Fuck This, It Needs to Be Said.

There are lots of things that need to be said people.

Lots of shit that I don’t usually say for fear of the namby pamby snowflakes who believe the garbage churned out on behalf of Theresa and her useless lot by Murdoch moaning and pointing the finger and bitching at me for voicing what even they probably deep down know is spot on.

When did it become OK to bomb, stab, drive at and create fear in the entire country, if not Western Society? Because looking at my twitter feed last night, and the excuses made for the lacklustre, half arsed, soft approach, it’s deemed worse to speak out that something really does need to be done now of some actual merit.

How dare you say that, actually, I am sick to back fucking teeth of hearing yet again that people, going about their daily business, going out for a drink, with their mates, have been ruthlessly and sickeningly murdered. That its not even two weeks since the last atrocity, we’ve not even had the bloody benefit concert for it yet and they’ve struck again.

And by they, no, before you right on twats finger point and call me racist or liken me to an EDL member, or a skin head or any other such bullshit you want to throw (personal fave last night- I’m self important and a twat- for saying bloggers really should think before they tweet out fluffy shit before we’ve even heard the murdering scum have stopped). I am fully aware that this is not all Muslims, all immigrants, all male or female or old or young.

It is fucked up, crazed, mentally unbalanced fucking scum who does this.

What would you rather we call it? Misdirected?

Or would you rather- as again was chucked at me last night- shrug and say “life goes on” (until clearly it doesn’t and then watch when it hits one of their loved ones or an area they have mates or they actually grow a sense of reality and get their heads out their arses and realise this is not fucking on).

I am sick, of apologizing, for wanting to being able to take my kids to concerts, to days out, to anything, without feeling like it’s not a good idea. I want to be able to not have to dive across the living room before they turn the TV on and hear about atrocities happening an hour from our front door where their Dad grew up. I want Mini to have tuned into the Manchester Concert today without me fearing the worst after last night and bare faced lying to her that there has been a technical fault and it’s not showing live, so I can record it, just in case.

And frankly I am disgusted that in a country where we have battled in some of the worst World Wars there has been, that our Agents, our Police and our Government will no doubt say all three of these animals was “known” or one of the 25,000 (so you can almost certainly double that figure) on the Terror Threat list, that they watched and did nothing and have now killed 7 and injured many more.

They call this law the “Prevent” law. Pardon me, but doesn’t prevent mean we, Oh I don’t know, fucking stop shit like this from happening?

It should be at this rate be renamed “well, we sat with binoculars and watched them plot and fuck off back and forth to a known Terror training country, but hold on, now you’re burying innocents again, we’ll go and catch some others so we don’t look completely fucking redundant”.

At this rate, these little “oh you’re a racist” brigade would have balked at what people like my Grandfather did in World War Two- they’d have asked us to just sit tight and wait and see how many death camps Hitler had erected before asking them nicely and gently to stop.

Christ people.

None of you, none of you, like living like this, do you?

Yes, it’s an uncomfortable truth. But in previous times when there was a threat against our country, we interned people who could be a threat. The difference is these days we actually know who is a threat– there are fucking lists, actual lists, of these wankers. And those with dual nationality who hate us so much they plot against us, all whilst using our free NHS, our schools, our benefits and what have you- you know- the best of Britain- should be told times up and sent back.

You are either with us or against us. And when I see what boils down to white apologists bemoaning even other Muslims who say this is not in our name, this is not what we stand for, then the whole system really is cocked up.

Stop making it easy for the Government to pussy out.

I am British.

And I am ashamed to say I am afraid.

Enough is enough.

And to close- love and respect to London once again.

Stay strong.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Is It Just Me: Wondering What We Can Actually Do To Stop the Constant Attacks?

I’ve thought very hard before I’ve written this post. I didn’t write it yesterday as, like most people, I was angry and heartbroken at the sheer level of destruction and death caused to youngsters in Manchester.

I was angry as a Mum who has children who are getting to an age where they want to go to concerts, and indeed, have been to festivals to see all manner of bands since they were in nappies in Littlest’s case. I know the excitement before, during and after a longed for concert that these kids would have experienced as I’ve experienced it myself and seen my kids experience it too.

I am angry as a woman. Its widely been discussed that this was very much a targeted attack- it was the fourth anniversary of Lee Rigby’s brutal and very public murder, this was a concert by an American female singer known for her skimpy costumes and her female empowerment message and her support of LGBT rights, and the audience was mostly young, Western females of different ages who wear the types of clothes that the Extremists would see outlawed.

