoring loudly in our hotel room. We are in Koroni, a pretty little sea port around the coast from Kalamata, going away from the Mani. The stated reason is to visit the parents of the husband of the sister of the Mrs, Stavros & Stavroula. It is the latter who taught me everything I know about the art of goat milking.
1400 days ago
As you may remember, work was delayed on the rebuilding of the Greek Hovel after the authorities insisted we needed a permit to demolish bricks put up without a permit by the previous owners. This is Greece after all. that permit has arrived and so the demolition starts, and phase one is the snake veranda.
1402 days ago
I was wandering towards passport control from where my Easyjet flight from Kalamata had landed, that is to say bloody miles from anywhere, when I heard a woman's voice behind me. "Welcome to bloody Brexit land" she said sneeringly and loudly. Quick as a flash, I said equally loudly "Or as we call it these days, the newly free and independent United Kingdom."
1402 days ago
So I find myself in London for two days. The reason I am here is surreal and I shall tell you all about it when I am allowed to. I lived in this City for about twenty years. I suppose I was younger then and its attractions were of interest to me at that point in my life: places to drink, lots of single women, a chance of to make money. I can't say that I am interested in any of the above right now and in fact London fills me with dread and horror and I do all that I can to avoid it.
1406 days ago
You may remember that George the Architect is a little nervous about chopping down non olive trees which the forestry survey may have identified at the Greek Hovel. On the other hand Nicho the Communist regards these snake shelters as an obstruction to the basic human right of every Greek to plant as many olive trees as possible on his land. I am with Nicho.
1413 days ago
Back in early December when I arrived at the Greek Hovel for the olive harvest, the Taygettos mountains behind me were already covered with thick snow which you might think a bit odd. After all we are at the Southernmost edge of Europe and Al Gore and the global warming loons were telling us twenty years ago that this area would be almost a desert by now. Well guess what?
1413 days ago
It has taken the older generation a few days to get our respective accounts working but tonight the Mrs and I finally managed a skype call, for the rest of the family are not joining me here in Greece for another couple of weeks. And by "rest of the family" I mean it: the mother in law is coming too. But that treat is for another day.
1416 days ago
On my new machine, the blood sugar reading this morning was 195, up from 146 the prior day. What on earth had I done wrong? I ate sensibly, I took good exercise and I only had one ouzo. It must have been the ouzo. I cursed myself. I reckon that reading is up in the high ten points old scale. Type 2 diabetes is a real bastard,
1416 days ago
I arranged to meet architects George and Sofia at the Greek Hovel at 11 AM. I arrived twenty minutes late but no-one was there. This is Greece so eleven sharp means any time before twelve and at about twenty to twelve my friends arrived. They brought with them the head builder, an ethnic Greek from Albania, so a man my father will approve of big time. I got down to the main point quickly. I showed them the snake I had killed and asked the builder how he felt about snakes. "I kill them with my bare hands" he said. I like him a lot and said that "you can have the next one."
1418 days ago
As one heads down the Mani towards Kardamili, the village one on from Kambos is Stavropigio. It has just a few more Brits than Kambos as it is, objectively, a bit prettier. I am thus happy to stay in plain old Kambos. As one leaves our neighbouring village a small turning off the main road to the right is the old road to Kardamili. There is now no practical reason at all to use this road and more or less no-one does.
1419 days ago
In fact I have only been away for about ten weeks since the February burning & olive fertilising season so it is not exactly long time no see. But even had it been ten years not ten weeks I doubt that much would have changed in Kambos, the village nearest to the Greek hovel.
1420 days ago
When my Uncle Chris went on his first of his many honeymoons it was to the Mani where the Greek Hovel stands. Back in the early swinging sixties it took him more than a day to get here from Athens. That has all changed. There is a super fast Motorway linking the capital to this part of the world. But for as long as I can remember it has stopped just short of Kalamata adding another 20% to your travel time as you are forced to wind your way through suburbs and back streets. Yesterday I discovered that this has all changed.
1421 days ago
I wake up in Copenhagen after a night at the WakeUp Hotel which is the Ryanair of Danish hotels. That is to say, it tried to nickel and dime you at every chance. The place is literally on the wrong side of the tracks - that is to say the view from the small window of my smaller room (cost £152) is of the railway tracks. Everything is on top. Breakfast, coffee, I am almost expecting to face a surcharge for using the loo in my tint bathroom or for having pulled the curtains shut last night. If I want my boarding pass printed off at reception it will be an extra £8. Bastards. If Michael O'Leary did hotels...
1429 days ago
Day 2 of my battle to tackle type 2 diabetes showed just exactly why there was no way I could do so without shoving my keyboard in a cupboard and changing every aspect of my life. I had to go to London to do some expert witness business for a friend. So it was all on board the 4.47 AM having done a very early morning blood test which came out at 11.7 down from 15.3 the night before. I know that post fasting measures will be lower but even so: I was told those new zappo pills would work fast!
1449 days ago
Too scared to actually go and use a pair of scales I measure how fat I am by what sized trousers I can fit into and also just how I, as a diabetic, I feel. If I am falling asleep in the afternoon that is bad. If I am full of beans that is good. This week saw a trouser test and I was amazed by the results.
1456 days ago
How do you keep an idiot in suspense? Over to Copperwindow, a moron on the ADVFN Worthington (WRN) thread who posts about 30 times a day how he is going to be rich and how Aidan Earley is going to crush me in Court. Yesterday, among his posts he stated:
1460 days ago
I answer an email from a reader who reckons the Vlachs, (world's greatest living expert, or so he says, Dr TJ Winnifrith), are really Jews and that opens up a wider issue of Jewish settlements in Greece. Then the main issue of the podcast, why Avanti Communications (AVN) will go to Zero? Quite simply its business model is flawed. There are other red flags to consider but I strike at the crux of the matter.
1474 days ago
Yikes! I thought I was safe with Greek TV from the likes of Lineker & Graham Norton but then up popped commie media tart Paul Mason lecturing the poor bubbles on why the EU and the Euro was the only way forward. Mason is an asset millionaire. My neighbours here in Greece are starving, unemployed, emigrating and angry. Mason just has no idea and worse still he talks rot. Greece does have a choice and I urge it to take it.
1478 days ago
I do not normally pay much attention to what folks on neighbouring tables say when watching the world go by in the Kourounis taverna in Kambos, the village closest to the Greek Hovel where I hope to spend most of the rest of my life. I just tap away at my keyboard or think about olives. But today I exploded as a fat and smug German explained to a couple of timorous Brits why hard Brexit would screw England and thus why we should "obey orders" and fall into line with what Germany, sorry the EU, wanted. I exploded.
1481 days ago
Yesterday I served up a picture of the snow capped mountains of the Northern Peloponnese to show that it is not just in the far North of Greece that global warming falls each year. I am now in the Southern Peloponnese, in fact the Mani, where the Greek Hovel is located, is the most southerly part of mainland Greece. And guess what?
1483 days ago
There will be no bearcast today as I am fully engaged on Vlach hunting in the Pindus mountains. One tearful reunion is complete but the big one will happen soon. The internet is not fast enough to transmit back to the UK from the little village of Anelion but I shall try to post a podcast tomorrow before I travel the length of Greece down to the Mani. Pro tem I guess you were wondering if Cloudtag (CTAG) CEO Amit Ben Haim has got any balls.
1483 days ago
I am here in a warm hotel room in Metsovo in Northern Greece. I am pretty shattered after 22 hours of travel from Bristol to here. Tomorrow is the last leg, a walk to to the vlach village of Anelion. Pro tem a short offering as it will take ages to transmit anything back to England. I look at companies that change their name, ref Guscio (GUSC) and Wishbone Gold (WSBN) which really is a buy despite today's statement.
1484 days ago
My father's oldest Greek friend Mike the Vlach was due back at three. This being Greece he was bound to be late and so his wife Alega insisted I hang on as the day dragged on. Heck I had travelled by bus for nine hours to get to Metsovo and then walked for an hour and a half to get to Anelion to see Mike, I was not leaving. I could not explain this but I sat there drinking coffee and enjoying a lunch of lamb, rice and a lump of feta, I was going nowhere.
1485 days ago
So asks a daughter of the 21st century.The answer is that I could discover whether my father's oldest Greek friend is alive and make contact via the interwebby thing.
1485 days ago
Whenever I say to folks that I am off to Greece they always say "lucky you the weather will be so much nicer than in the UK". Au contraire. True, when I got to Athens airport at 4 AM (2 AM GMT) it was a balmy 9 degrees. I was so hot that i removed oone of my four layers of clothing. But as I headed North things started to change.
1485 days ago
For about forty years I have teased my sister T about how when travelling on the bus from Ioannina to Metsovo she was always sick numerous times. Poor girl she was just not a great traveller. But I think, having just done that journey it is time to say sorry.
1487 days ago
In today's podcast I look forward to tomorrow and a meeting with lawyers to discuss legal action on behalf of shareholders in Cloudtag (CTAG) and the fraud African Potash (AFPO). I look forward even more to a night-time flight to Greece. I look in some details at Rosslyn Data (RDT) and in even more detail at Israeli tech dog Techfinancials (TECH). At a personal level I have been much distracted today by writing up my thoughts after a meeting yesterday to discuss physical abuse at Warwick School 38 years ago - more on that HERE
1492 days ago
I know. I know. I have made minimal progress at all with learning Greek or with the novel based out in Greece so why start a third project? Well I shall make progress on both of my major tasks this summer as I take six months away from full time writing to work on a building site, that is to say the Greek Hovel. So before I get Alzheimers...
1496 days ago
As you know, I head off soon for Greece and will be making a pilgrimage to the tiny village of Anelion in the snow covered Pindus mountains of Northern Greece. The aim is to see if my father's oldest Greek friend, Mike the Vlach, is still with us, as I explained here.
1497 days ago
I booked my ticket to Athens last night. No doubt the Bulletin Board Morons will assume that I am running scared of the patron saint of fraudsters, the convicted felon, twice bankrupted man barred from being a company director, St Aidan of Banstead. No, I fear not Mr Earley but I head to Greece soon for very different reasons and may be offline for a few days.
PR supremo Foxy Bex asked
1502 days ago
In the high Pindus mountains of Northern Greece is a small village called Anelion, a place where we spent a number of childhood holidays. It was home to a man who was a friend of my father's, Mike the Vlach. It may still be, I have no idea if he is dead or alive. I was dreaming of Anelion last night and feel a very strong urge to go.
I am not sure how dad got to know Mike. I think that the first person to meet him was my father's mother Lesbia. This is a woman named after a Greek island and whose brother, David Cochrane, died falling down the mountain opposite Delphi. Greece is in the blood in our family. My grandmother had a real love of Greece and of languages and so it was she who introduced my father to the world of the vlachs.
1513 days ago
If you are preparing for a five hour journey to work along snow covered roads or your pipes have just burst you may think that I am talking utter rubbish. But the lack of snow here in Bristol is really starting to annoy me.
Over in Greece there is lots of the white stuff on the mountains above the Greek Hovel and in fact far lower down as well. The Express tells us on a daily basis that Britain is braced for a deluge of global warming. Channel 4 News
1514 days ago
The Mrs has a new best friend, the Greek consul in Birmingham. Once again she is trekking her way up to the frozen grim Northern post industrial wastelands in order to get more official forms stamped. Such is life in Greece. There are rules governing everything and always forms to fill in. Native bubbles rarely bother with many of them but some, such as this latest one which allows us to submit a building permit for the Greek Hovel cannot be avoided. Hence the trip to Birmingham.
1525 days ago
I did okay in 2016. The notable win being quitting smoking although that was not something I started until February 15. So I guess I don't need to start my 2017 resolutions right away. that is jolly useful as we still have a bit of Christmas cake and an excellent cheddar cheese from Uncle Chris to finish off. That brings me to resolution one.
1528 days ago
This may all be Greek to you but this is the Christmas message from myself and my father and my son Joshua to the folks in Kambos in the Mani near which our little house is located. Happy Christmas to everyone in Kambos especially those in the Kourounis taverna
1540 days ago
Today is the annual Christmas party held by the Mrs for her mad lefty friends, a Godless bunch who regard Christmas as having nothing to do with Christ. The normal score is that I do the cooking then, to avoid being emboldened by a few glasses of wine into pointing out that whatever they are saying is patent nonsense, I feign illness and go to bed. Let them believe
1540 days ago
My father gave this watch to me some years ago and has now and again asked where it is. "Somewhere" I replied truthfully if evasively. I feared greatly that it had been stolen while my possessions were stored in London at the pizza place. I knew at least one of the staff was a thief so why not? This loss preyed on my conscience as when they found the body of my father's Uncle David in 1932 it was by his watch and passport that it was identifiable, having lain at the bottom of a Greek mountain for more than a year.
The story of the death of David Cochrane on the mountain opposite Delphi, now known as Kokranos mountain by the locals, is one that I followed up on the ground a couple of years ago as you can read HERE in a series of photo articles.
Dad and I are perhaps the only folks who really care what happened.
1542 days ago
For reasons that I shall go into at another time, I found myself in East Oxford with time to kill and so wandered into a rather scruffy looking cafe where the locals head in for a slice of granola cake and fairtrade coffee produced in a Nicaraguan commune. This is a middle class enclave where houses cost £600,000 but where everyone votes Labour, Lib Dem or Green and where Tory is a four letter word. It is easier to buy weed than a copy of the Daily Mail and on June 23rd anyone who did not vote Remain was outed as an intolerant bigot and drummed out of town.
I strolled in past two old codgers who were discussing some crime or other that the evil capitalists had committed and how the workers could put the world to rights. I found a seat, plugged in my laptop and ordered a coffee.
As I stood
1545 days ago
I have mentioned elsewhere that there are oranges growing everywhere here in Greece. The trees do need watering every day so we could not, for instance, have them at the Greek Hovel as we are not there all summer. But there are so many other trees that you can just pick your own as you walk along the street. The tree below is just along the side street where the Pharae Palace hotel in Kalamata is situated and where I am staying.
1547 days ago
For the past week I have been getting up at 5 AM Greek time ( 3 AM GMT) to do a couple of hours writing before heading off to the olive harvest at the Greek Hovel for an 8 AM start. Yesterday's harvest finished at 5 PM and I was shattered. I arrived back at my hotel at eight and after one glass of milk went straight to bed. I was vaguely aware that someone called (it was the Mrs) but I was oblivious to it. I dreamed of little olives of all colours falling through my seperating machine.
1552 days ago
Many on the left are, these days, prone to label any populist right wing leader as a fascist. Or when that loses its meaning since it now covers so many folks they use the term Nazi instead. There is no evidence that Donald Trump or Nigel Farage or the editor of the Daily Mail want to gas the Jews or invade Albania and Ethiopia but hell why not lump them with those right wingers of old. And thus we are today being warned that Austria might elect Europe's first fascist leader since Franco in the shape of Norbert Hofer.
1555 days ago
Though I may have pneumonia thanks to Paul Scott, I am now safely in Kalamata looking up at the mountains where I live when in Greece and the storm clouds are ominous. So back to the stockmarket I look at Finnaust (FAM), Audioboom (BOOM), Avanti Communications (TOAST), Condor Gold (CNR), Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO), Webis (WEB) and Anglesey Mining (AYM) which is spouting bullshit today as it places.
1556 days ago
I noted yesterday that the rain clouds were so thick that from the Kalamata sea front I could not see the start of the taygetus mountain range which winds its way down the Mani peninsula. Later in the day as I drove east towards the mountains the cloud had lifted and I could see clearly that there was already a good covering of global warming directly ahead of me in the higher reaches. It got better.
1556 days ago
I must rush. Woodlarks beckons and then it is Greece. But first I look at: Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO) in light of last night's bombshell HERE, TrakM8 (TRAK ) - chatting to Paul Scott - Pantheon Resources (PANR), Bushveld Minerals (BMN), FastForward (FFWD), Jim Mellon's reported comments and Mosman oil & Gas (MSMN).
1565 days ago
German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble has always been a bit of a bastard. Screwing Greece and causing misery across the Hellenic Republic was the high point of his career. Now he wants to go one step better and screw Britain even after we have left the EU.
1568 days ago
I know the area at the bottom end of Fleet Street, where it turns into Ludgate Hill and you wander up to St Pauls, like the back of my hand. Twenty years ago I worked around there at the Chronic Investor and used to walk home Eastwards. For two decades, at Christmas I would go to midnight mass at the journalists' church, St Brides. The area has changed a lot over the twenty five years that we have been acquainted. Unlike me, it has smartened itself up. But it is still familiar territory.
1583 days ago
A process that was meant to take just four weeks has taken four months but heck this is Greece we are talking about, the Scotland of the South. A third of adults in Greece work for the Government but nothing ever gets done. But today we have learned that the Architects Council has okayed our plans to redevelop the Greek Hovel. Phew.
1600 days ago
The Mrs and I bought the Greek Hovel about 28 months ago. Naively we rather assumed that by now it would have been renovated and we could both head over to enjoy the forthcoming olive harvest in comfort. Au contraire. If there was an Olympic gold for bureaucracy then the Hellenic Republic would be winning it every year. But there is good news today.
1601 days ago
Once again Nicola Sturgeon is insisting that if the evil right wing Tories take Britain out of the EU then she will do her utmost to get Scotland to leave the Union. Is her contempt for democracy more alarming than her delusional failure to grasp basic economics? It is hard to say.
1620 days ago
I was rooting around in the car boot for some bags for Sainsbury's and guess what I found? Hint: it is from Greece, it looks like water and it made my day as I had run out of the stuff many weeks ago.
1626 days ago
It is a bit off the radar screens of the mainstream media right now but life in Greece grows ever more miserable. Nothing works. The poor are getting poorer and hope has just gone. But of course PM Alex Tspiras, a man reminiscent of Tony Blair in all the worst ways, will accept none of the blame.
1628 days ago
I have had an on off battle with my weight for forty years. 2016 has not been my best year. The scores on the doors as we head through September are Fat 8 TW 1. Giving up smoking on February 15th was a great thing to do but I put on a few pounds in the Spring. In May and June I worked hard in the fields at the Greek hovel and managed to shed much of the post smoking gain. Since then, comfort eating, and the odd cider, with a bereaved father and with a pregnant wife has been bad news indeed. But enough is enough. The fight back is underway.
1641 days ago
In the December 2015 from my winter base in Greece I ran a series of articles, starting from Athens with Love, which, I believed, quite clearly showed that the Greek, AIM listed company InternetQ (INTQ) was a fraud. Specifically I demonstrated that its music streaming business Akazoo was a sham. The company denied this and in the end its boss Panagiotis Dimitropoulos and fund manager Tosca paid c£20 million to buy out minority shareholders and take InternetQ private. A cute deal or burying the truth in private? This is going to shock you.
1643 days ago
The fifth film in this series, with the simple title Jason Bourne, has won mixed reviews but the Mrs and I really enjoyed an afternoon showing yesterday. For us, naturally, the early part of the movie shot in Greece was a hoot.
1670 days ago
I came back from Greece on July 2nd and then spent barely five days away from Shipston in that month. My step mother died on the 14th and was buried nine days later. My father, in his old world way, did not "emote" as all around him wept. He said almost nothing. I have no idea what he was thinking or is thinking. One big question was how, when he was finally left alone, would he cope? I worried.
1678 days ago
Every day I receive at least one text message or email from either Comrade Corbyn or Comrade Smith as they each seek my support to become the man to take Labour over an electoral precipice. For as each day goes on they make promises that are more and more insane.
1690 days ago
The computer models from the UEA were all wrong, the data was manipulated and the world has not got hotter since 1997 as the global warming nutters predicted. Michael Mann can stick his made up hockey stick where the sun don't shine, however much carbon he emits. It was all a scam so global warming became climate change.
As I enjoyed 40 degree heat in Greece in May and June I thought to myself, gosh it is summer and I am in Greece and it is hot, well there's a surprise. Back in Britain it was apprently very wet and cold and the global warming nutters stayed silent for a while.
1692 days ago
Nicola Sturgeon seems amazed that EU leaders are not lining up begging Scotland to join the Evil Empire as soon as possible. It has not dawned on her that, set to lose a major benefactor in form of the United Kingdom (in reality England plus the Celtic scroungers), the last thing it wants is to take back the welfare addicted nation of idlers that is Scotland. Heck the EU alread has the basket case that is the Real Greece why would it want the wannabee Greece of the North as well?
1692 days ago
I sit here now in Shipston with my father, trying to persuade him to come to Greece for the olive harvest in December. It is not that he would be much good in terms of picking olives. I suppose he might lean against a tree up at the Greek Hovel and bash the branches with his walking stick. But I think his role should be more concerned with drinking ouzo with the older men of Kambos so that my liver is preserved and I can play a full part in the harvest working with George the Albanian and his family.
1692 days ago
It was my last evening in Greece. I felt sad both to be returning to Britain and because of the reason that I was returning early. having been blown out on my hot date with the amazing woman, I drove from the abandoned monastery not back to the hovel but to the village one last time for supper. Having problems parking in the Centre of kambos I continued on the main road out of the village seeking a place to turn.
1700 days ago
Before every big election there are always a few luvvies who threaten to emigrate if the reactionary forces of nationalism and eveil capitalism (which have made them so stinking rich) are seen to triumph. That is to say we the plebs are told vote Labour/Remain or the luvvies are off. Paul O'Grady, aka drag Queen Lily Savage. notably said he'd flee the UK and his luxury London apartment and Kent farmhouse if the wicked Tories won in 2015.
O'Grady has, of course, refused to leave. What is his problem?
1705 days ago
The first big shock was when our car pulled up outside my father's house in Shipston. Up ambled by step brother T who greeted us warmly and then up strode a rather sexy looking woman who I did not recognise at all. Had T found a new wife and not told us? The old rogue. These teachers: we know what they get up to in all their vast amounts of spare time and holidays. Reading weeks my arse. So who was this stranger?
It was only when she started speaking that I realised it was my step sister L. Shockingly she has not only cut her long hair but also stopped dying it brown and is now - like her mother and brother completely grey. It is odd how that change of hair colour and style acts as a total disguise. I must remember that, the next time the FCA tries to stitch me up and forces me to go on the run.
The was not the real shock though.
1711 days ago
Some people are just good at languages. The Mrs speaks perfect English (for a Northerner), very good Swedish and very acceptable Greek. Some of us are bad at languages. Other than English I speak poor French and a smattering of Greek, Latin and German - all poorly. And some of us are bad at languages but think we are rather better than bad. I think of my father.
1715 days ago
last night I met an amazing woman here in Kambos. More on that later but I am in awe. Then it was watching the Brexit results on the BBC on the internet as the smug biased lefties had to come to terms with how the great unwashed had given them and the rest of the elite a total kicking. I tried to get two hours sleep but a drunk comrade from the Eurosceptic trenches, Lucian Miers, woke me up. So I worked a bit and then slept. By 2.30 PM it was ouzo o'clock. So I headed to Miranda's as you can see below and raised a class to Boris, Priti, Nigel, Michael et al but also to my late grandfather Sir John Winnifrith and my Uncle, Chris Booker, who was in a fine mood today. Cheers to you all.
1720 days ago
I start with the murder of Jo Cox MP and the disgusting way EU suporters are using it to lie and smear as you can read HERE. In Greece today it is 40 degrees plus and I am a sweating wreck after a session of olive pruning, braving the snakes which brings me to Phil "InterX" Crawford of Lombard Risk Management (LRM) and the question he has to answer NOW. Elsewhere I look at Highlands Natural Resources (HNR) following up on this piece, C-Dialogues (CDOG), XCite Energy (XEL) - all shout Timber!!!!!! - Scancell (SCLP) and the uber dog Mkango Resources (MKA).
1721 days ago
It was towards the end of the visit by the Mrs to Greece that we drove up to Mistra, a place that I had never visited before. I shall do a three part photo series on the trip shortly - as i while away my evenings at the Greek Hovel - but on the off chance you are planning a trip to Greece soon ensure that you visit this incredible place. Meanwhile here is the Mrs offering a side profile which now reminds me of East Anglia. She looks amazing don't you think?
1723 days ago
I, Tom Winnifrith, may be in Greece and have voted anyway so what about those yet to vote such as my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley? Oakley scored last night's Boris vs the three witches contest as a win for Brexit but what about Farage's showing earlier in the week. The best caption for the picture below wins a signed photo from Oakley. The deadline is midnight tonight (Friday). Post away in the comments section.
1723 days ago
British Airways staff were again brilliant today. On Saturday I arrived at Kalamata airport with a barely mobile father and weak step mother. Within minutes a cute airline lady had helped me get a wheelchair for my father and i was told my job was over. The lady put them at the front of the line and I had nothing more to do. Today it was the turn of the Mrs. We arrived and the small departure lounge was again heaving with lobster pink Northern Europeans forming long lines to check in for flights to London and Paris.
I found a different cute airline lady and said that my wife was heavily pregnant, as she is, and within minutes she was again at the head of the queue leaving dozens of the lobster pink Brits and froggies fuming behind her. Then she was through passport control and was off and I headed back to town to face another three to four weeks at the Greek Hovel with just the snakes and rats for company.
When the Mrs is here I am on holiday so I only work 3-4 hours a day at my PC and I do no manual labour at all. I enjoy three meals a day and more than the odd drink. "After all we are on holiday" say I as I order another ouzo. I get to sleep on clean sheet in an air conditioned hotel and enjoy swims in luxury pools. The Mrs is paying and it is a treat. I enjoy my hols with the Mrs. We talk, we plan, we discuss. Life without the Mrs is very different.
1725 days ago
Apparently this website which is four years old this week, TomWinnifrith.com is plastered with adverts for the Remain Camp in the Brexit debate. It seems that on this website you cannot avoid the tax exile Sir Richard Branson and his ghastly lies. A reader asks if I have changed sides? Oh no, major Tom, don't say its true...
Euroscepticism is in my DNA. Chris Booker is my maternal uncle, my paternal grandfather Sir John Winnifrith was a "leave" spokesman in 1975 but as I explain HERE I have already voted for Brexit with my head as well as my heart.
1727 days ago
Our Bothan spies have again risked life and liberty to bring hot news from the Evil Empire to rebel outposts in Clerkenwell and Greece. It appears that all is not well at the Death Star. Having promised that it had "sold" 10,000 tickets to its Master Investor conference - though the venue had a capacity of fewer than 3,000 - our spies brought you photos of plenty of empty seats. Following on from that horrendeous PR and trading disaster, we now hear that freelance stormtroopers have been told they are to get pay cuts of up to 60%. Ouch. We guess that will mean only 12 pieces of silver for some folk.
1727 days ago
Much to the chagrin of the patrician twit who did not want a scruffy bearded fellow like me to gain admittance to the house of Paddy Leigh Fermor here in Kardamili, after much huffing and puffing my father made his way up a gentle slope and we passed through a large blue door and were in. We all headed straight for the library where most of the other folks on the tour were assembled.
1728 days ago
I see from numerous congratulations messages from folks who I I do not know, sent via LinkedIn, that I am celebrating another anniversary. Having checked it out it appears that www.TomWinnifrith.com is four years old. It was a very strange birth indeed.
1730 days ago
There is no sitting on the fence from German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble. He has stated explicitly today that if the UK leaves the EU as a result of Brexit we would have no access to the single market, not even limited access like Switzerland or Norway. Does this mean that for we Brexit Tommies "ze war is over". Nope, sorry Wolfgang but whatever you say, The Great Escape is still very much on.
You see we all know
1733 days ago
To be fair to David Cameron he does not need to open his mouth to tell an actual lie in order to mislead the British people about Brexit. Sometimes his silence is equally deceptive.
It appears that the EU has overspent its budget by circa £20 billion and that member states will be asked - once again - for bonus contributions to fill the black hole. But in order to assist Dodgy Dave who is trying to tell the British people that we are "better off in" it has been agreed that the invoices will not be announced or sent until after June 23rd. How convenient.
No doubt lyin' Dave will now pipe up
1733 days ago
At night in summertime the one habitable room at the Greek Hovel is unbearably hot at night, after a long day of 33 degree heat. But opening the large windows would allow all sorts of wildlife diversity to gain entrance to a room where I have sealed every crack and hole to make it secure. As such one just sweats it out. Or at least that used to be the case until I bought an electric fan. However...
1735 days ago
In today's podcast I start with a few words on Greece as I head up to the Greek Hovel and the snakes. Then I move through TrakM8 (TRAK), Avanti Communications (AVN) and onto Boxhill (BOX). Lord Razzall: we will give you the day off to compose a resignation (in disgrace) letter, there are two more bombshells for you but they can wait until the weekend. I look at Bushveld (BMN), Jupiter Energy (JPRL) - and what its crisis says about oil companies in general - and finally I spend a good time taking apart Mayair Group (MAYA)
1738 days ago
Recording in Kalamata, I have one last day in sunny Greece before I head back to the UK for five days of family time. Boo hiss. I start with another reminder of how thick some AIM folk are - London Capital (LCG). Then I look at the different way that private and public businesses account for profits running through how Sam Antar cooked the books at Crazy Eddie's. That makes me reflect on accruals causing me to examing the balance sheet of Lombard Risk (LRM) as Phil "InterX" Crawford drives it onto the rocks and also how Robert Simon Terry accounted for industrial deafness, something that will send him to gaol.
1748 days ago
I wrote this article pre postal votes. I have updated it to reflect the fact that they altered the result. EU boss Martin Schulz warned the Austrians not to do it but I guess that they stopped obeying orders from the Germans some time around 1945 and so have almost just elected an extreme right winger as their President. Norbert Hofer denies he is a fascist or a Nazi but he, and his Freedom Party founded by , are pretty right wing. Excluding postal voted Norbert won, overall he lost narrowly. Who is to blame for the rise of the far right? No doubt David Cameron is already blaming Brexit while his new best buddy President Erdogan of Turkey is blaming the Kurds.
In a sense nobody is "to blame".
1748 days ago
Finally, the grass cutters have arrived at the Greek Hovel and I have a couple of pictures to delight Paul Roberts of Stockomendation, Justin the Clown and other Welsh listeners. Then I move onto why I am bearish about shares, it's about earnings but also debt.
1749 days ago
You guys think that I am wandering around in a T-shirt and shorts. Boy you could not be more wrong. For starters, when I am up at the hovel I always wear sturdy black jeans and long boots. You never know what is going to slither out of the bushes and bite you. I want some protection.
1750 days ago
In a very British way I start by complaining about the weather. Right now it is sheeting it down here in Greece. Then onto Plethora/Regent Pacific before tackling what the phrase "little or no value" actually means ref Circle Oil (COP). Then onto African Potash (AFPO) and I answer the questions it will not. Target price 0p.
1752 days ago
War hero, author, all round superhero Paddy Leigh Fermor lived down the road from where I am in the Mani and is the man who made this area famous with his book "The Mani". Today in my email in box I receive a copy of issue 5 of The Philhellene, the newsletter of the Paddy Leigh Fermor Society and there is an article in it by Tom Winnifrith - not me but my father. Just to prove that one member of the family can write properly and without swearing here you are...
