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About KentishBear

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  1. Check this out then - Case-Shiller YOY 20 city vs CS Los Angeles vs UK Nationwide. Check out the steepness of our curve. The kink in the CS is when the credit crunch struck. Sources: Nationwide - http://www.nationwide.co.uk/hpi/historical.htm Case-Shiller - http://www2.standardandpoors.com/spf/pdf/i...tory_062418.xls
  2. I grew up near Gravesend and went to school at Dartford Grammar which used to be very good but has gone downhill in recent years due to the c*ck of a headmaster who's been there since my time. Sister lives in Rochester and parents still in the same place. I now live in Cheshire and wouldn't hurry back. The domestic services on the CTRL are definitely happening though, they start in December 2009, see link below: http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/main.php?page_id=376 The new FastTrack bus service is also pretty good by all accounts. The downside transport wise is that if you want to drive anywhere then you have London and the M25 in the way. However, if you dont mind going by train then it's going to be pretty good - from where I live now it will be under 2 hours into London on a Virgin train, a 10 min walk to St Pancras, and then 20 mins to Ebbsfleet. So about 2hr30 door to door for a 200 odd mile journey - not bad, almost continental efficiency! However, I would be more inclined to look at Ashford or even out towards Canterbury if I wanted to live in Kent - FAR nicer than Gravesend and surrounds and although further out from London will be eminently commutable with the new high speed domestic services. As for Ebbsfleet itself, well it's Greenhithe and Swanscombe, and as crap as North West kent is as a whole, when I was at school (in Dartford) if you came from there you had the piss taken for being a pikey. Perhaps it will improve with all the new housing, but as has been said they're basically being built in the old chalk quarries. I always used to wonder what the hell they're were going to do with those as I went past them every day on the coach to school, well now I know. I dunno, maybe it'll work out, but then look how Thamesmead went...
  3. Nationwide increased their rates again last week, timeline now as follows for 2 year fee free tracker: 30/7/07 - BOE rate at 5.75%, 2yr ff tracker at 6.08% (+0.33%) link 28/9/07 - 2yr ff tracker rises to 6.23% (+0.48%) link 30/11/07 - 2yr ff tracker rises to 6.38% (+0.63%) link 6/12/07 - BOE cuts to 5.5% so 2yr ff tracker reduced to 6.13% (+0.63%) link 21/1/08 - 2yr ff tracker rises to 6.18% (+0.68%) link 5/2/08 - 2yr ff tracker rises to 6.38% (+0.88%) link 7/2/08 - BOE cuts rates to 5.25% so 2 yr ff tracker reduced to 6.13% (+0.88%) link 10/3/08 - 2yr ff tracker (25% LTV) rises to 6.38% (+1.13%) link So from August last year, the same product has increase from 6.08% to 6.38% despite a cut in base rates by 0.5%. It of course gets worse that this because of the new 25% LTV band - if you're at 10% then the increase has been from 6.08 to 6.58%. Essentially there's no point in going for these products, you might as just go with the BMR at 6.74%. Not looking good for all the people remortgaging this year, payment shock still much in evidence....
  4. In truth I misread this and was thinking x-trail or whatever those ridiculous faux off-roaders are. But if it's a Ford Mondeo underneath why not just buy a diesel Ford Mondeo? A large, comfortable car for long distance journeys doesn't have to be a gas guzzler.
  5. Try walking anywhere without stepping off the footpath to cross the road, you'd likely end up going round and round in a circle....
  6. Except for the pedestrians and cyclists unfortunate enough to use the same road as you....
  7. I've recently started cycling a similar distance to work too. I can't believe I didn't do it before: - no petrol or car servicing costs (£50 a month just in petrol/diesel, I've not filled up since xmas!!!) - no need for gym membership (£12 a month) - time neutral as no need to go to the gym after work!! Although to be honest cycling 30-35 minutes is hardly strenuous if you don't want it to be. Only problem is finding a good route that minimises chances of death by 4x4 idiot, but after a bit of experimentation I've found one that isn't too bad - there are a lot of cut throughs and small roads you can use on a bike but not in a car, for example I cut out one bit of busy road by cycling through a park! Definitely recommended now that it's lighter in the morning and evening.
  8. I wasn't promoting taters per se - according to the original reference taters support 25 people per hectare, dairy cattle 6, and beef 2.5. So presumable wheat, fruit orchards etc must be somewhere in between, minus a bit for lower yields due to lack of oil... I believe that the irish adopted the potato because it grew well in the wet climate and also supported a lot of people for a given area, important given the tiny smallholdings irish tenant farmers ended up with as a result of various British anti-catholic land laws. When the blight hit they had no other crop to fall back on, and there wasn't any state aid so they either starved or emigrated. Not one of the finest hours of the british empire really.
  9. Actually, if you read my original note, I assumed that only a 5th of the area of the uk would be usable for growing tatties. So given that the actual figure was 23% I wasn;t far out! Calculating it your way, according to the source, you could support 25 people/arable hectare with tatties. With 60m popn we need to support 10 people per arable hectare. So giving a bit of the 25 per hectare away for lower yields due to lack of oil, and needing to crop rotate with lower yielding crops, it would still seem that with zero oil it would be possible for the UK to be self-sufficient in food production, espcially when you take into account the potential for sheep on moorland, fish in the seas and so on. What am I missing?
  10. Agreed that a monoculture would be a bad idea, I was just trying to get some indicative figures. The reason why the Irish grew potatoes was because they were a crop that could feed a large family on small amounts of land, when they weren't blighted of course... You'd want to crop rotate like they did in the old days to make up for the lack of fertilisers I guess. Another time that might serve as a useful historic precedent is that second world war - we couldn't import any food and there wouldn't have been much in the way of fertilisers or oil for tractors either. The popn in the UK in 1941 was 48m vs 58m now, OK so it was a struggle but we managed, and not all of the agriculture technology developed over the past 50 years is oil dependent.
  11. OK, so I found this random article: http://www.taa.org.uk/BiennialC/500MILL.htm Growing potatoes provides enough energy to feed 25 people per hectare per year. Assuming even only a fifth of the UK could be used to grow tatties, and that the yield might halve with no oil, still 2.5 people could be supported per hectare of the UK.... As the article mentions, I am sure that other parts of the world will fare far worse, but for the UK I don't think running out of oil will impair our ability to feed ourselves, we'd just have to eat less, conserve more, change diets, and probably have a lot more people working the land because there won't be the machines to do it.
  12. Most of NZ's electricity at least is hydro, although being sparsely populated it is rather car dependent so it could be a struggle in terms of transport. Steve, just wondering what you think of this article on us throwing half of our food away? http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fo...ear-790318.html Given that we also have a far higher calorific intake than we actually need, and that the UK population has only gone from 38m to 60m in the 20th century (source), I am struggling to reconcile your figures for how we'll all starve once all the oil runs out. Could you possibly give a breakdown of exactly where your '2 people per hectare divided by the number of hectares in the uk' figure comes from? How is the 2 people per hectare worked out? How do you calculate the number of hectares given that not all land is equally productive? Perhaps it would be useful if some of the gardening types offered some opinions on how much food they could grow in a given area of land without any fertilisers or machinery? I don't doubt that agriculture is currently oil intensive, but I am not so convinced of how oil dependent it is. An important factor in the population rise of the 20th century has been the drop in child mortality rate thanks to better medicines, is it really down to better and cheaper and more plentiful food? I don't doubt that the absence of oil will have grave consequences for food production globally, but I do doubt that a developed country that has seen more modest population growth such as ourselves would be completely unable to provide for itself. Cheers.
  13. Did coal really make that much difference to agricultural methods, other than allowing for produce to be transported more efficiently (by rail) and by providing better farming implements from factories? Sorry but I really don't buy the argument that if you took away all of the oil tomorrow the UK couldn't feed itself. We could feed ourselves in two world wars so why not now? Food would become less plentiful, it would have to be grown more locally, and people would eat less and not be obese, but they wouldn't starve. We'd also have to give up some of the more profiligate elements of our civilisation and focus on providing what was really crucial, but we could do it. Look at the example of cuba, they lost access to oil after the soviet union collapsed and had to develop new ways of feeding the population, and they did so through such initiatives as urban gardens amongst other things. There is a huge amount of wasted resources we can get redirect to better uses before we end up with a medically important lack of food.... I agree that our society will change beyond recognition, and that more expensive food will have a greater effect on some countries and communities than others, but I don't agree that we'll be fundamentally unable to support current population levels (in the UK) without oil.
  14. One happy benefit of Peak Oil is that it will at least sort out the obesity epidemic that is being forecast, although this might not be so great for the big pharmas that are targetting diabetes and obesity as their high priority disease area... oops. Whilst I agree with the theory of peak oil I'm not so sure about the effects. Cheap oil has made many aspects of our energy use incredibly inefficient so there is a lot of slack to be taken up if and when oil does become too expensive to be frittered away. I think that we should be proactive and think about what we're going to do in the future (as Sweden has done), but Injin's point about market forces driving changes in behaviour is a valid one. Also, whilst the world population has become far larger, how much of this growth in the developed world was independent of mechanised agriculture (ie happened pre 1960s), and how much of the growth in the developing world was independent of cheap oil (do subsistance farmers use fertisilisers, tractors etc?). So can we REALLY only sustain a population of 2 billion vs 8 billion? I doubt this is true, although food will become more expensive and this will make life very hard for people in poor countries, in the developing world people have much scope to just eat less and be more healthy as a result.
  15. Interesting. I've been watching nationwide for the last few months because my own mortgage is coming up to the end of its introductory rate in March, and they have changed their 2 year fee free trackers quite substantially. Here's a timeline: 30/7/07 - BOE rate at 5.75%, 2yr ff tracker at 6.08% (+0.33%) link 28/9/07 - 2yr ff tracker rises to 6.23% (+0.48%) link 30/11/07 - 2yr ff tracker rises to 6.38% (+0.63%) link 6/12/07 - BOE cuts to 5.5% so 2yr ff tracker reduced to 6.13% (+0.63%) link 21/1/08 - 2yr ff tracker rises to 6.18% (+0.68%) link 5/2/08 - 2yr ff tracker rises to 6.38% (+0.88%) link 7/2/08 - BOE cuts rates to 5.25% so 2 yr ff tracker reduced to 6.13% (+0.88%) link The SVR has stayed a constant 1.49% above base rate and is currently at 6.74%. For my circumstances of small mortgage and anticipated lump sums becoming available from saving schemes I'm now better off sticking with the SVR than going with the tracker, because the ability to pay off lump sums off-sets the slightly reduced headline rate over 2 years. It will be interesting to see what effect the new LTV banding has, hopefully it will work in my favour as I have a low LTV.
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