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  • FIRST POST
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 16th Jul 16, 8:03 PM
    • 3,070Posts
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    *Robin*
    Blowing in the Winds of Change
    • #1
    • 16th Jul 16, 8:03 PM
    Blowing in the Winds of Change 16th Jul 16 at 8:03 PM
    A brace of raptors soaring in the breeze over the Nest just after dawn on Solstice morning gifted me the title of this, my reprise into MSE's Diary-world.

    I'd had little sleep. Partly because, well, Solstice is a special day and the night had been filled with memories of happier years, and partly because it seemed that my faithful companion was rushing towards The Light, her paws galloping in the air as she dreamed contentedly beside me.
    I was exhausted. Fear of what might come to pass if my dear girl's last, eternal bed had not been prepared before she was ready to cross Rainbow Bridge loaned me energy I could not afford; each day a single bucket of stony earth was added to a pile beside the chosen resting place.
    Dear Vet had nothing more to offer beyond comforting words and her promise to attend should the need arise, any time day or night.

    DS1 rescued me. He called to offer salutations not long after sunrise; apparently I was making no sense at all on the 'phone which led to a prompt visit - tools in hand - and the job was completed before the day's end.
    Bless him.

    Although resigned to the inevitable at that point, Clever Dog was not in pain so I decided to delay departure from the Nest until she had no more need of my staying. Her behaviour in the van suggested she would not welcome another long distance adventure and obviously, I did not wish to cause her any distress during her last days in this realm.** Despite Divo Four and Dear Relative's increasingly urgent requests for my presence at homehome, the weeks passed and each day the mercury in the thermometer rose higher.

    Meanwhile I have not been paying attention to financial matters since giving up m' previous diary: A bank card expired so I could no longer check that account. The gizmo for signing into another stopped working, but CD and I have been living comfortably on our £400 per month allowance - half of it spent on her medications and the best diet, another £50 on storage for the camper-van, and the rest - well I can't really remember, but there always seemed to be funds left in our 'daily' account when it came time to turn another page on the calendar.

    There's nothing praise-worthy about that though; it's easy to rack up NSDs when one has no energy to go out except on essential missions, and there's a plentiful supply of veg in the garden (mostly planted for me by a couple of winter visitors).
    "Garden" is perhaps no longer the right description for the wilderness which surrounds the Nest; I have not had the strength to undo Ex-Gardener's neglect (I forgave him, vastly overpaid him, but he lied and then stole from me so there was no choice but to terminate his employment, alas. I still feel very sad about that ending).

    Eventually DS4 lost patience. He 'phoned with two pieces of wonderful news: A double-first [justifying his decision to rack up a relatively modest student loan], and notification of his imminent arrival!

    We brushed the spiders gently out of camper-van, and went for a trial night away locally. CD amazed me; apparently quite happy to travel and potter about when we stopped. Maybe her vocal objections to being in the other van [**] were due to the fact that most of her trips out this year have ended at DV's clinic, being prodded, poked and stabbed (for blood tests)?

    Plumber put on his Mechanic's hat to check camper-van's travel worthiness, resulting in a trip to the garage for a little preventative maintenance and a service - which wiped out all the cash saved by living parsimoniously over the last six months. Plumber was incandescent at the size of the bill when he saw they'd replaced some good parts while failing to fix the actual fault; must say communication between the booking-in chap and mechanic was appalling, especially given that this was at the regional main dealer.
    <sigh> Not very MSE but I just wanted to get out of there so paid up (after they replaced the faulty bearing!). Oh well.

    The thought of driving all the way to the Chunnel filled me with trepidation - just don't have enough strength for such sustained effort these days, and DS4 hasn't held a full licence for long enough to be covered by insurance abroad.
    So I called the ferry company. Usually, pet-friendly cabins are booked up half a year in advance, but CD is still remembered (it's partly due to her Houdini behaviour in bygone days that pet-friendly cabins were introduced).
    Result: They found us a cabin on next week's boat!

