Random 18/21 June 2021 update

While I am aware that as an avid reader of my blog, you were probably pining for an update from me.  I make no apology for being busy, then ill, then busy again.  That means that my blog update didn’t happen. Notwithstanding that, I am trying to play catchup by giving an update now as I’m sitting on an LNER train for 6 hours.

General passing of time

Work during April/May was insanely busy. As we slowly crept towards reopening, I rejoiced when the pubs reopened, and then further rejoiced when we could drink inside a building with another human. It gave life new meaning, and I felt the lock down depression receding.

May was spent catching up with many different people whom I have not seen for many months.  Doing things like walking around Hampstead Heath and going to get a drink in a pub are fun, so I did that several times.

My newfound confidence after my first Pfizer vaccine was also driving this frivolity. So, we decided to take advantage of a quiet period at work in June and go to visit Scotland.

Suddenly on the bank holiday weekend I started to feel crap. Like the same as when I had covid. My temperature was 38.8C. Not again surely? Plus, I’d had the vaccine 10 days previously. Too long after that to be side effects, but not long enough after for the vaccine to offer immunity. I duly got my Covid test and thankfully it was negative. It was a flu or something else unpleasant, probably picked up from my friend’s dog which was was rolling round in every pile of mud or stagnant water on the Heath.

Negative test in hand, I booked our trip to Scotland with 3 days notice. One week in the highlands, and one week working from home in an air bnb near my Mum’s place.

It worked really well and I’m now fully relaxed and heading back to London on the train.

Holiday

After the quite frankly horrific last six months I was well overdue for a break with my partner. We have been working from home and crawling up the walls with boredom. Also missing friends and family near and far. This break was both needed and deserved.

We hired a car and drove to Scotland, first stopping in Dumfries for the night. We did a mini tour of southern Scotland by road stopping at a place called Sandyhills and then Ayr and Prestwick. The same day we got a ferry from Gourock to Dunoon (where we spotted a dolphin) to our first proper place of rest next to Loch Awe. We stayed at a small boutique hotel called Ardanaiseig Hotel. Its a wonderfully romantic place with beautiful gardens and a stunning view. We hiked around the loch and through the local area, stopping for a pint and bite to eat, before retiring to our hotel to remove the dozens of ticks that had attached themselves to mine and Ms Wealthster’s legs.

Staying at the hotel was a treat and we ate very well there with a great 3 course dinner every day. Expensive, yes. Worth it? Hell yes.

We then bagged another two Munros in the form of Ben Lawers and one next to it that I can’t recall. Given my current fitness levels this ‘easy’ one seemed appropriate. Of course the Scottish weather decided it would be horrific. All good fun and done in 3.5 hours.

Then we went over to Braemar to stay in an Air bnb where we chilled and then brought my Mum to stay for the weekend. Braemar is an interesting place. In recent years the main hotel in the village has been bought over by a couple who are part of the Swiss 1% who, I was told by the doorman, run it as a hobby. That seems to have attracted a lot of wealth to the village, so much so, that there was a Rolls Royce sales day when we were there. Nothing like 10 Rolls Royces parked up outside the hotel (we didn’t go into this hotel). Also, it’s proximity to Balmoral where the Queen resides in the Summer, probably attracts a type of individual. My recollection of the place was a run down village with a shabby hotel. Not anymore! Braemar is now a hub of uber wealth with most of the properties appearing highly polished and many people from Chelsea sitting outside the £700/night Fife Arms.

I went for the lovely hills and mountains and hiking. Something for everyone and any budget.

Spending

Back to the nuts and bolts. Spending has gone up significantly in eating out and transport. I have only done May (June will be at the end of June). I also appear to have overwritten March on my spread sheet where I had entered April’s values. I don’t know how this happened. For now, I view the spending increases as a good thing as it means I am getting out and about and doing things again. I do worry about June’s spending as ive been living large this month.

I did increase my investments this update by dumping a bunch into my S+S ISA in April which was sitting in cash in my accounts waiting for the end of the tax year.

Savings

Savings rate for May was a respectable 53%. I think this is a sustainable savings level post lockdown. I can’t see me not eating out and not going to the pub to see friends. I also think I have a pent-up demand for holidays which I won’t be able to resist.

Car

Still no progress on the car. I have been going round in circles with it and the conflict between logic and reason and just wanting a nice car is perpetual. We hired a car for my holiday, and it was a brand-new Renault Captur. It was pleasant but there is no way I’m buying a Renault. Sorry. In fact I’m sure the rental company gave me that car on purpose to tempt me to upgrade. Can you take the humiliation of driving this car… or for £30/day you can have a proper car… clever.

We also drove around in my Mum’s 2014 Astra which was massively underpowered and slow. However, I did find it charming in how shit it was. It had an infuriating issue where the key wouldn’t come out the ignition when the car was turned off. Maybe a reminder of the many issues of car ownership.

Investing update

I haven’t been tracking my investments much recently. They seem to have varied vastly over the last two months swinging thousands within any given week. April was a good month, and so was May. I have taken the values as of 18 June 2021 for this update as it didn’t take them down for May as I was shivering in my bed, and missed the chance to do so. I have been steadily adding to my portfolio and believe that the net worth increase is more to do with that than the market increasing.

I did buy some Bitcoin and Ethereum on a whim. After losing about £1000 in a week I was spooked. I have now sold it as believe that it will fall further. Also, I don’t understand this shit so pulled out. I was treating it as a bet more than an investment and you know what they say when it stops being fun… stop. I do believe Crypto will fall further however I do not like Elon Musk’s market manipulation via tweets. I may jump back in when I think it’s safer. Index funds seem very nice in comparison.

The net worth figures are showing that I’ve sort of flat lined the last month and a half.

End

Well, that’s the update folks. Hope you enjoyed it.

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