Wednesday, 29 February 2012

360 Wisdom - rest of my life

As part of this training I have to note my plans for the future. We are more likely (and this is common sense)to achieve something if we set it out and document it.

This is my first stab;

I am going to;
Make my house in Greece legal for tourist lettings.
Rebuild our old Greek house also to tourist standard.
Build a third house on our land also to tourist standard (never even slightly considered this one before).

Use the properties for;
Holiday lets
Winter long term lets
Training/development courses
Educational retreat

more to follow once I have had more thinking time..........

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Are Greeks the hardest workers in Europe

This is unashamedly pinched from the BBC New website. Just bear in mind you can work damn hard and get yourself nowhere fast.

The eurozone crisis has sown divisions in the European family, and Greece in particular has often been singled out for criticism. Has Greece been living beyond its means? Are Greeks lazy? On this second point, the statistics tell a surprising story.

This week Greece is facing more spending cuts after agreeing to a deal of 130bn euros (£110bn, $175bn) to help it avoid bankruptcy.

But the statistics suggest the country has not lost its way due to laziness. If you look at the average annual hours worked by each worker, the Greeks seem very hard-working.

Figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that the average Greek worker toils away for 2,017 hours per year which is more than any other European country.

Out of the 34 members of the OECD, that is just two places behind the board leaders, South Korea.

On the other hand, the average German worker - normally thought of as the very epitome of industriousness - only manages 1,408 hours a year. Germany is 33rd out of 34 on the OECD list (or 24th out of 25 looking at the European countries alone).

Only one other OECD country's workers put in fewer hours, and that's the Netherlands with 1,377 hours.

The average Greek is working a full 40% longer than the average German.

But there is more to these figures than meets the eye. There are two big reasons why these two countries have such different annual working hour totals.


Greeks take less holiday, sickness leave and maternity leave than Germans
Pascal Marianna, who is a labour markets statistician at the OECD says: "The Greek labour market is composed of a large number of people who are self-employed, meaning farmers and - on the other hand - shop-keepers who are working long hours."

Self-employed workers tend to work more than those who have specified hours in an employment contract.

The second reason Mr Marianna points to is the different number of part-time workers in each country.

"In Germany, the share of employees working part-time is quite high. This represents something like one in four," he says.

As these annual hours figures are for all workers, the large proportion who work part-time in Germany is bringing down the overall average. In Greece, far fewer people work part-time.

So, because the two labour markets are structured differently, it is actually hard to compare like with like.

If you account for these factors by stripping away part-time and self-employed people and look only at full-time salaried workers, the Greeks are still working almost 10% more hours than the Germans.

This is because the Germans take more holiday, sickness leave and maternity leave - on average four weeks more than the Greeks.

So far, we have been focusing on those in employment, but only 60% of Greece's working age population have jobs compared to 72% in Germany.


Germany's manufacturing sector is highly efficient
You might think, then, that if we looked at the average number of hours worked by all those of working age - dividing the total number of hours worked by the working age population - Germany would come out on top. But no, Greece still beats Germany.

Why is it then that it's Greece that needs to be bailed out, and not Germany?

That's a complicated question. But you get part way to answering it by doing another simple sum.

Take gross domestic product (GDP) - that's the country's entire production - and divide it by the number of workers.

On this basis, the average German worker is more productive than the average Greek. Germany ranks as the eighth most productive country by worker out of the OECD countries - or the seventh out of the European countries - while Greece comes in at 24th.

Mr Marianna says this is mainly because Germany has a very efficient manufacturing sector.

And while a smaller proportion of Germans work in agriculture, here too they are more efficient - partly because "technology is more widespread", he says.

But when all is said and done, Mr Marianna is keen to stress that all these numbers come with a health warning.

They are collected by individual national statistics authorities who each have their own methods of collecting and collating information.

How the family unit works

Four of us live in this house. I believe we are made more efficient by having different skills sets.

I cook, shop, do laundry & minor mending, do the cleaning, do the decorating, everyone's tax returns and other finance/admin stuff.


