Saturday 30 April 2022

Week 17 One Daily Positive and Project 365

We've been waiting for the nicer weather to move the sheds and sort additional storage. Finally we have all the rooms in the house working as they're supposed to. Half the dining room is out of action, but the table is fully operational and I have the conservatory back as a room for me to sit and read in the evenings.

Hopefully the kitchen will be finished soon when the fridge is delivered, we've been living with some faults we're not happy with and will just have to accept them. Need to find a builder for the extension and in the meantime Peter is starting work on building his new shed, I'm doing some gardening and I have a few projects on the go sorting loose photos into albums, a couple of sewing projects, some writing, a few crafts and I'm on a mission to read some more books.

113 Saturday We moved the shed from the side of the house ready for builders and scaffolding (need to find a builder first) The shed move took less than 30 minutes, re packing the sheds took most of the day and there's still a lot of stuff in the conservatory in case it rains.

We pushed the shed across the lawn in one piece on rollers.

114 Sunday Early morning dog walk to the retail park for coffee, washing on the line, garden pots moved to front of house, conservatory emptied and cleaned. 

Our front garden faces South.

115 Monday Tidied the craft room (again) Washing on. Dog walk up the Malvern Hills to see the Bluebells, a picnic and home to iron, make the bed and just relax before work tomorrow.

116 Tuesday Back to school, a new timetable for me. Home just after 3pm, the neighbour came round with some flowers (just because) and her two children. Peter wall mounted the new TV in the bedroom and I spent ages signing into all the apps as we don't have an aerial for freeview.

117 Wednesday I walked home from work, Peter met me half way with the dog.  The evening was spent putting 100's of stray photos into albums. 

118 Thursday Some ironing and washing after work and the evening spent finishing the photos. I've now got the dining room table back so I can start sorting through my dad's stamp collection. Peter sorted the TV out. I baked a fish pie for tea, it was delicious. I spent almost two hours on the phone to the Halifax to close down accounts that I closed down 11 years ago after getting a random letter through the post.

I'm flitting between writing #Postcardsofkindness, sorting through photos and reading.

119 Friday A lift home from work, I tidied my craft up after Peter had finished in the loft space and eaves. My friend round for the evening for chips and wine. I set up a D/D for the Council Tax, it didn't work and had a random letter at my SIL's address saying I had to pay the whole bill now. I've been paying the bill for 2 years and they always send the post here now. That took me an hour to sort over the phone and another hour spent talking to SSE to dispute yet another bill for the flat which is empty for over £200. Will have to go and take a meter reading now.

Bob came home from his walk without his collar.

Nothing on the blog this week.

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Friday 29 April 2022

Post Comment Love. 29th April - 2nd May

Welcome back to #Pocolo with Stephanie from Lifeat139 and I where we host a weekly post where you can link up with any post, on any subject, you've written this week.

Hope you've all had a good Easter, Ramadan and a blessed Eid Al Fitr.

We were away in West Wales for 5 nights with the dog. Have you been to this part of the world? Did you go away for the Easter break.

I've been back in school for 4 days and have Monday off for the bank holiday, then just over 3 weeks till the half term holidays and we'll be off to explore the Yorkshire coast. 

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Saturday 23 April 2022

Week 16 One Daily Positive and Project 365. West Wales for Easter.

Well normal service has resumed. We're back in the world visiting friends and family, mixing and not wearing masks. We've not been influenced by the media or felt under any pressure to be doing things that have been out of our comfort zone for the past two years. I think having had covid recently along with literally everyone we know in the same time frame (no mixing, no contact with anyone else who had it as they're dotted around the UK) has made us realise life has to go on at some point and we're comfortable with what we're doing now. Still only seeing the same people, but we're reducing physical contact and social distancing in public as much as we can, still avoiding indoor spaces for long periods of time and avoiding if too busy.

I've been really annoyed with the sale of the flat. I get regular calls from the Estate Agent asking me to chase things up. Solicitors don't seem to talk to one another and as I'm selling a Lease, I had to contact the Property Management team for the contact details for the Freeholder, which they didn't have and then had to pay them £300 to provide 3 years accounts, a copy of the lease and the freehold, all of which I've already given the solicitor but it has to be from them directly. Another 2 week delay due to no one telling me this. not sure what I'm paying the solicitors for. Although the Estate Agent is certainly earning her commission.

