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The world’s best ever geography lesson

July 15, 2019

My brother Mike and I completed the Peking to Paris Endurance Rally in the Place Vendome last Sunday in our Bentley S1. Most of the participants made it to the end though many were towed or flatbedded for parts of the journey. No official records are kept for the number of cars that make it under their own steam but we believe that only 21 did so, including us. Bentley S1s…

Forbes – Big U.K. Firms Invest More In Telecoms Than Solving Worker Productivity Problems

July 10, 2019

Britain’s productivity crisis was no closer to being solved today as it emerged large businesses are investing twice as much in their telecoms as boosting the productivity of their workforces.   Large U.K. businesses are reliant on a “spray and pray approach” to productivity and don't know how to maximize their human capital, said a new report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and Concentra Analytics.   The survey of…

City A.M. – UK companies complacent on productivity, survey shows

July 10, 2019

Nearly two-fifths of large UK companies called their productivity levels “very concerning” but big firms are investing only 0.25 per cent of their annual turnover to remedy the problem, new research has revealed.   A survey by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and analytics firm Concentra Analytics shows that a third of large organisations are spending less than £10,000 a year on developing knowledge of where their…

Net migration at second lowest level in over a decade contributing to perfect storm for London property

July 8, 2019

At the end of June, the Office for National Statistics published its annual migration statistics for the year ending June 2018. A close examination of this dataset reveals that London’s overall net migration is at its second lowest level in 14 years, despite more people moving to the capital from other parts of the country.  The two components of the above figures are internal migration (people moving between London and…

We pass fields of solar panels and wind farms, cross from Eastern Europe to the West and visit the world’s most visited car museum…

July 5, 2019

The settlement after WW2 moved Stettin from Germany to Poland. But the border with Germany is close by and we spent much of the day crossing what was East Germany.   In 1948 the population of East Germany was 20 million. Today it is a bit over 13 million, the same as in 1905. Because it is so depopulated, the fields seem to be used to a huge extent for…

The good Lord doesn’t like us to get too presumptuous and today he decided to remind us of that

July 4, 2019

We had had just about a week with no mechanical problems and had started to presume that getting to Paris was just a matter of filling up the car with petrol from time to time.   But it turned out that this was not to be the case.   About 50 miles into our route today the engine suddenly died.   We had started unpacking the car to find our…

The ‘sweeps party’ – we start late, a pretty good chicken and chips in a town pronounced ‘Quids In’ and we get halfway through an unexpectedly large Poland…

July 3, 2019

…. The most important social event of the rally is the ‘sweeps party’. The sweeps are special people. Some of the top mechanics in the world who come on the rally to pick up the stragglers. We would still be in Mongolia but for them. And not only can they fix cars but also they know how to party. The party is normally held at the tail end of the…

We enjoy a lovely drive down the coast, find the ghost of Stalin in an auto museum and look at the roosters on the spires of Riga’s churches

July 1, 2019

It’s been a long rally and ralliers are starting to look tired. Someone had a birthday yesterday and was offering vodka shots en masse. I suspect those who accepted them to boost their short term adrenalin will suffer today…   [caption id="attachment_5791" align="aligncenter" width="594"] Figure 1: Riga’s car museum is world famous.[/caption]   We had a beautiful drive, a lot of it down the coastline. I would guess that quite…

Sweden’s weak currency puts its booming Flat White Economy at risk

July 1, 2019

Endless midsummer nights, stunning archipelagos and tasty meatballs, there are many reasons to go to Sweden for a holiday. In the summer of 2019, you can also snap up a real bargain. Cebr analysis of the Scandinavian currencies illustrates that UK workers will get the best deal should they convert their pounds into Swedish kronor. The Swedish krona has weakened significantly over the past 18 months, sliding from 11.3 SEK/GBP in…

We visit two capitals in one day, have a sea cruise in the Baltic and discover an exotic business operating opposite our hotel…

June 30, 2019

We skipped the two rallycross sections of the route carefully designed by the Finnish friends of the rally. We were sorry to let them down but when we discovered that at least one of the cars had ended in a ditch the decision seemed justified…   [caption id="attachment_5777" align="aligncenter" width="468"] Figure 1: Helsinki's Modern Art Museum with a P2P rally car as decoration[/caption]   This gave us time to have…