“If you want eggs, take care of the hen”

chickens in grass pastureOddly I found this quote in an article about a Japanese billionaire, Kazuo Inamori, who is a Buddhist Priest, and is talking about his business philosophy.

The hens in this quote refer to the workers in his companies, and he believes that the recipe for success is to look after your staff and your customers.

This advice is directly in opposition to the usual business rules that the shareholders are the people to consider first!

Well as all you fellow poultry keepers will know, a happy and well fed chicken will certainly give you eggs – so there might be more than a grain of truth in this quote – smile.

This philosophy could equally apply to any organisation, and even to politics – wouldn’t it be nice if the current British Government thought again about how to re-organise the tax credit system, instead of trying to starve the workers!

If you want to read the original article please click HERE

Fancy Dress – on a Pony!

I went to Sennybridge Agricultural Show yesterday, and among some very fascinating events they put on, the Fancy Dress Parade they organised for young riders was a joy to watch!

Here are a few of the photographs I took …in fact I took so many photos at the show that I will be splitting them into various posts. (see also HERE)

To see the photos as a slide show, just click on any one of them and you will find the larger versions to scroll thro’.

To see some Suffolk sheep dyed yellow – yes really – that were also at the show – click here!

Sennybridge is in the Brecon Beacon area of South Wales

The Effects of the Financial Mess In China – for the rest of the world…..

What’s happening in China – Who Knows?

map showing the size of China and its 'position' in the world (http://www.worldatlas.com)

map showing the size of China and its ‘position’ in the world (http://www.worldatlas.com)

Just a thought –

many years ago – well it was about 25 years ago I think – when I was selling gift items at Trade Shows, I first heard from manufacturers that they were starting to buy parts or stock from China.

It was a very adventurous and difficult process at the time, but boy was it cheaper to buy the items from China, even taking into account the cost of shipping!

As I was listening to them boasting about the margins and how they were going to make more profit ……. a little thought crept into my head – I even expressed it to some of them and they ridiculed me for the fantasy!

The fantasy was that China was going to take over the world…..

They were progressively stealing patents at the time, and copying processes without bothering to put in all the effort that companies in the USA and elsewhere had spent doing the research and testing.

Of course they were going to be cheaper!  They were also being subsidised by their Government, who were still a thoroughly communist regime, but were experimenting with a bit of capitalism!

So follow this trend – and if it continued – (it has) – there would be very little incentive to “Buy British”, and basic manufacturing, say iron & steel mills, would struggle and die, and soon the world would be dependent on China supplying them cheaply with all the things that cost so much more in this country, and others.

The South Wales Iron & Steel Industry was bought & “saved” by an Indian Company some years ago – but they have just moth-balled the production again!

These were all the problematic industries that had active unions to protect their members in an industry where “HEALTH & SAFETY” actually matter and are not the joke that they have become – and of course demanded high wages.  How much easier politically for Maggie to let these industries die, as she decimated the Unions. (See previous post)

Health and Safety in China?  Well we only need to look at the recent disastrous fire at a factory there, which spread to the surrounding newly built high rise flats, and killed hundreds of innocent people!  Apparently their Fire Service didn’t even know how to treat combustible material! (I know, I’m being very simplistic here, but I’m just making a point about the differences in the costs of manufacturing that we incur and they don’t!)

poundland shopfrontFast Forward to August 2015 – most of the day to day items we buy are actually produced in China – how do you think the £1 shops are able to give us such cheap prices?

And we have become almost totally reliant on them for many of the items we use everyday.  Who else is going to bother to make these items when they can’t compete on prices – and even many of the high end manufactured items are now made in China.

I sell craft supplies on both ebay & etsy (see my other blog julzcrafts.com), and have noticed that many of the jewellery findings (like connecting rings etc), as well as a lot of other items, are sold direct from China, for amazingly silly prices.  I’ve even bought some of them.  I couldn’t understand how they could charge 99p including postage!

It turns out that even small businesses are subsidised by the Chinese Government – they allow them to post overseas items free!

I have to check out the competition to make sure that the items I sell aren’t undercut by the many Chinese families who are giving the idea of selling abroad a try!  I sell a lot of silk yarns & fibres – some of these must have been sourced in bulk from China – but oddly – I haven’t yet found a direct supplier of Chinese Silk!

Back to my main theme – so China HAS taken over the world.

We are now reliant on their cheap products.

The second part of my fantasy, all those years ago, was that – once China has decimated our manufacturing ability – they will raise their prices.

So I’m asking this question – especially of all those “talking heads” appearing on the media just now – saying that the Chinese Government has lost their grasp of their Finances, and have let the Chinese Stock Market fall catastrophically – affecting not only their own stockholders – many of whom are the newly entrepreneurial middle class – but causing slides of nearly the whole world’s Stock Markets ……..

What if this was part of the original master plan?  Implemented a bit messily, yes, but …. We now know who the masters are ….. a hiccup in China can affect the whole world.


Why the Labour Party Lost the Last Election …..my view!

ImageWell – that’s what they are all asking – isn’t it?

There’s a short answer, and then there’s the longer more nuanced answer – take your pick!

The Short Answer:

Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images/Destiny Miliband / AMC / Via destinymiliband.tumblr.com

Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images/Destiny Miliband / AMC / Via destinymiliband.tumblr.com

This montage shows “the culprit” on the far right.

Only, in my view Ed Milliband was/is an innocent.  Not totally without blame – but an innocent trying very hard to do the right thing and being ridiculed by all and sundry – and not all of the nasties were as clever as this one.

The media machine, in collusion with certain members of all parties, including the Labour Party, went into action, and dished as much dirt as they could find – often finding stuff that wasn’t there – but hell – who cares about the truth when it makes good copy and sells The Daily Mail!

They are doing the same thing to Jeremy Corbyn – but this time its even more vicious.

Admission – I buy the Saturday Mail regularly.  It has the best “free” TV Listings magasine I know, and includes the full radio schedules, which most papers don’t bother with, and oddly, all the programmes are reviewed with intelligence.

I then read the actual paper, for the horror value.  They make it their mission to twist any political story so that Labour is seen in the worst possible light – and – carry this message into the supposed light relief of the catty Amanda Platell’s Gossip Page, and malign ANYTHING LABOUR in its business pages.  OK, who can resist a bit of sniping – sometimes its quite funny, but really, if you only ever read this stuff you would believe all Labour supporters were total idiots.

And I am a Labour supporter.

And I must be an idiot – I’ve just burnt a pan of vegetables that were going to be part of my late Sunday lunch, because I got distracted by starting to write this!  Must be Ed’s or Jeremy’s fault – obviously – maybe I should ask them to reimburse me for the pan – it is/was a nice one too – smile!

So – think about it – if your reputation was being trashed from every angle – how many of your friends would stand by you?

Even if they knew you well – there’s that old saying – “there’s no smoke without fire” – and if even just a smidgen of this rubbish was true – wouldn’t those lily livered colleagues of yours believe that some of the trash was true too, and dump you as fast as they could?

Ed – What was a good Jewish boy doing, eating a bacon roll in front of a load of paparazzi?  It wasn’t only the awkward way you ate, it was what you ate!  Ok – maybe you don’t keep kosher, but do you have to eat bacon in public!  It undermined you in all sorts of ways – not least because you seemed willing to go against your religion just to curry the favour of the masses, and be seen to be eating what everyone else does??????

Well, I think I’ll eat my dinner before its totally inedible ….


I am definately an idiot – I looked out of the window and the sun was shining – so I took my meal outside.  Its been raining straight for 48 hours in my part of Wales, but the forecast said it would stop sometime this afternoon – it hasn’t yet!  A cold meal in the rain – not quite the Sunday Lunch I had planned!

So back to ….

The Long Answer:


No I haven’t read this – didn’t even know about it until I searched for some images of him!  So altho’ I’m sure I could find some really good quotes in it to make me sound more knowledgeable, I’ll just carry on without them!

In 1997 – Labour put a package together – led by Tony Blair, called New Labour, and won power!

In doing so, they chose to tread the middle ground, and ditch many of the Labour policies that had been the mainstay of the Party,  that had historically reflected the thoughts, ideas and needs of the working man of Britain. (In case you want to nit pick, I said working man because feminism as a movement did not exist at the time.)

That is why they have always had Trade Union support – because they actually started the Trade Unions, and fought for “the rights of the workers”.

the alamo - miners picket hut

the alamo – miners picket hut – a picture I took at the time of the strike – see julz cards – sepia mining range – page list on the left hand side.

