Tuesday, 23 December 2008


We had to brave some post Christmas shopping yesterday to buy some walking coats as we have discovered that we left our coats behind in France when we came back in November. It was a strangely depressing experience with 70% reduction posters all but obliterating most shop windows, Woolies selling off its shopfittings and a general air of desperation everywhere.
Today the news is of further drops in house values and another drop in the value of the euro - we can't help but feel that we are lucky not to have started a house purchase a few months ago - we might have found ourselves in double trouble now. Time for a sense of proportion before we start feeling sorry for ourselves!

I am brought face to face with REAL financial hardships on a regular basis in my role as a volunteer with the debt advice team at Stoke 's citizens advice bureau. As more people lose their jobs, businesses flounder, and house repossessions increase we can expect our appointments to fill even more quickly than usual at this time of the year. Although it is sometimes tempting to make judgements about those who allow debts to escalate my experience with this work convinces me that very often the initial trigger is something beyond the control of the individual and to be thankful for my own good health and secure employment which enabled me to make my own decision about when to stop working. Next Tuesday my first appointment is to help a family complete bankruptcy forms following the collapse of the husband's business which was linked to the building trade. This will inevitably lead to the loss of the family home and disruption of the childrens schooling - how can I even start to feel sorry for myself!

We have been watching the downs and downs of the pound against the euro over the last weeks and ever so slightly wavering over whether we will be able to make it happen.But as TC says there is no plan B - we NEED to live this dream and we will just have to enjoy helping someone out over the cost of their aperitives and buy somewhere at a great price. In the meantime TC will continue to work to fill the piggy bank under the mattress (best place we feel)

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