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Buying a new home in a pandemic

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Buying a new home  is one of the most stressful things you can do and add in the fact that we are now in a seriously tight lockdown simply adds to the difficulty however the property market remains open despite England being plunged back into a world that seems to be in a frozen state. 

It would seem that the government has allowed the property market to continue most likely in order to  aid  the broader economy rather than  doing estate agents a particular favour especially as there is a huge amount of property transactions currently competing to complete by the end of the stamp duty deadline on March 31st although there are rumours that the tax break might be extended.

Restrictions and guidelines are in place to guide people so they  can continue to move home, and do everything needed to complete that process. This includes viewing homes for sale in person,  with gloves masks and vacant viewings right through to allowing removal firms into homes and in necessary cases allowing people outside of a bubble to help with the move itself. 

Lawyers, valuers and agents  are all still working even if from home but with technology at fingertips there is no reason why anything is delayed , indeed with emails and scanned copies of paperwork the whole process in theory should actually be easier, and there will be few reasons for delays to transactions. 

In order to allow this to continue it is important to follow safety guidelines and only attempt to move if it is essential, due to the sharp rise in Covid cases. Agents play  a huge role in allaying concerns over safe viewings for sellers and buyers reducing the spread of the virus by following all relevant guidance on how to safely conduct viewings.

Virtual viewings are available on many properties for sale and buyers are urged to look at those first before committing to a physical viewing this saves time and the threat of Covid as the virtual walk throughs are able to view at home. You can ‘ wander’ through four or five homes in the time just one actual viewing would take. Of course if the property is of further interest then an actual viewing is encouraged with the correct guidelines.

The safety advice from the Government indicates that those viewing a property for sale should wash and sanitise their hands and avoiding touching surfaces, with viewings only able to involve members of a single household. Some estate agents are requesting gloves and masks when entering a property and this seems to be a very sensible precaution.

 

  • Use virtual viewings of properties where possible
  • Properties should be unoccupied when physical viewings take place
  • Follow government advice on social distancing during a viewing
  • The wearing of masks by all parties during a viewing
  • Practice good hand hygiene and ‘touch free’ viewings
  • Thoroughly clean properties before and after viewings.

In these strange pandemic times the property market continuing is necessary for so many people. However the financial situation with furlough ending , unemployment rising and uncertain futures for so many the situation is likely to be unstable. 

 

I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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Garden

My Hobby – Instagram Photos – of Home and Garden

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Winston Churchill stated that it was necessary to have at least three hobbies to gain full mental benefit from them, 
“Change is the master key. A man can wear out a particular part of his mind by constantly using it and tiring it …. the tired part of the mind can be rested and strengthened, not merely by rest, but by using other parts. It is not enough to merely switch off the lights, which play upon the main and ordinary field of interest, a new field of interest must be illuminated ….” Churchill He also said “If it wasn’t for painting, I couldn’t live. I couldn’t bear the strain of things” He also enjoyed card games, listening to music and reading. 
 
In the current pandemic, people are sometimes using their enforced leisure to take up new and existing hobbies. The Merrian Webster dictionary confirms Churchill’s experiences, by defining a hobby as ” a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.”
 
My hobbies have included writing poetry and acrylic painting, but my main hobby these days is Instagram. I find it extremely relaxing to scroll down the screen, knowing that I will largely be presented with the posts of people I have chosen to follow. There are also sponsored posts, which may lead to finding a new person.  Instagram has enabled me to travel the world, seeing photos and videos taken by people across the globe. There are wonderful mountains, lakes and sunsets as well as historic buildings to enjoy. Sportspeople, artists, politicians, and of course, celebrities are also present! There is something for every taste. 
I have managed to post over three thousand photos over the last two years, largely without leaving my house and garden! In 1996 I did a short six-week course in “How to Paint and Draw” at the local Further Education Centre. At the end of the course,  I remember the teacher saying that ” from now on you will all see things in a new way ” I think that this has influenced my photography, enabling me to see a picture in things, that I would once have thought insignificant. To my mind a patch of moss or a lawn full of dandelions are worthy of a shot. 
 
In the New Year, Instagram can on request, produce the top nine photographs taken by the photographer during the past year. These are selected according to the number of “likes” each photograph has attracted. The selection does not always please people, who sometimes make up collages of their own top nine!
 
 I have noticed that people do not often repost the work of other people, which I regularly do, of course crediting the photographer.  Very rarely do people object and are generally pleased by the appreciation of their work. However, this habit has resulted in few of my own efforts reaching the Instagram Top Nine.  This does not bother me greatly, because I know that I can post my own selection, which will be seen by the dozen or so people, who regularly follow my work.  An added bonus of Instagram is that people can have nice conversations about the photographs posted and it is a “kinder gentler” forum than twitter! If you are looking for a hobby, the last thing you need is aggro! 
 
PS My Instagram account is caroleford42

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News

Ben & Jerry have launched an ice cream for dogs

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Now your dog doesn’t have to look at you with envy while your are eating your ice cream and you don’t have to feel guilty. Ben & Jerry have launched two flavours for their new line of ice cream for dogs:Pontch’s Mix and Rosie’s Batch, both names after two employees dogs.

Ben & Jerry  started in 1978 founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield allows dogs in the office and therefore they play a big role in this company. 

Pontch’s Mix has peanut butter and pretzel while Rosie’s Batch has pumpkin and mini cookies.  As dogs are lactose intolerant these ice cream don’t contain dairy products but use sunflower butter which is easily digested by our canine friends.  The recipes were created with the help of vets and experts in dogs nutrition. 

Unfortunately for the time being these dogs treats are only available in the US but hopefully they might come to delight British dogs soon.

 

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Food

Say Cheese! – What other food has the variety and versatility of cheese?

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The phrase dates back to 1943 when the Big Spring Herald newspaper in Texas encouraged people to use the word to induce a smile when having a photograph taken. Prior to that date, people were encouraged to look serious in photographs, and the word “Prunes” was used, which produced a tight closed mouth. Regardless of its use in photography, there are many reasons to smile when thinking of cheese.
 
What other food has the variety and versatility of cheese?  There are one thousand eight hundred types of cheese in the world and almost as many ways of classifying them. Starting with Cheddar, this is the most popular cheese in the UK, claiming 51% of the market. It is also the second most popular cheese in the USA, the most popular being Mortzarella.  Cheddar is named after the town in Somerset where it was first produced. Cheddar cheese is now produced commercially worldwide. Only West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, uses local milk, and since 2007, is a protected brand.
 
 
Imagine you are making up a cheeseboard. In my case I would of course, knowing its popularity, choose Cheddar. Then I would choose another English cheese, Stilton. This can only be produced in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, since a law was passed in 1993, protecting products made from traditional recipes, in a particular area.  Such a cheese is Yorkshire Wensleydale, a mild cheese traditionally enjoyed with fruitcake.  A third cheese I would add to my cheeseboard is Boursin, a soft creamy cheese, originally flavoured with garlic and herbs. This was first produced in 1957 by Francois Boursin in Normandy, France. 
 
Finally, I would choose Edam, a semi hard cheese with a low-fat content. This Dutch cheese was the world’s most popular cheese in the fourteenth and eighteen centuries. There are a wide variety of biscuits sold that are made to compliment cheeses, so I would make a selection of these available. A cheeseboard, apart from the enjoyment of the cheeses,  can make up for any culinary deficiencies in the preceding courses at a dinner table!
Apart from fine dining, there is also that great social event, the Wine and Cheese Party, where guests are able to help themselves to the perfect combination of wine and cheese.  There is no need for people on a low-fat diet to miss out on cheese.  Cottage Cheese, with zero fat content contains as much calcium as full fat cheese and is delicious with fruit.  A very small piece of full fat cheese, the size of a small matchbox is sufficient for daily calcium requirements, and unless the diet is very strict, enables the sampling of the cheeses. 
 
Cheese can be used in many ways in cooking. Just heat up the grill for a cheese toasty, or mix with pasta or rice, or use as a topping for a Jacket Potato. As well as being versatile, commercially produced Cheddar is also relatively cheap! A £2 slab will produce a variety of meals for several days, requiring very little preparation. I am tempted to say it has often saved my bacon!
 
Finally, there is a cheese, which is likely to raise a smile, but which I have never tasted. It is called “Stinking Bishop” It apparently has a distinctive odour, but the name derives from the Stinking Bishop Pear, which provides the Perry, used in the production process. (The Pear itself derived its name from a nineteenth century famer Frederich Bishop, who gained the name of “Stinking Bishop” due to his eccentric behaviour.)   Made from the milk of Gloucestershire cattle, only twenty tons are produced each year and it is not on sale in supermarkets. It is a handmade cheese and may be found in Harrods, or Fortnum’s, or artisan grocery shops. It can also be purchased online from Charles Martell & Son Ltd estd 1972, Cheesemakers and Distillers. 
 
Bon Appetit!

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