The 5:2 inventor on ‘mini fasts’ and his new secret to rapid weight loss

This article first appeared in The Telegraph

Dr Michael Mosley is in the business of making people healthier, not upsetting them. Whether he is talking about people struggling with eating habits, or the food industry pushing unhealthy snacks, he always chooses his words carefully. But the man who revolutionised eating with the 5:2 diet is frustrated by the speed at which things change.

NHS nutritional advice tells us first about the importance of eating your five-a-day, and then it says that your meals should be mainly based on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice and pasta. So the NHS is telling us to keep up bodies constantly charged with carbohydrates, as if we have learnt nothing about the benefits of the intermittent fasting that was popularised by Dr Mosley.

“The NHS needs to move on, but because it’s based on consensus these things take a long time to change and that is frustrating,” he told my Healthy Beast podcast. “Having your blood sugar constantly elevated is not a good thing. Your body is constantly having to produce insulin, and this ultimately causes insulin resistance. This causes your cells to rebel and you need to pump out more and more insulin and that takes you down the road to various cancers and particularly type-2 diabetes.”

Dr Michael Mosley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Mosley speaks from personal, as well professional experience. In his mid-50s he was diagnosed as having type-2 diabetes. He had trained as a doctor and was then working as a science writer, so rather than going on medication, he decided to research non-medical solutions.

He had a telling conversation with a surgeon who performed bariatric surgery to reduce the size of obese patients’ intestines, who said: “I don’t see myself as a weight loss surgeon, I am someone who cures type-2 diabetes.” This led Dr Mosley to make the 2012 Horizon documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer where he went to America and spoke to the leading experts on fasting.

By radically reducing his own calorie intake he lost weight and was able to reverse his diabetes. Now aged 62, his blood glucose levels remain normal. Using himself as a human guinea pig he ended up developing the 5:2 diet, where people would eat normally five days of the week, and have restricted calorie intake on the other two days of the week.

He is now back with The Fast 800, a book and online course that takes into account the latest scientific research on fasting and presents a number of diet options, including a modified version of the 5:2. The title refers to one of the options, which is to eat 800 calories a day for a minimum of two weeks, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

That sounds a like a ‘crash diet’ to me – one of those negative terms that we’ve been warned against. But there is nothing wrong with losing weight quickly, according to Dr Mosley, because it mimics natural conditions that our ancestors had to endure.

“It’s a good idea to have longer periods without food. Our ancestors had periods of feast and famine. Our bodies are designed to do that and it’s quite clear that during the periods that you are not putting food into your bodies, a lot of repair goes on.”

So we’re wrong to think that rapid weight loss is bad for your health? “If you do it properly then the evidence seems to be that it does lead to long-term benefit,” says Dr Mosley. “There are lots of bad diets out there, and some of the old rapid weight loss diets were very bad. They were very low calorie, 3 or 400 calories a day, they didn’t have adequate levels of protein and the nutrient levels were poor; a lot were based on supplements or sachets that contained absolute junk. Not surprisingly the people on those diets tended to do rather badly.”

He added: “You need good quality protein, at least 50g of good quality protein every day, that’s one of the most essential nutrients. But beyond that there have been three really decent long-term trials that I’m aware of using the 800-calorie approach, which is pretty rapid weight loss, 800 calories a day for up to 12 weeks. Two [of those studies] have now got data gathered over two years and those doing the rapid weight loss did a lot better than people doing the slow and steady stuff.”

Dr Mosley also speaks persuasively about breakfast. He recommends daily “mini fasts” where you restrict eating to an eight to 12-hour window. So if you eat anything in the evening, this means no breakfast. This is particularly important, he says, because the process of autophagy, where the body starts to break down old cells and repair itself, “only starts to kick off seven to eight hours after you’ve stopped eating anything”.

But what about this idea of breakfast being the most important meal of the day? More lies and nonsense we’ve been sold?

“Your gut needs periods of downtime when it’s not dealing with food when the body gets on with the clean-up processes. Breakfast is a Victorian and post-Victorian thing. Prior to that having breakfast was seen as a form of weakness. People wouldn’t expect to eat until midday. Historically it’s an anomaly and the idea of having three meals a day is largely a modern construction and there seems no reason to keep it.”

If this sounds preachy, what is winning about Dr Mosley is that he completely understands the temptation everyone faces.

“I do acknowledge my weaknesses and also I do wrestle with my demons,” he said, adding: “If there is junky food in the house I will eat it, despite everything I know.”

So knowledge does not make it easy. But that doesn’t mean you should give in. “Snacking is one of the things that has driven obesity. It was encouraged by the snack food industry and oddly enough also encouraged by dieticians,” he says. And as for the NHS advice, he adds, it is “suitable for a peasant economy where people are doing a lot of physical activity. In the modern world that simply isn’t true.”

