Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘around the UK’ Category

Many years ago, back in the days when I still actually ‘liked’ Facebook and set up my profile (2007), I filled in one of those ‘where have you been in the world’ online maps. At the time I was already living in the UK and had been for a few years, so had had the opportunity to travel to quite a few places.

flag-map-denmark-puerto

Map by andrewfahmy on Reddit

While I was pinning names I realised that not only had I visited quite a few countries, but I had also visited quite a few islands…wow, awesome. And so an idea was born; I would visit 100 islands before I die. Okay!! So since I’m not and wasn’t then, planning on dying in the near future, I set about compiling a list of islands I would still like to visit, and since the UK has 6,289 (LOL) I was spoiled for choice. However, since I also wanted to visit Europe, the scope for achieving my goal widened substantially. Did you know that Norway has 240,000 islands, islets, reefs, coral reefs and cays? Now that…would take me quite a few years then!!! As if!!
Jump forward a few years (almost a decade) and subsequent to my stay on the Isle of Wight in January this year where I discovered the Domesday Village of Nettlestone amongst others, an idea was born! Supported by a previous list of the many many villages and towns I’ve visited in the UK since 2007 in my capacity as a Carer for the Elderly, and of course all my holidays; in the UK and abroad, I started thinking……..
I realised that not only had I unknowingly visited many other Domesday villages, but I had during my travels visited a great number of castles, cathedrals, cities, most of the counties in England and Ireland, palaces, famous houses, a random selection of rivers, and to my surprise, a substantial number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites!!! Wow, I had not realised this.
Thus a new list was compiled and Project 101 was born….100 is so yesterday!! LOL.

I immediately set about updating the list with these new categories and updating the details of those I had already visited or been to – this is Project 101; to visit 101 in each of these categories before I die….whenever that may be. I have a separate list of places still to visit. Clearly some categories won’t cater to my 101 target, like the counties of England for instance…only 48, so not much chance there then, but combine them with Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the numbers add up ;).

I’m planning (hoping) to write about each of these places, but this will take quite a while as I have to go back in time to find the photos, do some research and write the article….so to kick things off, I’ll start with my more recent travels which to my delight was Italy.

travel in europe

I dreamed of Florence, and Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano and Lucca 😉 all listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites except with the possible exception of Lucca.

With one trip I was able to visit 5 or 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 5 cathedral cities and by extension their cathedrals, 4 or 5 walled cities, famous gardens and a river.  I’ve done research on Lucca and in google searches it comes up, but when I go to the UNESCO site it’s not listed. Further research will be needed… Some places just make it easy; cathedral city/cathedral/UNESCO site(s)/famous house(s)/palace(s)/river……think London & Florence 😉 6 birds with one visit LOL.

Of course now that I have started this blessed list my mind is like……’hmmmm, should I add Roman cities to the Project’? Or maybe churches…..and then I remember just HOW MANY churches I have indeed visited in the last 15 years alone….and my head says NO NO NO!!! So for now (?) here are the categories I’ve settled on…for now 😉 I’ve haven’t listed any of the places in chronological order; that would just be too time consuming. So in no particular order….. these are the places I’ve already been to; looks like I have some catching up to do to visit 101 in each category….now where’s that campervan?!!

ISLANDS (16)
United Kingdom
Portsea Island – UK
Ireland
Arran Islands
Manhattan – USA
Long Island – USA
Sanibel – USA
Venice – Italy
Torcello – Italy
Burano – Italy
Murano – Italy
Providence – Bahamas
Bruges – Belgium
Isle of Skye – Scotland
Iceland
Isle of Wight – UK

COUNTRIES (14)
South Africa
Swaziland
England
Ireland
N.Ireland
Scotland
Wales
United States of America
Bahamas
Italy
France
Netherlands
Belgium
Gibraltar

U.K. COUNTIES
ENGLAND (29)
Greater London (I’ve lived in or visited 25 of the 33 boroughs, including City of London)
Hampshire
Surrey
Norfolk
Suffolk
Buckinghamshire
Cambridgeshire
Oxfordshire
Devon
Cornwall
Kent
Hertfordshire
Herefordshire
Lancashire
Warwickshire
Worcestershire
Bedfordshire
Berkshire
Dorset
Middlesex (now considered part of Greater London)
Shropshire
Somerset
Wiltshire
East Sussex
West Sussex
Essex
Gloucestershire
Bristol
Isle of Wight

SCOTLAND (5)
Edinburgh/Midlothian
Inverness
Moray
Fife
Ross and Cromarty

WALES (4)
Pembrokeshire
Cardiff
Swansea
Newport

N. IRELAND (3)
Armagh
Down
Antrim

Republic of IRELAND (14)
Dublin
Wicklow
Galway
Clare
Meath
Cork
Kilkenny
Waterford
Wexford
Kerry
Limerick
Tipperary
Mayo
Donegal

