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Mrs Bear

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Everything posted by Mrs Bear

  1. First visited Suffolk about 10 yrs ago, partly on the trail of great grandparents who came from near Lavenham. It was like going back decades, quiet roads, unspoilt, and the Lavenham I'd only seen in 1920s B&W photos of my father's looked much the same. After hunting for old graves in a churchyard near Lavenham I wanted to look inside the church. A local woman who'd been doing the flowers or some such, said she was just locking up but gave us a colossal old iron key and pointed out her house nearby - 'Just leave it in the porch when you've finished.' It was like going back to some long-gone era - I half expected to see Miss Marple pottering about before the sleepy place was thrown into turmoil after old Major Blenkinsop was found in his study, skewered with one of his own antique Indian swords.
  2. Short let - they're nearly always extortionate. Daughter and bf needed one in Oxford a few yrs ago - ended up in a cramped room in Witney with the owners' stuff taking up half the small wardrobe. All they could get that wasn't a ludicrous price.
  3. Or the beneficiaries have decided this for themselves, given that empty properties are a headache if empty for any length of time, esp. if none of them live nearby - garden to maintain, insurance, etc., and they soon look and feel forlorn and unloved, esp. if it drags on into winter, when the place has still got to be heated.
  4. AFAIK HMRC do not know who has rentals, unless the LL declares it on a SA form. The form does not even ask for addresses, merely how many properties and how much the rent is. The Land Reg does not record whether a property is OO or rented out. If a property is BTL mortgaged that will be a source of info, ditto if a letting agent is used, but a good many rental properties are bought for cash and many are owner-managed. I can't say I'm at all surprised by the OP. As I said a while ago on here, aside from all the anecdotals, I heard recently of one doctor, A, telling another doctor, B, that she was mad to be declaring her rental income, since, 'We never have!' This was related shortly afterwards by B to my daughter, and to be fair to B she was shocked, and said she couldn't sleep at night if she didn't.
  5. It looks like the popular-with-Arabs style known as Louis Faroukh.
  6. Still makes me mad to think of an older friend who used to stockpile masses of free prescription items in his bathroom. More than once I counted over 60 items - 5 or 6 different products - all of which were thrown out at least twice by visiting ex medic friends. He was very tight and would never have taken so many items if he'd had to pay even 2 or 3 £ for each. When he died last year he left over a million quid and two houses paid off. Why anyone like that should not only get so much for free, but also be able abuse the system like that, defeats me. And I bet he's far from the only one. Among the stuff left after he died were several free-prescription mega packs of paracetamol. When I had shingles earlier this year I was expected to pay for my own stronger than usual,painkillers, and was perfectly happy to do so.
  7. We have also experienced excellent NHS care lately. 3 times during the winter and spring for baby grandson who had recurrent bronchiolitis, so severe the first time that he was in the ICU, sedated and on a ventilator for nearly a week. The care was always exemplary - we were so grateful to all the staff. At the other end, an elderly and partially disabled neighbour who had a bad fall was attended to very well and promptly - Mr B went with him in the ambulance and was a witness. As for Sweden, I was told again just recently by a Swedish friend that everyone pays about £8 a day for hospital stays - for food - and similar amounts, maybe a bit less, for visits to GP, A&E, physio. Everyone also,pays something for prescriptions, though there is an annual cap on all these charges so that the chronically sick are not unduly penalised. Given that Sweden is popularly supposed to be socialist Utopia, I think most Brits would be startled to hear this. However I can't see any govt. here ever having the guts to introduce this - as Swedish friend said (she worked for years in the NHS) 'It's such a sacred cow.' My sister in the US used to pay something like $800 a month for herself and her daughter, who now thankfully gets it thrown in with her job. When my sister had a very badly cut finger a few years ago, I said, well, at least you're covered by your insurance. She said, You're joking - there was a $2000 excess to pay.
  8. That'll go down well with the champagne socialists who bought their Hampstead/Notting Hill/Islington houses for relative peanuts in the 70s and 80s.
  9. Usual thing is a two-book deal first, with a non-returnable advance - might be quite small - on royalties. So if the books don't sell it'll be the publisher who takes the hit, if they've shelled out a lot. I once heard from reliable publishing sources that J.K. Rowlings very first book deal involved an advance of something like two and a half K. Wretched iPad is playing up so can't do apostrophes, numbers or pound signs.
