Public Safety Films- Or Why I’m Still Shit Scared of Everything.

Back in the day, either at school or in the school holidays, you’d be subjected to the charm of the Public Safety Advert.

These would usually start on TV around June, just before the holidays for the summer based ones, or nearer September for winter versions. If you were subjected to them at school, you’d be led into the hall and they would be shown on one of those massive TV VCR sets on a trolley with doors, and usually in the presence of a PC from the local Constabulary (shout out to PC Baldock for all the Medway massive).

The adverts were like mini Horror films. There were plenty of them too.

The one’s that really stick with me were to do with fireworks. My God, how anyone of my generation actually still attends displays or, heaven forbid, hosts ones themselves is beyond me.

Seriously. I’m helping out at the Beaver/Cubs Firework night on Monday, and we’re having sparklers. The idea makes me go over all goosepimpled. I’m not going near a bloody sparkler and I’m 34 down to ads like these:

Then there was one where someone had gotten hold of fireworks and set their bloody house alight as they didn’t keep them in a metal biscuit tin. Or the kid who had one explode in their face and was scared for life.

They were always far too bloody graphic and, to be fair, it’s no wonder that by the late nineties they went for cartoon versions that had the same message of safety without giving the entire Primary School network of Great Britain ongoing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Then, there was the fact that, around every corner, danger lurked unless you were with your Mum. Even older siblings could not be trusted and would, without doubt, lead you to be fried by an Electricity Substation.

Or, they would dare you, along with your mates, to walk along the railway line, into the path of an oncoming, fast moving Intercity train, dashing your hopes of football glory.

My problem was doubled- my Dad worked for the electricity company so not only would I be traumatised by these types of video (and seriously, go on Youtube and find some of these if you don’t believe me but don’t show them to today’s kids), but then he would tell me again how dangerous any form of play outside the house was.

You weren’t safe outdoors- there were strangers with nice cars around who would offer you sweets and then tell you about kittens at their house.

You weren’t safe in the park- they were all near railway lines and power stations.

You couldn’t fly kits- they would get stuck in pylons and cause you death by massive electric shock.

Trick or Treating meant even more dodginess could befall you, and not just from your shell suit and cheap mask catching light. Of course, there were weirdos who would give your sweets laced with sharp objects or poison (Or so the urban legend went).

Even indoors wasn’t safe- kettle leads, irons, lighters and matches were all hazards, and even if your Mum was careful and put those pesky fireworks in her Charles and Di tin, you’d still find them and burn your stupid child self.

Its no wonder my generation exercises attachment parenting, as all our parent’s were far too happy to let us out into the path of almost omnipresent doom.

Perhaps this generation are better off in a bubble of game consoles and 24 hour TV. Less chance of them getting their laces stuck in train lines or being abducted by dodgy BBC actors.

I think I shall stick to making the sausages on Monday. And keep the matches well out of reach of children……

………Or any of my fellow 80’s kids.

Stay safe everyone this firework night!


Vodafone: An Update (and Not a Good One Either)

Following on from my previous post regards just how shite Elder’s contract has been as a customer of Vodafones, I thought I’d update.

After getting a comment on the last post from someone from Vodafone, with a link to follow and fill in for a call back, not to mention messages on twitter, I genuinely thought we’d be sorted and Elder could continue to yak about man stuff with his mates as before.



I did indeed follow links and comment back. I then waited to see if Elder would get a call back.

He got a text and a call. Hurah!

From their debt people.

Not so hurrah.

In fact, at no point has anyone from complaints or resolutions had the decency to contact Elder. They want their money, that is the only thing we’ve had from them. No offer to sort out the shoddy service. No promises to sort out the god forsaken cap they keep promising and then fail to put in place. Nothing.

So, I phoned their complaints department.

That went well. Not.

The guy I spoke to mumbled constantly and I had to repeatedly ask him to speak up. It was so bad I put the phone on speaker hoping I could actually understand what he was saying, but no, he just incoherently mumbled.

He wasn’t aware of our complaint. He was aware of the outstanding debt and that, should Elder not pay up, he would be in breach of his contract (one he has never received, nor signed) and he would be reported to collection agencies and have his phone put out of action. I did point out the sim only nature of the “deal” yet he was adamant as he mumbled that Elder’s phone would be locked.

I countered that a cap was part of this “contract” and that, as Vodafone had also broken their agreement, Elder was not liable for any costs incurred due to their negligence.

Which is when he delivered the killer line-

“We don’t do caps on any phones at all, if you go over, you pay”.

So, Vodafone customers. If you’ve been told, promised even, like Elder that they can and will cap a contract minutes, texts and data to stop you exceeding your allowance, they are, according to this fellow, lying to you.

At the same time as this was going on, someone on my local Facebook group commented about how Vodafone had done near on exactly the same to them. They had also fallen victim to Oxygen8 and their scam calls and texts and, as a result, Vodafone expected them to cough up.

You’ll remember these Oxygen8 texts and calls are the same ones which Three, O2 and EE have all, without fail, instantly blocked from contacting customers mobiles and hence they’re customers don’t need to worry about receiving unsolicited texts which cost Β£10 a pop whether you reply to them or not. Vodafone will only block these should you ask them to, and most customers wont know until they are hit with a bill.