CATHEDRAL CITIES (26)
London
Westminster
Winchester
Dublin
Belfast
Edinburgh
Inverness
Brussels
Antwerp
Canterbury
Rijkavik
Chichester
Oxford
Worcester
St David’s
Venice
Verona
Salisbury
Exeter
Chichester
Wells
Pisa
Florence
San Gimignano
Siena
Lucca

CATHEDRALS (26)
St Paul’s Cathedral – London
Southwark Cathedral – London
St George’s Cathedral – London
Westminster Cathedral – London
Worcester Cathedral – England
St David’s Cathedral – Wales
Inverness Cathedral – Scotland
St Patrick’s Cathedral – Dublin, Ireland
Christ Church Cathedral – Dublin, Ireland
Glendalough Cathedral – Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Exeter Cathedral – England
Winchester Cathedral – England
Chichester Cathedral – England
Christ Church, Oxford – England
Salisbury Cathedral – England
St Mark’s Basilica – Venice
Notre Dame Basilica – Paris
Canterbury Cathedral – Kent
Chichester Cathedral – England
Wells Cathedral – England
Duomo Santa Maria Assunta – Pisa, Italy
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – Florence, Italy
Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta – Duomo di San Gimignano, Italy
Duomo di Siena – Italy
Duomo di Lucca, Cattedrale di San Martino – Itlay

ABBEYS (9)
Westminster Abbey – City of Westminster, London, England
Sherbourne Abbey – Dorset, England
Shaftesbury Abbey – Dorset, England
Bury St Edmunds – Suffolk, England
Great Malvern (Priory) – Worcestershire, England
St Mary’s – Trim, Ireland
Kylemore Abbey – Galway, Ireland
Quarr Abbey – Isle of Wight, England
Torre Abbey – Torquay, England

I visited so many abbeys, priories, friaries and monasteries in Ireland that I’ve quite lost track…so if I can I will one day try to revisit as many as possible 🙂

DOMESDAY towns & villages (87) – Domesday Book is a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror.  My list needs updating; research still being done LOL Admittedly when I complied this list it surprised me that I had already been to so many!

Ashford – Kent
Ayot St Lawrence – Hertfordshire
Bath – Wiltshire
Battersea (London) – Surrey
Bermondsey (London) – Surrey
Brading – Isle of Wight
Bressingham – Norfolk
Blackford – Somerset
Bodiam – Sussex
Bradford-on-Avon – Wiltshire
Brighton – Sussex
Bristol – Somerset
Bromley – Kent
Bury St Edmunds – Suffolk
Bushey – Hertfordshire
Canterbury – Kent
Castle Cary – Siomerset
Castle Combe – Wiltshire
Chatham – Kent
Deal – Kent
Dover – Kent
Epsom – Surrey
Fishbourne – Sussex
Godalming – Surrey
Gravesend – Kent
Hastings – Kent
Hatfield – Herefordshire
Hawkhurst – Kent
Holborn (London) – Middlesex
Hythe – Kent
Ingatestone – Essex
Lambeth (London) – Surrey
Lavenham – Suffolk
Limpsfield – Surrey
London – City of
Maidstone – Kent
Margate – Kent
Meon – Hampshire
Meopham – Kent
Mortlake – Surrey
Nettlestone – Isle of Wight
North Cadbury – Somerset
Norwich – Norfolk
Oxford – Oxfordshire
Oxted – Surrey
Pakenham – Suffolk
Petersham – Surrey
Puckpool – Isle of Wight
Rochester – Kent
Romney Marsh – Kent
Rye – Sussex
Sandown – Isle of Wight
Sandwich – Kent
Shanklin – Isle of Wight
Shaftesbury – Dorset
Sherbourne – Dorset
Sidmouth – Devon
South Cadbury – Somerset
Southwark (London) – Surrey
Sparkford – Somerset
St Albans – Hertfordshire
Stanmore – Middlesex
Stoke Newington (London) – Middlesex
Stoke Trister – Somerset
St Pancras (London) – Middlesex
Stratford-Upon-Avon – Warwickshire
Sundridge – Kent
Tatsfield -Surrey
Templecombe – Somerset
Thames Ditton – Surrey
Titsey – Surrey
Tonbridge – Kent
Trumpington – Cambridgeshire
Tudeley – Kent
Wells – Somerset
Weobley – Herefordshire
West Camel – Somerset
West Meon – Hampshire
Westerham – Surrey
Westminster (London) – Middlesex
Weybridge – Surrey
Whitstable – Kent
Wincanton – Somerset
Winchester – Hampshire
Windsor – Surrey
Woolston – Somerset
Worcester – Worcestershire

