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Everything posted by montesquieu

  1. Ditto for the nicer bits of Berkshire. Am under big wife pressure too.
  2. Bristol is renowned for the shityness of its schools, I know one girl takes the bus 15 miles to Bath, where most of the pupils in her class are making the same journey. Don't forget the series 'Teachers' was based there (a reality TV series in all but name). Don't move to Bristol for the schools, you'll be disappointed.
  3. It'll last as long as the Chinese bubble lasts .. when that pops then getting fingers burnt on wine will be the least of people's problems.
  4. And how many of them have you owned, exactly? Or even driven for any length of time?
  5. Went to see this one today, bought in 2009 for £297k (well overpriced then I'd have said), lick of paint and a shower, bang £53k. Story from agent is was bought as retirement property and they've delayed their retirement by three years. http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-31255159.html Bolllocks I said. The large garden isn't what you'd think despite the trees it's not that private. Living room is about big enough for a decent dining table. I hadn't checked the 2009 price but I told young Mr Hair Gel the price was a joke. Oh no he said, there's tons of interest, everything is selling and hurry hurry hurry before they are all gone. Are people (vendors and buyers alike) totally thick or what?
  6. I wouldn't. Have you had a full structural survey done? Told the mortgage company about the problem? If you do don't be surprised to see the approval pulled. Mortgage companies like to be sure the asset they are lending on is saleable in future.
  7. Still looking 2 years out. Timing suits me personally anyway.
  8. I'd take him at his word, put it on for 4 weeks at £170k and take £165k ... make sure the paperwork gives him 4 weeks (ok 5) before you say bye bye. If you don't need a quick sale you have nothing to lose.
  9. Well you won't find many here to come on and tell you
  10. Sad to report it's looking like it was a bumper month here in sunny Berkshire. Sold signs everywhere. There seems to be money around somewhere.
  11. As it see it (looking from the outside) the main reason they are in this position is bailing out feckless children. Ironically after a lifetime of council housing they used savings on retirement to buy a part-share in order to buy into the property boom and leave a little to be shared behind them for the grandchildren that couldn't be 'borrowed'/bludged/spent by their useless brood.
  12. I see Sir Philip Green is now commenting on this report. Last year he was asked to look at IT spend, and quickly recommended easy ways to make substantial savings ... by using Government's buying power to centralise contracts and leverage economies of scale. Coalition policy of course, set by their thick-as-pigshit SPADS, is the exact opposite ... to decentralise, use small suppliers .. so the report was shelved. Opportunity lost. I've worked myself to pitch solutions created for one department to another department ... they NEVER want the same thing, their requirements are always 'unique'. There has been pressure for shared services for years but they can never agree on the requirements, so it doesn't happen.. Now Cloud is the buzzword - whether public cloud, community cloud or some kind of cloud-on premise hybrid, but again, they want the Cloud label, but every department still has its own list of detailed requirements, which is the total antithesis of the Cloud approach. The IT companies are merely doing their best to win business from the Government madhouse - it's pure naivete to lay the problems at their door when they don't set the rules of the game.
  13. Your impression is wrong. What you don't hear about (because of commercial confidentiality) is the many contracts that run at a loss to the contractor due to taking a punt on meeting contractual requirements that turned out to be more expensive than anticipated. Yes there are risks. The NHS contract was a spectacular example of how to do things the wrong way - but thankfully it's far from typical. But seriously - we are one of the few countries in the world still shuffling bits of paper around hospitals. The argument should be how do we fix this, not should we do it. You clearly have no idea what technical architects do, or the differences between business architecture, solution architecture and enterprise architecture. 10% of the National Grid now runs dataccentres (powering them, cooling them). Where do you think all the data you surf actually lives? in the wires? Large enterprise IT is very, very big, and much more complex than you can imagine I'm sure (hundreds of networks with associated communications, virtualised servers running thousands of applications, tens of thousands of desktops). Mapping the enterprise architecture of, say, Barclays or the MoD is I'm sure a dam sight more difficult than drawing up an office block with pencils or CAD software. The amount of uninformed pish talked by ignorant toss*ers on this site really annoys me at times.
