Buying a Flat 2013

I am buying a flat in London. Some things have changed.

There is a property shortage and so seller’s behaviour is less desperate, although I was buying during the property boom of the early ’80s when a failed offer wasn’t a problem but some things have changed. Most annoyingly a number of vendors wish to leave property on the market even after offers have been made and there’s never any proof of any alternative offers.

As a cash buyer, I need to prove funds, this is best done via a solicitor’s letter, so they need to see the money before the letter is signed. I was in a hurry to get this done and it caused me more work than I wanted. If you need documentation issued from a bank this is likely to be slower than you need. Get it done in advance. Rarely do anything the first time you ask, if it can go wrong it will, or is that just when you ask for a pint of bitter in a pub, that means the cheapest, if you ask for a loan with alternative terms, you’ll get the stupidly most expensive. There was obviously an affordability test taken there and they still have some things only done overnight.

Don’t forget the “Buggering people around in the pursuit of their life Act”. The whole world is going to want to see government issued photo-id. Make these copies in advance.

I shouldn’t imagine that the money will  move particularly quickly either, work out how long it’ll take and what paper work they’ll require in advance. They may exaggerate their speed as well.  I had one case where they took up to 38 hours to scan the fax into their system.

Actually, while they charge more for sending a sum greater than £10,000, actually moving the money to the lawyers wasn’t hard. One cheque to get it all in one place, and one CHAPS transfer, which they asked all sorts of impertinent questions.

I have started reading the lease,  and got to “not to use or permit……to be used for any illegal …purpose”, so much for civil disobedience by piracy… although some of piracy is only a civil infringement. So best not run a web site, but downloading is OK?

No satellite aerials? Is there one? Not that I care, but there’s resale value to consider.

Get them to demonstrate all electrics and windows, preferably before you move in.

Negotiate meter reading for all meters, in the circumstances that you are buying from a letting, you are the only person with a financial interest in getting this done and getting the services continued. The meters are outside, so make sure the keys are handed over.

Bathroom Downlighters

How many Dave’s does it take to change a light bulb? It depends where. We have some down lighters in one of the bathrooms, and they have damp proof enclosures.

Lamp & Collar No 1

Here you can see the internal and external enclosures.

Lamp and Collar No 2.

And here you can see the lamp’s attatchment to the lower collar. The spring is quite stiff so the lower plate needs to be pulled and the upper collar needs to be held so that the spring releases the lower collar.

Sharing my Reading List

I used to use but they’ve gone away.

I revisited this page in January 2014, and added that WordPress have at least one plugin, here is one called Currently Reading Book and this link, How to get an RSS feed out of an Amazon wish list, does what it says which may help on reading next.

When ever I first wrote this, I considered writing my own.


What to do next? Google Books offer a reading list it would seem, and Amazon of course offer a wish list, they offered a Reading List via Linkedin but this seems to have gone.

Goodreads claims to offer one, but I am getting leery about these social networks. seems optimised for facebook.

Think I might build one myself. I have moved some of the requirements to a comment.

Digitising Dad’s Photos

So I have had to move my Dad’s photo collection around the house and this took me back to working out how to digitise the collection.


I did a quick bit of google research and came up with the following links.


Preparing the Garden for 2012

I need to keep this up to date, but some ideas from last weekend

  • Put some trellis/spires in for the sweet peas and beans
  • Weed the trumpet plants and the edges, some of the grass clover has invaded the bed
  • Cut back the Rosemary, Lavender, Curry Plants & Planters
  • Scatter the Lavender, Alium and Garlic Seeds
  • Get some more Garlic Bulbs and sow
  • Plan something behind the trees
  • Cut back the planters and gibbet plants, especially the new clematis

Provident Mutual Endowment Policies

I am doing some research on my endowment provider. I bought policies with the Provident Mutual in the 1980’s.

google search: norwich union buys provident mutual

This Yahoo Answers page documents demutualisation route for the Provident Mutual, it went to General Accident and then to Norwich Union.

Provident Mutual Life Assurance Association demutualised in January 1996, and was taken over immediately by General Accident Linked Life Assurance Ltd.

Following the merger with Commercial Union in October 1998, the company changed its name to CGU Linked Life Assurance Ltd; subsequently becoming Norwich Union Linked Life Assurance Ltd in October 2000 after the merger with Norwich Union.




About my Garden


Two lines of potatoes in the left bed 23 Apr 2017

Another line of potatoes in the right bed, corn & beans in the left bed above the fire 16 Apr 2017

Four drills of carrots in the middle bed. Right bed, beyond the Strawberries, more Onions, white, red, red, and the first potatoes. 2 Apr 2017

Onions are in. Middle bed, from Garlic to fence, white, white, red, shallots. 26 Mar 2017

Garlic is in. Middle bed, from wall to fence, Picardy, Spring, Mersey, Mersey. 19 Mar 2017


Spring Cabbages
Winter Cabbage
  1., planted a bit later, may survive the slugs
Other winter vegetables
  1., planting in Autumn
  2. Winter Onions, plant in the Autumn

Stringing and Storing Garlic

Or this page at rural gardener, and , and here’s an alternative way from youtube.


