Scenes on Sunday # 17

This Sunday there’s some pictures of my friend Marmaduke.  He’s excited that we’re going on a cruise together.  I think he’s already over his luggage allowance with just his books.  Maybe I need to buy him a tablet.










when she’s gone, she’s gone

Obsessive love, Borderline Personality Disorder, Poor Self-Esteem, Lack of Self-Confidence, Ordinary Politeness.

Sometimes men struggle to end relationships.  But let me tell you, when she’s gone, she’s really gone for good.

Let it go, and move on.  You know she was a bitch and never worth it anyway.

Hall & Oates ~ She’s Gone

Please don’t keep in touch.


P1040490Jack Collier



When I was I child I lived in a mining village in the Durham Coalfields.  The view out of my bedroom window was dominated by the pit heap, a vast mountain of spoil excavated from the mine along with the coal and discarded as worthless.  The children in the Welsh mining village of Aberfan would have had exactly similar views.

During torrential rain on the 21st of October 1966 the combination of thixotropic shale and mud slid down the hillside at a quarter past nine in the morning and buried 20 terraced houses and Pantglas Junior School which was then full of children.  The dead numbered 116 children and 28 adults.  Britain had learned a new meaning for an old word; Aberfan.






I well remember that day.



Food on Friday #48 ~ Apples

I know a girl who doesn’t really like apples.  Well, she is from California.

Apples are such an English thing.  But what can one do with an apple, other than peel it?  You would be surprised what a brilliant addition apples can make to a hell heck of a lot of dishes.

For a start apples make cider, and one can do a hell heck of a lot with cider.  First up this week we have maple apple cider from the very cute Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.


Maple Apple Cider

Also from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest there’s crockpot cider braised short ribs with sage butter mashed potatoes.  Very nice and very nourishing on a cold autumn evening.  And, following last week’s Food on Friday you should all know just exactly where your slow cooker is.


Crockpot  Braised Short Ribs with Sage Butter Mashed Potatoes

There are thousands and thousands of recipes for food and drinks involving cider, but with Halloween coming up, here’s something only a real witch could drink.  From KC’s Bookshelf, via hocuspocus13, we have this stupifying concoction, a perfect fall wine.  This recipe includes the superfood beet juice.  (On your own head be it.)


A Perfect Fall Wine

Cider will eventually turn into apple cider vinegar, (cyder).  This stuff is excellent in so may ways, but you should really look for the genuine organic article.  My friend in Orange County swears by Bragg organic raw apple cider vinegar.  Want to turn your apple cider vinegar into a perfect basis for a salad dressing and a complete restorative body-cleanser and cure-all?  Well then, make a tincture of apple cider vinegar with rose hips and rosemary.  I’m lucky, I can collect great wild rose hips and rosemary right near the garret.


Apple Cider Vinegar with Rose Hips and Rosemary

I couldn’t possibly do a post about apples without including an apple pie, and this apple cranberry pie from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower looks delicious.  Sadly, I have a complete blind spot when it comes to baking, so I may not ever try this wonderful recipe.  Also from Andrea we have a great autumn breakfast; pumpkin Dutch baby pancake with caramelised brown sugar apples.  Nice.


Apple Cranberry Pie

There’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that says I can’t bake.  Maybe I should try.  Maybe I should try this recipe from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes ~ a wonderful apple coffee cake.  Never even heard of this, but it looks delicious, and I so like the idea of using apples in a cake.  Apples seem so much better than the idea of carrots in baking!


Apple Coffee Cake

It’s autumn, and for a lot of us that means soup. Heather Christo has this parsnip, apple soup with bacon fried apples, you could turn this into a vegan dish by missing out the bacon.  I love parsnips, and I’m going to make this soup over the weekend.


Parsnip, Apple Soup with Bacon Fried Apples

Even though this dish from The Kale Box is called pumpkin spiced fall medley, it’s less pumpkin and more sweet potato and apples, which suits me fine.  Looks a great change from our average vegetable side dishes.