Dr Mosley doesn’t like upsetting people, but if he will permit me to put it more starkly, his advice goes something like this:

  • Stop stuffing your face with carbs all day
  • Give your body some time off from eating so it can recover
  • Big parts of the food industry cares more about your money than your health
  • Low blood sugar is good, not a sign that you desperately need to eat
  • Being a healthy weight is not about looking good, it is about not getting sick and dying
Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Review of Baia Azul Hotel Funchal Portugal

Baia Azul Hotel Funchal: This Isn’t a Four Star. This Is a Penny-Pinching Three Star. Read My Cheat Sheet to Get Ahead.

Tripadvisor refused this review so it’s here instead.

The guiding principle behind the running of this complete hotel is economy and economising. It is clearly drilled into the staff at every level and you will feel it with anything you try to do here. Anybody who has ever watched the film “Carry on Camping” with the old man at the Gate who wants a pound for everything extra will understand how this hotel is run – see here:

For example, when you are checking in they will ask you if you want to use the safe in your room. Of course you do, and they will gladly charge you €13 for the privilege of keeping your belongings safe from their potentially sticky fingered cleaning staff. Of course you want none of that so you will be pleased if I tell you that you don’t need to pay to use the safe in the room because the access code is 1111 – from thereon you can set your own code for the rest of your stay. I just saved you €13.

You want a room facing the sea – of course they charge more for that.

Here is something else you need to know before you go: yes they have pools and spas and saunas etc., but don’t imagine for a moment that you will be using the hotels robes and slippers to travel there from your room. They want you to pay extra for those things. Yes indeed, at the Baia Azul you must pay to use a bathrobe or a pair of slippers. Of course you want none of that nonsense so take some from home and deprive these penny pinchers of that revenue.

There is a sauna you can use, but as with everything else here it cost extra. And it doesn’t open until 11am, so even if you are inclined to pay you are disallowed early mornings.

The gym and pool does not open until 8am. If you want to go to the gym before breakfast you’ve had it if you follow the rules. However, all the doors are usually open so just go down there, behind the curtain next to the reception desk are all the light switches to light the place up. In the gym room with the machines, the light switch is on the right hand side as you walk in and you turn all the machines on with switches at the front near where the power cables go in. Now you can open the gym as early as you like.

In your room are provided stripey towels (one each) for use in the pool area. Guard them with your life because if you leave one somewhere they will charge you for it, and indeed if you want a clean replacement they will charge you for that too. I kid you not.

Fancy a shoehorn? The one that is normally in the wardrobe in four star hotels? Not here it isn’t. They dont even have one to loan.

The room service do not replenish the teabags sugar etc. in your tea making facilities, and there is no instant coffee either – it is only tea. If you want replacement teabags as you’ll need to raid the containers you find at breakfast that is the only way you are going to get some.

Speaking of the room service, you know how in a hotel that requires the room key to operate the electricity you always put in your Tesco Clubcard or something similar to leave the air-conditioning on when you’re out? The cleaning staff remove it (they lift it 1cm) in order that they can save even more money by not cooling your room down in your absence. Any way this place can save a few cents they will, be warned. You will come back to the room that feels like it’s on gas mark eight.

Similarly the room service are disinclined to replenish the shower gels in your bathroom. When you see their trolleys in the corridors raid those for anything you need because they will not supply it for you. Remember economising is the name of the game here.

If you want to use the telephone in your room or are you are seeking the book that you would expect in a regular four-star hotel that tells you all the information about how to use the phone what time everything opens what time restaurants open blah blah blah you won’t find it because that isn’t one. Even the telephones have no labels so you can’t call reception. But on the right hand side of the phone at six unlabelled buttons the top one connection to reception; you’re welcome.

And speaking of restaurants, don’t bother to use the hotel buffet in the evening as it’s utterly forgettable (and they charge extra for drinks). Use the nearby restaurants with the assistance of TripAdvisor, the recommendations are quite on the money. The hotel breakfast is adequate with a reasonable choice; nothing to shout about, but okay.

Aside from the penny pinching the hotel is actually otherwise quite pleasant. It is very clean and has most facilities you want even though many of them cost extra. The location is fine in proximity to the local town and there is a free bus (yes free – I have found something here that is free) that takes you to the town centre. But you must book your place on it in advance at the reception.

I’d rather pay two euros for the bus and have slippers, robes, a safe, shower gels and tea bags to use without the need to view the cheat sheet. But c est la vie.

