Little Boxes Upon Little Boxes

 

Living in a dolls house means that the cost of heating it is not overly prohibitive (despite ever rising energy costs) but the downside is there is just nowhere for stuff and often it feels more like we live in a self imposed jail. Only surrounded by stuff.

I’ll never understand why basements are not the norm in a country like Britain where housing and space is supplied at a premium and the explosion in self storage stores accomodates the space many of us wish we had at home.

Or build up. Town houses stretching up to the cloud tops. I need space.

I can dream.

Image by matley0 under this creative commons licence

The New Colonies

It’s just the same old show on my radio so I decided to try another flavour and today it’s been talking to me (or at me) about gated communities. We have one that’s sprung up a few blocks away.

They strike me as an oddly divisive status Gated communitystatement that points to the potential for greater social apartheid than we currently experience and an attempt to lock out the big bad world whilst advertising the fact that the residents there-in think themselves worthy of and able to afford a certain exclusivity and advertising their potential wealth perhaps to the very undesirable elements they wish to avoid.

Some UK councils are trying to stop these communities from being physically gated whilst one man has written in via email that he regularly goes round and locks his local gated community in with a sturdy lock of his own choosing as a way of making a statement against the growth of what are sometimes referred to over in America as new ‘colonies’.

Photo by Dean Terry under this restricted creative commons license


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A House In Order?

Clutter Begone 
Well we’ve completed our main environment rearrangement in a moderate flurry of re thought out storage, freecycling and local recycling where possible. I’ll be working my way through clearing various bits and pieces over the coming weeks including bookcrossing some books and donating others to the library.

The Doctor Will See You Now 
I’ve finally got my follow up post operative appointment albeit for mid way through March so it looks another 120 mile round trip is on the cards.

Goodbye Allotment 
It looks like we might be loosing our local allotment to house building. Again. Don’t councils have a duty to retain a certain amount of land for allotments(we don’t have a garden ourselves). Houses have got to be built but there’s plenty of brown field sites that can be utilised but they keep getting gobbled up by identikit business and retail parks. Can’t we build the latter vertically and leave the horizontal to housing?

That’s The wonder Of… 
Our local Woolworths is to close as things begin to look increasingly dire for the chain in general.Another old name to bite the dust? Will we miss them? In Australia they only sold food.

Affluenza 
I’ve decided to catch up on some of Oliver James books from the library whilst I wait for his latest to join the stock. I’m starting with Affluenza which has a glowing recommendation from Will Self on the cover so should cheer me up no end.

Living In A Travelodge for 22 Years

I was intrigued by a news item on the Beeb news site about a now elderly couple who have been living in a Travelodge motel for the past 22 years. Because one of them needs easy disabled access the Travelodge on the A1 fits the bill better than their own 1st floor flat in Sheffield.

By booking well in advance they pay £90 a week to stay there (£360 a month). It depends where you live but rent at that kind of price went the way of the pear around these parts some time ago.

I was intrigued too because thinking about it the couple would have few bills to pay. Electricity, heating, TV,water and cleaning would all be included and they would, I presume, be exempt from council tax also. If you are able to live in a single room like this then it almost sounds affordable compared to the rising costs of alternatives.

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HIPS And Political Point-Scoring

The British Conservative party, slightly aided by a sympathetic British press are stirring the pot by claiming that this weeks introduction of the much delayed and much tinkered with HomeHousing Bubble Information Packs (HIPS) could be used as a stealth method of council tax revaluation.

Actual council tax revaluation has been put on the back burner with the council tax unpopular as it stands and the feeling is probably that any blanket revaluation of housing property could push a lot of the apathetic British public completely over the edge (who remembers the impact of the uniform business rate in the early 90’s?).

The Conservatives seem to have decided that it’s safe to attempt to undermine the packs further and to sow the seeds of doubt as to their need and legitimacy. It’s the kind of scare-mongering that the mainstream political parties like to indulge in.
The Government has insisted that no HIPS inspection data would ever be passed to the official council tax valuation agency.

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