Pumpkin Spiced Fall Medley

This next recipe may only use a couple of apples, but I tried this last Sunday, and you can take it from me, those apples make all the difference in the world.  For a dish with a truly international flavour, English girl Amanda, who lives in rural France, offers us Tuscan roast pork, from her site Chez Le Rêve Francais.  I love Tuscany, and I loved making and eating this dish.  (I must admit that these days I roast everything inside a roasting bag, which means that I retain a lot of juices with the meat, which always make a fabulous sauce.)


Tuscan Roast Pork

And finally for this week, from Cookie and Kate, (Cookie is the dog), we have a vegan recipe for apple steel cut oatmeal.  In England we call this porridge, and I’m not usually a fan.  This looks like a great breakfast.


Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal


liebster-12A big big thank you to all the great cooks featured this week.

jack collier

you’re not just a number


When men have a cold it’s like the biggest medical disaster ever inflicted on the human race.  Well, today I have a cold, and I’m feeling thoroughly miserable.  Autumn’s shadowy fingers are crowding around the garret, the sky is grey, and so is the sea.  All I want to do is sleep.  I don’t feel quite human, more like a number standing in line waiting for I don’t know quite what.

The hot California desert calls, and so does the open road, and neither of them are going to see me today.  Anyhow, there’s no way I’m alert enough to drive a Seven until this cold had gone.  When I’m well, do I drive down through France our head West?

Chris Rea ~ Auberge

This music video is as weird as I feel right now.  I may have a fever.  I have a fever, it’s 101.  Man-flu strikes again.

Please listen responsibly.

When driven with real bravery, a Lotus / Caterham 7 is the fastest point-to-point car you can get on English country roads.




Driving an Investment


A new report says that more and more women are buying classic cars, both as an investment, and as fun and sexy drive.  So, is it a good idea for women to buy classic cars?  Generally speaking no, or maybe yes.

Classic cars are a much, much, more satisfying buy than any ‘ordinary’ used car, and a financially much better buy than all but a miniscule proportion of new cars.  Buy a new car, and as soon as you’ve driven it off the lot you’ve lost a huge proportion of its value, (the exact loss depending on how well you’ve chosen in the first place).  In contrast, most classics will at least hold their value in real terms, and may well appreciate in real value over the years, (again depending upon how well you’ve chosen).

There are a couple of problems owning a classic car, and especially for women owning a classic car;

  1. As an investment a classic car really only offers capital appreciation.  It’s not impossible, just very, very difficult to generate an ongoing income from your classic car.  However, in most tax regimes there is no tax liability on the gain in capital value of your classic.
  2. Classic cars are difficult beasts to drive on an everyday basis.  A classic car will need regular specialised maintenance, and a more sympathetic driving style than your regular automobile.  In my experience, most women are not good at either of those.  Some will not even be able to start a classic car.

For example; your classic will likely burn oil, have suspension and drive-train joints that need greasing, carburettors that need tuning and balancing, and an electrical system designed by Heath Robinson on a bad day.  It will most likely have  manual gearbox, (stick-shift), use more petrol, (gasoline), than a more modern car, it won’t stop as well, and it will most likely leak when it rains.

1963-Austin-Healey-Sprite-Mark-IIOn the upside; it will be better looking than a ‘modern’ box, have loads more character, be much sexier, (any attractive woman looks even better getting out of a classic car), it will be cheaper to insure, and if it does go wrong a good mechanic will be able to repair anything and everything on it.  For example, take the little Austin-Healey Sprite.  I can, (and have), rebuilt one of these things from the ground upwards.  They’re cute, fun, nice looking, great when the sun is shining, and when properly looked after will keep up with modern traffic and run forever.

1975-1977-daimler-double-six-coupeAt the other end of the scale is the utterly beautiful Jaguar XJ saloon.  This gorgeous car re-defined luxury transcontinental motoring.  Lovely to look at, comfortable, blisteringly fast, and as reliable as the sunrise if properly looked after.  But the XJ is complicated ~ take one of these beasts into your usual garage and they probably wouldn’t have a clue, (if it’s a V12 they definitely won’t have a clue).

