Tag Archives: water

service charge 1oct18-31mar19

3 Oct

london 11.51am 16.3C cloudy wednesday 2018

the half yearly service charge for my 2bedroom flat came today in the post. it is £675.58

 it’s only an estimate, but usually it is quite accurate.

there was also a statement of actual expenditure for 2017/18 .

£1290.25 (about £100 a month) for my flat’s share.

today is also the half yearly water bill. £152.08 . i dont have a water meter, so this one is a fixed bill, irregardless of how much water i use. it is about £304 a year.






water bill

14 Mar

london 9.20am 11.3C cloudy tuesday 2017

1.10pm 13.1C cloudy

water bill came in the post today to tell me how much it will be this coming year. the first tranche is £155.83 to be taken on 1 april 2017, the next tranche will be £155.82 to be taken on 1 oct 2017. its actually about £2 cheaper than last year. my flat is the old fashioned kind, where we share a water tank so we cannot install individual meters. the whole bill is about half -half divided between water usage and sewerage costs. they calculate it according to how many rooms u have in the flat and how many people live there. so water is one thing that i dont monitor, so i let everyone use as much as they like. but since neither of us do much laundry, or take baths anymore… showers are so much more convenient. i think our water use is very low but without individual meters we dont really get benefit from it. but ah well, when it is a community charge and everyone gets to pay the same, we kind of accept it.  just being grateful that we have running water and our sewerage is taken care of. now and then i remind myself how fortunate we are to have running unlimited supply of water on demand. it is one of the undervalued joys of life. i have lived in times,(growing up in malaysia you get that) when drought or broken or burst pipes have made water rationing a necessity, and know how bad it can be to the quality of life not to have running fresh clean drinkable water on tap.

here in london i save a fortune not having to buy bottled water. used to, until i came to my senses and realise i am not living in a third world country or even some parts of europe where water is undrinkable straight from the tap and you have to buy bottled water. 




service charge mar16-oct17, water bill half yearly

11 Oct

london 3.20pm 17.5C sunny tuesday 2016

i just remembered my half yearly service charge bill for the flat came a few days ago. i filed it away, forgetting to  put it aside to pay it and had forgotten all about it,  until just now when i passed the shop where i usually pay it into. when i got home i took it out , and saw that the closing date for payment is 21oct. so there is still time to pay it. glad i did not forget entirely. 

it is £575.41. for the 6months march2016- oct 2017. it is an estimated bill.i should think it will be about £1200 for the year. not too bad really. there are no lifts in these estate, so that is one big expense that is spared us and that i think keeps the amount down. 

 the water bill came in this month as well, it is £156.87. half yearly bill paid in two tranches. we dont have meters, as we all share the common tank that brings water to our bathrooms. it is of course way cheaper than paying rent. i cannot imagine how much i will have to fork out for this two- bedroom flat if i have to pay private rent on it. i am just glad i can live here without worrying about being kicked out by a landlord for not paying his rent. rents can only go up and up. that i think is the big reason why we should buy our own flat and pay off the mortgage on it. 

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people have joked that the british  still have separate hot and cold water taps. well i have only a cold water tap, so i am even more old fashioned than usual. the hot water used to come from a gas burner fixed on the wall, but it has long ago gone kaput and i have never got it repaired. and i now dont use hot water anymore to do my dishes. it is surprising how effective just using washing up liquid to clean , it gets rid of oil and fat too. of course i always throw the fat away first into the rubbish bin rather than down the sink hole and all traces of fat is removed by the washing up liquid. u dont need hot water at all. and the odd times when i need hot water, i just boil some in the kettle. 

selling water

6 Oct

london 7.52am 12C cloudy thursday 2016

i saw an article in the guardian this morning about how water has become big business. i have noticed a lot of coconut water drinks on the supermarket shelves of course, and had wondered is there enough coconuts to produce that much water to sell in cardboard containers. they look like milk cartons. i daresay someone will put them in plastic bottles to sell as water. £4 for a litre for the pure coconut water. presumably from the coconut shell. others with 5% coconut water cost half the price. i dont understand the rationale of that coconut flavoured water. might be better to just add the artificial flavour from chemicals. 

