Mortgage Interest Relief

Information on Mortgage Interest Relief (officially, Mortgage Interest Tax Relief at Source) is at I found out about the scheme just a couple of months ago when it became necessary for me to learn more about the tax system after being made redundant.

I found the page by searching for ‘mortgage interest’ on

For future relief, I applied online at Future relief will reduce what’s paid rather than show up as money being returned.

For previous years, the FAQ at has a link to a form at You need to fill out the form and send it and copies of your mortgage interest statements to the address shown on the form. Past relief gets credited to your bank account. Getting back lump sums for 20% of the mortgage interest paid over nearly the last five years came in very handy right now.

You can only claim for the previous four years, so if you bought your house in 2002, you’d better act quickly.

So you don’t speak much English?

A local politician doorstepped us yesterday (there must be an election looming if the politicians deign to visit). He wasn’t a success.

Firstly, he was already on his way to glad-hand next door before I even had time to answer our door, and secondly, his first words when he did manage to return were “So you don’t speak much English?”

After we established that I am Australian, he said that he thought he’d heard Eastern European accents on his first pass of our door. Considering the speed at which he moved, maybe the doppler effect had distorted what he heard.

“So you don’t speak much English?” as an opening gambit is at once appalling and condescending, regardless of what he thought he heard.

Up the Creek Without a Sudo

After installing Xubuntu on the P1120, I created a new user and deleted the user created when I installed the OS.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know that I had to make the new user a member of the “admin” group for the user to be able to use “sudo” to do privileged actions. Somehow the user that I deleted wasn’t really deleted, but it’s no longer a member of the “admin” group either.

I can’t just reinstall the OS since I no longer have the second laptop for use with PXE booting and I haven’t been successful in creating floppies for the rather complicated floppy installation procedure. I’m left with trying to find a working Linux rescue floppy so I can modify just the one /etc/group file, but so far no luck.

GI jobs

In the far gone days of my youth, some girls I knew used the acronym “GI”, for “Geographic Impossibility”, when evaluating potential boyfriends. Leaving aside the decades-old question of how often did they discuss boys for them to develop their own vernacular, I’d like to revive the acronym (assuming it has ever gone out of use) and apply it to jobs.

The problem with searching for jobs on the World Wide Web is that it’s all too easy to do a worldwide job search or find out through other means about jobs that, while interesting, are “a bit too GI”, as my friends used to say:

The pages at the ends of the URLs may have disappeared by the time you read this, but you get the idea of what would be interesting if it were in Dublin or allowed remote working.

Out of Sun

I did the paperwork today, and my user ID was expunged yesterday, so I am now officially out of Sun.

Best news

I received permission to remain in Ireland for five years without the need for a Work Permit. Happy Day!

More good news

I called the Immigration Division of the Department of Justice, Equality, and Law Reform again today, just to confirm that they had received the replacement information that I had sent them. I got through on my first attempt, I only had to spend about ten minutes on hold, I still wasn’t in the computer, and the good news was that my case file was on the appropriate person’s desk and I was told that I would receive a decision in a week or two.

Now, I have been told “two weeks” before, as my previous post attests, but I am choosing to believe that within a week or two I will recieve that politely worded and, in an ideal world, affirmative letter from the department.