Part 151

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  A brief look at what is meant by free speech.  Also, a potential development in the search for our second BTL, and some thoughts on credit cards and the rewards on offer.  

Quote of the week

“Freedom of speech means I can say what I want.”

Freedom of speech, free speech, whatever you want to call it is not the same as being able to say whatever you want without consequence.  For ease of conversation, we talk about free speech but most people acknowledge that this does not mean you can just go into a bar and start shouting racist words.  There are limits to free speech, and those limits change over time as our culture and society change.

I’m not a fan of the monarchy or a supporter of any monarchy.  Some people are, and that’s their right.  Whilst I’m not a royalist, I wouldn’t go to a memorial and start shouting abuse at those who are royalists.  Why? Well, it’s a bit of a shitty thing to do, and it’s only going to cause trouble, and possibly result in violence.  There are limits to what is covered by free speech, and those limits are where free speech puts people at risk of harm, or attacks characteristics such as race, gender, and political leanings, to name just a few.  

There was an incident whilst I was away in Paris, where some guy says he stumbled upon an event to mark the accession of Charles to King.  He started shouting “not my king”.  He was then moved on by the police.  His supporters state that he shouldn’t have been arrested for exercising free speech.  It’s not that simple.  Look at what happened to the guy who shouted abuse at Prince Andrew; it nearly resulted in a punch-up.  Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.  If you go to a gathering of people and start shouting abuse, then you can’t go all Surprised Pikachu when you get confronted for it.  Basically, fuck around and find out.

The thing about free speech is that it does not exist in a vacuum.  Our values change over time, and so do our laws.  Determining what is right and wrong is not always easy.  We’re not talking about people protesting an oppressive regime, or trying to stop civil rights from being curtailed across a whole section of the population.  We’re talking about a grieving family, and a large proportion of the country, and the world, are also grieving.  

There’s a time and a place to protest the monarchy.  The time is literally any other time apart from now.  Why? Because it’s the decent thing to do, and there’s nothing to boast about putting our police, security, and emergency services under even more strain at this time.  

Weekly Update

After coming back from Paris I felt like I needed a holiday.  The trip was not restful or relaxing in the slightest.  Also, I’ve not felt great this week physically with a few of my long-term health problems flaring up.  We picked Poppy up from the cattery and she was so well behaved.  She got right in her carry case as soon as we arrived.  She’s settled back in at home with no fuss.

My girlfriend had this week off before returning to work after the bank holiday and she’s done a great job organising all the new furniture.  We’ve made a little progress with Ikea, but their approach to work continues to plumb new depths of incompetence.

Last week I mentioned I’d received a tip regarding a property going up for sale.  I went to view the property with my investment partner, and it has potential.  There are some obvious, minor, works that need completing, and there are some doubts about the boiler and wiring.  However, we think the numbers could still stack up even if the boiler and wiring need replacing.  It’s just a question of whether the vendor will accept our offer.  

In a post last year I highlighted some of the birthday cards my girlfriend had made for me over the years.  This year’s card is below and features our little Poppy.  Although it wasn’t a card made from scratch, I still love it.  

Support Mortgage Advisor on FIRE

I love writing this blog, and I’ve met some great people because of it.  Maintaining a website costs money though, and if you want to say thanks for the content I publish, consider donating to my virtual tip jar on the link below:

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/davidscothern

2022 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2022

1 – Reduce weight to 90kg.  (Current weight 124.8kg).

2 – Complete 10 “classic” books (4/10)

  1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)
  2. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
  3. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) ✅
  4. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
  5. The Iliad by Homer (8th century BC) ✅
  6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844) ✅
  7. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1867)
  8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859)
  9. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1862)
  10. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605) ✅

3 – Read 10 authors I’ve not read before (16/10)

  1. John Birmingham ✅
  2. Nicole Perlroth ✅
  3. Sabine Durrant ✅
  4. Luke Smitherd ✅
  5. Max Skittle ✅
  6. Harlan Coben ✅
  7. Jo Spain ✅
  8. Kate Elizabeth Russell ✅
  9. Kiersten White ✅
  10. Rob Hart ✅
  11. Edward Aubry ✅
  12. Marina J. Lostetter ✅
  13. S. J. Morden ✅
  14. C. J. Tudor ✅
  15. Greer Hendricks ✅
  16. Clare Mackintosh ✅

What Am I Doing?