    Now I am [supposed to be] packing. Camper-van is parked in the village; CD and I slept there last night, and I started this diary to help m' poor-ol' brain-fogged mind keep track.
    The acquaintance who outed me at the beginning of the year has not been in touch since, although half a dozen RL mates around the World did express their regret that I'd given up my first MSE diary. So much for anonymity - have decided I really don't care, because the support of all you MSEers is of inestimable value..
    Last edited by *Robin*; 29-07-2016 at 1:20 PM.
Page 6
    • Dansmam
    • By Dansmam 4th Sep 16, 7:32 AM
    • 465 Posts
    • 1,598 Thanks
    Dansmam
    Morning Robin, just catching up with your diary at the end of my holiday - been happily internet free for ages. Hope CD is turning a corner now - lurcher lad stayed home and I've missed him badly - the DDs have been sharing hound-care duties though so I'm sure he'll have had a great time. Am I right in thinking PNH is likely to soon be actual NH? You sound as though you're pretty settled there in your mind if you're planning crops ��
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 4th Sep 16, 5:12 PM
    • 3,070 Posts
    • 11,880 Thanks
    *Robin*
    Hello Dansmam and all MSEers,

    Sounds like you've had a very refreshing break, Dansmam - where did you go? (Sorry if you told us before, alas I can't remember except thinking somewhere in the UK?).
    The weather's been pretty good everywhere, so hopefully you were able to get out and about, exploring the locality.
    Bet Lurcher Lad was delighted to see you, although am certain the girls will have done a fantastic job of looking after him [and the house] while you've been away?

    ..CD actually gave me a few stiff, bouncy pirouettes when I returned after just a couple of hours' absence from her yesterday - heart-warming!

    Yes, hopefully PNH will soon lose a letter and become NH. Still a few things to sort out - eg., the exact purchase price[!] but am compiling a list of necessary work as a starting point for negotiation.
    Of course doing it this way has a couple of huge advantages: No estate agent's fees for Current Owner, and we probably already know more about the place than a survey would tell us, so cash saved on both sides before we start..

    Yesterday's mission got rather side-tracked; ended up going for a drive in pouring rain to another town where they [ahem] just happen to have one of the German supermarkets, so have taken over an empty fridge-freezer in PNH with what I hope are a month's worth of staples for DS, CD and self. Got all the house-stuff with the exception of tap washers too - typical; leaky taps really annoy me, lol!

    Spends:
    Groceries / house-stuff - £50
    Fuel - £62
    Last edited by *Robin*; 04-09-2016 at 5:14 PM.
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 6th Sep 16, 12:31 PM
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    *Robin*
    Hello MSE World,

    Had good news and bad news yesterday.. Bad news was finding out the amount of CGT am going to be liable for on selling DH's flat. Very bad news, that. Suspect it will mean improvements to PNH having to be put on hold, or worse depending on timing of the demand (much larger bridging loan - if I can get one?)..

    Good news was that DS4 got a letter, saying he's won the prize for being the best graduating arts student of the year at his college (suppose him being asked to do the speech should have given us a clue). Not only is it a cash award, but includes a family invite to the VIP p!ss-up/bun-fight afterwards! Most of you would relish such an opportunity to bask in his glory, buy new clobber for the occasion etc etc., but it fills me with dread..
    Why? Well, as I had to go back to bed for six hours just following the exertion of having a shower yesterday, you can imagine how long am likely to be wiped out after attending such a posh function.
    ..Might have to send DS3 & GGF instead - let the other attendees think DS3 is related to the famous catwalk model GGF is apparently often mistaken for!

    CD is cross with me today; have put her fluffy bed in the wash. She says she doesn't want to sit on van's floor without it - instead is lying outside in the dust on the drive, in high dudgeon.
    Think we'll go for a walk at the burial ground as soon as CD's bed is on the line; could do with a meditation session next to DH's grave.
    Last edited by *Robin*; 06-09-2016 at 12:34 PM.
    • please-let-me-be-lucky
    • By please-let-me-be-lucky 6th Sep 16, 9:36 PM
    • 7,622 Posts
    • 41,411 Thanks
    please-let-me-be-lucky
    Congrats to Divo 4 .

    Hope you found the peace you were looking for this afternoon Xx
    Debts @ LBM £23,729.31. Debts @ 08/04/2016 £0

    NSDs achieved in November- 1

    Weight loss - 1 stone 3.5lbs
    • Brightspark87
    • By Brightspark87 7th Sep 16, 9:56 AM
    • 1,411 Posts
    • 3,622 Thanks
    Brightspark87
    Hi Robin

    With regards to CGT would you like me to run through the calculations to ensure it is correct? Not doubting you or any accountant you may have helping but just offering if it would help. Just private message if I can.