CASTLES (36)
Cape Town – South Africa
Dublin – Ireland
Trim – Ireland
Blarney – Ireland
Clontarf – Ireland
Dalkey – Ireland
Howth – Ireland
Kilkenny Castle – Ireland
King John’s Castle – Ireland
Rock of Cashel – Ireland
Malahide – Ireland
Waterford – Ireland
Tower of London – England
Edinburgh – Scotland
Urquhart – Scotland
Eilean Donan – Scotland
Deal – England
Dover – England
Midhurst – England
Sherbourne – England
Rochester – England
Canterbury – Engalnd
Pembroke – Wales
Tonbridge – England
Hever – England
Warwick – England
Leeds – England
Bodiam – England
Oxford – England
Windsor – England
Hastings – England
Rye (Ypres Tower) – England
St Briavels – England
Carisbrooke – Isle of Wight
Rocca Scaligera – Sirmione, Italy
Castelvecchio – Verona, Italy

PALACES (20)
Buckingham Palace – City of Westminster, Great London
Hampton Court Palace – Hampton Court, England
Kew Palace – Kew, London
Windsor Palace – Windsor, England
Burlington House – City of Westminster, London
Westminster Palace – City of Westminster, London
Banqueting House (remains of Whitehall Palace) – City of Westminster, London
St James’s Palace – City of Westminster, London
Richmond Palace – Richmond (now a private residence), Greater London
Lambeth Palace – Lambeth, London
Winchester Palace – Southwark, London
Tower of London – Tower Hamlets/City of London, London
Kensington Palace – City of Westminster, London
The Old Palace – Hatfield (home to Elizabeth I)
Eltham Palace – Royal Borough of Greenwich, Greater London
Palace of Versailles – France
The Doges Palace – Venice, Italy
Palazzo dei Cavalieri – Knights’ Square, Pisa, Italy
Palazzo Pitti – Florence, Italy
Palazzo Vecchio – Florence

FAMOUS HOUSES (18)
Jan Smuts House – Transvaal, South Africa
Anne Franks House – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Burlington House – City of Westminster, Greater London
Chartwell (Winston Churchill) – Kent, England
Ham House – Ham, Greater London
Strawberry Hill House (Horace Walpole) – Twickenham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Downe House (Charles Darwin) – Kent, England
Benjamin Franklin’s House – City of Westminster, Greater London
Marble Hill House (Henriette Howard) – Twickenham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
The Queens House – Royal Borough of Greenwich, London
Bleak House (Charles Dickens) – Broadstairs, Kent
Turner House (JMW Turner) – Twickenham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Apsley House – (1st Duke of Wellington) – City of Westminster, Greater London
Kenwood House (William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield) – Hampstead, Greater London
Hatfield House (Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury) – Hertfordshire, England
Shakespeare’s House (William Shakespeare) – Stratford Upon Avon, England
Keats House (John Keats) – Hampstead, Greater London
Chiswick House (Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington) – Chiswick, Greater London

UNESCO World Heritage Sites (25)
Venice and it’s lagoon – Italy
City of Verona – Italy
Pinvellir National Park – Iceland
Historic Centre of Bruges – Belgium
Palace and Park of Versailles – France
Cathedral of Notre Dame – Paris, France
Paris; Banks of the Siene
17th century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht – Netherlands
City of Bath – England
Stonehenge – England
Palace of Westminster – London, England
Westminster Abbey – London, England
Canterbury Cathedral – England
Tower of London – London, England
Old and New Towns of – Scotland
Maritime Greenwich – London
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew London
Everglades National Park – Florida, USA
Piazza del Duomo – Pisa, Italy
Baboli Gardens & Palazzo Pitti – Florence, Italy
The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore – Florence, Italy
Historic centre of Siena – Italy
Historic centre of Florence – Italy
Historic centre of San Gimignano – Italy
Historic city of Lucca – (although this is mentioned as a UNESCO site, I can’t find it listed)

WALLED CITIES (37)
Dublin – Ireland
Cashel – Ireland
Cork – Ireland
Galway – Ireland
Kilkenny – Ireland
Trim – Ireland
Waterford – Ireland
Wexford – Ireland
City of London – London
Exeter – England
Canterbury – England
Winchester – England
Chichester – England
Oxford – England
Rochester – England
Rye – England
Hastings – England
Salisbury – England
Warwick – England
Worcester – England
Bristol – England
Warwick – England
Worcester – England
Edinburgh – Scotland
St Andrews – Scotland
Pembroke – Wales
Verona – Italy
Amsterdam – Netherlands
Gouda – Netherlands
Paris – France
Gibraltar – British Overseas Territory
Brussels – Belgium
Pisa – Italy
Florence – Italy
San Gimignano – Italy
Siena – Italy
Lucca – Italy

RIVERS I’VE MET ALONG THE WAY (31)
Orange River – South Africa
Vaal River – South Africa
Great Kei River – South Africa
Storms River – South Africa
Sabie River – South Africa
Klip River – South Africa
Jukskei River – South Africa
Blyde River – South Africa
River Thames – London
Eden – England
Avon – England
Spey – Scotland
Ness – Scotland
Medway – England
Severn – England
Wye – England
Yealm – England
Lea – England
Exe – England
Wey – England
Stour – England
Cherwell – England
Cam – England
Itchen – England
Dart – England
Hudson River – USA
East River – USA
Tennessee – USA
Seine – Paris
Liffey – Ireland
Arno – Pisa and Florence – Italy