the article mentions someone is marketting water in a can. it can be resealed and that might please those who dont like plastic bottles littering the world. whatever will they think of next. i used to buy into the hype and buy bottled water myself. that was long ago when i was more foolish than now. haha. but there is a constant supply of naive youngsters coming into the world waiting to be snapped up by water entrepreneurs wanting to sell them water. talk about selling them a bridge. haha. it is the modern equivalent of it. people forget that u can get the image simply by refilling your designer branded water bottle with tap water and flash it around like you are a celebrity. haha. you get the same effect at no cost at all. in fact at one time i used to carry around with me one brand of bottle by a wellknown manufacterer because i like the mechanism they put on their bottle cap. its a very neat design. but i googled them just now and found out they have changed their bottle top design. haha.

a lot of commenters castigate people for buying these bottled water, but i think it is just as well for our economy that there are people willing to pay. after all, the economy depands on buying and selling and the circulation of money. without it there is no profits to be taxed and revenue for the state. 

one day i guess they will bottle air and sell it. i have a feeling that so many buy airconditioners nowadays not only to cool the air, but also they believe that it purifies the outside air, removing particulates and smells. it is just a small step to invent one that removes the chemicals and micro pollutants as well. perhaps by spraying a fine mist , or let it run through a fine mist chamber, that should dissolve a lot of stuff out. as cities gets more polluted, this might well happen. and it is a logical progression to piping in compressed air produced by someone who can see the demand for such clean air.

that small plaque next to that tree is to commemorate the pear tree being planted

more pics showing the pear tree. and more covers on the pavements. no fruits on the tree.

bills and the importance of savings

1 Apr

london wednesday 2015

this morning in the post there came the estimated half yearly service charge bill for my flat. it came to £605. but since i overpaid last time i only have to pay £480.

 but it serves to emphasise why saving is so essential when u own a flat.

the bills invariably come all at once. because today is also the day the direct debit will deduct £153 and £70 for water and council tax respectively.

for months you see your balance grows and u think i am rich. haha. then all these payments come up, and bang the balance drops.

i look on all this with a calm mind, because i know i have the money saved to pay them all.

but people who dont look ahead will be caught out and then on top of all the monthly commitments from their hire purchases and interests , from the spending they have incurred during those ‘rich’ days… they get these huge bills. so beware.

i admit i am smug about it, haha. i think i am allowed it. so there!

sometimes i forget too, and would wonder why i am so careful about not buying things when there is so much money in the bank, and wondering if i am too stingy…and then this happens and that hits me …. it is times like this gives me a jolt and shows me this is why. and then i thank myself that i dont really bother to buy stuff…

Thames water- save money with these freebies

22 Dec

i am reblogging this post by puddlesarefree because it contained a link to thameswater for freebies. i got their shower head, but did not know they have other things as well. i asked for the swivel tap head, (i asked for 2, haha) rather than the water saving devices. at the moment i am not on a meter and so the water devices are not useful. but i shall keep the link in mind by reblogging that post just in case i need them in future.
my thanks to puddlesarefree for telling us of it. that shower head was real useful to me and it was something that thames water told me about in a letter. the others may have been mentioned but at that time i was not interested.
but recently i have to get rid of an old swivel tap i had in the kitchen tap , so am right in need of another. the water engineer who came to test my water says the old swivel head may be harbouring germs. in the end, i am still to this day not sure if it is the problem or not. i wonder what are the risks of germs in the swivel tap over the years??? by rights there should not be any way the germs can stick in the swivel tap.

added. 31.12.14. the swivel tap heads have arrived by post. sorry to say they are not what i expected. they are for the combined tap head, not for a single tap which is what mine is. the combined tap head brings together the hot and cold taps into one channel. even so , they dont look like the old swivel tap head that i had. ah well, nevermind. as in most things in life, it is desireable but not essential. 

