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About dstanners

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  • Location NRW
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  1. Well, we've just opened our gas bill today, and I think we've dropped even more. Between September and end of January this year, we used less gas than we did in January alone last year. We're due to receive a repayment of 3.5k, and monthly payments have been reduced by 300. ...I should probably say that we were one of the thousands completely shafted by Gruenewelt going bust last year, so the drop in monthly payments wasn't unexpected. The drop in gas use is due to turning off almost all of the heating, and living in a world of hot water bottles, blankets on sofas and very thick jumpers. We also have a pellet oven, and have used 100 euros worth of pellets so far this winter. That said, our solar panels for heated water still haven't turned up (ordered 10 months ago), but that should also reduce gas consumption this year.    
  2. Making a UK will from Germany

    A solicitor's firm I was using to sell a house in the UK was closed down a few years ago. All the documents were sent to the Solicitors' Regulatory Authority. They would have subsequently arranged for another firm to take over the files, but I obtained the documents I needed from the SRA directly. A more usual case would be if the firm closed due to retirement etc, in that case, the solicitor will contact you either to give you the documents back, or to tell you to whom he intends to pass the files (again, a back stop would be the SRA).    Your solicitor could give you a certified copy of the will. A reason they may be unwilling to give you a copy is that if/when wills change, you are supposed to destroy the original. If they don't have all copies, there is the risk that a subsequent will could be challenged by someone still in possession of an "original". One option is for you to check that the solicitor has filed a copy with the Probate Department of the Family Division of the High Court, or an alternative private company like the National Will Register. This isn't mandatory and doesn't impact the validity of a will, but does make it easier for anyone to find a copy in future if necessary.   You can also register your will with the above bodies yourself, or as other people have said, you can keep a copy yourself. A solicitor isn't crucial.   I hope the operation goes well though, and none of this will be relevant for many, many years.      
  3. Given a large increase in rent last year, it seems unlikely that you are far from the market value now. I also increased rent on a property last year, when the tenant changed. I am not going to increase it this year.   Agree with @skadi about price changes being area specific, but they are also specific to the type of property. A check on rightmove or zoopla for similar properties in a similar area will give you a quick idea as to whether you are in the right price bracket.   A key issue is how the property is currently financed? Do you own it outright or is there a mortgage? If your financing costs have increased, that would be a reason to look to recover that additional cost by rent returns. I own outright, so if I've got a tenant in situ, I don't increase rent. I'm aware that with inflation, that's not the best financial decision, but let's be honest, landlording is money for not really doing very much, so I have neither the need nor compulsion to get the best possible deal. It has also led to good tenants staying put, which is a win. 
  4. BREXIT positives and negatives

    Among its many flaws and potentially awful consequences, the Retained EU law bill is relevant to any attempt by the UK to have an improved relationship with the EU, which is doubtless one of the reasons why so many Brexit hard liners want it to be pushed through (I know there are exceptions). As present, if the UK wanted some sort of improved relationship with the EU it would be possible in principle at least because there is still a level playing field: the UK has barely moved away from the legislative framework applicable to EU member states. That would change drastically and immediately upon the Bill being enacted.  
  5. The nationality rules for working for the UK government are even stricter. You can check your status via the following link (although note most of the comments about EEA nationals are relevant to people who qualify for the European Settlement Scheme - i.e. they were in the UK by 2021): Civil Service Nationality Rules (publishing.service.gov.uk)
  6. Sadly not that straight forward. Your employer has to have a licence to employ non-UK/Irish nationals, show they have tried to hire your role in the UK first, and then you can apply for a visa. It takes a bit of time and is an expensive process these days...for example, there's now an NHS surcharge of almost £4k to pay for each individual wanting to get there, in addition to the visa application fee.    
  7. BREXIT positives and negatives

    Yes, but it is flawed to take the change in obesity levels out of context, such as the point @Keleth was making about both parents now often needing to work. The correlation between obesity and poverty in developed countries is well proven (and conversely that being slim/skinny is considered desirable and associated with affluence in well off countries, rather than an indicator of someone who could not afford food). We are in a fortunate position where we have time to go to the market/bioladen for good quality, fresh produce and cook fresh meals every day.  However, the majority of working families (and particularly those in poorer households) don't have time for that, and buy food from the supermarket and heat up ready made meals (or parts thereof). The cheaper range of food in supermarkets, particularly ready meals, has higher salt, sugar and fat levels. This leads directly to poorer health outcomes (including, but not limited to obesity) for children eating it. I don't believe there are mums out there who are delighted to be putting poor quality food into their children's stomachs.          
  8. Boris Becker home in Germany

    He gave a long interview on SAT1 the night before last. I managed to watch about 5 minutes of it, before being unable to hear the unrepentant, self-pitying clown any more. Apparently it is inhumane to forbid him from having a mobile phone in prison...or assumedly expect him to be honest with the tax authorities.   Whilst Ulrich has clearly got a lot of personal problems, I tend to find the German media view his career/performance as unambiguously positive as his EPO tests (source: French Senate releases positive EPO cases from 1998 Tour de France | Cyclingnews ). I can understand the potential argument that almost all cyclists seem to have been doping in the 90s and early 2000s, but they tend to skip over that issue entirely.  
  9. What made you laugh today?

    That is brilliant. The name alone would have got me popping in for a quick cup of tea. Do you know if it's run by the inmates/recently released?  I think it is quite common for prisons to offer that sort of rehabilitation assistance. At least, that was the case at the Jailhouse Cafe by the Verne on Portland. I used to go there during the years I advised at the immigration detention centre. These days the Verne is mostly known for being Gary Glitter's current UK address, so I'm guessing not many people would want him serving drinks. 
  10. Tips on bathroom renovation

    For a 7m2 bathroom? Perhaps you want to revisit how much you dislike DIY! Alternatively, speak with neighbours who know local tradesmen. If you can find one good recommendation for, say, someone who can tile, then you could ask that person for a recommendation for someone to do the other jobs. It sounds as though you are paying an absolute premium for a one-stop shop. Particularly as they aren't providing the bathroom furniture: which by the way, is a potential point of concern ("well, this shower/sink has an unusual fitting, not covered in the original quote" or later on: "well, the fact the jets aren't working in the shower isn't a result of our work, you bought a shoddy product" etc etc)       
  11. My mistake, I was too quick replying. Just drain the radiator then. Close the taps, unscrew the pipes and lift it off the wall. Tip/pour the sludge into a bucket. It's quick to do, but ideally a two man job it it's a big radiator. Probably worth pouring a bottle of Fernox through the system too.
  12. Probably just full of air and needs bleeding. Pop to the Baumarkt and buy an Entluftungsschluessel (they cost about a euro). There are loads of videos online to help you do this, but in short, get on old rag to hold underneath the key and turn it until water comes out. As soon as water comes out, tighten it up. You will probably then need to go back to the boiler and add a bit of water to the system afterwards to get it back up to pressure. Start at the radiator nearest the boiler and work your way around the house. It's not a particularly messy, time consuming or unpleasant job...and it should leave you with warm radiators.
  13. Implications of refusing to work Xmas

    You're lucky to be on a full year contract. We turn a blind eye to the fact that you outsource almost all of "your work", but listen Santa, Xmas Eve and Xmas Day are YOUR days. Stick your costume on, get the sleigh ready and suck it up. You can put your feet up again on 26 December. ....sorry, couldn't resist...
  14. What's got you flummoxed today?

    I had to pretend to Kid 2 that I'd got the teams mixed up, after I accidentally cheered when Japan equalised. Japan deserved it. Germany looked like they could have played all day without scoring unless they picked up a penalty. Seeing how Spain are playing (7-0 and counting), Germany are on course to be out of the tournament by Sunday.  
  15. That strikes me as an odd request. It would help to know the reason/background? As @kathdonn mentioned, joining a sports club is one of the best ways for non-German speaking kids to learn the language. Football in particular is a great integrator (without wishing to paraphrase Fifa). Pretty sure every single team my kids have played for and against in Germany have had a few non-native speakers.   If your wish is just for your kids to meet other English speakers, then an expat sport is likely to be your friend. Years ago a mate of mine played rugby for Munich, and at the time it was pretty much only English speakers. They have clubs for all ages:  Home < MRFC