I am angry as a Britain who, time and again, hears the same nonsense from the Politician of the day. That yet again, this was a male known to Authorities, who was allowed to leave the country and enter a known hot bed for Extremist training, come back here and walk into the Foyer of the Arena. Why? Why do we just simply watch and wait? When did we become so scared to do something to stop these nutters seeing through these campaigns?

So, what do we do?

I know the consensus is we carry on. We don’t let them win. We don’t stop going about our daily lives because of one bad penny.

But this is a multitude now of Extremists, the threat level is critical. We must, as parent’s, make a judgement call.

We can’t trust the Authorities to protect us- elsewise this guy would not have been walking the streets, jumping on planes and then coming back and killing 22 people.

Its an uncomfortable truth now, but we aren’t safe. We aren’t safe at concerts. We aren’t safe on holiday. We aren’t safe in our capitals.

Instead of, yet again, voicing he was known (without the added, but yet we know it’s true “but we did nothing because we are too scared to offend anyone in case we get it wrong and they sue the backsides off us), it’s time our Police and courts are given powers to tag people. We need to bring in a “Persons of Interest” law, which enables the authorities to monitor the activities of people just like the Manchester Bomber.

No doubt, you would tag the odd person who has nothing to do with any of these people who seek to ruin our freedoms. Yet those with nothing to hide would submit to it, without fear.

We need an outright ban on these watched individuals being allowed to travel. And an outright ban across the board of any travel to any of the known countries where these types of attacks are planned and practiced. And anyone using gateway countries to go needs to be put on the banned list and not allowed back in under any circumstances.

We aren’t fighting a war the way we have in the past. It’s not a situation where we can, as many were stupidly voicing yesterday “nuke” or “bomb” the shit out of one country and hooray, peace is restored. They are everywhere. They are across Europe. They are in America, and, as we’ve found out to our cost, in the UK.

So, whilst I’m sure many will react to tell me I am wrong, I shouldn’t stop going out to gigs and places I’ve formally gone to without a second thought, I wont be going, and, definitely will not take my children.

As a Mother, it is my job to keep my children safe.

We haven’t had the TV on since the attacks. I don’t understand it myself, so I can’t begin to explain it to an 8 and ten year old who look to me to keep the bad people away.

I have cancelled a planned trip to London.

If Reading go up to the Premiership, I wont be watching the parade in town.

I wont be catching a train anytime soon.

And sadly, it will continue until someone in power actually does something other then watch and wait until these thugs blow themselves up.

Strength is needed, but it needs to come from the law makers, not us citizens.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, to the injured, and to children who, instead of going in to school to brag about an amazing concert by an artist they love, full of happy stories of music, and dance and lights and a naughty school night late night to bed, are shocked and silenced by visions their young eyes should never have seen, and screams their ears should never have heard.

Whilst the threat remains amongst us, where crowds of people gather, I will not.

And yes, it is sad. And yes, it is uncomfortable to feel I have to take that stance.

But I see no other option until our Police, our secret services and, most importantly, our politicians, do what we all know they should and take direct, full and no nonsense action against those they currently take a soft approach on, and merely watch the odd time.

Yes, we are strong.

We will hashtag, and start funds, and hang our heads in reflection.

But are we strong enough?

As awful as it is, I fear the answer is no.

Don’t Be The 33! Register to Vote!

I’m joining up with a social media campaign to ask you, quite simply to be part of #NotThe33 come June 8th.

TODAY is your last to chance to register to vote in the coming General Election in the UK, and whatever way you vote, don’t sit on social media come the big day, get out, put an x in the box and have your say.

I see so many people with opinions online about politics- some of them don’t even realise that the thing they are complaining about could have been changed if they had of voted in any of the elections that we’ve had in the last ten years alone.

Don’t like the crisis in the healthcare system?

VOTE!

Don’t like the fact that children are going hungry?

VOTE!

Not a fan of bonuses and tax avoidance for big name companies?

VOTE, VOTE AND VOTE!

We are so lucky that in our society, so long as you are:

  • 18 years or over
  • A citizen of the UK, the commonwealth and Norther Ireland
  • Have a registered address in the UK or you have been a UK resident in the last 15 years but are now living abroad
  • and be REGISTERED TO VOTE BY THEN END OF TODAY

…. then you can fill in a very quick, very simple form online, receive a voting card or ask for a postal vote and your little mark in a box can change the way things are done politically for the next 5 years.

