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Everything posted by montesquieu

  1. People buying less pointless crap and spending money on having a life sounds like progress to me.
  2. Indeed. Google are the worst data abusers on the internet - everything that passes through their systems is mined, packaged and sold as services to someone or other. If people at large understood their business model they'd run them out of town. Far worse than anything yesterday's evil giants (eg Microsoft) ever got up to or indeed were even capable of getting up to.
  3. Self-employed, as in exploiting the 'Big Issue' scam? I'm all for the educated and skilled from these countries making their way here but I do wonder what the balance will end up being ....
  4. I stayed at home (went to Glasgow in the 80s) I was on the minimum grant (about £300 - thanks Thatch) but worked 2 days a week which pair for me to run a car and do long stints of travelling in the summer hols (mainly around Europe). Mum fed me when I was in, but I was hardly ever in. It's not such a bad option I have to say and I never suffered in the totty department compared to some of my mates anyway. (I guess I had tolerant parents). I now watch my 17 year old daughter preparing for uni and it's fascinating. She is a good prospect for Oxrbridge (2 As and 8 A*s at GCSE) but is looking at North American universities which pay burseries. My son two years younger is looking at EU countries that have little or no fees. It's likely both will be lost to the UK. The smarter and the clued up are not buying in.
  5. This isn't the question. The question is, is she a permanent fixture in your life? (As much as anyone can know that). If not, take the mortgage yourself and get something from her as a contribution to expenses. Otherwise if it all goes pear shaped that large deposit could rapidly become a small deposit once everything is sold up and split in half. Never underestimate just how screwed up the legal system is against a regular bloke trying to do the decent thing.
  6. I know a couple bought a huge house and plot for £3k off ebay ... they sub-let the council house back in Lanarkshire, live out there on peanuts and fly back here every now and again for their doctor's appointments and to collect their medication (both are on long-term sick - she had a botched operation for back pain and he's a chronic fat B**strd who has had two heart attacks and is bipolar as well). Personally I'd love to see the plug pulled on lowlife like this, as much as discouraging hard-working Bulgarians from coming here (it's the Roma the moral panic is really about).
  7. I think this phenomenon has, indeed, been noticed before
  8. Agreed. I would add - find a Polish bloke. I was given a quote for £8k to do two small shower rooms (not including tiles which cost me another £600 or so) by a local guy found off yellow pages. My wife - ever-creative - got chatting to a Polish girl on the tills at B&W, inevitably her brother in law did bathrooms, numbers were swapped he came and did the lot for under £5k all-in including tiles - this included all the bits which I bought online based on a list he gave me. Labour was about £2400 IIRC. I had this over and over again, after buying a place recently, whether it's roofers, plumbers, gas fitters, painters - every English guy I spoke to was just taking the piss either price-wise, or over-committing on work and having so many things on the go that everything took three times as long as it was supposed to. (Sometimes both). Niech Żyje Polska!
  9. This was me when I moved south from Scotland in 2004. When did I buy? Earlier this year, before it all went a bit nuts again. Be careful - if/when the shit hits the fan the deals will be worse than now and thinner on the ground, while stock levels plummet as accidental landlordism increases and others stay put 'till things recover'. It may not be much easier than now to pick up something decent. Heresy round here but if you really want to settle long term, it might be better to get a nice low fix now and just bite the bullet. In 5 years time you'll be 5 years further on with paying it down.
  10. Have dealt with them in the past as a contractor. They have historically been a rather arrogant 'know it all' customer, nightmare for the IT industry to deal with, always right, suppliers always in the wrong (though not by any means the worst offender - the 'other' big Scottish bank was militantly 'not invented here' until they top management drove it over a cliff). I hear that RBS actually has been changing for the better in recent years, but obviously not at a sufficient pace to keep up. In retail banking (as opposed to investment banking where it's a business differentiator) IT has always been trailing edge, spend as little as possible just barely keeping the lights on. Obviously they got caught with their trousers down this time.
  11. Who the f*** is Trevor Phillips to tell people they should be bringing up kids in areas they don't want to be in if they have the wherewithal to get out?
  12. Tesco Metro would be the one known to most ie a cheap and cheerful, slightly crap version of the original. Fits to a T actually.
  13. Utterly stupid idea (and this from someone just south of the main Heathrow flight path who will certainly get more noise if Heathrow is expanded). You just made it harder for three quarters of the people currently using Heathrow to get there. It's closer to France than it is to some of the current catchment area for Heathrow. Totally idiotic proposition. There are far more sensible ways to do this, for example built a pair of runways and some satellite terminals at RAF Northolt, and build a super-fast underground shuttle (5 miles, 5 minute trip). Plenty of room for expansion both sides of the A40. At a fraction of the cost and wider economic impact of shutting Heathrow. Even has the benefit of being already served by the Tube (Metropolitan line)!
  14. We used to live very close to a big Sainsburys and sometimes we used to shop there. I recall one Christmas pointing out to a very self-important deputy-under-manager that six quid was outrageous for a packed of pistachios when Lidl had a packet the same weight for £1.79. He declared that 'Lidl arent our competition' and 'If you like it there shop there then'. Well anyway that was my last visit to the place. Now we get the interesting/quality stuff online or from farmers markets (or occasionally Waitrose for fresh stuff or when we need something in a rush). The bulk/everyday stuff comes from Lidl, loads of them in our bit of Berkshire now (Wokingham - hardly a breadline area - Woodley, Crowthorne, couple in Reading of course). The one in Wokingham even has a Sainsburys-like bakery section The quality is top notch, every bit as good as the mainstream supermarkets. It does get busy though. As for going daft in the shops, it always goes daft this time of year. And I do detect an upturn in Chavs out there with the fireworks.
  15. Widespread rights to residential property title only became law in 2007 ... while theoretically this covers people, in reality the Communitst Party is above the law and there's little faith that property (or anything else for that matter) can't be confiscated. Most business premises are in short term leases - you can spend a packet creating a business only to have it taken away on the whim of a local official. (This applies to locals and foreigners alike).
  16. There are no property rights in China. The party rules supreme, 'ownership' of anything is at the whim of the Government, and the next time the balloon goes up (as it surely will) people who have done well since 1978 could stand to lose everything. China loses 70% of the students who go abroad to study. Eventually if they do well enough they will bring their aged parents with them. That should tell you everything you need to know.
  17. When I bought recently I took a 10-year fix at 4,1%
  18. It seems Brackell Forest has really come up in the world. £795k for this fine example of extend-and-pretend .... lovely frontage! http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-28245669.html?premiumA=true OK it's Crowthorne rather than Bracknell town but still ... well in earshot of the Broadmoor escape siren that goes off at 10am every Monday morning ... any other time you better barricade the doors ....
  19. We were threatened with two months' notice because we wouldn't put up with an endless stream of work, intended to last all winter including roof, central heating system replacement, two bathrooms being done up and some painting and decorating, only (we found out from her exasperated handyman) for the property to be put on the market for sale come the spring. :angry: All with no rent reduction for intrusion,lack of privacy, dust etc (in fact she screwed up our vacuum cleaner cleaning up after some plaster work). What the grasping bi*ch didn't reckon on was that we had gone periodic so we waited till December (when NOBODY is looking to move) and gave her one month's notice. We then moved in in early January to another house in the road 2 doors up that we knew was coming up for rent - cheapest move ever (we did it all ourselves over a weekend). New LL (a decent bloke, renting himself in Scotland afer a job change) was so delighted to have no void he dropped the rent too. So she had to have the work done with no rent coming in .... took about 3-4 months as tradespeople messed her around (as they do), she then moved in herself and took 9 months to sell, dropping £100k in asking price as the months progressed (joy to watch that was) - over the whole of 2009. She wouldn't make eye contact with us as we drove past (well, in her eyes by messing up the timing etc we'd cost her £100,000 at least ) ... though interestingly the new owners spent a good six months getting roof work done as it was obviously a bodge job first time round.
  20. Congratulations . Hope it brings you joy. I did the same for not entirely dissimilar reasons on August 1. In my case I have 15 years to retirement and adding to our house purchase fund felt sooo sloooow when we had pretty stiff rent to pay (not cheap in Berkshire). I remain reasonably bearish on the overall outlook (even if I don't necessarily see any more nominal falls in the SE outside London), but there is no way I could accumulate enough cash for an outright purchase in my timeframe even if the balloon did go up any time soon. I had been renting for 8 years since moving south from Scotland (went through a divorce shortly after which complicated things) and I was frankly sick of the feeling of camping in someone else's house, paying their mortgage, while I saved just less than half what I was paying out to them, unable to decorate or put roots down in a community. We got kicked out twice in that time as landlords sold up - it was fun watching the first (in Somerset 2007-8-9) drop from £500k asking to accepting £353k, barely more than he paid new build in 2004 - even a year after we left, at 100 miles distance, that was fun to watch, he'd kicked us out and put in a cheap 'temporary' - for a year . The second in 2010 dropped from £600k asking to £500k sell price the course of eight months (the last six of them empty after she messed us around and we quit ) - though it was still more than it was worth, we just got a far better house in a better are for £420k (though it did need some work). So ... in the end we bought a large-ish house on a fantastic 0.3 acre plot, that was sound but needing modernisation and decoration, and have spent the last two months transforming it (only two bathrooms to go and we are done). Definitely value added but it will be for our comfort and enjoyment not for profit. We now have 15 years to pay it off, mortage is around 2x joint salary so it's perfectly doable even if rates go up. We'll be overpaying where possible and I hope to bring it in in not much over 10 years. There's lots of beautiful countryside around, M3 and M4 are in easy reach, there's a station offering easy connections to my wife's work (my office is 10min drive) and also to Waterloo and Paddington (the latter in just over 50mins). Meets our requirements to a T and one advantage renting for 5 years is you know the local (and not so local) area backwards, good and bad. The market can do what it wants, I'm settling in for the long term.
  21. Classic that one, 3,800+ per square metre.
  22. I did an OU MBA which was moderately pricey (was never subsidised) I reckon it cost me about £9k in total which is I suppose a fair price for an AMBA accredited course - a mate of mine did one at Luton (also part-time) which cost him more and wasn't nearly as good as the OU one in terms of course content. I went back a few years ago and did an OU language course (Mandarin) which was also pretty good value - £444 at the time for a full-year module and could be counted towards another first degree if you were so motivated. However I dropped out becase of work. Went back to do it - it's now £1600 which is a piece of nonsense for a virtual course - a few books, CDs and some online tutorials once a month. It's not the OU's fault, when they hiked the tuition fees the Coalition deliberately vandalised the OU so it wouldn't be a back door for cheap degrees - essentially ALL the non-science funding was taken away just as it was at normal universities. It basically doesn't have a future in its current form and I doubt it'll be around in a few years' time. I blame Clegg myself, I can hardly wait for the general election so that I can be seriously rude to the bstards in yellow (Tories or Labour I won't bother my breath with).
  23. Sounds like a right lemon. If your interest was spakred because it's notably cheap then you may just have worked out why. Walk away is my advice,there are loads of properties out there that aren't at risk of collapse.
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