I never do anything to do with the car, anything with computers or the internet or technology in general, anything that needs fixing, anything DIY. Anything DIY is a huge category in this house. The house is 104 years old was lived in by a single family for 60 years before we moved in. So slowly and painfully (expensively) everything has been updated over the years, and not by external contractors but by my guys.

To me it seems obvious that, assuming all areas are covered, you stick to your own specialization if it suits everyone. That is what makes a family unit, or any group of effectively co-ordinated people, more efficient than individuals randomly doing their own thing.

My sons girlfriend comes from a household where no-one does anything for anyone else. She gets really cross when my sons says, for example, 'whats for dinner?'. She doesn't seem to notice when I say to him my brake lights are not working and there is an oil light showing on my dash, which he then sorts out. He even gets told off for giving me his payslips (stashed away for tax return time). My husband would have to have an accountant (and I am one) do his tax return if I didn't do it. He is dyslexic and it is just totally outside of skills range. On the other hand he spend a ton of hours on the sitting floor last week fixing our boiler. If I was here alone then that would have cost me quite dearly.





Basically If i lived alone, and in the past I have, then I would do it all or get people in to do the stuff I cant handle but should we not use our own abilities within the group? Is it sensible or am I being hugely old fashioned?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Re-fill day


Today is a serious shopping day. We are out of almost everything. Luckily for me my personal shopper (Jamal) is happy to trawl around everywhere with me. I am so going to miss him when he finally gets into the merchant navy.

The plan is;
Matalan - for a few bowls and dishes as we are two steps away from eating from paper plates all of a sudden
B&Q - Brass carpet tacks - Fahed & Jamal are laying the stair carpet next week.
In Excess - to price p wood for a cabinet they are building to fit a corner of the kitchen
Lidl - Stock up on tins
ASDA - Main shopping

Just about to make myself a list plus a list of errands & chores. I am going to be a super efficient lean mean shopping machine today....maybe.

Next week we have the insurance assessor coming to look at the water damage on my sitting room ceiling. Also I bought a Groupon voucher this week to have the oven and cooker hood professionally cleaned. I had a credit on my account from a gas boiler service I bought last year which had never been carried out, so half of that went on the deep clean.

Oh and this month I am going to spend my pocket money on a few new items of clothes. All my work clothes have suddenly really worn out. Its time for them to be recycled. I found something I liked on ebay and when I clicked on to the shop I was pleasantly surprised. Some really nice outfits but quite affordable. Not Primark prices but very good for what yo get.



Let the shopping commence

Friday, 24 February 2012

Totally drained

So after my training on being a more '360' person this week I had a way more emotional week than normal. One of my staff, a new manager who only started with me in December, suffered a stroke. Right in the office, in a meeting. She is still in a drug induced coma but we should hear more by Monday. I have been stressing all day yesterday that it was caused by me or her work load. This from a woman who used to work for Sir Alan Sugar. Surely I can't be worse than that. Then I felt guilty about thinking about me instead of her and they tell me her blood pressure was fine when the ambulance came so it was probably an existing problem. But my god, I just feel so bad and I hate being so powerless. I like all my staff near me and happy, I am like an old mother hen, to not even have been there to travel in the ambulance was awful.

So we had a really busy week, and more of the same next week and all I can think about is my missing colleague.

I have volunteered to take a two day mentoring course. I feels like something I ought to be able to do.

Looking on the bright side with 'my lady'. Thank god it happened at work, in an office where their were nurses. She lives alone. I can;t begin to imagine what happened if it was Friday night when it happened. We wouldn't even call her until Tuesday as we would assume you had a meeting elsewhere or whatever. So scary.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Day two

We all had to swear to confidentiality at the beginning of this course so that everyone could relax and be themselves. By the end of day two I can see why. We had some emotional times today. The last exercise of the day involved drawing a picture of what we hate about ourselves. My first fail of the day. Hate is way too big a word to use about anything I feel about myself. I am not mad about being overweight but it doesn't bother me that much, which is why I don't do as much about it as I should.

Day three is the middle of next week. I cant wait but I do realise that I got less from the course, along with the only chap on the course,than a lot of the others did. This isn't because I wasn't paying attention but because I am already quite centered and self aware. Operating in 360 was how she put it. She asked us both if we wrote a diary. The guy kept an actual written diary and I, of course, have this blog. For me this is confirmation of the importance of writing here. Its not important if it gets read (but it is nice, so feel free to continue with the occasional comment)because the mere act of writing is helping me to be in the moment and to be centered. And I seem to remember that slowing down and simplifying was what brought me here in the first place. So really what I have had here is confirmation that my wacky ideas are not wacky and that they work.

Cheers bloggy mates, good one.



Monday, 20 February 2012

I can do anything I want

and I can prove it. Ha ha.

As part of our first day of training we did a number of exercises to establish what type of person we are - think,feel,create,believe. I scored high in most areas but not especially so in thinking. I was high but it didn't dominate me in a way you would expect for someone with my qualifications & who had made my career choices. In fact my highest influence was Creative. Not the first thing you would imagine for an accountant and senior finance manager. I do get to use my creativity more as a senior manager but not much place for it in finance generally.

I was asked to explain, if I could, how a creative person came to be in a finance career in the first place. This was immediately after some relaxation exercises so I was vulnerable to dredging in my memory.

I worked in an office when I was young. I found it deadly dull and had no ambitions with my career. I enjoyed traveling and worked to earn money for that. I had no interest in material possessions, still don't, so my money went for experiences not things. Whilst I was off travelling one time I met my now husband. We returned to England & had our two boys. When I was pregnant with Jamal, Fahed had to have an operation. A part of his hip had to be transplanted into his arm. The transplant didn't take and it would take three more years before it did. During that time we were seriously hard up for cash. So when Jamal arrived I made a decision not just to go back to work but to go to well paid work.

So I read up on accountancy and found the concept fairly easy. I got into the business by applying for a seriously underpaid job but by asking for college fees to be paid. I got the first job I applied for. After nine months I passed my exams, qualified as an Accounting Technician. I left the job (hated it)and worked for an agency. I studied for my accounting qualification & was offered a permanent job as the second organisation that I did temp work at. I worked my way up by studying, learning everything I could at every step of the way and by working very hard. Within the organisation I am as high up as I will be be. I don't have the level of commitment necessary to be a director. I am only here at all to provide for my family and to have an interesting time.

As I am coming up to age fifty now, I think it might be time to let my creative self have its dominance. I have already proved to myself what I can do. My biggest problem now is deciding how to narrow my choices.

Wow, all thsi from day one. What will I be like after day three!!!

360 Wisdom Claire Chidley





More training! I have just been at day one of a three day course, 360 Wisdom. From Claire's website I know that it is to make sense of your ‘inner-world’ enabling you to transpose it onto the ‘outer-world’ for a successful, joyous life. So far it is great. Very revealing Y& thought provoking, interesting and really feeds my curiosity.

Mostly this is a good thing but it does mean that I feel the world is my oyster. This may not be a good thing when I still have a huge mortgage to pay off. Goodness only knows what I will be like by the end of three days. So fasr though, highly recommended, get in there and book!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Busy, busy, busy

All the better to avoid worrying about the other house. My friend is so concerned that as well as emailing me on Friday night, she called on Saturday morning. As well as being fined for the house, anyone who cant pay the fine will have their house knocked down. Ouch. We have already employed a German guy who lives locally to look at what permissions our builder actually had. A couple of small snags there. Not least the problems in the Eurozone with Greece being bailed out financially. A German guy has been put in charge of Greece, effectively. This growing resentment has reminded locals how little time has passed since the war. Lets just say that employing a German guy to get anything done at the moment was not the best idea. I need a Greek guy and preferably one with contacts. Hopefully we hear something tomorrow.


My dad, chilling on the balcony of 'the house'.

