Wednesday 30 January 2008

Starbacks is here!

Oh yippee.

Things in Summertown are hotting up. We lost our post office to a Costa Coffee in the past year. Many would argue that you don't need a post office. Why have a local post office that you can conveniently use, when, for greater expense and inconvenience, you can make a trip in to the main post office in the centre of town? What I especially like about the city centre post office is the queues. Somehow the transaction once you reach the counter seems so much sweeter if you have spent 15min in a queue beforehand. Only a few months ago I had to tell some odd looking bloke that he really shouldn't be smoking in the queue in the post office. He was most apologetic and didn't stab me or anything!

I'm really glad the government privatised the Royal Mail. The government is cleverer than us plebs and realised quite early on that people actually hate having local amenities, particularly if they help support a community.

Anyway, the reason I started this post was to mention that, like a slowly spreading cancer, Starbucks is moving in to Summertown on the other side of the street from Costa. Hoorah! The shop they are taking over was a sanctuary for abandoned cute kittens. Or something like that.

So we are now another carbon copy suburb with two major chain coffee houses opposite each other. It's kind of sickening really, but, hey, that's life!

Sunday 27 January 2008

Fighty Oxford

I'm not sure what it is about Oxford, but I have probably seen more hassle out when drinking here than I ever seen in Dundee or London.

From sectarian nob-heads and breaking up attacks on foreigners, to my amniosity-attracting Mexican amigo there always seems to be something going on.

Sometimes I wish I had little brother's fighty skills. Last night it would have been handy as I would have smashed some arrogant git's face at The Turf. Some coward threw a pint over the barman for asking everyone to leave the pub at closing time. Not really the sort of thing you expect at the Turf. As he slinked off, twat-face bully-boy started berating the barman when he mistakenly accused him of throwing the pint. Alright it wasn't him but it was his pathetic mate. Classic bully, saying "Everyone's laughing at you for this". They weren't - everyone was looking at him thinking "what a twat", and if they were like me they were probably thinking "I'd love to smash your arrogant face in."

Of course violence solves nothing, so I proved my superiority by letting him go unscathed. That will teach him!

Wednesday 16 January 2008

Official - Dundee is pure dead clever

According to the Intelligent Community Forum (based in New York), Dundee is one of the most intelligent cities in the world.

Dundee-born professor of international politics at Heid the Ba' University, Elsbeth Broon, made the following statement:

"Eh always k'ent eh was mair cleverer than thon gadgies fae Glasgae"

Sunday 13 January 2008

Not Running Man

One of my New Year's resolutions was to get some decent running shoes and go running with Wendy. My aerobic fitness has always been rubbish, and I though that maybe if I tried running I might be able to get back in to rugby eventually.

So yesterday we went to a running shop in Oxford and I bought a pair of Mizuno running shoes for £75. This morning Wendy and I went running for about 45min.

Now I can barely walk. My knees, in particular my left one, are killing me. I've always had dodgy knees (since a fall at Kev's - kitchen/water pistol combination) and then I hit my left knee pretty hard when I fell in Spain whilst climbing.

So apparently I can go back to the shop and get a free consultation from the physio there. I reckon I have two choices - no more running ever again, or some kind of surgery. The sort of surgery where the NHS will try to fob you off with "rest" and painkillers for a few months first. Meh.

Saturday 12 January 2008

3D Wii games

A bit nerdy, but still very cool. This PhD student has made a 3D system using the Wii. Games would be so cool with this. More proof that Wii rules!

Saturday 5 January 2008

Can you deep fry it?


I never seen, let alone eaten, a deep-fried battered Mars bar. However, I am quite a fan of deep fried pizzas. I thought I would post up a photo of this delicacy for those of you who may be curious. Bought from the Fish n' Chip shop in Monifieth.

On a different culinary level, we went to the But n' Ben in Auchmithie. Never been there before - great place! I had the Arbroath Smokie Pancake, which was delicious. Highly recommended.
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Thursday 3 January 2008

Charlie bit me!

We keep watching this video again and again:

and if you like that one, then watch this one too:

Tuesday 1 January 2008

Anyone got a spare £500,000?

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Just over 7 years ago, I was suffering from a monster hangover. It was the day after my 21st birthday and towards the end of the previous night I had engaged in some discussions with the porcelain gods.

What better way to get over the lingering feelings of nausea than going on a drive along some winding Fife roads. The point of this journey was to pick up my 21st birthday present - my kilt outfit.

Accompanied by my then-girlfriend, Donna, Mum drove us over the Tay Road Bridge and through Fife to Caledonia Highland Dress in Abernethy (as an aside I looked for their website so I could link to it - they don't have one, so this will have to do, but I did find an amusing kilt-related story which quotes the owner).

On the way to the kilt shop, Mum had to pull over a few times so that I could, umm, admire the views.

At one of the stops I saw the building in the picture above.

At the time I remember thinking that it was a fantastic looking old building and would be a great project to restore and turn into a big house.

Over the following seven years I always meant to try and find it again to take a proper look - if it was still there.

So last week, Dad, Fraser and I took another journey over to Fife. I couldn't remember exactly which route we had taken. I could only remember that it was about 50m from the road and that it was a building surrounding a kind of courtyard. It was amazing when we finally found it - we were starting to think we would not find it - perhaps it had already been knocked down.

Was was more interesting was that there was a for sale sign up outside it. It seems it has recently been put on the market. We guessed that it might be for sale for between £100,000 - £180,000, but in fact it is up for a cool £275,000. It does have planning permission to convert it into three residences and it also has a fair plot of land, but even still it seems a tad expensive for what it is.

At a rough guess (based mainly on watching Grand Designs and the like!) we reckon it might need around £250,000 spent on it to turn it into three decent residences, bringing the spend to £525,000. So to get a decent return you'd probably want to sell each residence for about £250,000 to get £750,000 in total and make a decent £225,000 profit (30%) with some room for overspend.

Things is I don't think you'd get £250,000 for the properties. I do, however, think the current property is overvalued. Maybe I can get it for £150,000. Perhaps it needs more properties to be build on the land includes in the plot. That would lower the value of the original building conversion and there is no planning permission to do that. Plus it would be rubbish in that stereotypical "greedy property developers who cram as many rubbish modern building into small plots of land thus ruining nice existing buildings" way.

I've checked my finances and I have £250 to invest. So I am looking for a co-investee to invest £524,750. The co-investee gets all their investment back, but profits are split with me 50:50, coz it's my idea. It's an unusual investment proposal, but I think it can work.

Anyway, the reason I posted all this is just that I think it is cool that I have been thinking about this place for seven years, with only a vague memory of it, and now we found it. I hope somebody does buy it and do a good job in restoring it. I would love to go back in a few years and see three nice homes there.

Have a look at the rest of the photos:

Happy New Year!

Well, a very Happy New Year to those of you who ever read my ramblings here!

I had a great night last night in Carnoustie at Cara's parent's. Was great to see Greg and Cara and a whole bunch of other faces that I hadn't seen for a while.

About now I should be thinking about what New Years resolutions I should attempt to stick to. Of course I can't mention them here, otherwise I would be admitting to vices that I probably shouldn't have in the first place. I will stop doing wheelies on the way to work...hmmm...