Good Morning Lovely People,
Having left Italy, with daily a la carte restaurant choices, the big debate this week, is what shape of pasta we should be having for dinner at home. Restricted to one pasta sauce only, it felt like punishment. Hardly a real life problem but a sensitive one when you’re hungry, Italian, and my family seem to be always hungry and more Italian after our lovely holiday.
Well done to the England ladies football team for winning the European Cup. Somehow as a Scot hearing that this football was coming home did feel like a cause for celebration. The fact they weren’t invited to Downing Street was however another Boris home goal. You do wonder if it were the boys team, would it have been a different result?
One of our favourite places to eat in the world is Da Raffaele in Ischia. We’ve been eating there for decades. The two sons, neither called Raffaele, now run this very simple trattoria. We all agreed it’s better than ever, or maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s not glamorous, there is no air conditioning, fancy booths or terraces overlooking the marina but the food (for our tastes) is our take on perfect.
As part of the family chat at dinner, we checked its TripAdvisor rating. 4 stars, well below many of the other popular hot spots. It started a whole debate around what the public interprets as good. A few days later, on the mainland, and searching for a restaurant, as the one we normally favoured was closed on Sundays (yes even in Italy, restaurants have been forced to close due to staffing challenges). We stupidly chose a TripAdvisor, 5 star. All show and no substance. It was painful in its pretentiousness. Clearly we were not their target market.
Listening to some of the Truss/Sunak debate, it’s all show and the substance is scary. Sunak seems to be catching up. Whatever faux pas either of them make, the fact that 0.2% of the population get to decide who our next PM will be is a bad choice whatever the result. Almost seems like a TripAdvisor rating that doesn’t really match your taste.
With our PM on effective Garden Leave and our Chancellor on holiday, we need someone to get home and put the house in order. The country has been on vacation for months and the washing has piled up, the weeds have overtaken the garden and dust is everywhere. We all know what that looks like. When you come home you can catch up but our country can’t.
Thursday’s Bank of England interest rate increase was the biggest in 25 years. This will directly affect households with mortgages or debt. The “Critical Mortgage Affordability Stress Test” (introduced after the financial crash in 2008/09) was also removed last week. Why now? Trouble unfolding before our very eyes. Quantitative Easing is coming home too roost.
Genuine Covid recovery loans, taken to support businesses and keep jobs, will be costing more with significantly higher repayments, this in itself will fuel inflation. While an estimated £5 billion fraudulent Covid loans have been lost, with no repercussions for those involved and no hope of recouping the funds. This is like running away with the new campervan.
The system is working for the few, not the many. In March 2020 the wealth of UK billionaires was £127,570,000,000. March 2022 this increased to £653,000,000,000. An interest rate increase will help them, it won’t help those who are struggling to pay their electricity bills, rent or mortgage. Governor Bailey says he knows there will be pain but is actively allowing it to cause hurt. Listening to him, it almost feels like his strategy is to support redundancies to help solve the labour shortages of Brexit and Lockdown, providing supply, so wages fall. Crazy? Resulting in less money to spend and his “inflation” target will be met that way. Inflation isn’t being generated where these shocks will hurt. This will only increase government debt through less revenue and more state support. The country needs to recover from a pandemic not be pushed into a deep recession. How can he not see that? It’s almost mediaeval feudalism never mind capitalism gone wrong. 15 months of recession will partially be on the Bank’s watch. The rest is sitting with the new PM and Chancellor to fix. Interesting (not in a good way), whichever choice is made.
The Festivals have now started in earnest and it’s a great feeling. Edinburgh excels at entertainment. The weather is looking good. Based on ticket sales, which are slightly slower than anticipated for all the festivals, there are still lots to choose from. While Covid numbers are falling in Scotland there is a visible use of masks from visitors. I feel it’s a good choice for those who wish to participate. If you’ve not booked a show come and join the fun.
We’ll be coming home late for the next three weeks. We’ve got two of the “not any more children”, helping out. No 1 daughter is supporting Ingreda in the pastry section at The Scottish Cafe and No 1 son is at Contini George Street. Victor and I are on Tattoo duty. The American’s are in town and that’s not just The United States Air Force Honour Guard Drill Team who are performing at this year’s show who are absolutely amazing.
We love Edinburgh, love all you lovely people, especially those that we only get to see at this time of the year. If you see me walking up and down Ramsay Lane with a few happy Pipers Package guests say hello. It will feel like we’re all coming home.
Keep well, keep sane and thank you as always,