    Congratulations on Divo 4 that fantastic! What an amazing result. Pop that on the CV eh? Even if you can't join in what a celebration of him. xxx
    Sealed Pot Challenge 373 - Target £300- Total £56.78
    married in 2014
    Paid off all Catalogues 10.10.2014

    Debt Free July 2016
    • joeyjimbles
    • By joeyjimbles 7th Sep 16, 10:25 AM
    • 1,492 Posts
    • 7,044 Thanks
    joeyjimbles
    Congratulations to Divo 4 - how nice to have his achievements so celebrated. And just because you have been invited to the awards do does not mean that you have to attend. Might you perhaps be able to go to the ceremony quietly and then leave afterwards, and as you said leave your avatars to do the carousing? Obviously I have no idea about the logistics involved in getting to- and from.
    Scruffy dog is giving me CD's treatment right now - his bed blankets are on the line and it's not going to be any improvement when he gets them back as a. he is about to have a bath, and b. I have washed them with a washing product that I have to review that despite its claims of being organic smells very strongly of fake ozoneyness.
    The cat is currently in his empty bed and I'd swear she's laughing at us both!
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 8th Sep 16, 12:56 PM
    • 3,070 Posts
    • 11,880 Thanks
    *Robin*
    Hello MSE World,

    Thanks for posting, Lucky, Sparky and Joey.

    Lost a long heart-pouring post yesterday when lappy had another fit.. Perhaps just as well all m' angst has flown to the Netherworld - doesn't do any good being too self-indulgent. <sigh>
    A mate has pointed me towards a much more ethically acceptable small laptop-building company, but the choices mean nothing; talk about arcane knowledge! ..Wish Divo Two wasn't so busy; he'd relish discussing the merits of the many variations on offer.
    Muggins got as far as:
    "Ooh, a back-lit keyboard, that would be handy! Hmm, is it worth an extra £75?"

    Plans the day before yesterday were totally derailed when I realised PNH's washer had forgotten it's tricks. Now that's technology I can tackle; luckily had brought number-two oven tray from the Nest, which from long experience I know is the only thing which will fit under the idiotically-designed standard washing machine drain plug (< a feature which must have been dreamed-up by a man!).
    Van's tool-kit sufficed, m' knees suffered mightily, but two hours later the machine was working properly again.
    (The cuprits: Half a jay-cloth and a bent hair-grip removed from it's gizzards for the lads' inspection. Interestingly, the housemate who favours jay-cloths for cleaning and also wears hairgrips, moved out of PNH over three months ago ).

    Alas in it's madness, the washer had reduced CD's fluffy rug to a sad doughnut, obliging me to spend the rest of the afternoon cobbling a repair. From beneath my efforts are a right mess, but on the top it looks perfect again - representing an MSE saving of £50 (< cost of a replacement).

    By then DS was back, in an ill humour because his current job is so tedious. Neither of us felt like cooking, which made it an opportunity to try another of the local takeaways.. We agreed on the chippy. Both pieces of fish were very good; light crispy batter blanketing succulent fillets, portions generous enough to share with CD yet half the price of the place closest to homehome. DS bought himself some chips but they were so disappointing he lobbed 'em straight into the green bin. It occurred to me to ask:
    "Are the proprietors Chinese, by any chance?"
    "How did you know?"
    "There are two things those of Chinese descent simply cannot do; pronounce the letter 'R' and cook decent British chips," I said, handing DS a bowl of salad. Not sure whether the former is strictly true, but at least it made Divo Four laugh.

    Yesterday CD and self spent most of the day at the burial grounds. Such a beautiful place; the trees have grown enough now to fully justify the word 'woodland' on the gate. CD followed rabbit-scent while I nibbled blackberries as we wandered through the groves, pausing to spend time with each of our loved-ones who rest there.

    Couldn't find m' keys for the parts of homehome which aren't rented out, so decided I might as well cook DH's favourite meal while searching camper-van thoroughly. Took my plate to his grave; enjoyed the 'hot picnic' immensely while wishing DH was able to share, but it was so delightfully peaceful.. Fell asleep for a time when meditating afterwards, lying on the spot where I too will rest one day (that was a little strange, although it was satisfying to be able to appreciate the view - mostly tree-tops, admittedly).
    Woke up to a niggling certainty; last Autumn I left homehome's keys with Divo Four, in order to avoid losing 'em - mystery solved!

