A Word With Mrs Vast

Our New Mansion in the Ghetto
assortedboxofchick at 2:27AM, Aug. 27, 2010
(offline)
posts: 20
joined: 1-12-2010
English houses are so different to American ones!!!! I don't think people around here measure for square footage because it would be depressing if they added it all up. Our current home falls short of 1500 square feet and it's considered big by English standards, having four bedrooms. Well I am not speaking for all of England, nor middle England even, maybe I am speaking for Northern ex-mining angsty England. Obviously, we are not rich, but even rich people around here share a side of their house with another called a ‘semi-detached’ home and even rich people still hang their laundry out on lines to dry. Some rich people have detached homes but even then a lot of them don't look like American ones, being kind of tall and skinny and only a foot away from their neighbour.

Our home is what is classified as an ex-council home, which is one that was built in the 40's to house poor people. Our neighbourhood is called a council estate, where many of the houses are run by the council (the county/city government) and the people who live in them pay rent at a reduced price (like subsidized housing) having a place to live where in another country they may be homeless. Many people in our neighbourhood are addicts and alcohol abusers, many are disabled and many don't have cars or jobs. Our house is one that was sold to private ownership in the 80's and a few people on our street own their own homes, like us. We live in an area known for its drug problems, our neighbours get police-raided, we have shopping carts thrown onto the hedge on occasion and police helicopters hovering overhead is a common occurrence.

That said, we have never been a victim of crime. Sure I have this guy I call ‘pubeface’ who likes to come onto me when he's drunk and stoned but he's a real pushover, a softie. (It annoys me he doesn't want to shag me when he's sober) Even the drug-dealing neighbours gave my husband a hot cup of tea when he was waiting in the rain for us when we first moved here. On top of living in a ‘dodgy’ area, we also live on a busy road which regails us with ambulance/firetruck sirens (nee-nah, nee-nah, nee-nah) and rumbling lorries (you call them trucks, or big-rigs.) Two years ago there was this really loud lorry coming down the road in the middle of the night that got louder and louder and more menacing by the second, seeming it was going to crash into the side of our house!Turns out it was an earthquake.

Now that I have totally dissed where we live I can assure you it can be a real treat. We live five minutes' walk from an ancient woodland and park, up the hill you can buy real free range eggs and pet shaggy ponies in a field. My neighbour (not the drug-dealing one) brings me giant puffball mushrooms and chestnuts from his long country walks, and we are allowed to have bonfires, which makes it quite pleasant in the evenings, and kind of ‘campy’, smelling of dried weeds and sticks burning. A 15 minute ride by bus takes you to a real castle and ruin, and a walk to town will give you the best hot fish and chips on the planet. (Complete with malt vinegar and mushy peas.)

We are moving from this house to a new one in an area of Rotherham called Canklow, which is an ex-coal mining area. It has streets of homes called terraces or row-houses that are tiny small and were used to house miners in the past. The house we are buying is six bedrooms, and not small. In fact it is one and a half of the one we own now. Unheard of for our price range and circumstance. It is two of our 40's council houses knocked into one on the top floor and having only one side of the bottom floor (kitchen and dining/living room) There is an old couple which occupies the bottom of the other half in their own self-enclosed flat and I feel sorry for them after we move in! As you probably know, we have 4,3,2, and 9 month old, and one teenager. And all these are going to be more teenagers with stereos one day. We hope to buy the rest of the house after the old couple are fed up and want to move out!!! I call this new house our mansion in the ghetto because the area is similar to ours now and has a ‘reputation’ that goes like this ‘the police won’t even go to Canklow it's that bad' (Last time I was there, two police officers were playing football in the park with neighbour kids, so that's untrue.) The new house has a hill behind it which lead to new woods five minutes' walk, full of trees and old quarries. We have a castle of sorts overlooking our hill which was built in the 1800's for some rich dude who owned the land and the valley our house is on. We have a river within 300 metres (which may or may not flood), and a large playing field/park across the street. The road used to be busy with cars but a bypass has been made since so it's slow and steady and quiet! (If you discount the new drug dealing neighbours at one thirty am after a few drinks!)

This new crazy adventure of moving should happen sometime around the 13th of September. You will know it is happening because you will hear the loud roar from England when Daniel realizes he has to unplug the computer to move!!!

Now I'm off to call moving companies to get quotes. The dodgy neighbours have a van and told me they'd do it for two hundred pounds which will barely cover fuel costs so I wonder if their quote includes our flatscreen and computer!!!!!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Canuovea at 5:30PM, Aug. 27, 2010
(online)
posts: 287
joined: 6-25-2010
Great. Now I have that Elvis song “In the Ghetto” stuck in my head.

In all honesty my first thought was “What? You're complaining about four bedrooms and almost 1500 square feet?!!” Then, of course, I remember “Oh, wait. Kids.” After that things seem to sound pretty cramped. Yeah. Four kids, no, five kids, four bedrooms. The parents have to go somewhere! And sometimes siblings sharing rooms is a… frightening, idea.

It's funny how that sometimes neighbourhoods get a bad reputation but aren't necessarily all that bad. I could go on about morality not being black and white, but I'll stop! Really I will!

Where I am a decent sized house (maybe 3 bedrooms, around that) can cost up to 3 million US dollars in a good area. Guess what? Price is still crazy in a “bad” area. There are apartment rooms that cost about 1 million in some places downtown (not necessarily “bad” but not “nice upper class” place either). Housing over here is ridiculous! I sometimes end up watching those… reality… househunter… show things and just throw a fit at these 3-5 bedroom places with a pool and large yard going for under 500 000 in some places in the States! Madness!

My Jealousy is foolish though. I don't think I could live in a large house unless I had lots of kids, and certainly not all on my lonesome! All the cleaning and maintenance would be hellish. Good luck with that, by the way, you two. And I just wouldn't need all the space. The only thing that would persuade me to get a larger place would be the need to accommodate children.

Anyway, I hope all goes well, and I hope that your soon to be new place is at least as charming (and safe! Must not jeopardize Harkovast updates!) in it's own way as your current residence (which wasn't all bad from the sound of it). Good luck!

And I look forward to hearing that roar from England. I'll be sure to laugh.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 6:02AM, Aug. 28, 2010
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
Yeah, Canuovea, we thought about having more kids to accommodate all those rooms. The rooms aren't all that big, one being 18X12 (pretty damn big) for the children on one side and play area on the other. The other rooms are only about 10X12, or 10X11, or 9X10, so all basically small. Dan wanted the biggest room for a games room which is all right but he spends so much time doing drunk duck I couldn't let him have it to use only once or twice a month. The downstairs only consists of one large living room and a separate kitchen with a stair case inbetween and a small bathroom with only a toilet (no sink seriously). We've got to sort the sink out and stuff. They only started getting indoor plumbing here in the sixties and a lot of houses still have a toilet outside.

The only way we could afford this house was because it's so strange (English people stick to norms, and a house that is 3/4 of a building being top heavy is a bit strange), and that it's in an area known for anti-social behaviour (what they call it around here.) It's not to say we're poor, but we are choosing to live this way so we can exist within our means and not have any debt. That's why we are practising the unheard of existence of not owning a car or driving. Currently we walk 40 minutes to get to town to shop.

It's who you don't know, not who you know in these places. We have the luck of being the only Americans they will know so they treat us with respect. Thanks for message! Gotta go, baby is crawling his way to doom!!!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 6:04AM, Aug. 28, 2010
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
I can't be asked to login as myself! Dan doesn't normally speak of himself in the third person!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Canuovea at 12:14PM, Aug. 28, 2010
(online)
posts: 287
joined: 6-25-2010
Wow. You two are smart. And I mean that very sincerely. Attempting to live without debt as opposed to using it to get what you want in the immediate future is, unfortunately, a somewhat rare trait in our species. I guess it's called foresight and wisdom. Oh well.

Also don't have a car. Nor does my family. It's surprising, and crazy, in my mind, how many people, or even families, own more than one car! I can see where it may be useful for a family, but one person? And at least this way you can stay relatively fit, yes?

I'm in an apartment, a two bedroom (but we cut the living room in half and made another bedroom, so it's only a two bedroom worth in space and hence, cost) so I imagine that your smaller rooms are about only a little bigger than mine, enough for one person or an office space (or, in my case, a bit of both). But definitely better than lacking rooms!

A games room? Bring on the fooseball! Whooo! Or not. Our apartment complex has a largish common room for games like fooseball (which I am decent at, or was) and table tennis (which I am horrible at). It isn't actually all that bad of a place, if a little cramped sometimes.

What? People outside of the US giving Americans respect?! Preposterous!!! Americans abroad are supposed to pretend they are Canadians! Order overturned! Oh no!

I'm kidding, it's good that you guys get some kind of respect there; regardless of why.

Doom? DOOM!??! Yeah. I was bad enough by myself and my parents didn't have to worry about three, or so (depending on how worrying the teenager is), others. Remember the jibe: “Did your parents drop you on your head as a baby?” My response is, “no, I jumped.” It's true. Good luck with the kids.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Niccea at 6:07AM, Aug. 30, 2010
(online)
posts: 5,542
joined: 8-10-2007
Unfortunately for us, living without debt meant moving into my fiance's parent's house. Fiance got screwed over in his first job so he had to quit it. He had literaly put about a thousand dollars into the job and only got a couple hundred in return. (And this was over about a three month span). So we are now living with his parents until he builds up enough income to get us a new place. It is all on fiance cause my small income is cycling into my graduate school education. Fortunately, fiance graduated debt free from college so he is not in terrible shape, and I'm only in the hole by 5,700 with a loan that won't gain interest until December 2011.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 1:03AM, Aug. 31, 2010
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
Hi there. I thought we were the only people without a car. How about a cell phone? I was just given one last week by a friend with sim card and number included (a pay as you go) but have not dared use it. I took it along with me to Sheffield yesterday and got one text message from my daughter, which I missed: MOTHER PICK UP THE PHONE MOTHER PICK UP THE PHONE MOTHER PICK UP THE PHONE MOTHER PICK UP THE PHONE…
I shouldn't have got one because now they are under the illusion that I can hear it when it rings.

There is nothing wrong with living in fiance's house, Niccea, but you can admit perhaps that sometimes it can drive you batty. Once you've experienced living on your own, moving back under someone else's rules can really be hard. Good luck with getting your own place. When Daniel first moved to America, while we jumped through hoops to get him leave to remain, he wasn't allowed to work for four months. We were living at the time on six dollars an hour while I worked full time as a special needs support worker, and had three kids and house payments. Thank goodness none of us got sick or hurt because medical bills would have put us over the edge. We were spending all we made and unable to save any.

In England, there seems to be a lot of financial support and there isn't social stigma in using it. University grants are given but only have to be repaid after the graduate makes a certain income. I was on a grant in Utah trying to get an education degree (special education minor) but we lost it because Dan made fifty dollars over the limit. When we tried to pay for it, as you are, we discovered we had no money for anything else so I had to drop out and move here. It's been really disappointing not finishing university because dammit I was doing so well!

And we know about people getting screwed over in their jobs…Daniel had the office from hell two years ago and had to quit from stress. But it was like this, the boss would laugh out loud about funny joke emails she was getting during work time, and sharing them with everyone, but then Daniel got a packet put on his desk one day of the emails he had written that his work had printed out. They then told him he wasn't allowed to write emails and forward them on work time. He got this packet as his boss was laughing about her emails… He was meant to attend a tribunal where he would implicate other people (boss exempt) he had talked to on emails but he didn't want to speak bad about them. He had assumed because everyone in his office was doing it, it would be okay. And his emails weren't inappropriate as far as I'm concerned as he was chatting about Islam with a Muslim (he worked as a housing officer in a Muslim area). It might have helped him to gain sensitivities and knowledge of the religion! Instead they deemed it inappropriate as it was talking about religion! They said he was racist as he referred to the Germans in a movie (Band of Brothers) as being useless and shit because only the Americans seemed to kill anyone and the Germans were all horrible shots, dropping like flies! It was a criticism of poor movie writing!!!! Anyway that's a warning to watch what you type at work and check your company policies about approved content and time to do it, lunch break or not!!!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
harkovast at 1:20AM, Aug. 31, 2010
(online)
posts: 5,198
joined: 10-12-2008
Canuovea,
Are you American? Where do you live where you can survive without a car? If you are American, being car-less and having to walk is so stigmatized! (At least in Utah it was.) Congrats on saving the money! We enjoy being a bit smug about it. It just means we have to prepare more time in a day to get places, but it does keep us fit. I feel sorry for the people rushing around in cars around here. I feel they are always in a big hurry and have no patience going here to there. Over here, especially around commuting time, there are huge lines of cars and gridlock and I know for a fact walking is quicker because I pass by them!

I drove for 19 years in America so I know what it was like to drive everywhere. I have forgotten about the rush I must have been in. It's a whole different time frame.
Americans need to walk more. I understand most of the country wasn't built for walkers, and sometimes there can be extremes in the weather to keep people in their cars, but they weren't driving all the time, so it's a fairly recent development. It was unheard of when I lived there to walk further than a city block. Once I reparked my car on the other side of a parking lot so I wouldn't have to walk from one end to the other!!! (shops were on either side of it) I was so lazy! Nobody sees it there though when everybody does it! My daughter walks nearly a mile to school here now, where as when we lived in Utah, I would have driven her a five minutes' walk distance!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Renard at 5:43PM, Aug. 31, 2010
(online)
posts: 102
joined: 1-11-2010
I could work in the UK but never live there; so many people too close together, no room for a workshop on my property, however the tea is much better. Congratulations on your 3/4 house though, that's bigger than any I've seen over there!

P.S. Tribunal? Implicate other employees? Double standards? All they need to do to emulate the KGB is add beatings and a vacation to Siberia.
Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
assortedboxofchick at 1:01AM, Sept. 1, 2010
(offline)
posts: 20
joined: 1-12-2010
Renard: being close together has its advantages. Sure, because so many people live together there can be a bit more dog poo on the sidewalk and litter strewn about. But then, walking along, you get to know people and your neighbours. We have the good luck of having really good neighbours who live across the wall and are always passing sweets to the kids…we could have built up the brick wall between us for privacy but we enjoy eachother's company. Our house is about 12 feet from theirs so it's not so mashy. The ones we share the building with you never hear anyway.

Anyone who lives in an apartment complex or college dorm understands what living with others is like and you soon grow used to the din of others. I remember distinctly enjoying communal living in an apartment. Perhaps I am more of a warren rabbit and prefer a scrum of people clambering over eachoher.

My daughter's friend is from China, and she says the streets and neighbourhoods here are empty and lonely. She really misses the crush of people. All perspective.

p.s. our back garden is plenty big for your workshop. There's a house up the hill for only 84K that has an acre of ground with it bang up against a cow field. I suppose it would be enough for you unless your hobby is disassembling/reassembling 18 wheeler big rig trucks or 30 foot yachts.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Canuovea at 1:26AM, Sept. 1, 2010
(online)
posts: 287
joined: 6-25-2010
Uh. I hate cell phones. But I have to use the darn things from time to time.

And, I'm kinda American, if by that you mean I live on the continent… Can't expect those from the USA to call themselves “United States of Americaners” doesn't really work. Ahhh… fine. Canadian. The country with a tenth of the population of the US of A and more land then them. I live in a bit of a Metropolis (but more on the outskirts) and we have a great public transportation system (it's still packing people into rolling sardine cans, but it's better than nothing). And if we need to get somewhere fast then there's always the Cab service, right?

I must admit there are many things I do not like about the US, and that there is a stigma about using financial support adds to it… though in honesty I'm pretty sure that is also the case here… As Solzhenitsyn wrote: “Never expect a warm man to understand a cold one” or something like that, except replace warm with “Rich, financially secure, etc” and cold with “Poorer, poor, or financially insecure.” Canadians secretly like to think they are better than USAers, but, really, they aren't… always. See, we have Health Care for people… Nyah nyah nyah! (But it turns out we actually pollute more per capita, or something like that bad for the environment).

One thing about WW2… The Germans could definitely shoot well!

I live in a Cooperative Apartment Complex (the acronym is not CAC though, we just call it a Co-op, or cooperative housing) and I love being so close to people! It's a great little community, the only problem is that it is somewhat restricting sometimes. But, hey, we can borrow canned tomatoes for pasta sauce from someone if we happen to run out!

Oh, and Renard, you forgot the hypocrisy! The Boss was doing the same thing they got Daniel for! As for hypocrisy in the KGB… Beria came running out announcing the “Tyrant is dead” after Stalin died… Beria, of course, was Stalin's right hand disappearing man.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Renard at 4:02PM, Sept. 1, 2010
(online)
posts: 102
joined: 1-11-2010
No, my thing is welding and metalworking (and photography), and I would probably end up repairing car frames and building a large diesel truck (out of spare parts from dead trucks) so that no one would ever cut me off in traffic ever again! An acre would be fine for a small garage and workshop, just as long as people don't mind a little noise. The only problem for me would be that 84K is too rich for my blood, even with a house already on it.

I suppose I've never really experienced really being part of a community, perhaps I would like it more than I think.

Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
assortedboxofchick at 4:50AM, Sept. 2, 2010
(offline)
posts: 20
joined: 1-12-2010
hurray for Canada: mooses, midges, and rhubarb pie! Where are you from, Canuovea? I lived in Alaska for three years and we took eight days driving up there from Utah via Helens, Montana, Calgary, Edmonton (big mall) Fort Nelson, Watson Lake, Whitehorse, Dawson, and finally Fairbanks. You will probably say you are from P.E. Island or something, of which I have no experience. My grandma is from Calgary. I would live in Canada in a minute. (I should run that by Dan first) It's interesting how often American politicians say how crap social health care is. They don't know how crap it is having to sell your house to pay doctor bills or choose between food and pills. Over here (England) it's quite reasonable…prescriptions free until you are 16 and if you make under a certain income, are pregnant etc etc. However, you pay a set fee for each prescription (when you are in the category to afford it), currently seven pounds or something. Saying health care is a right not a privilege is fighting words in America. Try it with an American sometime.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
assortedboxofchick at 4:52AM, Sept. 2, 2010
(offline)
posts: 20
joined: 1-12-2010
Canuovea: p.s. I have experience with Prince Edward Island, I read all the Anne of Green Gables series, three times.
Renard, have you seen Iron Giant (cartoon)? I envision you as the young man on it who tinkers with metal sculpturing in the junk yard.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Renard at 4:53PM, Sept. 2, 2010
(online)
posts: 102
joined: 1-11-2010
Most of my art is photographic, my metalworking is all functional (only because I don't have enough scrape metal to weld sculptures).

I'm Canadian as well.
Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM
Canuovea at 2:03PM, Sept. 3, 2010
(online)
posts: 287
joined: 6-25-2010
I quite like living in Canada. Vancouver. The place where that rather large and somewhat annoying sporting event took place some time ago this year.

You have quite a travel record there! I've only been out of province once to go to Ottawa (and Vancouverites complain about rain! Hahahaha! I quite like rain actually…). And I've never been out of country even though the US is less than two hours away in a car (which we don't have…).
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:17AM

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved