One thing or another

Quite a busy day was Monday. I took my early morning walk in the cool morning air, so cool I had to wear warm clothing but at five-thirty it was always going to be cool. The eighth day of April and the day looked very promising. After breakfast I spent a little time online before putting on my work wear to paint the garage door. With it being a gloss paint it would take hours to dry so the earlier I did it the better. When the door is fully closed it doesn’t make contact with the brick wall because I fitted spacers behind the door frame when installing it. There were however two bricks which were protruding very slightly which I had to dress with a chisel. I chose the mahogany colour as I said I would…

I also painted the concrete beam as I said I might do. The inside face of the door was left unpainted as I explained in yesterday’s post it didn’t need painting. When the door is fully opened I now have the complete width between the bricks to get the mower out with plenty of space either side. My next task was to get out of my overalls and drive off to the garden centre for I wanted to purchase some heather plants. I bought fourteen of them but on reflection I think I should have bought a couple more. I could always go again if necessary. On Saturday I was pottering about the garden later in the day and I removed the large overgrown and unkempt lavender shrub we had in the west wall border. When it was first planted it was small and compact but I didn’t realise it would grow much bigger though I should have pruned it back. I wanted to remove it anyway and replace it with heather which is why I planted them today, that is the same Monday as I write. They are small but will grow to around a half-metre in height and width. Hopefully they will fill the spaces in the border more effectively.

You may not be able to see them all but there are nine of them in this flowerbed. One is hidden behind the green foliage bottom left and two are further along out of sight. Another is in The Mound facing them on the right of the path and out of sight whilst the remaining four are also in The Mound out of sight. I will probably take pictures later when they all fill out. Once I had all fourteen bedded with bone meal and watered I gave the whole garden a good soaking too. It was a lovely sunny day throughout and I took advantage of it by relaxing on the patio for an hour or so but by then it was already three o’clock.

Earlier in the day I had received a letter from HM Revenue and Customs. It was a (short form) tax return for 2018/2019. As I have been retired for two years and my final return was 2016/2017 I should not have received it but with everything the tax office sends it has to be processed one way or another in case of incurred penalties. The form does say on it that if you don’t need to fill out a return then contact them. First of all I went online to make sure I was not required to fill in a return. That went well and confirmed what I had thought but how to tell them that? Option one do it online, option two telephone them, option three write them a letter. Well I tried option one and got nowhere. In frustration I opted to phone them. A complete waste of time. They have an automated response which uses AI (artificial intelligence). It is essentially voice recognition and you are asked to tell the machine what you are attempting to do. It just didn’t work though I tried several times. In the end the machine disconnected! So now it was old faithful, snail mail. I wrote them a letter ensuring all my details and concerns were listed. Sometimes the old ways are best.

Shirley Anne


New tax year

Punch cartoon (1907); illustrates the unpopula...
Punch cartoon (1907); illustrates the unpopularity amongst Punch readers of a proposed 1907 income tax by the Labour Party in the United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday happened to be the beginning of a new tax year for those in the UK. Naturally that means the end of the 2014 to 2015 tax year (financial year) and the time for me to collate all my business account  figures to make ready my self-assessment tax return. It isn’t that difficult, in fact it has become easier for me now that I don’t submit a full tax return but what is termed a ‘short form’. That doesn’t mean I pay less tax, it simply means that my tax return form is less complicated because I have a limited turnover. It is still a little boring though having to collect all the information and submit it but I do it a little at a time and after a few days it is ready. I don’t submit the form immediately but give myself a little more time in order to check that my figures are correct. So today, Tuesday, is the first working day for me in the new tax year and already I have a couple of jobs scheduled. I remember this time last year when I had thoughts of making that year my last but as things were going so well I forgot the idea, in fact this past financial year has been my best for quite some time since I started self-employment. The last couple of years prior were not so good, not only because I did less but because I had been occupied working at home more often. I also had a few weeks off due to illness too. I just hadn’t the time to do as much electrical work as I have been able to do this last financial year. Having said that I still managed to fit in the refurbishment of our main bathroom and dig out that now infamous ‘mound’ in the garden! I have had that many offers of work I have had to turn down much of it. Maybe that’s why I am so tired! How long into this year I will continue to work I have no idea but if things go well I have an idea I might be doing the same thing next year as I am doing right now, filling out another tax return. I could be doing that on-line if the government’s plans go ahead (see below).

Shirley Anne

A bit taxing!

Tax return done!
Image by jovike via Flickr

I finally decided to complete my tax return yesterday after much procrastination. Although I do not have to fill in a full version of the tax return, I fill in the short form, it is still a bind having to collate all the information. Maybe I should be exempt from paying tax now as I am 65. Well I can wish can’t I? As I am thinking of retiring I shan’t have to fill in another tax return after next year. Anyway I filled in the form and was going to post it but found I hadn’t a stamp so I went for a walk to the village to buy one. I had been out earlier in the morning to do a small job and it had been raining but now it was bright sunshine all the way. Instead of returning directly home I thought I might extend my walk by going a different route. I ended up at the beach! By the time I got back home I was feeling a little tired. It was lunchtime but I didn’t need to cook anything, just warm it up. I had some chilli-con-carne left over from the previous night which always seems to taste that much better when eaten the following day. It’s all about the spices permeating through the food I think. As I write this it is one o’clock in the afternoon and I am thinking what to do with the rest of the day and the sun continues to shine.

Shirley Anne