So in summary: The hotel is perfectly fine as long as you remember to use 1111 on the safe and not pay them for it, bring your own slippers and robes, be prepared to raid the trolleys in the corridors and the breakfast containers to replenish the items in your room that the room service won’t.

When you are checking out you may wish to weigh your suitcase. Yes, you’ve guessed it: They charge you €1 to do so.

Knowing all that you’re good to go.

Would I go again? Probably not as I hate being nickel and dimed like that.

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel in the Daleks, Doctor — whatever it takes to exterminate the BBC’s bias

This article first appeared in the Sunday Times

My daughter doesn’t watch Doctor Who any more. Normally this would be one of those wry and sweetly painful moments all parents go through: adolescence has suddenly arrived and gentle juvenilia is being jettisoned.

From now on it will all be sullen glares, generational loathing, pierced eyebrows. Class A drugs and pregnancy followed by gender dysphoria and membership of Momentum.

But we are not quite on that track yet, because my daughter continues to watch past series of Doctor Who — in fact, she watches them when the current series is on.

She wants a Dalek fix, much as we all do from time to time. What she doesn’t want, she says, is to be struck over the head each week by the monkey wrench of fatuous BBC liberal propaganda, with a few crap aliens thrown in here or there as a sop.

A perfectly balanced, all-boxes-ticked, ethnic and gender-balanced team trying to help Rosa Parks sit where she wants on that bus (episode three), or partition in India, the consequence of British wickedness, in which Muslims show how absolutely bloody marvellous they are (episode six), or the misogyny of witch trials and so on and so on.

My kid isn’t alone. The audience for the current series has dropped by more than a third. The kids don’t like it — they get all that tendentious rubbish at school “enrichment” class, when they should be learning how to add up. Me, I’m down with the kids. They’re right.

The liberal bias within the BBC increases, almost exponentially, with each week that passes. It managed to behave itself , just about, during the Brexit referendum, but now the gloves are off — as the “editorial director” of BBC News (what’s that?) Kamal Ahmed revealed in a leaked email: ram it home to those thick-as-mince leaver losers just how hellish their lives are going to be if we get out (I have paraphrased his email to staff).

Every piece of good economic news prefaced with “In spite of Brexit . . .” and given caveats, every bad piece of news leading the bulletins.

Seventy MPs wrote to the BBC to complain about its bias on this issue; the Beeb told them to get stuffed. But then, the bias is just as bad on every other issue within the news, especially immigration, which is something to be incontestably welcomed and people who are a bit wary about it are knuckle-browed racists who require re-education. Not to mention foreign affairs, which consists of a perpetual sneer at Donald Trump and a good kicking for Israel whenever it dares to respond to a violent attack from Hamas (which will have gone unmentioned).

This kind of relentless, institutionalised bias in the news is dismally, but brilliantly, adumbrated in a new book by a chap called Robin Aitken, a BBC staffer for more than 25 years. Aitken, sick to the back teeth of the partisan nature of the corporation’s news coverage, concludes that the BBC has “whether through carelessness or hubris” given up any pretence of impartiality, preferring instead to promulgate its philosophically asinine world view.

And with an unrelenting authoritarianism which, as he puts it, demands: “You will tolerate what I say must be tolerated and condemn what I say must be condemned, and if you do not you will be branded racist or misogynist or Islamophobe and be shamed off the public stage.”

The worrying thing is that Aitken is actually being kind to the BBC. His book, The Noble Liar, concentrates on its news programmes, which are at least compelled by statute to pay some sort of vague obeisance to impartiality.

It’s in the rest of the stuff that the BBC propaganda really goes to town, as we saw with Doctor Who. The comedy panel shows where every single joke is from the left; discussion forums on Radio 4 and BBC2, where only liberals are allowed to take part; dramas constructed simply to promulgate a liberal point of view; the cringing tokenism of panel programmes where there must be a black or ethnic minority person no matter how thick or unfunny they are and despite the fact that we are still an 87% white country; even its food programmes, which are relentlessly anti-big business; its soaps; its light entertainment.

I beg to differ from Aitken — carelessness does not come into it. The BBC promulgates this idiotic world view because it thinks it is the only one that is true. And those of us who think different are simply, objectively, wrong.

By Rod Liddle for the Sunday Times.

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Range Rover TDV8 2010 Top Radiator Hose 4 Way Coupling – How To Fix.

The Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 is known for this water leak fault.

I was out this evening and a radiator hose four way branch coupling on top of the engine inexplicably broke and water was everywhere.

The dashboard lit up like a Christmas Tree, not charging, restricted performance, coolant low, etc.

On opening the bonnet the culprit was easily visible right on top.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 Rad Hose

It took frequent stops and 9 litres of water to get the 10 miles home.

