The Correct Way to Give Change

This really winds me up…..

When I pop into a shop, it’s usually because I’ve forgotten something; I normally have Madame in tow, often carrying a scooter, laden with shopping bags, my Iphone and/or my wallet in hand. So, when they give me my change like this, I end up having to drop everything, because it takes two hands to slide the change off the bills, deposit them in my pocket and then separate the bills from the receipt and tuck them away safely.  Then I have to start the whole process of loading myself up again like a nomadic traveller when the seasons change.

Why can’t they give me my change like this…

Then I could deal with it one handed, slip the change into my pocket, then the bills without having to put everything down and be out of their way much faster.

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Neighbours are at it again!

Our neighbours are at it again.  We’ve been suffering their building works since Mar 2010.   We are normally fairly laid back people and really did like our neighbours; we even drove the boys to the hospital when their father had a stroke.  However, we’ve fought the extension tooth and nail every step of the way.

We objected to the plans on two occasions, the first set were refused they made a few small changes and second set went through to our horror. We’ve had the building inspectors out, called Health and Safety on numerous occasions due to lack of safety equipment, had Environmental Health out as they are burning everything including plastic and god knows what else, called the Fire Department due to unattended bonfires and had all my twitter buddies write to the local council.  It did make them stand up and take notice.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do anything about it.  Once planning permission is granted there’s really nothing you can do to stop it.  It really is disgusting as they’ve been allowed to build on 70% of their garden and it grossly overlooks our property.  I showed video to two planning officers who are friends of friends and they said they have never seen anything like it.  We’re resigned to it but just want them to finish so we can get on with living undisturbed.

As its winter, we haven’t been spending a lot of time in the garden so we hadn’t noticed the latest infraction.  Long before Christmas they were retiling the roof and removed the guttering.  Tonight we noticed that they have removed approx a metre of our guttering, which means that the water from our house including two of the neighbours is pouring straight onto our flat roof extension, bear in mind we’ve had monsoon like rain in the last few days.  For reference, our house is on the right.

I popped around tonight, to politely ask when the builders would be back to rectify it and apparently they’ve run out of money and don’t know when it will be fixed.  I’m sorry, but this isn’t acceptable and not our fault so I will be contacting the council tomorrow and if I don’t get anywhere I will be contacting the authorities as this seems to be ‘wilful damage to property in my books!’  Following that our next step is a solicitor.

I have asked them to replace the guttering and if they don’t we will at their expense.  I will only put enough guttering on so it runs onto their house!  They have also damaged the rendering on our house.

Have any of you experience this?

Any solicitors in the house want to write them a letter for me pro bono?

What should we do?  I don’t feel it’s fair that we should incur any costs.

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New government advice on clearing snow

I was in town today, we’ve had about 8 inches of snow in the last few days, and there was a physically challenged gentleman probably in his 40s, with two children under 5, walking with sticks.  He was practically walking down the middle of a very busy street, which happens to be a bus route as well.  Due to the sticks, he was unable to hold the children’s hands and they were terrifyingly close to the traffic.  It was one of those moments where you couldn’t bear to watch.

The reason he was walking in the road was because the footpaths were impassable.  I was sliding around and I’m perfectly able.  This refuelled my anger of the madness of Health and Safety; I know it’s not just this country.  It’s unfair to continually compare Canada to the UK but this is my reference point.  In Canada, you’re legally responsible for clearing the footpaths (sidewalks) outside your property including the one leading up to your house.  If you don’t and someone slips and is hurt you’re liable.

Up until recently, it was believed in the UK that if you ‘did’ clear the paths then you would be liable, which seems completely back to front to me, which has resulted in no one clearing their paths.  I was walking into town on the weekend and was speaking with an elderly gentleman who was meticulously clearing his own drive, but wouldn’t clear the footpath for this very reason.

So, I was pleased to read that Hertfordshire County Council has welcomed government guidelines that give clear guidance for residents who want to clear snow and ice from outside their properties.

“There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your property, pathways to your property or public spaces.”

In response to concerns from the public about being sued, the guidelines continue:

“If an accident did happen, it’s highly unlikely that you would be sued as long as you are careful and use common sense to make sure that you don’t make the pavement or pathway clearly more dangerous than before. People using areas affected by snow and ice also have responsibility to be careful themselves.”

You can read the full article here which includes advice on clearing paths.

So, come on and get your shovels out, if you have one!   You may want to check with your local council first.  :-)

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Not Pukka but Cheeky!

The bloody cheek!  Would you return it?

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Ice Skating in the UK

I know that the English are weird with their pickled eggs, eggy bread and squash but who in their right mind would design an ice skating rink that resembles a giant plastic cutting board and then strap a couple of butter knives on their feet!  We all know that plastic cutting boards can dull knives.

The thing is I can skate, not brilliantly, but I can.    I started when I was 3 and at one point my mother was the President of the Ice Skating Club.  That is me on the left.

However, when I took my daughter skating this morning I could barely stand up let alone do a few strokes and heaven forbid a Camel Spin or a Double Salchow, which at my age would’ve been a bad idea anyhow.  The skates were dull and I looked like a duck walking on a frozen pond.  Luckily, I could feign the doting parent and propped myself (safely) up against the edge to take this video.