Ranty Friday

So, it looks like we are finally moving. To a bigger home, to accomodate the ever growing equipment that comes with having a child.

But this dear readers is not my rant, although I suspect in the coming weeks that I will get a bee in my bonnet over something that is related to moving. No. This rant is about the cost of travel.

train-tickets

You see I am lucky enough that I get discounted travel due to my job. However because I have to work, I need childcare. It is not financially viable for myself or The Husband to be a stay at home parent. It is also not financially viable to put Emma into a full time day care (HOLY CRAP ARE THEY EXPENSIVE!) so my mother comes and has Emma a few days a week. It is a godsend. Emma has a great bond with her nana, and my mother, who cannot just sit still and chill for anymore than 5 minutes takes the time to dust, do a load of laundry or the vacuuming, and we are very grateful to her. We continually tell her that she doesn’t need to do those things, but my mother is like me, stubborn and headstrong and well, doesn’t listen to anyone!!

So instead of forking out my entire monthly salary to a day care (YES IT IS THAT EXPENSIVE!) I pay my mothers travel to us. Currently it is £177.80 a month. Not a huge amount, and when she isn’t coming to care for Emma, she can use it to go to her hospital appointments, or into town to shop/sight-see etc. Its certainly a hell of a lot cheaper than a daycare!

Now that we are moving further out (2 stops on the train) I expected the cost of the season ticket I buy my mother to increase. What I wasn’t expecting was to be told that a season ticket between the two stations does not exist and therefore the cheapest ticket is a travelcard between Staines and Zones 1-6. The cost £295.30. WHAT!?!?

It seems that my mother is the only person who will regularly be travelling between Kidbrooke and Staines. Understandablely hard to believe that out of several million people living in and around Greater London, that this is the case. She also has no need to use the underground or buses, so why a travelcard?

I did my research and discovered that a monthly season ticket between Feltham and Staines is £87.20. Add that to the monthly cost of the current season ticket of £177.80, you get a total of £265. Cheaper than the cheapest ticket I was told was my only available option! By £30.30. Granted £30.30 isn’t a huge amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but that £30.30 is a weekly fresh food shop for us. It could be used to purchase Emma new clothing, or shoes (kiddo is a weed i tell you!)

My rant isn’t the cost of the travel, but rather the fact that I was told the cheapest ticket was a travelcard by a member of staff, when it actually wasn’t. It is no wonder that people get annoyed by the cost of train fares.

When I started on the railway, I was always told that when selling a ticket to someone, you give them the best available fare for their needs. To my knowledge this is still the practice today, so why hasn’t it happened on this occassion?

If it wasn’t for the fact that I did a little bit of research, I’d be paying an additional £30.30, when I don’t need to.

It is frustrating and annoying and I am off to ask South West Trains why there isn’t a monthly train only season ticket.

Reminder to all, do your research before buying things. Don’t just assume everything you are told is the be all and end all.

Holiday!

Picking a holiday is difficult, where to go, what kind of budget, how long to go for, what kind of board, is the hotel rating good, what’s in the local area? So many questions. Our choices are limited, simply because my husband doesn’t like flying, and just as he wouldn’t force me to hold a spider, I wouldn’t force him to spend a few hours on a plane. To make matters even more difficult in choosing a holiday, neither of us drive. Picking a nice holiday that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg is difficult for us.

Next year, the plan is to go on a cruise. No need to fly, no need to drive, no need to worry about baggage allowance and best of all we can go pretty much anywhere in the world on a boat. Except we can’t, because cruises can get pretty expensive.

My ideal holiday would be a world cruise, but at a price tag of £39k per person for a 105 day cruise, visiting 35 ports in 23 countries, it’s unlikely that we will be cruising the world anytime soon.

photo courtesy of P&O Cruises

 

However despite the payout of quite a large sum of money per person to go on a cruise, it’s pretty good value for money. The cruise we’re looking at is between £849 and £950 per person, depending on when we go and what type of accommodation we choose. Yes, a hefty sum of money, which will require a hefty savings plan, but when you consider what’s included, then all in all it’s not really that bad. You can also choose to pay in installments.

 

Included in your cruise (visiting 5 countries) is your accommodation (which based on the photos on the website are pretty nice), then you get all of your food; breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, snacks and dinner. Then there’s the on-board entertainment, West End/Broadway style theatre shows, Cinema, Comedy shows, Cabaret Shows and Live Music. Not to mention, the Tennis Courts, Swimming Pools, Saunas and Steam Rooms, Gym, Football pitch, Basketball Court and Dance Studio.

Obviously there will be extra costs, for example if you want to spend the day in the spa, then you need to pay extra for your treatments, or if you want to go into the port to see the local area, then you may have to pay out for an excursion to shore, or to visit local sites and eat in restaurants.

I’m excited to do this, even if it is 18 months away.

Who said cruise holidays are just for old people. pah!

Doing the Be-Bop

When I walk to the train station in the morning, I do it on autopilot. It’s automatic, the route I take, I barely notice anything around me. The moment I leave the house, the headphones go in, spotify is loaded and off I go.

Being on autopilot means a lot of things, one of them being that I don’t really pay attention to my surroundings. I mean I watch out for traffic, pay attention to traffic lights etc, but when the music is on then I’m in my own world.

I can play through things in my head, think things through, become creative with ideas for creative writing, use my imagination and just, generally, go with the flow of the music.

It’s what I do every single morning, and evening. This morning? No exceptions.

Th music was on, I was in a world of my own, thinking about BlogHer and planning my (eventual) trip for 2 years time. In my mind hoping that it’s in LA or somewhere close to LA, so that I could go to LA Ink and be drawn on by Kat VonD.
So I’m walking, listening, dreaming and the Fun Loving Criminals comes on. They’re brilliant. (sometimes when something awesome comes on I’ll get a bit carried away). The song? The Fun Loving Criminals. Just aces.
What do I do? I start doing some weird dance/funky walking/bopping along.
Turns out there was a guy walking behind me (who I didn’t even notice). We got to the traffic lights, he passes me, laughing. Only then did I realise what I was doing…. He turns back to me, smiles and carries on walking.

I made someone’s day. Hope he writes about me on IMMD.com, but I doubt it.
He’ll probably go to work and tell his colleagues about the weird woman dancing down the high street.

Life would be so much better (and awesomer) if we all broke into a song and dance on occasion. Like real world musicals.