So, I’m guessing that if I ever get to visit 101 of each of the above categories, I’ll be able to consider myself; Well Travelled LOL

inspirational quotes

Die with memories, not dreams

UNUSUAL PLACES I’VE BEEN/THINGS I’VE DONE
Toured the HMS Eagle Aircraft Carrier in Durban Harbour – South Africa
Explored the Echo Caves – South Africa
Explored the Cango Caves – South Africa
Hot-Air Balloon ride – South Africa
Abseiled off a bridge – South Africa
Paragliding – South Africa
Rock wall climbing on a cruise ship – Bahamas
Parasailing – Bahamas
Wookey Hole – Somerset
Climbed the O2 – London
Helicopter Ride over London (my 60th birthday gift from my daughter)
Fire-walk – London
Stood on Greenwich Meridian Line – London
Sailed along Thames on a Tall Ship – London
Visited the Roman Amphitheatre – London
Kissed the Blarney Stone – Ireland
Climbed The Monument to the Great Fire of London 1666 – London
Followed the Gloriana in the Tudor Pull – London
Participated in the Green Man ceremony – London
Part of the Magna Carta flotilla – London
Stood on two of the earth’s geological plates at the same time; Eurasia & American in Iceland
Visited Stonehenge
Visited all the Cinque Ports in England; Sandwich, Dover, New Romney, Hastings, Hythe, Rye and Winchelsea
Walked along WW2 Tunnels at Ramsgate
Lived in a Gypsy Caravan on Eel Pie Island on the banks of the River Thames
Lived in a Castle in Scotland
Slept on The Mall in London for the Wedding of William and Kate 🙂
Bell ringing at a church in Cambridge

If you’ve read this far…bravo!!! Thank you, I appreciate that you did. I post photos of the various places I travel to on instagram and will be updating Project 101 as I go. My next trip is The Giant’s Causeway in Belfast next week Wednesday; a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and then I’ll be visiting Ironbridge in June which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I’d love for you to join me on instagram …say hello if you do.

(I found the map at the top of this article on 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World. Fascinating; worth a visit)

Read Full Post »

A friend of mine posted this today. Copied from a post in a private group, he felt it captured his thoughts so well that he had to share it:

“I am a Londoner. In fact, I can see Parliament from my street. I walk over Westminster bridge regularly. I set up my local anti-war group, campaign for Palestine, support refugees and I don’t deserve to be attacked or killed by some brainless bigot who imagines he’s a mujahid. No one does. Terrorism is now part of the urban landscape. We live with it, just like we live with the noise and pollution but that doesn’t mean it isn’t shocking when it happens. Especially when it is literally so close to home.

The explosion of hate doesn’t end there though. For weeks to come we will have to hear our friends and neighbours vilified by the sort of people that hate London for being London, a diverse global city where different races, religions and lifestyles all live together and get on. Now those Londoners who happen to be Muslims will be terrorised again. The sort of people that set off bombs or drive into crowds don’t ask your religion first. So the millions of Muslims who live in London have to live with that fear same as the rest of us. Then, they have to live with the fear of being blamed for the actions of the one or two idiots who actually committed the crime. Idiots who acted on the belief that somehow we are collectively to blame for the thousands killed by our country in the Middle East.

I am a Londoner. That means my friends, neighbours and colleagues are Muslim and non-Muslim, black and white, gay and straight and from half the countries on the planet and that’s how I like it. I love London because of it and the little englanders hate it for the same reason. If the racists, fascists and common or garden bigots think they can use OUR tragedy to destroy OUR city, they’ve got another thing coming.

I’m standing up for my London. No one’s ever going to take it away from me. Who’s with me?”

I am.

In the wake of yesterday’s tragic events, we all need to stand firm and not allow hate to enter our hearts. This is once again a very small minority attempting to create fear and horror. We CANNOT allow these acts to colour our perception of other cultures and religions. This atrocity is not the belief or actions of a whole group despite the attempts of many people to vilify the Muslim community. 

I have today unfriended, reported or blocked any of the haters on my social media profiles. They are narrow-minded, shallow, racist and bigoted; not open to discussion or realistic discourse.

My condolences to the families who’ve lost loved ones, innocents caught up in one man’s warped beliefs.

Read Full Post »

I absolutely love that this man has become so well known, that he’s generated so much media attention. Imad Alarnab arrived in London in 2015 after fleeing the brutal warfare of his home city of Damascus in Syria, and now he’s launched Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, a pop-up restaurant in Bethnal Green in London.

He’s a Syrian refugee. He’s a human being. He’s a great chef. He’s a person with emotions, feelings, love. He has a family. http://www.reuters.tv/v/F2c/2017/03/13/syrian-refugee-chef-cooks-taste-of-home

Because of the enormous refugee crisis Syrians, like Amad, and other people of other cultures have become and are portrayed as a faceless mass.