1752 days ago
I had rather forgotten about Michael Heseltine, the man who stabbed Lady Thatcher in the back, but apparently the old egomaniac is still alive and today weighed into the Brexit debate saying that Boris Johnson was a reckless man and that we should all vote to stay in.
Before anyone takes the old fool too seriously on the EU you might ask
1755 days ago
I start with a few comments on Brexit The Movie, noting how the EU has screwed the little guy across the continent but especially here in Greece. Then it is onto the pathetic bleatings of Mr O'Cathain of Petroceltic (PCI) and also a demented analyst from Cenkos. Both deserve piano wire. But what lessons do we learn from the wipeout of Petroceltic and their dismal attempt to gain forgiveness?
1759 days ago
I was hoping that the canisters which are meant to keep the snakes away would have arrived in Kambos today. I was told they would. Naturally they have not. This is Greece. "They will be here on Wednesday" means "There is no chance at all that they will be here on Wednesday". I am bloody well not moving up to the hovel without them.
My friend Nicho the communist asked why I was not yet resident in the the village and I explained. "You really are frightened of them aren't you" he said while laughing loudly. Fecking hell isn't everybody? Nicho then explained to a gaggle of Greek old men sipping ouzos what was happening and they all laughed too. Ha bloody ha. They all live in the village where there are no snakes, I dare them
1760 days ago
I end with a summary of the wildlife diversity encountered today at the Greek hovel as I start pruning the olive trees. I start with Iofina (IOF) where the numbers are ghastly, this is a ramp built on sand. I also cover China Africa (CAF), Opera (OPRA), Bango (BGO) and Optibiotix (OPTI). But my mind is really on the manual labour that lies ahead here in the mountains of Greece
1760 days ago
I am still spitting nails at the facist lawyers for a certain celebrity couple who got this entire website taken down on Friday by bullying our previous hosting company. The facist lawyers at Web Sheriff were not acting on behalf of a UK Court and acted on their own very dodgy interpretation of whether any legal threshold had been crossed by a certain article.
Fine. I have now republished the article which breaches no UK injunction, having moved my hosting to the United States and moved myself to the hovel in Greece which produces fantastic olive oil. If anyone reading this wants to buy some oil to use for whatever they want they know how to get in touch. Our new hosting company has balls of steel as you can see:
1760 days ago
Since most of us visit Greece only at the height of summer, the pictures we have in our mind are of a country with grass burned brown by days of seemingly endless sunshine. But as we move into mid may the land around the Greek Hovel here in the Mani is almost Alpine, a lush green dotted with the pinks, whites, yellows and purples of a sea of flowers.
1760 days ago
I have landed in Kalamata and start with a look at where Greece is now. My friend John the bike man seems to have gone bust. He is not alone. There is a three-day general strike underway but the EU reckons that Greece has solved all its problems? The EU is the problem, or rather the Euro is. Then I look at why I sometimes despair of humanity and notably some of the people in the world of small caps and AIM. I am taking it easy for the summer as a result. Finally some praise for Marcus Stuttard the bogus Sheriff of AIM but then also some criticism and suggestions re African Potash (AFPO) and Ascent Resources (AST)
1761 days ago
The distractions are explained in the podcast and the fascist in the wind link is HERE. In the main podcast I look at Ascent (AST), Ncondezi Energy (NCCL), Forbidden Tech (FBT), Interserve (IRV), John Lewis of Hungerford (JLH) and Avanti Communications (AVN). Tomorrow I head to Greece
1761 days ago
It was meant to take three months but took closer to a year but who cares? We now have a forestry permit received for the Greek Hovel. It seems that I failed to (illegally) cut down a few wild olive trees but most of my good works of the summer before last in clearing 2000 square metres of frigana have not been noticed and so we can now.....
1805 days ago
Of course my father's most helpful tip on life is that you only need three socks. Wash one a day in rotation and you will never go wrong. Having three different socks can make the process even more idiot proof. That is not my father's tip, although he is often seen in odd socks, but it is me trying to take this way of living forward.
Another handy tip from my father is to wait until you are in Greece - or even better Albania - to have your hair cut
1806 days ago
For lunch today for less than £15 the Mrs and I enjoyed two glasses of ouzo ( both me), a Greek coffee, mineral water, breads, a fine Greek Salad, some amazing mushrooms baked in vinegar and local sausage. I was not allowed any Dakos which is a Cretan speciality as the Mrs says I have had enough already. For those who have not enjoyed it Dakos is a creamy form of feta and oregano and chopped tomato on top of a barley rusk,a hard form of bread. It is quite magnificent. Simple Greek food is a delight and a reason to come here.
1812 days ago
Sadly in late June I shall not be in Bristol but will instead be working hard to rebuild the Greek Hovel. Even if planning consent is not quite in by then, I am free to start preparatory work such as digging out the stone floor of the bat room and demolishing the illegal construct on top of the rat room, the area known as the snake veranda.
The Mrs was set to join me but is now altering her travel plans. Tom Winnifrith just cannot compete with Deacon Claybourne, Gunner, Scarlett and Will Lexington. Nashville fans will know exactly what I mean. If you are not a fan of this must-watch TV series you do not know what you are missing.
We caught Gunner in action at a Country show last year in London. Rather suprisingly the actor who plays Texan born Gunner is in fact a Brit and is an accomplished singer songwriter as well as an actor. Gunner used to date Scarlett who is the neice of recovering alcoholic Deacon, now back with his sweetheart the star of the show Rayna. Deacon may or may not be dead, that is the cliffhanger at the end of series three. Well actually there was no way that Deacon who is the star of the show could be killed off, and as American viewers who are already well into Series 4 know, Deacon is alive but his ghastly sister Beverley is not doing so well.
At least for British viewers, Will is back as Gunner's housemate following the collapse of his faux marriage because he is in fact a closet homosexual. It
1819 days ago
It would have been an added bonus if Goldenport (GPRT) - heading to zero as Nigel explains here - was to had its headquarters in the same Athens neighbourhood as InternetQ (INTQ) and Globo (GBO) because, as it happens, I am in the mighty Hellenic Republic on the date of its EGM on March 31st. However I have just checked out its HQ on Google maps as you can see below...
1821 days ago
Yesterday, the fascist bully boys at PR firm Citigate Dewe Rogerson gave three different reasons for not answering a simple question about their client Fastjet (FJET). The real reason is that the answer shows that Fastjet is heading towards insolvency and needs a placing PDQ. More on that later, I have a full answer to come. Citigate tried to distract attention by claiming that I had libelled an employee by not describing her as a genius and, worse, had engaged in a racial slur by hinting she may be Greek. I think that says a lot about how senior staffers at Citigate view the bubbles for my views on and links to Greece are well known...
1821 days ago
Earlier today I penned a piece on Fastjet (FJET), a company which is a crock of shit. Its PR firm, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, threatened me not about saying that Fastjet is a crock of shit but about what I said about one of its staff. I was threatened with a libel writ from Slaughter & May for inter alia suggesting that an employee was of Greek origin. This Citigate reckons is a slur as clearly it was aimed as an insult. But I live in Greece and love the place said I. But your readers do not know that said Citigate. Whatever... I reckon you do don't you? This podcast sets the record straight on all matters including me making it clear that all employees of Citigate are geniuses, the real reason my question on Fastjet is not being answered ( 3rd time lucky in terms of asking) and why I now contemplate retirement. What a silly and oppressive place the City and Britain has become.
1850 days ago
Eden Research (EDEN) needs to answer the clear questions about panama pump securities fraud and shady related party share pump & dumps if it is to stop its shares collapsing. Instead it has tried to keep its deluded followers happy with news from Greece. Sadly for it I know Greece rather well...
1902 days ago
For most of my early December stay in Greece I was wearing a T-shirt all day although at night I needed a sweat shirt and coat as the temperatures plunged towards zero. But on the penultimate day it started to rain heavily both in Kalamata, where I was staying, and up in the village of Kambos in the foothills of the Taegessus Mountains. The photos below show what happened next.
Photo one is of an orange tree just off the main street in Kambos. As we worked in the fields picking olives in quite warm weather oranges were handed out by my friend George. They are just ripening for picking now.
The next two photos are from the Greek Hovel another 50 metres or so higher up into the Teagessus and three miles away from Kambos. Those who have seen the hovel in the summer will associate it with grass burned brown by hot sun. But, as you can see, it is now a lush green - this is the view looking back along the drive. The rains of October and November have left the place looking very much alive. The second photo
1904 days ago
If you do not speak Greek you might just struggle with this. It would be all Greek to you. But this card is for the folks in the small village of Kambos in the Mani, Greece, the nearest settlement to where the Mrs has a property needing, er, one or two repairs. And so from both Tom Winnifrith's here is a few words for Christmas.
1910 days ago
I seem to be struggling to do business with my olives here in Kambos, Greece. I appear to have sold the oil - all bar 16 litres which I am taking back to the UK. But so far I have paid the press 16 Euro for the transaction which now sees it owning 200 litres of MY oil. Surely this is not right? Perhaps InternetQ (INTQ) runs the olive press? In this podcast I also cover LGO Energy (LGO) just to keep Wildes happy - Jabba the Hutt fave Rare Earth Minerals (REM) and European Metals (EMH), Concha (CHA), Tern (TERN), Imaginatik (IMTK), Peer TV (PTV) and the looming debacle at Chris Oil fave Mkango Resources.
1914 days ago
I refer not to InternetQ (INTQ) of which a lot more later but to an accident I suffered when picking olives this morning. I am in real pain. I know how it feels to be a shareholder in LGO Energy (LGO) which I discuss. In today's podcast I also cover Northern Petroleum (NOP), Hardide (HDD) - in grisly detail - Hunter Resources (HUN) and take Nigel's excellent weekend piece on China New Energy (CNEL) further - this just stinks. Talking of China and Norfolk, I also note the news today from JQW (JQW). Finally I question the RNS from Forbidden Technology (FBT)
1917 days ago
In the wake of the San Bernadino gun massacre the lefty liberal elite on both sides of the Atlantic are using these tragic deaths as a battering ram to fight for gun control. Presumably after the attack by another Islamofascist in London last night they also want knife control? Guns and knives don't kill. People kill. And criminals and terrorists will always secure access to firearms. As someone who is neither I should be free to own a gun to protect myself. Making more guns available will make innocent people safer from those who will always gain access to firearms with a view to crime. I want the right to carry a gun in the UK as well as here in Greece as I explain in this week's postcard.
1918 days ago
No Albanians, no work on the olive harvest yet. And now Vrechi, that is what I fear. I have yet to discuss my entanglements with Globo (GBO) and InternetQ (INTQ) with my neighbours but I am sure they will understand. I start the podcast on InternetQ and the weedy rally today. Then it is onto LGO Energy (LGO), another David Lenigas triumph. But what does Jabba The Hutt care? He sold his shares. En passant I mention UK Oil & Gas (UKOG), Motive TV (MTV) and Papua Minerals (PML) before taking a detailed look at Escher (ESCH).
1919 days ago
Today's From Athens with Love report from ShareProphets sent shares in Greece based AIM listed InternetQ (INTQ) tumbling by more than 50% at one point. Finally we get a weedy but all to predictable response and on the back of it I have cut my target price (for the whole company) from 1 drachma to half a drachma.
1919 days ago
The Nomad and broker team that brought us the Globo (GBO) fraud from Greece was RBC Capital Markets and Canaccord. This dynamic duo act for another Greek Company InternetQ (INTQ). And here I am - with a hat tip from a good reader - reporting on the spot in the Hellenic Republic with some very hard questions for InternetQ. The GlobalShortingConspiracy also has agents on the ground in Moscow and Poland as well as myself in Greece. This is, as they say, developing...
1933 days ago
No it is not my Mrs but a comrade of hers who wishes to go to volunteer to help the migrants landing up in Greece from Syria and other places made hell holes as a result of misguided Western meddling. I know being nice to migrants is not popular in all quarters. I don’t expect Nigel Farage to donate. But we are in this household and if you have some compassion I ask you to consider a small donation.
1955 days ago
Thanks entirely to the courageous investigative journalism of the snot gobbler Dan “microscopic cojones” McCrum at the FT, ex Globo (GBO) boss Costis Papadimitrakopoulos is now formally in the soup – the company has reported him for fraud to “the appropriate law enforcement agencies in the UK, Greece and Cyprus.”
Meanwhile, after the event the chocolate teapots at the FCA have said that they are investigating Globo. Hmmm, fear not my fraudulent Greek friends, being investigated by the FCA is like being
1970 days ago
As you know I spend a few months a year in Greece at a hovel half way up a mountain. I work more efficiently there and it is good for my health. For family reasons I have actually only spent 5 or 6 weeks there this year but will return in December for the olive harvest. Right now I am in Bristol as per normal but bonkers David Lenigas seems to think there is more to it. In – even by his standards – an insane tweet he now offers up
1987 days ago
It I all very well sitting in my garage in Bristol or in the Greek Hovel writing about companies but it would be fascinating to actually go visit a few of them on the ground with a video camera in hand to report from the coalface. Right now that is not an option for personal reasons you know too well but next year I’ll need to clear my head and already two road trips are sort of planned.
I shall have family reasons to visit the Pindus Mountains of Northern Greece at some point. It would be great to pop in to see The Baker of Zitsa and have a glass of sparkling red wine and read some Byron while I am there. But from Zitsa it was just a horse ride for Byron and Hobhouse to Albania and would be a short drive for me to Kosovo and Macedonia (the ex-Yugoslav Republic).
1992 days ago
I cannot remember exactly when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I think it was around six or seven years ago. It was not a surprise. I had eaten and drink too much and the great West Ham supporting Tory blogger Iain Dale had described his symptoms and diagnosis a few months earlier. I knew what was coming.
There have been times since when I have managed it with medication and sometimes just by clean living and taking stacks of exercise. There have been times when I just let myself go. Four years ago I was a 19 stone 6 pounds blob and really all over the shop. But relationship breakdowns, work crises, near bankruptcy and a nervous breakdown did wonders for my (physical) health sending me off to walk around the mountains of Greece and Albania. I may have been a bit of a fruitcake but I sure knocked my body into shape.
Of course marriage and owning a restaurant are not good for the figure but I think I sort of have things in some sort pf check but perhaps I was a tad complacent. I know that Iain has also gone through such phases. However, the Mrs forced me to register with a doctor and last week an eye test showed the first – albeit minimal at this stage – signs of an issue in my right eye. I knew what was coming next.
This afternoon I strolled down to the doctors,
2000 days ago
In today's podcast I look at the Greek Election next week. The voting is irrelevant, Angela Merkel will remain in charge whoever wins. Greece is still fucked and I explain why. Then it is onto interest rates in the US and UK - the FOMC meets on Thursday. Then asset bubbles and crowdfunding - an en passant mention for Vitesse Media. Finally to Hotel Corp (HCP) and the disgraceful smear compaihn by crony capitalist motherfucker Derek Short and Shore Cap against Marcus Yeoman. I have some bad news for Short & Shore Capital. Warning: this section contains some bad language.
2006 days ago
A wide ranging podcast today from my rather cold garage in Bristol. Why oh why cant I be in Greece? In today's issue I sart with the disgraceful antics of the directors of AIM casino shocker The Hotel Corp (HCP) and Shore Capital. Pledge your support to Marcus Yeoman [email protected] now! Then I turn to Oxford Instruments (OXIG), SQS Software (SQS) which gets a major doing over, Fitbug (FITB), Tern (TERN) and M Winkworth (WINK) where my thoughts are more about UK house prices than about the company itself.
2006 days ago
What a total waste of a day, dealing with Dan Levi (the bank robber, reformed) vs Ben Turney (the legal drug dealer, reformed). Dan's expose is HERE. Ben's response is HERE. What a total waste of my day, I am so tempted to just give up altogether. But isntead I outline why the prohibition never works and how I am responding to the allegations: by wasting money on bringing in a barrister to investigate them in full for a report we will publish here. Then I turm to Audioboom (BOOM) and NorthWest Investment Group (NWIG). If the world was different I'd be booking a one way ticket to Greece and throwing my laptop in the sea. Surely both Dan and Ben can go after real villains and just leave me in peace.
2007 days ago
A play on the great Margaret Thatcher speech from 1980. If you have forgotten it the video is below. In this podcast I look at Greece and its Election. It does not matter. Whover wins the most votes Angela Merkel will still be running the Hellenic Republic after the polls close. Then onto an interesting threat to stockbrokers such as Hargreaves Lansdowne. Finally onto Tern. I do not dislike Angus Forrest but discuss issues of corporate transparency and valuation.
2018 days ago
I knew there had to be some drawback to being in Greece. At last I have found it. You cannot access ITV Player so I cannot discover what delights are in store in Episode Six of the truly dreadful new reality TV series Life on Marbs. How is the new business venture of Quindell (QPP) fraudster Jon Stretton Knowles – aka Tango – going? Are the more charity lingerie shoots and designer vaginas? However...
2021 days ago
I had consoled myself as I contemplated snakes, bats, rats and scorpions at the Greek Hovel that at least there were no poisonous spiders in Greece. Phew. We may have more types of snakes than any other country in Europe and the hills around the Greek Hovel may be infested with them but at least I felt sure, having – I thought – read it somewhere that there was no spider issue. Spiders eat Mosquitos. We like spiders right?
2023 days ago
I landed in Greece on Tuesday. Within 48 hours the loathsome Blair like lying snake of a PM Alex Tsipras had quit, barring a miracle we will have a second General Election in 2015 on September 20th.
The miracle is if either the second largest party New Democracy (Angela Merkel obeying Euro loons nominally conservative old style crooks) or the 3rd largest party Golden Dawn (Nazis, but sound on the Euro) can form a new Government. They can’t. So we go to the polls in a few weeks.
I have warned you many times that Syriza
2058 days ago
It seems that not everyone agrees with me pointing out that Daily Mail journalist Liz Jones produced a shoddy and misleading article on Greece. That sort of scaremongering that Ms Jones served up had damaged the tourist trade in Greece so hurting poor folks even more. Several English folks in that trade in Greece cited the Daly Mail as the worst offender. I urge you to ignore the witch Jones and the Daily Mail and go to Greece (see HERE). But now back to the moron Helena who posts on ShareProphets: “Disgraceful blogging. You’re not a journalist. You’re a foul mouthed troll. Guttersnipe”
2058 days ago
What delicious irony…next Friday the 24th is a holiday in Greece. It will be the 41st celebration of the day that the Colonels (the Junta) handed over power to the politicians. It is “restoration of Democracy Day”. Honestly. You could not make it up.
2058 days ago
I am on such a high. But there is no coke involved. Or hookers. Heck I'm not a crony capitalist just a capitalist and I've had a cracking day so far as I explain. Then to Greece and China and why China matters and why the Chinese Canute's won't win. And then onto LGO Energy.
2060 days ago
So Paul "Trotsky" Scott, "Red" Darren Atwater, George "the twat" Osborne and your out of touch cabinet pals who have never risked their capital to run an SME, PR supremo Reg "crony capitalist" Hoare et al you want me to pay my staff £9 an hour. Let me tell you about Christina and why I am in such a foul mood today. Warning this podcast contains a stream of bad langauge. I also cover Greece, Blur, Johnston Press, Mosman Oil & Gas (0p here we come) and Armadale Capital.
2062 days ago
In this podcast I start by plugging today's weekly postcard on TomWinnifrith.com-why to go to Greece NOW and a few off the beaten track ideas on where to go. I then move onto the fate of the Euro and a discussion of what company's do NOT say that is such a red flag - reference Mosman and Audioboom.
2062 days ago
#Thisisacoup is trending on twitter. Greece is now ruled by the EU. Democracy means nothing. The package agreed by Alex Ephilates Tsipras will destroy hope and add to misery in Greece. There is no debt relief. The problems of Greece, for the country, its people, my friends and neighbours, are not solved but the Euro is saved (for now). For Greece, my father and I are agreed (for once), we shed a tear. The Euro may have rallied but Greece is not fixed. Just fucked. Comment and analysis on what happens next.
2062 days ago
I am back in the UK and in this podcast start to comment in detail on a couple of companies notably Avanti Communications and blinkx as well as a few wider issues.
2062 days ago
A bit of a difference this week as I explain the numerous reasons to book a holiday in Greece in 2015. I am serious. I then take you through two or three suggested trips which are not mainstream but offer you Greece with a difference. There is a Northern trip taking in Albania, Meteora, Arta and one entrance to the underworld. And a trip in the South taking in Napfio, Mycenae, Corinth, Delphi, Olympia and the mani. I neglected to say that the main entrance to Hades is at the foot of the Mani. And there is an offbeat island near Athens I recommend - Agistri. This is the year to see Greece on the cheap and there is so much to enjoy.
2063 days ago
To recap: 61% of Greeks voted Oxi (no) to a nasty bailout package last Sunday. Treacherous PM Alex "Ephialtes" Tsipras then ignored their wishes and proposed an even worse deal which 79% of Greeks oppose, according to a poll out today. And in Brussels just now it appears that Greece has agreed to an even worse package than the second Ephialtes deal which it will start implementing next week in order to get a bailout. But even this most brutal of rogerings and abject humiliations for Greece may not save it.
German leader Angela Merkel wants Greece out of the Euro for five years.
2064 days ago
61% of the people in the country that invented democracy last Sunday voted to reject an austerity deal. Five days later, the new Ephialtes, PM Alex Tsipras strong-armed the Parliament to allow him to propose an even worse deal. But it is this weekend when Greece really needs to lube up as the Germans and the Troika prepare for the final humiliating shafting.
For it is clear that as EU finance ministers meet that many of them (the Dutch, Latvians and especially the Krauts) as well as the Troika seen the new Tsipras capitulation (ooops I meant plan) only as a basis for negotiations. That is to say they want even more concessions.
2064 days ago
So where did all the money go in Greece? To the fat cat politicians and industrial barons of course. I now bring you a photo of a Greek fat cat I encountered.
2064 days ago
Last night there was no riot. Greece is capitulating but Europe is pretending that all is well. There will be another can kick on Sunday dressed up as a solution and thus no Grexit. Alex Tsipras has – as the Communists and I predicted – sold out his people but if Europe thinks it has resolved the Greek issues it is kidding itself as I explain.
2064 days ago
In the Greek Parliament the MPs are - as at 7.45 - still debating the proposal of Alex Tsipras to betray his people by suggesting a deal with the banksters that is worse than the one 61% voted Oxi to last week. As I noted earlier, the communist KKE party warned that Tsipras would sell out if he got an Oxi vote, I agreed with its analysis and it looks as if we will be vindicated. And so beneath Syntagma Square the commies are starting to gather.
2064 days ago
Last Sunday 61% of Greeks voted Oxi! In a referendum on the bailout proposals being offered to the Greeks by the banksters. They said no to a scorched earth policy of austerity without debt relief that will see more people leave, the population age, basic services crumble further and many facing no escape from abject poverty. Today, just five days later, PM Alex Tsipras, hero of the Oxi campaign, has proposed that Greece accept terms that are – if anything – worse. And there is still no debt relief on the table.
2064 days ago
A brief podcast as I prepare to spend a morning on the beach with the Mrs. Then it is off to Athens. She thinks she is seeing a la dee da play. I am heading there for riot porn as the Greece Grexit crisis hots up again. Is Tsipras planning to betray the Hellenic Republic? Will he get away with it? Will Greece be booted out of the Euro anyway by the Krauts? Then a few words on the farce at Sefton as Jimmyliar Ellerton tries to make it go bankrupt via legal means. And then to the con Worthington.
And fear not Champagne Charlie Gibson fans, I had not forgotten about you. Just a reminder of why the Edison analyst is a convicted felon HERE and as a bonus a reminder of how it is not only the poor he screws HERE - and a reminder of why I feel the urge to remind you all HERE
2067 days ago
This has been delayed by certain IT issues here in the Hellenic Republic. I start the podcast on Greece then onto China and finally to chancellor George Osborne and his budget - the guy is a prize twat. At a company level I look at Azonto Petroleum, Monitise ( TSOA wins again!), Red Rock Resources and the fraud Jiasen.
And fear not Champagne Charlie Gibson fans, I had not forgotten about you. Just a reminder of why the Edison analyst is a convicted felon HERE and as a bonus a reminder of how it is not only the poor he screws HERE - and a reminder of why I feel the urge to remind you all HERE
2067 days ago
I cannot imagine that the neo-commie Alex Tsipras thought that his biggest fan in the EU was UKIP leader Nigel Farage and poor Tsipras looked a little uncomfortable as Nigel lavished him with praise in the European parliament today. Tsipras does not wish to leave the Euro but Greece needs him to "lead it out with pride" as Farage rightly said.
2067 days ago
I note the attack on me by my colleague Euro loon HERE. Like the heroic ex finance minister of the Hellenic Republic Yanis Varoufakis I regard such an attack from a supporter of the EU and Euro as a “badge of honour.” The zealots who believe in the Euro concoct facts to support their religion. They show no humanity in the face of undeserved misery. The Euro and EU is a dream for crony failed politicians, big business, useless parasitic bureaucrats and banksters. It is a combination of crony capitalism and socialism which screws ordinary taxpayers and benefits the elite. My analysis and solutions are pure capitalism – my critic (a bankster) is a crony capitalist. I care about the poor. My critic is heartless.
2068 days ago
As an experiment I tried to upload this direct, rather than via Pizza Hardman Darren Atwater, but could not work out how to upload my photo so had to use an alternative. In today's podcast I look at Greece, China (the real story of the day), Sefton, Fitbug, Phorm, Stratmin Global and fat cats. Real fat cats like Oakley not fat cats like Sir Martin Sorrell.
And fear not Champagne Charlie Gibson fans, I had not forgotten about you. Just a reminder of why the Edison analyst is a convicted felon HERE and as a bonus a reminder of how it is not only the poor he screws HERE - and a reminder of why I feel the urge to remind you all HERE
2068 days ago
It came as rather a shock earlier this year: I owed the electricity company 975 Euro for the Greek hovel she owns in the Mani region. In May the Mrs and I headed into Kalamata with our friend George the architect and established that in fact we owed 20 Euro. The former owner of the hovel, a witch called Athena, had not paid for three years and owed 955 Euro.
The electricity company should, of course, have cut her off but this is Greece and it did not. She had also not been cut off by the water despite not paying for two years but we had already forced her to pay that tab.
We paid our twenty Euro and the electricity company contacted Athena. She lied, cast some spell over the electricity folk and so we were told we would get cut off. Dam it. It is only 955 Euro, I do not wish to get cut off and I just never want to have to deal with Athena again.
My hero, Paddy Leigh Fermor famously noted in his book “The Mani” that nearly every Greek is generous, honest and hospitable in a way unmatched anywhere else. But just now and again you meet a total bastard who just serves as a reminder as to how wonderful his or her compatriots are. Athena is just such a bastard.
2069 days ago
In today's podcast i start with Greece and also my father, a Nai supporter, blaming the poor Greeks for his expensive pint in Ireland. I shall explain the economics of the euro to the old deluded lefty next week. Then onto Avanti Communications, CIC Gold, China, Velocys, Litebulb and Europea Oil & Gas.
2069 days ago
Greece voted overwhelmingly Oxi yet this morning finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has quit claiming that the banksters had made it clear that they did not wish to negotiate with him personally. Is this the start of the Syriza sell-out?
I see that Eurosceptics in Britain like Farage continue to see the Oxi vote as a vote against the Euro. It is not. Most Greeks and most Oxi voters including Prime Minister Alex Tsipras want to stay in the Euro and think that the referendum merely strengthens their mandate and their hand.
2069 days ago
On Friday before the Greek referendum Syntagma square was awash with blue and white Greek flags and white Oxi flags. This was not about party politics, Alex Tsipras and Syriza wanted you to vote Oxi as it was your patriotic call. I happen to agree with that. Pro tem all Greeks could put party aside and vote Oxi to vote for Greece. Last night something odd happened after the polls closed: Oxi turned from blue to red.
2069 days ago
As I wander up to the most excellent Anthrapology café one last time for a leave Athens on a boat tonight to continue my odyssey, I stroll past three of four banks and they are open. Well sort of.
Pensioners are allowed in but to withdraw only 100 Euro. You can make a deposit if you wish but no-one is that daft. For those not yet in retirement it is the ATMs again and if anything the queues are longer than they were on Saturday and Sunday.
And why not? At the very worst you take out 60 Euro, stuff it under the mattress and in a few weeks convert it into nice new Drachmas and make a quick turn. At best you avoid losing 60 Euro when the bank goes bust or if the State confiscates your wealth via a bank bail-in. And so the ATM lines grow longer and will stay that way all day until the machines, or Greece, just runs out of cash, whichever is sooner
2069 days ago
Over the weekend I warned you that the sensationalist reporting of Greece by the Daily Mail and notably the lying bitch Liz Jones was just all lies. She did not understand what was going on and was making things up in a sensationalist manner to help sell copies of that rag. One of la Jones lies was that they were running out of food here. As it happens, outside my front door is a street market...there are markets like this across Athens.
I remember this market from my last stay in this neighbourhood three years ago but on the off chance that the lying hyena Jones was correct I feared empty stands. Au contraire.
Just look at the photos below taken at 9 AM GMT today. The stalls are heaving. This is not a 3rd world country facing starvation as the headline seeking jackal Jones suggests. And this is Athens. Out in the countryside they have always produced their own food.
Ms Jones you are a disgrace to our profession and your lies about mighty Hellas are shocking. Just fuck off back to London and do not come back.
2069 days ago
Just why did Betfair move so sharply to Oxi! a few hours ago? Er there was a Gallup poll taken on Saturday and released to non insider dealers after the actual poll closed here in Greece. I caught the last voters turning up to have their say at my local polling station and then talked to the precinct captain for Nai.
2069 days ago
The early polls are coming in, district by district. Even Messania where I live, which is the heartland of conservative New Democracy, seems to have voted Oxi.
2070 days ago
Polls close here in Athens in just over three hours. I shall shortly head off to my local polling station to have a final butchers and then to Syntagma Square to sit underneath the Greek parliament as the results come in. I shall blog away here on ShareProphets as Greece decides whether it is Oxi or nai. Pro tem this podcast covers Greece, China, Quindell and UK House prices.
2070 days ago
Oh what drama – the polls here in Greece are close but the governing Syriza party is reporting a high turnout in Athens which is very good news for the Oxi side. I noted earlier that I was expecting 70% turnout here in the Capital (higher than the 67% General Election) but Syriza reckons it could be higher still.
2070 days ago
The result is going to be close. So when the Greek referendum results come out you will see a lot of talking heads from Greece. Here is your handy and honest guide to the Greek political parties:
2070 days ago
I had a long chat last night with my Eurosceptic Uncle and godfather Christopher Booker and who like me is hoping that Greece votes Oxi. But he knows that we have some strange bedfellows in the Oxi camp.
British Eurosceptics are usually on the right. We want the Euro to fail. As I noted on Friday the Oxi camp here want to have their cake and eat it: they want no austerity, debt write-offs and to stay in the Euro. They are lefties. Hearing the message of support to the Oxi rally from the old murderer Gerry Adams makes both Chris and I wonder about our bedfellows. Oh…as an added bonus the Nazis of Golden Dawn are also strong supporters of Oxi! Truly we travel in strange company.
