Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE. This week I cover the horrific murder of MP David Amess. Also, a lengthy update on the previous week. I take a look at some significant financial changes and also discuss my fears about achieving FIRE. Due to recent events, there is no Quote of the Week, as I pay my respects to murdered MP Sir David Amess.
Sir David Amess MP
I’ve decided to not run with a Quote of the Week in this post, and instead want to take the opportunity to pass my condolences to the family and friends of David Amess, who was brutally murdered in his constituency surgery. This is the second time in five years that an MP has been killed as they worked, with MP Jo Cox killed in 2016.
We have a proud tradition of democracy in the United Kingdom. Yes, it has faults, such as corruption, and nepotism, but there are still many hard-working people in government and the civil service. We have a level of access to our politicians that is far more open than other democracies. It would be a shame if that access was revoked, but it would also be understandable. I might not agree with the Tories, and I might find some of the members of the cabinet to be despicable people but I don’t wish death on them.
The repercussions of this murder will be felt for some time to come, and I can see many MPs being reluctant to have face-to-face consultations with their constituents moving forward. There will no doubt be a security review regarding how the public access their MP, and I can’t help but feel that with the death of another MP we are all going to lose something special from our democracy.
There was an Indian restaurant in Sheffield called Aagrah that was excellent. We had eaten there many, many times over the last decade. It was always the first example we used when talking about restaurants that had managed to sustain excellent food and service. Over the summer they rebranded to Wazwan. The result is not good.
Four of us dined there on Tuesday and it was an awful experience from start to finish. The only silver lining was the chance to catch up with our favourite waiter who has known us for a long time. He was his usual friendly and attentive self, but he was let down by everything around him.
We ordered drinks at the same time we asked for poppadoms. A few minutes later we ordered our starters. The poppadoms arrived and were eaten. The plates were taken away. Our drinks had not arrived. By this point, it had been almost half an hour since we ordered them. As the starters came out, our drinks were also delivered.
The menu for Wazwan is much smaller than for Aagrah. The prices are also much higher. I don’t generally order according to price. I order what I like the sound of. I’m fortunate enough to not have to worry too much about price. This will become important later.
The quality of the food was poor. The starters were tiny, and cold when they should have been warm. The taste was ok, but the texture and temperature was all wrong. The mains followed the same theme; smaller portions and lacking the depth of flavour that you got with Aagrah curries. It was just spice heat, and little else.
We had to ask for the bill a few times but it was not forthcoming. Eventually, I stood up and went to the bar and explained that we needed to leave and we wanted to pay the bill. After two attempts the bill was correctly generated. As part of the reopening, the restaurant had an offer of 50% off the food. Four of us had a starter, a main and we shared one naan and two portions of rice. We had two cokes, two pints of lager, and two pints of shandy between the four of us. All in, the bill was £87; and that’s with the food having 50% off. The four alcoholic drinks came to over £25.
We were all disappointed but we headed back to our apartment and chilled out with some mugs of tea and conversation. It felt like a return to normality. My girlfriend and I turned in, and our dining partners headed home. During the night I was not well. I felt nauseous and threw up a little. Our dining partners were also sick. It’s safe to say we will not be eating there again.
As the week progressed I started experiencing symptoms of my UTI from a couple of weeks ago. I was in a lot of pain and was passing blood again. Luckily I was able to get to speak with a GP quickly and get more antibiotics. I also have an upcoming appointment with a urologist. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious and we can get to the bottom of what is going on. I have felt rough AF in the last couple of days with fever, chills, and waking up drenched in sweat.
To top all of this off, our dishwasher developed a fault. The power button became stuck and could not be dislodged. Looking at the frame of the appliance, I figured I could unscrew the outer casing and force the button back into place. It took some time, but I managed to get the casing off and fix the issue with the button. In the process of doing this, I managed to irreparably break the dishwasher in several other ways. Yes, I know, I’m a dumbass.
I read some interesting comments from various autistic people on Twitter, detailing how they find it easy to become attached to inanimate objects like stuffed toys, or ornaments, for example. Well, this struck a chord with me because my girlfriend and I have a huge collection of stuffed toys, ornaments, and fridge magnets. The stuffed toys started as a joke when we first met in 2007. I bought her one for her birthday, and from that point on we were always buying them for each other. We then started to talk about their names, personalities, and so on. Eventually, we had this huge menagerie of dogs, wolves, bears, owls, and more, that all had names and personalities. It’s….. a little out there, I know. For us, though, it’s just a fun diversion.
Anyway, how does this relate to autistic people? It turns out that other autistic people have this same trait, in that they anthropomorphize inanimate objects. One person who commented on the thread described how he became upset when he found a teddy bear abandoned in the street. He took it home, cleaned it and it’s now part of his home. This comment reminded me of something similar that happened to my girlfriend and me in Hamburg a few years ago.
One night, after dinner, we were walking back to the hotel. It was raining, but not too heavily. In the distance, near our hotel, was the office for the magazine Der Spiegel; a popular publication that is known for investigative journalism. As we were walking, we noticed on the pavement a small fluffy toy. We think it’s an owl, but can’t be sure. Anyway, we looked at it and considered leaving it, but we both immediately assigned it a personality. It became something else, something more. We took it back to the hotel, then back to the UK, and it now sits on one of our bookcases in our home office alongside other owls.