106 Saturday Slept well, waited till 9am to walk over the road to get a coffee and internet to blog. Set off on a walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast, we decided to come back inland but ran out of pavements on the main road, so picked up a footpath back through the woods, discovering a waterfall and a rope swing that Peter went on. We were back in time for the FA Cup semi final, first half watched in the pub. I wrote some postcards and read my book.

107 Sunday We both got sunburnt yesterday through the clouds. We set off to Fishguard, had breakfast but nothing else there to do so went to St David's and walked to the coast and St Non's ruins, had coffee and came home to cook dinner, watch the football and an evening in with Dr Who.

108 Monday Waited for the coffee shop over the road to open at 9am and switch their wifi on, then off to Pembroke Castle for the morning and into Tenby for a walk on the beach and a paddle in the sea, fish and chips and a pub visit. Evening spent in front of the TV.

109 Tuesday Found a different coffee shop with wifi this morning. Only a small village but caters for all our holiday needs. Off to Cardigan and New Quay for the day, a walk around the shops and re parked for a visit to the beach. Back to the cottager around 4pm and an evening walk on the beach for Bob to run off lead and explore.

110 Wednesday Up early, packed, had breakfast, cleaned the cottage, loaded the car and out for coffee. We drove home via Bridgend Outlet Centre and got home at 3pm, unpacked the car then off to do a food shop. Washing on, neighbours thank you gifts delivered, bags unpacked and washing on, tea made and eaten, bathed and watched TV.

111 Thursday Back into Wales to visit a friend, sorted out Thing 3's birthday gift and a replacement Easter Egg for my niece. No idea where hers went. It had a card with it also. Not in the house, or child 4's car who delivered it, or at my mums where it was delivered to and I've asked other friends if a card had gone in with their egg also, but nope, nothing. It eventually turned up and no one knows what happened. So niece now has 2 eggs.

I've been looking for a jug like this for a few weeks, asked my friend where she got hers from and brought it home with me.

112 Friday A day spent rearranging the conservatory and dining room to enable full use of the rooms and allow for storage. Everything moved into the lounge and once the dining room was fully restored (still got a sofa and the fridge freezer in it) the contents of my shed were moved into the conservatory over night so we can move the shed in the morning.

On the blog this week:

We're selling our flat and not buying anything else with the proceeds. I'll be subject to Capital Gains Tax on the profit, but it's too expensive being landlords.

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Tuesday 19 April 2022

Why we're selling our holiday home

We bought a flat in South Wales in 2016 as a base to spend time in when we visited the UK from our home in Dubai, to be near family and friends, to have somewhere to see people, for the adult children to use when they came to visit and somewhere we could could just arrive to and not have to live out of a suitcase, cook our own meals and not trip over anyone else.

I had the most use of it, Peter only stayed for a week or two at a time, whereas I was in it for at least half the year.

During covid we've had it rented out, the income earned has been declared to the tax man, but it's remained empty since October as we had to do repairs between tenants and we had rental agents contacting us saying they had buyers interested in this particular area. So we put it on the market, have made a profit, but as I don't live in it there will be capital gains tax to pay on the profit made.

We thought about keeping it and whilst it's near some of our family, it's only an hours drive away therefore we can go there and back in a day.

The next plan was to buy another property somewhere near the sea, or nearer our other grandchild, somewhere we could visit and stay in, take holidays, not worry about taking everything with us when we travelled.

But then we thought 'do we want to go to the same place every time we go away?' How often would we actually use it and then we remembered all the hassles we've had with rental agents with the flat and our house and we'd have to organise a change over cleaning team, plus people who could do repairs, set up a website, manage bookings and pay tax if we set it up as a holiday let or used it as an air b&b. 

Next we thought about the cost of running a flat that lies empty most of the year. Council tax, property management fees, insurance and water rates. Currently we pay £3500 a year just for the above. 