  14. Absolutely spot on. Actually the Government are paying for is a piece of hardware, fully loaded with disks, RAM etc with department appropriate applications loaded or accessible (the typical deparment has more than 100 of these), on a network secured to Restricted, Confidential, Secret or above (GCHQ's Government security branch, CESG, set these standards), plus standard productivity apps (Office, Outlook etc), fully supported with hardware and applications help desks which run anything up to 24*7. Most contracts include refresh every 3-4 years. The idea that anyone is paying £3500 for the sort of stand-alone PC you can get from PC World merely demonstrates the ignorance of anyone commenting on this basis. £3500 sounds to me looks like a ruggedised machine (ie the sort of thing you'd give to a squaddie) secured to Confidential or above. Standard desktop prices providing all of the above are a fraction of this. Actually much of this is standard practice in the private sector, I know when we bid the desktop costs are pretty much the same as they tend to have their own security and accreditation arrangements that are every bit as thorough. Large Government contracts can cost literally tens of millions to bid - one major procurement, dropped by the Coalition, cost one IT contractor I'm familiar with more than £10m in bid costs over the 18-month 'competitive dialogue' procurement (that's where IT companies pitch ideas that are firmed up as the bid progresses - typically meaning the Government hasn't much of a clue what it wants, so this is free consultancy from anything up to half a dozen consortia). The amateurs among the SPADS in No.10 with their man bags and their Linux games machines at home, really don't have a clue about real world corporate IT. This was the same for Lab's first couple of years after 1997 - they thought they could come in and develop piddling little apps on toy software running under their desks, which did indeed impress their ministers for a while. These turned out to be impossible to scale up, make resilient against server failure, or make adequately secure, and most were switched off pretty sharpish after being re-engineered properly. The coalition will find that the small IT vendors they go to will be cheap at first, get their fingers burnt when they realise the true expectations in Government, and then charge the same, or likely more than those firms who have sent years paring costs to the bone to meet ever tighter Government requirements at prices as low as possible. It should be no surprise to anyone here that thick, grandstanding MPs should put out a report that demonstrates ignorance rather than insight.
  15. Yes couple of ill people in their mid 70s (assorted heart conditions each and one now 4+years after bowel cancer) on state pension plus a couple of hundred quid, I can see the excitement in the morgage broker's eyes
  16. I heard last night about an elderly couple being roundly ripped off by a HA in the west of Scotland. They bought a 25% share in a place for £14k in 2003; prior to selling up an EA told them the market value had risen from the £56kk at purchase to £75k or so in that time, so they were expecting their money back plus a little (though would have been happy with just their money back). The place is spotless, redecorated every 2 years, really beautiful little 2-bed place. Couple are both in their mid-70s, which is old in that part of Scotland where life expectancy isn't much over 60. Both are in ill-heath now (happened after retirement, so they don't get any freebies in fact they get precious little due to having small occupational pensions - unlike some of their friends who get free cars etc by playing the system). HA wants to pay them £12k for their share (ie they get back £2k less than they paid out in 2003), and also take about £1200k off them for various work, allegedly to bring it up to renting-out standard (despite the fact it's part of a HA block and this couple rent 80% of the place already). They got independent quotes for this and had the work done - total cost about £160 from independent tradesmen not affiliated to the HA. Now the HA want to charge them £500 for inspection that it's been done properly (despite them being corgi regulated)! Their reason for selling up is that the woman can't manage the stairs outside up to the front door any more ... the only way they can get a ground floor place is by selling up, renting and then getting on a 'need' list (if they part-own, it's hard to see any scenario where they could get a ground floor place). So the HA have them over a barrel. Also they are scared to make a fuss in case the ground floor allocation never comes their way. I see all this as pure abuse of power by the HA, quite apart from the rip-off tradesmen's fees (someone must be getting a backhander for this). Their lawyer is furious about it as are some of the family, but they don't know what to do about it. Who regulates these people? What can be done about these 'social enterprise' shysters? Regardless, a salutary tale to anyone tempted to get into these evil shared ownership deals.
  17. Probably paid some local chavs to nick it and set fire to it ....
  18. + 1 These idiots have no knowledge of or sensitivity to our very long political tradition (much longer than the narrow, unsophisticated American version). The reason the tea party won't catch on here is that they are a bunch of rabid nut jobs who can't be satisfied with making a few fair points regarding government spending, but have instead turned wholesale to rabid right-wing ranting and demagoguery, making it into some kind of bigoted, ignorant religion not entirely unlike the demented brand of Christianity most of them espouse. Thank Christ they have no chance of gaining a foothold here as even the sheeple know a bunch of crazies when they see one.
  19. Angels on the head of a pin shit. The world is doomed unless it abandons the nonsensical 'growth' paradigm for one of sustainability. Two economists in an argument. Just what the world needs right now.
  20. Can someone explain what's going on here? For us mathematical illiterates you understand ....
  21. Hmm maybe but for every clued-up, reasonable individual there's a dozen shaven-headed oinks with tattoed knuckles who would be £50k out in the wrong direction and a nightmare to have to deal with directly. Come to think of if that's a perfect identikit picture of the average BTL landlord
  22. This must have been the long-term intention. The Tories and Literal Democraps alike spout all sorts of nonsense about freebies for the poorest kids but as with everything else it's those slightly higher up the chain, ie whose parents aren't feckless scoungers, that will suffer the most My daughter still wants to go and should have an easy time getting in, but my son - who would have to work bloody hard to qualify though he might still make it with a lot of effort - is looking at the amount of money involved, along with the effort to get there, and has already mentally crossed the idea off. I don't see any aspiration replacing this any time soon. It's a shame as a lot of boys are late in getting to grips with their studies but take to it at some point. Watch the education system soon being skewed even more towards girls (and the rich of both sexes) than it is at the moment.
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