Day 13 – Waxham to Caister-on-Sea

Two groups of seals were lazily wallowing on the beach sunshine, grunting and wheezing as we passed. Another morning of hard walking towards Caister and then the penultimate day.

I Don’t Really Do Scenic…

One kind donor has wondered why I don’t write more descriptive items on the walk, especially in such a wondrously glorious place as the coastal path of Norfolk. The reason is that that is my wife Jane’s preserve; she writes the scenic commentary, but that only goes into the written version.

I can’t do both, which is just as well because Jane does an excellent job of it, far better than me. So she leaves me the subjects of politics, religion, death, money and sex!

Religion is difficult because our clergy children (we have lots!) veto all my comments on the CoE on the grounds that they are intemperate rubbish. I agree to such censorship on the grounds of family harmony! Who can blame me? And what can I remember about sex?

Vulgar Bulge?

I see Sienna Miller parading “a bare pregnancy -bumped midriff”.  They say that all publicity is good publicity, but I have always thought that saying was foolish.  If I were her father, I would be plain ashamed of her. There are various words that you never see these days: grace, modesty, and chastity are but three. I am all for change if it brings better ways of doing things, but so much today has degenerated to my mind as cheap,  vulgar and tawdry and parading your bulging body in such a way comes into that category! But I am an old man now, and the past is a foreign country.  And so what do I know!

Money, Money, Money…

Thank goodness it’s considered bad manners to mention Brexit these days. The subject only reminds us of arguments that are – like Marley in A Christmas Carol – as dead as a doornail.

My friend Miles Morland tells me he is no longer as nervous as he used to be about our ability to make our way in a non-EU world – and that’s because of the UK’s extraordinary dominance in industries that require “brain” capital as opposed to the strength the continent has in industries that require “money” capital. The UK either leads the world, or is a close second behind the US, in education, law, accounting, investment banking, fund management, information provision, entertainment, music, theatre, advertising and financial services. These industries require little investment and are wonderfully profitable.

Morland gave as an example a beverage company called SABMiller, which was bought by Belgian multinational drink and brewing company AB Inbev. The deal generated fees of £1.9bn paid to only a few London-based people whose sole capital investment was a few square metres of office space. That was twice as much as Renault’s 170,000 hardworking people made in profit in the whole of 2021 after billions of euros of capital investment. Nice work if you can get it. 

One example of the UK’s “soft power” can be seen in the names of those people being called to the English Bar. Many are from places like Nigeria, China, Malaysia, India or the Caribbean, with a very English education planted in them that they will carry around with them for the rest of their lives. If that’s not “soft power” then I don’t know what is!

Goosing Attila

Until Dame Alison Rose’s downfall – which, of course, came after she was caught giving the BBC details of Nigel Farage’s history with Coutts – we were told she was a talented CEO of NatWest.

Her job didn’t seem to be particularly demanding. Evidently, some of her time was spent telling other people less rich than herself, or those she didn’t approve of, just “to butt off” and find another bank. This must have been fun if you get your kicks out of humiliating others, but giving the finger to the great disruptor Nigel Farage was an unwise career move – rather like goosing Attila the Hun on his bad hair day!  

Now Dame Alison didn’t start NatWest. In fact, it’s part-owned by us taxpayers after it had to be bailed out after nearly going bust in 2008–09. Rose took no appreciable financial or career risks in her role with the bank, so could someone please tell me why she was paid £5.2m and is likely to benefit from a vast farewell handout? All this is 25 times more than the prime minister or the chancellor receive, not to mention top leaders in the army or the police, senior civil servants and leading surgeons! If the answer is that banking and financial services have always been special cases, and that £5.2m is the norm, then a radical reform of financial services pay structures is overdue to bring them into line with the remuneration of other equally valuable leaders of our community. It’s our money that’s being wasted on the likes of the wilting Rose.


After my stint as chairman of the Milton Keynes Health Authority board had come to an end, I was asked if I would accept the honour of having my name blazoned on a new building. Although conceit and vanity are not part of my nature, I was delighted.

To my surprise and irritation, however, a staff member tried to persuade me to turn the offer down.

“Why?” I asked.

When he informed me that the new building was to be a centre for venereal diseases, I had to agree that perhaps it wasn’t the best use of the Benyon name.

And so, I respectfully declined.

1 comment

    • Bruce F on September 20, 2023 at 3:20 pm
    • Reply

    Great to see you both walking on the beach with Jane setting the pace, Moses not far behind, and Tom further behind. What a lovely day!

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