Hi from NE Scotland

We love hearing from you, so here is your chance. Introduce yourself and tell us what makes you selfsufficient 'ish'. Go on don't be shy, we welcome one and all. You can also tell us how you heard about us if you like.
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Post: # 3454Post Guest
Sat May 28, 2005 10:16 pm

Hi greenbean
The worst about this weather is the weather forecast, which keeps telling me "no rain in sight"!!! Even my goats didn't want to go out this morning, and the wind is blowing through everything...
I would have ended up in Australia, if they had let me stay back then. Oh well, I'm not complaining, Scotland isn't bad either. Just a bit less rain and a bit more sunshine would be nice.
I suppose you live in town now, and therefore not in an area where you could keep a pig or two in the backyard?

Cheers
Ina

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Post: # 3485Post greenbean
Sun May 29, 2005 9:01 pm

Hi Ina,
I'm on the edge of town and my full time job and neighbours would find piggies difficult. Actually moaning aside about rain etc., I do adore Scotland, we went for a drive today through some of Stirlingshire and Perthshire and it is just breathtakingly beautiful. We didn't go to the Crannog centre, the entrance fee seemed quite a lot and we could see that the place was really small, looked like a tourist rip off to me. Nevertheless we had a glorious day in Kenmore, Killin and Glen Ogle, highly recommended.

ina
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Post: # 3489Post ina
Sun May 29, 2005 9:59 pm

Hi greenbean

Yes, neighbours can be a bit of a pain. I live more or less in the middle of nowhere now - great - but even some of the folk who move here have funny notions about life in the country. A friend of mine is selling her house just now, and when she told some prospective buyer keen on moving to the country about the fantastic wildlife she'd be able to see from the house, the deal was definitely off! Animals - yuk. Owls, oh terrible; and bats!!!! HEEEEEEEELP! Goodness knows what she would have said if their neighbours had pigs, or a cockerel! Mind you, I don't want one of them, either. Hens, fine; but I don't want to be woken every day at dawn (and you know well that's 3am in summer...); neither, I'm sure, do my neighbours. They are pretty good about my goats; they can sometimes be a bit noisy if I am late in letting them out.

I must admit I could not live in town anymore; maybe on the outskirts of a very small one, but even Stirling seems too big to me now. For years and years I lived in rented flats in towns, never allowed to keep pets, let alone "agricultural" livestock! I always tried to make the best of whatever little garden space I had, or at least balconies, or even just window boxes; but it's not enough for me now. My garden seems too small now; I've got my eye on a bit of land nearby, but I don't think I can rent that... Keep fingers crossed!

I know the area you went to. In one of my former lives I was a tour guide for foreign tourists, and that was one of our regular routes. Never went to the Crannog Centre, but we went past it. I find there are a lot of places just too expensive for ordinary citizens; not too bad if you are on your own - although that's not much fun, either - but paying for a family can break the bank! Wonder how they still get enough paying visitors to survive?

Cheers
Ina
Cheers
Ina

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Post: # 3521Post greenbean
Tue May 31, 2005 1:36 pm

Hi Ina,
Aren't people strange?! (or should that be stupid!). Before we got this house we put an offer in on a place that was quite remote, sadly we were outbid (I hate the offers over system here). They were selling up as the guys wife hated living away from what she called civilisation, they had put up their own streetlamps, 4 I think, doted around the perimeter of the property, she said it was the only way she could sleep at night.
Good luck with the extra land.

ina
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Post: # 3533Post ina
Tue May 31, 2005 9:05 pm

The worst is, those idiots who want the prestige of living in the country but none of the "inconveniences" or what they see as such price us out of buying anything...

The house I live in came with the job, otherwise I'd never be able to afford living in this area! It leaves all of us with the problem - where to go after retirement? We don't earn enough to buy a house, as the house is seen as part of our wages. We can only hope there'll be a big crash in property prices before I have to retire.

I hate the "offers over" system, too. Nice for those who are selling, if they get a few thousand more than expected, but it leaves anybody not quite so affluent without a hope in hell of ever "getting on the property ladder". Forget the ladder, just one little house with a bit of land would be enough for me for the rest of my days!

Ina

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Post: # 3549Post Andy Hamilton
Wed Jun 01, 2005 12:45 pm

ina wrote: Forget the ladder, just one little house with a bit of land would be enough for me for the rest of my days!

Ina
Hear, hear.

The market is not sustainable, but I am unsure how long it will take to crash or at least slow down or reverse. It is just going to take a major employer to start shedding jobs and mortgages will not be repaid. Just a few hundred buy to let properties back on the market will create a bigger supply than demand and bingo prices fall. Another reason to boycott Mcdonalds and starbucks :wink:

Also I expect to see more and more housing cooperatives (such as some of our friends on here have 8) ) they could also bring the cost of housing down. I think it is disgusting that 'we' consider houses to be an investment rather than a necessity.
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ina
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Post: # 3592Post ina
Thu Jun 02, 2005 4:21 pm

Yes, I've thought of housing cooperatives, too; but one thing I don't think I'll ever try again, is sharing a flat or house. Too many negative experiences. Too many interesting "bacterial growth experiments" going on in kitchen and bathrooms - there comes the time one feels too old for that. :roll: (Wise old woman talking...)

What annoys me most about the "buy to let" trend, a lot of the properties are empty for months on end, because the owners expect a very high return on their investment - and rather leave it empty than let it. The same with all those holiday cottages that aren't used over the winter months. I am sure the owners would actually have better returns if they just let them out at a reasonable price all year round; they wouldn't have to constantly look after the place, no weekly cleaning and laundry to do, long-term occupants would have a greater interest in keeping the place in good order, they'd have a reliable income over all the year.

