Sunday, 12 September 2010

Heritage Open Day @ Farnham, Surrey



If you don't know by now, every year in September we have Heritage Open Days which was started in 1994. It’s a National event & more info can be found on www.heritageopendays.org.uk
Each town have their own Heritage sites & Events & even though it’s over for this year, you can use the site next year to see what's happening.
But as I live in Farnham Surrey, I went to visit a few places there & it was a nice day for it. The last 2 times over the past few years, I visited the Castle & it’s a splendid site to visit. But I let you see for yourself from the pictures below: (click on images to enlarge)


More pictures can be found at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=58169&id=658203832&l=a2b74a45eb & http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=58170&id=658203832&l=420f500d33
 
Today I went to see more of the buildings around the Town, 1st stop was 24 West Street. It was the home of Harold Falkner for most of his life. He was a very important man in Farnham’s history as an architect of a few well known buildings. More info can be found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Falkner. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take pictures due to the business that runs within it, but an author Sam Osmond who did Harold’s biography book gave me a brief tour around the building & he actually knew the man himself.
Next was the Council Chamber at the Council Offices in South Street, again no pics were taken but it is a splendid room with a high ceiling.



Just up the road & to the right along a road is The Victoria Garden opposite Sainsbury. This was Farnham’s 1st public swimming pool, created in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The arched entrance was created by Harold Falkner. Don't know when it was closed, but in 1997 to celebrate the Centenary of the pool the Garden was created.


Next place I went to was St. Andrews Church as it was listed as open, but for some reason they weren’t.


I decided to head back home & went the scenic route. I went via Bishops Meadows, a beautiful spot to go for a walk. It was recently in the local papers as it was up for sale with the risk of redevelopment, but was stopped by the residents of Farnham with the help of Sir Ray Tindle. More about the land & its campaign on this site: www.bishopsmeadowtrust.org.uk & they are still after donations to keep the land safe. When there I saw there were event being run for kids to do.




There was many other events that had been running over the 4 days, I just went to some of the ones running on Sunday. What I liked about it was it all was free & all thanks to the volunteers who helped answering questions & doing the tours.
For more info on Farnham itself, please visit these sites:
www.farnham.gov.uk
www.farnhamsociety.org.uk
www.waverley.gov.uk

Friday, 5 March 2010

Changing times.....

March 5th, just another day. But to me it’s the day I moved into my flat 9 yrs ago in 2001 & is probably the longest I have lived in one place. So what some people might say, probably right too.

But it got me thinking of that day of when I moved into this flat with nicotine stained walls & dirt engrained in every crystal top tap & toilet, gross looking carpet & a kitchen unfit to cook in as the Council hadn't made sure the place was clean & fit to live in before we exchanged with the previous tenant. If you ever watched those daft house makeover programs, they say that the place has to be perfect to attract the next person living in it. In some way they are right as in clean & fit to live in, but to do a whole make over would be a laugh. After all one’s taste in d├ęcor don't mean its mine.


Despite all this I saw potential for more; I saw it as a home, a place to build a life with then my new wife with prospects of building a family. All it needed to be put right was for the walls to be painted, floors re-carpeted & kitchens refitted which was the 1st on my agenda with the Council & soon to find out to get them to do anything normally ends up in a battle of words in the form of letters, phone calls & lots of emails....

But within 3 weeks of moving in, my then wife walked out, claiming that she couldn't live there & never came back. And as I found out later there was another on the scene all along & that was the real reason. So our 1st anniversary I spent alone in this flat, trying to get it sorted for her to come back. All in vain as I discovered the truth a yr after she left. So now I had to deal with filing for divorce & keep the flat, dual tenancy meant I was at risk of loosing it. Thus I lived like a squatter for a while as nothing got unpacked. I was sleeping on the sofa as the bedroom was filled of boxes of her stuff & my boxes occupied the livingroom to the cats delight.


But finally with divorce finalised & Council letting me keep the flat, kitchen refitted twice & finally got the ex's stuff out of the flat another year later, I had an empty shell of flat. It was time to do something with the place for me & my pets to live in.


So the first thing was to sort out was the bedroom. And for the past 6 off yrs I have had work done by the Council with new Bathroom suitable for my disabilities, making good the Patio with help from my darling Jules, etc & me laying laminate flooring in most rooms as well as spending months at a time repainting rooms. It isn't easy painting walls as you try hold brush in one hand & support yourself on a stick with the other. Slowly I had started to make this shell of a flat a home & started to see this place as a home for life.

Hall in 2004

  then in 2009, incomplete but close.

But again things changed which changed my perception of this flat. I had spent a lot of time off work near on 5 yrs now, most of it I had used to get this flat in order. I am now healthier & not as disabled as before, and then near on 3 yrs ago I met someone. Someone who I fell in love with & over time has made me see this flat as just a place to live & no longer a home. And why is this, well she lives across the country from me & my heart is there, the rest of me wants to follow. So I guess home is truly where the heart is after all, for I feel this is no longer where I want to be now. I just see it as a roof over my head, a place I am trying to exchange for a new home.

Now don't get me wrong, this flat is looking good. A lot of work has got to make this my home, it’s just now it don't feel like it. It served me well as a home, but its time to move. This is why I am thinking of the past nine yrs in this flat, there’s been a lot going on in this place. Some good, some bad & probably make a good story, but in the end I have never regretted moving to this wonderful place & even though my heart is elsewhere, I do feel an attachment to this place. For I want to swap this place with someone in the area where my beloved lives, someone who like my place for what it is. I know if I can’t, I will have to surrender it back to the Council & go to private renting, where I won’t have as much freedom to make a home of it. But worse of all if I do surrender it; the Council will rip it all out & refit it to a blank canvas & undo all the good work I put in. A total waste of resources & finance, but that’s what they do!

