Musings From The Padded Cell

Postcode Lottery

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.”

Bombing back up the motorway last week to breath the Northern powerhouse air there were the usual radio phone-ins to hang onto. Not fancying a creeping desire to drive my car into the central reservation, I avoided Jeremy Vine and his luvvie chummies.

Radio 4 was discussing yet another survey concerning the North-South divide, this time on house prices since the credit crunch.

An extensive study had been done to determine so-called “winners” and “losers” and once again we Northeners were about to be told our progression had been modest since the Stone Age.

“In 58% of wards, residential properties are selling for less now, after accounting for inflation, than they were in 2007.”

This is as if to say that, only a decade after once of the biggest financial crashes in history, we should all be enjoying boom times again.

You can view the report and pinpoint your local area here.

Having spent the previous night in Oxford it was interesting to do a quick comparison. House prices in my area had fallen in real terms by 17% against a 16% rise in Oxford. The respective average prices quoted are £160,000 and £430,000.

Walking down streets so crammed a wheely-bin would struggle to park, I can tell you £430,000 would buy you a house little bigger than a garden shed in Oxford. In parts of Bradford, the same would buy you a mansion.

If you want personal debt levels associated with Venezuela just so your weekly treat can be a £5 pint of beer that looks like economy soap suds, crack on.

Of course, prices are driven by many factors not least highly paid jobs of which, up in Hapless Hinchcliffe’s fantasy land, we have precious few.

London also skews any attempt at rationalising this subject. An influx of dirty foreign money, over-paid media luvvies and brainless footballers has combined to create a market that few normal people can contemplate.

Hapless and her mansion.

On the flip-side, Bradford inevitably got a mention although the overall fall in prices is far from the worst nationally.

The drag-down in Bradford has been caused in-part by over-priced apartments in a city centre devoid of any reason to attract city centre living. There are, of course, many other factors.

As most who live here acknowledge, developers have built modern day council flats which is not necessarily a bad thing so long as somebody wants to live in them.

For those naive enough to buy and finance shoe boxes for a small fortune in the middle of a city on it’s arse and then expect future values to soar, good luck with that one.

And therein lies the real issue. Do you buy a house hoping to get rich or simply, as our parents did, to live in and get a leg up in life? Those who believe in the eternal god of house price inflation have been dealt another reality check.

Our Bradford – The Way We Were

This picture was taken from the fabulous Facebook page of the same name which contains many evocative images of our home town. Worthy of a look whatever your view of Facebook.

DIY – Why?

The old place has been getting a facelift, in part to tart her up for a one hundredth birthday. My multi-talented pal Whispering has been decorating so I no longer have to admit that my bedroom walls are painted in Dulux Seduction.

Choosing colours is a stressful experience made worse by the marketing bollocks on a paint can. As ever I plumped for the first choice not wishing to take a personal loan out to fund hundreds of matchpots.

It was only when Whispering finished that I realised I now owned several paint brushes and a few half-full cans to boot.

Already convinced as to why I will play cricket until I am so bad to not even be considered for the late Saturday morning call up, deciding to spend a Saturday painting was inevitable.

I opted to paint my dining room ceiling, confident of having cured a water leak from above which had left a stain the like the mattresses at Ribblehead. Given my plumbing skills Bet Fred have not yet discounted the ceiling coming down.

Opting for the brush method rather than a roller, this was based on the conviction that the latter would also turn my walls white and leave me looking like Santa Claus. Choosing a two-inch brush suggested I was way short of GCSE Decorating.

The marketing bollocks claimed “easy coverage”; after an hour my wrist was on fire, my arm about to drop off and the ceiling looked no different. The stain looked even worse.

Stuck precariously balanced on a ladder and sweating furiously, I had had better Saturdays.

So if you are considering packing in a sport like cricket, think again. Bored out of your tree, soon you will be dangling from a ladder attempting tasks that you will be even worse at than cricket.

And the humiliation will last longer than the walk back from the middle having missed another straight one. Small wonder A&E departments are clogged up with DIY nuts every weekend. Stick to what you know, even if you know you’re crap at it.

One Hundred Years Ago

A wonderful tale here entitled “The danger of the indiscrete tattoo”.

Inspired Nonsense

It seems that my old friends at Inspired Neighbourhoods are seeking to expand their “empire” with the acquisition of the old Idle Library. Readers will note I have been intrigued by this active little body.

The local rag carried the story here.

Cllr Sunderland

Ward councillor, and chairman of the Inspired Neighbourhoods community interest company, Jeanette Sunderland, said: “We are bidding to use the building as a fruit and veg shop…which young people can use for training opportunities.”

It would be great if the village could sustain a greengrocer and, for that matter, a butcher, baker and even a candlestick maker! The commercial reality – a concept that politicians generally have little concept of – is that we are surrounded by supermarkets and greengrocers are about as popular as rabies.

By all means save the building from another neon sign and the usual occupants but, if you really want a commercial solution, think again.

There is, however, a real concern about anti-social behaviour in our village perpetrated by spotty kids in hoodies.

The Idle Lounge Coffee House

With recent additions such as the two coffee houses, the Idle Draper and the refurbishment of the old Symposium, coming down hard on these delinquents should be foremost.

A clip around the ear should sort it!

That kids think they can vandalise property and generally ponce around threatening people says a lot about the weakness of authority.

And Finally – Thought For The Day

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