So our busyness? Fahed spent the day fixing the boiler. The original fixing was not very fixed. Now its all good but we had to go out in the middle of the day to get a new part (seemed to have the same name but does look different). Bonnie and I took the opportunity to have a proper good clean and a sort out in the sitting room. It is lovely and bright and shiny now. We finally finished at 8pm (had to have a break whilst Fahed went to work for a couple of hours and Ahdel kindly cooked for us all). Fahed & I also started a book of what needs doing in each room. When your house is 104 years old there is always something that needs doing. This book should help us to keep on track. At the very least it kept me distracted today.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Definitely not gloomy today but

All week I have had a cough and cold. Which means overtired as fits of coughing when I lie down. SO last night I almost overdosed on night nurse (no, not really but a hefty swig). This morning I have woken up slightly less full of cold bug but with an aching jaw. I assume this is the beginning of tooth ache as I don't recall being punched around in the night. Oh, and just to make it even better. An email from a friend suggest my house in Crete might be illegal and needs legalization by the end of Feb, yes Feb 2012 at a cost of 15000 to 20000 euro or we will be fined. All good this weekend then.

So I have a cough, cold, potential tooth ache and need up to 20,000 euro that I don't have. What's not to be happy about. And worse, I am bored.

I need something interesting to do. I need to do something. Not cooking, de-cluttering, budgeting, not spending. Something different and interesting. Maybe something to make my brain hurt with effort just a smidgen.

Made a cooked brekkie for everyone this morning so I am hoping they will be like snakes and not need anything more today. I plan a day of chilling on the sofa. I would kike that to go to brainstorming rather than brain turning to mush but we shall see.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Almost New Year




Being a finance person my new year starts on April 1st.

Normally April means change of salary, or it used to in the olden days. Also new, and higher, annual costs for council tax & water. Interest charges on the mortgage in the days before these things varied more often.

I have taken the opportunity to make a new changes in true new year style.

*I have two remaining credit card. Small amounts on them and we just use them for holiday flights etc. No more. Today I shredded them in the card shredder at work. Then I cancelled the direct debit (where the card co chooses how much I pay every month) and set up standing orders (where I choose the amount) so that they will be history within the year.

*I have set up the standing order to pay the new council tax and water bills for the year. all of the other bills are paid by direct debit and just carry on from the previous year.

*I have set up a standing order payment for my sons monthly tuition fee. It seems to be a bit hit and miss how they collect it so it gets left and then they add a late fee. This way it is me in control again. I like that more.

* I have upped the monthly mortgage payment by £100, so each months over payment will be around £250 now. I haven't spoken to the bank yet but I believe this knocks another couple of s off the plan.

* I had reviewed the shopping and petrol budgets and made an effort to re-build an emergency fund.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Okay, I forgive

Whilst having someone a little more conventional would be nice, just sometimes, I should appreciate more. Fahed is still blissfully unaware that something for Valebntiens day would be nice but he did phone earlier to ask where I put the chicken, as he is cooking something which sounded suspiciously like Himalayan Chicken Curry for dinner tonight. As it is half term he has only a few lessons at the weekend and the rest of the time we can go out for the day. He reminded me that we have this time and where do we want to go? I am thinking it might be nicer to have someone who wants to cook for me for no reason, and who wants to go out with me for no reason, than someone who remembers artificial days of celebration.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

St Valentine's Day





How did your Valentines day go? I was kind of busy at lunch time so didn't manage to get out. I had a bowl of cheerios for lunch and some chocolate buttons from my boss. I came in at six. Dinner was a toastie (cheese, ham, mushroom). Eight o'clock we went to bed so that Bonnie can play SIMS without us all complaining about how dull it is. 8.30 Fahed is asleep. Well I guess he is tired having been out with his mate all day.

No card (no surprise), no gift, no flowers, no dinner (our or in). Where are the heart shaped cookies, red roses, pink wine?

