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simon t

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About simon t

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  • Birthday 10/08/1963
  1. simon t

    Chiropractor / Physio

    Hi - not sure if you're still interested in a recommendation, but i hav tried 4/5 physios around sydney without great success. Started reading a book called the Back Sufferer's Bible by someone called Sarah Key, one of the best known experts in the world on backs and physio of choice to Prince Charles etc. well, as turns out she has a clinic in Sydney - Sarah Key Physio (just google it) - she is expensive but she has associates who practice the same approach. No back pain for me for the past 6 months. I'm an endurance cyclist, so when i get a problem it's debilitating. hope this helps.
  2. Very much agree with the above replies. To anyone reading these threads from the UK and wondering about the "risks". YOU CAN ALWAYS GO BACK. Folks this is not a rehearsal for life. This is life itself. Get up, try something different. If it doesnt work out, you can ... Yes you got it.
  3. Hi all - I'm wondering if anyone out there has had success in remortgaging their UK property whilst living in Oz and thus being non-resident. My mortgage broker reports that this is pretty difficult and can only come up with some very limited recommendations for companies willing to advance funds in this fashion (a company called B M Solutions, which is apparently an offshoot of Lloyds TSB). The rates look pretty uncompetitive (cheapest is 4.5%), there is a signficant set of up-front fees and a 1 year lock-in, which is off-putting given our situation (we are going PR, but probably with a view to returning to the UK/Europe in the medium/longer term, i.e. 5-10 years). the property is currently owned outright and produces a very good rental yield which we plan to use to offset the mortgage. so, has anyone had any success in this area of ex-pat life that they would share? - or any contacts/websites that they could forward. it would be much appreciated. best wishes simon t
  4. simon t

    move to Sydney - Help!

    Hi - noticed your post, and since i live in killara/lindfield may as well offer a comment or two. firstly, 1200 is a good amount rent-wise - its more or less exactly what we pay and we have a large house, pool etc. so that should get you 4-5 beds and something very comfy. the problem is supply - its very difficult to get agents to do much before you get here because good things disappear quickly. bear that in mind and you will find something OK. but you need to be flexible. the problem is not housing here so much as schools. you won't find many kind words amongst the locals re the public (i.e. state) school system. most people who can afford to go private in this part of the world do so - some of course because they can easily afford it. however we had three kids in state school in the Uk and now have one. good public schools have now become the province of mainland chinese - Killara high is over 50% chinese for example. Now that's fine at one level, but its not going to get your kids mixing people from the area or who have a long term commitment to living in sydney (some do of course - but many just come for the schooling and head back). public schools here are woefully under funded, under resourced and poorly served in terms of building etc. but some have good results - Killara, Artarmon selective etc. in the end however we caved in to the North Shore trap - sent one kid into town the other to a girls school in north sydney. that's how it is for a lot of folks - 20-30k on school fees p.a. so the irony of the North Shore is that it is not fantastic either as regards choice or quality of public schools. better actually to head to lane cove or ryde where there is a much greater percentage of kids who use the public system. or the inner west if that is convenient. good luck.
  5. hi freebo - commuting by train on the north shore is absolutely fine. i usually cycle in to CBD from Killara, but sometimes take the train - it's sometimes standing room only, but usually on time and quite cheap - $8 to redfern return. it takes about 25 mins or so - would be a bit longer from Hornsby - but then there are expressses - expect about 40 mins plus. much better bet than the car, unless you are an early bird and can get away by 6.30 - 7pm and you're dead meat sitting on the Pacific Highway for over an hour, congested bridge, no parking in town etc. if you fancy trying out the cycle - there are two groups who do the commute daily from the North Shore - Easy Riders and Bush to Bridge. you could good them eaily enough. door to door is about the same as the train, much quicker than the car. best wishes.
  6. you'll both be fine if you go out there with a positive attitude and a willingness to try new new things and not judge others. my experience is that sydneysiders are very open, friendly and willing to give folks a fair go as they say here. certainly if you enjoy sport that will help a great deal and open a few doors - i cycle to work with a big group on the north shore, and they have been terrific from day one. just watch out for the banter and inevitable (light hearted) pom bashing. Give as good as you get and you'll be stars. the other thing to bear in mkind is that sydney is a large, diverse cosmopolitan city with plenty of folks from the UK, Europe and elsewhere. it's easy to mix with both locals and ex-pats who will also be on the look out for new pals etc. Sydney is a great place - you have made the right choice - enjoy. best wishes.
  7. cheap private schools? hmmm - we pay 20k for one kid and over 4k for one in a catholic school and another 4k for the youngest in state school. we have had a good look at schools on the north shore here in sydney and there is a real gap between the quality of the state schools and the private - within the private sector there are very few of the top schools that charge less than 20k - loreto kirribilli and a fw others in north sydney - but the big names like Knox, PLC, Barker are all 20k - reasonable they are not. on the other hand (and bear this in mind) - i work at sydney uni and you will not get a place for most courses with less than 90 at the HSC - very few kids in state schools will get those sorts of scores. it is a harsh reality, but lie here is more class bound, more expensive and privileged than the UK (where we sent all our kids to the local state school) - pity, but that's life (here).
  8. simon t

