Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Renting v Buying, Government Cuts & Multiplex Hell...


My lovely friend Tania, who writes this blog about her food and beer adventures, has given me a friendly nudge to remind me that i haven't blogged for a while. Well, this is true and i apologise dear reader. I was hoping to post some photos from my lovely trip to Istanbul but i seem to have mislaid the cable for my camera...i will attempt to get this rectified soon.

Istanbul was fabulous in so many ways and i met some amazing people and went to awe-inspiring places. If you have never been then you should go - its quite unlike anywhere I've ever been before. but more on that when i post about it.

Since i left my job at the end of 2011 i have been really busy doing crafts, cooking and studying but since I've been back from holiday i seem to have lacked some structure to my life and have felt a little adrift. I'm not quite sure why this is but this week i have been trying to get a little more structured and have been  putting things in my diary and attempting to do them. Attempting being the operative word. Myself and Mr A have recently discovered the joy if Assassins Creed on the X-Box (i love computer games) and i am having to stay away from the game during the day as otherwise my hours just seem to disappear.

A slight blip on my journey to a new life has come in the guise of my friend, and lodger, deciding to move out and get her own place. Obviously I'm delighted for her but it leaves me in a bit of a quandary. i still have a mortgage to pay and my redundancy pay-out wont last forever so i will need to make a decision about what to do. Do i look for another lodger or sell up and rent somewhere? In an ideal world i wouldn't have a lodger but if i do have one then i much prefer it to be a friend however, most of my friends are now at the stage of having their own homes or are renting with partners. The plus side of keeping the house is that i have bricks and mortar but that comes with responsibilities - the roof needs replacing which i wont see much change out of £5k and if i have to sell in a years time (because the work that i want to do is paid far less well than what i have been used to) then i wont really see a return on that money. If i sell up and rent the monthly payments will be about the same but i wont have all the upkeep to pay for but then it worries me that i wont have a foot on the property ladder.... I'm someone who always worries about the future and if i rent then it concerns me about what i will do when i retire and have limited income for rent. When did life become so complicated??

Its my final training at Cruse this weekend and. following my tutorial a couple of weeks ago i am very confident about them taking me on as a counsellor/Bereavement Support Officer. That said in order to pass the course i need to do a stack load of work for my portfolio before Saturday...that, on top of a 3000 word essay i need to write for uni, is playing on my mind somewhat. My plan is to buckle down to some of that tonight and tomorrow afternoon.

Tomorrow morning I'm volunteering at St Martins Helpdesk. I'm concerned about the Helpdesk at the moment. Funding, as we all know, is being cut back and i know that this is bound to affect the Helpdesk and the services we provide. It angers me greatly that the cuts affect the poorest people in society. We deal with a lot of homeless people - now, I'm sure that many of you think that someone becomes homeless and the council will sort it out. You would think so as they have a duty of care to everyone living in the city, however this isn't the case. We recently had a family in who had been to ever government/council agency and other charity with no success until they came to us and we helped them to get housed - they actually said that without us they wouldn't have known where else to turn and would probably still be on the streets. And that's without the plethora of single men living on the streets who aren't seen as high priority. it breaks my heart that in this day and age people not only live on the streets but die. Yes, people DIE. every winter we say goodbye to someone. Its so, so sad.

In less important news i went to the cinema today (am making good use of Orange Wednesdays in an attempt to be a little more frugal) with Mr A and a couple of friends. We'd got tickets to see The Woman in Black   and i was really looking forward to it. First mistake of the day was that we didn't think about it being half-term! However we'd gone to Cineworld in Solihull so one would expect a better class of teenager (tic), how wrong we were.... The cinema was quite full when we arrived and we were sitting towards the back and the majority of the audience were teenagers. Now, i wont tar them all with the same brush as some of them were really well behaved but a large number were behaving appallingly - they were talking all the way through the film, laughing, shrieking, using their phones, kicking the backs of our chairs... one of my friends turned to the boys behind s and asked them to be quiet which they did...for a while but the general level of noise was just unacceptable. I could feel myself getting really irritated and angry - why on earth would someone pay to see a film and then talk all the way through it?? Anyway, after 20 minutes i realised that i wasn't going to be able to enjoy the film and left. The cinema were very good and gave me my money back but it did make me laugh when they asked if i had reported it to a member of staff upstairs - i pointed out that there were no members of staff around and this got me thinking about how cinemas have changed. I went to see Mark Kermode doing a talk at The Electric a few months ago where he discussed how cinemas are now just giant monopolies who don't really give us good customer service anymore. I have tried to be more selective as to what films i go and see following that talk - i don't want to give Hollywood my hard earned cash for the tripe they churn out - i want them to make films which make me think, i don't want to see Underworld 7 or whatever just because its marketed as the Must See Film... try it yourself, when watching trailers ask yourself "Does this look like a really good film or is it just the same old hogwash?" I really want to see A Dangerous Method but its not showing in Birmingham until TWO WEEKS after its release date and only the independent cinemas are showing it. This proved to me the importance of our independent cinemas - The Midlands Arts Centre (The MAC),

 the Electric

 and The Artrix in Bromsgrove

 really need our support and do a fabulous job plus you get excellent customer service! Wouldn't it be great if we could show the multi-nationals that we actually cared about our cinema-going experience by choosing to see films at the independents?


  1. I believe Orange Wednesdays are coming to The Electric, if they're not already doing it - so perhaps enquire about that. Also, look out for film nights in other independent places - the Jekyll and Hyde pub in Brum has them, as does Urban Coffee Co. - again, independent places that care, won't rip you off, offer products to consume that you actually want (good snacks/beer/wine/coffee & tea), and deserve our support too!

    1. Have just looked at The Electric website and they ARE doing Orange Wednesdays now - woop!! I also forgot to mention the Stirchley Happs Travelling Bug House....

  2. Yeahhhhh, just seen this. (You went to my spam, I had to rescue you)! Fab blog, yum to read.
    Look forward to seeing you at weekend. Love Karen xx

  3. Can't remember the last time we went to a multiplex. We belong to our local film club which shows foreign language films and if we want more mainstream, we go to the independents such as the Showroom in Sheffield.

    1. I think, and i may be deluding myself here - i probably need to really think about it - its easy to go to the multiplex near me. Its closer than any other and, to be fair as multiplexes go, The Empire in Rubery isnt too bad. That said i am, as i said, conciously making a decision to go to independent cinemas more often these days and am definitely choosing the films i want to see with much more of a critical eye!

  4. I love the Electric - I just think it's great that you can text them from your seat and they bring you snacks and drinks!

  5. Me too! Although isnt that just for the sofa seats?? Which i just cant justify these days...unless for an extra special event!

  6. Coming to my BIG-ol,
    John Belushi, party-hardy,
    Seventh-Heaven which is
    eternal pleasure-beyond-measuer?

    Do you...
    1) love God?
    2) love your neighbor?
    Cya Upstairs.