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Archive for November, 2007

House hunting

November 29th, 2007 at 11:35 pm

I was out the flat end of town today and happened to pass by an open home, so went in and had a look. It was quite nice and I could afford it if my house sells at it's estimated value, but the agent told me nothing is moving in the housing market at the moment - since the collapse of several finance companies, everyone is waiting to see what happens. Well, they say real estate goes in seven year cycles and the last seven years have been pretty good, so we can expect a downturn. It's got me thinking about how much it's worth spending on doing up my place. I shall probably just repaint the interior walls and put some nice shrubs in the garden - I wouldn't get enough to make it worthwhile renovating the bathroom and kitchen. I'm fortunate because living fairly close to the University there are always buyers looking, so I can move out to the flat area where houses are cheaper. I will miss my lovely view of the harbour, but I won't be sorry not to have to climb up that hill anymore. I'll get the trip to Britain over first, and sell next summer by which time there'll be a clearer picture of what the market is doing.

Cars for sale

November 27th, 2007 at 12:13 am

The price of petrol must be pinching - I've seen a number of SUVs for sale. There is an Isuzu Bighorn parked just down the road with a sign in the window. They cost over NZ$40,000 new, and he's asking $5,000. Just behind it is a 1969 VW beetle which is asking NZ$4,500. I think I'd rather have the VW. They're really reliable and hold their value well. Besides, I have fond memories of whizzing around in a former bf's VW. But at the moment I'm better off managing with taking the bus or walking - I need to exercise.

Truth in advertising?

November 25th, 2007 at 11:23 pm

Now I'm no pedantic English teacher, ready to jump on every little misuse of the language, but...

there is one radio ad that has me concerned over whether I should let the store know of their mistake. It's a furniture and appliance store that offers terms, as most do. In the ad, the announcer enthuses about "Smith City's infamous Easypay."

I guess whoever dreamed up that one thought that infamous was the same as famous. Not so - infamous means notorious.

At least people who get into trouble over their payments can't claim they weren't warned.

Millionaire in rupees

November 20th, 2007 at 11:59 pm

Today was a glorious day - the sort where you smile at total strangers and say lovely day, and they smile back and say isn't it. I spent the day idling round. In the morning I seamed the cardigan I knitted. Of course I ran into the Murphy's Law of the button jar, one button short of the 10 I required. I went to the thrift store on the corner and found a dress for $1 which I snipped the buttons off. In the afternoon I went out to the beach with a friend and we sat and watched the surfies doing their thing. My sandal broke as I was walking back, but I was able to fix it with superglue. Had a yummy chocolate icecream for nz$1.50.

This is a very nice town to be in if you are broke. There are free museums, parks and art galleries, and open lectures down at the University. I live a very simple life and am totally satisfied. I keep thinking about when I was in India. If I converted my assets to rupees, I would be a millionaire, and I certainly was compared to the people around me. Even though I was staying on an ashram, living out of one suitcase and eating simple meals of lentils and rice, I felt I had so much to be grateful for. When I got back I was so annoyed with people complaining about how hard life was. I have my little house and I can afford food, clothing and power, and I still have eyes that can see and legs that can walk. There are millions in the world who would love to change places with me. I think even if I won the lottery I would not change much. I could be very happy being financially independent on an income of say, $1000 a month. The one thing I would like to do more of is travel. Not only does it broaden the mind, you feel like there's no place like home when you get back.

Price of food

November 20th, 2007 at 12:34 am

There has been a lot in the papers recently about the increased cost of food, so I decided to take a careful look at prices today. Fruit and vegetables have gone up, but as it is spring at the moment you'd expect that. Potatoes are expensive as we wait for the new ones, but rice and pasta are still cheap. We have the ridiculous situation where we are exporting food to other parts of the world, and in return a lot of the stuff in the supermarkets is imported from US and Australia. I need to check out the local farmers' market.

I came to the conclusion that a lot of the price increase is due to packaging. Instead of say, a can of plain tuna, there are a whole load of little cans with all sorts of added flavors, often lunchables with a few crackers and all done up in loads of cardboard and plastic. But if you buy the regular can it's just as cheap and helps save the environment. I found no difference in the prices of basics like oats, lentils and eggs. I think people's eating habits have changed and they're buying a lot more convenience foods.

The one thing that is more expensive is dairy products, I guess cos the Asian market is beginning to use more. But I did notice round campus, judging by the trash, a lot of students can still afford plenty of pizza and beer. Hmm, if the price of cheese keeps going up, will pizza become less affordable?

The good old days

November 18th, 2007 at 11:33 pm

This weekend I went to the Oamaru Victorian Heritage celebrations. Had a lot of fun, including a history lecture in the basement of a whiskey distillery. There were horse drawn carriages, people riding penny farthing bicycles and lots of people dressed up in 19th century costume. The highlight was a tea in the park, with tea poured from silver teasets, and cucumber sandwiches and scones with jam and cream. Yummy, and as it was an outing with my support group it didn't cost me anything.

Of course I know that back in those days it really was a lot of hard work, which is why most people were dressed up as ladies and gentlemen rather than servants, but it is fun to pretend once in a while.

I'm back!

November 16th, 2007 at 11:09 am

Wow, it's been 4 months since I last posted. I hadn't forgotten - I had to be hospitalized in July and it's been a slow recovery. I keep reminding myself of all the things I have to be grateful for, like all the wonderful medical care I am getting, paid for under our State system. And having a paid for house in these shaky times. I had to spend $1100 on doing some alterations, but still have over $3000 in bonds to fall back on if needed.

I haven't given up on returning to work eventually but for the moment I'm back on the sickness benefit and have very little spare cash so need to be extra diligent about where my money goes. I'm looking at having to sell this place and moving to an apartment in a couple years. Also since I'm not guaranteed a ripe old age, I'd love to take a trip to Britain next year and see ds and other relatives in England and Ireland. No one can predict what the future holds, but I'll make plans anyway!