So, how do you register?

You can go to gov.uk/register-to-vote and fill out the form there (and don’t worry, it’s as simple as asking where you live in the UK, your name and date of birth).

But be quick as you only have until 11.59pm TONIGHT to do it.

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, I know who I am voting for (Labour, which I think is obvious), if you aren’t sure then go online, look for the Manifestos of the parties, or you can fill in a few questionnaires online which will tell you which way you lean to from your answers- it’s like Tinder but for something really bloody important to the entire country!

notthe33

As you can see, in 2015, if the 33.9% had of voted, they could have completely changed the whole outcome. Maybe they didn’t think it mattered. Maybe they didn’t think their voice would be listened to? Perhaps there was a Game of Thrones boxset they’d meant to get up to speed with so they did that instead? Whatever the reason, your vote can make a massive difference.

I’m especially talking to the under 25’s here, you all love voting for singers, dancers and the like on any number of shows like The Voice, Britains Got Talent and I’m A Celeb. But it’s you guys who are the most directly effected by the outcome from the last general election.

So, if voting for a has been eating kangaroo bits is worth a vote, so if voting for a party that wont continue with zero hours contracts, university fees, and no housing benefit for under 21s, then you especially need to make sure you register. If Stormzy can do it, you can too.

I shall be bringing you some of my thoughts on why I’m voting Labour this time around, and I’m sure plenty of other bloggers will be giving their thoughts on all the parties too.

Get informed, but first, say no to being the 33% and go register to vote!

And a big thanks to @Helsieboo and @every1PR for setting up this word spreading initiative amongst the UK Blogging community 🙂

 

 

#LifeSchool: How NOT to Fall for Scams Online

Today’s #LifeSchool is coming from recent experience and shows how online, if something is too good to be true, it usually is, and desperation to get something can lead to costly mistakes.

I start by setting the scene and updating a bit on what us lot have been up to, as it’s been a while since I posted (being that I seem to be resident more now on my radio show and instagram).

We took the decision a little while ago to relocate to the coast. Not a decision we took lightly, as I bloody hate moving with a passion, but we agreed at the end of last year that we no longer feel the town fits us as a family, what with rents raising again by £200 in a year to £1350 a month for a house on our street, and being unhappy in general with the quality of life in the borough. We’ve not been given our marching orders, in fact, we love our current Landlord (unusual for us) but we have started looking to the Dorset area at our own pace.

As a result, we have posted online as we’ve had success finding a house this way before.

A while back, I posted on Gumtree, which I find is the best resource as you can advertise on their Wanted Property section for free. Its also where I look most days for any properties that have come up from Private Landlords, as, unlike RightMove and Zoopla, ads are instantly view-able.

My ad was simple, just asking for a 2 or 3 bed unfurnished house, with a good sized garden, close to local amenities, as well as saying we are relocating in part due to Littlest being far healthier in clean country coastal air than in the built up area we are in now. We also, hoping to reel in a Private individual, said we will take on a house needing a little cosmetic improvement, as we find sometimes this lowers your deposit.

We had a few responses, unfortunately none which were suitable, but as we have no notice period to mean we have to rush into anything, we didn’t mind.

I did, however, receive a text in March, which asked me to email a Miss Miller about a property she was sure would meet our requirements.

Not feeling anything was amiss, and having had other texts, I emailed on the address the provided- jessmiller867@gmail.com, and received an email back straight away;

miss miller

All sounds fine, right?

I didn’t even question it. The photos she sent were of an utterly beautifully furnished home, which most people would jump at at that price. The only reason I never continued with the conversation, bar to email back once to decline, was because the property offered to me was not in Dorset, but in Wales.

I didn’t give it a second thought until yesterday, when another text came through-

textmrsester

Now, I’ll admit, I was a little questioning of the wording, but not everyone who rents houses has perfect English, and that doesn’t rule them out as a Landlord. Especially not since the name of the email address was clearly Spanish. I did feel the text was familiar but I emailed straight away. This is the reply I got;

mrsesteremail1

Look familiar?

