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Doesn't Commute Anymore

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Everything posted by Doesn't Commute Anymore

  1. ha ha Fishfinger! 1500 silver coins (£27k - not exactly a house purchase is it!) is a bit like the adage about Fort Knox - there's no need to worry about much bullion being stolen as its too darn heavy to shift anywhere else quick enough. I did have a burglar 5 years ago in my house, and they found - but left - the silver as it wasn't viable for a quick getaway. They stole UK passports (£3k each on black market, I believe!). They never found the gold which was hidden rather better!
  2. Thanks to FF and TMBTL for the advice. I bought so many years ago, I had lost touch with whom was best to trade with. Both were efficient and reasonable in terms of offers. Gold is sellable anywhere, silver again no problem but too bulky to rucksack if you have even a low 1000s stash, platinum harder to find a buyer but HGM were good and offered fair. COVID-19 means slow progress in waiting for the small ATS office to be clear (only one customer at a time). I am currently bullion-free for the first time since college years, which was many many years ago, but I have more urgent need for the money. (in those days, grants still existed a bit and you were deducted any cash savings in your award, so I used to buy Britannias from summer work and declare no cash savings)
  3. Apologies for the bluntness of this message. I am urgently needing to liquidate bullion to fund urgent legal action due to a serious family matter. I have made arrangements for my silver and gold sale but can any good member of this community help me with : a) where to best sell platinum coins b) where best to sell scrap gold Replies on or off list welcome. Thank you.
  4. A controversial one to answer this, but I will bite. Seen it many times across my HE/FE/school teaching years. You need a certain minimal level of Maths and English to be genuinely employable in the high-tech world. Companies like Honda in Swindon want Maths, English and a Science all at a minimum of C to do even the most basic entry role in their factory. Why when the vital skills they need on the factory floor - such as craftmanship, precision and dexterity - are not so academic? It's all because a blue chip company wants to invest not just in you but also in your future potential. Without basic writing skills, competent numeracy skills and some ability to understand the underlying science/engineering of their processes, you cannot move up in their corporate structures to more advanced tasks. You can only do fixed tasks as told. You lack the maths competence to do a simple analysis on a bunch of data to suggest improvements or the english skills to write a coherent and internally consistent report to define a technical problem. I think these companies are basically correct - if you cant get Cs in these three subjects - and that means being respectful with retakes and encouraging learning achievements later in adult education as there are plenty of late bloomers left behind by schools - there are limited roles in modern industries in the modern world.
  5. The Open University was a once-great institution centred on pedagogy and good learning practices, which really did improve social mobility and provide transformatory second chances in life (I did my first academic post there, and was proud to work there at the time ). How much is a national retaining programme needed now for those who will have to build a second career post-COVID19? I guess this is where its lefty reputation comes from. Ironically, the OU moved away from its core function, as I outline above, and tried to become more free-market and commercial, like other universities. Hired lots of managers while neglecting and binning a lot of wonderful teaching talent (that was its only real resource). It became a brand with an image not an organisation that created second chances. Now its like any other tinpot low ranked uni peddling cheap, low employability courses. Very sad to write this, but it's true.
  6. I suspect he's been told by the PM and Tory Grandees to kill the matter today. If stories about his behaviour drag into this week, he will need to go. So who fires the PM's enforcer? 1922 committee chair?
  7. He's sitting at a really crap desk (deliberately). I bought something like that for the barbecue food and prep for £10 at Wilkos.
  8. Yes, it sounds very Prince Andrew doesn't it? If he survives, he wont be allowed near a TV camera again.
  9. That town centre development is looking like a terrible move. More retail just not needed, commuter flats at 500k+ no longer needed. These will become slums and ruin the town centre. That said, Woking is far far better value than Guildford unless you have a million or so to throw at your house purchase* * - housing costs plus 11-16 education costs for your kids (great 6th forms!). Lots of bad school catchment areas unless you are rich, but that's Surrey.
  10. I live nearby. Its patchy - but the nice parts are really quite nice. Crap secondary state schools barring two with tiny catchment areas.
  11. BBC main headline. Coronavirus: 'I don't regret what I did,' says Dominic Cummings. This isn't going to go away with headlines that that. Country getting annoyed as schools back next week and nobody knows how it will work safely (kids simply can't socially distance). Instead we get a weasily winy moaner. "Were the public stupid to follow the rules?" just asked.
