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Welcome - The International Writers Magazine - April Editorial 2011

blossom Welcome to the April edition of Hackwriters.

This is our favourite time of year when the blossom reaches it peak and with the April sunshine recently it was so good to be out and see so many people just walking and enjoying nature.
Driving near Woking last Sunday I was held up on a narrow road by a small deer just minding its own business. Later by the River Wey people were cycling, or canoeing and everyone was smiling. At home neighbours today not seen for months are smiling and doing stuff in their gardens. Elsewhere Libya, Syria, Yemen struggle for democracy in the lands of tyrants, and the Outer World panics as radiation spreads from Japan (where the death toll from the quake has now tragically reached a possible 28,000). On its way to Vancouver Island is this massive island of earthquake debris. Tofino Beach will be something to see in a few weeks I'd imagine. Horrible to see an image of all those abandoned dogs starving to death there. Meanwhile in Europe: Portugal, then probably Spain and Ireland (now reduced to Junk Bond status) might eventually default from all those billions of loans they can’t pay back. (Just why is the Euro so high against other currencies when at least four members of the monetary union are actually bankrupt?) Talking of Ireland, house and flat auctions are all the range there and people with cash are picking up real bargains. Get on a ferry now if you want to live in Dublin.

You could be forgiven for wanting to retreat, become a monk and find some tranquil Monastery on a mountain someplace where you don’t have to worry about finding a job or a mortgage or a heaven forbid a ‘lifestyle’. Sadly I think you will find that all that missing money (that, let’s face it, has to be somewhere, it doesn’t get chucked into the sea) has bought the Monastery on the hill and turned it into a billionaires luxury refuge and the Monks are out on their ears.

So as the world burns – I am trying to buy a house in a very unfashionable place.  Foolish I know, but needs must and since I am a full time carer now for one 91 year old who is determined to outlive God – a more suitable dwelling was needed.

So here’s the thing.  There are at least 25 million people over 60 in the UK and at the very least five million over 80.  Where are the houses with downstairs loos and showers?  Yes it is well known old people cannot go upstairs. Many houses are not suitable for Stannah stair lifts and to be honest, scraping excrement off a stair lift because they go so slowly is not my idea of fun. (Been there - done that).

The lack of homes suitable for the baby boomers in the UK is disastrous.  Every town I put into Right Move website and start searching for homes (or ground floor flats) reveals that I can eliminate 90% of all the homes in every town in England.  Of the remaining 10% the facilities are proudly put at the back of the kitchen or crammed airlessly under the stairs and en-suite – virtually never.  New builds are cramped and have no thought to how they might be shared – especially with someone who watches ‘Friends’ 24 hours a day.

In Canada and the USA toilets and showers are just not a problem.  Here in the UK houses are inflexible and expensive to change.  Worse, virtually nothing is built to maximise the warming value of the sun.  (If you have had a gas central heating bill lately you will understand what I mean).

I haven't found a place yet.  I despair of the acres of lincrusta wallpaper I’m going to have to scrape off when I do. (Please God let the people who make this crap go bust soon).  Many people seem to go out of their way to upgrade the décor to Skegness Boarding house circa 1950.  Have all those design programmes on TV been for naught?  Have the people of England learned nothing?  If in doubt use magnolia, not fluorescent pink or black wallpaper with silver bits on them.  One house in Rialto Avenue has had a superb extension added to it, but on the wrong side of the house.  Shouldn’t a sunroom get some sun?  It’s a quibble, but shows what can go wrong.  Another house, seriously considered, has expanded the ground floor to maximise the sun but left the old rooms completely stranded without walls and it looks like a stage set.  Getting things wrong can also mean your home is seriously over-priced for the neighbourhood.  Just because you have spent a fortune on your home doesn’t mean it has added any actual value to it.

That’s the other thing.  Estate agents might well blame the previous government for over cooking the economy but no one but themselves is responsible for the appalling indifference and shoddy service I have found.  There’s a good web site Mouseprice that is very informative re every property for sale in the UK and I recommend it. (More useful than Right Move for stats but less useful for actual quick viewing of properties).

Now comes the sticky bit with the mortgage.  All I want to do is port the mortgage.  You would think this would be simple right?  All the paperwork exists.  Just swop and go.  But noooooo.  You have to start from scratch again.  It’s not easy anymore.  They want blood! Banks are destroying this country to pay just a few people fantastic bonuses.  Never mind riots in Damascus, perhaps they are needed in our high streets too.  Where is Oliver Cromwell when you need him? But mid-month now, we are almost there and we might even get a moving date soon. Who knows. If the rest of the housing market is moving as slowly as this - how will they cope when the market revives? If it revives, you mutter...

Meanwhile, if you see an elderly lady sitting in a wheelchair with a sign around her neck in the middle of town soon, take her in, she’ll need an en-suite bedroom, many cups of tea and if she asks for me  - direct her to the nearest hill top Monastery.

Happy Easter readers. Take it easy.

**Hackwriters exists to give a platform for emerging writers and a forum for our regulars. If you find something you like let the writer know and spread the word.
© Sam North April 22nd 2011
Author of 'Diamonds - The Rush of '72'

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Editor – Hackwriters.com

Many thanks to all those who have contributed to this April edition from all over the world. Many thanks too to those who have bought my books recently (Discounts now available via Lulu). Another Place to Die has passed the 2995 figure now and that cheers me up. I will be discontinuing this title soon as I am in the process of selling a new version of it to a mainstream publisher. Now if I could get Mean Tide or Diamonds to sell as well, I'd be really happy. It really does help keep Hackswriters going. Take care out there.  Get writing.

Byt the way enjoy Modern Thai Food. Read Oi's fantastic recipies
Mean Tide by Sam North *Buy now and get 25% off
Mean Tide - a tale of spiritualism and a young boy's fascination with a murdered man. Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'

His father has disappeared, his mother is sick. Oliver, recovering from chemo, is sent to live with his psychic Grandma by the river in Greenwich. Oliver quickly discovers he is living with a world of strange people. When he finds a dog with its throat cut on the riverside, everything changes. Oliver wants to find the people who did this terrible thing and discovers the terrible truth about himself. (Young Adult Mystery)

The Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North
*Buy now and get 25% off
ISBN: 13: 978-1-4116-3748-1
302 pages - Lulu Press USA
'Chocolate will never be the same again' - Sunday Express
Buy from your favourite on-line retailer

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Barnes and Noble
& Waterstones
*New revised ebook edition due April/May 2011 -
Print version will cease at that time.

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