I couldn’t help noticing that, although some of the details had been changed, and it was from a different email address, the two emails were ridiculously similar. I also looked up the address given for the property and the photos of the house she sent me look nothing like the photos you can find online when the small estate she refers to was built. It is also an estate of very few houses but mostly modern flats, none of which are three bedroom. The photos sent were very similar- a beautiful home with modern furniture but a period home with big sash windows- not a modern home on a modern estate.

I clocked straight away and alerted Gumtree via Twitter. They are now investigating and will be sending the details to the relevant body.

It is a known scam on Gumtree and other similar sites. These scammers prey on people’s desperate need in some cases to find a property at a time when it is hard as hell for many to find an affordable home in an area they want to live in. By tapping into this need, they can guarantee that a few people will fall for their scam and send the required £500 by transfer- which they will never see again.

I decided to humor “Mrs Ester” after she text me (the cheeky bugger whoever she/he is) asking why I had yet to respond. And lo and behold, her “solicitors” bank details are now in my inbox and that of Gumtree- I wont post them here in case this is an account they are scamming.

To make matters worse, the scammer asked me for a range of personal details for their “solicitors credit and reference checks”.

This is easy to fall for as it’s a practice used by 99% of genuine agents and owners, and I’ve had many performed in the past which I’ve had to pay anything between £50 and £120 for. So to be offered one for free would definitely entice people who have a tight budget.

I, obviously sensing a scam, used one of my own- using a fake address generator and giving a fake approximation of my name. To which Mrs Ester asked me to send her two passport photos of myself for “identification purposes”. No doubt if I had of done, my identification would have been used for further frauds.

So, this Life School is asking you all, however desperate you are, always always query messages if you are advertising in the same way.

If the deposit is tiny on a home filled with designer furniture, and they don’t ask for fees, they probably aren’t being nice and trying to get you homed, they are very likely to be conning you. In the case of homes in Dorset, even a deposit on an unfurnished home is in the region of £1,300+, and considering how much both “Jess Miller” and “Mrs Ester” wanted someone to assure them they’d look after their “facilities”, asking for such a tiny deposit is questionable too.

Check the persons credentials, if they claim to be from an agency, find the agency online. If it’s a sophisticated scam, and the agents exists, ring them and ask if they have someone in their employ with that name. If not, its likely to be a scam.

Look up the address they claim to have a home in, like I did. Does the type of home match the description or images?

Never, ever agree to a bank transfer, I’ve never known a company to ask for this to be given. Most will allow you to pay cash if you are suspicious- if they wont let you, they are probably dodgy.

And if they speak like one of those “Princess Conseula of Guadalope who has cash monies for you to hold for £1,000000000 in return for help oh gracious one” they are doubtless a scamming bastard.

Now, that’s not to say you can’t find a decent property via these sites- I have done in the past and countless others probably have too. If you do sense a scam, it’s always worth emailing or tweeting at the site so they can remove these fraudsters.

However small amount of time you have to find a new home, however much the property sounds amazing, always exercise caution.

And don’t become another victim of these despicable scams.

This Is When It Sucks to Be a Parent

This is when it sucks to be a parent. In no particular order and in no particular timeline. Feel free to add your own.

When your child is once again the target of a nasty, persistent group of children who punch them to the ground for fun, and then grin at you whilst the teachers turn a blind eye,  That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When your child has done as much work as possible on a project, or a competition and worked so hard towards the end goal, and they get overlooked or a rubbish mark compared to the kids whose parent has clearly done it for them, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When your kid tells you they feel let down by adults who are meant to care, about their safety, or their health or their well-being in general, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When you want to go out to a really cool party, or day trip, and not have to plan stuff months in advance ensuring there is a babysitter available who definitely can make that date in x months time, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When the children expect you to have an answer for an infinite amount of possible questions on everything as far removed as the offside rule or why someone at school called them a name and you could swallow an encyclopedia and still never have all the answers, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When the weather is shite and the last thing you want to do at 8.30am is walk in it of your own free will whilst two small people bitch you as if it’s your fault its pissing down, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When you are literally dying of ill health (or so it feels), you can no longer be certain that you haven’t coughed up a lung or are being sick, but the small one or worse ones, are ill too, so you have to forego a duvet day to look after them (and do umpteen piles of washing if it’s a D&V Bug), That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When once upon a time you could survive on a diet of vodka, 20 B&H, and a pot noddle and thus was a size 8, when now you have to have at least 8 cups of strong coffee to get the wherewithal to brush your hair of a morning, and cannot refuse cake, or a leftover chip, thus are a size, ahem, cough, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When you have to make small talk with other parent’s  who the only thing you have in common with is you had sex around the same time hence why you’re in a playground, although thank god for the small group of “normal” parent’s who aren’t annoying and are as disillusioned as you, That is when it (sometimes) sucks to be a parent.

