Wednesday, December 23, 2009


We are homeless. At Christmas my girlies don't have a home. OK, so it's not as bad as it sounds, but thanks to the incompetence of various solicitors and estate agents we have now moved out of our old house but not yet into our new house.

It all began when we saw a house we liked back in February or March. It was on sale with Blundells Estate Agents so we decided to put ours on the market quickly in the hope that we could buy it.

Mike Blundell came round to value our house and told us it would sell in no time at all. He said that we should put our house on the market with his company as then both houses would be with them making negotiations easier. He also said that if there were any developments on the house we wanted to buy we would be immediately informed. We signed up that day.

The next day we spoke to the Dronfield office of Blundells and were told that the house we wanted had been sold 3 days ago!

I was livid to say the least. I called Mike 'I sound like David Dickinson' Blundell and told him that he had better not hold me to the contract I signed and that I wanted my cheque back. He didn't argue. This is the first example of how useless estate agents are.

We decided to put the house on the market anyway, this time with Winkworths. They offered us a 1.2% commission and if they didn't sell in 8 weeks it would halve to 0.6%. Idiots! :-)

We finally sold out house in late October. Strangely enough to the same person we bought it off. She apparently loved living there so much she wanted to move back. It's just a 3 bedroom semi in Dronfield. There are hundreds. For fucks sake have some imagination!!! Still her money was as good as anyones so we didn't really care. £50,000 is a lot to pay for a new kitchen and bathroom though!! :-)

So, we had found buyer, we had found a new house we wanted and everyone wanted to move in December. What could possibly go wrong? :-)

Well, firstly there seems to be an old landfill site 40m from the new property we want to buy. This is well known by everyone in the area we want to move to. It had not been used for 32 years and is full of concrete, glass and other inert materials. Nothing to worry about. I did some research online and found the information that we needed to prove it was fine on the environment agency website and thought that was that. Er, no. The lenders for our new mortgage wanted proof from the Sheffield City Planning Dept. Unfortunately they just say that they have not looked at the site yet and will get to it in the next 10 year. Useless. How bad can it be when there have been houses built on top of the old landfill site for 25 years?

Anyway, to get it sorted I decided to just pay for contaminated land insurance. We were in rush don't you know!

So, what else can go wrong? Well, firstly the solicitor working for the person we are buying the house from didn't mention to him that we were anywhere near exchanging and didn't mention any specific dates. Blundells had also told us that the house we were buying was a deceased estate which they also told the vendors solicitor. When they then asked the vendor for a death certificate and there was none due to the house actually belonging to the two sons of the previous (now dead) occupier they went into 'money laundering mode'. When it turned out that one of the brothers lived in Australia and could not be contacted they thought it could also be a scam to con him out of his half of the house. Not a problem, Blundells told us that the UK brother had power of attorney over the property. What? They lied? Surely not!

So, this all needs sorting out before we can exchange.It is all quite innocent and is mainly caused by the vendors solicitor redefining complacent and the total and utter uselessness of Blundells estate agents. The even told us the property was freehold when it was leasehold which caused another delay. USELESS TOSSERS!!!

On the other end of the chain the people buying our house wanted to move ASAP, and the people buying their house were threatening to drop out if they didn't move on the 18th Dec so we made the effort and moved out. All our furniture is in storage and we are living with my mother in law.

We are hoping to sort this out very quickly in the new year. Meanwhile I don't have to pay a mortgage/gas/electric/water/buildings and contents insurance etc and so will at least have lots of beer money over Christmas.

This is a long post but I think it is worth it just to warn you about Blundells and Winkworths estate agents. I post the links to their sites above only so that you know exactly who I am talking about and I warn you not to ever deal with either of them unless you have no choice. They have both shown incredible incompetence and terrible customer service. Saying that all estate agents are probably the same. I would have thought that the credit crunch would have made them improve their service but no. Personally I hope they all go bust and if we ever move again (unlikely after this experience) I will be selling my house without the help of an estate agent.

Anyway, I am sure it will all be sorted at the beginning of January. Fingers crossed. :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Airport security guards kill -- literally kill -- a MacBook

Airport security guards kill -- literally kill -- a MacBook

One less mac in the world can't be a bad thing. I think we should all take up shooting macs. ;-)

Santa 5K Run - 13th December 2009

Last Sunday was the Santa 5k run in aid of Amy's Retreat. As the name suggests, this involves dressing up as Father Christmas and running 5km for charity.

There were seven of us from work competing and we managed to raise £325 for this worthwhile charity.

We all met at the Nottingham House at 11am to register and collect our outfits. After we got changed and laughed at each other we made our way down to Western Park.

This was my first ever race and I was a bit worried that I would finish dead last, including being beaten by the 10 year old girl and the granny pushing a baby laiden buggy! I need not have worried! I was indeed beaten by the rest of Team SDL but I was by no means last.

I actually found the run harder than I expected. I can easily run 5km normally but I was really struggling at some points (the uphill bits!!) and was knackered at the end. Maybe I didn't pace myself at the start or maybe I should have stretched more. I also maybe need to vary my route more when I run so I don't get used to it. Whatever, I found it hard but I finished which is the main thing!

At the end of the day we all had great fun and I think we will all be doing it next year as well.

Thanks to everyone who donated and shame on those who didn't (Tim!!!) :-) You can still donate by the way by clicking here.

Pictures taken by Victoria can be found here and Phils pictures can be found here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Abu Dhabi gets 2010 F1 season finale

Abu Dhabi gets 2010 F1 season finale


Originally Brazil was going to get the finale. This would be a much better end to the season as Interlagos is a great track and Brazil has a huge love of F1.

Abu Dhabi is a dull track designed by Herman Tilke who designs all new tracks to be equally boring (Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain, etc etc etc) which host races nobody goes to watch. This years race at Abu Dhabi was dull, just like all F1 fans knew it would be.

What a crappy way to end the season. Fingers crossed that the championships are decided at Brazil like they were this year.

BBC Sport - F1 - F1 drivers to help race stewards adjudicate grands prix

BBC Sport - F1 - F1 drivers to help race stewards adjudicate grands prix

Oh thank god for that!! Maybe this will be the end of stupid decisions made by the morons they usually send to be race stewards!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jools Holland And His Rhythm And Blues Orchestra - Sheffield City Hall

Last night we went to see Jools Holland at the City Hall. He was as amazing as ever.

We first went to see him 2 years ago and his superb performance was somewhat ruined by having Lulu as a special guest, but there was none of that tonight.

3 trumpets, 4 trombones and 5 saxophones is apparently the classic big bang (according to Jools) and they were accompanied by an amazing drummer, an organist, a guitarist, bass player and a couple of sexy backing singers. Finally there was Jools himself on piano/guitar/vocals and the superb Ruby Turner singing about 6 or 7 songs.

What an amazing sound they made. They were all just so god damn talented. If you have the slightest love of R & B, jazz, big band or just 'proper' music you should book for next year. I know we will be.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Silverstone saves British GP - Planet-F1 News - from

Silverstone saves British GP - Planet-F1 News - from

Thank god!! How embarrassing would it be to have 2 British world champions driving for the same British team and not to have a British GP?

This deal is for 17 years which is good because by the time the contract expires Bernie Ecclestone will be dead, which is also good. :-)

Pity moving house has taken all our funds this year as I would love to be there once again in July. Still, see you there in 2011!

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