 I know my time here is now limited, I am planning to move this year (hopefully during the Summer). And I know when I do finally leave; it will be with a teary eye. For it will end a chapter with fond memories & photos & to start another life changing one…..

Friday, 26 February 2010

Unfair Rental Market

Those close to me or know me well know that my partner lives on the other side of the country to me & that I have been looking to exchange my council property with another tenant where I want to live & who's looking to move where I am.

Well after some years it’s proving fruitless & with the current setup of Council housing stock, I can’t just transfer from one Council to another. That’s a whole issue in it own, something I can’t fully understand or know why it's like this.

So my other option is going into the private rental market & this is where it’s now getting messy. But first give you some background about me, I am on Incapacity Benefits & have been for almost 5 years. I have been receiving it without any problems & have full medical history as well as proof of all the benefits I have received. I have been living in my Council property for near on 9yrs, rent has been paid on time & never had problem with the rent whilst on benefits.

I have pets consisting just of cats & never once had a complaint about their treatment or condition of the property including garden from the Council or neighbours in the whole time I have lived in this property. The property is in great condition & I had pride in the property decor, just ask the Council. I keep them on their toes to keep the property in good condition when their contractors trash the place when they do work & I have to put it straight.

So as I said, I have been looking into private rental. Now 1st hurdle is some don’t want pets, now I can understand this. Some pets aren't trained / disciplined & therefore causes damaged. So a property with laminate flooring can sort this & a reference from previous landlord too.

But the main problem seems to be the fact I am on benefits, it seems that due to the fact I am on Incapacity Benefits I am unable to get a property on the private rental market. Now is it not bad enough I am on Incapacity Benefits in the 1st place, the fact I am not fit to work! I get ridiculed by the press, looked down on as a sponger in the general public due to those in the minority who do fiddle the system & the bad press.

Doesn’t my 5 years on these benefits actually prove I have a regular income & good rental history whist on them help me? Don’t I, being able to pay the deposit as well as the rent in advance help either? No! It doesn’t! I spoke to a estate agent about a property I am interested in today & was told “if I want a property whilst on Incapacity Benefits or any Benefits, I would have to have a financial guarantor who’s in full time employment”

Now to me this is discrimination, for am I am on Incapacity Benefits for a reason & this is a form of disability as I am unable to work at the moment. But the estate agent doesn’t see this! So right now, I don't know how I can overcome this discrimination. Other than vent it out for all of you to read, maybe someone can give me sound advice of how to stop this!

For now though, I have to wait to get fit, find a job, then find a place where I want to move as well as another job at the same time. Would it not be easier to find a place now whilst in Incapacity Benefits & when fit find a job? I have over 12 years of good payment history with Council & Housing Association as well as 5 yrs before that in private renting, which I was mostly unfit to work too during those 5 yrs. Don't any of this count anymore?

What ever happened to good references to help you get a place & why isn’t there laws to stop discrimination in the rental market? Love to hear your comments & any helpful advice.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE PETS, THIS IS A TRUE STORY. FOR THOSE THAT DON'T, IT IS A TRUE STORY.

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door.

Dear Dogs and Cats:

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however.. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximise space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not required.

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:

TO ALL NON-PET OWNERS WHO VISIT AND LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PETS:
(1) They live here. You don't.
(2) If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.
(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
(4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:
(1) eat less,
(2) don't ask for money all the time,
(3) are easier to train,
(4) normally come when called,
(5) never ask to drive the car,
(6) don't smoke or drink,
(7) don't want to wear your clothes,
(8) don't have to buy the latest fashions,
(9) don't need a gazillion dollars for college
and
(10) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children ...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

2010 Time for changes.....

It is now coming to the end of the 1st month of 2010 and I am thinking this year is going to be another year of change. It’s almost hard to believe that 2 yrs ago today I went in for what felt like a week in Hell when I had my leg op.
In those 2 years, its been a heavy slow slog in rehabilitation to get my leg moving again, getting to walk on the leg & finally walk stick free, which I have achieved 99% of the time. Still have to rely on the stick when carrying what my leg can’t handle & in the past few weeks of snow, definitely not got my balance back just yet. lol
So what’s in store for me in 2010, well cycling is now my next goal to improve my health & fitness, yes I have tried it a few times last year. But my leg & mainly my knee have been giving me grief, more from lack of use in 16 yrs & now aren’t happy they have too. But now I have modified the bicycle for more comfort & better handling, I didn’t like those narrow handlebars. I am ready to go at it again when the weather finally clears those roads.
Next 2 are to move closer to Jules & this year I want it done! I am selling what I can, charity & freecycle stuff too. Decluttering, tidying up loose ends on the DIY & hoping I get a swap or else I have to go private renting. And then get a job, which is going to be the hard one I think! Been off work near on 5 yrs now & qualifications/experience is getting dated & getting closer to 40 this year which I know isn’t much of a big deal, but it seems to be when looking for work.

The other thing that’s going to change is those friendships that have been one sided for far too long time now. I have come to notice that a few so called friends locally haven’t bothered to keep in touch properly or even popped round in the past few yrs & not even seen some of them visit my place since before the op’ even though I have tried to visit them. Yet only hear from them when they need help & advice etc, to me that is far to one sided. I have seen more of my friends across the country more than I have seen any of the ones that live down the road to me and as I am going to move this year, its time to clean up loose ends all round.
So roll on 2010! Another year of change for me & another tattoo too!!!


My new reading glasses, what ya think? Haven't had to wear glasses in 10 yrs