• Lloyds Bank, power cuts & Brexit: Betting some fields, but not the farm!

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    “Muck spreading” Source: https://www.masonskings.co.uk/
    One part of the Rogers family lore is the tale of the barley in Town field.

    The last farm that was actually owned and farmed – as opposed to owned with a tenant in it – by the Rogers family was Lower Northcote Farm, Offwell, Honiton – it has now been developed into Otter Valley Park Residential Homes, Devon. GOTO: https://youtu.be/LdrDO14SrBA (the large house set amongst the holiday homes is the original farmhouse). When the Rogers family owned it it was a mixed farm (livestock and arable) now they “farm” willing humans.

    If you look at the Otter Valley video, you will see that the fields have largely gone now, but “Town field” as it’s name suggested was by the road leading out of Honiton on going towards Sidmouth. It was that time of year when the crops were being planted the livestock was let back into the fields. At the time the manure from the animals that had been piled up in part of the yard over the winter was spread over the fields. The attempt to spread the manure evenly over all the fields failed somewhat as when the farm workers came to spread the remaining manure on “Town field” – the last to be spread – there was rather more than was needed. The charge hand asked my grandfather what to do. My grandfather told the men to spread all the manure on Town field and leave no excess in the yard.

    Grandfather had at the time a contract with a small local brewery for a crop of barley and he had Town field in mind for the crop. As a result the manure was spread, the field prepared and the barley seed sowed. Well, the barley grew, grew thick and green, and thick and green, and thick and green. As the weeks went by and spring turned into summer that barley was still beautifully tall, thick and very very green! The old farming boys of Honiton town when they passed Town field looked on and grinned, “John Rogers is going to loose that barley!” they said. What they meant was that so much manure had been spread the crop was so green that it would fail to ripen before the end of the summer. Thus when summer came and the other arable crops were ready for harvest they were harvested. As the green barely in Town field continued to ripen. Town field was an oft watched field. At long, long last the crop had ripened sufficiently for harvest. Grandfather, the men and all hands set to and began to gather in the barley. As the last of the barley was in the barn the rain clouds arrived and the heavens opened. Grandfather had gotten away with it!
    “Never again!” he declared.

    In 1922 Lower Northcote Farm was sold and my grandfather retired. Some of the money was used to buy a town house in Honiton’s High Street and the rest was invested, mostly in shares in Lloyds Bank. They provided a good income for my grandparents and my maiden aunt who survived them both until she died in 1983. They then provided a good (additional) income for my father and my uncle who shared the holding equally. In the 1990s I managed to persuade “Dad” to sell most of the Lloyds shares and to reinvest the proceeds in the Dunedin Income Growth Investment Trust. This he did. The shares which were in his name were reinvested in the investment trust in joint names with “Mum”. When “Dad” died at 11:45PM on Friday 11th July 2003 the remaining shares became mine. When “Mum” died on Sunday 2nd April 2006 the Dunedin shares became mine.

    I have written about Lloyds Bank before and the prospects for it being taken over by a large US (or Chinese) bank.

    Whilst I am bullish about Lloyds, not everyone is. For instance, Mr Royston Wild wrote a bearish artilce on Monday 5th August, 2019 for the Motley Fool.
    GOTO: https://www.fool.co.uk/investing/2019/08/05/the-lloyds-share-price-has-slumped-25-3-reasons-why-i-think-itll-keep-sinking/
    Mr Wild is of course correct to link the fortunes of Lloyds so closely with those of the British economy. However, whilst Lloyds would indeed suffer (via it’s customers) were there to be a hard Brexit, I very much doubt if the consequences of a hard Brexit would be anything other than short term. This is because – sadly – the UK in these circumstances would see it’s Europhile political elite and establishment secure it’s re-entry into the EU and, inter-alia, the ERM prior to entering the Eurozone!

    Were this to occur you could “bet your bottom US $” that large US banks would be looking to take over Lloyds Bank. As a result, I am keeping a close watch on the share price. It it drops to very low levels I might buy more shares awaiting the eventual upturn.

    A significant factor I will take into account is the change in policy vis-à-vis the bank’s dividend payment policy. From next year Lloyds will be paying it’s dividends quarterly. Conventional stock market wisdom has it that this helps support the share price.
    Herewith the BG post that announced it: http://www.british-gazette.co.uk/2019/05/17/lloyds-bank-some-good-news/
    Were a hard Brexit to take place one can be sure that the winter of 2019/2020 will be described by journalists as another “Winter of discontent”. The situation could very well be made very much worse with power cuts! The lunatic path that has been pursued by past governments with respect to replacing coal fired power stations with wind farms resulted in the blackout the other day.

    Today in the Mail on Sunday, Doctor Richard North has written an excellent article about the lunatic renewables policy and how close the UK is to an electrical capacity (the lack of) disaster. This is repeated in his blog.
    GOTO: http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=87327
    Expect this to be repeated over winter. In the case of a hard Brexit the interconnectors may not be in operation. Christmas diner may be cold turkey sandwiches for many! Which would give a whole new meaning to the phrase “going cold turkey!”