You’re probably wondering what the term Kaiser Spiegel has to do with this. Well, because we found it near the offices of Der Spiegel, we thought Spiegel should be part of its name. For a title, what else is more German than Kaiser? Hence, Kaiser Spiegel.
I am fully aware of how batshit crazy this all sounds, but it doesn’t harm anyone and we both get a lot of fun out of it.
A Brief Interlude
I’ll never hide this blog behind a paywall, but it does cost money to run the site. I spend a minimum of six hours each week writing the blog, and maintaining the other parts of davidscothern.com. It is a labour of love. However, many of you have asked how you can show your appreciation. I set up a Buy Me A Coffee page but the main feedback was that you couldn’t pay by card. Well, now you can! My page now supports card payments and Apple Pay. So, if you want to show your support and appreciation for the content I create, please buy me a coffee. It really does mean a lot.
2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021
1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg. (Current weight 120.1kg).
2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 96).
Monthly Goals – October
1 – Reach 100 completed books.
2 – 200,000 steps in October.
3 – Reduce weight to 117kg.
No major progress on weight loss this week, and only one new book finished although I have almost finished book 97. Also, another impact of not feeling too good this week has been a drop in the number of steps I’ve taken. It’s almost like when my mind sets a target, my body laughs and goes, “yeah that’s not going to happen.”
I need some suggestions for new books, preferably something that is hard sci-fi. I feel like I’ve exhausted the range. I tried Revelation Space by Alistair Reynolds but could not get into it. It’s generally quite rare for me to quit a book partway through, but for some reason, it just did not click with me. So, if you know of any good sci-fi out there, please leave a comment.
Premium Bonds: £6,550.00 (no change from last update).
Stocks and Shares ISA: £43,362.50 (up £1,410.53 from last update).
Fuck It Fund: £1,350.00 (no change from last update).
Crypto: £824.66 (down £27.14 from last update).
Pensions: £49,180.25 (up £315.45 from last update).
Residential Property Value: £210,058.00 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Property Value: £135,550.00 (no change from last update).
Total Assets: £446,875.41 (up £1,698.84 from last update).
Credit Card: £314.79 (up £257.68 from last update).
Residential Mortgage: £157,555.15 (no change from last update).
Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,019.03 (no change from last update).
Total Debts: £250,888.97 (up £257.68 from last update).
Total Wealth: £195,986.44 (up £1,441.16 from last update).
Investment Income in 2021: £3,019.14 (target £5,000).
Some fantastic progress from my stocks and shares ISA this week, which is pushing my total wealth ever closer to £200,000. My credit card has gone up again due to a crossover with spending and not putting a payment through in time. However, it’s probably going to increase over the remainder of 2021 with the dishwasher breaking down. We had a contingency fund for the apartment but with having our bathrooms refurbed a few weeks back, that fund was depleted. It will be ok in time, and once my girlfriend starts earning a full salary from November, we will be able to clear the debt and move forward.
When it became clear that the move to Romania was off the table, I was able to start thinking more long-term. A large part of that was related to my pension through my employer. I have a fantastic benefit whereby my employer more than doubles any employee contribution. I was expecting a large drop in my monthly take-home pay, but it was not quite as drastic as I’d feared.
Investing in pensions is a good way to get free money, because you get the tax relief on your contributions and, if you have a generous employer, you get their contribution on top. Assuming I stick with the higher contributions for a couple of years it should turbocharge my pension fund.
Two Years of Mortgage Advisor on FIRE
Next week is part 104, but the first post of the blog was made on November 1st, 2019. Which post should be the two-year anniversary? It doesn’t matter I suppose but when I look back at the last two years it’s been the most eventful of my life. At times, I’ve been pushed to the absolute limit where I feared I might break and never recover.
I’m not the same person I was when I started this blog, and although the overall goal has remained constant, the reason for chasing that goal, the “why” has evolved. Achieving FIRE is now as much about preserving my mental health, as achieving financial independence.
I sometimes feel that my recovery from the horrific year that was 2020 has not been complete. It’s almost like I did enough damage control to function, but I’ve not had the time or mental and emotional space to fully process what I went through. I am a little concerned that when I do hit FIRE, I may experience a period of depression whilst I figure out who I am now.
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2 thoughts on “Part 103”
As someone who over the years collected and kept a lot of things (including soft toys) which many people would roll their eyes at, I understand your collection and it’s cute that it’s something you do with your gf. I’ve been getting rid of things lately but still can’t part with many not-very-useful things, so as my sister puts it, I’ll be carting a load of rubbish with me when I move house! Where to put it all though…?
To help mitigate your concerns about how you feel when you hit FIRE, perhaps devising a plan of some sort of what you could be doing with all that free time you will have might be one way to fill the void.
My own plan will entail me not doing a lot in the first few months while I decompress and get used to the idea of not having to go to work. Although I think I will likely be kept busy making sure my investments will pay me the income I’m expecting! Once I start getting a little bored, I will add some structure to my life again.