If he was a library book I might be considering not renewing my loan now!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

How life shapes us

Chatting with Fahed this week about retirement, when, how, what and all the rest of it. I found that Fahed wasn't really worried one way or the other. He basically said he will keep working until I tell him he doesnt need to anymore. I wonder when he would like to take his small private pension. Earlier and have less but for longer, or later and have more but for a shorter time. Don't mind. You tell me what's best.

Last night we were snuggled up in bed, trying hard not to freeze to death and talking about money. Our net worth is falling fast. It doesn't matter that much but it does mean we will have to work for longer. Fahed will give his thoughts on whether we should invest in...whatever but only if specifically asked.

Now I don't have any problems at all weighing up options and making decisions, coming up with ideas and making plans. Fahed has views and doesn't much like change in his every day life but about what I consider the big things in life, he seems to have no views at all.

But when you look at our cultural background its is so obvious why we are as we are. I was born in England in 1962. One of the Western Baby Boomers that could have it all if they wanted. I chose my study route, my work, my direction.

Fahed was born 18 months later in Syria, brought up in Lebanon in the middle of a war. He didn't have a moment of security until we came here 24 years later. Of course he doesn't want to worry about the big stuff. Control of day to day is all that you could hope for in his early life.

Looking on the bright side, one good thing from his early life is that he is frightened of absolutely nothing.




As you can probably tell from my introverted pos today, I have spent the day home alone with way too much time for thinking!!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

How does your house work?

Inspired by the cold weather and the death of Carla's spare Tv i was thinking about how families use houses in different ways.

Some friends have a big house, TV in every bedroom and the kids help themselves to food from the freezer when they are hungry. They have a big sitting room by English standards, maybe 7 metres long. Usually just the two of them sitting there, but that does mean they get to watch what they want on TV.

Our house is much smaller. Our sitting room has three sofa's so we can seat about nine in comfort. The TV hanging on the chimney and there are DVD racks in the alcoves either side. There is a huge bird cage in winter as Ace likes to look out of the front window. Nothing else in there. That's all we need. When we watch TV or play games we do it here. We never argue about what to watch. My youngest son says it is because we only ever watched TV together we haven't been exposed to the range of programs that makes us have different tastes, or something like that (he is a bit of a know-it-all. When someone discovers a programme that they think we will all like then there is great excitement when we plan it, watch it and give our verdicts. Kids scrap about who gets which sofa sometimes as everyone loves the purple velvet one. Lol.

We don't always manage to eat together as we all have different work hours but what we do is cook a nice meal each day and try to make it something we reheats nicely or can be eaten cold, that way the last one in doesn't feel lost and forgotten.

In summer we are much more spread out through the house as we read, garden, chat, cook. We make up groups and then move about and make other groups. But in the winter we huddle together in one room with our laptops, TV, crafts, sketching and writing, It reminds me of Meerkats snuggling together for warmth!
Us, huddling together for warmth as Mum is too mean to heat the whole house.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Getting behind on my challenges

It is so the busiest time of the year at work at the moment and my time at home is full of melty brain and no effort on my challenges,. On the bright side that works well for my no spend challenge as I don't care to shop and I am happy cooking on auto pilot.

The biggest problem problem with getting behind on my challenges is that I am missing out on Carla's awesome giveaway. Doh!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Food for thought.




My friend was chatting at work today and said he is thinking about retiring next year. What? He is way too young, only a little older than me. But truth is he will be fifty five in 18 months time and then he can claim his private pension. Obviously he will get a load less than he will by waiting until he is 60 or 65 but thinks it is worth it. But, and here is something I had not really considered, he is only thinking of retiring form this job, not working completely. Just the stressful level.



Well this gives me a whole new something to think about. In my mind I work at this job or similar until it is time to retire and then I don't work anymore. But maybe there is something out there that I could do part time or from time to time. Doing something fun would be good but what about not being the boss anymore. I tell myself that I am not status conscious but I really like being a senior manager. I enjoy the job and the way that I can kind of build my own working week and choose my own projects. Losing my seniority would mean losing more than just cash (and quite a lot of it).


So what do we think? 55 is the beginning or the beginning of the end??

Monday, 6 February 2012

Well that really is cold

I wont be hoping for snow for a day or two now. The boiler has packed up. Yesterday evening we noticed the house was feeling especially cold. I thought it was just that the temperature had dropped even more but it was the boiler had gone out. And can;t be lit again. Apparently we need a new thermo-coupler. So I bought one and now we just need a bloke who is qualified to fit it.

So tonight we have the gas fire on in the front room. It actually very efficient and I would assume cheaper to run but it means we have no hot water and there is no heating in Ahdel's work area & bedroom. he can either give up studying fro a few days or I can chip the ice off him every few hours.


Our front room (no, not really).

So we are all snuggled into the front room. We had a lovely warming chicken stew for dinner, another advantage to having Fahed home. Jamal is wearing his dressing gown over his clothes, Fahed is wearing his track suit and a fluffy blanket. I am the start of the show in my nightie, pajama bottoms, bed socks and a my slanket. Ha, ha, I got the last laugh, no one is macking the slanket now!! I would be starting on my crochet if my hands weren't so cold.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snow is gone but I am still feeling creative.

Look at this. Isn't it beautiful. The instructions are hopefully idiot proof. I am going to have a go at it. I am hoping I am the old dog who can learn a new trick. The blog is just lovely so I will make my way through it just as soon as I can get the hang of the ripples. No-one in my family crochets and so there was no-one to teach me. In fact I am pretty sure that my grandma didn't knit or embroider either. My mum embroidered at school and knitted for me when I was a child but otherwise nothing there either. Anyway I can, or at least could, kind of knit. I made the kids jumpers and other clothes when they were little. I can do a bit of basic embroidery. It's time to see if I can still do any kind of crochet. The only thing that puts me off crochet is the endless changing of wool. I like to start something and get into it. I can see how that could happen if I was knitting, for example, a granny blanket. So when I saw a few photos of these lovely ripple blankets I was hooked (geddit??)

Just of try to find a crochet hook and some wool for a bit of a practice before I invest in materials.

I just googled images of ripple crochet and am now promtped to ask the age old question. How come some people are so clever, and I am not? Sigh.

Snow = Creativity

That should maybe be 'threat of snow'. I haven't been stuck indoors but I felt that I could be.



I made a birthday cake for my brother in law. This was the last of the reduced Delia Christmas cake packs. They were really good. Just a normal cake recipe and normal ingredients but the fruit has been packed in alcohol since forever and it tastes amazing even when the cake is newly baked.



I have done the prep work for a few jars of plum jam. I need a a little sugar and some more jars, from my mum. and we are ready to go on Sunday

Dyed my beige jumper blue. It is a cotton acrylic 50/50 mix, so picked up enough dye to colour it. What was I doing buying beige? I am not 50 yet!! It is now a stonewashed denim colour. Much better.




I made a hot lamb stir fry for Fahed's lunch/dinner. Very basic but just right for him especially in this cold weather. I stir fried some lamb shoulder meat, added some straight to wok noodles (from Approved foods)and served it up with a bottle of Tabasco. He was delighted but the meat, the simplicity and just this once for the lack of veg. He loved it so much that he asked for the same again on Sunday. I think the fact that it is a meal you can eat with a fork whilst wrapping yourself in a fluffy blanket might also have improved its popularity. Even with the heating on it is cold when you have spent 7 hours standing about in a swimming pool.


I have found and washed some old pieces of cross stitch. Once dry I am making a coaster with one piece and maybe framing up the other piece for my bedroom wall. The larger one was once a cushion cover front that I made in my teens (yes, they did have craft materials that long ago) but got a bit messed up over the years. I am now trying to rescue the main design. It may or may not be staying.

I believe that all of my de-cluttering might be influencing my creativity. Is it a matter of less time cleaning = more time to play?

Today I am going to set myself thirty minutes to throw stuff away in the study again. These short bursts are really productive. I don't get bored and am way more likely to ditch things. I need the area cleared soon as this is where Fahed does his college homework, language study etc and at the moment I have pretty much trashed it for him.

oh, and whilst i am in photo mode. This is my sitting room. Very cozy.



Saturday, 4 February 2012

Icy icy cold


Okay, I am aware that -12 is not cold in plenty of places but around here its as cold as I can recall,ever. That's the supposed average temperature across the country today. Here the car said -5 when I moved it this morning. Even I have the central heating on.
I am reading a few blogs as I have my coffee with a view to having the world fastest shower and hair wash shortly. I feel I might regret donating my jumpers to the sallie army this weekend.

Plans:
Top up shopping (under £50)
Clean and tidy (keep moving and keep warm?)
Finish drying the washing. I am going to use the tumble dryer as it might keep the kitchen a little warmer.
Finish a cushion cover for my mum's birthday present.
V|sit a friend and hope her house is warmer.
Visit my parents and know their house is going to be warmer.

Update; I had to edit as the poor spelling in the title was bothering me. So whilst I am here.....My shopping came to £48 which I thought pretty good but which is even better as it includes £14 on a jumper from ASDA. It's beige (so not my favourite colour) but has a few horizontal stripes in pale blue and red. But the good thing, well things really is that it is cotton/acrylic mix, feels lovely and soft, looks hand knitted and its a design which you need to wear over a t shirt so it can be worn a few different ways. Very good value I think. The beigeness is already bothering me though so it might get the dye treatment shortly.

Early today I heard a cat crying outside. I couldn't find it but later on saw it curled up in a corner out front. So still I actually thought it was dead. Now I am worrying that it got shut out by mean owners. I needed something extra to worry about obviously so tonight I will be checking front and back garden to see that its okay. Not sure that Ace (the bird) will be happy but we might have to have a strange cat round for a sleepover, particularly as snow is forecast for tonight. My oldest son is on cat duty as he is even more of a soft touch for the four legged than I am.

We are half expecting snow tongith

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Thursday! Family, Houses & Stuff

So Fahed is back & life goes on. It is nice though. Monday I came home from work and all my menfolk were lounging around laughing and watching episodes of SG1. Lovely. They claim to have only just got home from various work and colleges but I am suspicious they all had a scivey day and I was the only one working. He has finished will one lot of meds and our GP is happy to start cutting down the next lot. He is going to be so full of energy he wont know what to do with it all. Yaay.

So now, another week has already raced past. Tomorrow it will be Friday again already. I don't really have plans for the weekend except to get a bit of cleaning done, to pop to the Asian supermarket to top up on Fahed supply of chillies. And to continue stuffing articles from around the house into this weeks charity box. I was reading about tax deduction for giving things to charity in the states. That would be lovely. Kind of hard to assign value to all the junk going out of here but I could try. I am sure if I get rid of enough stuff then my house will start to feel big enough for us. Sometimes I think I would like a bigger house and more land. Then I remember I have barely enough time to clean and care for the little house I have. Plus we love to travel and intend to do it more and more as we get older, so madness to be lumbered with a bigger house. I would still like one sometimes though!

Oh, and I nice extra good reason for getting Fahed home. today he made Beef Stew & Burghal for dinner. And there is enough for tomorrow. Result.

Now I am whiling away a happy half hour watching the Hairy Bikers make piccalilli until Fahed gets home from work.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Mid week whoop whoop!

So madly busy this week and no time to post but I wanted to write that we got our annual mortgage statement. We broke through the £200k barrier. Including over-payment we paid off around £8k this year. Its a nice psychological barrier to have gone through but not enough for me. I am over-payment by an average of £200 per month. Obviously as I bring the balance down then more is coming off the capital and less is being wasted in interest. 2012 I plan to reduce by more than £8k. If I write it now then it makes my choice more real.

Summer Rain

The middle of summer on the sunny south coast of England, and the rain is falling heavily enough to keep us indoors again. We were hoping to...