Over the Easter weekend we visited West Wales. We rented a dog friendly 2 bed cottage, fully equipped, in a great location near the coast. We paid £120 per night for 5 nights. We can have 29 nights away each year for the same price as the running costs of the flat. It would be a waste of money seeing as for the next half term we'll be visiting Yorkshire. and in the summer holidays we'll be going to Australia. We've also got a few trips to Northern Ireland planned.

So we're selling our flat, it's no longer in our interests to own it as we don't need to stay in one place in the UK anymore, we have our house for that.

So what to do with the money?

We'll get more use out of a camper van, for days out and trips away.

Saturday 16 April 2022

Week 15 One Daily Positive and Project365. Our Grandson came to stay.

It has been a long and busy week, full of family, grandchildren and visits and ended up with us braving the Easter traffic to drive to West Wales for a short break, leaving the cat under the care of the neighbours and taking the dog with us. 

I haven't blogged this week, but I've had a lot of food for thought. Some of it I won't be blogging about as it's not about me, or it will effect the relationships I have with others. It's so frustrating to have so many real life family/friends reading my thoughts without worrying about the negative feedback.

99 Saturday Day spent food shopping, dog walking and coffee drinking. I prepared the Easter Gifts for the small people and baked some cakes and made chocolate moulds. There was some cleaning to do and general prep for Grandson's arrival.

100 Sunday Peter played golf and I ran round making beds and did the final prep for child 2, his wife and their baby's arrival. Mid afternoon they met family and I did some shopping, when Peter got home we had a roast dinner.

He's grandads little man, for sure.

101 Monday a long and busy day for our 5 month old grandson as he was taken to meet his Great Granny, Great Nanna, met 5 second cousins, his aunt, uncle and our other grandchild, his cousin, another uncle, a grandad and various other family members of various ages and relationships. Peter collected his mum from Bristol to meet me in Monmouth as I had to catch 2 buses to get to the flat to do a quick check on the repairs, we got home around 6pm and had dinner, Peter returned around 8pm. Everyone absolutely exhausted.

Grandson, DIL 2a and MIL.

102 Tuesday We started the morning baby watching for an hour and baby sitting for half an hour when he woke up while his mum and dad popped out to the retail park. We then went into Worcester for a couple of hours, the dogs got walked, baby slept and I sorted washing and some tidying up. Out for dinner in the evening.

103 Wednesday Everyone and their dog left after lunch, the cat took a few hours to realise there was no mad Molly dog in her home anymore. We made a half hearted attempt to tidy, wash and clean, before giving in and just watching the telly. |I spent some time in my craft room, putting the finishing touches to next doors Easter gifts.

There were tears when this little man left. Mine of course.

104 Thursday Tidied up, washing on and hoovered. Off to visit child 1 and drop off her Easter Egg. Onto collect mum, DIL and grandchild for a coffee and back to mums house for a bit, then called in at our old neighbours in the Forest of Dean to drop off Easter eggs, home at 7pm and evening spent ironing, packing and watching The Bubble on Netflix. Having worked in a bubble during covid and having had endless PCRs and having to quarantine, it was a funny movie in a bitter, sweet way.

105 Friday Set off around 9am on a short break to West Wales it appears no one was travelling there through the country and the roads were quiet. We were going to meet up with some friends, but their kids came down with a stomach bug and they cut their trip short.

For fear of waking early, but I failed. Ended up with a thicker blanket to block the light with a number of pegs to keep it in place.

Nothing on the blog this week.

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Monday 11 April 2022

Week 14 One Daily positive and Project 365

This week has just wizzed by. End of term on Thursday and back on the 26th. 

There's been lots of rearranging of ornaments and furniture this week. Once our Grandson goes home we'll return the conservatory to a garden room and will be able to access 4 seats of the dining room table in it's correct room. 

92 Saturday Morning spent on the laptop, cuppa tea at my friends and off to the hairdressers to get my hair sorted. Child 2, his wife and eldest grandchild came to visit for the night. The menfolk had an Indian, while the rest of us, plus the cat and dog had a McDonalds birthday tea party.

93 Sunday Coffee out, some shopping and a trip to the park and home to a roast dinner. Family left after a snacky tea and I got ready for work in the morning. Our eldest grandchild wore me out, they're non stop.