When instead of being in a kick ass nightclub, or having a lazy pub session of a Friday night, you are instead stuck listening to Let It Go, One Direction and other chart shit at a school disco, wishing it was socially acceptable to sneak in gin, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

Parent’s evening, good or bad, ditto school reports and sports day, These are when it sucks to be a parent.

Losing the beloved bear- the child’s or the class one (actually, the class one is just bollocks, no one really takes a mini break for the school bear’s diary, surely?), That is when it sucks to be a parent.

When the idea of Tom Hardy reading the bedtime story on cBeebies is meant to make up for a day of forced watching of the saccharine irritations of (fucking) Night Garden and (arsing) Charlie and Lola, That is when it sucks to be a (Mum) Parent.

Horrid Henry. The shite, That is when it sucks to be a parent.

And finally, it sucks to be a parent when you know that after the bumps, the homeworks, the disappointments, the questions, the shite TV and music they love, the ill health, the laughs and the good and the bad, before you know it, just like Mini is now, they are wanting to grow up and for you to not hold their hand or hug them in public, and soon after that they are young adults and don’t need you at all bar the odd tenner or a lift home.

That is when it sucks the most.

Why I Will Never Support the RSPCA Again

Those who follow my Instagram will have seen pics since just after we moved to our home last year of Socks, or, as he was known on there #SocksTheSquatterCat.

instagramcapture_c6b456b3-091f-46e9-899d-8c5ce6418504

One hot day in July last year, I was cooking dinner with the back door open, and the Brats were at the park with Elder. So when I saw, out the corner of my eye, something dart across the living room, I thought we were being burgled.

Luckily, after near on having a heart attack, a little meow confirmed that it wasn’t a burglar but a particularly skinny, hungry cat.

I asked some of neighbours if they knew the cat to be told it was a local cat who didn’t appear to have a home. It was often spotted roaming from home to home on the look out for a saucer of milk or a sly bit off the barbecue. It was very friendly though, and one neighbor said she thought that students had left it behind in a house a couple of doors down when they left, as the landlord had found cat food and bits when he came to clear out.

Each day, Socks- as Mini nicknamed the cat we thought at the time was a girl- would turn up, have a cuddle with the kids, pinch a bit of ham, and then go off, no doubt to the next house on the street.

Mini loves cats so we didn’t mind, but warned that Socks probably had a home somewhere so couldn’t stay.

We would, over time, get used to the little squatter, but she (now he) didn’t stay over night. We would see Socks near school, and on surrounding streets, just like most neighbourhood strays. I felt sure that it was very good as these cats are of being fed via a rub of a neighbour’s legs.

I did think she might be staying in our shed the odd time, as it doesn’t lock, but that didn’t bother me.

A few weeks ago, and Socks disappeared. It was very unlike her to not appear, and Mini was worried.

After asking other neighbours and builder’s near school who had got used to Socks turning up, and having no one see her, I started to worry too. It wasn’t our cat but I didn’t like to think of something bad happening.

So, I asked on a local neighbourhood group had anyone seen Socks, with a picture. I mentioned how Socks was a stray in the area who half the street had been feeding, but my daughter and the rest of us hadn’t seen her in three days so wanted to check everything was OK.

A few months back, Socks had fallen in a pond in a street round the corner, and that lady was concerned too, having seen her about since but not recently. She said she’d keep an eye out as did others, and someone shared my post on a lost animals site too.

Then, during my show on Radioactive, I happened to be scrolling through Facebook when I saw a lady advertise a cat had been hit by a car on our road, and to call a number. This wasn’t directed at me, but did say it was a black and white cat but male.

I couldn’t ring as I thought perhaps Socks had died- she would get scared of car noise but run under a car and into the road. Elder rang and was told the cat was OK, but had a suspected pelvis injury. She was also a he, and the next door neighbour- who we don’t speak to- had found him.

Elder said we weren’t the owners but, if the cat had no chip and would need to be rehomed once better, we would like to be considered.

The lady- who it turned out was from the local RSPCA- said she would get back to us.