What I’m reading: 

What I’m listening to: Proxima by Stephen Baxter.

What I’m watching: MCU in timeline order. 

I’ve recorded a couple of consecutive weeks of weight loss, which is nice.  I’ve cancelled my gym membership as we now have room to have a decent exercise set up at home.  We’ve got a weight bench and a rower, so this should allow more flexibility when exercising.  If there’s one thing I hate about the gym, it’s having to queue for pieces of kit.  I might not be able to do all the exercises I like, but on balance, I think it will be better. 

I’m only at the start of Proxima and I’ve already considered returning the book to audible.  This isn’t because of the story, but because the narrator is awful.  I’ll stick with it a little longer.  It’s an interesting premise: a man wakes up to find himself on a spaceship bound for Proxima Centauri; our nearest star after the sun.  His last memory was being arrested and sedated.  I hope the plot is strong enough to convince me to put up with the narrator.

Our MCU journey continues and we’ve just finished the Black Widow movie. It… It wasn’t good. I didn’t have an issue with the story, but more the technical aspects of the film. The effects, particularly in the final third, were awful. The effects were so bad that they brought you out of the film, and instead of being immersed in the action, you’re left wondering at how such a huge company can release a film where the visuals look unfinished.

The big action piece takes place in the villains’ lair that is a small flying city. Rather than our characters being blasted with explosions, it’s a case of, “here’s Scarlett Johansson running in front of a screen playing an explosion.” Also, there’s many scenes of characters in the open air as this flying city is falling out of the sky. Their hair, long-hair in ponytails, hardly moves. You’re in a flying city, above the clouds, falling at a a decent speed, yet your hair looks like someone is stood to one side gently blowing on it.

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £4,000.00 (-/+ £0.00). 

Stocks and Shares ISA: £65,289.12 (+£795.36). 

Fuck It Fund: £1,000.00 (no change).

Pensions: £54,167.52 (-£716.10). 

Residential Property Value: £229,159.00 (no change). 

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £147,876.00 (no change). 

Total Assets: £501,491.64 (+£79.26).

Debts

Credit Card: £0.00 (no change).

Residential Mortgage: £181,721.51 (no change). 

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £105,301.46 (no change). 

Total Debts: £287,022.97 (no change). 

Total Wealth: £214,468.67 (+£79.26)

Investment Income in 2022: £4,145.48 (target £6,000).

Passing £4k investment income for the year felt good.  Assuming no major hiccups in the remaining weeks of the year, 2022 should be a good year for income.  The work on the property and the trip to Paris have drained our finances more than we would have liked, and I need to start building up my non-property assets again.  My Premium Bonds have dropped by over £8k in recent months, but it couldn’t be helped.  I could have left the money in bonds, but then I would have had a credit card balance, so it would have been counterproductive.  


On the subject of credit cards, I’ve had to shop around for a new provider.  My current card provider is ending its rewards program which means there’s not a great deal of point in using it.  I’ll be closing it down as soon as the remaining Ikea refunds hit the account.  In the meantime, I’ve opened a new card that builds Avios (air miles).

The great thing about having a credit card that builds Avios is you can build points twice on the same purchase.  When you set up an account through British Airways you can buy things via their online shop.  BA partners with many retailers so if you want to buy from John Lewis, you sign in via the BA website.  Then, your purchase is tracked and you get points for each pound spent.  If you also pay for your items via the credit card that builds Avios, you get the benefit twice; once via the BA website and once via the credit card.  

Biolink and other links

You can now find all my social media pages by checking out my Biolink:

bio.link/davidscothern.

Also, check out Darren Scothern’s blog which talks about autism, being autistic, and general mental health:

www.darrenscothern.com

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