Let Us Talk Failing Grayling

Many readers will know the incredulously low regard in which I hold the Miliband Brothers, Nick Clegg and Ed Balls. Indeed I held champagne lunches when Mr Balls and Mr Clegg left office. Indeed I also sent flowers to people in Nick Clegg’s former constituency of Sheffield Hallam (a former home of mine) when he lost his office to congratulate them on their good fortune of not having Mr Clegg as their MP.

Let us now move south to the constituency of Epsom and Ewell.  The MP for Epsom and Ewell is Chris Grayling or failing Grayling. Allow me to take a few steps back. Epsom and Ewell has been my on and off home since 1995. I have a large number of personal and commercial ties to the area and I am frequently commuting to Epsom and Ewell from Warwickshire. At this point I must proffer immense thanks to Thames Valley Police for leaving me alone  during my frequent high speed drives between the two locations.

Until 2001 Epsom and Ewell was more than well graced by and represented  very well at the House of Commons by the more than excellent The Lord Hamilton of Epsom (Archie Hamilton). A gentleman and a scholar. An MP that was liked and respected by reprobates such as myself and local grandees alike. A Pleasure to communicate with as well as I know from 7 or 8 communications with him on the subject of local issues and commerce alike.

Let us also divert to the local politics of Epsom and Ewell. Most local councillors throughout the UK are affiliated to political parties such as the conservatives or Labour and some are independent. I believe though I could be wrong that Epsom and Ewell is the only place in the country that elects all or most of its local ward councillors from the local residents associations. Oh trust me as someone that knows that if you fart drop your cigarette in the wrong place anywhere in Epsom and Ewell that some member of the residents association will be on your case quicker than the quickest thing! The local residents associations are rightly very protective of Epsom and Ewell and very proud of Epsom and Ewell and that is not a bad thing.

Let us get to post 2001. Epsom and Ewell gets Chris Grayling as an MP. I am sure that Jesus wept on that particular day. I have written to Chris Grayling a number of times, the responses I have received from him are always In my opinion wet to say the very least. There has often journalists visiting Epsom and Ewell to write stories to discredit him. Indeed I came across a few on my last substantial visit a month ago. To be fair these visits have been a constituent of Epsom and Ewell life since 2001. I have only seen him out and about once. He was “helping” the local poppy sellers at a stall in the local shopping centre, the Ashley Centre close to one Remembrance Day. He was cracking jokes and you could see from the looks on the faces of various people close by that he was not popular or liked. On another point from back in the day, who remembers the MP’s expenses scandal of 2008 or 2009? Who remembers the MP’s having to publish their expenses online. Well I ran a check on Chris Grayling’s expenses at the time (I used to run an IT Company but I would not want him as a customer). Chris Grayling in the period up to that scandal was ripped off by his IT Suppliers to the tune of at least £3,000!

His response to my email alerting him to this was condescending to say the least. You would never get that from Archie Hamilton.

Chris Grayling’s failings in high office are so well known now that I cannot say much more. It has all been said already. How much has the ferry debacle cost? Even my 6 month old cat could get that one right!

Personally I would never even trust “Failing Grayling” to act as lollipop lady outside an Epsom and Ewell Infants school as let us face it he would fuck that up too.

So to end this blog allow to me pass on my thoughts on “Failing Grayling” and his next steps. “Chrissy Wissy, Failing Grayling” darling, Can you kindly “Foxtrot Oscar” from Epsom and Ewell please and leave the lovely residents in peace? (Ok you can stay but only in a “shared property” in Treadwell road! That cemetery houses a number of excellent local people, so I am not sure they would want you either!) I know I am not the only one who doesn’t want you in the area. Oh and before you do go Chris, just answer one last question, why did your mum and dad not consider contraception or abortion?

A sad day for flying

So news has just reached me that Flybmi (BMI/British Midland) have just gone into administration. A sad day for aviation.

This was a solid airline who can account for about 200 of the 1181 flights that I undertook between 1995 and 2014. They were regularly responsible for delivering me to Dublin, Leeds, Glasgow and Frankfurt amongst other places when I used to fly regularly for work.

Flybmi were not an amazing airline but they were good, solid and reliable, their staff always friendly and courteous and happy to help. They are one of only one of three of the airlines that I used regularly not to leave me stranded in a good forsaken hellhole. A true honour and a mark of respect for their ability to get me from A to B. Although a regular choice on the London-Dublin route they picked up the cudgels and did more work for me when I had to ban British Airways as a supplier for 5 years in 2003 because of ineptitude.

I know their fortunes changed in recent years but the news just now is disheartening and although it is very early days I do wish the staff the very best for the future. The news is still breaking on this but I do hope a deal can be done.

The 12 Month Update

The 12 Month Update.

So 12 months ago, a bout of the flu turned into this.

Which in space of 2 hours turned into this.

Which the turned into a seven week stay in Harefield Hospital, Middlesex. 3 of those weeks in intensive care. It was Myocarditis and heart failure. One pacemaker later what I didn’t bank on was having to retire at such short notice. Nor was I banking on an extraordinarily long recovery. It did mean however that I cut out a 30-a-day smoking habit instantly. I haven’t smoked a cigarette since. I have to use oxygen and my arthritis and Menieres disease has got worse. I was also not expecting to have to take an 11 new different types of medication every day. Walking is now an issue and I am glad that I invested in a mobility scooter after struggling with and crashing a wheelchair.

I managed to offload a number of business interests and close down others, leaving me with just the basics of what has now become The Trade House and some legacy business interests in Ireland which I am hoping to sell soon as the lovely Brexit is not helping things and visits to Ireland are a pain.

Retirement was not working and I was so bored so I have built up The Trade House on a part time basis. Eat, Drink tea, watch telly, sleep and repeat did not work. The small group that is The Trade House now comprises The Trade Counter, The Trade Desk, My personal investments and The Trade House Magazine.  All from working no more than 25 hours a week. I keep getting calls asking me to take on business consultancy and brokerage projects but sadly I will not return to this. I will never go back to a 60 hour plus working week. The Trade House Magazine now gets over 10,000 unique readers every month. Something I am very proud of.

In October I left London to live in Warwickshire and I am pleased that I did. Hardly a day goes by now without news reaching me of news of another stabbing or of a friend or acquaintance being the victim of some other crime. This is actually quite depressing and to be honest London is helping itself with this surge in crime. It was a good time to leave and now I will not be returning. I do visit regularly and on this point I must proffer immense thanks to the traffic division of The Thames Valley Police for leaving me be whilst I speed back and forth. The new house is finally sorted which is a bonus.

One thing that has surprised me is how short the breakages list is, consisting only of a mobile phone, a car configuration website and a wheelchair.

There are too many people to list that I have to thank for their support in the past 12 months. So Thank You all.

So there have it, the 12 month update.

5,000 Items of Content

I am both pleased and amazed that this website has grown to over 5,000 individual items (excluding pictures and video’s) of content. If video’s and pictures were included this figure would swell to just over 11,000.

Since launching in 2012 as a 2 page website I have added to this website on a regular basis pretty much every month. Not only has content been added but also functionality.

The platform (WordPress has not changed but new things have been added and I am certainly not afraid to try new things.

Here is an early copy:

Most of the links on the right are long gone and some of the content of these links has been incorporated on this site.

So what are the plans for future? Functionality wise, there are no plans for the moment. In the past 12 moths especially the site has added more bells and whistles than ever before.

With regards to the look and feel of the website, I often look at new template designs, however nothing has piqued my interest to a significant level to warrant a change, yet.

Content wise, all readers can expect to see new content on a frequent basis.

All that remains is for me to thank every one my website visitors for visiting, reading and engaging on this website. Here’s to the next 5,000 content items.

The 9 Month Update

So its just shy of 9 months since I cane out of a coma and had to “retire”. Well all those who have kept up at the back will know that I adjusted that to semi-retirement and either sold or closed down most of my business interests. I will talk more about that later in this update. 

Health wise I now use a mobility scooter full time.  Yes. It has had some customisation work already and more is planned! After a disaster with a wheelchair (Yes, I crashed it a number of  times!)  I can delightfully inform people that, yes, i have crashed it and that it was a van driver’s fault and not mine. I am also more and more reliant on my oxygen tanks. I really ought to become a shareholder in Gox!  Some of the side effects of the hospital stay have added to my growing list of ailments too, which has slowed up my recovery. The events of February and March 2018 really screwed things up.

A house move half way up the country nearly two months ago went rather well and the new house can now be called a home. Nothing was broken and nothing went missing. The only downside being having to do the final “lift and shift” in the pouring rain! I can also safely say that I have learned more of the nuances of the M40 especially those involving the traffic cops. I had half expected to be running up and down the M40 between Warwickshire and London very frequently but this has yet to happen at the frequency I had expected with only one “emergency dash” so far!

No update would be complete without discussing work. I have discussed in the past how happy I am that I did not finally fully retire.  I think I have got this part time working lark sorted. I believe it has helped my recovery. I know that since April I have yet to work more than 30 hours a week and the maximum should be 25. This is certainly much better than my previous 60 – 70+ hours a week.

I must issue a domain reminder. courtguinness.eu and courtguinness.co.uk are now closed. You must use courtguinness.com

The Trade House is doing well. The magazine is currently growing (straight line average at 17% per month. The end of year special will be published soon and you can read the latest issue below.

The Trade Counter continues to have products added and we now sell on Facebook too. I will  be pushing FundOne and FundTwo on The Trade Suite in 2019. The 2018 campaign for these two was surprisingly rather slow. The Trade Desk has been publicly launched and is starting to tick along nicely. I have branded some other easy-to-deliver services under  the Trade House banner too. This website has had a large number of updates and there are also new micro sites offering other targeted tools including a new communications platform.

That’s all for now 🙂

Stalker Update November 2018

It has  been a long time since I had any massive stalker issues – apart from one. However it seems my Warwickshire based stalker is back with a vengeance. Over 1,000 visits with 7.9 page views per visit from one individual and their accomplices since we moved one month ago and  all from one address  in Warwickshire. The large number of page views are no surprise as we have over 3,500 individual items of content this site.  We have also had some interesting invitations in the local area to connect on social media. As someone who has been around social media in a professional capacity since its inception these fake accounts are some of the silliest I have ever seen.

I am considering police action.

As always I am thankful for the granular and detailed visitor data and analytics provided by the tools and systems that are always monitoring this website not only to  alert me to such issues but also to keep visitors to  this site safe.

A Little whinge – Advertising


Unfortunately folks it is time for me to have a little rant!

This one concerns advertising. I am truly truly shocked about the number of business owners that seem not to care about advertising. The amount of truly shocking copy and artwork that I have seen in the past month might be the stuff of legend or it may not.

I have seen it all but the most common ones are.

  1. I will scan it from another magazine and email. No my friend this will not work, send the original artwork please. This is not as bad as…
  2. Asking for a strip advert or a business card advert to be resized to fit a size 8 times greater than the space you have booked. Even more criminal is the reverse. A large format advert going into the smallest space.

As I sit here ruminating about this I am in the office putting the final touches to the next issue of The Trade House Magazine. I am quite shocked at the number of “bloopers” and basic mistakes that small businesses are making with their advertising. Ladies and gentlemen these are your livelihoods we are talking about. You maybe time poor we are all very busy people in this day and age but advertising is about putting your business’ best foot forward and out into the world. Please make sure you have different sized artwork available. Please don’t try and fit a pint into an espresso cup, it won’t fit!

The Trade House for itself prides itself on working with small businesses, we are committed to this. We all make mistakes from time to time. We are human. The high number of these mistakes that I have seen in one month is quite disturbing. I have seen over 100 incidents in October 2018 alone! I urge you all not to cut corners with marketing and advertising!

Thank you for listening!