It’s All Ours


Whooohooo !!! As of today we now own our home. What I mean by that is we have paid the final installments of our mortgage. This is just about a year ahead of the target date and all made possible by retiring and grabbing my pension pot.

Of course, that’s not the whole story, as we are having the conservatory rebuilt and there are staged payments to be made on that. So I suppose we only really own the original bricks and mortar, as built by Barratts.

Earlier today I spoke to the bank to confirm the last payments had been received and was informed that we would get a letter of confirmation sometime next week. The disappointing news is that we will not be receiving the deeds to our house. Modern times and everything is handled electronically. The bank just informs the Land Registry that our mortgage has been paid and the title is formally transferred into our names. Still, I suppose that means I don’t have to find a safe place for such a valuable document, or have to pay for its safe keeping by the bank.

My wife got very excited knowing that the mortgage has gone but for me there is just an immense satisfaction and a sense of relief knowing that I haven’t got to make that huge monthly payment any more. Knowing, also, that the only regular call on my monthly pension is going to be the utilities, council tax and normal living expenses. All other expenditure will be entirely voluntary.

I think we might crack open a bottle of something cold and sparkling to celebrate. Let the party begin.

And So The Journey Begins


One of the major topics of conversation during the latter weeks of 2014, for me at least, has been retirement.

In June of this year I will achieve the grand old age of 63. This is significant, as that is the target retirement age defined in all my company pension bumf.

I started with the company back in July of 1977. This is also the year that I got married. So, when I retire

  •  I will have been employed by the company for 37 years and 11 months.
    and
  • I will have been married for 37 years and 6 months

1977 was a momentous year. It was the year I left the comfort of working for the MOD where I had worked for the previous 8 years. Starting first as a Fitter & Turner Apprentice in the training center at Flathouse Quay, then as a qualified Fitter & Turner working “afloat” in HM Royal Dockyard, Portsmouth. Finally, after a 6 months training course at Priddys Hard, as a Ratefixer Planner based in RNAD Frater, Gosport.

After an acrimonious year I left to join IBM as a Technical Analyst. I had no idea what one of those was, but it really didn’t matter. So long as I was out of Frater. Later that year, Christmas Eve, I got married at Portsmouth Registry Office. And here we are 37 years later, still together, and about to embark on a huge adventure.

Today, I received notification of my pension start date. Rather, I got asked the question, am I going to retire or carry on working.

I, of course, have responded that I am going to retire. The next stage of my life journey is definitely underway and I feel like I am just reaching the top of the Pepsi Max Big One.About to plummet down towards Blackpools Pleasure Beach.

Whooohooo !!!

Why I Have No Sympathy For Evicted Ex-Soldier


This story has been run in “The News”, my local paper, four times to my knowledge. More space has been given to this story than any other “near homeless” family tale.

So I can only guess that either the family know someone at The News and are playing the sympathy vote for all its worth or this is a pretty pathetic attempt at attacking David Cameron and the government.

The issues here are pretty straightforward, as reported by The News ……

  1. Mark Hampson – Joined the army and gave 23 years service with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    For this we, as a nation are truly grateful.
  2. Mark Hampson and his family have lived in the same army quarters for 18 years.
    This subsidised accomodation has enabled Hampson and his family to live a reasonably comfortable life with the MOD being responsible for the property maintenance and quite possibly, in those 23 years, providing a new upgraded kitchen and bathroom. I make the last comment based on my army-wife granddaughters experience after spending a short period of time in married quarters.
  3. Mark Hampson has survived a battle with cancer.
    For this he does have my sympathy. To be diagnosed with cancer is not easy and it can have adverse effects on friends and family too.
  4. Mark Hampson became a self-employed lorry driver. So he is fit enough to work.
  5. Mark Hampson – Left the army a year ago but only now does he realise he will lose his home.
    This is totally rubbish. He knew when he signed up for the married quarters that he would have to leave at some time. So he has had at least 18 years to prepare for leaving this house. You don’t just suddenly up and leave the army unless you are getting dishonorable discharge or you go AWOL . You have to give notice which starts a number of wheels into motion. If you are being medically discharged a lot more wheels are set in motion. The army does try to prepare soldiers for exit. Again, based on talking to my granddaughters husband who is currently going through the exit procedures for leaving the army. There is money available for re-training as preparation for life on civvy street.Oh and let’s not forget the following which I lifted straight off the Army website.

    After two years of Regular service you’ll have earned an Army pension that will be paid when you get to the age of 65. And if you serve for 12 years you’ll be entitled to a tax-free resettlement grant on retirement too. Anybody aged over 40 who has served for at least 18 years gets the right to claim an immediate pension and tax-free lump sum on leaving the Army, and a second lump sum when they turn 65.

    With 23 years in the army Hampson more than qualifies for pension and lump sum. Add to this any additional funds, if Mark Hampson is being medically discharged. In one of the four articles he is quoted as saying

    He applied to join the army’s security services but he said he was not deemed fit enough following his recovery from cancer.

In summary Mr Hampson has known for at least 18 years that MOD accommodation was not for life, that he would have to give up the house provided by the army.

He has known for sometime that he was leaving the army and did in fact leave a year ago. Since then it appears that he has done nothing to prepare for this moment. What has he done with the lump sum ? Has he used it as a deposit either for a mortgage or for rental accommodation ?

On the evidence presented by The News he is expecting the British Tax Payer to bail him out and apparently it is David Camerons responsibility

All this on the back of a pledge by the Prime Minister of the formation of a ‘heroes’ committee’ to give service personnel the support they need when leaving the forces.

The News reported this week how he has found it difficult to find accommodation through Chichester District Council’s housing scheme – despite assurances from Prime Minister David Cameron that former servicemen and women will be supported after leaving the armed forces.

The implication is that it is Camerons responsibility to hand him a council house or to allow him to remain in his current house.

He said: ‘It’s a bit of a shock that it’s happened so quickly. The stress of it is a bit worrying – we don’t know where to turn.

‘I’ve served my time and thought there might be a bit of advice and help to go forward.’

It hasn’t happened “quickly”, it isn’t a shock when you know it is going to happen. Even if you ignore the 18 year long awareness he has been ex-army for a year so knew he was on limited tenure in this house.

Mrs Hampson said they have been offered temporary accommodation but would have to re-home the family dogs – labradors Sasha and Mollie. She added: ‘We couldn’t get rid of the dogs, it would break us and Mark.

So they didn’t consider putting the dogs into kennels while they found permanent accomodation ?

And now that the eviction has happened and the family are living apart we are expected to be sympathetic. Well it’s not going to happen. This family have really made themselves homeless by lack of planning and an assumption that the government or the local council has a responsibility to look after them. Nothing reported by The News has shown this family to be anything other than a bunch of scroungers.

This is why I have no sympathy for this ex-soldier.

War veterans deserve so much more than this…- Defence – Portsmouth News.

War hero’s family writes to MP over eviction- Defence – Portsmouth News.

After 23 years of service veteran faces losing home- Defence – Portsmouth News.

Evicted ex-soldier apart from family – Defence – Portsmouth News.