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About psj

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    Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
  1. I have an existing loan with Lloyds, and for the last six months in a row, I've had the offer to "top it up" to £10k, paying my existing installments. The interesting thing is that the APR was normally floating around 13% earlier in the year, went down to 9.6% last month, but has now shot up to 14.6% this month!
  2. It's very interesting hearing this from another angle. I started my BSc in 99, the first year the loan system was started. I heard quite a few stories of foreign students, who were actually paying master students to write their dissertations and assignments for them. This was turned on a blind eye by the adminstration, which of course, annoyed the ones who actually worked hard. Many left with 2:1's, although I'm thankful to say not that many got 1's. I then went on to complete a MSc and PhD, finishing earlier this year. At this stage, I wanted to get into industry. I went to numerious interviews, and it was quite clear to me that having a doctorate was going against me. Many of the interviews consisted of two people; a manager and a programmer. While the managers always seems interested in my skills, the programmers did their best to catch me out. Now, despite having worked on numerous degrees (9 years!), and also working in several related part time jobs, I find myself on a wage in my job, just above the average. Back on topic, my Uni were experiencing a huge downturn just before I left. Many of the more complex subjects (Mathematics springs to mind), were being incorporated in dumbed down form, into other subjects/departments, as the student numbers had dropped to a couple every year. The number of foreign students coming in had also been declining in recently years as well in all subjects. During my MSc, I met another student who had come from a different University. For his BSc, he was allowed to "remove" modules he'd done from his results, in order to boost their overall grade!! In this case, their UCAS (?) points dropped, but the overall result was higher. He'd managed to go from 2:2 to 2:1 using this method!
  3. Interesting, never thought of using fruit teabags. Does this work particularlly well for any fruit flavours?
  4. You beat me to it! The Beaverdale kits come with everything you need (yeast, grape juice, finings, and, most importantly, instructions!). You just need a demijohn (the container to do the fermentation - about £5), an airlock (£2), and some cleaning items. A gallon kit is about £10 from my local homebrew shop, which makes just enough for six bottles of wine. As for taste, it's very smooth, easily around a £6-£7 bottle comparison wine as Vaevictus says. An excellent book on the subject (if you're interested in the whole fruit wine stuff) is CCJ Berry's First Steps in Winemaking. ISBN-10: 1854861395. I've looked into beer making, but not tried it yet. My local shop does premium beer kits, around £30, enough to make 40 pints. Some of the big names have their own kits available. Try having a look for a few ideas: JP Homebrew I'm going to start an ancient Orange, Clove, Cinnamon Mead today (have you done this one Spoonfed - from gotmead?)... bit late for Christmas, but gives me an excuse for Easter
  5. LOL - yeah, that's the expensive rate with spaces near the shops. They also have the standard rate (25p/hour) and amazingly, they have quite a few free spaces as well (which go quite quickly as you can imagine). I used to pay around £2/hour at Colchester, and that car park was around a ten walk from the centre.
  6. Milton Keynes even busier than normal. Most car parks full (about 30k spaces in total for the centre). Some cars even queuing for the premium rate (£1/hour) spaces... even driving around for work (around 7.45-8am) there are about three times as many cars on the road as normal! Hard to walk around town without bumping into people, most shops have half an hour queue to the till. If I didn't know any better, I'd be asking "What recession?"
  7. What exact jobs are these mothers supposed to do? If the rate of unemployment continues as it is at the moment, we're going to be looking at 10% unemployment towards the end of next year. There will be millions out of work competing for the same few jobs available, it'll be a blood bath. I can only assume that 1] The Government thinks everything will be "back to normal" next year 2] They know full well only a small number will get positions, and therefore have an excuse to cut their funds at a future date 3] It'll be a complete waste of time like job seeks allowance, where you have to "actively" apply for several positions every week as well 4] It's a good excuse to create more public sector jobs to ensure everyone is doing their paperwork correctly!
  8. Sorry to hear it DrGUID. Just out of curiousity, which part of Colchester are you in? Our last landlord over there was involved with mortgage fraud, causing us to move out - this was the Horizons estate by the North station.
  9. I was reading my local paper the other day, and there was a section about "are you affected by the credit crunch". I actually physically shouted abuse at one response, which I'll copy out for you all to enjoy: "No, I am not. Why should it let it bother me? I just think it is all propaganda. Half of what goes in the news you can't even believe. In time, if you trust your Prime Minister, which I do, then things will get better. I have faith in him". Either Labour have infiltrated the paper, or there are some really brainwashed people out there. The woman who said this codswallop looks to be in her 50s/60s, so should really know better. Unbelieveable.
  10. My cousin had the good news last month. His company had two branches, one of which in London. Everyone in London got the chop. However, he was very lucky, managed to get himself another job about two weeks later, with about a 6K pay rise... no idea how he did it in the current climate!
  11. Nope - one of the big names. I was quite surprised myself.
  12. I'm afraid I wasn't around here last Christmas time, so can't really compare - although to me it's always heaving, especially on Saturdays. However, I do know that a certain high street retailer's sales are up 44% over this time last year - so can't be all that bad!
  13. There was an article in the local MK paper the other day, with unemployment shooting up 13% over here. Scary. Most of MK is retailing, a fair sized industry, and a large commuting population to London. I'm looking forward to the discounts!
  14. News article on News 24 last night. They had the map of the UK, and pointed out companies and locations that had made redundancies, and the numbers, in the day. I'd heard about them doing something similar in the last recession, so this really got my attention.
  15. Here's a website from the Institute of Financial Services. Following the links, enter your net salary, and it'll place you on the graph to where your income is related to the rest of the country. There is a massive lean on the left. Each 10% of the population is grouped into decile groups. By looking at the graph, it appears as though over 60% of the population earn under the mean wage of £25k (£366.49/week after tax). The modal wage is £175/week after tax. http://www.ifs.org.uk/wheredoyoufitin/ How much is £175/week after tax? Go to: http://listentotaxman.com/ Enter the gross salary as £10500 per annum, and you're there... £174.09/week. What's worrying is that that particular wage is the top of the 3rd decile group, meaning under 30% of the population are UNDER £10.5k a year... shocking.
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