This started a very strange set of events which really has put me off the RSPCA and made me question their behaviour towards animals in their care.

She rang back later, saying she had now seen the cat. She then said would Elder like to visit the local vet and check on Socks, and whilst there he could- and this was thrown in casually- “sign some papers regards his treatment being Okayed by us”.

Elder said that he felt we couldn’t do this as it wasn’t really up to us to OK anything, being that we weren’t the owners. He reiterated that the next door neighbour clearly didn’t think were were, and we thought he was a she. He did though say if the RSPCA wanted us to adopt the cat we would be interested to do so as adopted owners.

She ended the call but said we would be seen as owners as I had posted about the cat- yet she had seen this but not phoned me as I had said it was a girl cat. She also told us that the fees were already into the mid £200 area and that was just for two nights stay. This would rise after X-Rays, Anesthetic, and another nights board.

At this point, I rang the vet that Socks was at to be told they were expecting us as “owners” according to the lady from the RSPCA. I told her our situation, and she said she had not been told this.I was also told by others online who had had a cat in a similar situation that it would end up costing us well over £500, possibly up to a £1,000 if the cat had broken it’s pelvis.

Immediately after I ended the call, the RSPCA woman phoned again, and said either we agreed to pay and take “responsibility” for the cat’s injury, or they would offer him for adoption once he was better.

Elder was disgusted by this point, and said that 12 weeks of care, plus vets fees in this time would cost the RSPCA a bundle and would it not just be better to allow us to adopt him like other’s would with a stray, rather than keep telling us we were the owners.

If the cat had of been ours, I would have got Pet Insurance, I also would have had the cat chipped. BUT as I always felt Socks may have a home- it certainly had no issue being gone all night- it would have been theft to claim him as ours at the time.

Not every cat owner has Facebook or the means to advertise locally if a cat goes missing, so the fact he was never soaked through despite the horrendous weather, I felt sure he was someone’s, probably a little old ladies.

We then had to break the news to Mini, who cried herself to sleep, which was just devastating but we felt trapped. Other’s warned me that the RSPCA could very easily fine us in court for not having the cat chipped and not being careful with him hence him being run over if we went along with their request.

I was so angry, so when she phoned for the last time, again declining to acknowledge we were not the owners, we asked her to contact her boss so we could discuss her behaviour.

This call came the next day, and if I thought the first woman was bad I soon found out her boss was worse.

First up, she wouldn’t speak to me at all. I wanted to speak but she told me she wasn’t dealing with me but my partner. I add at this point I had never spoken to the other woman, Elder had, so no idea where this came from.

She was less help though, suggesting to Elder that we fed it so we owned it and was responsible. To which Elder, quite rightly said that if that was the case, the whole neighbourhood was the owner. She just ignored him.

She totally played on the fact she was aware how upset Mini was, saying if we didn’t pay up- with fees ever rising- they would rehome the cat with someone else.

To me, it was pure spite. We wouldn’t allow them to treat us as negligent, and we knew our rights, so they got nasty.

This is a charity, and it appears they would rather remove a cat from its stomping ground and get nasty than allow someone who knows of the cat to adopt it. I would question what they would do if a neighbour wanted to take in the cat of an elderly neighbour who was struggling to care for it, or if someone couldn’t afford vets bills?

I am absolutely livid that they were more interested in us paying them hundreds even a thousand pounds to them than what was in the best interests of the cat?

We all miss Socks now, as do other’s in the neighbourhood, and they have been shocked by the behaviour of people who are supposed to care for animals.

The RSPCA should be ashamed, they haven’t even acknowledged a formal complaint made by me over the situation.

All we and the neighbours did, in essence, was care for a cat they hadn’t bothered with.

If you are considering adopting from them, bear in mind you may be adopting a cat or dog who has a home it misses dreadfully.

And think twice before signing anything- including to pay them a charitable donation once a month.

We Went to a Vintage Weigh and Pay and All We Got Was a (Smelly) Dress…..

As Friday was my birthday and I have long ago told Elder that I prefer to buy my own gift, this year he bunged me cash and I was rather chuffed.

A few weeks back, we got a flyer from Oxfam Record store about a new event coming to Reading Hexagon.

It’s called Vintage Weigh and Pay, and the idea is you pay a few pounds to come in and there is rails and tables with 6 tonnes (yes, 6 whole tonnes) of actual vintage gear for you to look through. A Kilogram is £15, and you get given a lightweight bag on entry.