Due to this we forget that they’re people, the same as you and me.

Because of this portrayal they become an entity to be feared.

This man, along with millions of others, have been demonized, vilified and manipulated by governments, religious organisations, and media and yes, even ‘humanitarian’ organisations wanting to promote their own causes.

I truly hope that this particular story helps people to change their thinking. To realise that on that whole people don’t just up and leave their country of birth with nothing, just the clothes on their backs, a bit of money and a whole heap of HOPE,…. without good reason.

Read Full Post »

While I was working in Oxted, on most days, I made the most of my breaks to explore the area and add to my miles for the #walk1000miles challenge, as well as improve my fitness for the Camino. On one said walk my feet took me to one of the largest surviving historic estates in Surrey; Titsey Place in Oxted dates back to the 16th century.

Titsey Estate Surrey

the beautiful grounds of the Titsey Estate

An impressive manor house set in beautiful gardens on a large estate in the stunning countryside of the North Downs. Sadly the house was still closed for winter but I’m hoping to visit when I next visit Oxted.

titsey house and estate surrey

Titsey House, Surrey

My walk took me along the lanes and by-ways of Oxted and I enjoyed being able to explore further afield. I’m participating in the walk 1000 miles 2017 challenge and this walk from Oxted to the Titsey Estate and along part of the Pilgrim’s Way took 1 hour 49 minutes; 4.57 miles / 11,735 steps.

titsey place surrey

the highways and byways of Surrey

I so enjoyed the quiet of the Downs pathway, just me and the birds in the trees and a few cows. I could see and hear the traffic on the M25, and although it didn’t really spoil the walk, it’s interesting how difficult it is to walk anywhere these days without traffic encroaching. We’re meant to walk for health, but if you consider the amount of traffic we’re constantly walking nearby to….well!!! LOL anyway, moving on from that thorny issue, I love walking and thoroughly enjoyed the views and the house looked awesome….roll on March end.

titsey place oxted surrey

views of the Titsey Place Estate near Oxted in Surrey

Titsey House and Gardens are held in Charitable Trust and for part of the year are open to the public offering and there are guided tours of the house.

Read Full Post »

15/03/2017 UPDATE!!!! The Government have done a big u-turn and WILL NOT BE HIKING THE N.I. ON THE 4.8MILLION SELF-EMPLOYED OF THE U.K. Bloody marvellous!! 🙂 🙂

Subsequent to the current Chancellor’s ‘spring budget’ I, along with millions of other self-employed people was dismayed (to say the least) at the increase in NI for the self-employed, 1%…doesn’t sound like much. Except when, as a self-employed person, trying to build a business, generate an income, and having to save for any annual leave you may wish to take, any sick leave you may need, not claiming benefits, and you’re already struggling to make ends meet, that little 1% can/could make all the difference between actually making any money or not, and to quite simply….in many instances just surviving!

I’m more than happy to pay my taxes and I realise the NI is vital to fund our national services like the NHS and to provide a pension pot (not that I can depend on that to survive in my old age). So when I saw the increase I was like ” urgh bugger, another increase, but hey ho, it’s not really that much and I’ll probably have to work an extra 10 days p.a. to cover the increase”. Peeved, yes! Unable to do much about it, no! So well fine then.

Then I happened to watch the speech Theresa May gave about said increase…and was dismayed to realise that once again this was a move to protect big business and tax smaller businesses (and more importantly in this instance; the self-employed) who don’t have the same Government allowable tax-avoiding loopholes and hand-outs that big businesses have the benefit of. That’s my understanding.

“The Prime Minister also said the shift towards self-employment was “eroding the tax base” and making it harder to pay for public services “on which ordinary working families depend”. – try closing the bloody loopholes that allow companies like Facebook, and Amazon, Starbucks and Google et al to avoid paying their fair share of tax on the profits GENERATED IN THE U.K. Then we will have more of a tax base!!!  2.5 million self-employed people is a drop in the ocean. (Apparently its 4.8million)

Consider this for 2016:

There were 31.84 million people in work, 37,000 more than for July to September 2016 and 302,000 more than for a year earlier.

There were 23.29 million people working full-time, 218,000 more than for a year earlier. There were 8.55 million people working part-time, 84,000 more than for a year earlier.

The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 74.6%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.

So how is it that a mere 2.5 million (4.8million) self-employed people are eroding the tax base?

Of course millions of people around the country were just as upset as I, as well as which her MPs were apparently pretty pissed too! (see their subsequent about-turn aka a Political u-turn). But what our PM and Chancellor are forgetting is that the reason the number of self-employed is rising is because those big businesses she wishes to protect have a bad habit of going out of business and leaving people jobless. So instead of signing on to the Benefits system, they’re taking the plunge and starting up their own businesses….in other words they’re being innovative instead of dependent. You’d think this would be encouraged! Innovation is what drives business and the economy after all.

And then!!!! I saw a post on Facebook that one of my ‘friends’ had left!! And my blood-pressure went through the roof!

Why are peeps moaning so much about this TINY national insurance rise for the self employed in the Budget yesterday? If you are self employed and can’t make an extra £300 a year then really you should go back to being an employee“. What.The.Merry.Fuck!??? Is he serious? Does he not realise just how difficult it can be to generate an extra £300…which by the way is not JUST £300 but substantially more when you consider that by generating an extra £300 in your business you also pay more tax, have to attend more networking events, incur extra costs for travel, clothes, advertising/promotional material etc etc. So I replied that ‘I disagree’.

And then I set out why I disagreed!

I’m self-employed. If I work for an agency as an employee I earn less. If I want to earn an extra £300 a year I have to sacrifice what employees take for granted: weekends…ergo I have to work 25 days a month rather than 21…which means I don’t have those 8 days a month called weekends.

Also small businesses (mostly self-employed) face stiff competition from big companies who can cut prices due to tax loopholes that self-employed small businesses don’t have. Besides that, it’s not like big businesses are standing at their doors shouting “we have loads of vacancies, come on in so we can employ you”. Many of the self-employed are people who provide essential services. Many self-employed are stay at home Mums who are trying to make ends meet in a tough environment. They start a small business; ergo self-employed because it’s too expensive for childcare…and why WOULDN’T they want to stay at home with their children?
So…in my opinion ….It’s arrogant to make a sweeping statement of the like you just have. My daughter is self-employed. She works in a very tough environment where people want what she does for FREE. She goes over and above for her clients, sometime making only £30 profit and has to constantly look for new clients due to the fact that other self-employed businesses are also struggling and push prices down, or use interns to manage what needs skilled knowledge…because it’s FREE.
I don’t get any tax breaks. If I work for an agency I earn less. If I work for a bigly company like BHS I’ll be employed and get screwed over by the owners to whom I’ve paid my pension for decades so he can buy £10million boats and live the champagne lifestyle and then when it suits him fuck off without looking back.
So no, it’s not as simple as JUST looking for a job.
Actually the government are fcking idiots. They should be ENCOURAGING people who are at home to be generating an income rather than claiming BENEFITS who the employed bitch about all the time. How do you think Britain got the nom-de-plume BENEFITS BRITAIN? I think it stinks, many self-employed people are innovators through necessity and we NEED innovators rather than just a bunch of sheep who depend on other people to be innovative, start a company and employ other people so that they can pay them shit wages, claim tax loopholes and live the champagne life-style.” End of rant…or so I thought!!! Actually I could have said a lot more….I bit my tongue

And then!!! Some fuckwot who thinks he knows more about my life than I do leaves this comment on the thread of my reply:

“So many victim mentalities… reality is yours to create folks”.

My reply: “MENtality. Hardly victims. Rather, very tightly squeezed“.

And then he comes back at me with: “It’s still a victim mentality if something external of your own being is limiting you.
Have people created a different result? Yes. Therefore you can… you can’t change the tax you can change what you do, so change what you do, don’t moan about something out of your control.
If you’ve taken offence, good, it means its true

Now, firstly I read that as a challenge ‘If you’ve taken offence……’ And suggesting that I’m in victim mode!!! Red flag to a bull!!! (after I am a Taurean!!) LOL

My reply:
T.S., get back up your own arse. Seriously. That’s such a lot of PD bullshit. My job is not limiting me. I provide a vital service. I happen to love my job. Caring for elderly people unable to care for themselves. My beef is with the government penalising self-employed people who have the audacity to be self-employed and not working for a company. That’s pretty much what Theresa May said….in so many words.
If you take offence…then it’s true, you’re too far up your own arse.”

 

Then some other twit (I’ll refer to her as BG) replied: “Sounds like it’s time to increase your prices, Cindy!

Uhmm, really? And you know what I do for a living then, do you? So I replied:  “I can’t increase my prices B.G.!!! I work as a Carer for the elderly. Caring for the old people that need my services due to the fact their families can’t/won’t/don’t want to care for them. My rate on an hourly basis is less than the minimum wage. My clients and their families bitch about how EXPENSIVE I am. My rate is set by the agency who farm me out to said elderly people whose families don’t look after. I pay my own tax. I save for my own pension. I don’t get tax breaks. If I want to earn more I have to work more days or take on clients with alzheimers or dementia or challenging behaviour. In my line of work I’ve been attacked with a walking stick, sworn at, peed and pooped on, had sarcastic family members berating me, clients treating me like a servant. If I want to continue in this line of work I have to smile sweetly and take the abuse. So no, I can’t JUST increase my prices”.

By this point my blood-pressure was sky high and my mouth was heading fast towards the potty!! I love that American expression ‘potty-mouth’. So in order to save my health, I removed myself from the conversation. It raged on with some people really upset by the insults the ’employed’ / ‘arrogant know alls’ levied at the self-employed who were labelled as ‘victims’ because they were upset by the increase.

As one lass put it, she already struggles in her line of work because by pursuing her passion (which the same PD fuckwits suggest we SHOULD be doing) the companies she gets her business from are, of course, only interested in their bottom line and keeping their shareholders happy with big dividends, and therefor knock her price down. So how many more days, weeks and months of the year should she work in order to just magically generate an extra £300 p.a. The same goes for my daughter. It’s unbelievable just how many people expect her to provide them with a service for practically free and complain like heck that her prices are too high! Trust me they’re not!  These same people are totally amazed when she says no, she can’t provide what is a valuable service for FREE. ffs.

Now for the sceptics who may be reading this…..yes, it’s only £0.82p per day!!! If you work 365 days a year! But since it’s virtually impossible to work 365 days a year and not crash due to ill health brought on by over extending yourself (unless you’re a mother) then that little sum increases.

So reduce that by 105 = the weekends that the ’employed’ get without losing income, and you’re down to 260 days which = £1.15 per day.

Then take off the Bank Holidays = 8 and now you’re down to 252 working days and up to £1.19 per day.

Now take off the 28 days mandatory annual leave days an employed person is entitled to and not expected to lose income for and you’re down to 224 days and up to £1.34 per day.

And now for the fun stuff….Add to that the extra costs involved to generate the extra £300 and it goes up even more, then add to that the extra regular tax you have to pay on the newly generated £300 and voila…surprise surprise, it’s no longer £1.34 per day but goes up and up and up depending on your overall costs for phone calls, networking, travel costs, stationery, phone calls, advertising, making/producing/providing the extra product/service you’re in business for. Suddenly you’re no longer looking at JUST an extra £300. Try telling your clients you’re increasing your prices because the Government has hit you with an extra £300 per year!!!

I think the thing that annoyed me the most was the simple arrogance of his statement: “If you are self employed and can’t make an extra £300 a year then really you should go back to being an employee.

What an incredibly thoughtless, arrogant and totally lacking in knowledgable comment to make. This is where my potty-mouth wants to go into overdrive and I’m tempted to take Helen Mirren’s advice on using the work fuck more often! LOL

Now before anyone who’s employed gets their knickers in a knot, I have nothing against being ’employed’, I was an ’employee’ for over 30 years! I was also at the mercy of said employers and the very last company I worked for (in South Africa) put themselves into liquidation over a petty argument the 2 principal owners had! This resulted in dozens of people becoming unemployed, one of whom was an elderly gentleman who had a heart-attack from the shock and died within a few weeks. It also meant that a number of companies to whom they owed money didn’t get paid. Much like the BHS scenario.  As an employee you are at the mercy of your employer, many of whom are quite abusive….see the many headlines when people blow the whistle. You are at the mercy of the largesse of your boss when it comes to the annual increase in your salary if you’re lucky enough to even get an increase (not that the self-employed even have a faint smidgen of this luxury). You’re at the mercy of a bully boss. Stuck with hanging out at the same place day after day after week after year, unable to JUST move on if you’re unhappy – that doesn’t reflect well on your CV.  And then the company downsizes, relocates, gets sold, merges with another blah blah blah. I’d much rather be self-employed than depend on a business or corporation for my income.  So when this increase in the NI came through, I accepted it with disappointment and felt it was unfair.

Anyway, why is it that being ’employed’ is still seen as the be all and end all…the achievement of respectability, the golden handshake goal to reach for? It’s amazing how many times people who are employed look down on the self-employed as if they’re failures! Not by any means are they failures. It takes a HUGE amount of courage to branch out and set up a business, to be self-employed. No longer the perceived security of a job where you earn a set income no matter how shit you are at your job (remember all those employment laws that protect you!?), no longer do you have weekends free – clients expect you to be at the end of your phone or computer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you don’t reply to an email ‘instantly’ at 10pm on a Sunday night they get shirty!! And this is not an imaginary scenario….it’s only too real. As a self-employed person you no longer have the benefit of annual leave and PAID Bank Holidays. Being self-employed has all sorts of ‘perceived’ benefits by the employed who think it’s a long extended holiday. It’s not. It’s tough. People don’t sleep at night for worrying about how to make ends meet. As a self-employed person you are responsible for everything that goes on in a business. Pricing your product to ensure you not only provide a fair price, but that you also make a profit (your salary), marketing said product/service, the accounting, sourcing suppliers, preparing quotes, visiting clients etc etc.

As an employed person you go in to work to do a specific job, in your niche, and the rest of the business magically happens around you. (n.b. I realise this is a variable, and all jobs are different).

  • The self-employed currently pay a lower rate than those in employment
  • The government says this was traditionally down to a lesser entitlement to benefits and pensions, but that these disparities have mostly been removed, so the difference in rates is unfair
  • But critics say it is justified because self-employed people are not entitled to things like paid holiday and sickness leave.

And anyway, as I pointed out to one of the protagonists, it’s not like there are 2.5 million jobs available. In fact many of the apparent job vacancy numbers the Government loves to bandy around are on the very controversial zero hours contracts, and the job market, even for graduates is not flush with vacancies.

An estimated total of 3,694 companies entered insolvency in Q1 2016
A total of 804 companies were subject to a compulsory winding-up order
in Q1 2016
An estimated 2,515 companies entered creditors’ voluntary liquidation in
Q1 2016
There were an estimated 301 administrations in Q1 2016
The estimated liquidation rate in the 12 months ending Q1 2016 was
0.42% of active companies (the report goes on to say) – the lowest level since comparable records began in Q4 1984.
I’m sure anyone who has been at the receiving end of said liquidation feels really comforted that it’s lower!!

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/519466/Q1_2016_statistics_release_-_web.pdf

So yes, I am, like 2.5 million (4.8million) other self-employed people a tad peeved at the increase in NI. It certainly feels like we’re being penalised for having the temerity to be innovative and trying to earn an income rather than claiming benefits. Which the ’employed’ have much to say about…till it happens to them.

Rant over! Or maybe not 😉

🙂 and yes, as of 15/03/2017 the government have done a u-turn and WILL NOT be increasing the NI for the 4.8 million self-employed citizens of the UK. Excellent!!!

Now all we need is for the major corporations to pull on their big-girl panties, fess up and step up, find their integrity and PAY THEIR FAIR TAXES in the country where they generate the ACTUAL INCOME.

 

Read Full Post »

As the year moves on, the time for me to step up and out on my dream of and goal to walk the Camino de Santiago (the Portuguese Coastal Route) is getting closer and closer, I’m reminded that no matter how old you are…….

In order to get more fit, I recently joined the #walk1000miles 2017 challenge. I’ve always loved walking and have done loads over the last year, but what I love about this challenge is that there are thousand of people around the world also walking and sharing their experiences and photos. Just brilliant.

What I loved about this quote, besides the image and the words, is that a few months ago I worked in Great Malvern where C.S. Lewis once spent some time, and where urban legend has it, he found inspiration for the lamps in The Witch and The Wardrobe after seeing the lamps there.

lamps in great malvern

lamps in Great Malvern; inspiration for C.S. Lewis

p.s. I had planned on walking the Camino last year, but money or lack thereof got in the way. This year then…..

Read Full Post »

The weather had been pretty grim my first week in Oxted, with some snow flurries on the following Sunday, not enough to impress but just enough to get excited about….it soon melted and didn’t return. However, not to be deterred by the weather, on Tuesday, the afternoon after my arrival, I set off to explore and my meandering took me through the town of Oxted and along the streets and roads and on to a delightful medieval village called Limpsfield. What a treat!! The High Street is lined with houses dating from as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries.

limpsfield surrey, domesday book village, limpsfield, english architecture

some of the quintessentially English houses lining the streets of Limpsfield; a Domesday village

Quintessentially English houses built of local quarried stone lined both sides, looking absolutely charming. I discovered the little church; St Peter’s, constructed in the late 12th century and a Grade I listed building.  As I was entering the church I noticed that it was in fact a Pilgrim church!!! Thrilling. In alignment with my Camino this year I am hoping to gather some stamps before I set off on my walk. There was a stamp hanging on a board at the door, so I’m planning on ordering my Camino passport as soon as possible and when I return to the assignment at the end of March I’m hoping to be able to add that as the start of many I plan to collect on my journey. The church is also famous because the English composer Frederick Delius and orchestral conductor Sir Thomas Beecham are both buried in the village churchyard. Although I looked very carefully I never did find Delius’s grave.

limpsfield surrey, domesday villages of england, english villages, st peters church limpsfield

St Peter’s Church, Limpsfield – a pilgrim’s church

Situated at the foot of the North Downs, Limpsfield would have been on the ancient Pilgrim’s Way that stretches along the base of the downs between Winchester and Canterbury. To my delight on researching the history I discovered that Limpsfield too was a Domesday village: and appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Limenesfeld and held by the Abbot of Battle Abbey, Sussex.

Limpsfield’s High Street is named as a conservation area with 89 listed buildings along the street and in the immediate locality; one of which, Old Court Cottage in Titsey Road, (formerly the manorial court of the Abbot of Battle), is Grade I listed building and dates from c1190-1200 (including aisle posts and arcade plates) with alterations in the late 14th century, and a 16th-century crosswing. (ref wikipedia). Unfortunately I didn’t get to see this building, but the Post Office/village store was just charming so I stepped over the threshold and bought some stamps and a chocolate 🙂

limpsfield surrey, high street limpsfield, domesday book village, domesday book villages of england

Limpsfield High Street

I spent some time photographing all the buildings and meandering about the church and churchyard. I love these old ancient places and often wish I could just knock on the doors of the houses to see inside 😉

At the entrance to the village is a delightful name board – I love finding these!

limpsfield surrey, domesday book villages of england, limpsfield domesday village, villages of england

Limpsfield, Surrey

Limenesfelde 1086 (db). ‘Open land at Limen’. OE feld added to a Celtic place name or river-name

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »