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.

 

Tilly’s Miraculous Kittens at around 8 weeks old

Tilly’s Miraculous Kittens are about 8 weeks old now, almost weaned (they are eating cat food but still suckling occasionally), and they are very active!  So active that its almost impossible to catch the action with a camera, even if I happen to have it to hand when I see something funny!  ( I don’t have a smartphone.)

So these pictures are the few I have taken in the last day or two that aren’t blurred – taken when they were sleeping or seemingly posing – smile.

They are absolutely normal kittens, and as Tilly is quite a small cat, I can’t work out whether they are small for their age because of their ordeal, or just small!

I’m keeping the kitten in the first shot, as she was the one that I found first and alerted me to the fact that they’d been born – I’ve called her Xavia (save’yer) – and hopefully I will find good homes for the other three …..

Obesity – its all Nixon’s fault!

SugarThere has been a series of interesting radio programmes on – my favourite – BBC Radio 4 – oddly in the comedy slot at 6.30 pm, about modern addictions.

Coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and the last one has been a stunning forensic look at sugar, and how, for all the best reasons, Richard Nixon changed the American diet, and as a result, we have all become dependent, and “hooked on” SUGAR, and diabetes has become a widespread problem.

It’s worth checking it out for yourself – This is the direct link to the BBC page where you can find all the 4 episodes of

SIMON EVANS GOES TO MARKET

And you can hear the SUGAR episode here:

http://bbc.in/1D9lTDZ

The iPlayer service allows only one month for you to access this, and its currently saying you have 29 days left to listen!

Those who know me, will know that I am the last person to go on about dieting, and hate the constant food fads, and “bad food fads” that litter the media.

But I have to say this programme has convinced me!  I have always thought there was something wrong with sugar substitutes too, so please listen, and make your own mind up!

On the subject of healthy food and diets etc, you may also like to have a look at Sophie Cussen’s piece on Diet Development.

And on the subject of the BBC, please have a look at my post on julzcrafts.com – and perhaps you might like to add your name to the petition to HELP SAVE OUR BBC from the machinations of David Cameron et al!

 

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!

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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!

 

 

In The Summertime – Mungo Jerry – 1970

Its the season of Summer – the solstice was yesterday – and the summer festivals – especially Glastonbury – are about to start!

Oh I remember, I remember, being young and in love and dancing to “In the Summertime” in a crowded sunny field somewhere in 1970!

So let’s have a bit more of that nostalgia – smile – you can dance along too if you feel like it!

The lyrics – below – would not pass the “thought police” these days – but here they are!

In The Summertime

written by Ray Dorset

[Chorus:]
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh

In the summertime when the weather is hot
You can stretch right up and touch the sky
When the weather’s fine
You got women, you got women on your mind
Have a drink, have a drive
Go out and see what you can find

If her daddy’s rich take her out for a meal
If her daddy’s poor just do what you feel
Speed along the lane
Do a ton or a ton an’ twenty-five
When the sun goes down
You can make it, make it good in a lay-by

We’re no threat, people
We’re not dirty, we’re not mean
We love everybody but we do as we please
When the weather’s fine
We go fishin’ or go swimmin’ in the sea
We’re always happy
Life’s for livin’ yeah, that’s our philosophy

Sing along with us
Dee dee dee-dee dee
Dah dah dah-dah dah
Yeah we’re hap-happy
Dah dah-dah
Dee-dah-do dee-dah-do dah-do-dah
Dah-do-dah-dah-dah
Dah-dah-dah do-dah-dah

Alright ah

[Chorus]

When the winter’s here, yeah it’s party time
Bring your bottle, wear your bright clothes
It’ll soon be summertime
And we’ll sing again
We’ll go drivin’ or maybe we’ll settle down
If she’s rich, if she’s nice
Bring your friends and we’ll all go into town

[Chorus]& Repeat

Have Fun This Summer!