Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

I've enjoyed an extended Christmas and New Year break for the first time since - well, I'd like to say whenever, but the truth is I struggle to remember what I was doing this time last year sometimes! But it certainly feels like it's been a longer break than usual. And better still, it wasn't enforced - for the 11th month out of 12 I exceeded my monthly target.

My tenth year as a freelance writer has in many respects been the most stable one yet, with the ups and downs of previous years largely smoothed out, and the comfortable living I've enjoyed since plunging into the world of the self-employed rolls on into my eleventh year. Aside from the usual fear all freelancers have of seeing the work dry up suddenly, there's one more reason why I face 2013 with a little trepidation. It looks like the planning decision on building three council homes behind our property will finally be made in January, with construction due to commence in March.

Disruption aside, my biggest fear is the length of time it will take to complete: at the last planning presentation I attended, they were talking about taking at least nine months to complete the work. As I see it, our house becomes unmarketable while all that building work is going on, so one of my safety nets - the thought that I'd have enough savings to give us plenty of time to try and sell the house should the worst happen - is temporarily removed. I've always put a conservative estimate on the value of our house (in my mind it's worth less than we paid for it in December 2005), so I'm not going to assume those three houses will  necessarily reduce its value (I guess a lot will depend on the people who move in, and how they interact with their neighbours), particularly as we're in an area of mixed housing anyway.

Hopefully by this time next year I'll look back on this post and smile. In the meantime, aside from wishing you all a Happy New Year, I'll simply put forward my limited hopes for 2013: that everyone I know stays happy and healthy, that I'm able to continue providing for my family without dipping into savings, and that by the end of 2013 my mortgage is that bit smaller. However, if there are any large lottery or Premium Bonds wins going begging, I'll happily put my name down for one of those too!

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