Nearly the end of another year…

Well, the half stone hasn’t disappeared. Talk about wishful thinking! Probably not a very reasonable goal to lose weight in the run up to Christmas, to be honest…

Sitting here this evening having finished work for the year is always a good feeling. This year has been a challenge, as they all are, but we have achieved what we set out to do. Three projects have received their planning approval, one of which has been tendered and it looks like we have a contract sum we can live with. Four more tenders going out in January or February, for starts on site in the first half of next year. Going to be a busy year again, but the culmination of 6 years work. It will be great to get the boots dirty again – it’s been a long time.

The maintenance went as usual this time. Three quarters of the way though now. I have been going there regularly for two years in February and it will be odd not to need to do so come the summer – visits there have been an important part of my life. I don’t want to have to keep going and I know I will return in the not too distant future, but I will miss that part of the routine next autumn.

Looking forward to having everyone home for Christmas and to the trip to Scotland next week. I think we’d go there for a day or two this time of year even if we didn’t have to take Rebecca back. It’s a nice break between Christmas and New Year. Also thinking about taking a cottage in Scotland again this summer, although I did come none to find Cornish cottages on the iPad this afternoon… I quite fancy Harris or Lewis, but it is a very long way to get there. Would need to make it a two day journey, at least on the way up. Ullapool is a possibility too. Will need to decide in January as these places get let very quickly. So long as there’s some scenery to shoot, I don’t really mind.

AirMiles and Avios

I don’t know how many people in the UK collected AirMiles, but I am pretty sure that many will no longer be collecting Avios. I am one of them.
In June 2011 (I nearly wrote “last year” then), we enjoyed a trip to New England, with the flights paid, for the most part, via AirMiles. For two tickets, the cash I had to stump up was £350, on top of 5,000 Airmiles. The AirMiles had been collected over a number of years, through mercilessly taking as many off Tesco as possible, and Shell fuel, Lloyds TSB credit card etc.
I had enough left over to allow us to get to New York for £400 in March 2012. That’s not a bad deal, considering that I would have bought the fuel and bread any way. I did this deal, before they changed.
Since their change to Avios, the number of Avios one needs to do the same flight has been reduced slightly, but one now has to pay duty and taxes ON TOP of the cash element. The total cash component of this deal, is now around £950, plus all the Avios points.
I have just priced two seats on the same aeroplanes that we will be using in March on the BA site. The flights would cost me £750 for the two, if I were to buy them today. that’s £200 LESS than using a shed load of loyalty points and cash.
I really don’t get this at all. The loyalty points with hundreds of retailers are now worse than worthless.
Avios state that they have much better deals for short haul flights. Which they might do, if you live near London. For those of us who are fortunate enough not to live in the South East, their only option is to fly you to London first, THEN on to where you want to go.
The whole thing is just ridiculous, and the Avios company just don’t care that they have ripped off hundreds or thousands of customers.
The good thing, though, is that I don’t need to shop in Tesco ever again – every cloud has its silver lining…
You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Interestingly, my wife got £90 off of the “big shop” at Sainsbury’s yesterday, with the points acrued on their own loyalty card since we stopped shopping at Tesco.