  12. BBC main headline. Coronavirus: 'I don't regret what I did,' says Dominic Cummings.
  13. The plan is to make a long, dull sob story that covers all the anomalies. Barnard Castle was to test if he could drive, the sighting of him in woods was to take the kid to the toilet suddenly. That's how its going to be done. The risk he is taking is that more evidence appears to counter this long-winded excuse. God, he's very uncharismatic. A behind the scenes kinds of guy.
  14. Yes, exactly. I think we are all analysing the daily death and cases trends, looking for the peak etc, and forgetting that its not like prices from the stockmarket. This is very dirty data about COVID-19 full of time lags, subjective opinions (speculated cause of death for GPs signing off a death certificate in a care home/community setting) and patchy access to testing (for cases) or a massive background effect (for deaths) - circa 1600 die every day in the UK naturally anyway.
  15. I've waited for the ONS data to come out, as I wanted to look at increases in average death rate for this time of year, and compare this to what was being put on death certificates. It turns out Prof David Spiegelhalter (@d_spiegel) has already done it this morning, and has posted this graph below on twitter: + As the weather was not bitterly cold this winter, death rates had been a little lower this winter than in recent winters before the COVID event + 6000 extra deaths a week in last week for this time of year, so that's about 850 a day over the seasonal average. Note about 60% are identified as COVID-19 related in each week, suggesting that 40% of COVID-event increases in death rate are not getting the word "COVID" written on the death certificate. This could be lack of testing, it could be the infirm with other heath conditions dying from not being prioritised in getting the normal therapies they would seek (i.e. chemotherapy has stopped, major heart operations reduced) , it could be weak patients scared of entering hospital for the interventions they would normally seek, it could be GPs unskilled or unwilling to write COVID-19 on the certificate.
  16. There's trouble brewing with the Bolton student accommodation fire on Friday. That cladding caught fire like Grenfell did, from what I can see, despite the cladding previously signed off as being of the required standard. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/nov/16/concerns-raised-cladding-bolton-student-building-fire Given student accommodation is the cash cow for most universities currently, and new student digs are all covered in this cladding, there's a big cost coming to the sector.
  17. I was a standout kid from a bad background : scholarships to top STEM unis (IC, Ox, UCL, Camb) in my teens/twenties and then teaching posts at a range of top to lower end unis until recent middle age. I became one of those altruistic and interesting uni lecturers who took interest in the development of students; trying to be the role model I needed in my upbringing, and I was proud of that. All changed. I became disillusioned with the visible decline of UK higher education both in terms of its learning environment and its sector morals. There's now a stack-em-high approach to uni teaching to maximise income, with a management mantra to academic staff of "80% of current quality will be fine next year, your job depends on more bums on seats (preferably paying overseas fees)". You get promoted in 2019 for satisfying management mantra, not students. I am now retraining in another field. There are exceptions but that's the higher education direction of travel and compounding 80% of last years quality has significant consequences over time. Uni is now like supermarket shopping: students please work on your own and process your actions through the self-serve till. Try not to notice the ever smaller portions of individualised formative development time and the higher prices, our aim is for you to forget what you came to the store for in the first place. A better analogy is actually online supermarket shopping, as you also pay up front for that and chase quality issues afterwards when the institution considers the transaction completed. Universities with CEO mentality and teams of senior management "streamlining" operations have subsequently lost much of their academic and societal mission, and are now just chasing profit through cost savings and expansion, indeed like Tesco does. Knowledge is now generally freely available on the internet. It's how to select appropriate information and synthesise this gathering that should be taught within a university environment: skills like well justified judgement ("critical thinking"), innovation ("new thinking") and translation ("making an output") . Ironically, unis have got far worse at advanced skill delivery in the stack-em-high era. The new teaching model is the reading out of powerpoints of factoid information by inexperienced casualised staff to ever larger groups. Of course, you can develop such skills yourself over a less formalised path of learning in the workplace, but some skills like critical thinking need the right environment for fast development. So a degree is worth less than it was not because more people have them, but because it is less of a developmental experience to have gone through these days. Its increasing about getting a piece of paper from an education brand or to approve your right to practice in a field. Hence more and more graduate recruiters not requiring degree applicants any more. The "Oxbridge ( i am one of the elite you plebs)" option points to the fact that elite unis are more of a networking opportunity for the privileged than anything else. The elite dont send their children there to academically develop, they send them to build networks for later life.