But there is a third way: Kappa Kappa, the hard-line commies. They are today urging folks to vote Oxi but then to spoil their ballot paper. Kappa Kappa got 5% in the General Election and if half its supporters toe the party line that could well be enough to deliver victory to the Nai camp.
My NBF the KKE precinct captain
2070 days ago
I am horrified to see today’s Mail on Sunday spout complete lies about Greece. It saddens me that this paper pays folks like Liz Jones to write sensationalist crap.
We were both (apparently) at the same mass rally in Syntagma Square on Friday. I encountered nothing but calm and peace and a duck among the 50,000 crowd. I did not feel threatened for a second. Liz Jones reports Police firing stun grenades and seems to have got into a bit of a state. There might be the odd hothead everywhere but the Oxi rally was call, determined and dignified.
Liz reports that the Oxi camp want to turn their backs on the Euro and EU. I wish. The Oxi camp want to say in the Euro but believe they can do that without austerity and with debt relief. I do not think Liz has been listening to anyone here.
Liz and her colleagues report that shops are running out of food. Sorry but, overwhelmingly, that is not true. That PM Alex Tspiras
2070 days ago
And so we are off with the great Greek Referendum and it looks like it will go to the wire. I have been to my local polling station and arriving just as the Church next door finished its service there was a mini surge. But it is not at the schools across Greece where the real lines are forming.
2070 days ago
The July edition of UK Investor Magazine went live last night. It is free to access and the cover story is “David Lenigas, saint or serial sinner” – a joint effort by myself and the Sith Lord Zak Mir. There are a couple of company profiles, three stocks to buy and three to sell. One of those is Quindell which really could be worth 0p again! And there is more…
Richard Poulden explains why gold really will sparkle this year, Zak Mir interviews Neil Ritson of Solo Oil, there is a share tip from Beaufort and the house view on Greece and why it should vote Oxi.
2071 days ago
Earlier today I reflected on how not that much had changed in the district of Athens in which I am staying. But then it struck me that something had changed: the roads are almost empty.
It used to be like playing high level frogger
2071 days ago
And so I wandered into Omonia Square in Athens, not a place to stroll around for too long. Athens was an all almost white City thirty years ago. I think my white face was in the minority today. There is an air of menace about the district and I was glad to walk briskly back towards Syntagma Square. But as I looked around I was accosted.
The man said in broken English. I am Greek I have no home, no food, no job can you give me money to eat. As I explained yesterday in the first poverty porn piece, thirty years ago Greeks did not beg. This is new.
2071 days ago
Happy Independence day to our American listeners. My prayers are that tomorrow Greece votes for freedom and votes Oxi! But will it? And what does that mean for the Euro and shares. I note Goldman Sachs claims that a Nai vote will see global equities rise by 10%. Hmmm, I think it misses the bear in the China shop. A few thoughts brought to you from Athens in today's podcast.
2071 days ago
The last time I stayed in this part of Athens was more or less exactly three years ago. I was at an all-time low point in my life but, as I wandered the streets here in a fairly aimless fashion, it struck me that an awful lot of folk had it a lot worse. At last I had a chance to fight back. So what’s changed for the folks here?
The surprising answer is that very little has changed. The photo I use on my twitter account in an Ulster rugby shirt was taken in a hairdresser’s on the corner of the street I stay in. She is still there and seems as chirpy as ever. I popped in to say hello and reminded her of how she photographed me. She pointed to the chair where I sat and said she remembered.
The gorgeous waitress at the local coffee store, which offers a range of finest Brazilian produce, is still there and still as charming as ever. And she speaks English. Back three years ago my morning chats with her were about my only chats with anyone. She is still smiling.
2071 days ago
Think Stoke Newington in London. Edgy, lefty but with a stack of affluent middle class Guardian readers among the poor. That’s the sort of neighbourhood of Athens in which I am staying. Everywhere there are Oxi posters – this area is voting No heavily in the referendum on Sunday. Even the businesses display posters – they are not afraid of losing customers because this area is heavily Oxi. One poster (see below) says nothing but says it all.
2072 days ago
Who said capitalism is dead in Greece? The stalls selling Greek and Oxi flags were doing a roaring trade. In fact everyone who could was draping themselves in the blue and white of Greece. Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. And in a referendum both sides have to claim the patriotic high ground.
One can make a case for both Oxi and Nai being the patriotic side. One stands up to the banksters and evil ECB and Germans. The other saves Greece from bankruptcy. Well sort of. But both camps claim to be the patriots.
2072 days ago
I start this podcast with a few developments on the ground here in Greece - tonight sees two mass demos which I shall be attending and reporting back on. Then it is on to Phorm, Provexis, Ubisense, Jiasen ( smoking gun located?) and the other China Norfolks, Netcall and Cenkos where conversation naturally turns to its role in the Quindell fraud and what the fallout will be.
2072 days ago
Some folk say that it is better to travel than to arrive. I guess they have never travelled on a 5.45 AM Easyjet flight from Gatwick. But my first sight in Greece was a pure delight. I was wandering from the plane into the terminal behind this stunning Greek goddess wearing a light but long skirt. Suddenly a gust of wind caught her skirt blowing it right up above her waist. Little was left to the imagination. Okay that is not true - I imagined away. Sadly I have no photo of this daughter of Athena. But now in the centre of Athens I bring you the first poverty porn.
I am in the business district just behind Syntagma square cadging some office space off a very good friend. This is a rich area. But check out the ATMs. You can withdraw just 60 Euro a day – in theory at least as the cashpoints regularly run out of er…cash. And so religiously, those foolish enough to leave anything in their accounts head to an ATM once a day to take out 60 Euro. So the lines for withdrawals are constant and heavy outside every ATM as you can see below.
2074 days ago
Well that is it. The referendum in Greece is now certain to go ahead on Sunday says PM Alex Tsipras. If Greece of all nations can organise a campaign and vote in a week why can't we do the same in Briatin and spare us all the misery of a 4 week liefest that is the General Election?
But with the vote a certainty and Tsipras campaigning hard for Greeks to show pride and vote Oxi (no) I have booked all my tickets and will land at Athens airport by 9.30 AM in Friday and should be set up to start blogging by noon. I plan to spend Saturday shooting some poverty porn and polling day in and around Syntagma Square looking for riot porn and - I hope - a massive Oxi victory party.
So over the weekend there should be non stop blogging - as I promised earlier here - on ShareProphets.com
2074 days ago
Stocks are soaring across Europe on reports that Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras has blinked, has caved and surrendered to the banksters. Is his name indeed set to join those on Traitors Wall that starts with Ephialtes and includes most thieves, sorry Greek politicians, of the past forty years? The FT reports this morning that Tsipras has written to the banksters agreeing, essentially, to all their demands in return for more money which can then be used to repay existing debts as they fall due. This, if true, is madness and treachery.
2074 days ago
The Mrs has given me the green light and in fact is almost certain to join me as I head off to Greece ahead of Sunday’s referendum for a touch of riot porn and poverty porn blogging from Syntagma Square in Athens.
2075 days ago
A people cannot enjoy true liberty if they are crushed by a debt they cannot service let alone repay. If they are, in addition, forced to cut financial support for health, education and assisting the old and truly needed they are little more than slaves. Such is the condition of Greece today.
2076 days ago
Oh happy days, oh happy days. Firstly my daughter turns 14 today. Born at just 1lb 4 oz she was a miracle baby and has turnd into a cracking young lady. Secondly the Slater & Gordon/Quindell mess gets messier by the day. Lube up Rob Terry, B Wing awaits. And then I move onto Greece and China to equity market valuations and then on to Progility, HSS Hire and Lamprell.
2077 days ago
In today's podcast I look at events in Greece and China and the nature of asset bubbles. I will deal with ISIS in my weekly postcard on TomWinnifrith.com later.
2077 days ago
It is all kicking off. Greece & Grexit, The Chinese stockmarket bubble bursting, ISIS on the rampage. The eyes of the world will not be on London listed companies. It is to quote that Labour spin doctor on the day of 9/11 “a good day to bury bad news”. What better day to sneak out a profits warning or a deeply discounted placing to your mates, the City spivs?
2078 days ago
High drama tonight as Greek PM Alex Tspiras has called a referendum for July 5: should Greece accept the misery of the latest proposals from the banksters or go bust? Events will move rapidly during the next eight days - we may well see the banks shut down as soon as Monday. Already there are long lines outside ATMs in Athens. Is Tsipras right to call a vote? Yes. What should my neighbours in Greece vote? No! They should vote for default and I hope that Tsipras will lead a campaign for such a vote. July 5th could be freedom day, independence day, a glorious day for the Hellenic Republic. It is time for Greece to tell the EU and the banksters where to stick it.
2079 days ago
The German Fuhrer Frau Merkel last night told Greek PM Alex Tsipras to “shut up.” Monsieur Trichet of the ECB accuses mighty Hellas of “blackmail”. And worst of all, leaders of the three main Greek opposition parties have been invited to Brussels for talks – a coup is being planned in the birthpace of democracy.
I would not have voted for Syriza, the flaky lefty coalition party headed by Tsipras but Greeks did. They rejected the two “old parties” of corruption and deceit, New Democracy and Pasok, the latter almost being entirely wiped out. The other party invited to take part in the coup is a flaky bunch of wishy washy non-entities, Potami.
It now seems very clear that if Greece defaults
2081 days ago
The IMF banksters have made new demands of Greece which are just not acceptable. Will PM Tsipras finally show some spine and tell the banksters where to get off, default and offer hope and a future for a post bankrupt Greece. Or will he once again be a traitor to his nation and his people and cave? This is now getting very interesting. Once again I suggest Tsipras reads the great Lord Byron (HERE) and thinks about what could be for a Greece freed from the debt and the banksters.
2084 days ago
Once again we are told that it is 1 minute to midnight for Greece. Where have we heard that before? So who blinks? It seems to be Greek PM Alex Tsipras who is set to cave into the banksters and impose even more misery on the poor folk of Greece.
2084 days ago
In this podcast I look at Greece as the great day of Grexit may actually be upon us as soon as tomorrow. What will happen and what shoukd happen and how will it effect the rest of us?
2088 days ago
Earlier today Comrade Malcolm Stacey, our token money tree believer on this website, argued HERE that Greece would not go bust and that would cause shares to zoom higher. I am sorry to say that he is wrong on one if not both counts and explain why in this podcast.
2090 days ago
What would the good Lord Byron - a man who died in Greece during the war of Independence - say of Greece today, a country once again not its own master? To walk away from the Euro and to simply default on its debts, to stand on its own two feet and build again with pride? Or to accept further shame and humiliation and the impoverishment of its people in return for taking on yet more debts to enslave the children and grandchildren of todays Greeks?
Greece should default and walk away from the banksters of the EU and IMF with pride leaving its unpaid debts as their problem not ours.
2093 days ago
Greece is getting interesting again and in this podcast I explore who will be the big losers from Grexit and it won't be Greece. The fallout threatens many aspects of the Western financial markets but the bigger threat is interest rates which are going to rise sooner than you think. Warning: this podcast contains extreme bearishness
2099 days ago
The boyband caused traffic chaos on the M4 making this leg - as all legs - of my trip back to the UK much delayed. In that bad mood I cover Mosman Oil & Gas, Sefton and a champagne swilling criminal and compare this overvalued dog to Polemos, UK Oil & Gas and Horse Hill, Sovereign Mines of Africa, Iofina, Greece and the launch of our new mag. Download your copy for free now HERE
2100 days ago
In between treavelling back from the Greek Hovel to Bristol there is always tiime to launch a new free monthly magazine - Uk Investor Show. Issue one leads on Greece and I have a centre spread on why it is kebabbed whatever. There are share tips and bear calls from myself and share tips from Steve Moore and Zak Mir. Columns by Chris Bailey and Thierry Laduguie and comment on why UK house prices must fall and on the election. You can download it for free with no registration needed HERE
2101 days ago
In March 1821 the Greek war of independence began as the folk in the Mani launched an uprising against the accursed Turks. The Mani, where the Greek Hovel is situated, was always quasi independent anyway but its warlike folk started a fire that could not be supressed. The first major triumph was the storming of the Turk held fortress at Kalamata. No Maniots died but the entire Turkish garrison was slaughtered.
Right now I sit opposite that fortress, in Kalamata bus station having just purchased one more ouzo for the road, to Athens. Tomorrow
2102 days ago
My last bearcast from the Greek Hovel starts with the UK Oil & Gas and Horse Hill mob suspensions. Then onto Rosslyn Data and a warning for Charles Clark, but it is not about his career in porn. Then I look at the profits warning from Scicys and what it means for others and then a discussion about running open ended funds and the problems Dave Newton has at Heliium, this covers Coms, Verdes, Optibiotix and Gable.
2104 days ago
Sorry for the delay in getting this up. There have been various internet snags but a few last thoughts on my last weekend in Greece plus the sabbatical that started on Monday are now live
2105 days ago
Jim Mellon says that the Greeks should build a statue in my honour as on Friday I opened a bank account in Greece and made a deposit. Okay it was only 10 Euro, I need to put in another 3,990 Euro to get my residency papers so I can buy a car, a bike and a gun, but it was a start. But the scenes at the National Bank in Kalamata were of chaos, you could smell the panic and they were being replicated at banks across Greece.
For tomorrow is a Bank Holiday here and if you are going to default on your debts/ switch from Euros to New Drachmas a bank holiday weekend is the best time to do it. And with debt repayments that cannot be met due on June 5 (next Friday) Greece is clearly in the merde. If it defaults all its banks go bust.
But I had to open an account and make a deposit. Outside the bank in the main street of Kalamata there are two ATMs. The lines at both were ten deep when I arrived and when I left an hour later. Inside I was directed to the two desks marked "Deposit". You go there to put in money, to open an account or if you are so senile that you cannot do basic admin of your account without assistance. As such it was me depositing cash and four octogenerians who had not got a clue about anything. Actually I lie. These folks may have been gaga but they were not so gaga that they were actually going to deposit cash, I was the sole depositer.
Friday was also the day
2105 days ago
In this podcast I start with a look at Quindell - how much money does it really have to spend? Then onto Greece as per the article earlier HERE - this country faces a debt bomb but also a demographic timebomb as I explain. Finally this is the last day of doing a bearcast every day. I shall try to do 3-5 a week but am officially on sabattical as of midnight as I explain HERE
2106 days ago
I sit with my back to the door at the Kourounis taverna typing away, writing almost anything to avoid the torture of completing the subbing of Zak Mir's book. Is it too early for an ouzo to stiffen my resolve to face the torture that awaits?
The cop at the Kardamili police station, who lives in my home village of Kambos, has just wandered in and pats me on the back "yas Tom" says he and wanders to the bar. This reminds me that I visited the police station at Kardamili once again last week. You may remember that last summer I spent a couple of hours detained at the Kadamili nick thanks to a bent cop and bent hotelier and so my memories of the place were, shall we say, mixed.
But I am trying to get Greek residency so that I can buy a car, a motorbike and a gun for the Greek Hovel. And that means that I had to go to Kardamili police station to present my papers. I took my Greek speaking wife with me for protection. Would I meet the bent cop who incarcerated me last year? Would I meet his goon of an assistant who looks like the nasty gay character in Coronation Street? I was rather nervous.
2109 days ago
I start the podcasts with some observations about a flurry of road repairing here in Greece and explain what is going on. I then move onto geo political risk which is not discounted in equity valuations and to the general abandoment of risk assessment in small caps with reference to Daniel Stewart, ValirX and Tern.
2109 days ago
Ok rabble, it is the last day in Greece with the Mrs. She flies home to her true love (Oakley, the morbidly obese three legged cat) later and so this is just a short message on a day when the stockmarket is showing signs of true madness. Should we all give up being value investors and buy any old rubbish and go with the flow? No. It will end in tears. Inter alia I refer to Coms, Daniel Stewart, Scotgold, Kea Petroleum and the China bubble.
2119 days ago
On the way back through the olive groves at the top of snake hill tonight I found myself tracking a fox. It did not seem too scared and eventually trotted off into the bushes. But that was not the real wildlife diversity news today - I met a snake.
I was travelling into the village in the early evening for a salad. Roadworks yesterday on abandoned monastery hill meant that I have been forced to discover a new way to get from the bottom of the valley into the village. It is a side track, not in that bad a condition, which winds its way all the way up to the top of the village past a little abandoned church coming out above our new big church. So from the top of that track you actually go downhill again to the Kourounis taverna. One day I shall draw a map for you all.
I was biking along thinking about nothing in particular when I heard a crunch under the wheels. I pulled up and looked back and about five yards behind me was a small snake. It is the small snakes that are the dangerous ones, the nine poisonous types of adder here in Greece.
There were three scenarios.
2120 days ago
I was standing on the horrible concrete balcony which I look forward to demolishing. But it has wonderful views out over the valley and something caught my eye - movement in the long grass by the prickly pear plants. I looked more closely and it was moving really quite fast seeking sanctuary in the big bowl where we collect water. Yes it was a tortoise. They roam wild here in Greece but are rather shy so by the time I had got down there with my camera it had scuttled into a hole. I am beginning to feel a bit like Gerald Durrell.
2121 days ago
There was I motor biking from the Greek Hovel into Kambos when suddenly I saw it. I had just turned left after the dry river and started the climb up the hill next to the abandoned monastery (or was it a convent, one day I shall find out) when it appeared just sitting in the middle of the road.. a crab, potamon potiamos to give it its full name.
You and I might think
2123 days ago
Now on my 3rd PC in 10 days forgive the two minutes silence at the end of this bearcast...I was trying to say, more on that to follow but this little horror of a machine froze on me. Anyhow this podcast covers Reach4 Entertainment, Sefton, Hunter Resources, Camkids and the other China Norfolks, New World Oil & Gas and the growing sense of doom here in Greece.
2123 days ago
Back from lunch with my old Dad who is now in Greece this podcast looks at inter alia New World Oil & Gas, Daniel Stewart and in detail Mosman Oil & Gas and Northern Petroleum.
2127 days ago
A few reflections on Greece - where it is now almost 30 degrees - and on who austerity really hits out here. Then onto 3 companies that issued key news at no-one is watching at all O'clock yesterday: Ubisense, EMED and Daniel Stewart.
2130 days ago
A relatively brief Bearcast today for reasons that I explain in full. But I do cover why Coms needs to fess up on a number of matters NOW and what happens tomorrow in the General Election. I should be up and running by 8.30 AM GMT from The Mani in Greece and will be writing and bearcasting from there for the next month.
2132 days ago
The Mrs wrote me a stern list of the jobs I must do before I leave for Greece. It does not matter that it is raining cats and dogs, today was my deadline. As such I now sit drenched from head to toe having done as ordered. I trust that she is reading this and feeling guilty.
The patch between our house and the garage, where I have now been sent to work, is the garden. It is where I smoke and where the cats do “their business”
2132 days ago
The market is closed and in today's bearcast I look at Greece and what will happen and happen soon and the message for other European countries including the UK. Then I cover free speech for twits like Ben Turney and how the writers here are united but can disagree and then move onto Bank Holidays - we need less not more to get the UK economy growing again. In fact, scrap the lot.
2140 days ago
News that the Moors Murderer Ian Brady is backing UKIP must delight Nigel Farage. Will he now admit that at least one of his supporters really is a fruitcake? But that is not the theme of this week's poscard it is Greece and the challenges I face this summer - starting in less than two weeks - and the challenges Greece faces. Mine are physical at the Greek Hovel. The country's challenges are financial and - I sense - coming to an uncertain head.
2161 days ago
After yesterday's podcast, it was put to me by a Euro loving loon (but good man) on twitter that Greece defaulting on its debts and leaving the Euro would be bad news for me, as my wife owns a small property in Greece – the Greek Hovel. He is correct: anyone with Greek assets would take an immediate hit after Grexit. But here is why I support the move anyway.
The hit the Mrs will take is twofold. Firstly the Hovel will now be valued in drachmas which will be a weak currency compared even to the failing Euro. As such the Sterling value of the property will plunge. She has probably lost 10% already and she’d lose another 25% overnight.
Secondly when the Greek banks are nationalised they
2162 days ago
This is no longer thinking the unthinkable. Greece could default on a debt repayment in eight days. Grexit - mighty Hellas leaving the Euro - is now being planned for. In this podcast I argue that Greece should embrace Grexit.
2203 days ago
I am greatly confused. I record from the Greek Hovel and the noise outside is a storm blowing. There is a large statue in the centre of Kambos. Tonight we celebrate the start of lent. Is it no more meat or the start of cheese week? Why dont we have paper phalluses in the Mani? I try to explain all.
2203 days ago
Once again I am not swearing - I take note of David Talbot's kind words. But like most Greek residents I am angry with our new Government and PM Mr Tsipras. I discuss what it is really like here dealing with the banks and why the kick the can solution agreed on Friday will not work politically and economically for Greece and what really needs to happen. The medicine will be truly painful but I explain why it is needed
2205 days ago
I cannot resist making a joke I made earlier about getting past passport control. That and a favour asked of all Bearcast listeners starts today's podcast, delayed because the internet connection from Kalamata is painfully slow. When we get there I shall discuss Naibu, Camkids, China Chaintek, Northern Petroleum (a genuine request to its lamentable board made in the spirit of friendship becuase I am such a nice guy), Alecto, Afren, Frontier Mining, Motive TV and Nighthawk.
I shoud have mentioned Rangers but forgot. It has had to abandon a second London hotel location for its EGM which will now be held at Ibrox in Glasgow which is big enough and is where all the shareholders live. The EGM should always have been held at Ibrox, any other location was a clear attempt to disenfranchise fans who hate the board. They now have another reason to hate the board and will, I hope, vote en masse to oust them.
2205 days ago
How is Doug Ware of Worthington getting on consoluting with Houyan Lin of Naibu, Rob Terry of Quindell and JimmyLiar Ellerton of Sefton who ran other companies I attacked to see how they can deal with The Sheriff? Perhaps they should all meet up in Fujian to see how they can wield the "sword of truth" together? Despite Doug's best efforts to get The Old Bill onto me I have made it to Greece. I knew that the false passport that Mossad provided as we jointly organised the global shorting conspiracy would come in handy one day.
Meanwhile a reader has sent in a picture just for Mr Ware to which he has already added a suitable caption. It is Greek themed
2206 days ago
Just to get in ahead of the Bulletin Board Morons, I am set to flee the country to avoid the Old Bill now that Worthington has called them in. No, only kidding - my trip to Greece was planned a while ago as you can see on TomWinnifrith.com. In this podcast I look at Northern Petroleum, Hargreaves Services, equity valuations and then in some detail Kenmare. There is also a taster on the FRAUD Worthington - just a little warning for what I plan for tomorrow for Doug Ware.
2207 days ago
Shame on Paul Scott and other folks for thinking Greece was hot in winter. It is freezing. In this podcast I cover the actuality of snowfall in Greece and a few stories of my father, my Great Uncle David Cochrane and my own travels - including today's trek from Athens to the Greek Hovel - in Greece.
The map below might assist you in following what I am talking about.
2210 days ago
Here we are. My 100th postcard on this website and I am again off to Greece in a few days from where many of these postcards have been recorded. In this issue I look at how the West acts in a way that bolsters ISIS recruitment every time we react to the latest savagery. I also look at the muddle and hypocrisy in the Labour party on the matter of tax evasion and the gutless reaction of the Conservatives to the Labour blather.
2212 days ago
In five days time I shall be landing in mighty Hellas. Within six days I should be back among my friends in the little village of Kambos. The weather forecast says that it will be minus 7 tonight at the Greek Hovel. I imagine that the Taygetus mountains that stetch out behind the Hovel are capped with snow.
On the bright side, I spoke to lovely Eleni from the Kourounis taverna yesterday. I called and said in my best Greek "kale-nichta" at which point she laughed and said "oh, hello Tom." I guess there are not many folks who call who speak Greek as badly as I do. Anyhow plans are underway for frigana burning with George the olive picker.
Also on the bright side, at minus seven the snakes are still going to be very much asleep.
On the minus side I sense that the hovel might be a little on the nippy side. We shall brush over the matter of my Greek lessons, I have promised the Mrs I will do some revision before she returns from the Grim North tomorrow. So don't call me in the morning even if you are Quindell whistleblower. Meanwhile I am doing a spot of revision with Despina.
2229 days ago
This website is about debate. You can respect or even like your colleagues and I am a massive admirer of Malcolm Stacey for the record. But you have to tell your friends when they are wrong. The way that Chris Oil looks at Flybe (HERE) is wrong and comrade Malcolm's comments on Greece and the Euro today (HERE) are wrong at every single level. I explain why in this podcast.
To get your free copy of my new book 49 Red Flags sent to you today fill in the form HERE
2230 days ago
In this podcast I look at the results and what it means for shares, the Euro and the political classes across Europe as well as Greece, including my brother in law set to reture on a full pension in three years aged 52.
2239 days ago
After spending a total of four months at the Greek Hovel and holidaying in mighty Hellas perhaps twenty times in my life I still speak almost no Greek. It is shameful. But that ends tomorrow.
For my birthday the Mrs, who speaks good Greek and fluent Swedish as well as Northern English, has bought me five lessons. The teacher is recommended by none other than the ex wife of Red Trousers, the buffoonish money treee worshipping Mayor of Bristol. Lesson one is on skype and starts at 10.30 AM.
To the folks in Kambos...I am going to shock you all on my return on 18 Febuary.
2252 days ago
George Papandreou is back in the game in Greece. This is big news and in this podcast I suggest a small bet on Greek equities on bonds might be in order as a result. Do elections matter for equity investors? I discuss both Greece and also the UK election in May.
2254 days ago
In the summer I used to drive past this old shed on the main street of Kambos every day. I was told that it was the olive oil factory but it looked deserted as if, like so much of Greece, it was a relic of times gone by when folks actually had jobs. But how wrong I was. By mid-November this place is a hive of activity. It is positively humming.
From late morning until well into the evening there is a constant queue outside of pick up tracks, of trailers pulled by tractors or just of ordinary vans and cars each bringing in bag after back of olives for pressing. Some folks deposit just a couple of bags, a trailer behind a tractor might disgorge fifty or sixty.
My seventy five bags arrived in three trips made by George the chief olive picker at the Greek Hovel in his battered blue pickup.
2256 days ago
Just a short BearCast Special on the situation in Greece with another election now looming in late January. What does it mean, who will win, will it mean the beginning of the end of the Euro and gow does it affect us? From a man who lives in Greece for a good part of the year and is an ardent Hellenophile if a profound Eurosceptic a few thoughts.
2256 days ago
For some reason I dozed off between the end of Skyfall and the tome to go to midnight mass. As such when waking up on Christmas day the stockings of myself, the Mrs and the cats were opened in something of a rush. Santa clearly thought that we had all behaved well in 2014. Clearly he does not know about how Oakley, the three legged cat, likes weeing on the inside doormat. And thus we were all well rewarded and after a splendid breakfast cooked by yours truly we wandered off to St Cuthbert’s Brislington.
Built in 1933 this church could easily hold 350. As it was with the Mrs and I in attendance there were 15 in the congregation plus vicar and organist. It is not as if midnight mass at Brislington is packed – there cannot have been more than 35 in attendance in 2013. One fears that a couple of cold winters could see just the mrs, the Vicar and I attending Christmas day 2018. We were the youngest in the congregation by a long chalk: what is happening to the C of E?
It is just that Christmas has become one great big godless consumerfest celebrated across the world by folks of whatever background. My 13 year old daughter Olivia – deprived of the alternate Christmases promised by her mother Big Nose 10 years ago, has never once attended Church on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. That I rather regret.
The Mrs and I do not take communion as I am very much lapsed in my faith and the Mrs has grave doubts. But we try to think of what Christmas is about and it is not as the Radio DJs insist on saying “all about family and friends”. However much the PC brigade insist otherwise Christmas is about Jesus. The fact we celebrate this festival and the traditions involved are down to Jesus. We give each other presents because we are celebrating God giving us his only son, whether we regard that as fact, belief or fantasy. To deny the involvement of Jesus in Christmas seems fatuous to me.
The sermon was bland enough but at least this C of E vicar managed to resist the urge to pray for peace in Palestine, the C of E codewords for “all power to Hamas”. And with that
2273 days ago
In my weekly video postcard I have a few thoughts on Christmas including my Christmas Tree competion which you can enter HERE. I then turn to West Ham and make an urgent plea to Fat Sam and the West Ham board - pay for me to live in Greece until May and we can win the Premiership. Here's why.
In my weekly video postcard I look at why PLC fraud has become harder to hide in the internet era but also at how companies that have committed fraud behave in their final months. Yes I am looking at Quindell again and that video can be watched HERE
2278 days ago
The last Bearcast from Greece. In this issue I cover Iomart, Coms, Tesco, ASOS, Concha, Fitbug and of course Quindell
2287 days ago
You think Greeks are lazy. That is because all you see is folks in Athens sipping coffees all day. Out here in the Mani life is hard and folks do both a main job but also work the land. So my pal Vangelis is a delivery driver for Dixons but has – I think – 600 olive trees. Nikko and Eleni at the Kourounis taverna also own trees up near the Greek Hovel – they start their harvest tomorrow. And so do I!
The lovely Eleni has put me in touch with a new group of workers. Another chap called Foti, George and his son. I met up again with George today and we start on the olive harvest at 8 AM. So no ouzo for me tonight. To give you an idea of what lies in store for me here are some photos I took last week of a man harvesting trees on the road/track up to the Greek Hovel, just above snake hill. It seems to me that it looks like rather hard work.
2295 days ago
As I was wandering in a semi sober manner out of the Kourouni's taverna owned by the lovely Eleni in Kambos tonight this song came on to play. I sort of view this as the song of The Greek Hovel. Even though it is French.
Indila hit No 2 in Frogland with this amazing track. In the UK it was off the radar but in Greece 2013 it went straight to No 1. Greeks have taste. I spent happy times in Paris a few years ago and so the video brings back memories but for me this song is Greece 2013. Enjoy
2295 days ago
I arrived at Athens airport at midnight Greek time on Tuesday. 24 hours after the Real Man Christmas party I was still feeling a little fragile and so walked zombie like to the hotel airport and wet to my room to crash. The bed swallowed me up and I was asleep. So far so good.
I made it to Athens bus station the next day and caught my bus to Kalamata where I went to the best hotel overlooking the sea front. In summer all the hotels in town are booked out months in advance. But it is November, and the town is dead. 50 Euros including breakfast and I was ready to get back to work and immediately called John the bike man, a venerable source of information on local brothels and much else.
A deal was struck. I have a new bike of which more later but it has real power! The next morning as agreed I met up with John and I drive the bike to Kambos. He was to follow in a car to meet me at The Greek Hovel with my bags and coats. Easy, 1.30 at the hovel.
Driving up into the mountains my head was simply flooded with happiness.
