I landed new contract with Just Eat at the end of June at their head office, just East of St Pauls with splendid views across to the City. The delivery targets are challenging and should provide a pipeline of professional work for at least the next 3 months. I confess to quite enjoying the new routine of catching the train into London again, and then to jump on the 521 bus from Waterloo.   So good to have time to catch-up on email, work on the Onslow FC website and my blog, read the paper on my journey to and from work.   A definite improvement on driving to work where time in the car is  just so unproductive. 

Just Eat is a marketplace for online restaurant ordering and delivery . This business sector is in a state of rapid evolution, and it seems that the operators with the best App are likely to become dominant in this vertical. Amazon Prime and Uber have both recently jumped into the market, other leading players include DoorDash, Eat24, Grub Hub. Seamless and Skip the Dishes, Canadian operation recently acquired by Just Eat which has a highly successful Delivery Service App.

By the end of the month Just Eat had agreed terms for a ‘merger’ with Takeaway.com, making the combined entity the biggest player in the market for the time being. The pace of change and decision-making is impressive, quite possibly the fastest moving business I’ve worked for.

On 4th July, British Marines seized an Iranian oil tanker, Grace 1 as it passed through UK waters off the coast of Gibraltar during cover of darkness.  The tanker contains 2million barrels of oil alleged (by the US) to be bound for Syria, in breach of European Union sanctions.  Interestingly, Spain had allowed it right of passage.  The situation escalated during the early part of the month as Iran repeatedly requested the release of it’s tanker and threatened retaliatory actions. On 11th July, a British Frigate, shadowing a BP-owned tanker was forced to move between the tanker and three Iranian gun boats that, it appeared, were attempting to intercept the tanker. Guns from the Frigate were trained onto the Iranian gunboats who were ordered back.  Royal Navy forces deployed to the region comprised one Type 23 Frigate, four minehunters and a fleet auxiliary supply ship. This seemed woefully lacking at the time, considering the number and value of British interests in the region that were at risk. This observation was proven right on 19th July,  when Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps captured the Stena Impero, a British flagged oil tanker and detained it.  This situation appears to have been totally mis-managed  so far by the UK government, which, as usual is pre-occupied with Brexit and the Conservative Party Leadership contest.  The citizens of the UK are once again dependent on critical decisions from a small group of mainly over-privileged politicians running the country, who are not paying enough attention to a looming global threat and are being mislead by the US administration.  Are the UK’s political leaders up to it?  This time, what’s at stake is more than simply economic impact and quality of life for us privileged inhabitants of the UK.  The cost of making the wrong decisions now could quite conceivably lead to war and it’s catastrophic consequences.

On the 1st July,   Hong Kong anti-government protests forced their way into the central chamber of Hong Kong’s parliament  spray-painting messages on the walls. Police fired tear gas into the remaining crowd outside and ring-fenced the building and after several hours, several hundreds police were reported to have used ‘appropriate force’ to retake the building. 

There is news and video footage of, what appears to be, extremists inciting violent confrontation and speculation that they are government / Chinese backed. Meanwhile the Chinese authorities  appear to be either supporting or controlling the new Hong Kong authorities and are noticeably not engaging their military might, yet.   It seems they can afford to play the waiting game, capturing intel on all the activists.  It feels like the quiet before a dreadful storm.   

On 24th July, Johnson supersedes May as Prime Minister, as expected and immediately sets to work on his master plan.  Copy of a text to my Bro,  sent a couple of days later on Sat 27-07-2019,  capturing the moment:

It feels like the Conservative Party are in the middle of a right wing coup with sufficient muscle to crush Corbyn’s Trotskyist labour movement.   This new right-wing governance has not been voted in by the citizens of this country and appears to be preparing to rip the UK out of Europe, probably with no deal. Progress of the past 50 years towards a more balanced social democracy and a more effective welfare state will be superseded by balls-out, elbows out, full-on capitalism.  The weak will be trampled on.  Only the strong, who happen to be in the right club, will prosper. For everyone else (most of us) it will be about [1] survival and [2] getting into the right club.  Every man, woman and child for themselves now.

So, the UK is now on a trajectory to ‘leave the EU on 31st October come-what may’. We are on an economic collision course with our European neighbours who understandably refuse to go into further negotiations on ‘the deal’ on the table, and this looks likely to result in the UK crashing out. Right now the nation faces face uncertainty. The only continuum will that the top 0.1% of earners will become more wealthy and the gap between haves and the have-nots will become even more impenetrable.   

This is shot was taken at the top of the footpath that descends from the Hogs Back down towards Pilgrim’s Way. This walk, with the dog, has now become a regular weekly highlight, first thing every Saturday morning, the dew still on the ground and the coutryside starting to warm up again in the early morning sunshine. This is England, our green and pleasant land.

One final note on climate change:  We the month in the middle of a blistering heat-wave, with the highest recorded temperature ever recorded in the UK on 25th July at 38.7 °C (101. 7 °F)