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Alberta Tatlock

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About Alberta Tatlock

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    Calgary Alberta Canada
  1. Yes I am. Although I've actually been here closer to 7 than 6 years (the days just fly by ). GBP peaked in mid 2004 and has generally declined since.
  2. I would suggest a correction to your last sentence: ' Housing was definitely cheaper in most destinations'. The UK led the housing bubble and other countries followed. Add in the depreciation of GBP and property in many developed countries starts to look ominously expensive. When emigrating 6 years ago I was glad to get $2.50 CAD for 1 GBP, and spend it on a house that was 40-50% cheaper (in CAD) than it would be today.
  3. I was in the UK last year when a survey of the 'The world's best universities' was published. While getting a coffee in the local Starbucks, I overheard the female barista (late twenties) pointing out to the other staff that her university (UCL) was in the top 2 or three. I feared the irony of her bragging was lost on her. (Good on her for working though)
  4. As I remember the adult fare was 8p, and I seem to remember the reasoning was that an adult and kid could travel for 10p. As a school holiday pastime we used to collect pop bottles with deposits (1p) on them and then 'go traveling' by bus. We traveled 'all o'er t'city', although one took one's life in one's hands changing at Pond Street.
  5. The condition to which you linked would accurately describe my own "condition". I have professionally measured IQ of 130 but also have a "grasshopper mind". I was regularly labelled as "lazy", "...could do better..." etc at school but nobody ever took the time to assess me and provide me with the help I needed to achieve. I was fortunate that when I left further education, business computing was taking off and I have managed to forge a reasonably lucrative/successful career. Of course, had I been at the other end of the IQ bell curve, 4th instead of 96th percentile, I would have received specialist help. Either way, not being able to reach my full potential in the education system is a source of regret, and I can assure you that I am far from "bone idle".
  6. On the 'are A levels easier' issue: I took mine at the start of the 80's; I have a mate who took hers at the start of the 90's. At her school they made them sit exams in the subjects they were studying but using papers from 10 years earlier (as a 'fun' exercise). She told me she crapped herself when she saw the questions (maths, physics, chemistry) as they were 'completely unanswerable'. I have no reason to disbelieve her, and she is a bright woman - went on to get a 1st. On the Private school debate: They have always sought to differentiate. Back in my day it would to take a B or C student and make he/she an A student. That is no longer a guaranteed means of differentiation. So what they now tend to do is provide subjects that state schools find difficult to provide e.g. Latin and Greek. As well as this I know of kids at private school doing 12 or 14 GCSE's.
  7. Erm, what 'Shopping' is supposedly not allowed to paid for by credit card in Canada?
  8. I would argue that Canada is not in the middle of a housing boom but very near the end of a housing boom in certain markets, and passed the end of the housing boom in most markets. The key point of note in the article is the 6.1% growth is in real estate and consumer spending and, given that according to the OECD Canadians have the highest household debt to asset ratio of any G20 nation, that is unsustainable. My view is that the average Canadian is not that worldly-wise with regards to the global situation and has believed all the hype around 'we're not the US and our banks are safe'. I think there will be a housing 'correction' here as the inventories in some areas of the country are huge. The house we bought here has doubled in 'value' over the last 5 years, but I don't think it will last. Canada has many boomers looking to offload their 'Macmansions in the boonies' to some unsuspecting punter.
  9. I've been here for 5 winters now and have no intention of leaving. Sure it gets cold but the deep cold rarely lasts for long, also the 'eight months of sub-zero and whiteouts' is not true, I keep weather records and there's no way that happens. I enjoy winter sports so given that and the abundant sunshine I prefer 'bright and cold' to 'warm and damp'. Oh, and I get 5 weeks annual leave as do most people I know. And I get every other Friday off work!
  10. They can't hide for long though Cavendish Road And on nethouseprices
  11. Well there hasn't been pro vs anti London thread for while I've lived a total of 15 years of my life in London originally moving there in the mid 80's to get away from the depression of the north, although it was always my ambition to live and work there. Out of those years I was; single, in a relationship (no kids), married (no kids) and married (kids). The majority of the time I lived in London I loved it for all of the usual reasons, plus I earned good money and could change jobs almost as easy as changing my kecks etc. But when time came to put down roots and to try and bring up kids, that's when it lost it's appeal to me. Unless one is monied to the hilt, can live in the centre and send ones offspring to private school the whole thing becomes a nightmare. I visited last year after an absence of 5 years and nothing seem to have changed, although maybe the traffic was a little heavier. 2 hours on the North Circular did nothing to make me want to rush back. Obviously many people from here take vacations in London and one always hears the same reaction on their return. "Oh we had a great time, we saw x,y and z and everything's so close, and the tube is awesome". Mmm,so you were on vacation, staying in a central London hotel, travelling around after 9:30 am heh? Once the kids have flown the nest the mrs and I might move back, but these days I have to say I prefer New York (although a working visa might prove difficult). I find New York cleaner, more upbeat, better weather and with better service all round.
  12. Not sure about the well paid jobs. The median household income in Van is around 58K and that is not very high for a large Canadian city especially when the cost of housing is taken into account. The recent survey by Demographia had Van as the most expensive city in the world (median house price vs median income). Whenever I have looked at comparable salaries across Canadian cities Van compares with smaller Ontario cities. That said, it's a beautiful place and I'd love to live in Kitsilano. But unless house prices there halve I'll remain in cowtown and spend my high salary on visits to the west coast.
  13. Or, if one has children, actually want house prices to come down.
  14. That's a little harsh. Back in the mid to late 90's my wife and I got our first mortgage together and we opted for an interest only mortgage. The reason being that with a repayment mortgage the lender would only recalculate the principal at the end of the year i.e. any capital paid off would not be taken into account until up to 12 months later. With the IO loan the principal was adjusted every month by the amount over and above the interest paid. We were disciplined and always paid the interest and some capital every month, especially when we received any sort of bonus. Maybe the reduction of principal happens immediately these days but choosing an IO mortgage helped us progress to having no mortgage at all. Not all IO mortgagees only pay off the interest
  15. I could claim that I had excellent foresight, however closer to the truth is the fact that the first woman I met who I thought I'd stick with long term (attractive, intelligent and liked long distance cycling) was Canadian It did take us 8 years of living a crazy UK lifestyle before we played the 'get out of jail free' card though.
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