    Lucky - thanks for congrats to DS4; am indeed very proud of the effort he's put in.

    Sparky - thanks for your offer, and also reminding me that Accountant may be able to help too. Will get in touch if he can't, but the official guidelines seem fairly clear ().

    Joey - Divo Three and GGF as avatars? ..Oh my goodness, what a thought!
    ..Hope you're still in Scruffy's 'good books' after his bath!

    Spends:
    Takeaway fish & throw-away chips - £6.50
    Last edited by *Robin*; 08-09-2016 at 1:16 PM.
    • chevalier
    • By chevalier 9th Sep 16, 11:20 AM
    • 7,687 Posts
    • 17,796 Thanks
    chevalier
    Hi Robin
    regards CGT erm aren't there lots of things you can offset against that, like maintenance and mortgage insurance or something, or is that just normal income tax?
    chev
    I want a job that is less than an hour driving away from my house! Are you listening universe?
    • Brightspark87
    • By Brightspark87 9th Sep 16, 1:06 PM
    • 1,411 Posts
    • 3,622 Thanks
    Brightspark87
    Hi Robin
    regards CGT erm aren't there lots of things you can offset against that, like maintenance and mortgage insurance or something, or is that just normal income tax?
    chev
    Originally posted by chevalier
    You can. Also, CGT is only payable the the value of the asset when you got it (not when it was bought) taken away from sale value. Minus the above type expenses (selling fees etc)
    Sealed Pot Challenge 373 - Target £300- Total £56.78
    married in 2014
    Paid off all Catalogues 10.10.2014

    Debt Free July 2016
    • Dansmam
    • By Dansmam 22nd Sep 16, 10:39 PM
    • 465 Posts
    • 1,598 Thanks
    Dansmam
    Hey Robin how are things? Hope PNH is getting closer to being actual - unless your plans have changed? News here is that van is up for sale - sale price to be split as girls have different plans. I have a plan to be surplus to employer requirements and take off. Just need employer to agree they are capable of picking up the reins...Bit concerned how quiet it is on here, hope you're not laid low by anything x
    • chevalier
    • By chevalier 28th Sep 16, 7:55 AM
    • 7,687 Posts
    • 17,796 Thanks
    chevalier
    Hi Robin hope things are going ok, thinking of you
    chev
    I want a job that is less than an hour driving away from my house! Are you listening universe?
    • *Robin*
    • By *Robin* 29th Sep 16, 4:54 PM
    • 3,070 Posts
    • 11,880 Thanks
    *Robin*
    Every so often an image pops up on social media. The background is always idyllic; lush tree-lined slopes leading the eye towards a lake in the distance, sunlight glittering on the waters. Central to this scene sits a cosy, well-maintained dwelling. Sometimes it's the Pioneer Woodsman-style log cabin with a wisp of smoke rising from the chimney, or the other popular choice is a modern brick-built Wilderness Retreat, stolidly hugging the ground – well designed to keep the occupants comfortable through wild storms and winter snow.
    Beneath this enticing photograph is a short paragraph asking the observer whether they'd live in this home for a year, all comforts provided - including a bonus of £10,000 for completing the challenge.. But the snag is, that the house has no internet or mobile 'phone signal. Presumably no TV either, although that's not usually specified.
    Then follows a list of those attracted to the idea of escaping society for a while; the stressed, discontented, not-terribly-happy-with-life-atm people who post comments such as:
    “Sign me up!”
    “I'm on my way!”
    “Yesssss!

    Reality is more prosaic; the vision above probably accounts for thirty five days of the year. There are maybe one hundred and fifty days when snow metamorphoses all details of mundane life. Which leaves about about ninety days both sides of max and min, delight and despair, heaven and hell - when curtains of rain drive across the aforementioned majestic landscape, an observer's view truncated at the closest ridge-line by monochrome trees in silhouette, set against a back-drop of solid gray.
    Lush pasture metamorphoses into mountain bog underfoot; jump from clump to clump of darker green – still sinking, but not quite so fast. Trying to time Dear Dog's trips outside with short spells when the wetness eases off for a while..
    Damp pervades everywhere, worryingly.