2301 days ago
On Monday I head off to London for the 3rd Real Man Christmas party. I reflect upon those who attended two years ago and how the list has grown. And then I am off to Greece to return to the Greek Hovel and I think about my hopes, my concerns, my worries and my excitement about that trip: snakes, motorbikes, the lovely Eleni and all that lies in Kambos.
In my weekly financial video postcard I forgive the Quindell shareholders who have threatened and abused me during the past six months. They have my sympathies as they face wipeout and I have a few words of advice, even for the folks who sent me death threats. That video can be watched HERE
2314 days ago
I once again bring you the photo of one of the two ticket machines in the main hall at Bristol Temple Meads. This is now week four (at least) of “an engineer has been called”. For all I know the same sign was up for half the summer when I was in Greece.
Catching the 4.47 AM it is of no import to me as Temple Meads is hardly bursting with passengers wanting to buy a ticket. But I imagine that later in the day this is a real pain in the neck. I realise that First Great Western does not give a toss about its passengers or telling the truth but it might, at least, to maintain a vague pretence of caring.
2352 days ago
This is my last video postcard from Greece for seven weeks. I’m back in London at the weekend preparing for a presentation on how companies on AIM overstate profits with real examples. That is on Monday but is booked out but if you want to be able to advance book for my next presentation (it’s free & comes with pizza and wine) register HERE
As I prepare for a return to England with very mixed feelings I know that by the time you watcg this we will be at war in Iraq again. Soon we will be in Syria. The media is being played by our leaders who have messed up and continue to mess up.
England is not safer but a more dangerous place as of today.
2357 days ago
This is my last video postcard from Greece for a while and in it I reflect on what I feel that I have achieved at the Greek Hovel since I arrived and also what I have not achieved. Too much.
2364 days ago
In my weekly video postcard HERE I revealed how I obsess about snakes while at the Greek Hovel but had not actually seen one. Bloody hell that was a bit of a jinx. Snakes were very much on my mind today as the section of frigana I am attacking right now is the densest on the property on a rocky hill near the gate on our drive. For drive read mud track. Put it this way, if I was a snake I’d hang out there.
I had mentally preserved this section for my brave Albanian pal Foti who is coming up to assist me next week. Foti is fearless and if he saw a snake would grab whatever was nearest to hand and smash it on the head. But I decided to man up and head into the bushes anyway.
Luckily I encountered no snakes and so, dripping in sweat after an hour’s solid cutting in the midday heat, I ambled back to the house and started to wander up the front steps and – fuck me – there was a snake, slithering over the snake veranda towards my front door. Naturally I retreated rapidly shouting to no-one in particular “it’s a fucking snake”.
Maybe it is my Irish genes?
2371 days ago
After a morning hacking away frigana at the Greek Hovel, Tom’s message from the Greece of the South is for the Greece of the North – Scotland.
The independence debate is marked by delusion – on both sides. Tom suggests you watch former oil analyst Andrew Bell explain why the SNP oil numbers are all wrong HERE.
The reality is that Scotland has become a welfare addicted big Government economic failure. It is united with a Country with a different value set and approach to life. For its own sake Scotland needs independence so that its people can again learn the idea of self-reliance.
And English taxpayers have no moral obligation to fund a failed system of Government and economics. Speaking as an English taxpayer Tom is praying for a Yes vote.
2372 days ago
From Greece in the South I have been watching the run up to the referendum debate in the Greece of the North with some amusement. Ever since Gordon Brown lent his weight to the No campaign, Scots have been flocking to the Yes camp in increasing numbers and a poll tonight suggests 51% will vote for independence. As an English taxpayer I am delighted, the sooner the welfare addicted scroungers piss off the better.
89% of Scots are net takers from the State. Scotland has every year bar one (1976) been a net taker from England since the Act of Union. All mainstream Scots political parties are Money Tree worshippers and consistently demand that Government spends more and more. That is Scotland’s problem, it has created a nation of welfare junkies.
The debate seems to have been of an abysmal standard. One side invents major new oil fields which the English wish to steal, while Call Me Dave warns Scots that without England they are more vulnerable to Al-Qaeda/ISIS attacks. Yeah right…I know that many ISIS fighters come from places like Somalia but even they would find 95% of urban Scotland a bit of a shit hole. And imagine if an ISIS fighter was captured by the Scots. Stick him in a room with a bunch of overweight, chain smoking workshy Glaswegians and after 24 hours of them bleating on about how England causes all their problems, the Islamofascist would beg for mercy and reveal all.
As an English taxpayer I cannot wait to have the economic burden of Scotland removed as soon as possible. I am also praying
2379 days ago
As one leaves the small Mani town of Kardamili the road starts to climb steeply. On the edge of town there are a couple of fish restaurants, some slightly newer housing including the house that Paddy Leigh Fermor built for himself. My family stayed there once as my father knew Paddy – it just happened that this was the one family break to Greece that I did not go on.
Paddy left his house to the Greek State to turn into some sort of writing school. You would have thought that after a lifetime here he would have known better. It is slowly decaying, neglected by a State that, although bankrupt, can still afford to give anyone with a couple of olive trees an annual grant of 500 Euro.
The first of the fish restaurants as one heads up the hill is the favourite of the Mrs and I. The food is great, the wine flows, the waiters are friendly and efficient and the view over the cove below is magnificent.
On one side of the cove is a small working harbour used by fisherman. At night you can see the lights on the boats as they chug slowly home. A jetty provides a breakwater for the waves although nothing much happens o it other than bridal parties posing for photos. At the far end of the cove is a concrete jetty which is totally empty. If you have seen the film Before Midnight the final scene was filmed there as it became a seaside bar for just one night.
And so the other day we wandered down to the cove along a small road with not a human in sight.
2391 days ago
Had we needed to get to Kambos in an emergency last night my guest and I would have been in trouble for both bikes were out of action. And so first thing today we called the bike man in Kalamata who said he’d be over in an hour or so. But this is Greece… seven hours later he arrived.
My bike had a simple problem, a puncture. I now have some magic spray which I blow into the tyre and that will allow me to drive into Kalamata tomorrow to get a new tyre. Easy.
My guest seemed to have a more serious problem. For her bike would not start last night. She insisted that she had tried everything. The bike man looked at her bike long and hard. He twiddled with a few knobs and then in a solemn fashion told me he had diagnosed the problem. Her fuel tank was empty. How girly can you get?
I felt rather embarrassed and so said “women.” He agreed. Petrol is now in the tank and pro tem we ride pillion except on the steep slopes back to the hovel where she (being the Health Nazi) gets off and walks and I ride on slowly behind.
Women and motors…I ask you.
2400 days ago
At the weekend we set up a poll asking which of ten candidates were the most likely to go bust. The results are not terribly surprising save for the touching faith folks have in Greece.
Our readers said that the most likely to go bust were:
2410 days ago
There are different forms of guilt that I feel as I sit in the Greek Hovel. The worst is as I peer outside and see the sun shining on a glorious day. Yet I will be heading back inside soon to finish another article on shares, on Quindell or whatever.
In side of me something associate sun and the smell of a Greek hillside with holidays. What on earth am I doing spending holiday time hammering away at my PC? The Mrs makes that point every time we go on holiday and it is a fair one.
I have not fully made the mental leap that this is not a holiday. The Mrs has bought a house which is one of our two homes. The nature of my work means that sometimes I will live in Bristol and sometimes I live here in the Mani, Greece. This is my home and just as in Bristol I am working from home. And so gradually the feelings of guilt about now being down at the beach or just lazing around doing nothing are going.
As it happens
2415 days ago
When I record my videos each week you are meant to email me to say “Tom you have lost weight – well done!” I should not have to prompt anyone (especially the Mrs). But I have lost weight. Well I can’t measure it since, as I noted two years ago, there are virtually no scales in the whole of Greece but I can do the trouser test!
At my shameful 19 stone 6 pounds peak my waist was a disgraceful 44 inches. At my fighting weight (hooker for London Irish Wild Geese) I was a 32 inch waist. Two years ago in Greece I almost got down to 32 inches. I was within spitting distance.
Back in the UK – and blaming the Mrs for leading me astray - my waist expanded again. On leaving I was in 36 inch jeans and they felt tight. Within a few days my Ireland rugby shorts (from a post London Irish age) were so obviously falling down that they had to be retired. But they do not really count – they come from a plump (Clontarf veterans) era.
However, as their replacement – red swimming shorts - went from tight to comfortably loose I tried the trouser test.
2415 days ago
I had planned to be the owner of a 24 year old jeep today. I thought I had my paperwork in order as I trotted along to Kardimili police station to get my residents permit. Sadly not. I did not have that blue card which means that I am entitled to go into the execution rooms – that is to say Greek hospitals – should I fall sick.
If I do fall sick I am heading back to London. I may be ill but I do not want a minor sickness o turn into automatic death – I will take my chances with the NHS thank you. And as such I saw no reason to have this EI imposed commie state health care civil liberties infringing ID card. But now I do. One has been ordered in the UK and will be fedexed out.
And that left me sans transport. Being stuck in the hovel three miles from the nearest human being without transport struck me as imprudent but horror of all horrors there was not one car to rent in the whole of Kalamata. Hmmmm. Aged 46 ½ I have never ridden a motorbike in my life. But what better place to learn than here.
Hairpin bends, mountain roads, every driver either insane (Greek) or drunk (Northern European). What could be better?
2417 days ago
It is a good a day as any to move into my Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) T-shirt. Greece is the most anti-semitic country in Europe according to a recent poll but #IstandwithIsrael - so if you don't hear from me again, it's been fun.
2418 days ago
I am trying to buy a motor in Greece. I think that I have found a second hand jeep which can handle to road up to the Greek Hovel as well as taking me on longer trips. Sadly it’s not open top but it has plenty of space n the back for taking junk away. All I need now is the documents that allow me to buy in Greece.
First stop is getting a tax number. I have no intention of paying tax here. You know, when in Rome etc. etc. Well actually I am not going to be channelling any income out here as the tax rates are a joke. Lessons for lefties: if you have high tax rates people cheat the system and the take goes down.
So I took my documents to an accountant. Sadly because my Wedding Certificate is not translated she said “So you are not married in the eyes of Greece and the tax man”. Great: “what are you doing this evening I asked her?” She pretended not to understand and we tootled off to the tax office which was – oddly enough – not crowded. I counted about ten staff and three folks trying to pay tax. I think you can say that sums up Greek Government finances in a nutshell.
After a bit of chit chat I now have a tax number. Now I need a residency permit which involves a trip to see the Old Bill in Kardamili tomorrow and I am off. Mr Toad on the Road in his jeep. Toot Toot.
2420 days ago
And so I replied to a Quindell (QPP) shareholder who tweeted the constructive suggestion that I was a bit of a fatty. Fair cop I am. I have put on a few pounds over the past two years since hitting fighting weight in the summer of 2012. I blame married life, owning a restaurant with great food, having to drink with Zak Mir etc., etc.
However, I am now back in Greece and on a truly Spartan regime. There is the weight loss caused by manual labour in the sun at the Greek Hovel I cannot say that in the UK I do much manual labour in the sun or otherwise. There are the pounds shed as I pace the one secure room in the hovel late at night wander what on earth is making all those noises outside.
I have not had a drink in ten days
2421 days ago
Greetings from Greece. As you can see I am now feeling a bit more relaxed in the Greek Hovel. I seem to have curbed the wildlife diversity (touch wood) and explain why I can now wander around barefoot.
A lot has been achieved whatever comrade Dan Levi might suggest on twitter. But there is a lot of work still to do so a summer of sweat and graft still lies ahead.
Moving on from the hovel I turn to Gaza, You know where I stand - #IstandwithIsrael – but I explain again why Israel and Hamas
2424 days ago
On twitter, on various bulletin boards and on the comments section here on ShareProphets and elsewhere we have come under sustained attack for 24 hours – let me set the record straight. And then I can get back to dealing with the snakes, rats and bats that infest my home for the summer in Greece.
2426 days ago
I snuck out last night to watch the World Cup. The longer it lasted the more I could put off driving back along the long and windy road in the dark to the Greek Hovel. And even worse, to getting out of the car, walking ten yards through the grass to the Greek Hovel wondering what wildlife was lurking in the grass or inside the hovel. As it happens it was a wildlife free experience. Even Mr Rat seems to have “taken his medicine” and disappeared.
The taverna was packed and it soon became clear that I was the only person not supporting the Argies. As the Argies “scored” the taverna rose as one. As the linesman raised his flag for offside one fist punched the air. It was then that the dirty looks started.
How I wished I spoke Greek and could have explained that I too loathe the krauts but that the Argies are for Falkland’s related reasons even worse. But I spoke no Greek and so the loud cheers and increasingly timid punches from me continued. And then the Belgrano moment…The Argies sunk by a sub. The Taverna was not happy. I was rather hoping that it would go to penalties so postponing my encounter with wildlife diversity back at the hovel but on balance was delighted.
Watching Germans celebrate and Angela Merkel smile and clap with joy caused me no great pleasure but
2428 days ago
Greetings from the Greek Hovel. Actually it is not too bad. The Mrs says that it looks quite clean from my photos. Well that is the one habitable room anyway.
I am yet to fit a shower (you might call it a hosepipe and sprinkler attachment) – that is a Monday job so pro tem I am not exactly in pristine condition. I start with a discussion of my first night in the hovel listening to the wildlife trying to get in.
I then move onto the relationship between Church and State here in Greece. As EU taxpayers are bankrolling this country perhaps we should demand that a quite ludicrous arrangement comes to an end?
My weekly financial video postcard discusses how one should revisit your perceptions of a given stock in light of new information coming to light. It can be viewed HERE
2429 days ago
By now you might have wondered quite what possessed the Mrs to snap up falling down our Greek hovel in the middle of nowhere and which is teaming with rats and snakes. Hmmm. Good question. And I have not even started on the works I need to do on the grounds or of the sanitation, er…..issue. But let me show you the view.
2429 days ago
I spare you photos of the Rat Room, aka my bedroom for the next three months. I would not wish to scare the Mrs so will tidy it up a bit first. But it is by far and away the smartest room at the hovel. In fact it is the only one not completely littered with junk and totally unfit for human habitation. It is on the top floor next to the snake veranda. Here are both from the outside.
2429 days ago
I had forgotten just how remote our new Greek hovel was. Leaving the small village of Kambos (three tavernas, three food stores and a place that sells snake repellent) myself and Susan Shimmin from the Real Mani drive our respective cars past a small church. The road as we head downhill is, at first, pretty good. That is because the first building on it – and my nearest neighbour – is a monastery. At this point there are only a few potholes to deal with.
I shall return to the subject of my neighbour, the monk, later. And also to the relationship between State and Church here in Greece. Suffice to say that in an enormous building there is now just one resident. I plan to pop in and say hello at some stage next week.
As we pass the monastery the road deteriorates rapidly. While the Greek Sate must ensure that the Church is not put out in any way, caring for the needs of its ordinary citizens is no longer affordable. At this point the pot holes become cavernous and the tarmac disappears as we head to the bottom of the valley. I am in first gear and driving at five miles an hour.
At the bottom of the valley there is a river in winter which flows over the road. It is now totally dry but a pond still exists hidden behind the trees. I guess there must be a spring there. That is something else for me to investigate at some point. But now we start the steep climb up the other side of the valley.
Susan pushes on in her battered van
2429 days ago
As you know I am this summer starting the reconstruction of a Greek hovel snapped up by the Mrs. Please do not regard this as an investment. There is more chance of making money from Quindell (QPP) shares than from buying hovels in Greece. Actually that’s a lie. There is zero chance on both counts.
I shall post updates all summer of my progress but I start with the news I received two days before arrival. That is to say that our lovely estate agent Susan from The Real Mani ( who - as her name suggests comes fro an Isle of Man family) reported back on Tuesday that when visiting the hovel she had encounter a rat in the only room that is (vaguely) habitable – the room henceforth known as my bedroom for the summer.
Hmmmmm. I try to look on the bright side. If there are live rats in my bedroom at least it means that the snakes have not managed to penetrate that part of the building. Things can only get better from here.
2434 days ago
This may be my last video postcard for a while. The Mrs has bought a hovel in Greece and I am off late on Thursday night to start its renovation. It really is a hovel and right now has no internet and is a 15 minute drive from the nearest habitation. But I will work hard on getting connected ASAP.
And then I shall keep you updated on gripping matters such as the construction of an eco-loo and a humanure system and on bush clearance and digging out an earth floor or tow. Oh.. and on the snake situation.
From humanure I turn to the Westminster paedophile cover-up. It is a cover up and everyone on Fleet Street knows who is being protected and why the ripples could spread far and wide. The age of those directly involved is no defence as I explain.
My weekly financial video postcard starts with a discussion of those bears who have attacked Quindell (QPP) and blinkx (BLNX) inter alia. Tom explains why they need to be more transparent. Having said that, I also explain why bears play such a key role in protecting investors on AIM. This video can be watched HERE
2441 days ago
No prizes for last week’s contest as the standard of entry too low. Jon Pickles where for art thou? To be honest my mind is a bit of a blank. As I describe in the Tomograph this week I am a bit frazzled as I work 28 hours a day ahead of a summer clearing trees and installing basic sanitation in the hovel in Greece that the Mrs has bought. And so my mind wanders to three months sitting in the hovel pondering how to get the eco-loo and humanure system up and running and watching the world go by at a Greek pace of life.
I shall naturally relay the full details of how a humanure system works to you all exclusively on this website. It will be gripping reading I assure you.
And so in that vein, I invite you to post suitable captions for the picture below in the comments section beneath this article. The deadline is next Friday night.
For what it is worth my mind is so frazzled that the best I can come up with is a rather predictable:
“Hey we are goats not sheep, the Quindell AGM is in the next field.”
2456 days ago
So Ireland did not make it to Brazil. That leaves me with a dilemma – who to support? If this was Rugby and Ireland were not playing it would be simple: anyone playing England. The swagger, pomposity and arrogance of English rugby drives me to supporting anyone up against the Old Enemy. But I just don’t feel that way about soccer.
The selection of Neanderthal half-wits who wear the England shirt and whichever hapless sap is in charge do not rile me in the slightest. I feel a general sense of contempt for all the Premiership prima donnas but there is no great hostility towards England as a national side. And so on balance I wish England well and will naturally cheer them on for their entire campaign. All three matches.
But I’d rather like to be rooting for a side with a good chance of making it through to the second phases. And also I really find it hard to root for any team that has as its talisman Wayne Rooney. And every time I see Joe hart on TV earning yet more money promoting shampoo I find myself wishing the mercenary pig nothing but ill. As such my mind had wandered to Greece. I was told that the Greek team – who collectively earn less than Mr Rooney does on his own – are not that bad. Having now seen them play I accept that they are quite bad.
Having completed a fiendishly complex sweepstake created on an Excel spreadsheet by a friend of the Mrs which forced the Mrs and I to predict every result and how many goals Messi scores, I now reckon that the last four will be Holland, Portugal, Brazil and the Argies. And I’d go for an all South American final with the hosts winning.
So I cheer for Greece and England. And as neither will make it past the group stages there is unlikely to be a time when I have to choose between the two. After that – how about Holland. As they play in Orange the Ulsterman in me sees the links and they were superb against Spain.
2483 days ago
I gather that on twitter there are a few folks who thing that I am writing a bit too much and should take up gardening or tai-chi and “chill” Hmmmm. Have I got news for you…
As it happens the Mrs is away for the weekend so I am catching up on a few things. One of which is the paperwork on a new house the Mrs is purchasing in Greece. The deposit is paid tomorrow. It is not a lot as it is a total train wreck.
When we visited it last the only sign of life there was a snake we met sitting on a terrace. The house is not really fit for human habitation but comes with vast amounts of olive groves so can be expanded and renovated over time. The nearest neighbour is a ten minute walk away and is the one old monk left in a vast monastery. Ten minutes drive along a very rough track gets you to a village.
And so I shall be working like a dervish in the UK until June 30th when, all being well I head off to Greece to start work renovating the place. I do not mind that the shower (pro tem) is a hosepipe or that the outside lavatory does not work. I shall install an eco-loo (more on that later) in my first week. I will work alongside the Greek builders as their Albanian (i.e. unskilled labourer) for three months so that by the time the Mrs arrives in August to inspect her new property it is just about habitable and by the end of September, phase one will be complete.
I am ensuring that the fridge contains antidote in case I meet any other snakes and that I can somehow connect to the Internet so that I can write when not building. If three months on a building site in 39 degree heat does not knock me into shape nothing will.
So twitter friends, how’s that for relaxing?
2492 days ago
As you know I have been in Greece for three weeks or more. And I come away in no doubt that the economy is picking up. Athens was almost buzzing whereas last year at the same time it was distinctly un-buzzing. Out in the boonies there has been less change.
In part that is because tourist numbers are up. Perhaps we non-Greeks have become immune to pictures of riots or the fascists of Golden Dawn on the March. There is certainly less fear that you will wake up one morning, switch on the TV in your hotel room and find that your Greek denominated Euros are now worthless drachmas. So that helps.
But there is also a partial domestic recovery. This time last year I walked down the main shopping streets near Syntagma Square
2497 days ago
I have not written about AIM listed Minoan (MIN) for a few weeks but my recent Greek trip prompts me to make a couple of observations. Bullish ones for the record.
2497 days ago
Before leaving for Greece I asked the Mrs to do just one thing and to swear that she had done it: set the TV to record Endeavour and Nashville. She swore that she had.
I arrived home at 3.45 AM and by mid-morning she had finally fessed up. I ask you: is this not a breach of my human rights? Can I not seek compensation from someone?
We have been working hard on ITV Player and C4 Catch Up and are now only 1 episode of Endeavour (the young Inspector Morse) and two Nashville’s awry. She is forgiven but only just.
2498 days ago
It turns out that I have an hour or two to kill at Athens airport and so naturally decide to go to the Sofitel hotel, to sit outside rent an hour’s internet use to write another article about Quindell and have a coffee. I know that it will be expensive (11 Euro) but I will enjoy writing, smoking and having a coffee in the warm late afternoon air.
I write first and then go online to ensure that my whole hour is used wisely. Naturally Sofitel cuts me off after 45 minutes. But the articles are written and I ask for my bill and hand the chap a ten euro note and a 5 euro note.
In the west a waiter would return promptly with 4 Euro change (if he is sensible as one 2 euro coin and two 1 euro coins) and would probably expect a tip of a euro at least. But this is Greece and after more than five minutes the waiter has not returned.
I wander inside and he is sitting behind the bar polishing glasses not serving anyone. “My change” I ask and he hands over a plate which was sitting next to him with for Euros on it. No fucking tip for you Stavros.
The game he plays is simple. Some folks will have to rush to catch a plane, others will be to embarrassed to ask and so five times out of ten he will get to trouser 4 tax free Euros by behaving as he has done. Only once in a lifetime will he get a chippy Brit who: demands his change, gives no tip and then posts an article on the Internet saying that the Sofitel hotel Athens charges ludicrous prices and should be having a few words with Stavros the waiter about the way he does business.
Natch nothing will change, this is the side of Greece than leaves a bitter aftertaste as does my encounter with a bent taxi driver just minutes before.
I love Greece and will be back soon, but not everyone is so forgiving.
2498 days ago
I watch West Ham beat Spurs, chat to a pleasant Anglo Greek bird who asks to borrow a lighter and turns out to be the daughter of a woman who has met my Dad in the scholarly study of Northern Epirus and it is off to the airport. I know that it is a fixed fare but the driver starts the meter running.
We arrive and the clock says just under 26 Euro. Manfully he adds in a multiple of the tolls we have paid and we are still only at 31 Euro. So he turns round and having logged the 31 Euro as a print off he says “fixed fare 35 Euro” and shows me the a laminated card laughing.
I know full well that had we had more traffic and the total been 40 Euro he’s have chanced his arm and asked me for 40 Euro because most tourists just pay. That is why he set the meter running for a fixed fare. As it happens the total despite his toll swindle is only 31 Euro so: I pay the 35 Euro. he declares 31 Euro for tax purposes (if that) and 4 Euro disappears into the black economy. I am afraid that this remains the Greek way. Too many folks here think that swindling a foreigner and cheating the tax man is all part of the game.
I accept that it is the Greek way. The taxi driver was just a laughing wanker. I know that. I do not bear a grudge against Greece or the Greek people. I love it here and will be back soon. But one day folks here will have to learn that taxes are not optional and that swindling foreigners so brazenly is not a way to win long term friends.
2500 days ago
It is that time when I have to hope that I have not lost my passport, boarding pass and other documents. And by a stroke of luck I rummage away in my computer bag and they are all there. I have even been efficient enough to book a ticket for a bus back from Gatwick and all being well I shall be in my bed in Bristol by 3.30 AM on Sunday Morning. But it will not be a long stay in England.
All being well I shall be back in Greece on July 1st preparing to spend three months working both online with my writing (tough luck Bulletin Board Morons if you thought I was retiring) but also on a building site. That is to say, the Mrs appears to have bought a property in the Mani which er..needs a bit of work. In fact it needs a total overhaul.
Taking advice from an Irish pal, working on a building site in the summer heat is a great way to lose weight. And I need a new challenge and learning how to rebuild a house seems like a good one. Greece being Greece nothing is done until it is done but, fingers crossed, the retirement home in the olive groves half way up a mountain has been located. There is a good amount of land with the hovel and a local worker (Albanian natch) and I have done a deal on the numerous olives it produces: He picks and the Mrs gets enough of a cut to pay Greek property taxes and for a few flights.
Anyhow that is all for the future. For now I can think of installing eco-loos ( more on that later) and on grand redesigns, the hard work – I hope – starts in July.
2501 days ago
The Mrs has been to the Peloponnese many times to visit her in-laws but, as far as I can see, has never visited a single site of antiquity. That all changed this holiday and so on her final day we stopped off at Epidavros on the way back to Athens.
As I am sure you are aware Epidavros is an ancient Greek theatre capable of holding thousands of folk which is remarkable because wherever you sit you can hear almost a whisper on stage. The Greeks built this amazing structure when back in the UK we were still living in caves and swinging from trees. It is amazing.
To show her how it worked, the Mrs climbed up high into the upper tiers and I stood centre stage and – in what have must confused a party of Korean tourists – launched into song.
In Dublin’s fair City,
where the Girls are so Pretty
2501 days ago
It was one of the good ideas of the Mrs. She searched the internet and found the second most highly rated restaurant in Napfio (the first capital of modern Greece). And so off we marched. It was a little off the beaten track but she was sure that it was worth it.
In due course we arrived in the sort of residential neighbourhood that has yet to benefit from gentrification and oddly enough we were the only customers of this fine establishment with rave reviews on the internet. Inside was woman who must have been 85 and in due course her son (60) arrived on his motorbike. And then there was us.
Outside two large dogs barked loudly. But sitting on a chair beneath a table was a large black cat with flecks of grey on his fur and with one eye and half an ear missing. He yawned and the dogs fled nervously. We decided to sit outside with the cat.
The menu was extensive but as is the way in Greece nearly everything was unavailable. The Mrs opted for Souvlaki – a safe but dull call – but my eye was drawn at once to “grilled intestines.” The waiter noted that my choice was “brave” and scuttled off.
As our food
2501 days ago
Wandering through the streets of Athens today I happened upon a book stall set up by the side of the road. Pride of place at the top of the heap was the Greek version of one of Jamie Oliver’s works.
Youth unemployment at 65%, unemployment at 30%, massive cuts in the standard of living, corrupt politicians, German imposed austerity, the music of Nana Mouskori, Nazi Occupation in World War Two, a bitter Civil war afterwards and now Jamie. Surely it is time to say that poor Greece has suffered enough and that it does not need this one last misery heaped upon its suffering people?
2501 days ago
Globo (GBO) results out today look superficially good but read deeper into them and they beg far more questions than they answer. Just to give the City analysts a heads up on what questions to ask in the conference call later today I have now published a 10 BIG Questions “Red Flag” special HERE.
But yesterday I wandered down to Globo HQ here in Athens which is located in a respectable residential neighbourhood. The HQ is at 67 Ethikis Antistaseos street and Epistanisou Street. I was hoping to find a car park jammed with Porsches so I could run the headline “where are the shareholder’s porches?” but as you can see the Globo Car Park contains no signs of extravagance.
2502 days ago
Unless I am very much mistaken the poster below advertisers a worker’s day demonstration in Syntagma Square Athens, opposite the Parliament of Greece on May 1st. As you know I want to help the workers at every opportunity and so shall be there to show solidarity.
Of course workers would be far better off and have far more opportunity for material advancement ( i.e. higher take-home pay) if employers were encouraged to take them on by abolishing the minimum wage, scrapping employers NI, abolishing all “employment rights” laws, taking anyone on under £20,000 out of the tax system etc. But I am not sure that I will share my thoughts of anarcho-capitalism with the comrades tomorrow.
Will it be a peaceful demo? Hmmm, I sense that rioting can become a bit addictive.
2503 days ago
In the end the Mrs could bear it no longer and left a day early to secure the release from cat prison of her two “puddings” Tara and Oakley. For the last five days of the holiday it was “only four days to the puddings” and only “three days and 16 hours” to go.
Every time we ate in a restaurant and were inevitably surrounded by a bunch of scrawny Greek cats we would both throw them bits of food to ease the guilt of confining Tata and Oakley to cat prison. “Should we order an extra portion of whitebait just for the cats” we asked ourselves.
And so at ten am the doors will open at the cat prison. The Mrs will, having arrived back in Bristol at 1.30 AM, having been waiting impatiently outside for quite some time. The reunion will be joyful. I am expecting – and am happy to pay – a huge roaming phone bill – as text images of Tara and Oakley are sent over this morning. By 10.30 the cats will be back home, being pampered with treats and sitting with the Mrs as she catches up on two weeks of Coronation Street.
Did I mention that the Mrs is hooked on The Street? I really do not understand it at all. I guess it is something for those from the Grim North only.
2510 days ago
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.
2512 days ago
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
2512 days ago
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
2512 days ago
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.
2514 days ago
For the next two weeks I am on holiday in the remote Mani region of Greece, an area with a colourful history of blood feuds and murder. But on the 29th I drop the Mrs off at the Airport and head into Athens and the very next day we have results from Globo (GBO) whose headquarters are in the Greek capital. Oh what joy.
I do not know where Costis and the boardroom motley crew will be on results day but as a bear who has been vindicated to date I thought it only fair to pay homage at the temple of Globo in downtown Athens. My man on the ground says that it is a “mixed” neighbourhood which, given the impoverishment of Greece by the EU, I take to mean a tad on the rough side. Google Maps indicate that Globo towers is on a side street but only a short dash to a main road should I not be well received.
It all sounds rather interesting
2519 days ago
I am sitting in a little café in Delphi and have found a 95 year old man to chat to. He offers up two more details on the death of my great uncle David Cochrane in 1931, one of which begs a question for my father.
The first is just on how the body was found in 1932 a year after the death. It seems as if the folks from Desfina were on the mountain collecting snails. It is not just the French who eat l’escargot. And it was on the snail hunt that they found the badly decayed body of David. The consensus here is that he was buried in Delphi in the North East part of the churchyard where there are a small number of protestant graves from the 40s onwards. But as I have described before bones are removed after a while and that appears to have been what happened to those of David. I have checked that part of the yard in detail.