Here are just some of the comments made regards being a Vodafone customer:



This isn’t a huge group either, and Earley is a tiny town, so to see so many people comment negatively says a lot about Vodafone’s shoddy customer care.

So, what is it Vodafone? Do you honour caps, or do you just lie to tie people into a contract, knowing full well that, should they think the cap will stop them being overcharged, and thus going over that allowance you can sit and reap the rewards of charging by the second?

Are you also gaining from Oxygen8 and their scam? It seems pretty obvious that if other companies protect their customers are Vodafone don’t, they must be earning out of it somewhere?

Elder has had his telephone number for over ten years, probably closer to 15 in fact and he doesn’t want to have to go through all the annoyance of getting in touch with everyone to change his number. He was quite happy on pay and go and now wonders why he bothered in the first place going over to a contract. He made it abundantly clear from the start, right back from the cold call, that he doesn’t text or use data and is quite happy just making calls. He even said, having had pay and go which naturally switches off once you use your minutes, he was concerned that he would exceed his allowance, and yet, the Vodafone rep suggested and promised this cap before he’d even been sent the bloody chip. To now threaten his phone too is disgusting as its not part of the deal at all.

This readers is a clear case of fraud. They signed him up under false pretenses, they knowingly mis-sold him the contract as it later turned out the minutes he was promised was also a lie, and now, he is going to be out of pocket.

If you’re with Vodafone, I would check your previous direct debits and your contract too to make sure you’ve not been a victim without knowing it. In a day and age where most of us tie up our Direct Debits without a further thought, its easy to miss a few quid here and there. But, if you’ve been promised a deal and you don’t receive it, you can and should ask them why and, if they can’t fulfill the original agreement, you have every right to quit.

Which is what, should Vodafone ever do as they promised and get in touch with Elder, he will be doing.

Not before going to the Ombudsman, of course.

Let me know below or on Twitter if you’ve had issues with Vodafone as I will be bringing this post and the complaints I’ve already received to their attention.

Mini and the School Trip (Sob)

Its been a fair while since I’ve written about either of the Brats on this blog. Don’t worry, I never did lock them in a shed, they are still their nuts selves, but slightly taller.

Mini is now 9, and in the second to last year of Primary school. Can you believe it, we went to look at Secondary Schools last week. Madness.

When I started blogging 10 years ago, I had only just found out I was pregnant with her. This blog really grew up with her and Littlest. He is fine too- little bit of a health scare in the summer but he prefers me not to write about him anymore so that’s why he’s been absent.

Anyway, Mini is off on her first school away trip tomorrow.

I have always been the Mum rejoicing on the last days of the 6 weeks holiday, always been the one who has pushed the two to be independent of us and each other and to be individuals.


What a fool I was when they mentioned this trip.

At first it was Mini who didn’t want to go. She was feeling a little negatively towards school at the time so said she was quite happy not to go off on the trip and we respected her choice.


Mini, the Selfie Queen (even with a digital camera)

Then, of course, as her mates- the gang of girls affectionately known collectively as “The Awesome Girls” (or the Annoyance Girls as Littlest secretly refers to them as)- all kept making plans for epic selfies and midnight feasts, she changed her mind.

Which, to be honest, is when I started to feel less than positive about it.

She has been away a few times to her Aunts in the summer over the years. She’s had the odd night away at the other Aunties houses too. Its not like she has never been out of my sight.

She has never though gone off with anyone not directly related. Not once.

She doesn’t really do sleepovers, we’ve never said she can’t, but I think there is a sense of her not wanting Littlest to feel left out. Its more difficult for him to go off to mates homes for tea, let alone a night, as his main illness is always at it’s worst at night time. It’s a lot of responsibility to put on someone.

I have chatted to the other Mums who I know well. I had hoped that at least one would feel the same so I didn’t feel like a total arse.


They are all well up for sending the kids off, and have reassured me that she will be fine, she wont even notice she’s away, and she will come back full of stories and adventures (and the aforementioned camera full of selfies).

All of which I don’t doubt. She has gone on the offensive in her attempts to show me she will not starve over two days. Suddenly,Β she is no longer fussy after 9 years of refusing to eat anything other than pasta and chicken, or pasta and gammon, or noodles, she has willingly eaten curry. She has eaten Chinese. She even ate her nemesis- a roast potato- without complaint.

She has shown how she can quite happily get her own hair washed and brushed, thanks very much Mum now bog off while I nick your body spray. She even- now sit down for this bit- tidied up her own room the other day. Without being asked. (Told you to sit down).

Elder’s way of helping my choking up with tears every time I think of her being on the trip (hence the sob of the title) is to call me a giant pussy. Arsehole.

I’m not going to stop her going, I’m not that bad, but I think I may be in need of a flask of gin tomorrow when she goes. She is all packed, we have hidden a magazine for her and we’ve not had the slightest wobble from her at all.

Littlest is not even slightly fussed, he already has plans to pinch her bedroom whilst she’s away (I’ve had to point out she is coming back after two days and will kill him should one bear be out of place).

I am going to cry at school and look like such a sad act. I need to get across the road and round the corner tomorrow. Or I shall never live it down.

From the fellow Mums or my daughter should my sniveling embarrass her.

Have you kids been off on a trip? Or do you dread it like me? Comments are open πŸ™‚