As someone who loves vintage, loves a bargain and had previously enjoyed the swishing party phenomenon a few years back, I decided to go along.

Vintage Weigh and Pay has a website and is linked to several social media accounts as you’d expect, showing off the previous events around the country and picking folk out who had bagged bargains.

On their site, they link to a Facebook album where they show the types of stuff they get and what you can expect to pay for it.

Spotting lots of vintage sportswear (Elder being a massive fan of vintage Adidas), Doc Martens, little sixties shift dresses and seventies fancy stuff, I was all ready to bag some serious wardrobe deals for cheap prices.

The fact it was promised as being “Grade a” in quality made me happy too- there’s nothing worse than buying a vintage piece only to find rips, holes, or missing buttons which are impossible to replace without a time machine.

Grade A means its the type of stuff that may not be classed as brand new, obviously but is in very good condition, not ready for the bin.

We decided to get there for the Early Bird 10am start, paying £3 per adult to do so. We figured that it would hopefully be less busy that early as we were bringing the Brats- in fact, Mini wanted to find some dresses and things for herself and being near on ten and still rather tall and Twiggy like, we felt she’d find it easy too.

The good thing about the event was it was in a good central location, at our local theater, right on the bus link, and with a coffee shop to boot- as it was bloody freezing! It’s also on the ground floor so accessible if you need it to be.

We walked in and there was several rails, split by men’s and women’s. There was a table haphazardly taken up by handbags and Converse trainers, and it was easy to maneuver round the room by shirts, jumpers, dresses and jeans.

To be honest though, I was slightly disappointed once I started looking through the rails.

It was more jumble sale than Vintage.

We have a shop in Reading, called Harper and Lewis. It sells some vintage but most is “re- imagining” of vintage pieces, which is fine, as they advertise that that is what you’ll get.The stuff on offer at the Vintage Weigh and Pay was cheaper, but more or less the same as the store.

When I’m looking for vintage, due to my time helping out at the Salvation Army shop and helping out Jane who ran it back then, I have learnt what labels to look for or at least what labels looked like back then. If I’m honest, I wasn’t seeing any of these labels anywhere.

The Converse for starters whilst varied in colour, were all more or less a size 5,6 or 10. They also, for the most part, sadly, looked well passed a time when you could wear them, one lady I was rummaging next to mentioned that they looked like someone had “bagged up trainers left after Reading Festival last year” and she wasn’t far off the mark. As this was what Elder had specifically come for- as per the website and album on Facebook- finding no Adidas, no Doc Martens and not even Converse in his size bar a pair that looked ready for a bin was disappointing.

The men’s stuff was pretty horrendous to be fair- I’ve seen better at my local Barnados.(That’s not a lie- I picked up a pair of true vintage Adidas Gazelle in my local one for £1.99, they are mint and I offered to pay extra!). Yes, there was rails of Flannel shirts but those can be picked up pretty easily and just as cheap in second hand stores.

On their website, they suggest they have items from across the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Really? Not one pair of flares. Not one maxi dress akin to a disco in the 70s. No knitted sex kitten jumpers or skirts.

Copies of Denim dungarees are NOT vintage originals and were more Slim Shady than Second Summer of Love.

I know they can’t guarantee what they’ll have, but listing tables of “accessories” and finding one with handbags I probably stuck in for the rag guy in my second hand shop days was really crap to be honest.

The only person who ended up finding anything was Mini!

minivintage

 

She pulled out one of the few vintage label pieces I saw- a C&A knit sailor dress with Olympic rings on the pocket. Even so, this smelt revolting, and was certainly not Grade A, it was quite bobbly, but after handwashing it and using a blunt razor I managed to salvage it. She also found a later version of a swing dress, although we’ll need to find a belt as that was missing too.

Altogether, we spent nearly £37, which I thought was mental. I did think it was too much, and I was right.

Another website promise is that all jackets and coats wont cost more than £15, yet Elder was charged £19 for his. £4 may not be much but it was yet another false promise on their flash website.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. And the feeling was shared by other’s who were vocal by the rails on how bad it was, the smell of the clothing and the fact we felt cheated.

Would I go again?

No.

I think you get better items for around the same price in second hand stores and at jumble sales.

Vintage Weigh and Pay- a total rip off that left me in need of febreeze and wondering why on earth I dragged us all out in snow so early in the morning.