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Everything posted by Marisawright

  1. That changes things. The cost of flying to and fro every year would wipe out any savings you might make from cheaper housing or other costs in the UK, so I think you'd be mad to consider moving. The only reason we think it may work for us, is that we have NO family left in Australia so once moved, we wouldn't come back for holidays at all.
  2. Marisawright

    Bank Account

    They are what's called a community bank. I used to like them very much but I've heard very little of them in recent years.
  3. Marisawright

    Funnel Web Spiders in the garden/house

    Me neither. Yes, funnel webs are far more common in some areas of Sydney than others.
  4. There is absolutely no sign or suggestion of that, if you mean the AGE pension. However, if you have any other kind of pension (e.g. disability), you already lose it if you go overseas. I suspect that may be the confusion.
  5. I can't offer you a spreadsheet, but we have been debating a similar issue ourselves. When comparing areas in Australia, I think the most important thing is the cost of housing. If you're in a major Australian city, that's your biggest cost whether you own or rent: if you own, you've got more money tied up in property (and therefore less to spend); if you rent, then you're paying out more money every month. Last time I looked, the ranking by house prices for Australian cities went from Sydney (most expensive), then Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, to Hobart (cheapest). Not sure where Darwin fits in! House prices outside the cities (and away from the coastal resorts) are cheaper than any of the cities, but you have to consider whether a country lifestyle is for you. Life in a small town in Australia is very different from life in a small town in the UK - they are so far apart, for one thing. Both purchase and rental prices are easy to compare on domain.com.au The big issue with returning to the UK is tax and pension implications. If you're not already getting the Australian aged pension, you won't be able to get it in the UK, ever (you have to be living in Australia at the time you become eligible). You may not be eligible for any UK benefits for some time after you arrive. You should also check what your entitlement to the UK pension would be: http://www.britishpensions.org.au/pension-guidelines.htm#No1 http://www.britishpensions.org.au/travelling.htm If you have investments in Australia and leave them in Australia, you will pay a lot more tax on them - because as a non-resident, you'll be taxed on every cent, instead of getting a tax-free threshold. In the scheme of things, the cost of moving is not really an issue. We looked into it, and the difference between moving our house contents to Melbourne and moving to the UK wasn't that great!
  6. Marisawright

    Bank Account

    If you're likely to have an ongoing need to transfer money between the UK and Oz, consider Citibank. Better exchange rates than any of the "big four" Australian banks, and commission-free transfers. Most people open an account with one of the big four banks - Commonwealth, ANZ, NAB and Westpac - but be warned, because they are the biggest banks, they also charge the biggest fees and offer the least generous mortgage and loan rates. HSBC and Citibank both have Australian arms and offer better terms (and better service!). They don't have as many branches but they have deals with other banks for the free use of ATM's - and anyway, with online banking, branches are not that necessary any more.
  7. Absolutely true. The incident described happened when the person was committing an offence (jaywalking). Since none of us can absolutely guarantee that we won't break the law or be involved in an incident (even as a witness), carrying some kind of ID is a good idea.
  8. Marisawright

    Funnel Web Spiders in the garden/house

    A little worried! I'd be frantic. There haven't been any fatalities from funnel web bites for years, but that's not because they're not dangerous - the bite can be fatal if not treated. The female spider tends to stay put, it's the male that wanders into houses and he's far more venomous, so the one in the house needs to be killed! I think it would be worth getting pest control in to remove the existing spiders, but it sounds like you're in a funnel web area, so new ones will soon move in. The only permanent solution is to remove potential habitats and learn how to stay safe. Here are some good tips from pestforce.com.au Ensure that all gaps under your doors are sealed tightly with weather-strips. Keep the yard tidy as the more things you have on the ground, the more spider harbourage you are providing. Never leave boots, shoes etc. outside over night. Never leave children's'toys outside overnight. Check sand pits before allowing children to enter them, especially if they have a cover, because the cover provides an ideal habitat for the males to hide under. Never leave a washing basket on the ground outside, as it is a common scenario for a spider to climb inside before the basket is carried back into the house. If you have a pool, check it before swimming. A pool is like a large pit trap that catches all kinds of things, including spiders. (Snakes have also been found in pools). Never leave towels or clothing on the ground around your pool. Reduce the spider habitat around your house. Leaf litter and rockeries are attractive; however if you don't want spiders, reduce them. Funnelweb spiders like damp South facing slopes, so be especially aware if you have moist conditions. Be especially alert for spider activity after periods of rain. Educate your children to be 'spider aware'. Protect yourself when gardening, wearing gloves and decent boots, and keep your eyes open.
  9. Marisawright

    Can I reuse posted stamps ?

