Lets start on an uplifting note - and what
could be more uplifting than the largest corporate bankruptcy the world has
ever seen (so far, anyway!)
You have probably all heard about how Enron
went belly-up spectacularly a few months ago so I won't bore you about the
finer details here - I'll leave that for later! Before the dust had settled
the bone-pickers decided to hold an auction of all the UK assets in the
corporate headquarters and a few of us decided to pop along for a brief
look. After all, Schadenfreude is great when it is someone else's problem!!
The premises were positively leviathan -
several floors overlooking the gardens and lake of Buckingham
stunning really for a company that was effectively buying and selling second
In order to keep numbers down, entry was
by a £50 catalogue only. Unfortunately that didn't deter anyone.
We eventually managed to gain entry to the
premises and spent a few hours poring over such weighty corporate assets as
50" plasma screens, 33 foot long hardwood tables and even a Lehmann
train set that was definitely bigger than "O" gauge (i.e.
massive). Having left the viewing it was easy to see where all the
shareholders money went.
The day of the auction came and immediately
people were well and truly caught up with auction fever. Second-hand lots
were often selling for sums 30% in excess of their value when new. The
auctioneers could have held their own in any livestock mar, such was
their quality. It was actually quite awe- inspiring to listen (via broadband
internet) to some fine specimens of e-pond life (i.e. muppets with an
internet link and credit) go berserk in the chase for the next
A comment in The Times last week spoke volumes
for these sorts of companies. It also offered some rather erudite investment
AT LAST, Wall Street analysts are using
new methods to assess the financial health of the companies they write
about. It may be rather sad that analysts can no longer rely on published
financial results (at least, not the kind that require 234-pages of footnotes to explain how a $4 billion loss became
a $789 million "pro-forma" profit), but it can only be a good
thing for investors.
But the analysts do not seem to be going far enough. Merrill Lynch, for
example, will simply focus on financial statements that conform to
"generally accepted accounting principles", instead of using dodgy
pro-forma figures. How very thorough of them.
I suggest an alternative system that would
involve downgrading a company's stock if it met any of the following
criteria - all based on activity at big US companies.
One: have live elephants
ever been brought to a sales conference (Enron)?
Two: do lower-middle managers earn enough to collect and
race classic Ferraris (Enron)?
Three: does the chief
executive insist on running his company from Beverly Hills so he can meet
Julia Roberts in Starbucks (Global Crossing)?
Four: is the company
connected to any member of the Bush family? Enron, Global Crossing).
Five: has any executive
ever earned more than half a billion dollars in more than one year (Global
Crossing, Walt Disney)?
If the answer to any of these questions is
"yes", investors should sell.
So simple, its brilliant.
(2) Missing Dog.
A week ago Fred Harries who lives up at Dry
Buildings in Lower Sedgwick Park (Nuthurst side) lost his devoted little
Jack Russell Terrier called Tiger. Apparently some tradesmen turned up to do
some work on his house, left his gate open and allowed poor Tiger to wander
off. Sadly Tiger is almost 18 years old, is nearly blind and deaf. Janie and
Penny Bullen turned up late last week with four dogs to look for Tiger but
could find no sign of him.
If anyone has seen a miniature JRT in the area
with a brown body and a grey/white head can they please let either Fred or
me know. Alternatively, if someone has found Tiger but he did not have any
identification on his collar can they call. Sorry to put something so depressing
on the website but Fred is family as well as being a friend of mine.
Have you tested your IQ recently? Those who
entered my pub quiz last year would probably think so! Anyway, there is a
rather interesting website which tests your IQ with a range of questions and
then tells you what it is. Excellent fun on a wet evening. Here is the
link for the test:-
(4) Conies Farm
Pay attention those of you who have pets.
Conies Farm Pet Supplies is opening a shop in the near future. Their
deliveries will be unaffected by this
new venture. I received a complete
list of everything they are going to supply - the files ran to over 5MB in
size! No way could I put the list up here - it would cause a meltdown. Anyway
Conies Farm do everything from cans of meat to dog chews.
Their premises will soon be up and
running. Contact details as follows:-
Conies Farm Pet Supplies
Magazine - gadgets for sale.
There are two very good gadgets for sale in
this months NFU Countryside magazine:-
Firstly an excellent little device which is
part extending dog-lead part torch. Not cheap at £23.99 (+ P&P) but
worth the money for nocturnal dog walkers. Contact UK
Covers 01869 242224.
Secondly - the must have welly washer for idle
buggers (like me) everywhere. The device looks like an outsized beer glass
washer and looks built to get even the toughest boots clean. Expensive at £150
(+P&P) but an absolute must! Contact James Keyser Products 01285 712206
(bring round as many wellys as you like and I will clean them for £149.
(6) Camelia Botnar obelisk
Full marks to the young Turks at Botnar Towers
for coming up trumps for a change. She Who Must Be Obeyed has been looking
for a 5' steel obelisk to support one of her climbing roses. After days of
searching we turned up nothing suitable so it looked as if yours truly was
going to have to don the welding mask and borrow Clive Warrens arc welder
for a spot of design "magic". Thankfully Janie remembered to see
if Camelia Botnar Enterprises sold them - they did. We got it for the
bargain price of £26 and they even included a finial on top for us.
(7) Soil compaction Problem
If you hear a series of strange explosions
over the next few weeks, don't worry its only a compressed air aerator. I
have got a major solid compaction problem which is causing my lawn not to
grow properly. HSS hire have got just the tool - a ram that fires air at God
only knows what pressure into the ground. Apparently the soil up to 1M away
from the probe gets aerated instantly. This is far more fun than
digging by hand.
Quite seriously, though, if there is anyone
out there who can tell me how to solve the compaction problem in a
NON-INVASIVE way I have a bottle of quality claret for you. Best solution
(use the forum) wins the grog.....(any solution given by Jean Griffin I claim half the
Incidentally I will need a research assistant
for a few weeks to help me with the excavation work - if there are any
college students out there who are not afraid of hard graft call me on
01403 891525 and we can begin the recruitment process immediately. (My
college days are long over otherwise I would be there. DT)
Yet more Internet madness, well I've been ill recently
and I have spent too much time surfing the net - check
out the personality test.
(9) Point to Point
Don't forget the Parham Point to Point this
Saturday - I am running the Geoffrey Sparrow Hunt Club bar and a warm
welcome is extended to all. We will be selling a selection of quality wines
and ciders, punch and soft drinks too.
See you there
(10) Another quality illegal gadget.
No its not a man trap, but it is possibly as
much fun - Go to the following website and check out the products that Global
Gadget UK are selling.
The device is known as a Wave Shield and kills
all known mobile phone signals dead! I have seen one work (don't ask me
where because I can't remember.....!) on some pratt screaming into a mobile
on a train. Funny doesn't describe it well enough. These devices should be
banned (they are actually). Get one before the company is closed down.