3 April 2011

Good morning to you all and special thanks to those of you who have made a comment and/or submitted some material for the News. We’re always grateful for any contributions. Regular readers will have long ago deduced that we don’t really have anything to say each week and that quality is certainly no pre-requisite for publication – we’ll take anything! So, “thank you” to those who contributed to this week’s “amusements” and to Susie who contributed an amusing video link which you can catch at the bottom of the posting. And, of course, Dad has been posting his own “amusements” in the comments section. Keep those cards and letters coming folks!

We had a couple of really nice days early in the week but the tail end was colder, a bit blustery and overcast with the occasional drizzle, although today looks as if it might be tolerably pleasant. We’re all glad to see the back of the worst of the winter weather although I hope I’m not talking too soon.

Still, Spring is progressing at a quickening pace. Lots of blossom beginning to show, the daffodils are probably just about at their best, the birds are increasingly busy in all that they need to do and Ms Playchute took advantage of a pretty nice afternoon earlier in the week to attack the back border, hacking the overgrowth back with a sharp machete and transforming chaos into some semblance of order. I even dragged the lawn mower around the front lawn and the verge. Things are beginning to look a bit better.

It’s a big week this week. Tuesday is the end of the financial year in the UK and Tuesday will also mark the end of SeamStress Ltd. Wednesday will then see the birth of SeamStress Playchutes. The only significant differences between the two: SeamStress will no longer be obliged to charge VAT (Value Added Tax) on all their products and Ms Playchute will become a Sole Trader rather than a Limited Company. The main reason for making the change is that it will ease considerably Penelope’s administrative burden as well as save a bit of money – we’ll no longer have to track all the VAT on things the company purchases and on everything they sell and we’ll also no longer have to maintain a payroll and account for all the income tax and national insurance. Ms Playchute will pay income tax on the profit at the end of the year, National Insurance will automatically be collected at a flat rate each month and the company will no longer be liable for Corporation Tax as it will no longer be a corporation. And, best of all perhaps, customers will get their products with no VAT which is effectively the same as having a 20% price cut. So, win, win, win.

Speaking, as we were, of VAT, I had to laugh the other day when the latest inflation figures were released. Inflation is now running at about 4%, up about 2.5% from the figure at the end of December. Naturally, this caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst members of the government and consternation amongst members of the Bank of England steering committee who are responsible, amongst other things, for setting the base interest rate. Will they have to raise interest rates to counter-act the rise in inflation or will it be best to leave things as they are for fear of jeopardising the recovery?

I appreciate that I am not an economist and am really not every good with much of anything financial. But forgive me for stating what seems to be to be blindingly obvious – if you raise VAT by 2.5% at the beginning of January as the government did, should you really be surprised that prices increase by about 2.5% a few weeks later? It seems they need a lesson in cause and effect.

I ran across another gun-related story this week which, once again, had me scratching my head. Many of you will have seen this in the news but the owner of a Radio Shack branch in Montana is offering a “Buy one, get gun free” incentive, much to the dismay of Radio Shack itself. If you take out a two year satellite television package you receive a gift card for either a pistol or shotgun. I guess the thinking is that you’ll be better able to protect your investment from those pesky satellite dish thieves which must be prevalent throughout Montana.

Susie sent this link which Penny and I found very funny. None of our dogs ever exhibited such talent.

Finally, many of you will know that Jack Benson is in hospital with a number of significant issues following a fall. His daughter Karen has set up an area on the Caring Bridge site where you can keep up to date with his progress (you have to register first), which is good so far, and where you can post comments and convey good wishes. Keep him and the whole Benson family in your thoughts this week.

And finally, finally, Penelope received this link from someone during the week.

Much love to you all,

Greg