    ? Which North Shore Suburb

    quigs - my advice is to find an area with a good school where you can afford to live. we have children scattered over the NS in different schools and it makes life difficult in many ways, not least for the children who would have liked being closer to friends instead of having be driven everywhere or catch long train and bus journeys. the problem with mosman and cremorne is that the traffic is a total nightmare a lot of the time, even on the weekend. so there's little point in thinking that it would be good to send kids there and commute from balgowlah IMHO - this will guarantee and awful lot of time spent sitting in traffic jams getting hot under the collar, not knowing anyone in the actual locale where you live. Better to live in Balgowlah itself which has as good a set of schools as anywhere. the other possibility is to move further up the NS towards or past chatswood - suburbs like ararmon and roseville and family friendly and they have the train into the city which makes life bearable. or further out places like killara, gordon, wahroonga - same sort of logic and some lovely little schools like the Bush School in Wahroonga etc. main thing is you need to try the ddrive around for yourself. if you are used say to london driving, great - if not, get family, schools and house in the same location. all the best with the move.
  9. simon t

    would love some help!!!:-)

    OK so we live in Killara - well on the border with Lindfield - three kids at school. Killara high school is the best on NSW - but killarney heights is also well thought of over the roseville bridge. Other than that the public shcools are not great IMHO and most who can afford it on the north shore go private - not least because there is a huge amount of choice. but then the fees are ridiculous, so that might not be an option. more generally the north shore is quite different in character and feel to the northern beaches. The north shore is broadly 'old money'; much more expensive (and snooty) - but with that all important train line into town. NB is newer, younger and more about beaches and local community than being a suburb of CBD. It is of course cheaper, and you don't see the classic federation bungalows and large double brick houses as one does on the NS. On the other hand more people use the local public schools which i hear are pretty good. so its all about choices. we liked the NS because of ease of transport, calm aspect and choice of schools. But our youngest kid goes to killarney heights, so we have a bit of both - and many of our friends live in KH, frenchs forest, forestville etc! hope this helps!.
  10. Hi Capn'n - don't listen to the naysayers. it's perfectly possible to cycle in from the Northern Beaches. I do it from Killara and i had all the same views (ooh its terribly dangerous, :realmad: ...). The i found a 'bike bus' called Easy Riders and they come past the house every morning at 6.47. Best mates i have in sydney now. I know there's an express bus from Narrabeen which would be very similar - just google 'Sydney Bike Bus'. the sydney cyclist website is also a good place to get in contact with folks. lots of people do it; its great fun in a great climate and will get you talking to a lot of positive folks on your way in instead of sulking on a boring commuter bus. You'll also be bloody fit and lose half a stone. Good luck mate. :biggrin:
  11. simon t

    Moving money from Uk

    hi noel - i am in the same boat having moved in jan with the proceeds of a house sale. do not under any circs change at 1.98 to the pound which is the lowest rate for decades. recall that only in november it was 2.6 for a bit and has bounced around all over the place since. also the house market is on the slide here and it's a good time to just sit in a rented place and bide your time. prices should fall 20-30% over the course of the year ... (they have already fallen 20% in areas of teh north shore in sydney where i live, Perth, parts of Bris etc) hope this helps
  12. dear hogand - as you can see i don't post here much, but i was in dee why this afternoon and live up the road towards chatswood so thought i would off load some impressions for you after 4 months in the area. Dee why (DW) is a nice enough area though nothing special in my book. it has a great beach front and one one of the livliest club/bar scenes in the northern beaches area but that's not actually saying a great deal, as most of the areas like collaroy and narrabeen are very quiet. it'sa bit like weston-super-mare with BBQs and a surf scene - so if that's your kind of thing, great. Avalon is much further away, and MUCH quieter - though there are still commuters from here to CBD. it will drive you bonkers to do the drive daily, but say if one had to do it three days a week then you just might keep your sanity. Leave at 6.30, not after 7.30 - that sort of thing. there are express buses to CBD taking an hour or so full of sleeping commuters - again, if that' your thing and you are used to say commuting from Brighton to london then it would be recognisable. but then brighton is lively, relatively cheap and close to france - none of which applies to avalon. If you work in CBD try to be on a train line and remember that the beaches are never far from hand - one doesn't have to live on them to enjoy them. i lie in roseville and we get to the beaches in 20 mins. but we also get everywhere else quickly and painlessly because of te train line which the northern beaches don't have. If one really HAS to be near a beach live closer to Manly which is Fab (or seaforth, Balgolah, Brookvale) and catch the ferry to CBD. there are pretty good schools there too. hope this helps
  13. simon t

    are we doing the right thing!!

    dear Vicky and Simon - we're in almost exactly the same boat - job in Oz, three kids (13,11,8) and my name is even the same ... and we're waiting on immigration etc, selling a house (or not). the way i see it one is going to have days when one doubts the wisdom of moving. what we do is go back to fundamentals: why did we start down this road in the first place? in our case, boredom with the UK, desire for better climate, change of scene, new experiences for ourselves and the kids, less crime, etc etc. that has not changed - what has changed is the economic scene in the UK - but read the ozzie news: houses prices will shortly be sinking there, taking away one of the problems in the transition (for us). and if one doesn't like it, one comes back. it's not like the 1950s when people had to go and stay, is it? hope this helps. simon t
  14. simon t

    schools in Sydney/Manly

    Jo - any idea what the commute to CBD is like from where you live? - i agree it looks like a great part of Sydney (but i imagine the commute is horrendous ...) - do you know anyone who cycles in from there (other half gets the car ...)? best simon
  15. simon t

    schools in Sydney/Manly

    hi ray and hayley apologies for the delay in replying - its a bit mental here trying to sell houses, negotiate contracts, etc. we have been impressed by two school so far on the north shore: Killara High and Killarney Heights Public School - which has bilingual (french/english) primary (other half is french) - these seem to be in areas we can afford on our budget and with our needs - 5 members of family and 1 salary! be good to swap info if you have any. We are heading out early November for a scout around and ideally would have 4/5 schools to look at before start of year in January. The other area we are lookig at is the southern strip between Como and Cronulla - which also has a train line to get to CBD where i will be working. all the best simon
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