puddles are free

These freebies were flagged up to me by my parter when he came back from work telling me he couldn’t be leave thames water were giving stuff away for free and it saves you money too. When the pack of stuff came I my self was pretty impressed he had managed to get all this for free, we have a new shower head, kitchen swivel tap, tap inserts, save a flush and shower inserts, I expected it to be a bit cheep looking but no, it’s all good quality and best of all it doesn’t cost a penny. My favourite is defiantly the kitchen swivel tap 🙂

Check out the link for more info and to order yours,

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15 Oct


i wonder if i am getting old but i think not, i think it is this library , trying to make me think i am losing my mind and getting old. 

this morning i am at the library and i could not find the usual library network to get online.

i see others and they seem to be online, though it is hard to tell as many may just be working offline. i could ask them but i did not want to do so. in a library i am reluctant to talk to other people as i like quiet.

anyway i went to the desk to ask them and at first the receptionist thought i was talking of the computers in the library which u can use, saying they work ok; only later she realised i was talking of the wifi. how strange, i would have thought she would immediately know that any puzzled query about the internet will be about this new change in network name.

I have been coming to the library to get online for  a long time and have only yesterday logged on using the old network.  for her not to realise that anyone approaching the desk complaining of it will be from this change makes me wonder what kind of people they have working for the library.

i have been using this network everyday and today is the first time i see this change. and there has been no notice pinned up in a prominent place or on the desks in the reading room to tell us of it. it was only when she realised what i was about that she gave me a leaflet telling me how to get online. 

all this reminds me of a post by someone who found an error in the official answer to the maths question in an exam. the answer was wrong, so that her child who gave the right answer was marked wrong. it can really destroy someone’s confidence if u do that. it’s the same with old people.

if u hide their things or move it about, you can really make them think they are losing their mind when they return to where they left it and it is not there. so all you people out there, dont move an old person’s things at all. leave them exactly where u find them. dont think u are doing them a favour by tidying up after them.

anyway after a roundabout route , so different from the previous one, i finally got online in the library.

i suppose it gives me something to write about. haha.

the man has come to test my tap water again. i was very reluctant to let him as the water board did not tell me of it. well, this time it better be negative, or i shall kick up a stink that the man was doing the test wrong. he was wiping with a cloth where the water comes out of the tap. that is not really very sterile, i did not question him when he did it, but now i have a think it seems most peculiar. why contaminate the tap before taking the water? i hope my soul will put an end to it and that the test comes out negative. 

been watching crime tv programs. this one called grantchester is about a vicar who solves murder in his parish. i know it is fiction, and the writer must make people do things like kill someone for some very small reason as far as i can see, otherwise there wont be a novel will there? but it just makes me think their souls just want to make their lives difficult. 

unknown unknowns

26 Sep


i am at the library, on another lovely warm day, and read in the times newspaper that sainsburys will stop offering a refund if what u bought fromthem is more expensive than the similar thing in tesco.

you have to buy more than £10 worth of stuff from sainsburys before the till will find out for you what is more expensive than tesco and give you a voucher of refund.

since i never buy anythng more than £10 at any one time, it is no use to me.

all i can see when i view the prices in sainsburys is the upfront cost and so many of their stuff is more costly than tesco. simple things like milk powder, basic instant coffee, basic spaghetti, etc, even basic bread… oats… practically everything really so much so that i stopped going to sainsburys.

i used to wonder when i was there how come it is so busy with people, when it is obviously more expensive than tesco, and i used to wonder how come i never hear of sainsburys profits being hit , like we hear so much about tesco’s falling profits and market share.

so now i know why. people rely on the refund that the computer will find out for them; maybe not realising that  sainsburys have upped their price knowing that only those who shop for small amounts will pay the increased costs and those customers are not really to be wooed anyway as they buy so little.

now according to today’s news article they say they will stopp the refunds.

so maybe people are realising it is better to go straight to the cheap supermarkets like lidl, aldi, rather than fluff around with buying more expensive stuff and getting a refund back, in vouchers what’s more that means coming back to the store to redeem it and only if u buy more of those higher priced stuff. that might explain why sainsburys is dropping that scheme.

Another unknown unknown i discovered is my cistern in my wc. sometimes it does not flush, because the water does not rush in to fill that gadget which house the plunger .

so i tend to leave it for a bit, and it soon fills up with water. this time something new happened. i can feel the inside of that gadget that cause the flush is full, but the water does not drain down to the bowl. i tried it a few times but it still did not work. so i press hard on the top of the gadget and whatever it did, it made the thing worked. well well, some unknown unknowns i have dislodged there. 

my problem with the washing machine double check valve may be solved. simon managed to fit one all by himself. the water engineer came yesterday to check it and signed it off.

he was the one who recommended this to be fitted to overcome the slight contamination of my water.

my initial suggestion that i disconnect the washing machine and not use it luckily is not needed now. i admit it is nice to be able to use the washing machine.

i guess it is nice to live with other people, who can take the trouble to fix it rather than live on my own where i would take the path of least resistence where it can lead to a bit of inconvenience. i would highly recommend living with others. 

from midday today there is a malaysian food festival in trafalgar square. it is to promote malaysia and malaysian foods sponsored by the malaysian govt. i shall go most probably just to see what is going on.

added later. well i have just been to trafalgar square and bought some malaysian foodstuff from the malaysiakitchen stall. 1kg frozen fish balls £5.50. dried instant noodles pack of 10 , 40mg each for .50p.each pack.  i bought 2packs. and then there is the 3 for £2 malaysian chili sauce.  i was not going to buy them but there was a guy there with samples to taste and i just happen to ask him what is the difference between them and he said one got garlic, the other got ginger, and another is sweet. well that kicked me into buying the garlic and ginger ones. as i must have bought the suger ones last year as it was so sweet and i was put off buying them again . so just goes to show u have to have someone tell you what it is different about them.

the frozen fish balls are really good value. they did not sell them last year.  normally 200mg cost about £2 fresh in the chinese shop in chinatown. these are about half price. i cant imagine how ordinary people will buy them as the fish balls will thaw out by the time they go home. i live nearby so i can go home and put them in the freezer and still be able to get back to trafalgar square later today if i want to. who knows maybe they will reduce everything as the evening approaches and they close shop. haha. they even have frozen roti chenai £1.50 for 6. i did not buy them as i dont know what to do with them or if they taste the same after thawing. i am quite attracted to roti done this way and i see roti king who i hear do quite authentic roti blatha. and was quite tempted to try them. it costs £5 though.

some western guys were buying it, but only the roti, no sauce. i said aren’t you supposed to eat that with curry sauce? one of them said yes, but you can chose how to eat it. i must say even though the customer is king… and we are all supposed to accept it;  but really how are u to get the real experience of eating roti blatha if u dont combine it with the curry sauce?? it is just not the malaysian way.

i glanced at the staff in the stall and i can see the guys in the stall kind of having a glazed look in their face. i guess they have learnt never to correct the english customers. haha. just let them do whatever they like.

i have noticed that about all this ethnic food being sold in uk, esp in london. they mix and match and just adulterate and add stuff that u dont associate with that dish.

that is why i am not surprised if one day an indian restaurant would serve curry and chips… if one had not allready done so. i can understand why some italian restaurants lament at how the british diner will add stuff to the pasta sauces and call it bolognaise, or puttanesce, which in the country of origin would never agree to it.  

I call myself a malaysian but even i am confused with the various names for the roti. i know it as roti blatha, but i have heard it called roti chenai, prata. are they mean all the same thing except for dialect difference?

added. 7pm. i went there again at about 5pm. i cooked a noodle dish with the fish balls and noodles and it was very nice. i bought another of those noodles at 50p after i chatted with a malaysian student who said he was here only 8days having just arrived to do his university degree which will take him 3yrs. he pays £100 a week for a room share with another student. i told him about the noodles as it is quite ideal. i told him he can use a stock cube to get the flavour. and then add whatever he wants like mince beef, or frozen cheap fish, or fish balls, veg etc. and that is a meal allready. he bought 3 packs. 

and i got the address of their shop. it is quite a long way away. chuang lee unit 4 meridientrading estate,28 lombard wal4l, london se7 7sw. nearest station is charlton station. or go to greenwich station and take bus472 or 486towards thamesmead centre and get off at peninsular park road. i think it is too far for me to go considering i only buy a few items. i will just have to wait next year when they come again to trafalgar square. 

I also got to see a chef doing a masterclass of roti chennai making. the dough was already prepared so we dont get to know how it is done. i guess we shall have to buy his cook book, but he demonstrated how to toss it. and then it is fried . alot of oil used. video  

Anyway afterwards i asked him why is there so many names for it? he said roti prata (or blatha) is a singapore invention. the original name is roti chennai, (or they spell it cennai,) from a place in india.

the spelling is all over the place, it is also spelt roti paratha, roti canai.

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added.13.10.14 i just read in the metro newspaper today that chennai was formerly known as madras. so the name roti chennai must be new, i think roti prata, blatha, paratha, must be the original name. i know it as roti blatha, a corruption of prata and paratha i think. i wonder whether it exists in madras anymore. if it does maybe they call it a diffrent name.

added again. 14.10.14 found this …(from wikipedia)

‘Changes to the local name of cities in the indigenous languages is less common. However, a change in English may also be a reflection of changes in other Indian languages other than the specific local one. For example the change of Madras (Hindi मद्रास Madras) to Chennai (Hindi चेन्नई Chennai) was reflected in many of India’s languages, as well incidentally in English, while the Tamil endonym Chennai (சென்னை Chennai) had always been Chennai and remained unaffected by the change.’

so perhaps it is an old phrase and means ‘tamil bread’. south indians are the main people who settled in malaysia, and most south indians are tamils.

water problems

4 Sep


you remember reading in the news of how an old person had died and when they investigated they found the flat has no running water, or gas or electricity? and you ask yourself how can anyone live like that?

well, i just had an inkling of how it can come about.

it all started when a water inspector came from thames water to check my water supply. i had never had anyone check the water in all the 22years i live here. he said it was a random check that is why. 

so he took a sample of water and went away. 

i got a call from thames water saying the test shows bacteria in the water, not dangerous just bacteria that is commonly found in the environment. so they sent an inspector to find out where the contamination was. he said it is the spout that was put over the tap to narrow the flow of water so that it can come out as a jet. so i took it off and assumed that is that. 

but , the test was still positive. so another test inspector came and said it was the old gas heater that i had attached to the water supply. i had not used it since it went kaput more than 10yrs ago, so he said just turn the water on and let it flow for 5mins everyday. but he also said another source of contamination may be the hose pipe to the washing machine. so in his report he said a double check valve must be installed. 

it is all very well, and i assumed it will be an easy job. but when we went to the shop that sells plumbing, they dont have a double check value that u can insert into the inlet pipe to the washing machine. it seems i have to get a plumber to fit that, and that requires  stopping the water supply to my flat. the engineer already had tried to stop the water but the stop cock is not working. 

now we get to the complication. 

i got the letter from the thames water saying i must install this double check valve within 21 days . i called two of the approved plumbers on their list, one in catford flat out says i am too far away. the other agreed to come the next day quoting me £90 an hour plus parts, but when i told him about the stop cock not working he said i will have to get the mains water to the block switched off. 

so i went to the estate manager and asked him to do so. and he said it will involve a 3hrs stoppage, and 24hr notice to everyone affected. and he suggest that the plumber could use a machine to freeze the water a inch away from the stopcock enough for the plumber to fit a new stopcock. 

so i went back to the chap who answered by phone enquiry of the plumber firm and suggest the plumber can freeze it. he said i have to sign an agreement before hand to accept any damage caused from water if the freezing goes wrong. i dont have any insurance.

so back i went to the estate manager, and he said he will get the water mains switched off, preferably two days from now and preferably in the morning as most will be at work then. though he did say the plumber could just bring along a hose pipe so that he can connect the hose pipe to the water mains and prevent water damage by stopping the flow of water or just put the other end of the hose into my sink and let the water drain before refreezing it again… well when i heard that i too thought that must be the solution, and i wondered why the fellow at the plumbing firm was trying to frighten me off from the freezing option. maybe he did not want to hire the freezing machine; the estate manager said it can be bought for about £50, which i thought should be part of the tool of any plumber, dont you think? 

(i had a look at my water pipes and realise that the space near the stopcock is built over by my cupboard, and i should imagine the cupboard will have to be dismantled to get enough room to accommodate a freezing machine. i can see it will involve more work and disruption. All the more reason not to go ahead with it.)

i thought about it and decided it was too much of a bother. what is the simplest solution i thought? it is to disconnect the whole machine from the mains.

so i called the plumber to cancel the appointment, and i called thames water to tell them if it is possible to just disconnect my machine from the mains. the receptionist says she will contact the engineer who suggested the double check valve and ask him… and he called me today, the next morning, to say it is ok. so that is that. i hope that is the end of this little drama.

but i can see why an old person might just let everything be shut off when faced with these kinds of problems. and prefer to do without the bother of continuing with it as it is just too much of a hassle.

will i be without a washing machine? i doubt it, because i can just use a hose, stuff it to the kitchen tap and take the other end into the soap compartment of the washing machine and fill it up from there.  easy peasy. 

i am real glad i dont have to bother with all that plumbing and costs and bother. 


water quality

12 Aug


Yesterday a waterman came to check our mains water in the kitchen.

Today, another one came to tell us the water sent for testing from our pipe came back contaminated with bacteria. we had been drinking straight from the tap for a long time, and none of us had got sick, which was explained by the waterman as that the contamination was not a lot. 

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it seems  an attachment to the tap which had been there since we bought the place had been harbouring bacteria.

the previous waterman was inexperienced and did not know that we should remove it. I told him it had been there ever since we bought the flat like 22yrs ago, so maybe he thought it was a fixed part of the tap, because in the form he said there was no attachment. 

 anyway this waterman today was more experienced and told me to remove it.

i had always thought the attachment makes the water come out in a  jet and i thought it  makes it more easy to wash things, but when i removed it and noticed how dirty the insides were, and saw the water flow was ok, and does not make a difference to how we wash our dishes, i realised we dont really need it at all.

i had thought of buying a replacement as the rubber join is leaking. but now i know it can harbour bacteria, and that it makes no difference to our ability to wash dishes using the flow from the tap without the attachment; i am not going to bother getting a replacement.

but it seems both of us have been drinking this water straight from the tap without realising and we have been doing that all these years.  

just as well the bacteria count is low or who knows what kind of trouble it would give us to our insides. perhaps we should have boiled our water and let it cool, like we do in malaysia.

so maybe a timely reminder to others reading this , if u are going to drink straight from the tap, the waterman say let the water run for a minute or so , to clear the water that is left in the pipes, (esp if u live on the first floor, or higher, as there are all that pipe running up from ground level, to ensure there is enough chlorine in it, as the chlorine do get evaporated if left standing. ) and make sure u dont attach anything to the tap. and if u dont like the taste of chlorine, just put a open jug of water in the fridge so that the chlorine can evaporate. 

just as a comparison, when the previous waterman took the sample and tested it for chlorine, it was 0.16 part per million. but when this one took the water , he let it run for a long time, and took the sample and the chlorine read 0.5 parts per million. that was a higher concentration is it seems that is concentration wanted. 

most of the time the water we drink is hot water as we tend to make coffee and tea, rather than cold water. 

our mains water had never been checked like this in all the time i have stayed here. the waterman says they pick households to check the water by random process, that is why ours had not been checked for so long.