The question for my father is what happened to David’s Camera? It was found with his body and like his other possessions returned to England. Did anyone ever develop the film which would undoubtedly have had footage of his last few days in Desfina and possibly of his last walk? Possibly he was shooting the sort of photos I took two days ago when he slipped and fell.
Over to you Tom Winnifrith Snr…
PS A Young man said that they guy at the town hall in Delphi, who I cannot thank enough for his help, has shared my video with him on facebook. He says “ah you are the man…” If anyone has any more details I guess they know how to get hold of me. For my father who terms the internet Beelzebub, you see..it has some purpose. I will explain to him later what facebook is.
2519 days ago
On my way back from ancient Delphi I climbed the seemingly endless steps to the Church and graveyard here for one last look at the small cluster of protestant stones in the corner. As last time, there was no David. But on my way back to my hotel I bumped into George, owner of the excellent Hotel Pitho and we spotted the priest…in a taverna.
He had been told about me and we chatted. No Church records would have been kept of a non-Orthodox burial and as David was a protestant that meant one dead end.
I am certain that having fallen down the Delphi (not Desfina) side of Mount kirthos/Cochrane he would have been buried here. A letter from the foreign office to the then Sir George Young states that my great grandparents wanted him buried “locally”.
Thus according to Greek tradition his bones would have been removed after a couple of decades but after a while the box in the charnel house would have contained nothing but dust. I asked the priest what happens then? “A hole” said he. So that is it, the last remains of David went down a hole with the dust that was one other residents of the Delphi graveyard. His dust now mingles with the Greek soil.
And so there is nothing to take back from Greece to England. Nothing physical anyway. The photos of Cochrane Mountain and tales of how he is remembered via the mountain, even if fewer and fewer folks know the full story, go back with me. I know that various family members have already seen the photos. This part of the story is now over. There is little more that can be discovered.
2519 days ago
My last video postcard from Delphi starts with a morning trotting around the site of the ancient Delphi. I explain in the video what the pictures are of. Away from the main site and with my back to the Cochrane Mountain I recorded a few thoughts on the revelations coming out today about the late Sir Cyril Smith MP who was clearly a serial predatory paedophile.
That Smith was a nonce is bad enough. What is clear is that the entire political establishment knew and together with the Police not only ignored this but actively covered it up. This is not just an issue for Liberals like David Steel who nominated Smith for a knighthood. This is yet another example of the “one rule for them one for the plebs” attitude of the political classes.
The other parties knew about Smith. They did not blow the whistle because they had their own nonces. The media and political world knows the names. There are two that spring to mine both still living both awarded titles post retirement and both former senior cabinet minister (one Tory and one Labour).
Whether it be stealing from the taxpayer via expenses or buggering little boys the political class just seems to unite and get away with it. That is why the established parties are all held in increasing contempt. What the Smith affair shows about ALL the political parties is yet another Christmas come early gift for UKIP.
If Call Me Dave etc. want to start to reconnect with the plebs who pay their salaries an easy immediate step would be to order the security services to release all the files on the other paedo MPs and let prosecutions commence at once.
My financial video postcard also comes from Delphi and covers inter alia Globo, the UK economy and also the “recovery” here in Greece and it can be viewed HERE
The stadium at Delphi
2520 days ago
My thanks to the officials in the Town Halls at Delphi and at Desfina today – both have gone out of the way to help me find out more about the death of my Great Uncle David Cochrane here in 1931.
There will be no grave to be found, of that I am now certain. But having a Mountain named after you is a pretty spectacular headstone. Today I stood on the spot from where he fell. And I learned of the last days of his life.
I relay that in the video below with pictures of my day also attached. The warmth and generosity of the Greeks in 1931/2 is matched by the warmth of the people of Delphi and Desfina today. I am keeping a bar owner up late sending this video back to London. But he says it is no problem. “It is an honour to meet a relative of Cochrane… a great man.” I am not sure that David was a great man but his name opens all sorts of doors for me here.
I reflect on some folks back in England in 1932 not with any great warmth.
The Cochrane Trail
The daisies that surround the top of Cochrane Mountain
The view of snow-capped Mount Parnassus from where David Fell
The view of Delphi from where David fell
Ilyas on the rock from where David fell
The drop again
The drop once more
The Cochrane Observatory
2521 days ago
I have not discovered the grave of my Great Uncle David Cochrane who died here in Greece in April 1931 and whose body was found a year later. But I have trekked up to the cemetery here in Delphi (that burned off a few calories) and have made headway.
And thanks to George, the charming owner of my hotel I have also discovered Cochrane Mountain. In death David is remembered.
All is explained in the video and I attach three pictures as well which I refer to in the video.
2525 days ago
My weekly video postcard covers greedy pig sleazy minister Maria Miller and the corruption of the political classes – this is not just about Miller although why she has not be fired escapes me it is about the whole system.
Next week I am in Delphi, I shall try to get footage home but like many things in Greece, the internet does not always work.
My weekly financial video postcard covers the fireworks at the UK Investor Show and can be viewed HERE
2530 days ago
A little bit of a misunderstanding with the Mrs and the alarm clock saw me still soundly asleep as the 4.47 AM pulled out of Bristol today. In the end I had a pleasant lie-in, worked in the morning and just after lunch (an apple) kissed goodbye to the cats and the Mrs and headed off. Now in London I will not see Bristol, or the cats, again for more than a month.
The Mrs is heading up later in the week for her Birthday and the UK Investor Show on Saturday where she will be personfully ( you see dearest, I can be PC if I try) looking after speakers in one of the breakout rooms and then wandering around with her parents who are also attending. Tes, the mother-in-law is coming to the show. Be very afraid. I am. I guess I won’t be swearing all day just in case she hears and gives me a scary and dirty look.
And then a few farewells and it is off to Greece on my own at first as I try to find the grave of my great uncle David. Thereafter the Mrs joins me as we spend a couple of weeks in the Mani where – I warn you – the internet connection can be patchy. It will be early May before I get back to Bristol, the cats, a new kitchen sort of designed by me with a lovely new Range Cooker. It seems like a long time away but I am sure that time will fly.
Anyhow my battered and well-travelled rucksack is packed and with me as we prepare to go hill walking in Greece once again. I really cannot wait.
2531 days ago
Not deterred (in fact spurred on) by my death threat last night I offer up two new insights for those unlucky enough to own Gulf Keystone (GKP) shares. I do not delight in your misery just suggest that you consider cutting losses before they become even greater. As they surely will. First to the bond market.
It has been suggested that the secondary market in the existing $325 million of bonds is so illiquid that the price means nothing. Au contraire. It is the price of shares, set by buying and selling by –very often – uninformed investors which is wrong.
An interesting tweet emerged yesterday from Waz Shakoor, a man with an amazing record of buying deeply distressed bonds at the right price – he made a killing buying Greek bank debt. How many folks can say that? Waz tweets:
2533 days ago
Is it criminal to say that of Endeavour, Morse and Lewis I am perhaps the biggest fan of the young Morse? Perhaps it is because I have all the Morse and Lewis episodes on DVD and also torture the Mrs by watching them whenever I can on ITV 3 so Endeavour is just that bit fresher?
Perhaps it is because the relationship between Endeavour and Fred Thursday is just so different to the Morse/Lewis and the Lewis/Hathaway pairings? That is no to say that they were not wonderful contrasts and watching the last ever Morse (again) the other week was still very moving. Maybe it is the setting in the early sixties, a period I do not know that is so appealing?
Whatever the reason, the highlight of the weekend looms. For two hours I shall be away from my PC, not thinking about the UK Investor Show next Saturday or the holiday to Greece that follows. Today is Endeavour day as the new series begins.
2533 days ago
My weekly video postcard is longer than usual as I will probably not record another for two weeks.
I am now 100% focussed on preparing for the UK Investor Show on Saturday April 5 and I touch on what I am looking forward to next week most, notably the shareholder activism session. You can still grab one of the last 50 seats going by clicking HERE.
After that I am off to Greece and I shall be sending back a few videos from a country which, I shall argue, has suffered both from being in the Euro but also from EU membership.
In that vein the meat of this video postcard covers the three reasons why, holding my nose, I shall almost certainly vote UKIP on May 22nd.
Tom’s weekly financial postcard covers Minoan, EMED, Globo, Gulf Keystone and more on the UK Investor Show. To watch that video click HERE
2533 days ago
As you know I am a keen supporter of Scottish Independence. A country where 88% of the population are net takers from the State is of no benefit to the rest of the United Kindgom. As far as I am concerned, the sooner that the welfare junkies of the Greece of the North fuck off to wallow in their own brand of unpleasant nationalism and self-inflicted poverty the better.
If Alex Salmond wins the day he will be the hero….of every hard working taxpayer south of the Border.
As such I bring you a map of post-Independence Scotland
2541 days ago
The new scales have arrived and quick as a flash I was naked and staring at the screen. As I expected I am over 15 stone (15 st 6 llbs to be exact). Maybe after my 7th day off the sauce and after going for a walk this afternoon I shall be a bit lighter tomorrow morning but however I look at this, it is not good news.
A long discussion with Lucian Miers who is dieting hard but tells me that he is still borderline obese according to his Body mass Index ensued and my own BMI comes in at 28.5 - closer to obese than normal but technically “overweight”. Tell me something I did not know. You can check your own BMI with a fun sliding calculator which I have been playing with for a good few minutes HERE
If I can get to 14 stone 6 then I am given a BMI of 27 (still overweight, but closer to normal than Lucian/Obese). My weight when I was playing rugby or training at London Irish five days a week was 14 stone 7 and so I think that as a very first stop I’d be delighted to get to 14.6. To be classed as normal I have to get to 13.11 which seems a) an awfully long way away and b) rather more embarrassingly, is what I was in August 2012.
My weight loss then was assisted by the enormous stress of having my entire life fall apart and then by spending weeks walking around the mountains of Greece & Albania. I am hoping to avoid repeating the first part of that but perhaps the stress ahead of UK Investor Show on April 5 will be a substitute. Then it is off to Greece for the walking.
First stop, pound by pound is to get back to the 14s. The good news is that (as I know from experience) in the 15s the weight slips off very quickly indeed on a regime of Spartan calorie intake and exercise and that should continue until the mid 14s. Thereafter the battle gets harder. But first stop 14.13!
2544 days ago
Long time readers will know that I face a perennial battle with my weight. My scales are broken and so I am reduced to monitoring the great fight by trouser size. At my fat bastard peak I was a 44 inch waist (19 stone six). Awful. My fighting weight sees me in 32 inch waist trousers and at just over 14 stone – that is easily a normal Body Mass Index.
Being a real man I loathe shopping for clothes but reluctantly agreed with the Mrs that a new pair of black jeans was needed last week. I ventured into Top Man and nervously wondered what size to try on. 32 inches was not an option, I am aware that I have put on a few pounds. Rather timidly I tried on a 36. And they seemed to fit so I quickly invested £30 and scuttled out as fast as I could.
Five days into my Spartan, in sympathy with my obese three legged cat Oakley, diet and off the sauce it strikes me that the situation is not as bad as first feared. My trousers are falling down. That is the first bit of good news. The second is that I am rather enjoying being off the sauce, I am more productive and feel less tired. I am also avoiding my other great weakness, cheese. Carrots are not that bad really.
The bad news is that I must again trot along to Top Man and splash out another £30 as I am clearly a 34. At this rate a 32 beckons by the time I have completed some April walking in Greece.
As for Oakley…do not ask. He is really not taking this seriously at all.
2547 days ago
Inevitably I start this weekend’s video postcard with the Rugby. I am sure that most of my English based readers were cheering for France yesterday. To my Celtic brethren who were rooting for Ireland – I am sure that you can share my joy. Gosh it was nerve wracking.
I then move onto the mysteries of my dead Great Uncles. If there is anyone out there who can track down Diana Norman, born 1915 who married (after the death of my Great Uncle Francis) a Mr Caulfield Stoker in 1947 (he then popped his clogs in Guernsey in 1954) I would be grateful. I can find no death certificate for Diana who would be 99 now but for reasons explained in the video and this article I am keen to track her down.
I then move onto Bob Crow. I celebrate no death. Equally I do not mince my words and Crow screwed the poor working classes and that should be noted rather than simply eulogising Saint Bob.
This is a wider issue: how and why the left systematically keep the working classes poor and that this the main theme of this video.
My weekly financial video covers shareholder activism a major theme of UK Investor Show which is now a day less than three weeks away. Tickets start to go out tomorrow. If you have not booked please do so at once HERE
You can watch my financial video postcard HERE
2551 days ago
My video postcard this weekend covered my plans to go to Greece after the UK Investor Show to track down the graves of my two great Uncles: Francis and David Cochrane. I think we have now firmly established that Francis is buried in Egypt (contrary to a family myth) where he died on December 21st 1942 from wounds received fighting the Germans. For him the great mystery is the odd circumstances of his marriage.
He married a Diana Norman in Paddington in the late summer of 1938. Apparently the witness at the registry office was the taxi driver. However despite living in Chelsea, two miles from my grandparents and fifteen miles from his parents, he did not tell anyone of his marriage until the summer of 1942 (my Grandmother’s diary confirms this) when, before leaving for Egypt he visited relatives with his bride of four years.
This seems very odd behaviour. Almost as odd is that this is the last time Diana Norman is seen – she had absolutely no contact thereafter with my family. I can find no record of her death so can only assume that she is either still alive (she would now be 99), died abroad or re-married and has died under another name. Investigations continue. My father and I are on the case.
As for poor David, he is certainly buried in Greece. I have today received two items from my father. The first is a letter to the Times from Mr Caclamanos of the Greek Legation in London. It protests in the strongest terms about the actions of Sir George Young, grandfather of the current Leader of the House and of my step-mother, who had taken up the case of David, insisting that he had been killed by brigands or by shepherds who, according to Sir George, routinely killed anyone who tried to stop their dogs barking.
The Greek states that “I understand that the contents of the letter and other declarations of Sir George of this subject, sent out in Press telegrams, have caused an outburst of protests in Greece, and they are considered an unjust and unfair comment of a sad, fortuitous event, which could not in any way reflect upon the reputation of a country justly claiming to be safe for tourists and travellers as any other civilised country.”
To his eternal credit, Sir George worked tirelessly on this case because his wife was my Great Grandmother’s sister. My father is indeed married to his second cousin. The second item to arrive from Shipston is a rather sad letter from the Foreign Office to Sir George noting that, after a year missing, the remains of the body of poor David had been found in thick bushes with his passport, a cheque and his English money and gold watch. No brigands, no robbery, he simply fell down a ravine.
This letter confirms that following the wishes of David’s father, “regarding the burial locally of the remains have been communicated to his Majesty’s Minister.” It seems that no-one travelled out to Greece for the funeral but the grave is almost certainly in Delphi or nearby. And thus it is to Delphi that I will be heading in April.
2553 days ago
Rather a personal as opposed to a political postcard this week. For the next four weeks my life is almost 100% centred on preparing for the UK Investor Show on April 5. If you have NOT booked a ticket yet, shame on you – book now HERE.
But what to do afterwards? I shall be absolutely exhausted. I am already but slog on. And so it will be off to Greece with my rucksack for a month’s walking. Partly with the Mrs, partly alone as I search out the graves of two Great Uncles, the only brothers of my father’s mother who are meant to be buried there. I recount their deaths (1931 and WW2) and their stories in this postcard.
My weekly financial video postcard “Why do I do it?” sees me discussing why I “go after” companies on the AIM Cesspit. It can be viewed HERE
2556 days ago
Greece based, AIM Cesspit listed software firm Globo (GBO) has today announced that it fired its auditors six weeks ago and has a new firm in place. For a firm whose accounts have come under some scrutiny (see HERE) that might raise a few eyebrows but when you look at the exact timeline you will be truly kebabbed.
On 17th May 2013 Globo published its 2012 Annual Report signed off by accountants Littlejohn Frazer. At the AGM held on 10th June 2013 Littlejohn Frazer was reappointed as auditor.
At some stage in the six months that followed – a helpful fellow at PR firm Brunswick says it was in July – the company changed auditor to BDO.
On 13th January 2014 (we discovered today) Globo asked BDO to stand down.
on 16th January Globo said that it would release a Full Year trading statement on 28th January – no mention of the audit change
on 28th January that statement (bullish natch) was published - no mention of the audit change.
Today we are told that:
"Globo wishes to announce that it has appointed Grant Thornton as its sole global auditor following a competitive tender of three of the top five auditing firms.
As a result the board requested BDO to resign as its current auditor in favour of Grant Thornton, with effect from 13 January 2014. Grant Thornton is currently carrying out the 2013 Company audit."
2558 days ago
The democratically elected President of Ukraine was a prize rotter but was ousted in a coup. The EU supported that coup because the old guy was not so keen on joining the warm embrace of the EU.
The Ukraine is bankrupt. It is set to default on its debts because a) its bloated Government spends too much, b) it was and probably still is run by crooks.
Large parts of the Ukraine do not want to join the EU. Sadly those large parts are generally the economically viable Russian speaking parts in the East. It is the unviable Western bits that wish to sign up to the joys of the EU. And, having prompted this mess with its meddling, the EU now wishes to send 11 billion Euro off out east. But hang on a sec? The EU has its own deficit. It has only just asked the UK to pony up an extra couple of billion quid to cover that black hole. Several of its existing members (Greece, Spain, Italy, etc) are themselves bust.
Where is this 11 billion coming from? The bloody Money Tree of course. That is to say taxpayers in the not yet bust EU countries now. And future generations of taxpayers in any EU country that is still solvent in years to come.
Grotesquely overpaid politicians love spending other folk’s cash and the EU serves up the worst offenders in this respect – step forward Cathy Ashton, for example. When will it learn its lesson: a) stop meddling outside the EU, b) sort out your own near-terminal problems before trying to fix those of others?
The EU fostered the coup and now wishes to send your cash to support a regime containing a good sprinkling of Jew hating neo-Nazis. It should instead be apologising, firing the lead meddlers and allowing Ukraine to go bust and market forces to work their magic.
Which country has done better since it faced bankruptcy Greece or Iceland. The former gets the EU bailouts, the crooks stay in charge and is still bust with its population facing economic Armageddon. The latter went bust, sent the crooks to gaol, reconstructed and is now the fastest growing economy in Europe.
I guess Ukraine wishes to follow the Greek model.
2565 days ago
For years, the cheers emanating from Manchester United’s tribal heartlands of Surry and the New Forrest have been deafening. The Red Devils won everything and the rest of us had to suffer the delight of a legion of fair-weather supporters. The boot is now on the other foot.
A few years ago an away leg at Greek Champions Olympiacos would have been a stroll in the park. But tonight United played as badly in Europe as they have at home and have been kebabbed 2-0. As a Hellenophile I take a double delight in this result. Mighty Hellas has put the men of Moyes to the sword.
No European football next year will put a real strain on the finances of Manchester United Inc, the NASDAQ listed company. And that could prove really entertaining as the budget to replace some of its ageing team is curbed. Oh happy days.
On twitter it is being suggested that United should sack manager David Moyes and replace him with newly unemployed Piers Morgan…he couldn’t do any worse could he?
2565 days ago
The Winter Olympics is being heralded as a triumph for Team GB and if only we spend even more we are promised even greater glory in 2018 in Korea. Yeah…bollocks.
The claim is that with four medals these were the most successful games for us Brits since the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix in 1924. Er…meet medal inflation.
In 1924 there were 16 events and with one join bronze awarded the UK picked up 4 medals out of a total of 49 medals awarded. That works out at roughly 1 in 12 medals going back to Blighty.
In 2014 there were 98 events (12 more than in 2010) which makes 296 medals awarded so team GB in fact picked up one in 74 medals. As in the book by the Great Melanie Phillips, “All Must have Prizes,” Team GB was six times less successful in 2014 than we were in 1924. Keep on adding the events and Team GB might win 5 next time. How about that new winter sport: The 100 metre swim through icy sewerage to reach the village store? I gather that the Somerset County squad is pretty experienced.
The problem Team GB will have is that we do not get much snow in the UK so for most winter sports the only kids growing up to play will be the offspring of the very rich who spent the winter in the folk’s chalet in Chamonix. And then there is also curling which rivals whingeing about English oppression and trying to die as young as possible by gorging on Deep Fried mars Bars, pints of Heavy and Benson & Hedges as the national sports of Scotland. A post-independence GB
2582 days ago
There has been a curious silence on the woes of Greece for the past few months. You might just have thought that its problems had gone away. Oh no…
The economy is still buggered with youth unemployment at 65%. In the long run it is demographics that will kill Greece as a nation. Quite simply, the mass exodus of young folks in search of work will see the average age (already 44) increase sharply. The retirement age for many is 52 and life expectancy is 81. I am sure you can work out why this will kill off Greece.
2608 days ago
The Scots it would appear have negotiated the deal of the Century with England for post-independence financial Armageddon. They get the freedom. The English get to pick up the tab.
The Scots would be able to set their own budgets, their own tax rates and spend as much as they want yet the English taxpayer c/o the Britsh ( or post independence English) Treasury has agreed to underwrite its debt. This is sheer insanity.
87% of Scots take from the State (in terms of services, welfare, etc.) more than they give. And thus Scotland has found itself with an electorate which things that austerity means deep fried mars bars all round on the State being cut back to only 6 days a week. Or only giving free cigarettes to Primary School Children only on alternate days.
Given that you have more chance of finding a heterosexual non child molester presenting a Top of the Pops edition from 1977 than you have of finding a Tory voter in Scotland, its three political parties that matter ( Labour, The Nationalist loons and the Lib Dems) are all committed to more spending and more tax but the ultimate funder is always seen as the great Money Tree.
Scottish economic policy and the prevailing ethos of a land that once gave us Adam Smith is akin only to Greece. Edinburgh is the Athens of the North.
And so post-independence
2616 days ago
As I am off to London tomorrow and as our Christmas tree is a good two foot taller than the Mrs it must come down tonight, 24 hours early. A sense of guilt now descends as I prepare to lug the bare tree onto the Street where it will next week be collected by the Council and head off to meet its maker.
When I was a boy my father planted a tree in the garden. Each December it would be uprooted and find its way in a few days before Christmas. It would be dressed and watered and looked after. And on January 6th it would return – feeling rather tired and over-heated as it sat in a room with an open fire – to its real home in the garden. By the end of the spring it had shed its dead leaves from its Yuletide horror and by the next December it was a bit taller and ready to go again.
Now that we have a garden of sorts we plan (okay I plan but the Mrs has not objected) to do the same thing. And so this 2013 will be the last year of wasting a Christmas tree in this way. Come the early spring I shall plant a five foot tree in the garden hoping that by Christmas we have something on which to hang my global decorations.
Luckily the Mrs was not big on Christmas trees and so this is one area that in merging possessions it is just a straight takeover. I have always picked up a little something from wherever I have been to add to what goes on the tree as well as a bit of tinsel and the normal baubles. And so there are two, three legged Isle of Man Christmas decorations, ornate elephants and also stars from India, a small soldier with moving legs, some red and also white wooden stars and a mouse from France, a couple of stars from Israel, there is a tortoise from Ecuador and from Greece a small picture of Christ. Next year’s travels? A trip to the USA in April is planned and I shall return with something else for the tree.
2633 days ago
I appear to have fallen out with another LinkedIn Group – the West Ham Supporters. My “crime” is that I posted links to articles wot I wrote about the Irons. Apparently to stay there I have to write the whole piece on that discussion group.
Hmmm. I am a writer and earn a living from writing articles. So how about a new business model for me? I shall stop writing for websites where I earn money and will just post articles direct on LinkedIn Groups or on Bulletin Boards and so earn no money.
Can anyone spot the minor flaw in that one?
If you are not a professional writer and you wish to post your thoughts (judging by the timings, in many cases when you are being paid by someone else to do an actual job) that is fine.
But if you actually get the cash to pay for cat food, vets bills, a round of drinks at the Conservative Club and other essential things in life by being a writer, but then give everything away for free I would suggest you have a problem.
On that basis I have quit West Ham LinkedIn supporters. A surprising number of folks from there read this website. They know where to find me…
I guess it is better to quit than to be evicted as I was from the LinkedIN Friends of Greece and UKIP groups.
2644 days ago
My crimes? Questioning the party’s immigration policies and also its Jew hating “friends of Palestine Group”. UKIP claims to be a libertarian party. Hmmmmm. I was never a party member but now I cannot even see the rants of the faithful on its LinkedIn page.
Libertarians tend to believe in free speech. Libertarians do not want the Jews driven into the sea. Libertarians do not want to restrict free movement of people in search of work. Libertarians would reform the welfare state in order to stop folk moving just to live on welfare but also to deal with indigenous welfare junkies. UKIP is about as Libertarian as Genghis Khan.
So I have now been booted out of LinkedIn UKIP ( having refused suggestions that I stop writing any criticism of the party at all) as well as UKIP Friends of Greece. My crime there was to suggest that Greece was corrupt and an economic basket case and that Albania (low tax, relatively honest) was a role model for poor Hellas.
I also got stick in the West Ham LinkedIn Group for wanting to fire Fat Sam Allardyce last season. I sense now that my views on that matter are now rather mainstream. But at least the West Ham LinkedIn group allows free speech. You can question and criticize. I guess the Cockney Boys are the only true libertarians left on LinkedIn.
2733 days ago
Anthony manages the restaurant in the uber posh hotel in which we are staying. He is a nice guy and last night, off his own bat, drive us to a superb seaside tavern so we could eat out. As he drove he told us his story…
When he was a boy in the 70s he moved to Germany with his parents who were Gasterbeiten – Greece was poor then, that is what folks did. Hence he speaks fluent German as well as Greek and very decent English.
As a teenager the whole family moved back to Crete as Greece won the Euro lottery and times improved. He now lives in a local town with his wife and two daughters. Aged 23 and 25 they live at home because, despite being well educated, there are just no jobs. 65% of Greeks their age are on the dole. Antony knows that they will soon have to leave Greece for good on a one way ticket to join family in the US, Canada or Australia or perhaps to London.
A noticeably old country will get older still. And his daughters will no doubt marry and stay abroad. Their kids will grow up Greek Americans/Australians/Canadians. Greece will get older still.
2733 days ago
The Sod Off Spain T-shirt seems not to have caused a stir here in Greece. I guess not a lot of Spaniards can afford to travel abroad these days. And so today at breakfast it was time to wheel out the “It’s Time to Leave” T-shirt (red edition). The Greek waiters and waitresses were clearly onside but our fellow guests (all from the rich North of Europe) also perked up.
A stack of smiles and nods and a couple of “I love the shirt comments”.
Naturally I said that I designed it and that you can buy it only at www.TomWinnifrith.com in my online store.
Clearly this fashion item will be sweeping Europe…
2734 days ago
I think you know that I love Greece as does the Deluded Lefty, I mean the Mrs. What is there not to love about this place? Hmmmm.
There is the Greek two kilometres. How far is it to the nearest taverna from our hotel? We asked the man at the local taverna which did not actually serve food and did not seem terribly strong on the drink front either. Two kilometres he said. Our hearts sank.
2748 days ago
Just a reminder that my Tomograph Newsletter goes out weekly with its Weekend edition set to go out tonight ( Monday). This week covers my new pin up ( Despina Vandi), Greece, and from one finacially bankrupt entity to another Sefton Resources. Moving from the financially bankrupt to the morally bankrupt I also cover Pinsent Masons, lawyers to Sefton - the AIM listed company run by liar and crook Jim Ellerton.
The only way to get all of that is to REGISTER HERE
Planned delivery time is Monday evening.
2751 days ago
Sent to me by a correspondent in Greece. Ever wonder what happens when you forget history or are nationally arrogant?
JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when De Gaulle decided to pull out of NATO. De Gaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.
Rusk responded "Does that include those who are buried here?"
2754 days ago
You should always end on a high. And I am on a high right now. Last night I exposed Jim Ellerton for the fraud and liar he is. The Nomad to Sefton (Allenby) has told me by email that if my initial allegations re the Dillabaugh case were proven either Allenby or Ellerton had to go. If it is the former the shares are suspended and won’t come back. If it is the latter the sole witness for Sefton in its libel trial against me will have resigned in disgrace. So I have won. I gather that the Sefton board is meeting this afternoon so, one way or another, the AIM career of Hawaii Jim is almost over.
I have already popped over to the offices of uber expensive bully boy City lawyers Pinsent Masons , champagne in hand, to record two short videos and when they go live that will be it from me.
Publicly I have put a brave face on this battle and on the Sefton dirty tracks campaign. But it has been a strain. I fear that there is not a cat in hell’s chance of me getting my costs back. Would I want to do this again or would I rather spend time with the bird, take up fishing again or do a bit of what I really want to do (goat farming)?
My priorities going forward are the restaurant, the UKInvestor Show, my partner (the deluded lefty) and my family, notably my step mother and ageing father - not necessarily in that order. As such the 666 shirt of investigative financial journalism united is (temporarily) retired. After today I shall confine my public comments on shares to my premium Nifty Fifty website. If you want to know my thoughts on shares pop along to Real Man Pizza and buy me a salad or subscribe to the Nifty Fifty
Shareprophets has 20 writers including younger investigative stars such as John Crawford and Ben Turney who I shall advise, if asked, but for now that is it from me on shares. The younger guys will take the battle against the AIM bad guys forward. I have a book to write (on Sefton), articles to write for this website on West Ham, Greece and other really important matters and a life to lead.
Thanks for your support since this battle commenced. My 36 hour drinkathon now continues and anyone who fancies coming along to Real Man tonight after 6 is more than welcome.
2766 days ago
A week away taking the next generation to Kent where my grandparents lived and I spent many a summer as a boy. We spent one day in the small village of Appledore to where my grandparents retired . There will be more on that later. My father asked me to check out the grave of his parents. The only trouble was that he could not remember where it was.
He insisted it was 20 yards behiond the church on the right. My step mother insisted it was on the left. Normally on matters such as who committed the war crime at the Black Hole of Calcutta or when was the battle of Agincourt I go with my Dad. On more practical matters like where did you leave your shoes or where are Dad's parents buried I go with my step mother.
But the deluded lefty was wrong. As was the other deluded lefty, my father. We refused to give up and at the last minute my father called to say "extension". Sure enough in a little patch away from the Church we found a whole new raft of graves among them that of my grandmother ( named after an Island in Greece when the world was not obsessed by lesbians) and grandfather. It is a simple gravestone as both would have wanted. The next generation laid a few flowers picked from the verge and we moved on.
2777 days ago
And so to this week's caption contest There are no prizes here and entries may not be approved if they threaten legal issues but anything in bad taste will be published at once. And so I ask you to submit in the comments section below by Friday at 9 AM your captions for this picture of a well known businessman and one of his former employees: Mr Rupert Murdoch and Ms Rebekka Brooks.
For what it is worth my entry is:
2778 days ago
The Gibralatar of Greece, Monemvasia is an island separated as a result of an ancient earthquake from the southern Peloponnese by a narrow channel of sea. These days a bridge cross that water but as you wander across you see a few venetian buildings but that is it....