94 Monday Long day at work, walked the dog and rest of the afternoon the neighbour came round with her children. Her son didn't want to leave and said 'bye mummy' so I kept him a bit longer.

95 Tuesday Afterwork I sorted the attic out, it took all evening, but I'm ready with one box to donate and a suitcase full of clothing.
This is the before photo.

96 Wednesday I walked home from work, Peter met me half way with the dog. Had a bath and put my pjs on. I didn't move off the sofa all evening.
I really want to get the mirrors and some pictures up and desperatly need to sort out our 1990's fireplace.

97 Thursday Last day of term, went to the pub with a colleague and Peter joined us. Grandson is coming to visit and we're planning a few nights away with the dog.
Alarm switched off for the next two weeks.

98 Friday Lie in and off to Kyre Park with Bob for the day. I lived and worked here in the late 80's/early 90's. Been back a few times to walk around, this time it was the lure of the antique barn. Chips and wine with friend in the evening.

I never appreciated this place when I was 18, but back then we couldn't access these Capability Brown Gardens as they were over grown and inaccessible. 

On the blog this week:

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Friday 8 April 2022

Post Comment Love - 8th - 10th April

Welcome back to #pocolo with Stephanie from lifeat139a and I.

We're taking a break over Easter and will be back on the 29th April, the Bank Holiday weekend.

I work in a school and the term finished yesterday. Our grandson is visiting for a few days next week, then we're hoping to get away with the dog for a few days. We've been looking at National Trust properties to stay in.

We're also due our covid booster shot next week, delayed by a few weeks after getting covid. it'll be our 5th jab, as we had a course of Sinopharm in Dubai in January 2021 which we still haven't been able to get recognised by the NHS app, so we started a new course of Pfizer in October/December 2021.


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Thursday 7 April 2022

What to do with a bad haircut and how it was resolved.

It's difficult when you move to find a new hairdresser. I never really had a preference when we were in the UK, a different place most times for a trim or a colour.

I had a good one in South Africa and an excellent one in Dubai. 

I've had 2 cuts since returning to the UK, but I've not been happy with either of them. one need a return trip to tidy up and the other was ok but not what I'd wanted.

So off to a new hair dresser.

I don't have any decent photos of my hair before the cut, but it was shoulder length and too bulky at the back.

I had a consultation a few days before and showed the stylist what I was aiming for and discussed the possibility of a perm to create some waves like this.

I asked for an undercut to remove the bulk at the back while it grew. i showed her a photo.

While she was cutting the hair I assumed the length was the same all round and when she showed me the back I could see all my hair had been cut off.
I told her I didn't like the wedge, it wasn't what I'd asked for and she offered to tidy it up with some layers. I'd specifically told her not to do a wedge, just an undercut and no layers. I paid and left disappointed, but thinking, it's only hair, it'll grow.

I got home, washed and attempted to style it and was left with this.

I actually cried.

I found another hairdresser.

I'm more than happy with this cut, similar to what I had a couple of times in Dubai, but now much shorter than I'd wanted and I'll start the process of growing it again.

I sent a message to the original hairdresser, with photos.

'I had my hair cut with you on Thursday last week. I was unhappy with the style having asked for an undercut as I wanted to grow my hair longer and explore the options of a perm, all discussed in a pre visit a few days earlier. I didn’t like the finished style and commented on the wedge at the back. The stylist offered to smooth it out but had already cut off more of my hair than I’d wanted. I said no thank you. Paid my £16 and left thinking it will grow. However when I got home and washed my hair, I was extremely upset to see how the hair had actually been cut and no amount of styling, gel etc could hide this mess. I opted not to return to complain as I didn’t want my hair cut at your salon again and risk it looking worse or too short. (It was shoulder length prior to Thursday) I visited another salon on Saturday who were able to resolve the issue at the cost of £42, however it does not rectify the issues of my hair now being much shorter than I wanted, being out of pocket financially and the upset of the cut. I’ve opted to give you the chance to comment rather than posting a review online as I’m hoping this was a one off. I’d read your reviews before booking initially. The next three photos show how I left the salon, after washing and after being rectified at another salon. I hope we can reach a satisfactory conclusion.'

Their response was:
Hi Suzanne we are sorry you have had such a bad experience at the Salon and we can only apologise for this, we obviously would liked to have corrected this for you, we are unsure how the stylist missed this and we would like to offer you a full refund of £16 that you paid in the salon, if you let me know when you would like to collect this I will make sure it is available for you Kind Regards Xxxxxxx's Hair Salon

I'm sending Peter in to collect the refund.

Saturday 2 April 2022

Week 13 One Daily Positive and Project 365 - Bad haircut week

Peter has been nagging to remove the fleece cover off the Bay Tree. I've been telling him for weeks that we are due another cold snap and had snow in April last year. Peter hasn't had seasons for 11 years now and certainly isn't used to this ever changing weather.

I haven't been eating properly, the kitchen still isn't finished and despite paying for everything in December and the work starting in January, we still don't have a fridge and a door on the washing machine. The current fridge is in the dining room and it really annoys me I have to keep going to get things to be able to cook with.

I had a disaster with a haircut, it's been butchered. I've had many cuts over the years I've not been happy with, but never have I have I had my hair cut so badly, it's not the style, although I did have a consultation prior to booking and stated I didn't want this style at all, just an undercut to remove the bulk and showed her a picture of how I was intending of growing my hair to have it styled in the future. 

I've not been back as I don't want her to attempt to tidy it up and a refund won't replace the hair she hacked off or compensate for having short hair for another 2 years that I've been growing it for. I just don't want the hassle and a row. Once it's fixed I will send her some photos and complain to her directly but I'm doubtful she'll even bother to reply and I'm not sure how saying 'sorry' can compensate either.

85 Saturday Off into Worcester early to buy a couple of birthday presents and so the food shopping. Afternoon spent in the garden and we had a BBQ with our neighbours.

We had a Dubai day, dressed up, had breakfast out, did some shopping and visited the Knife Angel. 

86 Sunday Urgh, forgot the clocks were going forward and hour. Off to Gloucester to collect child 1 for coffee and cake, then after dropping her back at home we went to Keynsham to visit MIL, SIL, Niece and Great Nephew for his 1st birthday at Avon Valley. Child 2, his wife and our grandchild also came.

87 Monday A long day in work, the weather was nice so I walked into town to meet Peter with Bob and we had a coffee. I went to bed with a migraine.

Video calls with grandson.

88 Tuesday Woke with a migraine, but managed to kill it with meds by lunch time, walked half way home and met Peter on route, evening spent in front of TV and I did the ironing.

Seeds seems to be doing well despite me forgetting to water and close them up over night.

89 Wednesday The car was in for its MOT so Peter walked half way to meet me with the dog. After dinner I spent the evening in my craft room tidying up ready to empty out the other attic room to sort things for keeping, selling and donating.

10 years since Pushkins adopted us, it is estimated she is 13 years old.

90 Thursday Off to hairdressers after work. What an absolute disaster, thankfully its only hair and it will grow, but it took me 2 years to grow it long enough to have the style I wanted then she butchered it. I'm getting it sorted on Saturday at a different salon. We did a food shop on the way home.

91 Friday Still really upset about my hair, no one said anything at work, but I had scrunched it so it looked less choppy and wore a large jumper that covered the back of my neck. Stopped off to get nails done on the way home, Peter walked the dog to meet me. We didn't do much in the evening, just watched TV.

One of my students made this for me, it's a sign of acceptance.

On the blog this week:

Life is ordinary, but that's ok

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Friday 1 April 2022

Post Comment Love 1st-3rd April 2022

Welcome back to #PoCoLo with Stephanie from Lifeat139a and I. Good to see so many back and new people also. 

I've been craving a normal life for a long time from living abroad, life however has felt a bit ordinary recently, it takes some getting used to not travelling and it is still a novelty having everything in one place with the firm knowledge we don't have to move anytime soon.

It's not boring though. We celebrated the cats 13th birthday on Wednesday and we're having a joint (belated) party with the dog who was 12 last month, when our grandchild comes to stay this weekend.

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