Of course you can’t buy the coupling on its own. It comes with the surrounding hoses only and costs about £80 (part number LR029140 seems to be it).

I’m not liking the idea of £80 to replace a tiny bit of snapped plastic. I think I’ll repair it. here’s how I did that.

As I have a couple of stents I reckon a stent would work. The joint doesn’t seem under a great deal of pressure, so I’m hopeful it will last.

Here’s the broken bit:

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 water leak

I cleaned it out a tad by hand with a drill bit to get the bits of smeg out and key inside the holes.

Here is a small piece of brake pipe which is the perfect size as a stent. Clean it up with a file or a bit of sandpaper so it will key and chamfer the ends a tad.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 hose leak repair

Clean the insides of the pipes and the break area up with meths or similar and a cotton bud. Dry it off with a hairdryer so its bone dry and also the plastic will expand a tad.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 cracked water hose

Araldite one half of your stent up and twist it in with long nose pliers. Araldite the other side of your stent up now.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 water leak fix

Hold it in place with the long nose pliers while you offer the pipe up to it so you know the stent is about 50/50 in each side, then slide it nicely home as you remove the long noses.

Range Rover L322 2010 TDV8 4.4 leak repairLooks alright to me and no £80 going on. Takes less than ten minutes. 

Feel free to comment below if you have a better way or like this DIY repair guide.

Posted in Cars | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More American Aggression: The War Against the Turkish Lira

Why is the war raging against the Turkish lira?

More accurately what is going on can be described as a battle against the Turkish lira as part of a war to protect the position of the U.S. dollar.

With a huge proportion of external debt denominated in dollars; some $300 billion in private as opposed to government debt amounting to about 50% of Turkish GDP, Turkey is an easy target. That the U.S. has a political beef with Turkey is merely a bonus.

Remembering that, for the United States, maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency is key to the survival of the country, this war is very important.

What we are seeing at the moment is an inevitable response to the ongoing process of de-dollarisation.

There will be responses and counter-responses but the biggest single risk, in my opinion, is that the actions currently being taken by the United States tend, whether successful or not, to lead to the outcome that is least desired by the U.S.

That’s because sanctions, currency manipulations, and other economic attacks tend to stimulate those under attack to find ways to defend against them. The victims are forced to isolate themselves from the U.S. dollar and that tends to reduce the effectiveness of the dollar as a reserve currency. Thus the strategy must be a relatively short-term one with a view to getting the major stakeholders under attack to capitulate quickly.

The weakness of the U.S. strategy suggests that we will see a rapid increase in the value of the dollar relative to other currencies but then a rapid fall and a rapid increase in the inflation rate in the U.S. some years from now.

Actually, weak/strong currency is a misnomer. More accurately one should think of the price of a currency and its relation to others. You almost get there by understanding that a high priced currency and a low priced currency both have advantages and disadvantages. Just the same as any other market good.

What is happening right now is an on-going effort by the United States to manipulate its currency price higher relative to certain other currencies to attain political outcomes.

There’s advantages and disadvantages to that. However, one can not just set aside debt from that understanding on the basis that it is too complicated to think about. Debt is integral to the price of a currency and integral to what the United States is up to.

What many casual observers do not understand is the effect of debt upon the price of the dollar, relative to other currencies and why debt has enabled the U.S. to act as it does.

You see, the actions now being taken are reducing the ability of the U.S. to sell its debt to other countries and thus export dollars. The FED is now engaged in a process of tightening money supply (and therefore debt) which reduces the ability of the U.S. to export currency without increasing the domestic money supply and thus inflation.

By the way, while it is clear that the U.S. is acting against specific targets, the attack is actually upon all currencies that are not the U.S. dollar due to the interrelated nature of currencies. All currencies will tend to move together in order that arbitrage opportunities are removed. Market pricing tends to work to remove arbitrage opportunities. The U.S. has identified some targets that it thinks are weak enough to be influenced at low cost, Turkey was an obvious choice given the structure of Turkish economy and debt.

Oh, yeah, most folks don’t understand that the money supply is at the core of inflation.


The Leading Russian Women Information Forum
The Leading Russian Women Information Forum

There are some good books about the topic, it is complex, there are many interdependent mechanisms, but that’s why I said that the current campaign of the U.S government against the rest of the world can only be a short-term one and depends upon rapid capitulation of the other economies of the world.

The actions of the U.S. were inevitable (even if not sensible) and come at just about the last possible period of time when such actions have a hope of working.

Andrew Wilson

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, Donald Trump and Meghan Markle.

Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi, Donald Trump and Meghan Markle and not three obvious names you might think are likely to come together in one article.