In olden days this was a fortress. When the TRurks over-ran Greece, the Venetians in Monemvasis held out. It is quite simply impregnable.
Walk around the rock on a new purpose built road and for 800 yards you see nothing and then you turn a corner and bang... a fortified wall comes into view.
Walk a bit closer and you approach a narrow gate. But at this stage you have no idea what lies behind.
2782 days ago
In 40 minutes time I head off from chez Spiros. By 2 PM I shall be back in The Corner of Clerkenwell which is home to naked artist Pauline Amos, Real Man Pizza Company, colourful James and so much else. I do not want to leave Greece but if I have to go somewhere there are far worse places to go.
See you all at the quirkiest celtic Italian restaurant in London, Real Man Pizza, as of mid-afternoon
2782 days ago
Last night out waitress was a sweet trainee speech therapist from the Czech Republic. A couple of days ago we gave a lift to two Hungarian birds who were also spending the summer working as waitresses. In fact this place is crawling with Eastern European birds working in bars and cafes. Yet, in three weeks I have barely encountered any young Greeks working as waitresses outside family run establishments. Youth unemployment here is 65%. Go figure.
I know that the Easter Europeans are working in the black economy and are staying in not great places happy to make a few Euro, enjoy afternoons on the beach and to bunk up with the odd other young person who is passing through. But …
There is something chronically wrong with an economy which sees these folks working while 65% of young Greeks sit on their arses, sipping frappes, living at home, not working but collecting benefits which ( since Greece is bust) come effectively from the taxpayers of Northern Europe.
The solution? Might I suggest that from April to October Greek youngsters under 25 should not be allowed to claim benefits and at the same time any Greek under 25 ( who has been unemployed for three months previously) be allowed to work outside of the tax system ( for both employer and employee). It would save Greece ( i.e. the Northern European taxpayer) a stack of cash, might instil the work ethic in a generation that has otherwise lost it and, frankly, it would be less galling for Northern Europeans as we pay over the odds for our Greek salads from our after tax income.
Will it happen? No chance. This country is bonkers and happy to enjoy the frappe lifestyle at the expense of others.
2784 days ago
To be honest I am a bit starved of ideas and the bird wants to head off for a romantic meal so the best that I can do on the caption front is to offer up a picture from earlier. Please post your wittiest captions in the comments section below.
2785 days ago
Demographics will be the economic death of Europe but for countries such as Greece – where I am now – the maths are just horrific. You think that poor Hellas has problems now? Wait twenty years.
2785 days ago
My comrade Brokerman Dan urges me to read an article in The Guardian about “The hidden Greece – the Cyclades” There are a number of reasons why I shall not do that. And the main one is that this is not the Real Hidden Greece
There is of course the obvious point that anything in the Guardian is by definition rubbish. I cannot think what a sensible fellow like Dan is doing polluting his mind in this way. But then there is the corruption of travel writing. The economics of travel supplements are thus:
1. Journalists are often flown out by a Tourist board to be taking on a lovely jolly. It is not in their interests to write bad things or they will get few invites so they usually write sycophantic crap.
2. Supplements make money by selling adverts. Any region which has a stack of people able to afford to advertise in the Guardian is by definition not hidden but developed.
As it happens the Cyclades are well work tourist destinations. So how about this as a “hidden Greece” trip:
2785 days ago
When I was a boy I tried to milk a cow. I think my mother ( who was heavily into self sufficiency) and I were on a commune in Wales. I really did not get the hang of it at all. So a goat? Heck why not give it a go. Meet the goat. As you can see, her leg is teathered and her mind is on food so maybe I'd have a chance?
2785 days ago
Sadly I arrived a day late for the Onion harvest at the home of Stavros and Stavroula in the Peloponnese. Shucks, the back breaking work of extracting the onions from soil watered the night before to make it less rock hard was done by others. The onions are then laid out to dry in the sun for a month or so before being stored in the cool cellar for year round consumption. Anyhow here are the onions from the garden of Stavros.
I have described earlier and shown videos of the goat milking process. They can be found here. Do not laugh too much at my efforts.
One thing that I forgot to mention was how all the goats had been sent the week before to meet a Ram for "servicing." However,
2787 days ago
I am tapping away by the quayside in Koroni in southern Greece. And a small fishing boat has just pulled in with its catch. Oooooh catching a swordfish to sell for a living, how degrading say the Bulletin Board morons. The fish is magnificent and will be eaten fresh today. How wonderful.
2787 days ago
I see that on the ADVFN Bulletin Board one poster has spotted that I was planning to milk a goat and comments “I hope that a member of the paparazzi catches him engaged in this degrading act.” I really do not know where to start.
Firstly, I doubt the paparazzi has any interest in me at all. Secondly I ensured that the whole thing was captured on film anyway – I will load it up later - and thirdly why is it in any way degrading?
At one level, you should try everything once except incest and folk dancing. Heck, how narrow minded is this creature that he would not wish to seek out a challenge? But more importantly as we do our jobs in the Great Western cities, shuffling paper around to no great end, I sit back and contemplate the life of Stavros and Stavroula, the seventy year old parents of my partner’s brother in law.
2787 days ago
This came out yesterday but this story is, as they say, developing. There is more to follow. I shall be online solidaly within a day or so. Internet connection here is dire. But there is more to come...
I am staying in a Greek village where tomorrow I learn how to milk goats. There is no internet. But I have a phone and today I received a call from Gary Dillabaugh, the former company secretary of AIM Cesspit listed Sefton Resources (SER) which exposes Sefton boss Jim Ellerton as a chancer and a rogue.
I have been tracking down Dillabaugh for weeks and so getting that call is a moment I have looked forward to for some time. Hence, I have made my way to the seaside, borrowed a laptop and now reveal all. Just because I am on holiday the AIM bad guys should not sleep soundly.
What follows should be enough to question whether Ellerton is fit to run a public company.
2788 days ago
My father can take a joke on most matters but is a little sensitive on the subject of the tomatoes he grows in Shipston on Stour. They have a tendency to be small and green. Perhaps if he and my deluded lefty step mother are right then global warming will rectify that. I am not holding my breath.
2788 days ago
I do not expect any sympathy. And as it happens the rainstorm threatened darkly but lasted less than an hour. The road outside was a gushing stream such was the violence of the downpour. Ninety minutes of baking heat later the road is dry once again. But while it lasted it was violent and cooling. I could not help but walk through the chilled rain – it was cleansing.
2788 days ago
I have noted before my frustration that I always pass through Arta by bus and gaze at its spectacular bridge with restaurants at either end, but never visit the place. Thanks to my partner’s crazy plan of heading down to her sister’s in-laws in the Southern Peloponnese my frustration is at an end. We left Albania at 6.30 AM on a bust for Ioanina. It is less than 100 kilometres but a happy two hours spent at the border as officials on both sides showed their true flair for incompetence meant that we did not arrive until well after noon.
2791 days ago
I am back in Albania. This is a short postcard containing the sort of thoughts that got me booted out of the LinkedIn friends of Greece last summer.
My financial video postcard will go live when I can find an internet link that does not crack up once an hour. i.e. not today! It will be on www.shareprophets.com
2792 days ago
There is no doubt that Greece is enjoying a better tourist season this year than last. Folks are used to the new normal that is bankrupt Greece teetering on Euro exit with the odd riot thrown in. As a bonus, there are more Russians here than last year. But it is still pretty dire and as I digest a 48 Euro bill from last night I say that Greece still does not get it.
The appeal of Greece of old was that it was cheap and cheerful. 48 Euro ( call it £40) bought a bottle of piss poor house rose, a nasty bruschetta followed by basic moussaka for me, a very weak tomato salad followed by a lamb spaghetti dish for the little woman and some dire service. Her starter arrived first. Five minutes later the other three dishes arrived.
A comparator offering at the Real Man Pizza Company on Saturday night would have been ½ litre of (much better) house rose and two pasta dishes a mixed salad and very good bruschetta which would have set you back £34 on the 2 course special offer (£40 without). Better food, better service in Central London at £34/40 or £40 for what we paid in Corfu. The Greek’s, I am afraid, still do not get it. Expensive and cheerful does not float my boat.
If Greece is to solve its problems it is not just the public sector that must reform (finally sacking those public sector workers) but the tourist industry needs to compete. That either means leaving the Euro or cutting prices by 25%. Either way it means a fall in the standard of living for those involved but, perhaps, having a few more customers might offset that.
Today we are off to Albania. I would have left earlier had I been in charge and would by staying longer. The same meal there will cost £25 and the food wiull be better.
2794 days ago
Well folks, that is almost it for the writing fest. The Deluded Lefty is tonight packing her bags. Well actually, when I called just now it was quite clear that she was in a bar with her pals sipping fair trade Zimbabwean Chardonnay and blaming it all on Thatcher. But tomorrow she gets on a plane and joins me in Greece and on Sunday we are off to Albania.
As such the pace of articles is set to slow somewhat as of Friday evening as I have better things to do..like have a holiday holiday. Naturally I shall log on every day to check up on the AIM bad guys but ahead of me lie Butrint then Zitsa and Meteora. There is a mad plan being concocted by the DL to drive down to the Peloponnese. I have pointed out that this is environmentally unfriendly (as well as just plain mad) but if you get another video postcard from Monemvasia do not be entirely surprised.
2795 days ago
I see that my recent articles on Bulletin Board Morons have unleashed a firestorm of anonymous abuse various from Bulletin Board Morons. As I wandered along the beach and enjoyed a very nice grilled octopus lunch I pondered whether the morons have a point? For about five seconds.
The morons of course never post under their own names and then proceed to say whatever they wish. If I had a penny for every time I had received abuse from the morons over the years I could buy half of Greece. Perhaps these days I could pick up the whole country. Hidden behind the mask of anonymity they say what they like.
That is fine by me. Airstrip One is a free country. Well sort of. But please do not expect me to regard dishing out abuse without revealing your identity as courageous in any way.
Among writers (i.e. those who earn money from writing in their own name) I am a little unusual in that I am happy to dish out the abuse back. I do so in my own name. And sometimes in quite a witty manner. The BB Morons however think that this is all shocking.
Some feel I should show bravery by going onto BB threads and posting as myself. Hmmmmm.
2795 days ago
The deluded lefty insists that she does not believe in patriarchy, blah, blah, blah. So we have an early morning arrangement that is based on equality and partnership – no exploitation either way. After a hard day’s slog in the public sector she stays in bed until about 7.30 and I make her a cup of tea. I get up rather earlier to be a wicked capitalist but just after 7.30 the DL brings me a bowl of organic fair trade porridge. I think I am right that oats do come from Scotland and Scotland is the sort of third world bankrupt country where deluded lefties try to help poor farmers with fair trade.
Anyhow my point is that I am used to the little woman serving me breakfast by 7.30. Yup, for the avoidance of doubt for any BB Morons out there, my partner is a bird not a bloke.
As such life chez Spiros here in Greece is a bit of a shock for me. I get up – as ever - at between 5.30 and 7 (3.30 and 5 UK time) allowing me to create a string of masterpieces before the UK starts its working day. Spiros, on the other hand displays the work ethic which has made Greece the place it is today (the Scotland of the South) and seems unable to raise himself before eight.
It is now 7.45 and, with five articles under my belt already, I am increasingly in need of a coffee and some toast and so now have to go through the ritual of jumping into the pool and splashing as much and as loudly as possible in order to hint, gently, that it is rise and shine time.
Splish, splash, splosh, wakey, wakey Spiros!
2797 days ago
You may remember that last summer I spent a long while as the sole guest of a hotelier in Corfu called Spiros. I am back. He greeted me like an old friend and there was good news and bad.
The bad news is that I do not have his undivided attention. There seem to be two other rooms occupied this year. The good news concerns money. My rate per night has fallen from 35 Euro a year ago to 25 Euro this time. And as a bonus, Spiros has given up trying to quit smoking and so now buys his own rather than smoking all of mine. That is worth another Euro and a half a day.
Sitting in the pool this afternoon (all alone) I pondered the suggestions from our correspondents in the GNSH that is Stoke on Trent that after my experiences in Athens I should abandon Greece and book a holiday in the Potteries. I am assured that Stoke has a brand new bus station, is 30 degrees in the shade and has much else to commend itself. Truly it sounds like the new Athens of the North… well at least in terms of youth unemployment it probably is.
Hmmmm, shall I swap lounging the pool in 34 degree heat with an almost personal service of café frappes from Spiros for an afternoon trekking round the pottery heritage trail? It is a hard call. I promise that one day I shall go visit David and Chris in Stoke for a bit of welfare scrounger porn, but on balance for a summer break, I have to conclude that Greece more than edges it.
2798 days ago
I am now in Corfu preparing for five days of rest and writing before my deluded lefty partner arrives to whisk me off to the former socialist paradise that is Albania. I travelled here by bust from Athens – a 10 hour trip and so feel a little on the tired said as we arrived at 5 AM. Athens Bus station is a total shit hole. It is what I imagine that Stoke on Trent is like. Only hotter.
I arrived early (fleeing the clip joint) to buy my ticket and wandered into a ticket hall with a desk for each location. At that point there were four of us trying to buy tickets and I counted 11 staff manning the desks.
The Corfu counter had no-one behind it but a full ashtray (in a non-smoking building) and cup of coffee suggested that there was life somewhere. But fear not,
2798 days ago
One of my ideas of purgatory is spending eternity driving around the centre of Athens trying to drop a hire car off on time. Amazingly I managed just that today with no problems. With a few hours to kill I asked the nice lady at Hertz where the British war graves were and she answered in a confident fashion. My father thinks his Uncle Francis is buried here although he was killed in North Africa and so off I wandered. It goes without saying that there were no War Graves at all where she sent me but that is another matter.
About half a mile along, in a decent part of Athens a man asked me for the time. I am a nice fellow so fished out my phone and said 4.01. He seemed terribly grateful and happy to meet an Englishman. His brother runs a Greek restaurant in London and please could he give me his address for a free meal.
I did not really want a free Greek meal in London and was rather more interested in the War Grave but he was insistent so I went along ruck sack over my shoulder and entered a small bar where there was one waitress, one young lady sitting reading a book and an Old Man. My old Man said “have a beer” and promptly disappeared. Have a seat said the waitress.
I reluctantly perched on a bar stool but assured her that I did not drink. At her insistence I agreed to have a diet Pepsi. At this point the young lady wandered over and in broken English tried to engage me in conversation.
2799 days ago
Someone contacted me on Twitter to say that he always links Greece with cats. So do I. Wherever you go there are cats. Scrawny moggies which eek out an existence begging and eating what they kill. It is a fairly Darwinian existence - most cats cannot make it through the winter when the wildlife hibernates and the restaurants close down. And so as a painfully thin little creature begs at your table what can you do?
This little moggy came up to my table as I sat, almost alone in a taverna in a small mountain town yesterday and started miaowing and rubbing itself against my leg. It was my best friend. Yup.
I was eating Greek salad so offered it some bread. That was wolfed down. So how about a bit of bread dunked in the oilve oil and vinegar sauce. That was wolfed down. A bit of feta... yes please. Trying my luck, and concerned that I might not actually end up eating anything at all myself, I tossed a bit of cucumber on the floor. That was pushing it. Like my daughter the cat refused to eat cucumber.
And then being a cat it showed no loyalty and spotted another table and wandered off as it sought a new best friend who was rather keener on meat.
Wandering through that town I met two little kittens. I think that if I lived here I would rapidly become like one of those mad old ladies who has 27 cats and talks to no-one else.
2799 days ago
I filmed this in Monemvasia on Saturday. I seem to have a few thoughts on the plight of Greece every day as I encounter some other example of lunacy. I will try to note them in article and or video format as I go along. But I kick off with my analysis of why Greece really cannot recover. The long term killer will be demographics. The short term killers are debt, the bloated state and the all pervasive corruption. Still you’ve got to love the place.
My weekly financial video postcard discusses the Silverdell (SID) scandal and the farce that is AIM non regulation and can be viewed here.
2799 days ago
Larissa is the birthplace of Achilles and the provincial capital of Thessaly. It is a fairly sleepy town of 162,000 people which is nor rich, or certainly shouldn’t be, since the mainstay of the regional economy is small scale farming. How odd then that ownership of Porsche Cayenne’s per head of population in this town was twice the OECD average. Hmmmmm.
Welcome to the 100 sheep trick from the good old days. Each Greek farmer got a large EU grant per sheep. The EU did have to inspect the sheep but had to pre-arrange its visits with the local Mayor. There are ten farmers each owning 20 sheep. The inspector arrives and finds that farmer A has 100 sheep. The mayor takes him to a farm on the other side of town owned by farmer B where there are also 100 sheep. Back to farmer C where there are also 100 sheep and so on. The inspector is not Welsh so fails to twig that by the end of his visit he has seen the same 200 sheep five times each.
The grants are duly handed out to all ten farmers. They then employ one Albanian on peanuts to look after 200 sheep and head off in their Porsche Cayenne’s to the village square to drink coffee.
Everyone in Greece knew this was going on but no-one complained. The EU was spending other people’s money (er yours and mine) and so did not care. It was great that Greece had joined the Evil Empire which now reached from the Shetlands to within a couple of miles of Asia. Party on…
Yes I feel sorry for the Greek people and for poor Hellas. But it is worth remembering that in the good times more than a few Greeks trousered it big time and we paid for that.
2800 days ago
Separated by an earthquake from the mainland in 375 AD, Monemvasia is the Gibraltar of Greece. The old town situated within the fortress is largely Venetian and this place stayed under Venetian control, for 90 years after the rest of Greece was conquered by the Turks ( until 1540). Between 1690 and 1715 it again came under Venetian control but then went back to the Turks but in 1821 it was the first major fortress to fall in the war of Independence.
It is a wonderful place and my home for a couple of days as I check out a few things inland.
2802 days ago
As I took the ten hour bus journey to Athens overnight I discovered that my one firm meeting of the next three weeks had hit a snag – the man has gone AWOL. Such is Greece. And so I arrived in Athens at 5 AM with nothing to do. How about a bit of riot porn ? I decided to take a bus to Syntagma Square to check out the action.
And so me and an old man tried to get on the bus. No-one else wanted to. We both asked (he in Greek me in English) if we could pay. The bust driver said “no” we had to buy a ticket at the ticket booth. But it is closed we both pointed out. “So stay here” said the bus driver. And then he closed the doors and drove off in his 100% empty bus. The grateful taxpayer (something most folk here still regard as a voluntary activity) can pay his wage, pay for the petrol, and wear and tear on the bus as it has absolutely no passengers.
Under my breath I muttered “and that is why your country is fucked.” I got a taxi instead. Sadly there are no riots this morning and so I have wandered around past the shops which are all either empty or having a summer 50% off sale. No riot porn to relay to you but I may well shoot some poverty porn later as I am not feeling terribly sympathetic to poor Hellas right now. Its problems are not, as I have pointed out before, not entirely unself-inflicted.
2803 days ago
I have seven hours to kill before catching the bus from Corfu to Athens. Having bought my ticket I have wandered into the Old Town of Corfu to my favourite restaurant on this island. Head past the main square where they play cricket (there seems to be no game today) and behind the main poart of the old town and wander outside the City wall and you are here.
The restaurant is on a spit looking out to see straight ahead and to my right is the old palace where Prince Phillip was born. It is a little bit more expensive than the main tourist gaffes in the centre of town but the food is wonderful and it is relatively quiet. Occassionally a large ferry passes by and the wash ripples ashore creating a bit of disturbance but that is about it.
As I sip my first frappe of the break I open up my email in box to receive this cracker from a prize dickhead called Mark Mcelney.
One thing I would like to ask is why have you been publishing such lies on cupid and others and how much are the hedge funds paying for this?
Hmmm, Mark care to list the lies? I think you will find everything I have written on Cupid and others is factually correct. As to payment from hedge funds? Would you care to show us your evidence for this claim of yours? Hmmmm you have none. Because it is pure hogwash. You are a paranoid delusional dickhead.
And with that it is time to order my first lunch in Greece of this break.
2803 days ago
I have explained before my family’s incredibly strong links to Greece. My father’s mother’s family were classical scholars writing books about the place 150 years ago. Both of my father’s maternal uncles are buried there: one fell down a mountain and is buried at Delphi, the other was killed in the Second World War and is buried in Athens. My father’s mother was named after a Greek island – er..Lesbos. It all had a different sort of meaning in 1900. My father’s sister married a Hobhouse ( Byronologists will understand that). My father writes books on the place and it was always a place for family holidays. It seems the family is bound to poor Hellas. And so it is where I headed off to last summer as things fell apart.
And now for the second time this year I head back. This time on my own with my rucksack. My partner (whose sister is, as it happens, married to a Greek) arrives in ten days to be shown a bit of Albania and a couple of places in Northern Greece. But first I have nine days with firm plans in terms of destination for the first four but no hotels booked at all. I shall just see what happens, try to walk a few pounds off in the heat and see where I end up.
The journey starts at Gatwick at 5.30 AM and so when I lock up at Real Man in an hours’ time, having recharged my phone, I shall head off to the station to prepare for a few hours writing at the airport. Tomorrow night I am on a bus from Corfu to Athens. I would imagine that I will be tired enough to sleep for most of the journey. And then at 6 AM Thursday the holiday really begins as I head into the Southern Peloponnese. My laptop – as ever – travels with me as does my video camera so, fear not, this website is NOT on holiday.
PS. I am naturally wearing my It’s Time to Leave T-shirt as I head off. I feel sure that the odd Greek would agree with the sentiment.
2806 days ago
Over on Shareprophets.com my financial weekly video postcard this week looks at the small resources stocks. It explains why there traditional sources of funding have been cut off and asks how many of them are actually already at a near zero real cash position and asks why they cannot be more transparent about it.
You can watch that video here.
My political postcard covers two topics.
In that vein my next video postcard here on TomWinnifrith.com will come to you from Greece
2806 days ago
What a week. The busiest of the year for Real Man Pizza saw all hands to the pump even though we were fullt staffed. Writing had to take a bit of a back seat and I am also tidying up a few lose ends as I prepare to head out to Gatwick for a 5.30 AM flight to Corfu to be followed by a 12 hiour bust journey to Athens. It sounds like madness but there is a logic behind it.
However the copy is flowing again and will ramp up once I arrive in Greece for nine days alone ahead of my partner's arrival. And so the weekly Tomograph will go out tonight.
To ensure that you receive your edition of the Tomograph on Sunday evening please REGISTER HERE
2806 days ago
And so this week George Osborne laid out his plans for how the Government will spend money it does not have over the next few years. The reactions were sadly predictable and the truth is, my friends, that they are all lying.
On the right there was praise for canny George who so cleverly snookered New Labour with populist pledges about tackling welfare scroungers and who is clearly a safe pair of hands to act as custodian of the nation’s finances. Middle England and the Bond markets are meant to be reassured.
On the left the BBC, its sister paper The Guardian and other associated loons continued the post 2010 narrative of wicked Tory cuts, back to the 1930s, blah, blah, blah.
Both sides are lying although it seems that the BBC/Guardian agenda has won as most folks do actually think that Government spending is being cut. It is not.
2808 days ago
It is a bit of a day for reflection. For it was exactly a year ago today that I headed down to Gatwick Airport to fly to Greece. It was a one way ticket as frankly I was not exactly sure if or when I would bother coming back. As I am sure you are all aware my world had pretty much imploded. As I sit here a year later an awful lot has changed.
At one level it is all to the good. I shall have a quiet meal with my deluded lefty partner tonight. Professionally, the writing and the Real Man restaurant and UK Investor Show are all pretty much on track. Nothing happens as quickly as you might like but the trend is my friend.
But there is always another side.
2834 days ago
It was a year ago today that the first article appeared on this blog. Most blogs fold after a period of months but I am still here. And to celebrate a glass of bubbly for breakfast! The toast “to you dear readers for continuing to read this site”
A year ago my life looked unimaginably bleak. At a personal and health level it was a mess and I was days away from leaving Rivington Street and t1ps the company I founded. To the victors the spoils and so it was repeatedly asserted that all t1ps’ problems were of my making and that new management was turning it around. Yes I have read the interim results released at 6PM on Friday. Hmmmm. You might say that but I could not possibly comment.
That however was a former life for me. My line in the sand was drawn in September. By then I knew who my friends were. To folks such as Richard Poulden, Abbe Aronson, Darren Atwater, Steve Moore, Clem Chambers, Monisha Varadan, Chris Potts, Amanda Van Dyke, Lucian Miers, Chris Booker and Zak Mir I am forever in your debt. To you I say “cheers” – another toast.
I chatted yesterday to most of the above and life has changed pretty dramatically. At the Real Man restaurant we were losing £5,000 a month when I took it on officially in September. There is now just one of the staff at that time still working here and I have hired and fired aggressively and made a stack of other changes. Having just enjoyed our busiest Saturday in memory we are now happily making a profit, our customers like us and we serve far better food. That was achievement one. I guess that “new management line” is true sometimes. Miaow.
Achievement two was getting the UK Investor Show organised in just a few months and it went well. Now with my friends at ADVFN we are well on track to deliver an even better show on April 5 next year. And I now rather suspect we will be the only show featuring master investors happening next spring. Miaow.
But perhaps the biggest win has been in writing. It is what I do best (although I can knock out a fantastic Risotto con salsicce e funghi these days as well). The launch of the www.shareprophets.com site has exceeded expectations. After 50 days it has half as many registered users as we managed to attract in one year at UK-Analyst. More join every day. And gratifyingly more and more writers seem to want to join the team and write for us. Another two will debut this week. Meanwhile other websites…no that is enough miaows.
But www.Tomwinnifrith.com is my real love. It started as therapy but being able to write exactly what I thought without some corporate hissy fit ensuing soon became an addictive drug. The fact that I use the odd naughty word or talk about birds does not appeal to everyone – notably Google and PR prude Kay Larsen of College Group – as you may remember here and here.
But it is me. I do use naughty words. I do find myself drifting into the vernacular of my favourite TV show (The Sweeney) now and again. And I do have strong views on Israel, welfare scroungers, the EU, global warming and civil liberties. Why hold back? I had been gagged for so long that the release was joyful and still is.
But there was also a release in that I ceased to by a City insider and became an outsider. As such there was no need to kiss arse – anyone and everyone was fair game. The past year has shown me that not only is it fun to constantly expose and poke fun and to say what you want but that I can earn a reasonable living doing that and looking after Real Man Pizza. There is no need to hold back. While I might have been tentaitive at first I am now in 5th gear and will not be slowing down or getting softer in my approach.
And so looking back I reflect on those who have brought inspiration and pleasure to me:
1. The visit to Butrint (photo article)
2. Damian Conboy of Alecto hooking up with the Playboy PR girl
3. Kay Larsen PR prude at College Hill
4. Sefton Resources & Jim Ellerton – thanks Jim you have made my year ( see you in court Bitchez)
5. Taking a contrary view on the Olympics
6. Vroula – the fascist Greek athlete and defending her right to free speech
7. The visit to the Berlin Jewish Museum
8. Standing by St Paul’s for Lady Thatcher’s funeral
9. The start of the AIM Cesspit campaign
10.Going on stage with Nigel Wray and Nick Leslau at UKInvestor show – feeling I was with friends.
11. Being complimented by the Goddess
12. The Guardian and deluded lefties everywhere
13. The Baker of Zitsa
14. Albania - National Leave your Gun at home day
15. Financial PR firms & the AIM Cesspit - another fight picked
I am sure that I have missed out a few highlights.
At a personal level, many of you met my partner at UK Investor Show. She may be an utterly deluded lefty. No okay she is an utterly deluded lefty but she has been a rock at all times. She even now knows who Joe Cole is and that Mark Noble’s veins are claret and blue. What more could a man ask for?
Thank you all for reading this website over the past year. Year two starts on Monday. What will it bring?
2841 days ago
I write this from on-board an Easyjet flight to Berlin where I am going to the wedding of a friend of my partner. He is marrying a Kraut and I have been given a stern lesson about words and phrases I am not allowed to use. Kraut is one of them.
I have however packed my “It’s Time to Leave T-shirt” although my “I stand with Israel T-shirt” was left behind. Perhaps I should have knocked up a quick “I stand with Greece” number just for this trip. I have no football shirts. I do not plan to discuss our national sport with the Hun and I am banned from discussing theirs.
It seems as if most of my fellow passengers are on one of two stag parties and one hen party- all from Wales. I guess this is what Easyjet was created for. I am not sure that those on this trip will be taking in many of the sights of Berlin and it would have been far cheaper for 1 stag party and the hen party just to stay at Bristol airport, get blind drunk and shag each other. But they are all underway now, happily ordering a stream of expensive drinks from the staff.
The two grooms to be are both dressed up. One very large and gormless looking fellow is dressed as a fairy. The other smaller, but equally gormless, fellow is wearing a little gold number. Whatever floats their boat. I am sure they will have a great time. I just rather hope that they do so a very good distance from where we are staying.
2868 days ago
Just for the avoidance of doubt I am not a UKIP party member and will not be voting at all on May 2nd. However I cannot say that I am put off UKIP by Tory Grandee Kenneth Clarke labelling its leaders as clowns and anyone voting for it as a racist. In fact such a pathetic attack merely makes me think even less of Call Me Dave’s Tories and of the fat old fool that is Ken Clarke.
Clarke states that UKIP is largely a protest by folks against the established parties. He may be correct. The established parties have produced a political class which has engaged in systematic expenses fiddling and extraction of ever more cash from the public purse. And on issues such as the EU they are almost united in ignoring the wishes of most voters. They are an out of touch elite. And with his cushy non-executive directorships as a sideline and having supported every doomed Euro project from the ERM to Britain’s membership of the Euro, the fat complacent Clarke is a typical member of that class.
Rightly many of us view the lot of them with contempt. If the political class get a bloody nose from UKIP in largely irrelevant local elections on May 2nd they deserve it.
As it happens I disagree with UKIP on immigration. Listening to Nigel Farage’s speech at UKInvestor Show I winced as he touched on the issue and also on that of gay marriage which I support. My partner (female and British Asian) has real problems with UKIP on these sort of matters and I can understand why.
But the EU is an important matter for me as is the way that the mainstream parties are all committed to pissing away billions on tackling the non-issue of global warming and are failing to tackle the appalling finances of Bankrupt Britain. And I do hold the entire political class in contempt for their corruption. And so
2868 days ago
Zakynthos. This place was totally wiped out by an earthquake in the early 60s ( apart from one sixteen century church) so it would be hard to describe it has having old world charm but it was pleasant enough. I suspect that one “the season” gets underway it will be Hell on Earth but for now the main language spoken was Greek and it was harmless. Zakynthos has escaped the worst of the meltdown thanks to tourism but even here the signs of unease are clear.
Posters protesting against the rise of the Nazi Golden Dawn party were everywhere to be seen.
In the main square outside a bank Kappa Kappa (the commies) was holding a protest and Concert. This is a communist party that has yet to accept (unlike most European commies) that Stalin had its faults and that it is a good thing that the Berlin Wall has come down. As a result it is pretty unelectable – hard-line Stalinism is not cool even in a country facing meltdown.
And so it started with a video which basically equated, ad nauseam, Golden Dawn with the holocaust. Frankly Golden Dawn does contain some incredibly unpleasant characters and to describe its leaders as Nazis really is not that unfair. The film went on to show that Russia won the second world war
2868 days ago
For once I spent my Greek holiday not on the mainland but on an Island. It is not something I plan to make a habit of for reasons that I shall admit to – I guess that I am just an unreconstructed snob. It all started at Gatwick airport last weekend as I waited with my partner in the departure lounge for a flight to Zakynthos. As I surveyed my fellow passengers I noticed a large number who were young, had large numbers of tattoos and various bits of their body pierced, seemed to use the F word in every other sentence and who were loudly discussing how they were going for “the season.” My heart sank.
By the time the flight was passing over Dover my fellow passengers were already drinking. My heart sank some more.
And so to Zakynthos.
2870 days ago
It seems like just yesterday that Easyjet dropped us off at the one airport on this Island. We were the only plane on the Tarmac and the terminal was 75 yards away. Naturally we waited 5 minutes for a bus to arrive to take us to the terminal. All must have non jobs.
I will offer a few more thoughts up on Greece but the flagpole is on the sea about fifty yards from where we are staying. It is not a bad view to wake up to. But this has been an all too brief stay and today we wend our way back towards the airport and tomorrow it is back to Britain. Farewell to the oil lake, to the wild dill, to Greek salads every meal, to the terrapins in the stream nearby and to Marlboro Lights at 3.90 Euro a packet. Farewell to a life of getting up at 4 AM your time to write on my PC on the balcony overlooking the sea while my partner snoozes.
Normal writing services resume as of Sunday evening. The Tomograph will be back next Wednesday. Meanwhile Darren will continue to load videos from the UK Investor Show onto both ADVFN and to Shareprophets.com - next up is Christopher Booker.
This has been a good place to think. An announcement is pending. Ho. Ho. Ho.
2874 days ago
As you can see by the fact that this is only my third article today I am on holiday. I am, of course, in Greece, in a little village by the sea where there are, as far as I can seem just four or five places to eat. And so my partner and I sought out the sixth, The Final Taverna which is – according to a sign just 200 metres away from village on a road leading around a big bend.
She knows a thing or two about Greece and so we agreed that these would be 200 Greek metres i.e. at least 400 metres. Sure enough, after about 400 metres we came to a sign “Final Taverna 50m.” About 100 metres later there was another sign: “Final Taverna 40m.”
About 100 metres later around another bend we got there. It was closed.
2878 days ago
I have not had a holiday since last summer and I am absolutely shattered – mentally and physically. And so my partner (whom some of you met at UKInvestor Show) and I are off to Greece for a week or two – as a liberated woman employed by the State it is only fair that she pays. Naturally I shall write for a few hours a day but mostly this is swimming, walking & winding down. It’s time to think.
You have to learn your lessons and
2882 days ago
In Greece youth unemployment is c60%. Ditto Spain. In Eire 30%. But these figures dramatically understate, yes I repeat understate, what is going on and it is the Euro that is to blame. An entire generation across much of Europe is being pulverized, systematically smashed and it is the Euro worshipping leaders of the same countries who are to blame. This is almost a crime against humanity.
Why the understatement?
2895 days ago
Cyprus is a small island and it was easy to ignore or play down events at first but the situation is now out of control. We live in a new world order, the post Cyprus order and you need to wake up to the reality of that fast.
The Euro was never an economic project. It was a political one. And as such the “believers” brushed aside any economic objections and sought to ensure that everyone joined the club. Some countries were not fit to join (Portugal, Eire Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and Cyprus) but that mattered little. The leaders of those countries and the ECB agreed to lie in order to gain entry.
This was a concerted lie by the political elites across Europe – a class distinct from the folks they nominally represent. And so today as the Euro collapses the political elites of Poland, Rumania and elsewhere are still applying to sign up. Hey, I know the Titanic is going down but is there any chance of me jumping off a floating currency lifeboat and getting on board your fine vessel? Madness.
And one reason that it is madness is that we have no idea how Cyprus will play out. The initial plans for state bank robbery have been shelved and so if you have less than 100,000 Euros in your bank account that money is, pro tem, safe. But it is impossible to withdraw it in more than small tranches. If you have more you will lose some of it. Perhaps 40% or 60% or potentially all of it. The idea that bondholders should lose everything if a bank fails seems fair to me. The idea that depositors should lose cash is just obscene.
What will be the effects?
For one you will see a growing scandal of how the political elite looked after its own and its friends.
2896 days ago
This will make your blood boil. Bushra al-Rahimi is an Iraqi national. She lives in London and was given housing benefit to cover the cost of a flat in an exclusive part of Westminster which she then let out at £4,000 a week. Finally she has been booted out of that accommodation and ordered to repay rent arrears of £30,800 BUT…
She is now living in an Islington flat paid for by housing benefits which in the private sector would cost £5,000 a month to rent. She continues to get a Jobseekers Allowance worth £71 a week. God knows what other benefits this parasite is getting.
This just defies belief:
a) This woman has broken the law. Is it not possible to amend our laws so that if someone arrives in this country seeking political asylum we make it explicitly clear that if they commit any crime (including benefits fraud) they will be sent back home (even if it means they face persecution) with all their dependents automatically? It is a sort of social contract: we give you safety but you MUST obey the law.
b) Why the hell does she get to choose where to stay?
2904 days ago
If I had £100 for every time that in my 25 year career that a CEO told me “our low share price makes us vulnerable to a bid” I would right now be sitting in a luxury mansion in the Bahamas. Very few CEOs whose company’s shares are on the up say this. But guess what, in the insider dealing infested snake pit that is the City the companies that receive bid approaches are not those whose shares are tanking but those whose shares are going up.
Those companies who peddle that “vulnerable to a bid” line usually do so in the hope that it will drive investors to buy not because they actually expect one. And so I refer to an article in the Scotsman out today (HERE) which blames me for the collapse in AIM listed Cupid’s share price on Friday
2909 days ago
Yesterday David Cameron climbed down and agreed to the demands of Labour, the Lib Dems and Hacked off Campaigners like Hugh Grant (who was not at the time getting a blow job from a roadside hooker) and has agreed to State regulation of the press. Indeed it is worse than that since the new body set up will also cover anyone who publishes news related information in the UK. So that might get my Dad involved. The Shipston on Stour Parish newsletter is within the scope of this new legislation and should my father wish to moralise about the domestic arrangements of local celebs Tessa Jowell MP and David Mills, now happy reconciled as of one week after she stepped down from front line politics, Jowell could in theory report my poor father to the new regulator. And any blog is potentially within this remit if its primary discussion matter is news related – which includes celebs and hookers.
The press were not involved in agreeing the new Royal Charter and oppose it. But most big news organisations will eventually sign up to the code although the Telegraph appears to be. If you do not and the political stooges who manage it find you have breached you could face company destroying damages. And as things stand you may have to pay damages if you are hauled before the new body and found innocent.
This is therefore a fundamental assault not just on the press but on free speech.
It is a sad day. It will make it easier for the same MPs who have pushed through this legislation to lie, cheat and steal. It will make it easier for celebs to portray one image and get you to buy their merchandise while doing whatever they wish on the side. It will make it less likely that the crimes of future Jimmy Savile’s, expense fiddling MPs, hooker using politicians (Archer) or celebs (Grant) will be exposed. It truly marks an acceleration towards the world of Airstrip One.
2911 days ago
Cyprus has become the fifth Eurozone nation to get a bailout but this one is different. At the insistence of the Germans one condition of the bailout is that private citizen’s pay and they will do so via a tax of up to 10% levied on all bank deposits in the Mediterranean island. This is pure socialism in action – the idea that the legitimate savings made by an individual as a result of fully taxed income can just be seized by the State. It is a horrific precedent.
For having established that the State can effectively seize whatever it wants whenever it wants you rather accept that you have no private property or savings. You can work your socks off, pay taxes to support those who do not work, save prudently so that you will not be a burden on the State or your family in the future and then one day the State just seizes your money. Heck why stop at 10% of bank deposits? Why not seize land, houses, etc.? The precedent is now there and this is an EU precedent.
David Cameron wishes to remain part of an organisation which thinks that State sponsored theft of private wealth is acceptable. I do not and nor, I suspect, do most British people. If the Conservative party and for that matter the Lib Dems and Labour support State sponsored theft that is fine they should be honest about it and we can all vote UKIP. But will the established parties stand up to the political elite in the Evil Empire and say
2920 days ago
There were two reasons why I have not written a word for ages. One is Sefton and you can read about that here, the other is the death of an old friend. I refer to my laptop – the one that has gone everywhere with me for five years, lived in a rucksack as I travelled around Greece last summer and was so worn that only 10 letters were still even partially visible on my keyboard.
Yesterday evening as I finished my work with my prime lawyer, I tried to restart my old friend. It just refused. It is now an ex-Computer. And I now tap away on a new machine. It uses Windows 8 which is bloody annoying and I keep being directed to screens in which I have no interest at all. I am even being encouraged by it to read articles from the frigging Guardian.
I am sure that I will get used to it but pro tem work is painfully slow. For that reason and for the day wasted by Sefton there is no midweek Tomograph this week. Normal service will resume at the weekend.
2921 days ago
I spent all of yesterday talking to the two lawyers who are assisting me with my defence against the spurious claims made by AIM Listed oil penny dreadful Sefton Resources (LSE:SER) that I have committed libel. Well here is another article for Sefton’s uber expensive City lawyers Pinsent Masons to read for I make fresh allegations today.
I have also today lodged my intention to fight this case with the High Court. And I am keen that battle commences as soon as possible, before Sefton runs out of cash. I do not wish to be denied the chance to see inter alia Jim Ellerton, Doctor Green and the senior partner at Pinsent Masons (company secretary to Sefton) having to give evidence on oath.
In compiling my detailed response I had a great moment. My July 11th moment.
2923 days ago
The answer to the 1998 financial crisis was to slash borrowing costs across the globe so that we all over-leverages and misallocated our capital. On that occasion it was junk dotcom investments and property. In 2008 another crises and the same solution. The fact is that the world has been misallocating capital for decades, led by Governments freed from prudence by the abandonment of the gold standard in 1971.
With each crisis that crops up, the solution is simply to print more money and to get folks to take on even more debt. You owe too much – heck borrow some more. And so capital is misallocated and bubbles grow ever bigger. But at some stage the party ends. It will. The current set up is simply unsustainable.
And so what will be the black swan event that causes the mother of all reality checks? If offer four runners and riders. Inevitably if one occurs it will trigger the others. And it will probably be a fifth black swan that no-one has thought much about that starts the party. But here goes.
1. The Chinese property bubble. I have written before on numerous occassions about just how mammoth this is and how it really can knock the Chinese (and thus the worlds) economy for six. The answer of the authorities to the slowdown in the PRC in 2012 was to pump more hot air into this bubble. It has to be my top black swan bet. Read this piece out yesterday on Zero Hedge if you doubt me.
My major work from September 2012 on China, the misallocation, fraud an inevitably of a crash is HERE
2. A market refusal to buy US T Bonds in an auction. The US Government is three years away from having a balance sheet like that of Greece just before the crisis. An economically illiterate President and, to show balance, a spineless Republican party in Congress just cannot get to grips with what is happening. The US today is like sick Britain at the end of WW1. But it will take the US far less time than we took to see its currency tank. At some stage folks will refuse to stump up cash for a debt that yields sod all and is clearly unrepayable and unsupportable.
3. Sovereign default across Europe accompanied by widespread Civil unrest. The only folks buying Spanish debt right now are the Spanish state pension funds. Oooh lucky Spanish state pensioners. But those funds are tapped out. Spain is bust and its economy is enjoying an EU austerity driven spanking session which Max Mosley could only dream of. It is not just Spain. Italy, Greece, Portugal are in the same mess. The Irish economy and society has been beaten to a pulp in the name of fiscal responsibility and yet could still collapse. France is heading the wrong way fast as is the UK. The collapse of the Euro as we know it has to be an odds on bet it is a matter of how it occurs.
4. The Arab spring moving to Saudi Arabia. A regime with no legitimacy is kleptocratic, autocratic and barbaric. It bribes the people with a fraction of the nation’s wealth and panders to radical Islam in a most unhealthy sort of way but it is unloved. One day it will fall. Revolution in the world’s largest oil producer could perhaps trigger unforeseen events elsewhere.
Hey, maybe we can all carry on spending beyond our means, leveraging up as individuals and as States for a good while yet. We have been kicking this can down the road for decades so maybe we can carry on for another few decades. Or maybe not. One day something will happen and we will find our noses against the wall at the end of the Cul-de-sac. That day may be sooner than we think.
For more thoughts from Tom Winnifrith follow him on twitter @tomwinnifrith
2930 days ago
My old ( very old) friend from t1ps.com Robert Sutherland Smith continues his monthly column dreamt up while taking an early morning swim on Hampstead Heath… Pond Life.
There is nothing better at about 7am on a raw February morning, when flurries of snow in the air are driven hither and thither by a hectoring easterly wind coming across the North Sea from somewhere south of the Ural Mountains, than to make your way to the ponds for a winter dip. Thankfully, it is not that cold this morning; only three degrees above freezing. Almost sub tropical compared with some days. You enter the enclosed compound to find that a few other sturdy fellows are already undressing; hanging their winter cloths on cold metal hooks. They stand there in the poor light of an early winter dawn, white as flour; more like spirits from another plane or dimension than living, breathing beings from north London before the working day.
What is this urge to plunge into forbidding steel grey waters on such a day – or indeed almost any day in an English winter?
2931 days ago
I am really sure that I got sound and vision correct today! Fingers crossed. Greetings from a freezing Islington. I remember doing the first of these video postcards from a sun drenched Greece. I rather wish I was back there now although I guess it would be a bit less sun drenched. I digress.
On the agenda
1. Global warming nutters repenteth
2. UK loses AAA credit rating what does it mean?
3. Higher interest rates and UK house prices
4. Housebuilding stocks – notably Barratt Developments
5. Bearishness on the UK economy
6. What this means for the stockmarket
7. Tips on Nifty Fifty
8. UK Investor Show – an urgent plea
9. Plans for next week
PS. If you are not already signed up for it, please do sign up to my twice weekly free newsletter the Tomograph as it contains links to all my free content plus some exclusive articles. You can do so here.
And if you are on twitter can you follow me @tomwinnifrith
2939 days ago
My current laptop is, I think, almost four years old. I remember it arriving shiny and new. Heaven knows how many words I have tapped out on it over the years but it must be well in excess of three million. Gosh I have written some turgid old crap over the years. The poor computer has lived in a rucksack travelling around Greece and Albania cushioned by very smelly clothes, it has travelled by ferry, train, plane and car across three continents and above all it has had to suffer my typing. I am not a delicate touch typist but hammer the keyboard hard – I often get complaints in trains from passengers who I seem to disturb: “can you type more quietly?” they say. “No. Can you be less ugly?” I want to say but don’t.
The result of my hard typing is that the letters on my keyboard have almost entirely disappeared. This is my excuse for any spelling mistakes you might spot. The keyboard now reads: QW_ _ _ U _ _ _ New row: _ _ _ _ G J K _ New row Z X _ V B_ _ Actually the U , V and X are disappearing fast and the G and K are also only just half still there. I reckon that by the end of the summer I will be down to just five visible letters from 26.
The only time I really have a problem is when entering a logon password when dots rather than letters come up on screen. Am I hitting R rather than T and so getting refused entry? Such are the trials of life with my keyboard. But since I hate the process of transferring records, reconfiguring a new laptop etc, etc I shall stick with my old friend for a while yet.
If it causes the odd ettot I am truly sotty.
2952 days ago
Two years ago the EU ceased to subsidise tobacco growers in Greece, Poland and Bulgaria – folks who received £260 million a year as recently as three years ago. The problem is that their tobacco is a) not very good and b) costs far more to produce than tobacco from the third world so they need subsidies to stay in business. Now the EU wishes to restart subsidies. This is patent nonsense on three levels.
1. This is the same EU that is spending £27 million a yet trying to stop folks smoking. It claims that its campaigns are helping hundreds of thousands of people quit the habit. That is 100% unprovable and I would argue that this money is also being pissed away. But if they want to stamp out the habit why subsidise producers?
2984 days ago
In case you missed it, yesterday was the 40th Birthday Party of what we used to know as the European Economic Community (EEC) but is now simply known as the Evil Empire. No doubt in the slums of Athens and Madrid as youth unemployment hits 60% they were having a party to celebrate. Back here in the UK our political and media elite were strangely quiet on the matter because they are – for the most part – supporters of the EU in one form or another but aware that the plebs feel rather differently.
In years gone by, we Europsceptics were a minority. Our predictions that the Euro would be a disaster on economic grounds and that the Evil Empire would seize powers from Britain were dismissed by the bien pensants as the rantings of a crazed Xenophobic, little Englander, sort of racist minority. Yet sadly for Lords Howe, Hurd, Pantsdown, Mandelson, etc and for Tony Blair himself we sceptics have been proved 100% accurate in our predictions. And consequently popular opinion among those who pay for this folly (the pleb, taxpaying class) has moved strongly our way. As such the “guilty men” can no longer equate euroscepticsm with racism etc as they know they are insulting well over half the electorate.
The debate among the political/media classes in the UK
3008 days ago
Well here goes. My first e-book is live. You can now snap it up on Amazon or (better still) direct from the publishers, Harriman House. Letters from the Chestnut Tree Cafe (Thought crime in Britain and Greece, 1984 is finally here) is a collection of my best essays from the summer plus a sprinkling of a few other thoughts.
No doubt you all know where the Chestnut Tree Cafe is? It is in Airstrip One in Orwell’s 1984. I am a cynic about Government and deeply worried about free speech and Civil liberties issues. That seems to have been the theme of my writings but there is a good dash of Greek economic chaos, Tony Blair Jokes and much else besides.
I can’t say that it is a laugh a minute but those who have read it said there were enough jokes to keep them amused. You can snap up your e-copy at Harriman House HERE
3012 days ago
My Guardian reading father is an incredibly generous contributor to Christian Aid. But still they want more. It is after all better to give than to receive and they are just helping to save his soul. And so once a week he gets a call asking him to up his contribution. Bad luck Christian aid. My father is at a funeral and so when you called today and asked for Mr T Winnifrith I replied truthfully that they were speaking to Mr T Winnifrith and…
3024 days ago
I shall be celebrating alcohol awareness week with a few glasses of red tonight as my first e-book is now available for pre-order.
Buy it today and it should be despatched within 10 days of not sooner ready for you read on your kindle or computer. Normally priced at £5 you can pick it up for just £4.25 HERE.
The book is the best of this blog between its launch and the end of October with the odd extra joke chucked in for free. One of the proof-readers described it as a “very humorous look at our Orwellian world”. I guess that is what it is meant to be.
3032 days ago
Final proofs of my first e-book of the Autumn are flying electronically between myself and my publisher Stephen Eckett tonight. Viagra man and Contra man are rushing to get this book to market. Except that Contra man reckons that the title is misleading. Indeed it is. So Viagra man is about to be bobbited.
The new working title is
Letters from the Chestnut Tree Cafe
(Thoughtcrime in Britain and Greece – 2012 is the new 1984)
We cannot keep changing titles as publication is imminent. Any thoughts on the proposed re-branding?
3039 days ago
The Greek General strike has come and gone. A few riots, a few more businesses closed than usual but no real change. Unemployment creeps up. The 4th Reich imposes more austerity and society falls apart. And so as the workers ( or in the case of Greece, non-workers) of the world unite who is next to strike? For a range of reasons I urge some of the lead candidates to go ahead – comrades I stand along side you.
Starting with the poor oppressed editorial team at The Guardian newspaper – average salary no idea but with some highly paid columnists (Polly Toynbee on £300,000) pushing up the mean. My guess is that most of the writers on the Guardian are on £50,000 plus and heck you do not get to live in Islington and Camden if you are on the minimum wage.
3039 days ago
So much in the news, if not yet in the newspapers, this week I am spoiled for choice. Surely a few cheap Obama/Romney jokes, Greek strike jokes, Angela Merkel jokes, EU diktats on children’s gender neutral TV jokes or just David Cameron again spring to mind? I am spoiled for choice.
So, to win a Piss off Argentina T-shirt I offer you this picture and ask you to post your non entries in the comments section below
For what it is worth my entry is:
3048 days ago
The Greek Trades Unions have called a General Strike for 6th and 7th November in porotest against the austerity package imposed by the EU. Where do you start. The country will grind to a halt, businesses will close down and the economy will collapse. So no change then. Will anyone notice? Moreover I wonder?
3050 days ago
As you may remember, having been booted out of the LinkedIn friends of Greece ( for pointing out that Greece was bust and uncompetitive – hardly a revalation) I am now a keen member of the LinkedIn Friends of Albania ( also LinkedIn West Ham Supporters, Friends of Israel, UKIP etc). But i am beginning to have second thoughts.
As it happens my Dad has bought my spare Albanian Lekke from me and landed in the country on Sunday night for a 10 day working holiday.
3053 days ago
My half hour taste of the BBC yesterday, via the Today programme, still hurts. The episode in question concerns the EU’s plan to increase its budget by 6.8% this year, David Cameron’s faux outrage, the lies told by an EU spokesman on the show and the dismal lack of balance provided by a biased BBC. I have discussed the matter with Christopher Booker and the whole business is a disgrace.
3060 days ago
And so President Obama apparently won the second Presidential debate. The polls look close. My money is still on Obama winning and Mitt Romney getting to spend more time with his $77,000 a year taxpayer subsidised horse. But all will become clear on November 6th.
The great issue should be the US economy. It is the economy stupid. Read my lips. As far as I can see President Obama wishes to bankrupt America within four years while Mitt’s policies will leave him needing at least two terms to achieve the same goal. Slow death or quick death – it’s America’s call.
And so, part one of this week’s caption contest is in honour of hopeychange himself
3060 days ago
There is a new opinion poll out in Greece today which is a bombshell. It shows how the established political order, set in stone since the return to Democracy has been destroyed, thanks to the efforts of the Nobel Peace Prize winner. It is really quite amazing.
Since 1974 Greece has effectively had a two party state. It is a bit like Britain 1945-79 when the Parliamentary Liberal party was able to hold its meetings in the back of a taxi. Labour and the Tories agreed on most things and took it in turns to manage Britain’s decline. In Greece
3061 days ago
Over the summer I flagged up to you here the rise of Greece’s Nazi Golden Dawn party. They really are a horrible bunch of folks who “make the BNP look like Julie Andrews” according to one academic quoted in today’s papers. Belatedly the deadwood press has picked up on what is happening. In a while it will work out who is to blame – the answer being the winner of the Nobel Peace prize, the Evil Empire itself.
In case you have forgotten who the fetching bird in this article is, she is Voula Papachristou, a triple jumper who was booted out of the Greek Olympic team this summer for making a racist joke on twitter. She should count her lucky stars. Had she made the tweet while at the Olympics in Britain 2012 she would have been arrested and banged up in Holloway for three months. Voula is perhaps not the brightest spark in the solar system but she is a supporter of Golden Dawn and after that incident became a pin-up girl across Greece.
And so I should spring to the defence of the Evil Empire (in part)
3061 days ago
I need little reminding that I tipped AIM listed Minoan (MIN) at 87p back in January 2007. The shares are now 10.5p (even after some interesting news today). This has been a stinker but is now starting to come right and the shares really are very cheap indeed. And here is why.
3064 days ago
I am calling the result of the Friday caption contest early. Jon Pickles, finance director of ILX Group is officially a genius and his entry is unbeatable. A T-shirt will be sent to Mr P in due course for his winning entry and for showing that accountants can have a sense of humour.
The picture is of Reichsfuhrer Merkel meeting Greek PM Samaras in Athens on Friday, the day the Evil Empire was awarded the Nobel Price for Peace. Stop laughing at the back. It really did win.
3067 days ago
As you may have gathered German leader Angela Merkel has been visiting Greece this week where she has met up with Greek PM Samaras to discuss how the EU austerity programme is bringing health, wealth and happiness to his country. Naturally the people of Athens have been delighted by their complete loss of sovereignty and greeted Merkel with undiminished love and admiration. Or I think that is what the press release from the Evil Empire’s press office will have said.
Anyhow in honour of this happy occasion in the brotherhood of man that is the
European Union I bring you a photo of Merkel and Samaras as they prepare to address adoring crowds in Athens.
3076 days ago
I am grateful to a blog reader Chris who sends me a link to a website that I do not normally visit. Fear not, I do not refer to anything naughty but Autosport.com – for some reason I have never really been into fast cars. Indeed I find the whole F1 circus a bit of an ego-fuelled bore. But this report is just unbelievable. I start with the premise that Greece is bust, double bust and utterly broke. And so I am surprised to read:
3088 days ago
After years of waiting AIM listed Cretan property play/travel group Minoan (MIN) has finally got within spitting distance of getting planning consent for its Cave Sidero in Crete it announced today. Better late than never. Talking of which the news actually came out in the Greek press yesterday. Some subscription tipsheets will respond to the news. My twitter followers knew 24 hours ago as I tweeted out the link. Follow @tomwinnifrith to be ahead of the curve…
3090 days ago
You may remember that I was evicted from the LinkedIn Friends of Greece Group for saying that Albania was a better value holiday destination than poor old Greece. This mortified me, as a long standing Hellenophile, but I know when I am not welcome and so two months ago applied to join the LinkedIn Friends of Albania group. This morning, in a frightening display of efficiency my application has finally been accepted.
I see that the trending discussion is on how to combat drug and alcohol abuse in Tirana. I am ready to contribute my two lekke worth.
I wonder how many other folks on LinkedIn are Friends of Albania but also participate actively in the Friends of Israel and West Ham United supports groups. I suspect that a Venn diagram of these groupings would show me all by myself
3104 days ago
Regularly, we are told that Greece will get another bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union bailout if it agrees to dramatically reform every aspect of its government operations. A few months later we are told that more time is needed to “fully implement” the reforms and another bailout is needed. As these games continue, the misery of the Greek population intensifies to levels we in America or Britain cannot imagine.
3118 days ago
The crooked pie-eaters who run Greece have served up the usual offering once again today: “Give us the money we need but just a little bit more time to implement the cuts/reforms demanded.” This should ring a bell or two since we have heard this numerous times before. And each time the Greeks have got their dosh, so becoming more indebted, and then found excuses not to implement the reforms fully. At some stage someone must call their bluff.
Ever helpful Eurosceptic MEP Dan Hannan is again offering helpful advice to the Greeks, viz get out of the Euro.
3122 days ago
The bus timetable on the internet said that there were buses at 10 am and 12 noon from Athens to Igounemitsa. My late grandmother (Lesbia Winnifrith) only missed one train in her life and that was when she was so early she caught the one before. My mother’s side of the family (Bookers) only ever turn up on time once – at their funerals. Luckily I did a Winnifrith and arrived at 9 to find that the bus was actually at 9.30. Eight hours later I arrived in Igounemitsa.
This is the ferry port that takes you to Corfu or, in my case, Italy. I am now killing time as the vessel does not leave until midnight. This place is like a half finished Tilbury without the glamour but much hotter. I doubt the “new port” at which I am staring will ever be completed. But enormous ferries still chug into the quayside to load and unload. These vessels are vast and as I sit here in a cafe on the other side of the road it seems as if their sheer momentum could carry them through the building site and across that road. But that would be hard work and this is Greece.
3124 days ago
It is a National Holiday in Greece. So instead of 25% of the shops being closed (because they are bust) 100% are not open for business. And those hard working Greeks elsewhere are also having a day off. This is not Independence Day as it is in India but a holiday celebrating the anniversary of the ascension of the Virgin Mary to heaven. As a protestant I am not really up on this Virgin Mary stuff but given how hard everyone in Greece toils I am sure that they need a day off.
Last night I enjoyed supper with an Anglo Greek couple and we discussed, among other things, the price of milk and the logistics of moving house here. They are related and do not switch off – this place is crackers.
In Greece you can buy a Lorry or a Van like anywhere else.
3128 days ago
This is the last Tomograph for three weeks as I start to make my way back to England. If you are a registered user of the site you will by now have it in your email inbox. It contains an exclusive piece on why Greece’s strong arm policy on illegal immigrants is so misguided.
It also recaps the top ten stories on the blog this week in terms of readership and gives a reminder of the caption contest where so far Nick Bubb, the retail guru, is a strong contender.
You can download this week’s Tomograph here.
You can download archived past issues here.
And in case you do not read our best of the web section (RH of the blog half way down), and have finished your supper, I suggest you have a look now at what has to be the top story of the day from Japan.
3128 days ago
For me the dual highlights of the week were Madonna taking on Putin on civil liberties and the hilarious reaction of Russian church and state and my visit to the best bakery in Greece, indeed my whole time in Zitsa.
This is the penultimate video of this series. There will be one next week and then a two week break as I head slowly back to England. The book will, by then, be almost finished. And I have almost decided on my next move. So it is time to go back to the UK and sort that out.
On the Agenda
3129 days ago
This is not a reference to the Banksters. They will take another Greek haircut in due course when Hellas eventually defaults. Today it was my turn for a Greek haircut. This is an odd neighbourhood of Athens. We have a corner store (not actually on the corner but 3 doors down) manned by a nice Lady from Bangladesh. Needless to say she is open all hours, the Greek stores are not. Perhaps racist triple jumpers from the Nazi Golden Dawn party would care to explain why this lady’s presence is so bad for the Greek economy?
Next door is the hairdresser. She insisted on me taking an action shot. Well she gesticulated. Thank heavens she only spoke a few words of English. And so after “Olympics…London.. smile” to which I replied “all too awful” which she did not understand I enjoyed a haircut in silence.
3129 days ago
An odd week. In the brave new world of new media, in terms of twitter followers I moved up from 18.25 millionth place to be just inside the top 12 million. Never before have I rushed past 6 million people so quickly! Only eight weeks in the twittering game I am hard on the heels of long time veterans like t1ps Editor in chief Richard Gill, although the tweets he sends out (pictures of floorboards) are, I can see a big draw (More interesting than your fizzy red wine – RG).
Geographically, I moved from Albania where I took some great snaps and had a very good time back to Greece where I found myself appearing (photo and all) on the website of the best bakery in Greece, here.. And now having left England to decide my future plans and to write a book I am a week away from almost finishing the book and have, I think, decided what to do next. And so have made plans to return in early September.
Meanwhile the world moves on.
3131 days ago
The 4 PM bus from Zitsa to Ioannina arrived on time having just completed the reverse leg. Precisely nil passengers got off. Going back the bus was far fuller. This time the driver had for company both myself and a little old man aged about 93 who reminded me of Geriatrix in Asterix the Gaul. No doubt this little old man also claimed to be ten years younger.
And so here are the economics of these two bus trips:
Costs: drivers wages for 90 minutes plus time until his next journey, depreciation bus bought in 2004 (see below), diesel costs covering 60 mountainous miles, brake fluid costs, central overhead at bus company. I am not sure what that totals but I bet you it is far greater than revenues: 5 Euro 40 cents.
If Ken Livingstone was running this bus company
3131 days ago
I used to post the odd thing on the Linkedin Friends of Greece discussion board. I did not do much as it is moderated and they have an attitude to free speech worthy of the 1970s Junta rather than, say, Aristotle. But I was proud to have a “friend of Greece” badge on my profile. I am also a Friend of Israel, member of the West Ham supporters group and a few others. I hope to be a friend of Albania soon, when they finally process my application. But it seems that I am now no longer a friend of Greece.
Now I might have resigned in error after the third glass of sparkling red wine in Zitsa. But i think I did not. My last contact was trying to post a link to my piece suggesting that Greece needed to cut prices by 40% (either by quitting the Euro or by just cutting prices) in order to be competitive. That piece was not approved for the group discussion. And now I seem to be an ex-friend of Greece. Coincidence?
3131 days ago
I went to Zitsa partly on the Byron trail but largely because I am a foodie. Perhaps that explains the weight issues. Okay, it does. On the Byron front I read some poetry online last night as I sat looking down over the valley. It was hard to think of Byron drenched in a thunderstorm in this place as the temperature zoomed past 40. At some stage I will try to put together a piece comparing and contrasting the good Lord’s brave Hellenic verse flowing with pride at a nation about to be reborn with some of the craven words of today’s Greek leaders. But just to show that Byron is not forgotten in Zitsa I bring you a picture of a street sign. Not perhaps the most interesting way to start a piece but it makes my point.
And now to the most important matter – filling my tummy. I detailed the local sparkling red wine last night here. Frazer Thompson of Chapel Down has emailed me to say sparkling red does not work and gives you headaches. All I can say is that in my attempt to acquire the taste, after three glasses I had no headache. The Zitsa wine festival is in two weeks and I am sorry that I shall miss it. In fact I am sorry to leave Zitsa because a) it is gorgeous and b) I met the most wonderful couple and had lunch with them today and would like to have stayed longer. They have written their version up here. They obviously think I have a screw loose but humoured me delightfully. They restore ones faith in humanity.
3132 days ago
If that headline does not a) generate a retweet from Frazer Thompson, CEO of the excellent Chapel Down vineyard and b) attract some new first time visitors from google searches (scroll down to the bottom gents), I shall be disappointed.
I have finally made it to Zitsa. Here Byron penned verse while sheltering from a thunderstorm on the plain below. His friend Hobhouse commented on the excellent local white wine. But this place is famous not for its white but for its sparkling red, pictured below
It is not fizzy like champagne but it sparkles and has a bite. It is a curious brew. I cannot quite describe it. It is dry and slightly acidic. But I have just ordered a second glass. I think it is probably an acquired taste and so I shall do my best to acquire it.
3133 days ago
I have noted here a number of times that Greece is bust. I suspect that I shall not win a Nobel prize for that. But you know that things are really serious when the bribery industry admits that its business has fallen off a cliff. And thus I am grateful to CNBC for bringing us confirmation that the last non-cyclical industry in Hellas is in recession. The report out today states:
3133 days ago
Throughout my travels in Greece during the past six weeks one thing has become apparent: the Greeks are completely deluded about their fate. They just simply do not get it. There is a large swathe of opinion that wishes to keep the Euro and believes that this can be done merely by slashing public sector jobs and Government waste. They do not think that austerity and the need to be competitive applies to them. Why they are so attached to the Euro which has brought them such misery baffles me. I think some associate it with the vast grants Greece used to get and think those days will come again (dream on).
Others see being part of the Euro club as a matter of national pride. So let me get this straight, Germany is telling your politicians how to run your country stripping you of independence, will soon send over “observers” to oversee the state, you have been bankrupted and humiliated – in all thoroughly buggered by Berlin. When this happened 1943-45 it was not a source of pride, what is different now?
3134 days ago
Yesterday, I recounted my epic journey from Butrint to Greece. But I start with the journey of Aeneas in Virgil’s The Aenid. The great man approaches Butrint ( the world heritage site I visited yesterday in Southern Albania) and says:
I saw before Me Troy in minature, A slender copy of our massive tower, A dry brooklet named Xanthus…and I pressed My body against a Scaean gate. Those with me Feasted their eyes on this, our kinsmen’s town. In spacious colonnades the King received them, And offering mid court their cups of wine They made libation, while on plates of gold A fest was brought before them.
Ahem, yes well up to a point. In fact up to no point, that is all cobblers. This place had nothing to do with Troy. It would have had no towers, at that point no colonnades and about as many plates of gold as there were left in the Bank of England after Gordon Brown has been in charge for six months. There is a Scaean gate but this is simply a gate in the wall, given this name by a modern archaeologist after the gates of Troy – there is no suggestion that the gate here was in fact based on anything from Troy (and was almost certainly built well after the fall of Troy). But that is not to say that this was not an amazing place for many hundreds of years, in fact for two millennia.
It was founded several hundred years before Christ as a sort of health spa. The clean fresh waters from the lagoon that surrounds Butrint were meant to have medicinal properties as well as being a rich store of fish.
3134 days ago
It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was 2.30 PM at Butrint and the man said that the Greek border was only 20 kilometres away. Am I man or mouse? Within a couple of hours I rather wished that I had decided that I was a mouse. Those 20 kilometres were 20 Greek/Albanian kilometres. In other words 30 kilometres. It was 40 degrees. My rucksack seems to weigh a tonne and bites into my shoulders. And having peered down the road to check that it was flat, I discovered after a bend at 5 kilometres (i.e. just out of eyeshot from the start) that it was uphill all the way. Oh, as a bonus for the last 10 kilometres the road turned into a gravel track. But the real problem is that my trousers are falling down.
3135 days ago
I am back in Greece, a country I adore and which my family have been writing about for 130 years (See AC Bradley Aristotle’s Conception of the State 1880 – a book that I have yet to get around to myself). But here is the bad news for a country that depends on tourism for its survival. You are just not competitive. Albania is a better place to go. And, god forgive me for saying this, so too is Turkey.
My last few days have been spent in Saranda in Southern Albania and then walking south from there to Greece. Sarandra and its environs offer me sun, sea, beaches, nightclubs if I want them, peace if I want it and a pretty decent food and drink selection. Most Greek resorts offer pretty much the same. Sarandra offers me culture via Buthrint – a world heritage site (pictures coming later) which is a 40 minute and 70 Euro cents bus ride away. Most Greek resorts are far further away from Hellenic glories.
So why does Albania win?
3136 days ago
Greetings from Albania. I hope that I am getting the hang of this video recording technology. Sorry if I am a little dark in this shot but the only place quiet enough to record is my hotel room. I would like to given you, ahem, beach shots but there is too much shouting/background noise from the road and the mosque out there. A strange place.
On the Agenda
3136 days ago
According to Virgil’s Aenid, the City of Buthrint in Southern Albania was established by folks associated with Troy as a miniature Troy. Of course this is all cobblers. The Aenid is essentially a story of a journey. Rather like another book entitled “A Journey” it is pure fiction dressed up as historical fact.
According to the great Roman author, when Aeneas fled Troy with his band if followers he popped in here to find a mini Troy before heading off to Carthage for his fling with Dido before moving onto Rome via Scicly. Of course, in Rome, the Trojans hook up with the Latinus tribe and the rest is history. Yup. If you believe that you also reckon there were WMD in Iraq capable of hitting British bases in Cyprus within 45 minutes. And no-one would fall for that would they?
But it suited the folks in Buthrint, then known as Buthrotum in honour of a bull that escaping sacrifice tried to swim here from Epirus and then died on the beach here (this time not a Blair myth but one from Teucros of Cyzicus), to be associated with Troy and thus Rome as the Roman empire expanded. Thus while the place pre-dates Rome, its glory rose after Caesar landed in 44 BC.
3138 days ago
I am trying to find a map of Southern Albania and Nothern Greece to plan my trek over the border. Naturally I go to Google and enter that exact term. And I am offered an exact match. I click and what do I find but a long and worthy article on “Southern Albania, Northern Epirus, Survey of a Disputed Ethnological Boundary.” Gripping stuff. And its author? Dr TJ Winnifrith, my Dad, who has only just learned to use email.
Is this some clever SEO manipulation by the Society Farsarotul, the Vlach Society of the USA or does Google just think that all I am interested in is myself, Tom Winnifrith. If it is the latter, Google you are wrong I just want a bloody map. If it is the former, I am shocked that my father mixes with such SEO geniuses. Should you wish to read this excellent article by my father you can do so HERE.
3139 days ago
Er… when it is in one of the countries which has, or has had “issues” with brave Hellas: Turkey, the FYR of Macedonia and here in Albania. Last night for supper I wanted, naturally a salad. A tomato salad, that is tomatoes with er… more tomatoes, was not really going to assist with meeting my 5 a day target. And so I ordered the only other salad going, a “Country salad.”
And for less than 2 Euro I enjoyed the best (and cheapest) Greek salad I have devoured since leaving London a month ago. Why is it termed a “country” salad? Is that because it is normally eaten by country folks rather than townies? Or is it a reference to another country, a country that dare not speak its name here in Albania. I have no idea.
PS The chair in my hotel room has just collapsed beneath me. Clearly in Albanian terms I am still grossly overweight. Better stick to the country salads.
3139 days ago
The ferry was late arriving and so I have only been here a few hours but already I have been surprised. The little port town of Sarande cannot be described as picturesque. As you approach on the boat a skyline of 6 storey buildings suggest that you could be sailing up the river Sherbourne into Coventry. Perhaps that is unfair, I have not really explored in daytime. More tomorrow. Leaving the port I walked up Enver Hoxha street. They seem to have a bit of a soft spot for their former dictator. I have already bought an Enver Hoxha mug to take home.
Having no Lekke I found a cashpoint machine and approached it nervously given that I had been lectured by Spiros and every other Greek I met about how Albanians are congenital thieves. But the ATM spoke English and offered me a choice of how many Lekke to withdraw. At which point it struck me that I had absolutely no idea what a Lekke is worth. I opted for the second highest amount on offer. I am now sitting on about 6 weeks wages for the Average Albanian. I may stay here a bit longer as I work my way through them but that will be tough as this place is very cheap indeed.
As I wandered towards the town centre a man asked me where I came from?
3139 days ago
Last message from Greece – Albania beckons, farewell Spiros and White Fang
My last missive from Greece for a while. One last swim in the pool. 10 minutes to pack and then I shall be leaving the hotel which has been my home for most of the past two weeks. It is farewell Spiros and White Fang and off to Albania.
I shall miss this hotel. Okay the internet is a bit flaky. But I have not lost at Pool when playing the staff, the frappes are fine and since I am anywhere between 33% and 100% of the guests at any one time I have an almost personal service. Everyone in Corfu is called Spiros (after Saint Spiros) but my Spiros will miss me more – I suspect – than the Spiros who changed my money or the numerous men called Spiros who served me Greek salads. Not only was I 33-100% of his customer base but I was also his source of cigarettes as he “gave up.” Now he might actually have to quit. For Spiros it is cold turkey and no customers.
3140 days ago
Greece has not escaped the global craze for opening salons where you can have your feet chewed away be small fish who like eating dead skin. In fact these salons are everywhere but they are having to survive without my custom. Call me a dull old traditionalist but I rather think that humans should eat fish, not the other way round. But it is not the reversal of the natural order that repels me.
It is the thought of where those fish who might nibble at my feet were snacking beforehand. Were they chomping away on the toes of some tattooed junkie from Coventry? Or was breakfast a pair of fat German feet. Before any of my readers in the Fatherland (there cannot be many as you would have to be a fairly masochistic German to read this blog) claim that I am bring up issues of blood purity as a reminder of events 60 years ago which they all claim to have known nothing about but really all did, hang on. This is just about simple hygiene. I just cannot see that it can possibly be healthy.
Nor is it really necessary. As a fairly metrosexual sort of guy
3141 days ago
Finding a set of scales to weigh yourself seems impossible here in Greece. I have asked at hotel after hotel but with no joy. I tried a couple of beauty salons and a place where you stick your feet in a tank of fish but no joy. It is as if in a sort of medieval fairy tale like way, the fat crooks of Pasok and New Democracy who have for the past 30 years eaten all the pies while pretending to run the country, had purged the land of weighing machines. This was a desperate attempt to ensure that no-one could check out how grossly overweight they were after all those pies, as the economy moved into the latter stages of anorexia.
But today I struck gold and weighed myself in a small chemists shop. And dear readers .. I am now just 2 lb away from being officially what the British Heart Foundation describes as a “normal healthy” weight. I shall be off on a run later today to celebrate. Putting this in context, my peak weight was 19 stone six pounds. I am now 13 stone 10 pounds. Put another way
3143 days ago
I wrote HERE yesterday about how a Greek bird had been banned from the Olympics for suggesting there were too many Africans in Greece. That is racist and she must go. Well whatever, I disagree.
Meanwhile back in London where the games are now purified and in Olympian spirit we can celebrate the brotherhood of man, with unqualified sanctimony, the Lebanese Judo team has demanded that a curtain be erected in the training hall so that they do not have to see the Israeli athletes. They can smell them but not see them. That of course is not racist. The Israelis are only bloody Jews after all. I wonder what would have happened if the Lebanese Judo team had demanded that a curtain be erected so that they did not need to look at any athletes from Africa?
3143 days ago
I think I am getting the hang of this video technology. I am writing to you from the Connections Bar where there is a high speed wi-fi service and my latest video is whirring its way online. Last time it took 14 hours to get back to the UK. This time it looks set to complete in 150 minutes.
The play list here could have been created by me. Oasis, Nena, Dexy’s, all I need is some Undertones and I shall feel like I am back at Real Man Pizza. Anyhow, I hope that you enjoy the video
On the Agenda
A new share tip on the way on TomWinnifrith.com – maker sure you follow me on twitter (@tomwinnifrith) for the alert. It will go out during market hours.
3144 days ago
You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I met you. Blah Blah blah. Well actually Petra is working as a waitress in Zorba’s taverna and after she clocked off work at midnight we hit the town. I am feeling a bit jaded as a result. It is not that I had too much to drink, just too little food before it. These days three glasses of wine and I am anybody’s. But for the record not Petra’s. Anyhow I suffered for you dear readers. It was all in the name of research.
You see the riots in Athens. You hear the dreadful economic stats. So how about a couple of real lives. You have, I suspect, no idea of how the basic rules which you and I take for granted have just broken down completely. Thus trust and faith in anything is no longer possible.
3144 days ago
You may not have heard of Voula Papachristou but, until last week, she was one of Greece’s few hopes of an Olympic medal. She is not that hard on the eye either. But then the triple jumper tweeted the following “with so many Africans in Greece at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food.” Uh oh. There is not actually any guide relating to twitter policy for the Greek Olympic team so she has not actually broken any rules at all but some folks felt it was racist and so she is not going to the Olympics.
Before my place in the UK squad is also withdrawn I should say that her remark was crass and unfunny and it is arguably racist although I am not sure about that – Voula merely expresses the view that there are a lot of Africans in Greece – too many. Logically, therefore does that mean that anyone who feels that there should be any limit at all on the number of foreigners allowed to settle in any country and expresses that view is a racist? Unless you agree in absolutely unlimited immigration you are a racist? Really. Perhaps this might be clarified to help the rest of us – are we allowed to believe in any limit at all without being racist? Just for the record, as I explain below, I believe in no limits at all. Back to lovely Voula. The reaction and remark says a lot about Greece and our world and it all makes me feel uncomfortable.
3146 days ago
I see that Greece is set to run out of money and go bust on August 20th. That is unless it gets more international cash to repay loans due in less than a month. And since it is not sticking to the austerity programme in a meaningful way it may not get the cash. Hmmm what to do?
Of course this is insanity. Greece is borrowing money to repay money. A sort of payday loan. The condition is implementing measures that will send unemployment from 27% to well over 30% so cutting tax receipts and prompting even more civil disorder which is a) costly to control and b) scares off the tourists at the peak of the season so slashing tax receipts even more/ creating more unemployment with associated costs so pushing the country further into the merde. It is sheer insanity.
Clearly there will be chaos and disorder as the deadline approaches. I am your man on the spot. It is a hard life but I feel obliged to spend another 25 days on the beaches before trundling down to Athens for D Day. That is D for default, debt, destruction, damage, deranged, disaster, doom, despair, deliverance (from the Euro), death (of democracy?), drachma (return of), demise Day. Meanwhile I think I shall be converting the £20 pound notes I carry with me in only small batches.
3146 days ago
I have just moved hotels. I need somewhere quieter to work and so after a few days near Corfu town I am back in a rather secluded little place down the coast. That is to say, Spiros has welcomed me back with open arms as I am back at the hotel that appeared to have only one room on the booking site but where I was in fact the only guest. It appears that there has been a massive pick up in trade and now, three of the 15 rooms are occupied. How many businesses in Greece can boast of a 200% increase in revenues in just a few days?
I leave my last hotel with a good stack of happy memories (no Swedish blondes sadly) but a couple are worth mentioning. For my father first.
3147 days ago
I have written before about Joe Levy, godfather to Olivia and my very good friend. We met when he was the handyman who looked after – among other things – a house in Swiss Cottage converted into six flats where I lived with Olivia’s mother. The two houses I bought/co-bought after that were redesigned by me and Joe put my ideas into practice. He is truly a faultless human being, bar his support for Chelsea. He was born here in Corfu and is, as you may have guessed, Jewish.
Yesterday I followed the sign to the “Jewish Quarter.” There is no real quarter just a synagogue which is in impeccable condition, is fully renovated and was being cared for by a rather fat old lady who was talking animatedly in Hebrew to some Israeli visitors. Needless to say she also spoke perfect English. The building is more than 400 years old. And in 1940 there were around 2000 Jews living on the Island – among them Joe Levy then still wearing nappies.
3147 days ago
This is a farce. Spain is bust. So too is Italy. France will be next. We have already forgotten about Greece and Cyprus. They are buster than bust. Yet the leaders of the Evil Empire and the IMF just arse about pretending it is all under control. “Don’t panic” shouts Corporal Jones. Das is Gut says Frau Merkel as she announces that she is off on holiday for a month. The Spanish are relaxed. Just ban short selling for 3 months and if we remove the evil speculators everything will come up smelling of roses. Well at least not like the streets of 10 Italian Cities where the trash is 10 foot high and the schools will not re-open in September because there is no money. But that in no way implies that Italy itself is bust, says whichever bloke is leading Italia this week. Yeah right. Of course not. So there you have it. It is all about dealing with evil speculators and we can rest easily. Bollocks.
3147 days ago
It is all happening. Or rather it will happen. One minute, from the comfort of a sun bed by the swimming pool, diet coke in hand I am sitting here trying to think how I can advance a long article on the Bombay property market. The next minute it appears that there is another book to be written with a contract winging its way to me from France. Meanwhile I amuse myself with a video recording using a neat little gadget some Welsh bloke gave me before I left London. Recording is a piece of cake. Transmitting is a horror. But at last the video now plays smoothly for all to enjoy.
On the agenda:
The Euro Crisis
The Impending Dollar Crisis
The Middle East and the Oil Price
Avanti Communications, Northern Petroleum, 1Spatial
Cash shells, investment companies
Speculative oil stocks
Risk & reward
The equity markets generally
Lots of cheap jokes
3149 days ago
I have never really got into sunbathing and still do not get it. As someone with fair skin the annual two weeks in the sun sees me either retain my natural whiter shade of anaemic white or turn lobster red. There is no real in between stage. Some folks manage to pick up a sensible tan quite easily – I just do not get it. But I am trying and am slowly turning from my normal white to a darker shade of white. In the end my one hour a day will get me there. But something confuses me about those who just lie on the beach all day.
Why they are not burned to a crisp confuses me. I cannot think that it is good for them. But what really baffles me is why they do not get bored. Lying in the sun doing nothing for eight hours would not only turn me into a crisp but just drive me insane. There are articles to write, folks to chat to, things to see and do. Yet I see grown men and women just lie there.
3152 days ago
Even the most deluded of Euro-loon now concedes that Greece is bust. It is a theme I have covered once or twice in recent weeks as your man on the spot. It is a hard job having to report on the economic crises, live from various beaches, heaving with bikini clad Swedish blondes across the Med but someone has to do it and but I have manned up to take on the mantle for a couple of months and so far I am bearing up. Gosh, the heat, the swimming pools, the blue sea, the “views” on the beach, the great sea food and salads. It is a dreadful burden. By the way how is the rain back in Blighty?
Officially the fat pie eaters (aka whichever crooks are in Government here at the moment) are still talking to the Troika etc about austerity measures they will implement in return for the next bailout. But…
3152 days ago
Different countries name the same brands in different ways. And so watching Greek TV this evening I looked very closely as I was urged to buy a washing powder branded “Essex”. I am not sure what this means to the average Greek, do they think that Essex is somehow a sophisticated, upmarket brand?
Do they associate Essex with uber-cool individuals like Graham Gooch, Fat Frank Lampard, Terry Venables and Jamie Oliver or perhaps it is John Constable they are thinking of or Jilly Cooper? Maybe it is the eloquent old charmer John Terry who has the pulling power? Or perhaps they have heard how the metropolitan elite like to spend the summer at Southend before returning to their country dachas near Romford?
But it strikes me that they should be flogging this stuff back in the county that also gave us Russell Brand, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Richard Madely. “Essex – The detergent that leaves everything looking whiter than white” – it would go down a storm in downtown Basildon.
3154 days ago
No. Not the sort of dodgy websites so central to the training regime of Italian goalie Buffon, I refer to my hotel booking site. As I made my booking (no credit card needed, very handy) a message kept flashing up saying that I was pursuing the last available room and that 6 other folks were also looking at it. Cripes, better hurry up. Having been here for 24 hours it dawns on me that mine is the only room here that is in fact occupied.
So the pool is empty, there are no fat Germans/ Scandinavian pensioners on the sun-loungers, I have a dedicated service whenever I want a cafe frappe (milk but no sugar natch) or a diet coke and I have complete peace and quiet.
3154 days ago
Some folks seem to think that I am swanning around Greece in luxury, just relaxing. That is not my style. For me it is a back pack and buses and trains, boats only if needed. I have generally been a mainland sort of person and have in fact visited only three islands, Corfu, Crete and Euboea in my 44 and a half years on this planet. I hope that in a week or so I shall start adding to that list. I have never island hopped and now seems as good a time as any. I await advice from Despy as to where to head to… all is on hold until then. Despy, please note.
I am now in Corfu. The 8 hour bus journey from Athens was not comfortable. At least buses have air conditioning these days but I seemed to be surrounded by very tall men and there was nowhere to rest my legs without unintentionally playing footsie. The roads switch from new EU funded superhighways to windy 2 track roads from a long time ago. As such there were bumps pretty much all the way making reading or sleeping impossible.
3158 days ago
The harmless sweet looking little old lady I chose to sit next on the overnight ferry to Athens turned out to be the Greek national loud snoring and snorting while asleep champion. My night was thus fitful and so I sit in Athens with not enough energy to do anything but too much energy to sleep. The obvious answer is to scroll through the updates of my various LinkedIn connections: you never really learn much but you can pretend to be working (virtuous) and it should send you to sleep. Learning that my pal Will Tyndall had joined the group “Cement, concrete & construction” was fairly gripping – I bet they have some pretty fascinating discussion threads going there – truly a cyber place you’d want to hang out.
3158 days ago
I will give you a clue. The official unemployment rate is 22.5%. Actually that is not a very good clue because like every other economic statistic churned out here in order to obtain/maintain Euro membership it is, ahem… a lie. If I offered you a spread of 25-26 would you buy or sell? Buy you say? You win.
The figures are massaged in a number of ways but here are the main three.
3159 days ago
Somewhere I have a 5 trillion dollar bill from Zimbabwe which is, apparently, worth quite a bit on ebay although it never had much value in Zim. I now find in my pocket a 1 Eurocent piece minted in Greece which I also intend to treasure as a bit of a currency geek. It will soon be absolutely worthless (right now it is worthless to all intents and purposes) but that might give it a strange value.
It is a pretty little coin about half the size of a 1 penny piece with a picture of an ancient Athenian ship (a trireme) on the reverse.
3160 days ago
I am being evicted from my hotel. Not I think because they are terrified of an attack by axe wielding Islamofascists following my recent comments about the late Ayatollah Khomeini and bestiality, not because of any licentious behaviour with Swedish birds. Shame. It just appears that there was a bit of confusion about the reservation and so I have decided to leave Crete (for that is where I have been) and head by ferry to Athens for a couple of days. There is a friend to see and hopefully the odd riot or two to watch and I shall take a prurient tour round the shopping district to report on just how bad things are. If you are seeking poverty-porn, I shall do my best to snap any images of urban misery and post them here.
And then? I have not had this much freedom in ages and this break is helping to purge my mind of a lot, if not yet my body of nicotine. I seem to be finding it a lot easier to write than I have done for a while and am enjoying it greatly. There is a temptation to go up to the North West and over to Corfu and back via Albania. There is a temptation to go wandering around the Mani and to once again visit the entrance to the Underworld. And there is a temptation to go island hopping which I have never done before. At this stage I have not got a Scooby but I shall make my choice by Sunday and keep you posted.
3161 days ago
Do not get me wrong, I adore Greece. Right now I am almost half contemplating not bothering returning to the UK at all. But nowhere is perfect and Greece has its faults (as you may have noticed). The deal used to be with Greece that things did not work properly/the food might have been a bit rough (though that has its charms), etc but it was very cheap. Then Greece joined the Euro and so now you suffer the downside but it costs you more.
My frustration of the day has been with the internet. My room does not have a connection to WiFi. The hotel explains that this is to protect guests from radiation. Er… right. And so while I can write offline in my room to send over copy I must go either to reception or to a cafe up the road. Each has its own distinct drawback.
3163 days ago
A chance to run a picture of the late Kitosh, much missed. Friday was, as I am sure you are all aware, National Kissing day. I do not take any notice of any National (insert a very silly and pointless thing or worthy cause here as appropriate) Days and so this one passed me by as well. Not that there was anyone around to kiss except perhaps the hotel cat who came close. But not that close.
I say hotel cat in that he wanders in and out of the hotel but does not actually live here. He – and a variety of other painfully thin creatures – live in the general area but are not sent packing by the hotel as they do serve a purpose: pest control, as well as making sad cat loving guests from the UK happy.
3163 days ago
I had to post certain documents back to London and so was forced to visit my local Post Office. It was even more instructive than the Bus Station visit of a few days ago. I should say that I ran there (one mile) in the burning heat and managed to run half way back. As part of the weight loss campaign I was quite proud of that.
Arriving at the Post Office which serves a small suburb of not a very large town I stumbled in a sweaty wreck. The place is open from 8.30 AM until 2.30 PM five days a week meaning that its staff (in this State owned enterprise) have to put in a back breaking 30 hour week. They are probably paid for 14 months a year and get to retire at 55 but that is not the point. Did I mention how many staff were crammed into this small office? Five. That is one member of staff for every 1.25 customers that I observed during my 20 minute visit – I needed time to catch my breath, have a cigarette etc.
3164 days ago
I am aware that Call Me Dave does not know the price of a pint of milk. But I wonder if he has any idea what a bottle of sun tan lotion costs? As a fair skinned fellow I am well advised to slap on the Factor 30 and as I am now venturing out for a daily run, swim and for a bit of lying in the sun I thought I better buy something. So after the morning run I did just that and handed over a 20 Euro note expecting most of it back. Bloody hell. It was 19 Euros for spray on and 16 Euros for cream. Either…
3166 days ago
Greek buses are privately owned (KTEL) and so are far more efficient than the state owned industries such as the ports and railways that this country will be forced to privatize in order to get more bailouts. But a visit to a bus station today demonstrated just why the medicine the EU wishes to apply (and which ideologically I would apply) will be so unpalatable.
3178 days ago
As I am sure you know Greece is my “second team.” Tonight they will be the second team of everyone in Europe as they take on the krauts, oops sorry Germany. I am sure there are folks out there who regard the Greeks as workshy tax evaders led by crooks. Yes, you can make a case for that. However…
3183 days ago
It looks as if New Democracy (yes to the Euro, run by fat old crooks) will win the Greek election if it can form a coalition. But who cares anymore? Reading the wires Pasok ( yes to the Euro run by fat old crooks) has said that it will not join a coalition unless Syriza (no to the Euro, not sure if thin youthful leaders are crooks but as they are Greek politicians I assume so) joins too which it will not. And so quite amazingly Greece might actually need to have another election. Clearly this is the last thing it needs but the nation that gave us democracy is now showing us a variant where nothing ever happens because you keep on having elections. Madness.
It may be that the Pasok and ND crooks can get it together, for once putting the national interest ahead of lining their pockets. There must still be a few things left for a Greek politician to plunder. But this is now a sideshow. Do not get me wrong. I feel sorry for the Greek people but I have believed for eons that it was in their best interest to default on the sovereign debt, go back to the Drachma and rebuild from behind a competitive currency. Now, I suspect that will be forced upon them.
3184 days ago
I am asked why am I so fascinated with Greece? In part it is a romantic thing – the idea of brave Hellas reasserting its independence and history – see my great hero pictured here. But it is more a family thing. My father’s family have been Helleno-nuts for 200 years. I shall touch on Lesbians, in that vein, below.
3187 days ago
I cannot say that I always agree with Farage and UKIP. They appear to have some rather dodgy views on issues such as immigration and civil liberties which I cannot agree with. But on Europe Farage is always bang on the money. If you do not understand why the Spanish bailout will not solve anything and will just postpone the inevitable watch Farage in full flow today. If you do understand, the man is so funny it is worth watching anyway.
3190 days ago
Yes I love My Fair Lady. A wonderful film and I remember seeing a stage version with Tony Britton and Liz Robertson which was pretty stunning. But this is about PIIGS not Pygmalion. A while back the leaders of the Evil Empire told us that Greece, Eire and Portugal would be bailed out of “local difficulties” and that a line in the sand had been drawn under the Euro crisis. At the time some of us suggested this was a big fat Euro lie and it has not taken long for we sceptics to be vindicated.
In the 3 lead PIIGS the people are rebelling against austerity measures. Let’s see if Greece stays in the Euro and avoids default. I cannot see why or how it can stay inside the single currency but only time will tell. Meanwhile austerity measures implemented elsewhere (Spain) as a result of EU diktat have pushed Spain ( and others) into a mega recession which now shows just how flaky are the balance sheets of most of its banks ( something we sceptics also called correctly a while back). And so the EU ( via the European Financial Stability Facililty – EFSF) is to hand over £80 billion to Spain to allow it to bail out its banks.
3193 days ago
Why is it that most senior Greek politicians seem to be extremely fat? Did they eat all the bailouts? As my beloved Hellas heads for another election next week, heaven knows what will happen. Will there be a coalition which opposes being totally buttfucked (sorry I meant bailed out) by the EU or is will there be one which signs up for national humiliation, more austerity, etc. I do not know.