But I suppose that's too sensible and boring

Ina

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Post: # 3593Post Andy Hamilton
Thu Jun 02, 2005 4:31 pm

I have too vowed not to live in a shared house again, just far too stress full. I remember the first house I ever lived in just full of blokes who had just moved out also. The whole house was a bomb site, I remember the huge pile of tea bags in the kitchen that I tried to clean up it had been there for so long a blue fungus was forming on the inside. Needless to say I felt pretty ill whilst cleaning it. - That is just one of the many examples of that house, also remember pulling hair at one side of the room and things would move on the other. Ah the joy of shared houses. :wink:
First we sow the seeds, nature grows the seeds then we eat the seeds. Neil Pye
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Post: # 3683Post Muddypause
Sat Jun 04, 2005 7:34 pm

ina wrote:What annoys me most about the "buy to let" trend, a lot of the properties are empty for months on end, because the owners expect a very high return on their investment - and rather leave it empty than let it. The same with all those holiday cottages that aren't used over the winter months. I am sure the owners would actually have better returns if they just let them out at a reasonable price all year round; they wouldn't have to constantly look after the place, no weekly cleaning and laundry to do, long-term occupants would have a greater interest in keeping the place in good order, they'd have a reliable income over all the year.

But I suppose that's too sensible and boring
It's almost certainly to do with Capital Gains Tax. For some reason, a holiday let counts as a business asset, and attracts much greater tax relief than a residential let. I've just done some back-of-an-envelope calculations, and if the property is sold for say £50,000 more after a couple of years or so, a holiday let would incur a tax liability of around £1500, a residential property, about ten times that.

What is interesting to consider is that 15 years ago, the financial institutions were major rented property owners for things like their pension and investment portfolios. Come The Great Property Crash of the 90s, they got stung, and decided to offload property as a poor investment. This, of course only made things worse, so they created a new lending market - the Buy-To-Let mortgage - which meant that they could lend us the money to buy the properties from them. I haven't seen any figures, but someone suggested that the number of rented properties has not changed, it's just that the landlords have. That may be true - after all, you can't created a tenant where no demand for rented property exists.
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ina
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Post: # 3707Post ina
Sun Jun 05, 2005 3:29 pm

Thanks, Stew, I had no idea about the Capital Gains Tax thing. (Not having much capital I've never seen any resaon for looking into tax I might have to pay on it! :? )

It's still sad; I think if something was done about that the Government wouldn't have to go on so much about creating affordable housing... Which is a stupid expression anyway, because there always seems to be somebody able to pay for the allegedly "unaffordable" housing, too!

Ina

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Post: # 3713Post Muddypause
Sun Jun 05, 2005 9:10 pm

Don't worry, Ina, you only face Capital Gains Tax if you make a gain - for example, if you buy something and sell it for a large enough profit. The longer you keep keep it, the less tax you pay, up to a point (this bit is heavily slanted towards 'business assets', though - hence the holiday-let situation). And your main residence is exempt, so no need to worry about that.

I wasn't defending the situation - I think the housing market is most peculiar; a house is one of the few things that you can buy that gets to be more valuable the longer you keep it. In a rising market your house can earn more than you do (though we may have seen an end to that for the time being in the south east, at least). Around here, a starter home now costs around 15 times the annual income of someone earning the national minimum wage. Even with two people in that situation, they would only be able to borrow half the cost of a house from a mortgage company.

And we so often see the situation of an old farm worker's cottage that probably cost a hundred pounds to build when new, and was the home to a low paid, working class labourer, is now the prize of an extremely well paid city worker, and could be worth half a million or more. Meanwhile the farm labourer has to seek his home on an urban housing estate, completely alienated by the high prices that wealthy people can dictate.

I suppose it is inevitable in a country where land is at a premium and housing stock is in short supply.
Stew

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ina
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Post: # 3844Post ina
Thu Jun 09, 2005 9:19 pm

Well, no chance of me ever getting into a position of making a gain...

Even if somebody on a minimum wage could get a mortgage, how would they ever pay it back? Some years ago I was in a low paid job, actually earning about 20p more per hour than minimum wage. I lived in the cheapest flat I could find, and was still left with about £50 per month to live on, i.e. for food and "leisure pursuits", after I'd paid for the bus etc. I could have got a cheaper flat in a housing estate, but that looked like it had been broken into at least 3 times over the last year. I certainly wouldn't have dared walk home to that place after my late shift at work...

And yes, we are all afraid that that is what will happen to us when we retire: a flat in an area where you couldn't even have a window box, because it would be stolen or vandalised the first night. Anyway, I'm not worrying too much about it now, because who knows what will happen in the next 10 or 20 years! I might even win the lottery!!! :wink: (I'd have to do my bit and buy a ticket first, I know.)

Ina

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Post: # 7528Post PlayingWithFire
Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:22 pm

Hello from Orkney - good to see you on here.

Im a big fan of the Crannog centre and infact I teach stone age skills myself, like fire making and stone tools working - a lot of relevance to self sufficiency.
Malcolm Handoll
... spreading happiness in Orkney, Scotland, and beyond

in all things "leave it a little better than you find it"

Survival Skills ~ http://www.allfivesenses.com
Social Enterprise ~ http://www.touchwoodproject.com
My Blog ~ http://play2survive.wordpress.com/

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