What about I throw some Brexit in?

In an internet forum discussion (ostensibly on Donald Trump but frequently on other things) recently, a bloke said this to me:

Read up on Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi and his views: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_von_Coudenhove-Kalergi#Views_on_race_and_religion

Well, I’d never heard of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi. But from the link I found an interesting quote:

“The man of the future will be of mixed race. Today’s races and classes will gradually disappear owing to the vanishing of space, time, and prejudice. The Eurasian-Negroid race of the future, similar in its appearance to the Ancient Egyptians, will replace the diversity of peoples with a diversity of individuals.”

I’ve often thought this was someone’s “grand plan” for humanity. If you go back through popular culture, you’ll find it everywhere for decades as a gentle sort of propaganda.

Look at the girls in most modern music videos, attractive as many of them are, you’ll struggle to pin an ethnicity on them.

White girls fake tan so they are brown/orange, and then pump up their lips with injections. Black girls straighten their hair and apply makeup to look more like white girls and before you know it everyone looks like an approximation of Meghan Markle.

As the song in the video above says, “coffee coloured people”.

“Pale and interesting” doesn’t seem to be a thing any more. Except, bizarrely, in China. Chinese girls try *very hard* to be as pale as possible.

Of more concern in Europe is the destruction of class by the importing of third world migrants masquerading as refugees. This destruction of culture is something I think Trump actually gets.

Not that he has very much culture himself, and the mixed ethnic and resultant culture/class makeup of the US differs to Europe, but I think he can see the gradual destruction of EU Europe as we know it via Islamification and sees it will noticeably infect the US too in time. And as in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the UK, it will change the country beyond recognition in his lifetime.

What we are seeing in some of Trump’s comments is him seeing this and articulating it and the frustrations he likely feels as best he can. And that manifests also in his comments on Brexit, etc.

Much of leftist/establishment Europe has not yet worked out how to take Trump or his often factual and frank comments, the political classes are still in shock. Indicative I think is some of our media output.

An ex-cabinet minister today tweeted this. The article she linked is here. The article has no stated author but it isn’t a usual junior staffer “no name” piece. It’s a mood-feeling piece.

Many publications take copy from “controversial” writers and publish it with no name attached. I think she who tweeted it penned it. She is no lover of Trump and was a Remain campaigner. But even Edwina has admitted Trump is right, even though she thinks it “gruesome”.

I was off the Trump train when he rained bombs on Syria for no particular reason shortly after getting into power. But, boorish and uncouth as he is, I must admit to warming to him again.

The man is saying things that need to be said. And it is having an effect.

He has met Kim, he is building bridges with Putin, he has bitch slapped the EU on trade; he may yet do some good. He is meeting people and talking, he isn’t starting more wars like Hillary would have done by now.

Posted in Books, Media, Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Range Rover Sport L494 Versus Full Fat Range Rover 4.4TDV8 L322

I was contemplating selling my 2006 L320 Range Rover Sport and getting a new shape L494 Range Rover Sport.

Then the topic cropped up about the dodgy 3 litre crankshafts and I thought better of that idea. Especially after an exchange on Twitter with Land Rover.

Dropping £35k+ on a car that might rack up a £20k bill any moment held little appeal.

I wondered what else I might buy (and a bonus if it spent less time in the garage than a Land Rover vehicle) and investigated the Audi Q7, various big Jeepy things of numerous brands and Bentleys. None held the appeal of a Range Rover .

I decided what I really wanted was a full fat Range Rover  L405, but the £45k used entry level seems a lotta wonga.

So I wondered what a late model Range Rover L322 Full Fat (FF) might be like since they are about half the money of a Range Rover L405. But it would need to be proper spec, black and probably the best model I could find.

Then a chap posted one for sale that looked a likely candidate. As is often the way, I expected him to be at the other end of the country, but no, he was about four miles away. Thumbs Up

So to cut a long story short, after much friendly haggling and poker faces, I acquired an unabused Range Rover 4.4TDV8 Autobiography Black with 50 odd k miles. Spec is off the scale and it is a lovely example.

It had some large Range Rover Overfinch wheels on that were not to my taste, so I quickly rectified that with some nice Range Rover L405 wheels.

A chap from Gumtree drove off tonight smiling with the old wheels, so the cost of the wheel upgrade cost me about £300 net.

It lacked sidesteps so I got some deployable ones that are going on in a week or so. So here we are up to now.

Range Rover Autobiography Black Edition

I must say, what a nice thing the Full Fat is.

Similar to a Range Rover Sport the untrained eye perhaps, but a totally different animal to the Sport.