    A stamp is valid until it's been cancelled, so if it has no mark on it, it can be re-used.
  10. Marisawright

    My experience of 7 years in Australia

    I reckon this thread should be made sticky and compulsory reading for all would-be migrants, because it presents a very fair, balanced and accurate view of life in Australia today. The two things which stand out for me are the job opportunities (from 1985 when I arrived, right through till 2010, I could cherry pick my jobs - but no longer) and the friendship issue.
  11. Marisawright

    Diary of Disguntled Pom

    Knowing Karratha, I have to admire the OP for managing to feel so positive about it for as long as they did! I wouldn't live up that way for any money.
  12. Marisawright

    Are british people obsessed with the weather..?

    I think it depends WHERE in the UK you come from. When I moved to London from Aberdeen, i remember being stunned at how good the weather was - it had never occurred to me that there would be such a big difference between the two, since the UK is not a big place. Look at a map of Europe and most of it is south of the UK, which means the summers are warmer - and it's the lack of sunshine that most people mean when they talk about weather. As for Scandinavia, I agree their winters are much worse than ours - but as someone from the North, I'd say I'd much prefer the crisp deep snow of Scandinavia to the slushy, sleety stuff that characterises a UK winter.
  13. Marisawright


    For me, the solution was eBay. Yes, I know it's a bit of work - but it made a HUGE difference to me when I was able to sell stuff rather than just throw it away. It didn't seem nearly so wasteful. I made $6,000 by simply selling stuff from around the house, and I'm definitely not a hoarder. It's easy to sell collectables like ornaments, coins, dinner sets (sell the pieces separately, people are always looking to replace broken bits), "vintage" clothing (I was shocked to realise some of my 90's clothes are regarded as vintage!). It costs nothing to sell up to (I think) 40 items a month, so you've lost nothing if it doesn't work. Bigger items like furniture are better sold on Gumtree.
  14. Marisawright

    Lets not be so judgemental

    I've already posted my deep concerns about you, Jack, and feel you really should see a therapist to get some insight into your own personality. I hope you did that quiz I linked for you. I don't think you are likely to get what you want in life unless you understand yourself better.
  15. Do you have a drink or two in the evening? One major downside of alcohol is that it helps you get to sleep at first, but then as it gets through your system, it actually prevents you sleeping. I used to have the same problem until I read an article about it! Now, I know if I have over two glasses of wine, I've got to accept the price is that I'm going to be wide awake at three in the morning.
  16. Marisawright

    Just thinking...

    If he's disappeared again it's probably my fault. I see my post suggesting he take a psychological quiz has been deleted so he probably complained about it. The result suggested he definitely has sociopathic tendencies so he probably didn't like it....
  17. Marisawright

    The consequences of a failed migration ten years on

    I wouldn't suggest trying to change him at all! However if one of the things he misses is playing with his brothers, then perhaps it would help if he had more boys to play with outside of school.
  18. Marisawright

    The consequences of a failed migration ten years on

    Well, there's always the risk that she won't have children and then she will never realise. My parents were also very protective, because I had severe asthma as a child. Even mild exercise gave me attacks and in those days in Scotland. inhalers were unheard of, so they were very cautious about what I was allowed to do. Although my older sisters stayed at home right through university and beyond, I couldn't leave home fast enough, because I felt so restricted. I never had children of my own, and it was only when I got into my 50's and started hearing my friends talk about their heartbreak over their children leaving home, that I began to realise I was anything more than an annoying burden to my mother. She seemed to spend all her time amusing me or looking after me. When I left home, I just thought she'd enjoy the freedom to do what she wanted for a change (thought - maybe that's in the back of your son's mind too?). It's so sad that I didn't understand that until she'd passed away. It sounds like he needs more friends too, though. School isn't always the best place to make them, especially if he's a bit of a loner - it's too easy to avoid interaction. Being involved in group activities, when you're not there and where he has to interact with other boys, might get him out of his shell. Boy scouts? Swim team?
  19. Marisawright

    Migrating while not Skilled

    Yes, but how do they know whether there "good" career choice would've been any better, or that the "long term benefits" would actually have materialised? I think it's far too early in one's thirties to be afraid of leaving a job - jobs are not for life these days, so whatever job you're in at 30, you're unlikely to be in it at 35. Besides, there are always other jobs - maybe even better than the one you leave. As a manager in several big corporations, I've been involved in (though, thankfully, not responsible for) many redundancies. In the nature of such things, most were long-term, loyal employees who were devastated at the loss of security. But the amazing thing is, I was surprised at how many of them landed on their feet (even though it took a while for some) - they got a better job, or moved to the country and opened the business they'd always dreamed of.
  20. Marisawright

    best oz city for outdoor lifestyle?

