A skit from ‘Porridge’: Fletcher on Mackay*

Fletcher: Course, he sees ‘imself as an authority on curry, he does, on account of where he was stationed in the army.

Rudge: Where? India?

Fletcher: No, Bradford.

* Fletcher was a prisoner: Mackay a prison warder: Rudge a fellow prisoner: From the very popular BBC sitcom Porridge 1974-77

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A World Snooker Championship Quip

“Ronnie O’Sullivan is a lovely person when he is asleep.”

Hossein Vafaei, A player at the Championship 2023

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Your starter for a job!

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Book Review: Katy Brent ~ How to kill men and get away with it (2023)

I fell victim to the dreaded Waterstone’s ‘Buy one and get one half price’ with this one.1 A catchy title and so-called reviews reeled me in like a fish.

Describing it as ‘Darkly witty’, ‘Funny, outrageous and thoroughly entertaining’ and ‘Razor sharp and immensely funny’ left me as putty in their hands. Cards were flashed across the counter and away I went. Like an idiot.

I was expecting preposterous but, if it was well written with ‘Dark wit’, I was up for it. Instead, I got a British version of Dexter2 alongside girly obscene behaviour with added ‘shock’ intimacy.

This book did have one value though, and it shouldn’t be underestimated, it makes you appreciate better books.

I expect a round of applause: I finished it but the heavily trailed sequel will be unread by me….At least.


 1 Does anyone know how much publishers pay to get on to these tables?

2 Watch Dexter Online | Seasons Episode

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Business with God on its side

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Premium Bonds Ride Again

Premium Bonds were introduced by Harold MacMillan in 1956.1 His insight was inventing a gamble where you could get your stake back, in full: Neo-gambling, as it were. MacMillan’s Premium – note the word – Bonds had monthly ‘prizes’ instead of interest. The prize money ‘pot’ was below the inflation rate meaning the value of bonds steadily eroded. Premium Bonds are, therefore, a carefully concealed interest free loan to the government, which have become vital to the government’s fiscal policy.

Bond holders buy a depreciating asset, which is counter-intuitive. So, why are they so popular?2 The answer is the lure of big prizes combined with the excitement of a safe gamble. Banks set punishingly low interest rates. People calculate that a remote chance of a million-pound win is better than pitiful interest rates.3 Premium Bonds have a further advantage. Prize money is tax free. If you’re a million-pound winner that matters rather a lot.

Premium Bonds have increased the prize fund, March 2023, to 3.3%. This is competitive with institutional interest rates. Obviously, as a lottery there’s no guarantee you’ll win any prize at all. A statistically average bond investor should win 3.3% of the value of their holdings but they might ‘win’ nothing or, that elusive £1 million

British people believe Premium Bonds are a ‘Good Thing’. If public opinion turned against them, the government would be in serious trouble. The prospect of £119 billion being withdrawn is a political and economic nightmare. The rise in prize money indicates Premium Bonds are a ‘Golden Goose’ critically important to government fiscal policy.


1 Premium Bond – Wikipedia

2 Premium Bonds: Are they worth buying? – MoneySavingExpert The total number of bonds that’s been issued is £119 billion Premium Bond – Wikipedia If Premium Bonds were a FTSE 100 company it would the third largest in the UK behind Astra Zeneca and HSBC FTSE 100 Market capitalization | Markets Insider (businessinsider.com)

3 There are 24 million pound winners each year Compare Our Best Savings Accounts Rates | MoneySuperMarket Most of the higher rates are provided by non-high street banks and are fixed for 2/3 years. They are all significantly below inflation as it stands (18th February 2023). This means you are taking a gamble that interest rates won’t go up. Despite constant interest rate increases by the Bank Of England Lloyds Bank and the other high street banks have refused to increase rates for savers. Lloyds Banking Group hits back at criticism over savings rates – BBC News

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A Fab (Back) Four

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A Brian Clough quip

“ We talk about it [tactics] for 20 minutes and then we decide that I was right. “

Clough was one of England’s finest managers but was very out spoken and was, as a result, never made England manager. He wouldn’t have *fitted* in.

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A master class in Passive-Aggression

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The meaning of money: Buddhism

The dollar bill is only a dollar bill, as opposed to a bookmark, because the United States Treasury so designates it.

Buddhist Philosophy (p. 27). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Buddhists believe that nothing has any meaning outside a specific context. That nothing is anything in  brief, everything is *empty*.

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