At over £10k less than a new shape Sport, they represent pretty decent value. And with the 4.4 V8 it goes like a rocket! Thumbs Up

So after parting with a large bundle of hard-earned notes, I thought I’ll perhaps pass the Range Rover Sport along and get a few quid back in the coffers. But my wife then decided that she rather likes our Range Rover Sport, and in the absence of the white three door Evoke she would really like, she’ll hang on to the Range Rover Sport, thanks very much. Rolling with laughter

(Real reason: slim long blonde milfy women still look pretty hot on the school run in an aged Range Rover Sport.)

So I now get to flog her Chrysler 300C which we bought new in 05, which last time I looked had gone down in value from almost £30k it cost in 05 down to about 87p.

On the upside, we are now a two Range Rover family, so we now have the joy of our small fleet spending twice as long in the local garages (since 05 our Chrysler has only needed MOT, tyres, some bushes, brake pads and an alternator)Shocked

I have an old Mercedes Sprinter van if both end up in dock together.

But behold, I’ll be that smiling bloke in the V8 Range Rover whose kids are watching telly with their new bluetooth headphones in the back. I pray we dont spend too much time on the hard shoulder.

Handy to have a telly while you are waiting for the AA when you break down though…… Cash in the Attic anyone?

Posted in Cars | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Taste of success at High Peak Business Club’s latest meeting

The latest meeting of High Peak Business Club took place on the morning of Friday, October 6.

The guest speaker was Raymond Reynolds, property and business development director of Greggs and his theme was Baking Up A Business. The club’s Edwina Currie reported: “Raymond Reynolds is Scottish and very tall. And slim – if he’s eating a lot of his firm’s pasties, he doesn’t show it.

“Changing roles after ten years as retail director, he now has “a wide portfolio of responsibilities.” He’s been with Greggs since the 1980s, so he’s seen it grow and adapt as the traditional High Street has come under pressure. How does a bread shop business become the darling of the stock market?

“At High Peak Business Club as we scoffed sausage rolls from Greggs in Buxton, we realised that the firm is, in Raymond’s words, “a success story in staying relevant; you can never rest on your laurels.” That’s a pertinent lesson for everyone in business (and, dare I suggest, in politics too).

High Peak Business Club

“The key was old Mr Gregg realising that when the trays came out of the bakery at the back of his shops, the food flew off them: customers wanted something absolutely fresh. Back in the 70s, the main product was bread and cakes, and Greggs did not sell sandwiches.

“But gradually – mirroring closely the increasing proportion of women entering the jobs market – the focus has shifted to Food On The Go, with freshly made sandwiches as a primary product. We ladies don’t slice bread any more: we’re too busy.

“It isn’t as easy as you’d think. Tesco, Boots and Marks & Spencer all offer sandwiches, factory wrapped and (these days) of high quality. But odds are, they were made three days ago. At Greggs, a baguette is filled within an hour after being shop baked (how French!) so it’s a sophisticated operation, with labour costs at the point of delivery a significant factor.

“But to keep prices competitive, behind the scenes Greggs’ own supply chain is being improved by a £100m bakery investment programme. When complete Greggs will have fewer bakeries but each will specialise in being a centre of excellence for key products. “Doesn’t this add to your carbon footprint?” asked one member, but overall the answer is no, for high-tech factories use far less energy, and central ordering produces less waste.

“Raymond himself has been at the centre of much of this invisible revolution. By 2000, his charts showed that while turnover was growing strongly, profits were only creeping up; the supermarkets got in on the act with in-store bakeries, and by 2012, Greggs was being written about as another High Street name in trouble. New CEO Roger Whiteside, appointed in 2013, was clear: “Keep it simple, concentrate on what you do well” – another great lesson.

“They simplified ranges and improved availability. They examined sacred cows – assumptions that were not justified – and slaughtered them wholesale. Today you can get healthy nosh from Greggs, while they still offer a £2 breakfast with real coffee and wifi. You’ll find them now in airports and garages, on motorways and railway stations. The focus on what customers want is ferocious. “Our people and our communities are at the heart of the business,” said Raymond, but it’s clear that vital commercial intelligence comes from those on the ground.

“So we tucked in, and the verdict was highly favourable, apart from one member who has recently lost five stone and wasn’t touching the pastry! But when a business is churning out around three million sausage rolls a week, (more in the winter) you’d expect them to be good at what they do.”

The next meeting of the club takes place on Friday, November 10, from 7.30am, at Chapel Golf Club. The title of the meeting is Keep On Truckin’! and it features Angelina Miley, HR director of Warrington-based Eddie Stobart.