  18. I saw this on bbc news and came here straight away to post. I know of 2 examples of this, its not a new idea, but it is a stinker of a rotten idea. In each case I knew, it destroyed long term friendships when one of the young buccaneering co-owners fell in love/got a job elsewhere/fell out of love/wanted to go travelling/tired of the habits of the others etc. This is no shortcut to full ownership. A lovely bit of naive and green thinking from buccaneer Lucy, "We're all incredibly close, and if something were to happen that would mean one of us would become financially insolvent, I would want to support them. We're all in it together. I see us more as a family," she says. That's a strained family feeling at the first support payment, a broken family feeling at the second, and a disowned family member at the third.
  19. This is very true. However, I have posted before that the optimal commute is 30-60 minutes in London. I think under 30 minutes is getting to the point where you live to close to the office and do not benefit from the change of scene at weekends. Under 60 minutes and you are wasting little productive time (thinking and reflection time/emails/planning/winding up and down on the commute all can be positive). However, here's a few lesser known factors that are rarely considered in this free market pricing: 1) Freehold vs Leasehold - Personally, I've no idea why freehold does not have a far larger premium in a free housing market than it currently does. One reason I live outside the M25 is that I won't touch leasehold in any form! I want to own property without still being a subservient rule and bill taker for a a property I supposedly "own". Freehold the norm the further out you go. 2) Hype factors - some towns have reputations a little ahead of the reality of living there, discussed many times in Surrey threads where there is an acknowledged "Guildford premium" of about 20% over the surrounding Surrey that confuses new posters. But that's how free markets work and why advertising professionals constantly use the word "brand". Some commuting towns and brands have become effectively brands with images that are different to their real-world valuation base solely on their benefits and pitfalls 3) Rail franchise failings - notably Southern/SouthWestern rail failings, and the alternative ways to commute from a location (some stations have having two lines to London or a reliable bus) when there is a problem 4) Getting a seat on the train every morning/evening (30-60 minutes far easier in a resting seated position). Not priced in as most people dont realise the situation until they have travelled a few times, so its not a known factor in the determination of price at a bidding stage 5) Child related factors. With the cost of moving so prohibitive the UK, there's a big premium to living somewhere that continues to suit your kids as they age. I'm not thinking school catchments which is definitely priced in. I'm thinking the growing scientific evidence of diesel engines and childhood asthma (probably the next health scare akin to tobacco) making "leafyness" of suburbs more attractive in the years ahead. Also availability of childminders etc.
  20. 45 minutes to central London covers a large chunk of commutable Surrey, its not a particularly fast commute time, albeit its probably cheaper if you can do it on the underground rather than through SouthWestern Railway.
  21. That whole development is already looking horrible only a few years of construction. The large restaurant space in its central courtyard is long term vacant, as are most of the ground floor shops, except for an unloved and unkempt Tesco Metro which seems to struggle on. As a development , its very characterless and looks (to my untrained eye) a bit cheaply built and poorly located, sandwiched between busy roads, rail tracks and a builders yard with constant heavy lorries in and out. This makes me fear for the new barrage of high rise buildings that are being built on top of the new town centre development, and what this will mean for the centre of Woking. This is the standard of living that those new high rise flats will offer will match this development you describe. Moreover, the new retail offerings being built alongside will surely struggle unless they offer direct access to from the existing shopping centre, which I quite like as a quick and easy shopping venture to the cobbles and traffic of Guildford shops (which, in its favour, is more upmarket and independent). If the new development is cut off from the existing shops, it will struggle like the failed retail offerings in the block you mention. Living in a flat above or within a London dormitory town, with a demoralising view of train tracks/maintenance yard, is not what life in Surrey can best offer. You can do that in London for the same (Woking rent+season ticket) price! I knew a colleague who swapped her life in a rough London neighbourhood for such a Woking flat, and ended up moving back! For Surrey living, you have to enjoy the benefits of the area, which are freehold housing, an accompanied garden, larger living space, and nearby countryside.
  22. Gold often has a little bull run over Christmas. The US shutdown and heightening global/financial tensions ensuring the seasonality trend this xmas season once again, while GBP weakens as the Brexit uncertainty intensifies to magnify the effect in pounds. Now £1009/oz.
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