    The communal lifeline has been down for over a week. Tempers are fraying.
    How quickly the internet has become an essential tool of the twenty-first century; deprived of it, even the most hardened technophobes are thinking of excuses:
    Visit a friend down in the valley whose bill bears a different network's logo.
    The pub has free wifi.
    Head into town and park outside McNasty's, or the more salubrious central car-park for owners of a mifi box (there's no satellite hovering above this rural idyll – visitors' expensive mobile connections are rendered useless).
    ..One by one residents sneak off quietly to check emails, catch up on social media, partake of whatever electronic soma pleases the individual. Returning with a smile; more relaxed, the soggy reality of an isolated mountain community in Autumn made bearable again for a few more days.

    Am somewhat proud to have outlasted Dear Number-Four Son. He beats a path down the valley to the local, although it's doubtful any hardy regulars are impressed by his choice of beverage, with which he retreats to the snug; hot chocolate - for fending off the chills. Mother suggested this image might be improved with a shot of whiskey, but it's pricey stuff - kept for the Laird and deep-pocketed friends.

    CD has been equipped with a canine Sou'Wester, the better to resist catching her death of cold. Double-coated dogs get very wet indeed, well beyond the drying capacity of even finest Egyptian cotton towelling. A hair-dryer might suffice, if only A) I possessed such a thing, and B) she would tolerate it's hot blast for long enough. Instead, a jacket intended for greyhounds covers everything behind her ears; a successful trip down to civilisation provided that.

    Am sitting in the middle of a boggy, mountain-top field on a yoga mat, where - joy of joys - there is a middling-poor connection on Mifi, and the weather is at last dry enough to try this experiment. Lappy battery almost dead, but at least I've avoided paying interest on CC purchases this month (last day to transfer funds due tomorrow).
    Must say I do enjoy being in m' snug camper-van, listening to rain battering on the roof.

    Spends since last post:
    Groceries - £72 + £56 + £16
    Fuel - £30 + £42
    'Phone creds [useless here - no signal!] - £10
    CD's rain-coat - £17

    ps. Sparky & Chev were right; I'd calculated CGT on total purchase price - Duh!

    Back to civilisation next week - love you all, hope everyone is being well-treated by Life..
    Last edited by *Robin*; 02-10-2016 at 5:50 PM.
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 9th Oct 16, 4:49 PM
    • 3,274 Posts
    • 16,450 Thanks
    Sun Addict
    Sounds like you're having a good back to the simple life time at the moment Robin. A few years ago Mr SA and I stayed in a caravan in Norfolk for the weekend and it did nothing but rain - but it was so cosy listening to it battering the roof - I understand where you're coming from on that front.

    Enjoy the rest of your break
    Debt free date 31/01/15
    Virtual Sealed Pot £295.11
    Weight loss 9.5/14
    Mr SA finally in remission December 2013
    • please-let-me-be-lucky
    • By please-let-me-be-lucky 16th Oct 16, 6:59 AM
    • 7,622 Posts
    • 41,411 Thanks
    please-let-me-be-lucky
    Just popping in to say hi, hope all is well with you Xx
    Debts @ LBM £23,729.31. Debts @ 08/04/2016 £0

    NSDs achieved in November- 1

    Weight loss - 1 stone 3.5lbs
    • Brightspark87
    • By Brightspark87 7th Dec 16, 2:36 PM
    • 1,411 Posts
    • 3,622 Thanks
    Brightspark87
    Robin have been in self imposed break from MSE but have missed you all and have been thinking of you x
    Sealed Pot Challenge 373 - Target £300- Total £56.78
    married in 2014
    Paid off all Catalogues 10.10.2014

    Debt Free July 2016
    • stepuptothepl8
    • By stepuptothepl8 8th Dec 16, 7:54 PM
    • 681 Posts
    • 3,173 Thanks
    stepuptothepl8
    We've missed Robin's updates, and hearing about CD.. My best wishes x
    LBM 1st Feb 2015
    £9990 to go
    my diary: time to step up to the plate. SPC#503

    Bristol half marathon done!
    • Sun Addict
    • By Sun Addict 8th Dec 16, 8:17 PM
    • 3,274 Posts
    • 16,450 Thanks
    Sun Addict
    Hope all is well with you Robin xx
    Debt free date 31/01/15
    Virtual Sealed Pot £295.11
    Weight loss 9.5/14
    Mr SA finally in remission December 2013
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