Maggie Thatcher went to war on the unions and almost succeeded in killing them – I was around at the time of the miner’s strike, and say what you will about the pro’s and con’s – she did actually kill the community, their sense of identity and the sense of humour shown by the naming of the picket hut above,  that used to exist in the Welsh Valleys, and other historic mining areas.

The war on the Unions has continued – and once again – anything they do is vilified in the Tory Press.  Non Sense – is talked about organisations that have done a great deal for their members over the years – but their wings are so clipped now that there is hardly anything they CAN do!

Tony wanted to win by fair means or foul.  He thought about how to win an election and decided to become a Tory – in all but name.  (Sorry, but his lifestyle since leaving office does betray his true ambitions – to be a rich playboy!)  I’m not saying that they didn’t use their power to do some good things for this nation. Gordon Brown, the generous and principled thorn in Tony’s side, managed to engineer some true equality and keep as near as he could to the old Labour ideology, but he was too often out manoeuvred and outwitted by the PR machine that was Alistair Campbell!

And of course they all got taken in by the money machine that was – and still is running things – the banking industry.

SO –

When it came to the last election, at a time that we badly needed to give David Cameron a bloody nose, poor old Ed was still singing the New Labour song – but it wasn’t NEW any more – it was just a little bit better than the lies (see my post about the elections results) that the Conservative party told to get themselves the power they wanted, and to kill the old ethos of government for the people stone dead!  Replacing it with government for the rich and never mind anyone else!

Unfortunately, the Labour politicians had all learnt from Tony, that they had to follow the money?  Have policies that the rich middle class would vote for too, almost to the exclusion of their old and faithful following.

Oh dear, I am so sad to see all the ‘Old Guard’ of distinguished Labour politicians warning against anyone voting for Jeremy Corbyn in the current election for a new Labour Leader.

Even John Prescott is re-neging on his initiative to introduce another vision by asking Jeremy Corbyn to stand for Leader.

Why are they all so shocked that its taken off like a runaway train?  And concentrating only on insisting that the election will not be disrupted by the small percentage of cats and dogs that seem to have paid their £3 to be allowed to vote?

The people are talking to you folks – they never liked New Labour – well I didn’t for one.  I had been an active member of my local party until then, but I just didn’t bother to renew my subscription.  I didn’t much like what was going on and certainly wouldn’t have been able to defend it on the doorstep of a campaign.

And its not just me – there are thousands and thousands of people supporting a more “left wing” Labour ethos. Maybe not as left wing as Jeremy is painted, but he’s the only one standing, so we are giving him our support.

I even re-joined the Labour Party last month – a full subscription, not the £3 cheapo rate – just so that I could vote – and vote I did – yesterday!

And was rather amused and saddened to get an email today, from the Andy Burnham campaign asking me if I’d voted yet – and asking WHO I’D VOTED FOR!

I didn’t tell them, but I will tell you – Andy got 2nd place – Jeremy got 1st, and I didn’t bother with a third place nomination.

If there was an outstanding woman, I might have voted for her, but they have all been taught the party line so well, that they’ve forgotten to think for themselves.  Look Hard you lot – there is a reason for this huge swing –


These are just my views and my take on the current situation – writing this has passed a wet Sunday afternoon reasonably pleasantly – I’m not saying it will be a united party if Jeremy does win, I can, once again, see trouble ahead – but you have to call it as you see it – and if I have offended anyone – I’m not really sorry – smile!

Your comments would be welcome below!

To leave a comment you will need to click on the heading of this post, and then troll down to the end again, where you should find a box that allows you to write in it!

Tilly’s Miraculous Kittens – and how I nearly killed them!

Tilly as a kitten herself

Tilly as a kitten herself- last summer

I am embarrassed to share this story, but it is so amazing, and true, that I can’t keep it to myself!

I got Tilly as a kitten from a farm that I visited by chance last summer.

There were plenty of cats wandering around and a batch of kittens that were almost feral – and I fell in love with her and asked if I could have her.  The ‘owner’ – a young lad of about 5 years old – solemnly allowed me to take her home with me, after he had checked me out thoroughly!


sol as a puppy – he lived for nearly 13 years

She has been a joy.  I was still mourning my long time companion, Sol, a sheepdog, who used to come everywhere with me.  I wasn’t able to get another dog, for all sorts of reasons.  So, as I was used to taking him out for short walks in the early morning, and I wanted Tilly to know where she lived – I started ‘taking her out with me’.