  10. Ramifications of leasehold scandal? PPI style payouts, etc.?
  11. My first thought was that's it's a ploy to encourage people to buy now. Hurry! Offer ends Monday! - same tactics.
  12. When I had my first at 28 in the late 70s, I was described in my notes as an 'elderly' primigravida.
  13. A 3 bed semi on a corner plot near daughter in Headington - quiet road and v convenient location - was bought by developer who proceeded to tack another 3 bed on the side. Both were recently up for £450k but I see that the remaining one on the end is now down to 'offers over' £425k. Friend of daughter recently accepted an offer of £325k IIRC for Headington flat - nice flat, v good central location but on the small side. It was originally on for about £365k. It'll be interesting to see what happens with that Mosaics development. Prices they are quoting for Barton, and both outside and close to the ring road, look highly optimistic to say the least. Are they hoping for Chinese/Malaysian buyers who will just see 'Oxford' and not immediately think Barton/bargepole...
  14. About time too. They also need comeback for people who've already been conned. And not necessarily because they were too clueless to read the small print. I read about one couple who were told they could buy the FH from the developers for £Xk, couldn't afford it at the time, and when they later applied to, were told it now belonged to Ripoff & Co. who were now demanding £Xk x about 10.
  15. Why do you say 'we deserve it'? My brother and SiL have had a house in that area for many years and the locals have always been very friendly. Mind you b and SiL do speak the language reasonably well and have always made an effort to be good neighbours. They got their house for relative peanuts, since it was a wreck and had been on the market for years - the locals didn't want it. Prices in the area are cheap but that's at least partly because there are so few jobs. When a neighbour lost his job not long ago it was a huge worry for the family.
  16. I recently met a very nice Spanish couple who are neighbours of a daughter in Oxford. They both work in bio-medical research, have been here 14 years, both kids born here and happy at school. They don't want to have to leave, and I sincerely hope they won't have to. They have previously told daughter that despite their academic qualifications it's very hard to get a job in Spain and that the pay is crap.
  17. Noticeable how the Guardian's picture shows a middle class-looking, indigenous-looking woman with just two non chavvy looking kids. They couldn't have a chavvy-looking white mother with several, or any 'person of colour' ditto, let alone an obviously immigrant family with 5 kids. Heaven forbid that they attract any 'feckless sponger' or anti-immigrant comments.
  18. 'Funniest' one I've seen in the past few months is for a maisonette in Tooting where prices went even crazier than average since about 2011. It's seriously dated - very likely a probate sale - and is being marketed by some EA on the Essex coast - maybe it belonged to a relative of one of the staff. It was originally priced at even more than identical-layout ones on the same road that were nicely done up. I know EAs are not renowned for their staggering intellect, but you'd think they might have checked what similar were going for and priced to allow for renovation. After a few 'nibble' reductions and a very optimistic open day, it's still unsold and still priced at more than at least one identical but very well modernised in the same road. I suppose it's just possible that it's not the EA. Maybe the owner is refusing to 'give it away...'.
  19. As someone else said to me once - she had a picture-postcard old farmhouse with beams and inglenook and whatnot - 'Old houses eat money.' She now lives in a non-picturesque relatively new one.
  20. There's good reason why those huge French places are relatively cheap - hardly anyone can afford to maintain them. A relative of Mr B's has one. He told me once that just the heating oil cost 50,000 euros a year. There is also a full time live in caretaker cum handyman, and that's without any of the other bills you're going to get with a four hundred year old property. You need very deep pockets. As they used to say years ago about buying a Rolls, if you have to think whether you can afford it, you can't.
  21. Regardless of being superstitious, I do think some houses have an 'atmosphere'. Ages ago Mr B and I looked at a house that ticked all the boxs on paper, but it felt unwelcoming and cold, and I don't mean the temperature. By contrast the houses bought by both daughters within the past few years were equally terribly dated and needed a lot of doing up, but they both had lovely warm atmospheres - you felt they'd been happy family homes. And that was/is despite the wife of the vendor of one of them having died of a massive stroke in the bathroom, as we found out later from a neighbour. Some of the other houses I looked at with both of them just didn't have that same feel.
  22. House prices in the US can vary enormously, same as here. My sister lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where prices are way higher than the US average. I haven't looked lately, but what we think of as a normally large American family house was easily going for $2-3m last time I looked. My sister's house is not large by US standards and the plot is small, so no huge 'yard' but she has to get it valued every year for property-tax purposes and IIRC it was well over $1.5m last time.
  23. How could you laugh? She was only so nobly trying to help the less fortunate! No thought of profit ever entered her saintly head!
  24. Same old blinkered mindset - 'a 0.1% rise is better than a 0.4% fall...'. Cast-iron blinkers that I fear are permanently superglued to their heads.
  25. Yes, you're probably right - clickbait a la Daily Mail.
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