Vegetable Garden Planter

This was my first garden project….

Had a little help from 21st Century Caveman

Spoiler…

…the slugs n’ snails got the veg

The Glory of The Garden

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Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

by Rudyard Kipling

13 Inspirational Quotes from Jay-Z’s Decoded biography

“You realise the beat is everywhere. The other element is flow. Every life has to find its own flow.”

“To have contradictions- especially when you are fighting for your life is human”

They say that soldiers in armies don’t fight for the cause they fight for eachother.”

Success could only mean self sufficiency- being a boss not a dependent.”

“A great hit can still resonate and reach another level within the listener.”

“In music as in business you don’t get what you deserve you get what you negotiate.”

There is unquestionably magic involved with a great songwriter”

Remember the work without the work the magic will not come.”

The disease of addiction was treated as a crime

Michael Jackson and Prince are two musical geniuses that fucked up alot of black folk.”

My life has been more poetry than prose, more about unpredictable leaps than steady movement or worse stagnation”

Artists can have greater access to reality; they can see patterns that others distracted by the blur of life may miss. Sharing that truth can be a very powerful thing.”

Music is a release a mental exercise a way of keeping sane

Read the book here.

No Easy Day – Mark Owen – Book Review

The hunt for Osama Bin Laden (UBL) is one of the defining tales straddling the new millennium. Beginning in those anxious days after September 11- Owen’s account delivers a degree of closure on the heinous attrocities. 

The Speeding Train

The 250 or so pages are part history, autobiography and personal philosophy. We gain unique insight into the rigours of SEAL training. Hell week is described in stomach churning detail. The narrative never lets up and we feel each thrum of the chopper and whistling of the AK-47 rounds. 

Mark doesn’t labor the buildup. We jump between training and missions including the infamous Captain Phillips rescue off Somalia. I came to the book through Jack Carr. Like Owen he is an ex SEAL turned writer and author of the James Reece series. Here though truth really is more gripping than fiction.

The ‘good idea fairy’ is such apt analogy for the bureaucracy which can emerge when you throw mega dollars, layers of management and technology together. There are parallels here with the oil industry. It takes more than one man to drill a well, find a reservoir and produce hydrocarbons. Equally it took many thousands of bright people, millions/ trillions of dollars and over a decade to bring UBL to justice. 

Throughout a genuine sense of unity, brotherhood which binds the team resonates with the reader. The cameraderie jumps off the page an aspect which is often overlooked in the print media. The story highlights contrasts between the labyrinthine security agency and the ‘get shit done’ SEALs. 

Stray Rounds

No work is flawless and there are sections where the book falls short. The ultimate killing comes as something as an anti-climax. The dumping of the body at sea is glossed over. There is also a noticeable absence of content on the planning of the attacks. Mastermind Khaled-Sheik-, Mohammad (KLM) is just a footnote. For a much deeper dive on the hijackers take a look at Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower. 

Thus to politics which bubbles under the writing like a unscratched itch. Barack Obama doesn’t exactly come out smelling of roses. There are more than a couple or digs at the former ‘change you can believe’ in President. He still cops flack from both sides of the aisle for being drone trigger happy. 

Brotherhood

Above all we follow an operative who takes really pleasure in his craft. The methodical way he prepares equipment, stays alert and focus under pressure are all things we should heed. As a self confessed type A personality he flounders when not in control. 

Bringing this review together is tricky. I loved going on the journey with Mark. I defy readers to not feel they are plunging from the Chinooks into the beat up compound in Abbatabad. 

It took real bravery to set down and share the story. No doubt he faced massive pressure from the Intelligence Community. Like Ed Snowdon’s Permanent Record this is a story that had to be told and demands to be read. 

Money Making Scheme #3- Passive Investing

Next up is passive index investing. This consists of buying tracker funds on an online marketplace such as AJ Bell, Share centre, or my choice Vanguard UK.

All this money we getting could be gone in a minute if we don’t invest it with long term effect”

Out of all the schemes covered on this site it remains the simplest to setup, manage and profit from. It is worth drawing a comparison here:

Simple but not easy in the realm of fitness could be attending a weekly Parkrun. Sure, it takes some effort to bounce or crawl out if your but for 9am on a Saturday. As I’ll explain in a future post the energy expended is well worth it.

Under the hood

You have a couple or choices when it comes to executing this strategy. First is dollar cost averaging. Setup a Direct debit to funnel excess cash into the market. Windfalls can also be sunk in as lump sums. Some research suggests that this approach yields better results. Either way you are now off to the races.

There are no pockets in shrouds

That brings us to advantages. Why waste excess energy on active management when you could be hiking, biking or writing?

Another choice is holding fees. Do you want to keep costs minimal or would you like Toy’s R Us keep everything under one roof? For me it is all about Vanguard UK. My SIPP recently got shifted across from Fidelity talk about a long process it took 5 months. (Yep no typo!)

Patience

Scratching the active itch was mentioned in an earlier post. If you want to dabble against the market equivalent of Venus and Serena Williams then be my guest. Just restrict it to 1-5% of your funds. Keep the majority passive and go mow the lawn.

When it comes to most things in life patience is a virtue. You have to slog away for several years before the magic of compound interest really takes hold. Trust the process and your portfolio will rise faster than C02 ppm levels in the atmosphere.

“We building businesses you can be mad if you want.”

In reality most of us are already unwitting passive investors. I’m talking about our workplace pensions. These funds have exciting names like Universal Balanced Collection… I am still shocked at the small firm accountants I meet who (who should know better) sit in these -even though they know money is being left on the table.

If like many you want a battle plan before engaging with the market. Write yourself and Investment Portfolio Statement (IPS). This outlines the purpose, expectations and rebalancing triggers. It also sets out how performance will be evaluated, when additions will be made and a section called ‘Never,’ as in never buy on a friend’s tip.

The future

The investing broker landscape is more crowded than a barber shop post lockdown. Will it go the way of the black gold industry and be dominated by a big three such as HAL, SLB and BHI? Or will the current recession lead to creative destruction and the rise of relative minnows, Robinhood, Degrio etc…

Time will tell. For now I’m sticking to Vangaurd. Sometimes a superior UI is worth spending the extra change on. So how does passive investing measure up against out three key indicators?

1) Excitement – not really if you want that get down to Gala Bingo or okay the poor man’s tax (aka the National Lottery)

2) Rewarding? Meh. Is seeing a direct debit leave your account on the first of the month rewarding…

3) Best wealth builder- a big tick here with the easiest returns over the decade or so I’ve been in the game. Passive really does mean passive and all I’ve had to do is rebalancing pruning twice a year.

The world at your fingertips

As ever do your own research, your mileage my vary, blah blah. Remember, we all have different risks and abilities.

Take a look at the other schemes – you’ll see that they compliment eachother and when managed effectively can launch your wealth building ship!