Well, she just followed me.  I live on a moderately busy road, and I wanted her to get used to traffic, as she’d never encountered it before, and as there was very little in the early mornings, it was fine.  The odd lorry worried her and she ran straight home – I left the door ajar for her.

Over time, she got more adventurous, and explored her immediate surroundings with me, which allowed me to keep up the habit of stretching my legs for a bit of exercise each day.  I often thought I’d ‘lost her’ – and waited anxiously with the door ajar for her to come back – smile.  She always did!

When we were out one morning, she met another cat – a ginger one.  And then there was another tabby that she followed, and I watched them dance around each other, in courtship.  She followed him up the hill, and when I called her back there was this beautiful swift run back to me, and then – like a thief – her ‘boyfriend’ followed her and enticed her further down the hill.

You can guess what happened.  Tilly hasn’t been spayed, because I think its fairer to allow a cat to have one litter before taking nature away from her – and I live in a semi rural area, so its not as much of a problem as it would be in a large town.

I wasn’t sure whether she was pregnant, for a while, and couldn’t judge when she was due, she is a slightly built cat anyway, but there was a bulge appearing around her belly.

I was due to visit some friends last week, and was worried that she might produce her kittens, so nearly didn’t go.  In the end I took her with me.  She had all the signs, and her teats had dropped, but still no kittens, and I wondered whether she had lost them.

It was the first time she’d been in a car since I’d taken her home from the farm, so I wasn’t surprised she made a fuss, nor was I surprised to find that when I got her out of her new carrier, there was a mess for me to clean up.  She wasn’t all that happy in a strange place, and kept mewing at me.  I kept feeling her belly – there were some lumps, but nothing seemed to be happening, and I was getting rather anxious because it seemed to be getting rather late, and the lumps weren’t moving!

Well, after two days, we came home, and Tilly immediately disappeared.  I thought she was in the garden.  She was back for her food, and still had a huge appetite.  In fact my friends thought she might have worms and wasn’t pregnant at all, and I was going to give her a dose of the medicine.

Next morning, I heard some mewing and was relieved that she had finally had her kittens!

So I went to have a look.  Tilly wasn’t around – but I found a black kitten in the spare room crying for its mother.  But this kitten wasn’t new born – it was at least 10 days old!

I had given Tilly a box in the ‘study’, with a towel and her basket, but she hadn’t used it for a while.  The spare room is so full of stuff – that isn’t junk – smile.  I have boxes of my old greetings cards in there and old furniture etc, and its impossible to find anything!

I picked up this kitten and carried it around with me, calling Tilly for at least 20 minutes.  I was horrified.  Had this kitten nearly starved for the two days we were away?  I couldn’t find where it had come from, and when Tilly finally came back, she immediately fed the kitten – the lumps had been her milk not being able to be used!

I put the kitten in the box and expected Tilly to join her there – but she didn’t.  She kept going back to the spare room, so in the end, I picked up the kitten and put it back where I had found it and Tilly steered it behind the furniture, back to wherever it had come from.

I got to wondering why I hadn’t noticed that she had been a mother for over a week before we went away.  I had sat in the garden and watched her play – as normal, she had disappeared for various periods – as normal.  I had gone out and about my business, as normal.  The only abnormal thing was that she was eating about twice as much as she used to.

I hadn’t noticed anything different, and I had been looking for the signs!  I felt terrible.  And of course, cats normally have a litter of kittens, not just one, so had the others died?  Had this been the only one to survive?  Was Tilly feeding her in the den she had chosen, with the bodies of the dead kittens around her.

I had to check.  It took me about half an hour to find where she had made her den – it was behind several piles of boxes and in a cupboard which stored some old clothes.

I literally had to excavate my way through to it – moving the piles of boxes, and was absolutely exhausted, dreading what I might find.  Tilly was out and about again, and wasn’t there to help or hinder me.  I worried that the maternal link had been broken, and that she wasn’t too bothered – after all – I had taken her away from her kittens!

I didn’t find any inert bodies – I found 4 kittens – healthy and bewildered at being disturbed!  But I couldn’t leave them there, as I wouldn’t be able to get to them easily to see if they were OK.  So, I moved them into the study, and the box I had prepared, and Tilly arrived just as I was doing it, so I put her into the box too – and thankfully – she settled down to feed them!

So here they are – Tilly’s miraculous kittens – how they survived without being fed for two days I really don’t know, but thankfully, they seem fine!