I have been shopping at country market; and picked up some leaflets

  1. Slug resistant plants


I moved in October 2015, so a new garden, the focus will now be on the allotment.

The “for dummies” have got into it, here’s two references from them. They may help at the house.

  1. The essentials of how to plan a garden
  2. Choosing a garden theme series

At the allotment there’s a lot of nettles, I might get a sickle, there is one for Sale at “my allotment plot”

  1. Ginger Part Deux, see
  2. Late Vegetable Plantings , parsnips, carrots, cauliflower and cabbage
  3. 10 best herbs grow containers


Ginger would be fun, but indoors or green house needed, again; advice is to buy root from specialist food shop. The guardian writes about it here.


I put some Fennel in two weeks ago, the slugs have had one, so I put down some pellets; we’ll see. Perhaps it needs to go in earlier to beat the slugs, but I don’t think you can. Also got bollocked for using the pellets. 5 August 2013

Meuvens wrote last week and among other things offered some bluebell bulbs for delivery in September to November; they need planting dry in the Autumn. Over the last two weekend’s I have been down the Garden Centre for inspiration, most of this is for next year now. Although I bought two agapanthus plants. I reckon one of these wooden planters and two of the trellis below would be good for salads and beans and sweet peas. 4 August 2013

 woodenplanter  trellis

Some plants took my fancy, some Red Hot Pokers, Kniphofgia, Verbenia and some Veronicium Fascinatrium. What is that black leaved bush we have in the back bed? 4 August 2013

The planter is out of control, the rosemary and curry plants need replacing. 6 July 2013


I need to keep this up to date, but some ideas from last weekend

  • Put some trellis/spires in for the sweet peas and beans
  • Weed the trumpet plants and the edges, some of the grass clover has invaded the bed
  • Cut back the Rosemary, Lavender, Curry Plants & Planters
  • Scatter the Lavender, Alium and Garlic Seeds
  • Get some more Garlic Bulbs and sow
  • Plan something behind the trees
  • Cut back the planters and gibbet plants, especially the new clematis


This web site was unavailable during the summer of 2010, and it wasn’t a good year for my gardening.

This year I bought a new cover for the green house and had a go at some Corn (again), Basil (risky), Marmande & Cosutoluto Fiorentino tomatos and some Chilli’s including Lombardo, all from seed.The Corn and Basil are coming though, the others are not, probably because of the age of the seeds. I originally brought them from Gardening Express, and its almost certainly caused by the age of the seeds and my storage technique. I have a couple of Apache Chilli plants which are surving, but the Jalepeno died of thirst in the greenhouse. Perhaps I’ll try next year!

I put in some Field Scabious and if I start earlier next year I should consider some more flowers. There are some great blue cornflowers in the street on the way to the bus stop and I tried some bluebells, which should be a weed, but we’ll see, they might be something best started from seed.

I tried to seed some english meadow,and fancy grasses under the trees.

I need to prune the black leafed shrub & the pieris in the autumn.

Maybe I should try some raspberries in the back (sunny) corner.


26th May 2009

Last Summer, the Rosemary was attacked by somehting leaving white spittle on some of the branches, these then browned and died, and the grass in the planter doesn’t look that healthy either. I checked on Google and got the following links

I used a google on words, “rosemary blight plant spit”, but maybe should have tried pest.


Rental Rates, Week to Month conversion

Value by Week & Month conversions

When looking at property rental some vendors offer a weekly price, and others a monthly price, this table allows conversion between the two it uses the fact that there are 52 weeks and 12 months in a year. i.e. Month to Week is x * 12 / 52 and Week to Month is x * 52 / 12.

The table is from £1500 pm to £200 pw.

per Week per Month
£ 357.14 £ 1,500.00
£ 360.00 £ 1,512.00
£ 345.24 £ 1,450.00
£ 340.00 £ 1,428.00
£ 333.33 £ 1,400.00
£ 321.43 £ 1,350.00
£ 320.00 £ 1,344.00
£ 309.52 £ 1,300.00
£ 300.00 £ 1,260.00
£ 297.62

This needs to be written as a web service.

Getting a Passport

Government and Identity

The nearest passport agency office is in London.

View Larger Map

They need any current passports, a birth certificate, two proofs of identity/address, the application form, certified and un-certified picture and the fee.

A birth certificate can be applied for online from the General Register Office if you know all the details, include year of registration. If you don’t know them then you need to get a GRO index number, this is very tricky since you need to visit a physical copy of the index and it seems the GRO don’t keep it any more. It might be at Kew and the City of Westminster archive may have a copy.