The December meeting takes place on Friday, December 8, from 7.30am, at Chapel Golf Club. The speaker’s theme is The Budget, with Ian Bingham FCA of BDO Manchester. For more on the club, go to www.highpeakbusinessclub.co.uk

Posted in Business | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Taste of success at High Peak Business Club’s latest meeting

Is War Between the USA and North Korea Likely?

The media is foaming at the mouth at the prospect of a war between North Korea and the USA.

Is a nuclear war likely between North Korea and the USA? Are Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un likely to go to war?

We say no.

It’s all theatre. Or at least, it’s all theatre now North Korea’s powerful neighbour China have clarified their position thus:

China’s state-run Global Times said: “If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

Be under no doubt whatsoever, despite the US being the most warmongering, terroristic, aggressive state on the planet, since it got its arse kicked in Vietnam, it chooses its battles carefully. It only fights wars it thinks it can win.

The US would love nothing more than to invade North Korea, kill Kim Jong-Un and destroy the country as it did with everywhere else it brought “democracy” to.

The prospect of filling North Korea with American missiles pointed at Russia and China makes the warmongers in DC drool down their flabby faces.

However, American aggression knows it’s limits. Its limits are North Korea’s neighbours: The largest economy on the planet and the largest country on the planet.

It will not fight China. It will not fight Russia. Both countries have an interest in what is going on in their backyard.

Look at the recent history of the US regime change roadshow, those places they “spread democracy to”. They are usually weak, poor states. Often sandy places where blokes travel on camels. And those crusades all take a decade each or more, and result in no defined victory.

That isn’t North Korea. North Korea is a nuclear enabled state with a six million strong army. North Korea is now protected from American invasion by China. North Korea is safe as long as it does not strike first.

Which it won’t. because Kim Jong-Un may be many things, but stupid isn’t one of them. Ignore how our fake news media caricatures him.

Trump is a mouth on a stick. He isnt the man making the decisions in the US as his soon-quashed “muslim ban” demonstrated. He is the mouthpiece that fat men with many guns in pickup trucks vote for because he says vulgar things they like while wearing a baseball cap.

The power in the US is the Neocon war machine in the background. They now know that China, by guaranteeing North Korea’s security, has in one swoop rendered them impotent.

I do not think that the Trump regime really wants war with North Korea but they are engaged in a dance.

Lets make a very short analysis of what the DPRK desired outcomes are and those for the USA.

The DPRK wants the US to return to the treaties negotiated between North Korea and the US but abrogated by the US.

Those treaties enabled North Korea and the US to communicate, they gave some guarantees for the security of the DPRK and enabled the DPRK to engage in trade with the rest of the world.

The US would provide assistance in building two nuclear power plants in North Korea. In return the DPRK would not start developing a nuclear weapons program and given the US built power plants would not have the means to do so.

The US wants to have the ability to point weapons at China and Russia, wants to maintain a strong military presence in South Korea that threatens China and very much wants to maintain a destabilising influence in this part of Asia.

When one looks at these ‘needs’ and prefered outcomes the US and North Korea are actually on the same page of the hymn book! Quite literally the only thing that needs to happen is that the US carries out its treaty obligations toward North Korea.

Spooklily, that’s exactly what the DPRK has been asking for for many years.

On the side, neither China or Russia want the DPRK to have nuclear weapons but neither has the power to stop them from having them – nor does the USA.

Those weapons will only go away when North Korea feels that it is safe for them to go away. DPRK is NOT the puppet of the Chinese. The Juche concept makes sure of it. However, North Korea understands and recognises the position of China in the North Korean economy and culture.

EVERYTHING that is happening now, from all stakeholders, is designed to enable just one thing: direct negotiations between the DPRK and USA and, ultimately, that the US recognises and carries out its treaty obligations toward the DPRK.

For China and Russia that outcome is not ideal because it leaves the US with weapons in South Korea pointed toward both Russia and China but it is MUCH better than having the US bouncing around trying to impose yet more ‘democracy’ on the Chinese and Russian borders.

I think that Trump is well aware of the dance and the steps but is dancing with the weight of congress on his back. No matter how good a dancer he is, his feet will fall heavily.

I think that his counterparts in Pyongyang, Beijing and Moscow are aware of the handicaps faced by the Leader Of The Free World [sic] and their rhetoric and actions are designed to compensate for Trump’s limited dancing ability.

The United States has reneged on its treaty obligations. These are choices made the United States specifically to cause harm to the people of North Korea.

There will be no war. The US isn’t capable of taking on China and Kim Jong-Un wont put himself in the position by striking first of having China be neutral.

It looks like a stalemate. But in fact, it’s game set and match to China. They want to see the influence of the US minimised, especially in Asia.

This episode teaches the Americans they won’t be invading China’s neighbours any time soon.

Posted in Politics & Random Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Small Business Fed Up of Queuing at The Post Office?

Small business wondering if there is more to life than queuing at the Post Office counter?

Wondering which courier to use?

Been there – done that. Here are some pointers.

The post office or couriers are the two options.

Remember: For Highlands and UK islands always use the Post Office, they will always be cheaper. You’ll find the postcodes couriers surcharge online, IM, PO33, BT and some K Scottish ones. Couriers don’t want to go there so they charge more. PO is always cheaper on small boxes.

jess1

Parcel2go

We used to use parcel2go.com a lot and simply use whoever was cheapest courier from that platform. They have tools so you can bulk upload from Amazon/eBay/most shopping cart software so you are not booking one by one. If you open an account and top up £100 at a time with a debit card you get another 5% off. Cheaper than the Post Office and they collect.

Cons:

  • With parcel2go (or parcelmonkey or any of the aggregators) there is almost zero customer support when a wheel falls off. You get what you pay for. You are consigned to days of delay and repeated contact via “live chat” – which is usually anything but “live” and seldom English.
  • Usually Hermes are the cheapest on there and they can be pretty dire. See below.
  • If they damage or lose something you will have to jump through so many hoops to get any compensation it simply isn’t worth the time. You’ll write it off.

>>Read about Parcel2Go and the Hermes scam here<<

Hermes direct:

Eventually we started using Hermes directly. Same bulk upload tools as P2G but a few pence cheaper.

Cons:

  • Hermes are great for low value items you can afford to give some away of – because you will be doing.
  • The drivers routinely lose/steal stuff or deliver it to random neighbours, sometimes other addresses entirely, leave it in their car for a week if they have flu, drop it in puddles or simply toss stuff over walls in the rain.
  • Because of the above, tracking will sometimes say delivered but customer says it isn’t.
  • We found Hermes to be more trouble than they were worth eventually and preferred to pay more to get a better service.
  • Put Collect+ and Yodel into the same category.

>>Read about Hermes/MyHermes here<<

My preferred options:

We use a mix of Post Office PPI and DPD courier.

Royal Mail Business.

You get in touch with Royal Mail business section and tell them you want an OBA (online business account) and want to use PPI.

This allows you to book your own boxes online, select Recorded etc, and drop them off at the post office in bulk done already and walk out. You pay every month by DD. You are sat at home with a glass of wine rather than standing in the PO.

Now they will make you buy a £250 printer to do this now (we use the old label system still) and the software is a bit of a learning curve, but once you are doing it, it is easy peasy and a bit cheaper than the PO counter.

Cons:

Your local post office might sulk at taking them in pre-paid this way – ask them. They are contractually obliged to take them but many still refuse citing lack of space. You may need to remind them they still get paid if they scan recorded mail (which they do from your book 10 at a time using the bulkscan tool on their screen).

>>Read about Dane Bank Post Office here – this is what to expect at some Post Offices<<

jess

RM will collect from you but you need to be projected to spend £15k+ a year before they will.

DPD.

If you have ever had a DPD delivery, you will know it is world class. SMS alerts, reschedule option emails, knowing the time of delivery within an hour, etc. Customers LOVE it.

Get hold of DPD, have the rep call down to see you. Show him the size and weight of the boxes you do and they will cut you a deal. We pay I think £4.99 + VAT but that is up to 20kg and 1m long. Yours are smaller and lighter so they will do a better deal for you maybe depending on volume. The minimum to have an account with them is I think 50 parcels a week.

Cons:

  • They are useless outside of the EU (inside EU is great), forget them for that.
  • Expensive for Highlands and islands – Use the PO.
  • If you have no parcels on a day, they charge you for a failed collection @ £14.50 so always have at least one.

Pros:

  • Awesome tracking – I mean awesome!
  • Proper customer service. Pick up a phone and someone answers it.
  • Everything arrives, almost no damages or headaches.

I will add I am not on commission from DPD, just having tried everything else, if you can afford to use them you will be sorry you didn’t earlier when you finally land at their door in 5 years. That’s what happened to me.

But standing at the Post Office every day with 40 boxes sucks. It won’t be doable when there are 100 boxes so better do it while you can than flap later without a plan as you grow.

UPS are OK too, but not as good as DPD. But they will come and make you an offer too if you ask them, but they don’t rush arranging that.

In short: Royal Mail PPI or courier. From courier, try parcel2go or similar if not so big (watch for the “overweight scam”), if you can do 50 a week talk to UPS or DPD direct.

If you like what you read on here, please share using the social media buttons below.

Comments welcome in the box below.  

Posted in Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment