Friday, 18 November 2016

watch out for puddings

On holiday my wife and l were eating with another couple one evening.  The guy was okay, he was another cyclist, but l didn't get on too well with his wife.
It got to the pudding stage and her cheesecake wasn't right.  There were a couple of specs of red on the plate, possibly someone had cut themselves in the kitchen.  She wasn't happy, which was fair enough. 
There was a bit of a conversation about this.  If it was blood some of it might have been on the plate before the cheesecake went on it.  Blood might have soaked into the biscuit base.  She could end up ingesting it.  She might catch something nasty.  With that in mind she was trying to attract a waiter. 
I asked her if she minded if l cut the cheesecake in half.  "No" she said, "I'm sending it back, l don't want you messing about with it.  That's rude." 
I shrugged but let it slide, "So is the way you have just talked to me" I thought.
The waiter took it away. 
"So you're still having the cheesecake?"
"What do you mean by that?" She said.
"Well" I said.  "I've worked in kitchens.  If you're busy or don't care you just change the plate over and send the same thing out again.  Also, everything costs, you don't want to throw things away unless you have to."
"Oh," she said.  "They wouldn't do that sort of thing here."
A cheese cake / the cheese cake, came back out of the kitchen.  She looked at it.  She studied it HARD.  I could see her wracking her brains to remember what the last slice had looked like. 
For an uncomfortable 15 minutes the cheese cake remained on her plate, uneaten, with everyone pretending that they hadn't noticed.
I used to be an auditor.  You learn not to trust anyone.
I felt a bit bad about putting her off her pudding - but bearing in mind the cheesecake could have made her sick did l really have a choice?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Private sector rents are likely to rise - increasing demand for social tenancies

Politics seems to always be a victim to the law of unintended consequences.  In the summer the budget had measures to dampen down house price increases (to help people buy), but the consequences are likely to be making it more difficult to rent!
According to Savills, the estate agents, Britain will see steep rent rises over the next five years in rental prices.  This is due to the government campaign against buy-to-let investing in the budget.  Moves to put people off buying to let (to cut the demand for buying houses and thereby slow down house price rises) will constrain the supply of rental homes.

Savills, have said that London tenants face a 25 per cent increase to their rents over the next five years; renters elsewhere in the country will not fare much better, with a predicted 19 per cent rise!  The result is that rental growth is now set to far outstrip house price growth.  With the benefit of hindsight the moves to curb house prices probably were not needed any way.  Brexit uncertainty will probably do that all by itself.

“The rental growth is largely driven by the mismatch between supply and demand,” said Lucian Cook, director of residential research at Savills.  He added that moves to damp the buy-to-let market – which have included a stamp duty surcharge and plans to limit tax relief on mortgage interest payments – are pushing investors towards “higher yielding, lower demand markets”.  this means the areas of highest demand such as London, face tightening supply. 
What is worrying is that JLL, another estate agency group, also forecast steep rental growth, predicting a 17.6 per cent increase across the UK by 2021, with London rents rising 19.9 per cent, far outstripping predicted rates of inflation.

In a world where many cannot afford to buy anyway, renting looks like it is going to get harder too!