    As Snifter says, there are no countryside walks here. The bush is very different to British countryside, and you'll have to go to the National Parks if you want to bushwalk. The other thing to be aware of is that you have to adjust your activities to suit the weather - you'll probably go walking in the winter here, because it's too hot in the summer (not to mention the danger of walking into bushfires). The exception would be if you go to Tasmania. It also depends what you mean by "safe beaches". Many of the beaches have surf - Aussies will tell you that's perfectly safe but you do need to know what you're doing, e.g. what to do if you're caught in a rip, swim between the flags etc. My personal definition of a safe beach is no surf, because I'm not a strong swimmer. In tropical areas (e.g. Queensland north of Gladstone, Northern Territory), you can't swim in the sea from November to May/June due to marine stingers, unless you wear a full-length stinger suit or swim in stinger-netted areas. The Northern Territory also has salt water crocodiles. Of course sharks are the obvious concern - however shark attacks on swimmers aren't all that common. I'd be more worried if I was a surfer. I guess that's really telling you where to avoid rather than where to go!
  21. Marisawright

    Things to do during a trip to Perth

    Why are you visiting? Is it a recce to see if you'd like to live there? Remember, if you get your visa then you'll have plenty of time to visit all those touristy places later. Visiting Perth and doing all the fun things just feeds your fantasies, it's not helping you get ready for your move. If it's a research trip, you need to treat it like one! Driving around the suburbs gives you no idea which ones you can afford. What's the point of going home thinking, "I like .... , we'll live there", when you don't know whether it's achievable? House prices in Australia are expensive. Don't trust what you see on the internet - houses are often smaller or in poorer condition than they look. You need to actually visit some houses for sale in the suburbs you like. If I was on a recce I'd be spending three or four days scoping out housing. Visit a supermarket and some department stores and check out the prices. Go to the kind of restaurants you're likely to visit when you live there. Are they affordable? What kind of night life do you enjoy? Can you find it in Perth? What hobbies do you have? Visit the places where you will do those hobbies (for instance, if you ballroom dance, find a couple of dance schools and try out their classes - if you play golf, don't just look at a golf club, play a round and check out the clubhouse).
  22. Marisawright

    The consequences of a failed migration ten years on

    This story struck a chord with me because a similar thing happened to my husband in his first marriage. His wife ran off with another man, leaving their 8 year old daughter behind. Eventually she settled down and it was arranged that the daughter would stay with her Mum on weekends and her Dad during the week. At the age of 13, the daughter announced that she wanted to live with her Mum during the week instead. Gradually her weekends with Dad dwindled to a Saturday afternoon visit - her Mum was part of a huge extended family and there were always family occasions on the weekend which she didn't want to miss. The sad thing is that my husband allowed it to happen, and lost the bond with her to such an extent that when she got married, she asked her stepfather to walk her down the aisle (though she did invite her Dad to the wedding - he didn't go, too heartbroken). He still doesn't understand how his little girl, whom he cared for so devotedly when her mother abandoned her, could want to leave him. Knowing him as I do, I suspect I know the reason - and I wonder if it's a factor with your son, too: too much devotion. He was so concerned about keeping her safe that he wasn't allowing her enough freedom, and it was suffocating. Your son says his life is boring and he misses his brothers. That's understandable but would be less of a problem if he had a good circle of boys to socialise with. Have you been so busy making sure he gets quality mother-and-son time that you haven't allowed him enough time away from you, whether at boy scouts or the local swim team or other team activities? It would be very understandable if you have turned into a helicopter parent and he may just be getting to that stage in a boy's life where he wants more independence.
  23. Marisawright

    Won't be going back any time soon.

    I can understand absolutely why you feel the need. You know that people here won't think you're mad for feeling more upset about not going back than about the cancer. We've been planning to go back for a couple of years and health issues kept getting in the way for us too - a skin cancer scare for my husband and then a spinal operation for me. We're now aiming at a move next year but I've got to the stage where I'm just waiting for the next hiccup to arrive! Of course your partner is going to be disappointed but I'm sure that's the last thing he's thinking about right now, no matter how desperate he's been to return. It's all about looking after YOU now, for both of you. All the very best for the journey ahead. The good thing is that you can get access to good medical care in both countries.
  24. Marisawright

    Ideas on where to live?

    Manly is a long ferry ride - yes it's on a boat so it's a great way to travel, but it is expensive and it's two hours out of your day. If you want to be near the beach I'd be more inclined to go Eastern Suburbs - Coogee, Bronte, Clovelly. Those beaches are a magnet for young people and have a nice vibe. Randwick is a good suburb which is close to all those beaches with cheap rentals, and there are express buses which go via the Eastern Distributor into town. I haven't looked at property in Surry Hills in a while, but I'd have thought $500 would get you a shoebox there.
  25. Marisawright

    Sydney - TAX Agent Recommendations

    If you both work in ordinary jobs, then I'd just go to H&R Block or somewhere that offers a fixed price, cheap service. It's very unlikely you'll have many deductions. Australians always make me laugh with their "accountants", as if the tax system is horrendously complicated or something. I always did my own tax until I bought an investment property, then I got a tax agent because of the depreciation etc. He didn't find any extra deductions or perks that I hadn't previously claimed, so there was no benefit in using him apart from the property. These days you can do it online and it's not complicated.