Life isn’t so bad… #ramble

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I share my thoughts with you on Sundays, write about photography on Tuesdays and finance on Fridays. I have been remiss and missed writing the Sunday post again. So today should be photography. I’ll do a mixed post today to catch up on stuff I have not shared this week.

Photography

Today’s picture was shot during a walk by Hydes Pool which is a favourite spot for photography. I shot that with my Nikon D750 which is a full-frame camera. I shot it at F 8 in good light and so I got a fast shutter speed. It’s not a bad shot. I got some depth by including the tree to the right in the foreground but I would have preferred some colour to break up all that green.

Finance

The pundits are forecasting energy bills in excess of £4,000 so I have been thinking about finance a lot. I even checked my smart meter today to see how much washing my clothes costs! I’m expecting my discretionary income, the income I have left after paying for all the essentials, to fall for a while. We are expecting help from the government and at the moment that starts at £400. My investments are doing reasonably well and I have a few dividends to come in September. My “fix” for energy costs ends tomorrow so I will see my direct debit increase for September. My account is now £1300 in credit so that will take the sting out of the increase in payments.

The bright spot is my decision to buy shares in Natwest which are paying an interim dividend and a special dividend and the share price is increasing too. I now own fewer shares after the consolidation but I think they will be a good investment. Lloyds Banking Group is doing better for me too. Standard Chartered is doing well now things are settling down in Hong Kong, although their dividend isn’t quite so good.

Life isn’t so bad…

So life isn’t so bad now. I have some annoying health problems and I’m feeling my age but the sun’s shining and I shall probably have a few beers with my neighbour today. We are social animals, the only species that have a language to communicate with. We often use our discretionary income to socialise and so falls in discretionary income have implications. Having a few beers with my neighbour is cheaper than going to the pub or a bar and it will be quiet enough to actually have a conversation and so good use of my money.

The Big Picture

We have to look at the big picture. Discretionary incomes are falling around the world but particularly in Europe and so President Macron’s recent speech was an appropriate warning to the French middle classes and the rich. They can look forward to higher taxes and energy shortages. I have also been watching the GBP: USD pair and the GBP is now down to $1.17. I also watch the oil price and natural gas prices. If things get worse people might start selling their stocks. We have already seen a sell-off of crypto with BTC now down to $22,238. The gold price is also a Bellwether of how the world economy is doing.

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