Saturday, 26 September 2015

So I bought The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up book.

I had heard a lot about this book from various social media sites and decided to give it a try.  I hate tidying.  I don't have the attention span to finish a task and generally, although I make a good start, end up just ramming things back into cupboards, so I thought if I can do it all in one go it would be done and out of the way.

The first part of the book is all about how the author came to the method that she currently promotes and teaches, I read through this but was more interested in the method itself.

The author claims it is very difficult to throw things away that you have bought for yourself.  For me the opposite is true, I find it easier to throw something away that I bought for £100 than it is to throw something away that someone bought for me, regardless of its monetary value.

There is a very specific order to tackle the tidying in, clothes being first and more sentimental items last. You are expected to touch every item and ask yourself  'does it spark joy?'.  If the answer is no, then you must discard the item.

But what do you do if very few of your clothes inspire joy, and by very few I mean some fancy dress outfits which make me think of happy times with friends, and my swimsuit.  After all, I can't dress as a Bad Fairy or Adam Ant every day.

To me, clothes are just something that I have to wear.  I feel no joy from touching them.  I have clothes that I wear for work.  I have clothes that I wear at home.  I have interview outfits and holiday clothes.  But they are just clothes.  

So do I get rid of them all?

Am I then expected to replace them with more clothes that will not spark joy, thus requiring me to get rid of them and then replace them, repeating again and again in a vicious cycle?

The author has now moved onto books and I have no answer as to what to do about my joyless clothes.

Have you read this book?

What do you think?

Sunday, 20 September 2015

I want to be more....

....outgoing.  My home, and particularly my bed, is my 'safe place'.  When I go to work, or if I have to go out food shopping I cannot wait to get back and will do so as quickly as possible.  Weirdly, when I get the chance to leave the city, or more importantly the county, I don't want to come home.

....popular.  I have some very good friends who I enjoy spending time with.  Unfortunately none of them are local so getting together takes a lot of planning.  And generally a fair bit of money when flights are involved.  i wish I had friends locally that I could just call up and meet with.

....attractive.  Not a lot I can do about this, but I can dream.  If I could solve this issue, the above one might solve itself.  Yes, I have a car, but do not have the spare cash to make the most out of it. (See 'popular' above).

....creative.  I have so many ideas for projects but know that I do not have the skills to carry them out. I used to be.  Years ago I didn't care what people thought about me.  I was fat and ugly, as I am now, but it really didn't bother me.  I would quite happily go out to a pub by myself, or to the cinema by myself, or to a restaurant by myself.  

I want that confidence back.

Why Right to Buy is so popular.

There has been a report in the BBC that 1 in 3 Councils have not replaced a single council house sold under the Right-to-Buy scheme.

With the amount of student accommodation and other private homes being built in this City and its surroundings, including green belt sites, I would imagine that there is no land for the Council to build on!

But it is no surprise that the existing council houses are being snapped up by their tenants.

According to the Right-to-Buy calculator created by the Government, my house is currently valued at £92k, which seems a little low for a fully maintained and updated house, which a Council property would be, it would probably be nearer £125k but for the sake of this exercise we will let that slide.

If I had lived here as a tenant for the length of time that I have lived here as an owner, I would qualify for a 55% discount on the price of the house, whether I had paid rent or not.

This would leave a balance of £41k to pay, and using the mortgage calculator on the same Right-to-Buy website, at even 5% interest this is only £240 per month, easily affordable to someone on full benefits.  A bit of google research shows that it is your ability to repay the mortgage, whether employed or not, that will get you the money.

The house would then be sold with between £50k and £80k clear profit which could then buy a smaller property out-right, or a similar property with a smaller mortgage.  And believe me, I have seen this done.

I have no problem with someone who has lived in a Council House but paid their own rent being able to purchase their house as they will have probably paid more than its total value in rent, but why should someone who has never lifted a finger in work, or collected a wage, be in a better position than someone who works full time but simply cannot afford a mortgage?

Right-to-Buy should stop for those not paying rent, it will reduce the need to provide more Council Houses.

And we wonder why the benefits system is so abused.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Migrants, not Refugees.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will be aware of the current situation in Syria.

Much has been made on social media that the people leaving the country are 'Refugees not Migrants'.  They are not.

As I understand it, if you are a refugee fleeing conflict or persecution, you travel to the nearest country not involved.  Within the EU, the Dublin 2 agreement states that people fleeing persecution or war seek asylum in the first EU country they get to.  Looking at a map, this would be Greece or Italy, but that is clearly not where these people are heading.

Simply put, those who end up in places like the Berlin refugee centre are migrants since they have crossed through a number of other EU countries to get there.

The BBC spoke to one Syrian migrant who insisted he wanted to stay in Germany and as soon as he is settled he will send for his wife and children.  Well surely as a 'refugee' he would have brought them with him instead of leaving them to survive without him?

The problems at Calais, in my opinion, are also fuelled by a desire for people to access our free and easy (in the most literal sense) lifestyle and collecting donations to be shipped across to these migrants are only adding to the problem.

I know that I have a lump of granite where my heart should be - with regards to people anyway - but surely I am not the only one who feels this way?