Part 161

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  This week’s post looks at culture, human rights, more misleading property listings, and a positive week of financial updates.

Respecting Culture

I’m not going to spend too much time on this because the whole tournament is farcical, but I saw a story in the news about one, possibly two, English fans who were turned away from a match in Qatar because they were dressed as crusader knights.  Once I picked up my jaw off the floor after marvelling at the mind-numbing stupidity of dressing as a crusader knight in a Muslim country, I started thinking about the concept of respecting culture.  

Apologists of this World Cup have used this argument, respecting culture, to explain why the tournament should not be boycotted.  I agree that culture should be respected but only so far as it extends without impacting basic human rights.  Culture should be respected but not at the expense of fundamental, basic, human rights.  That’s a hill I’ll die on.  

So, whilst I might not personally find Qatari culture all that appealing, I understand why dressing up as crusader knights would be offensive.  The crusades were absolutely fucking brutal, with estimates of those killed ranging from a conservative figure of one million, to three million or more.  Both sides in the conflict committed horrific acts of violence and it really shouldn’t be joked about in this way.  No doubt some people will say, “it’s only a bit of fun”, but where does that fun stop?  Would you object to someone dressing as a suicide bomber whilst attending a baseball game at Fenway Park?  What about a Saudi fan dressing as bin Laden at a football match at Wembley?

Weekly Update

I’m afraid I don’t have much to report this week.  Oana, my girlfriend, has been struggling with covid and I’ve been doing my best to look after her.  It’s knocked her sideways, but I’m still testing negative so far.  

We’re now at a point where covid is just part of the new normal.  As a society, we failed to deal with the first waves, and containment has been impossible for a while now.  Although it may be part of the new normal it is still important to follow basic safety measures if you are infected.  If you have covid-type symptoms, try and avoid direct contact with others, and wear a mask around others.  Simple measures like this can help stop the spread of the virus.  We might not be able to eradicate it, but it’s no excuse for making no effort to reduce the spread.  

Late Friday I received a message about a possible property investment.  A house was going up for sale on a road I used to live on.  I arranged a viewing for Saturday morning but the property was no good.  The photos were months, possibly years, old and were used for the rental listing.  The house was being sold because the tenant who had just moved out had trashed the property.  It needed a lot of work.  The agent tried to put a positive spin on it, but it would have needed a full refurb to be up to the standard I would want.  Had the pictures been accurate, I wouldn’t have bothered.  The pictures were not accurate though, so all that happened is I wasted my time, the agent wasted their time, and no one gained anything from the exercise.  Why do agents do this?  I’m not asking a rhetorical question, I’m genuinely interested to know why agents list properties with misleading information.

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

1 – Reduce weight to 90kg.  (Current weight 126.4kg).

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 (24/10)

  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 ✅
  17. Stephen Baxter ✅
  18. Pete Wharmby ✅
  19. Devon Price ✅
  20. Nick Jones ✅
  21. Nathan Hystad ✅ 
  22. J. P. Pomare ✅
  23. Max Hastings ✅
  24. Brian Lumley ✅
  25. Steve Richards ✅

What Am I Doing?

Reading: Fake History by Otto English.

Listening: The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey

Watching: Dark on Netflix.

Having recently enjoyed 1899 on Netflix, we’ve started Dark which is made by the same people.  It also shares the same ominous atmosphere, and the directing and choice of music are excellent.  I’m not going to say too much about what’s happening in the show because I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it.  However, if you enjoy slow-burning science fiction, you’ll probably enjoy Dark.

I’ve finished the first two books of The Expanse series and I’m on the novella set between the end of Caliban’s War and the start of Abaddon’s Gate.  Although I’ve read these books already, I’m still thoroughly enjoying them.

I need to start thinking about a new reading challenge for 2023.  I’m open to suggestions, so if you have ideas please leave a comment.

Financial Update


Premium Bonds: £9,595.00 (+£235.00). 

Stocks and Shares ISA: £64,240.11 (+£995.31). 

Fuck It Fund: £1,675.00 (no change).

Pensions: £55,000.88 (+£347.07). 

Residential Property Value: £233,989.00 (no change). 

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £150,993.00 (no change). 

Total Assets: £515,492.99 (+£1,342.38).


Credit Card: £0.00 (no change).

Residential Mortgage: £180,466.52 (no change). 

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £105,193.90 (no change). 

Total Debts: £285,660.42 (no change). 

Total Wealth: £229,832.57 (+£1,342.38)

Investment Income in 2022: £5,102.27 (target £6,000).

A solid week where I received my delayed dividend payment.  With the stock market making some positive moves my overall wealth figure is looking healthy.  I think this is the highest my total wealth figure has been, so the year seems to be drawing to a positive end.  

Looking ahead to 2023 I really need to get a second investment property on the books if I want my FIRE plan to start coming together.  Assuming that I don’t get another property early in the year, I should still be on track for approximately £7,500 of investment income in 2023 but another property could boost that to over £10,000.  With those sorts of figures compounding gains really start to make a difference.  

I’ve mentioned a few times in recent weeks that we might have to take a slight financial hit to improve our kitchen.  Well, we’re having another think about how we can do the work without it being such a major undertaking.  Rather than getting the whole thing ripped out and a new kitchen fitted, we’re going to work at it in stages.  This means less disruption and the cost should be spread out.  What changed our minds was the probable need for a skip to take away all the rubbish.  We live in a city-centre apartment where there is a real lack of parking space.  There isn’t anywhere a skip could be placed, so rubbish would have to be taken away each day.  After the issues we had over the summer with the rest of the refurb, neither Oana nor I can face that again just now.  

That’s all for this week.  Thanks for reading.


The views and opinions in this blog are my own, and do not represent the views or opinions of my employer, nor should they be considered advice.

If you want personalised financial advice, seek an appropriate professional.  If you are in financial difficulty, seek advice via the resources below:



Biolink and other links

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

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


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