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You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

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    Oil painitng, drawing, guitar, photography, walking.
  1. I have something similar - an old stone barn conversion farmhouse from the early 1800's. The walls are thick and solid, and some of the beams are as old as the house. I think it will still be standing in a few hundred years time. Old houses need work though. Insulation can be poor and mice sometimes find their way in through the nooks and crannies. I hate being woken up by a scratching mouse that's found its way into the wall cavity behind your bed in the night. I find it stays nice and cool on those hot summer days, and the rooms are spacious. I wouldn't trade it for a modern house, and I am also keen to see how some of these new builds stand the test of time over the decades. Incidentally, I use to rent a brick terraced house from around the 1910's I would guess. It suffered bad humidity issues, and the bricks and cement were eroding. On a day with bad weather, I'd step outside and find bits of it all over the pavement. I've also lived in a Paris apartment built in the 1890's. Fabulous high ceilings, decorative cornices, ornamental fireplaces and wooden floors, but they never update the piping in these old Haussmann buildings. I had all sorts of humidity and flooding problems over the years caused by tenants higher up, and then it takes a year to dry out the affected ceilings and doors before they can be fixed. It's a common issue. The floors also echo the moment someone upstairs comes in at 2am wearing high heels. You can even be woken up by people having sex a couple of floors above.
  2. I'm grateful for the 12 months I've had it. Anything above zero is a plus for me. As to Santander and their customer service though - I've nothing good to say about them.
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/15/santander-slashes-123-interest-rate-savers Same here Shindigger!
  4. I don't go back often so the differences to me are very stark. In the past 8 years I've seen food banks emerge, towns turned into nothing but charity shops, large cities filled with soulless chain stores (more so than before), congestion on the roads worse than it's ever been (and now considered normal), new houses built to smaller and smaller proportions, and a greater drive towards a 24/7 convenience consumer culture. Even the cost of parking your car has shot up skyward; the idea of paying to park a car has become almost alien to me since my departure of the UK. Childcare costs are now taking somebody's entire wage, or a heavy proportion of it and more and more people are forced to rent with some of the insecurities that comes with that, as commented upon in this thread. It doesn't paint a terribly rosy picture, which is sad because I still have fond memories of the country.
  5. My renting experience was okay; no real problems apart from dodgy people turning up on the doorstep trying to collect debt from some previous tenant. I escaped 8 years ago and moved overseas, which has been very positive. I think if I was still back in the UK I would be miserable and would only just be making ends meet too.
  6. Article in the Guardian today about the crisis in Auckland. People sleeping in their cars and 10 family members sharing a garage.: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/17/new-zealand-housing-crisis-forces-hundreds-to-live-in-garages-tents-and-cars
  7. As the oldest of three siblings, I have 2.5 years difference with my brother, and 7 years with my sister. I got through 3.5 years of Uni with no debt at all. In the first couple of years I got a small grant, which was enough to pay for my course text books. My brother had to take on some debt in his second year at Uni, as tuition fees were introduced, and it took him ten years to ultimately pay it off. My sister had much higher debts again, but nothing compared to what some people are taking on. The problem is, these astronomical fees are all some students have ever known, and should it continue into the long-term, it will probably just be accepted as normal. If I had to go to Uni with those sorts of fees, there's no way I would have done it. Unless you come out of it with an exceptional job or really rich parents, how the heck to go from educational debt to mortgage (or rent) debt and expect to have any quality of life for the rest of your natural life?
  8. Thanks. I sometimes feel a bit guilty I have this life. It's less than some, but infinitely more than many. On the rare occasions I've gone back to the UK it's felt like one giant rat race. There was quite a bit of chance and luck involved, and my wife is someone who has always saved hard too, which is great when you're both on the same wavelength. Had things taken a different direction I think I could have bought a very small place in the UK, mortgage free, and would have tried to continue a non-materialistic lifestyle.
  9. Worked for four years (made redundant when the company went bankrupt), then went self-employed. Lived very frugally (but took a number of holidays overseas), rented a very cheap place, and saved very hard. When I was 30 I Ieft the country. Met a girl (she already owned her property in the capital although I didn't know it at the time), started a family, got married, and thanks to the savings got another house in the country more suited to family life. I earn peanuts these days, but life is very cheap and I don't need to earn much, so am able to pursue my pastimes and be with the family. I consider myself very lucky.
  10. You might want to thank George Soros for the leak; it's been suggested he funded those responsible for it.
  11. A '77er here too... Alas, I had no crystal ball. By the time I had a decent job (aged 23) the prices were starting to rocket, so I figured no way, wait until they go down again in a year or two... Haha! Good fortune came my way by chance following a move overseas by the time I was 30, and at this moment in time I've no financial stresses or debts and I live with very little monthly outgoings. I could opt to work and hence earn more, but I choose not to, using that free time to pursue hobbies instead. You might say I'm unlearning that protestant work ethic that's drilled into us from such an early age. Every year I see the UK disintegrating more and more, and I really feel for those who are caught up in it. That's not to say anyone else in Europe is immune, but the UK sometimes feels like one giant rat race.
  12. I was born in '77, and I remember when I turned 23 the prices starting to accelerate upwards. I didn't have a crystal ball to see just how many multiple increments of my salary it was going to go up by, and most people at the start of their 20's do not have the deposit or money to say, I'm going to buy a house (even if they were much cheaper by comparison to today)! Obviously it would have been a great investment had I pushed myself... Fortunately it all panned out well for me in the end, by scrimping and saving and leaving the country.
  13. Not 15 minutes ago I was visiting French neighbours, who were asking me about Brexit, and we got around to talking about housing... I tried to explain to them the madness of prices in the UK; they looked totally bamboozled by it all.
  14. 32 years ago, McDonalds was my ultimate childhood treat. Everybody knew that red headed clown back in his heyday. Today, my six year old doesn't even know what McDonald's is, which is a very encouraging sign - I did take him just one time when he was four, but he wasn't keen on the food and ate about a quarter of the burger. I recall when McDonald's was starting to go down the plughole a number of years back. With the help of a big PR drive, they reinvented themselves with relatively "healthier" food. No doubt they'll try another big PR stunt, but I suspect they are in their death throes. I for one won't mourn the death of that clown and his chemicals that pass for food.
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