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Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Old Dec 9th 2008, 9:24 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Originally Posted by ezzie
I was told there'd been changes and the 60,000 limit now stood.

Wasn't told about Family Benefit. I asked if there was anything I would be eligible for as far as children go and was told 'no'.
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit/do-you-qualify.htm

All the info is on here, I can't see anything about means testing for this.
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Old Dec 9th 2008, 9:46 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Boy, am I humiliated....

RAC finally turned-up. Lovely chap (although ponged of alcohol, so presumed he'd had a good night down the pub last night). To my utter embarrassment, he located the problem straight away - me!

Yup, the massive shuddering on the brakes making us feel like we were driving over a cattle grid is nothing more than the ABS kicking-in!

I thought the fact that we have ABS on our Aussie cars meant it was just doing what they do quietly. But no, it's mostly for icy conditions and when they work....you know it!

However, did eventually get to speak to a Europcar manager who can't speak to the B'ham manager ...as he's not answering his phone! Hopefully at least this will draw issues to their attention. I'm just glad this happened whilst at our friends and not out on a Dutch motorway with the kids in a blizzard!

Right, need to plan trip to London...staying at my cousins in Maida Vale but have just found out there's NO parking there. Anyone know where there's street parking which isn't parking metre/residents only near a tube station not too far away from Maida Vale?????

Another frosty morning again by the way, a tad cold last night, but still nothing like the 'freeze you to the marrow' weather that I remember from my youth. A large bird on the apple tree this morning, going mad trying to find the bird book to find out what on earth it is. If I find out, I'll let you know.
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Old Dec 9th 2008, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Ta for that...I'll have a read later. A bit worrying though that I got this info from the horses mouth so to speak. Mind you, each person (you have to speak to each dept separately) all said that the system was so complicated that they didn't know anyone who understood it who worked there. Also, at one point, one of the, very friendly, reps actually 'googled' some info as "the departments own internal info site is complete rubbish"!!!!

Originally Posted by northernbird
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/childbenefit/do-you-qualify.htm

All the info is on here, I can't see anything about means testing for this.
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Old Dec 10th 2008, 10:13 am
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Originally Posted by ezzie
Ta for that...I'll have a read later. A bit worrying though that I got this info from the horses mouth so to speak. Mind you, each person (you have to speak to each dept separately) all said that the system was so complicated that they didn't know anyone who understood it who worked there. Also, at one point, one of the, very friendly, reps actually 'googled' some info as "the departments own internal info site is complete rubbish"!!!!
God, it sounds just like Centrelink. No-one knows what is going on, get a different answer from everyone you speak to. I hate having to deal with government agencies (thankfully don't have to too often!).
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Old Dec 10th 2008, 10:40 am
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Thumbs up Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Go in and lean on a wall or two and see if you get the same 'oh & s' bollocking! Still cracks me up that one - my poor daughter had no idea what they were on about.

We had pizza tonight bought from Asda...they were so big they wouldn't fit in the oven - and it's an Aga! I had to fold the ruddy things up at the edges. I had visions of people over Britain performing the same sort of origami in order to cook their pizza.

Going mad tomorrow - taking the kids to North Wales to re-live my youth of stomping up mountains. Not properly prepared though and will probably stick to a littlelun like Cnicht - although the plan is to do Snowdon up the Ranger path (plan is doomed to failure as impossible to organise family to actually leave the premises and get in the car ready to go in under 3 hours!)

Still, tomorrow night we're booked into Bangor YHA - before it, like many others before it, bites the dust, being another great hostel sold off to feed the coffers of YHA directors (don't get me started on this one!)

Ta ta for a couple of days, and if you don't hear from me by Saturday...send out the search party!

Originally Posted by rabsody
God, it sounds just like Centrelink. No-one knows what is going on, get a different answer from everyone you speak to. I hate having to deal with government agencies (thankfully don't have to too often!).
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Old Dec 10th 2008, 12:02 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Originally Posted by ezzie
Go in and lean on a wall or two and see if you get the same 'oh & s' bollocking! Still cracks me up that one - my poor daughter had no idea what they were on about.
Yeah that is utterly ridiculous! Enjoy your next few days. I am leaving on a jet plane on Saturday morning myself so I am pleased to hear it's not tooooooo cold over there at the mo
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Old Dec 10th 2008, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Originally Posted by Jules Europe
It`s a long time to be away, where are you hoping to move to in the UK?
Hopefully Herts./North London borders.

Originally Posted by happy4
Hi everyone,.......................

Enjoying reading the thread, especially as I am sitting in my home in Kings Heath, Birmingham! Ezzie, it has brought a smile to my face as I obviously recognise all of the places you have mentioned. For those of you who don't know me, I lived in Australia for nearly 2 years, we went with my OH's job and our children, then 3 and 1. I returned this year with my children (soon to ex husband still lives in Sydney, it's a long story) and these are my experiences of Birmingham........I love Birmingham! It's our home! Ezzie, I hope you can all reach a decision that you are all happy with. axx
I really enjoyed reading your post. It's so good to hear you sounding content. Good luck with your studying, can't be easy with 2 littlies.

Originally Posted by theyoungs
I would just like to say thank you to Ezzie and for all who have contributed to this thread.........

......We were hit with a bombshell not long after we arrived with the news that my mother had developed breast cancer. I'm sure most of you can relate to the awful feeling of guilt of not being there and that is when you get reality slap across the face and makes you realise just how important your family and friends are to you.

I speak to my mom on virtually a daily basis and she is such a positive person but last night I think it is starting to take its toll and she sounded very broken. I just wanted to be there to give her a great big hug and give her the strength that she has provided to me time and time again........
Chelle xx
p.s. I forgot to say that we are booked to return home in February 09
I just want to wish you all the best on your return and truly hope your mum responds well to her treatment.

My father died last year and I still cannot get to grips with the fact he is no longer with us. Maybe being so far away hasn't helped with the grieving process, who knows.

Good luck for 2009

G x
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Old Dec 10th 2008, 6:28 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Originally Posted by Fleaflyfloflum
All the best to you Chelle.

I lost my dad 2yrs ago. I had gone back a year before he died and we both knew we would not see each other again. We got to say goodbye to each ohter, which i will always be grateful for, but the agony i went thorugh not being abl to go home for his funeral was awful.

You have a lovely mum. Treasure every moment with her.

Hugs xx
I just want to wish you all the best on your return and truly hope your mum responds well to her treatment.

My father died last year and I still cannot get to grips with the fact he is no longer with us. Maybe being so far away hasn't helped with the grieving process, who knows.

Good luck for 2009

G x






Thank you so much for your kind words, it means a lot.

Take care

Chelle xx
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Old Dec 11th 2008, 6:35 am
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Originally Posted by St.Georges Girl
Hopefully Herts./North London borders.

I really enjoyed reading your post. It's so good to hear you sounding content. Good luck with your studying, can't be easy with 2 littlies.

I just want to wish you all the best on your return and truly hope your mum responds well to her treatment.

My father died last year and I still cannot get to grips with the fact he is no longer with us. Maybe being so far away hasn't helped with the grieving process, who knows.

Good luck for 2009

G x
So that explains why you support Arsenal
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Old Dec 11th 2008, 7:02 am
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

hi Ezzie, great posts by the way! Just beware on Snowdon tomorrow, there's a lot of snow at the moment (I live on Anglesey - can see Snowdon from my house!), . A womans body was found up there today. Hope it all goes ok, enjoy, it's a wonderful part of the country.
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Old Dec 11th 2008, 12:38 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Originally Posted by Jules Europe
So that explains why you support Arsenal
My father was born right opposite Highbury Stadium and I was born about 10 minutes away. Whole family are Arsenal, it's in the blood.


Originally Posted by wobbler
hi Ezzie, great posts by the way! Just beware on Snowdon tomorrow, there's a lot of snow at the moment (I live on Anglesey - can see Snowdon from my house!), . A womans body was found up there today. Hope it all goes ok, enjoy, it's a wonderful part of the country.
Oh God, that's awful.
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Old Dec 12th 2008, 6:37 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Gahhhh! Wait till I tell the kids that!
Yes, we're back and survived! I was right about the 'teens getting out the door' prediction. They got themselves up at 5am!!! Then it was all downhill. Too much infighting between the twins as to who had nicked who's beanie etc. One was sent down to chuck some sarnies together....found her half an hour later assembling some intricate salad sandwiches! Then we couldn't find the key for the backdoor and hunted for an hour (returned to find it had be moved elsewhere by our friends to stop us taking it with us by mistake!). Then after some ridiculously poor map reading by ds, we finally reached Snowdon at around midday! Too late for a summit assent, so we just heaved ourselves to the point just before where the Pig Track meets the Miners. Ate our sarnies (plus found that other dd had by mistake taken my friend's husband's sarnies from off the kitchen table...oops!) then returned the way we came, leaving our newly purchased OS map up there...damn, damn, damn!

Apart from that it was bloody brilliant! The peaks were snow-covered and it just felt so good to be in the mountains again in scenery that makes your jaw drop. It was a 'reasonably' clear day so we had a great view down the valleys and across to the other peaks in the district. The kids forgot they were in a bad mood and just revelled in the landscape...when it started snowing half way up they were literally dancing with excitement. I always preferred walking in the winter...yes, a bit harder, but I just loved the snowy views of North Wales as the snow covered-up the ugly scars left by mining. We were amazed at so many slate mines that still seemed to be open, slashing away at the face of the mountains. You could always tell where there's a mine by the settlements of small homes, a neat church with countless graves stacked up the mountain behind it. Makes you realise the devastation to a local community when a mine closes, as I'm sure people from Yorkshire, South Wales and a few of the other Shires can attest to.

I'm not surprised they found someone dead up there. We were passed by a group of right plonkers! They had nothing but a small bottle of Lucozade in their pocket, no map, compass, whistle and they asked me if the peak was just around the corner. I gestured to my left and said 'you see that huge pointy white thing up there..." I told them they'd need crampons up the top and they'd never make it back before the light went, but off they went anyhow. A lovely lady I chatted to whilst the kids frolicked in the snow said she'd felt positively overdressed in her Berghaus and crampons up there as there was a group in their trainers!!!!! Bloody hell....one slip and they'd gone, not to mention ankle injuries. I thought we were risking it as a bit as my ds and I had high cut walking 'shoes' not boots with us. Still, they did us proud up the treacherous icy path. It was also a great opportunity to be able to pass on a bit of my mountain knowledge to the kids - who were actually quite impressed with all the peaks I could point out that I'd done many times over.

I was at the peak of my fitness when I left for Oz. I always say 'never look back and regret' but if I could do my life over again I'd never have left for Oz and would have continued to happily spend weekends striding the ridges with my walking mates. It makes me more determined than ever to try to recoup some of the life I feel I'm wasting in Oz.

Stayed at Bangor YHA ....bloody freezing there, not sure what'd happened to the heating. Still, the wardens were lovely and ran around trying to get it to work again. Met a lovely Aussie family there...very friendly, but conversation was so different, my comments were met with unsure looks and that polite 'how are we supposed to take this' smile that I'm used to.

It was great to get out the next day (apart from the fact that the heating had finally started to work and it was toasty warm) - we drove over to Anglesey...(which is beautiful Wobbler). my God,the people are friendly there. We were sitting there admiring the view across the straits when someone sauntered over to check we weren't lost...this happened three times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I noticed this the previous afternoon - it was dark when we got to the long driveway of the hostel and were unsure of where it was, there was a young girl outside the teahouse on her mobile who cheerily stopped her conversation to guide us on our way. I'm am constantly amazed at how incredibly helpful British people are.

Later, having negotiated the roadworks of Angelsey (I'm sure these are driving you nuts Wobbler) we went to Caernafon (probably not spelt right!). This is the name of the school tutor house of my daughters' back in Oz, so we couldn't miss going. Not one of the most interesting castles we've been too I must admit, but then we only found the display of it's history on the way out. Still, learnt a lot about the Welsh Fusiliers and was in shock at how long ago it was that Prince Big Ears was invested there. Had a quick squizz around in Caernarfon (why is it either an 'f' or a 'v' by the way? I'm presuming the 'v' is an Anglicized spelling) again, was bowled over by the friendliness of the people. We asked a couple for directions and were not only shown the way but told which streets to take care crossing. The staff in WHSmith would have kept us there all day trying to help us buy a sat nav (Don't buy a Tom Tom) if they could (they advised us to go to Argus!!!). Very sorry that we didn't have longer to peruse this lovely town and it's ancient narrow streets.

On to Portmerion. By this time is was freezing and getting a bit windy. The place looked a bit sad at this time of year but the upshot was that we had the entire place to ourselves. The kids loved it and especially my son who is interested in architecture. The 'seconds' of Portmerion pottery were nearly as expensive as the 'firsts' so we gave buying any a miss.

Being ever the environmentalists, we then drove south to a place with a lot of consanants to the Centre for Alternative Technology. A very eco-minded outdoor centre where kids (and adults) can run around and learn about renewable energy with a bit of traditional land practice thrown in. By this time it was dark, raining, windy and about 50 below. The staff looked startled when we appeared out of the gloom. Because the kids run their own eco-websites, we got in free (but to be honest, I think they would have let us in for free anyhow due to the fact that most of their exhibits run on solar energy....so they weren't running at all that day!). Still, an interesting place and it didn't take too much imagination to know that on a fine day, a lot of kids would have a ball there. We took some photos, bought a couple of things in the shop...which is THE place to go if you love the environment...and headed back home.

The roads were interesting...the map and road signs kept telling us that the road we were on was an 'A' road. The narrow width, sheep and endless sharp bends told me otherwise!

Back in time to have a much needed coffee (no Maccas to pick a take-away up from on that road, in fact outside of the city centres, we haven't seen much fast food at all), then out again to drop son into our local village to meet up with friends from school for a curry. Doing so I realised that it was the villages' 'late night Christmas shopping' so hurried back to pick up twins to take them back there. Got back just in time for most events finishing (they had a nativity scene constructed in the bus shelter, but by the time we'd got there, Mary had given birth, Shepherds and Kings had all visited and they'd all packed up and gone to one of the many pubs).

We still enjoyed an hour wandering around, listening to the carol singers from the local church, all done up in choir robes, and NOT collecting any money for anything. The shops were offering free drinks to customers, had stalls set-up outside selling their usual stuff plus handknitted Christmas puddings and various object d'art obviously made by their children at school. The street was packed to the gunnels with locals - and they were all calling each other by their first names. THis place really is a cross between 'Hot Fuzz' and 'Vicar of Dibley'. One of my daughters actually bought a Union Jack passport cover!!!!! Well, well!

It was fabulous to see this event so well supported. When you watch Vicar of Dibley - (animal service episode) and there's that long procession of people pouring into the village..well, let me tell you, that's what we saw last night. The police were there, but were obvious local characters as everyone was going up, slapping them on the backs and having a good old chat..no wonder no ones kids are ever turfed out the pubs here!

Finally met up with ds. They'd had a spot of bother in the Indian. They'd been told they could only come in if they were going to order a main. Reasonable I thought if the restaurant was full..it wasn't, and I did wonder if they'd make the same demands if they'd been adults. Anyhow, the meal was tiny, half-cooked and service damned rude. They said they'd not be paying for it the way it was, so the waiter left and returned with better cooked food and a bigger portion. The bill came and they found they'd been charged exactly double the amount they should have. The manager was called who put it down to 'new staff' but I think it was more a case of trying it on with kids. The group all then sauntered off to 'the park' which is where the kids hang out after their Friday night curry if they're not going to the pub. DS knew he wasn't allowed to go wandering or lurking in dark parks so rang me and we met him being escorted back by 3 lovely girls. We had a bit of a laugh at his expense but it was quite obvious that they absolutely adored him....and so they should, he's a gorgeous lad!

So, we all returned back to our friends very happy and my daughters' are planning to meet up with some friends at 'Merry Hell' (the huge shopping centre tomorrow) - I was going to a Victorian Market in Leominster, but decided it's more important for them to meet up with chums. They were practically mobbed by a group of girls in the village (yes, the same girls who claimed they'd made no friends here!).

Right, it's 7.30 am and I've a horse to muck out! I've enjoyed two days of solid 'banter' with various locals and I'm feeling more content than I have in years. I had a bit of a low moment in the hostel when we met a lovely lad who was searching for work in Bangor. He liked the town, had a bit of a stutter and when he set-off to go out that night for a curry by himself, I thought how awful the UK could be in winter if you'd no job or a good supportive network of friends. I find the countryside is just as lovely in bad weather as sunny, but the cities in winter are pretty mournful if you're not in the best of health or spirits.


Originally Posted by wobbler
hi Ezzie, great posts by the way! Just beware on Snowdon tomorrow, there's a lot of snow at the moment (I live on Anglesey - can see Snowdon from my house!), . A womans body was found up there today. Hope it all goes ok, enjoy, it's a wonderful part of the country.
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Old Dec 12th 2008, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Actually Wobbler, I'm wondering if that's why we had rescue helicopters buzzing over us all day. I said to the kids that they never used to do that, you were on your own if you got into trouble, but maybe it was because of the woman that died up there the day before (and all the silly arses up there totally ill-prepared). Do they usually have constant helicopter surveillance in Snowdonia?

PS. Do I have this right...that you 'don't' want to be in Angelsey anymore????

Originally Posted by wobbler
hi Ezzie, great posts by the way! Just beware on Snowdon tomorrow, there's a lot of snow at the moment (I live on Anglesey - can see Snowdon from my house!), . A womans body was found up there today. Hope it all goes ok, enjoy, it's a wonderful part of the country.
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Old Dec 12th 2008, 7:03 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Wow, the uk sounds great IF I HAD ever emigrated I would now want to go back
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Old Dec 12th 2008, 7:27 pm
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Default Re: Just returned to UK to film for TV prog....initial thoughts

Just think of all that money you've saved then!

Originally Posted by jackuk
Wow, the uk sounds great IF I HAD ever emigrated I would now want to go back
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