Land-Rover-Defender-90-1Or for something completely different, the ‘proper’ Land Rover is now achieving status as a classic car.  If you live out in the country, or need to tow anything, or you live in an area where it snows a lot, or you just want to intimidate other car drivers, then a ‘proper’ Land Rover may be the classic car for you.  Once again, these things are very strong and very reliable, if they are properly maintained.

In some ways a classic car is a very good investment, it’s almost certainly a much better home for your savings than any savings account / product offered by any bank. You benefit in other ways too, a classic is a great car to drive every day.  But, no real classic car is a plain vanilla, drive it and forget it, eco-box.  Classic cars need tender loving care to survive and thrive.  This is where a smart woman will find a can-do guy.

Any interesting car can become an appreciating classic, especially if it’s a sports car.  My tips for upcoming classics; Land-Rover Defender, Early Mazda MX-5, Toyota MR2, Jaguar XJS and XK8, just about any Saab, And the first generation Ford Ka.

GT6If you’re thinking of buying a classic car then, read the magazines and look at the prices, go to car shows, think about who you are going to get to look after the thing, (because it will need on-going care and maintenance at least every weekend).  When you think you’ve made your choice of car, then join the appropriate owners’ club, take specialist advice, and never, ever, wear rose-tinted spectacles.  (The Triumph GT6 pictured is a really cute and practical car for any woman to own and drive on a daily basis.)

Personally, I think I’d really like an MGB GT V8, with full length Webasto sunroof.  Or any MGB GT really.



ripples and clouds



within each of us now exists everything and everyone

we have ever been, and everything and everyone

we could possibly be and shall ever become

we can only make our choices in the now

but those myriad choices will echo deeply down

though all out pasts and carry on into all possible futures


I need the moral courage in the here and now

to strive to make the best choices I can

to spread good out into time and space

just as dropping a coin into a wishing pool

will spread ripples and reflections of clouds

across the sparkling surface of peaceful water


P1040763words and pictures by jack collier


Money ~ Currency Exchange Rates

flagThere has been much talk about the fall in the value of the Pound Sterling against the United States Dollar and the bastard Euro since Britain voted to leave the European Union.  Without getting into the politics of it, what’s all this about, and what does it all mean?

To start with; the exchange rate, or foreign currency exchange rate, or Forex rate, measures the value of a base currency, (your own currency usually), against a foreign currency.  Thus the $ / £ rate is currently about 1.22, which means one pound sterling gets you one dollar and twenty-two cents.  The exchange rate is the price of one currency against another.  Some people also use movements in exchange rates to measure the strength of a currency’s underlying economy.  This is like measuring global warming by looking out of window at today’s weather.  It’s a piss very poor gauge.

However, long-term trends do tell you something ~ like the recent fall in the value of the pound could have been predicted years ago because of the amount of UK debt sloshing around.  The fall in the value of the pound has very little to do with Brexit, and a lot to do with the UK government printing too much money for years, and years, and years…

A weak economy is the sign of a weak economy, and a weak economy is the sign of a weak nation.  ~  Ross Perot

Ross Perot doesn’t know much about Forex either.

What does this mean to you and me?  Well, for a start, the exchange rate tells you very little about how much your savings / salary / holiday money is worth in your preferred destination.  For that you need to know about purchasing power parity.  What this theory says is that my money still goes a hell of a long way in Orange County, California, USA.  As an example, car rental and the price of petrol / gasoline, is still cheaper for me in the USA than it is in England.  So is the cost  hotels, eating out, and etc.  I have suffered a potential windfall loss in the change in the price of the USD against GBP, but on the scale of things does that worry me? Nope.

Worrying about movements in currency exchange rates is a lot like worrying about what the weather is going to be like next week.  It’s interesting, but pointless.

Forex rates do have an effect on people, but not in the way you’d think.  Forex rates, interest rates, purchasing power, inflation, government fiscal policy, all these factors kind of mush together to create an amorphous mess that hardly anybody understands.  So let me break it down for you.

  1. The man in the street and small businesses.  Forex rates hardly affect you at all, in relative terms.  When it comes to the cost of your vacation abroad the movement in exchange rates is a tiny proportion of your overall spend.  Here in England stuff you buy at home may get slightly more expensive, but that’s really down to lying politicians and the bosses of big businesses using exchange rate movements as an excuse for price hikes.  If exchange rates had gone the other way do you think things at home would get cheaper?  Of course not.
  2. Businesses buying and selling overseas.  Here the sterling / dollar / euro / yuan exchange rates actually mean something.  It means stuff you sell in pounds sterling has become better value abroad, while product you buy abroad in foreign currency has become more expensive.  So what?  That’s what management is all about, and if you don’t understand Forex, why are you dealing in foreign currencies anyway?
  3. Multi-national companies.  Forex rates affect the big multinationals not at all, it’s merely another variable in their international treasury management operations.  When a multinational like Unilever says they have to increase their prices to UK supermarkets because of the fall in the value of the pound, they’re lying.

What really impacts on everyone is this purchasing power parity thing, and that’s a lot more complicated than just exchange rates.  For example, the national minimum wage and cost of health care has a lot to do with purchasing power parity.

As far as governments, central banks, and politicians are concerned, they could care less about Forex rates.  They may talk a good talk, and wring their hands from time to time, but they really, really don’t care.

What should you do about movements in foreign currency exchange rates?

  • Don’t worry about it, because it’s as pointless as worrying about the weather.
  • Don’t create translation exposure.  Pay for stuff in your own currency, and if you’re selling abroad, then sell in your own currency ~ (if you can, if not consider forward currency cover).  Don’t ever borrow money in a currency you don’t earn.   Also, don’t save in a currency you don’t want to spend.
  • Don’t buy complicated Forex products, (if you don’t understand it, don’t buy it), or pay for advice on exchange rates.  In fact never, ever, pay for financial advice of any kind.
  • Shop around.  Buying or selling foreign currency is the same as buying and selling anything else.  Spend a little while looking for the best deal.  But beware, there are more crooks in this market than there are in the used car business.
  • Forget exchange rates and look instead at purchasing power. If I can buy the exact same thing on in $ as I can on in £ which is going to be the better deal?  You know what?  99% of the time it depends on where I want it shipped to.

The true currency of life is time, not money, and we’ve all got a limited stock of that.  ~  Robert Harris

Mostly, movements in foreign currency exchange rates are simple ~ they will affect you in ways you cannot understand, cannot predict, and can do nothing about, so forget it.  For some people, foreign currency exchange rates are frighteningly complicated and dangerous animals, but given that these people usually work deep in the research engine rooms of the world’s biggest banks, it’s safe to let them get on with whatever it is they do, which is not a lot.


London 048jack collier


Scenes on Sunday # 16

This Sunday there’s some pictures of a California seaside town, (mostly of the beach).  These are just a few from a road trip I took with a friend, (a.k.a. the girl riding shotgun).  Almost everyone, (especially attractive women),  likes to hang around cool seaside towns, for the day, for a weekend, or even a short break, it’s just that there aren’t many places like Southern California.

All these shots were taken with a compact LUMIX Panasonic DMC-AS3 camera, using the built-in features.  This camera is so lightweight, small, and smart that it’s perfect for a long day in the sun, and keeping with you as the sun goes down, the fire-pits are lit, and the bars come alive.












liebster-12pictures by jack collier

and the girl riding shotgun




I owned a book,

and it had never been opened.

So all I knew of books was that there were words on the cover,

and some more words on the spine.

And then, one day,

I opened the book and started to read the words inside.


Vincent  ~ Don McLean

Please listen responsibly

We can only go so far in making our life the way we would wish it to be.


liebster-12poem and musing by jack collier

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