Do I feel safe in London after the attacks?

No, I do not.

I believe the police when they say we are on Severe or Critical alert.I have seen that London is not safe.

We rarely get police walking along the streets due to red tape and cuts. I don’t see police do Stop and Searches though they do sometimes but I don’t see them doing this. There are no proper check points screening and checking motorists. The police tend to be out in their cars a lot, missing local intelligence.I feel sorry for them, as they have their hands tied by the ‘people at the top’.

The local media and Government tries to say #londonisopen, which is a bit of a PR stunt. It’s all very well carrying on ‘as normal’, but this can put our lives in danger. I certainly don’t trust our politicians. We have seen that these attackers target busy areas for maximum media coverage, so avoiding crowded places helps. Sometimes I forget about avoiding crowded places, and then, think about it afterwards. I try to avoid busy areas where there are few escape routes and I always take shoes that I can run in. Some people say, ‘you are letting them win’, I say, ‘I am winning, I am staying alive’.

I am a lot more vigilant now and I do report any suspicious behaviour to the police. Only a few weeks ago, I reported someone suspicious on the underground who was going from East London towards Westminster, a couple of weeks before the London attack. My friend kept on telling me, ‘there’s no need to report him’, but the police were glad that I did. He certainly looked out of place on the tube, particularly his reading matter. As soon as I saw his reading matter and his manner, I got off the tube train at once.

Once I helped a police inspector catch some car thieves at our local train station. The police were using our offices to spy on them. Though he was probably pi**ed off that I spotted them, and he didn’t, he did say they were up to no good and caught three males. I have a good sense of spotting shifty behaviour. We need to use our observational skills.We cannot be apathetic any more.

In the ideal world, I would prefer to wear an anti-stab vest in London or anti-knife collar round my neck, then if I was caught in some kind of stabbing spree, I would have a better chance of survival. These are quite expensive though, but I think they are worth it if you have the money. The thing is terrorism is so ‘random’ but there are places, that they always target and types of people.

A few days ago there was someone loading fireworks in Bermondsey, Southwark, and we wondered what was happening, and only last night, at the ridiculous hour of 1.30am I heard a serious of random gunshots or firework bangs,and I heard a police siren soon after. This is out of the norm at night. I am on edge, and I don’t safe but because of that, but I can be far more vigilant, and report unusual behaviour, this is something we can all do to combat terrorism. Maybe the nutter at Manchester could have been spotted earlier if people were vigilant. Prevention is better than cure, however, it doesn’t always work, as some people did report the London Bridge attackers to the police, but they somehow got through the net. At the end of the day, you can only try and do what is right, avoid busy areas and ones that ‘are likely to be terrorist targets’ as many of them follow a familiar pattern, particularly the copycats.

It is horrible that the UK has changed so much over the last decade. Things are different now, but we have to be awake to the new UK and learn to deal with it. Actually no city these days is safe from extremists. Sometimes avoiding busy and touristy places, is the key to survival now. Surviving is the best revenge to terrorists!

UK: It’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day on 23 June, 2017

Improve your wellbeing in the workplace and help raise money for animal welfare charities by bringing your dog to work on Friday. Bring some ‘pet therapy’ to help reduce workplace stress.

If you would like to take part see https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/ for details.

Bear mind in mind that it could be hot as here in the UK we are having a heatwave, so avoid taking it to work in a car or hot workplace etc.

Thanks to the list of fantastic Sponsors supporting this day :- https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/sponsor</em

London: 18 June, 2017: My trip to two ‘Great Get Togethers’ in 30c Heat

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PHOTO: Southwark Street

I went to two Great Get Togethers, the first with a social group in Holborn and the other at Bankside in Southwark. strong> The Great Get Together was designed to bring communities together in memory of a Labour MP, Jo Cox, who got slain by an extremist.

It was a baking hot all day and I had to slap on 50 SPF factor sunscream. I forgot my sunhat though.

In the first Gathering in Central London, we brought along some food to share including bones for any dogs that may come along, and had a picnic under the trees in Holborn. We played ‘multicultural frisby’ afterwards. We also met an OAP from Southwark and shared some doughnuts and talked about country walks.

Afterwards, we invited him to come along to the Bankside Street Party, which was another Great Big Gathering and listened to music, watched ‘multicultural maypole dancing’, the Surrey Docks Farm animals and went on a Crossbones Garden Tour. It was great to see just by a council estate, a Shetland pony, some sheep, goats and chickens. The kids loved them.

In the Red Cross Garden, near Southwark Street, a woman called Charmaine had made a cake in the Bake Off which looked just like the Red Cross garden, complete with pond. You can see the photo here:

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Am now very knackered and very very hot so, although the Gathering was very good, it was nice to be back home! Look forward to some more Gatherings too.

Homemade “Papua Sunset” Ice Lolly with Banana & Pomegranate – REVIEW

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I was inspired by Papua New Guinea where they first domesticated bananas, and my trip to the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’ in Lebanon, for this homemade ice lolly. I just used two large ice lolly moulds.

INGREDIENTS (eyeball)

Natural Yogurt

Pomegranate Juice (essential as it gels the yoghurt together)

Almond Milk

Honey

Mashed Banana, make sure it isn’t lumpy

METHOD: Just Mix up!

Optional tip: You can add a drop of red colouring, though, watch out, some people may be allergic. If you don’t add colouring, it’s just a very pale pink.

REVIEW: 10/10 OMG, one of my favourite ice lollies, and it reminds me of my trip going through ‘Sniper country’ in sunny Lebanon. You can really smell the wonderful aroma of the pomegranate. The taste brings the Mediterranean all back, with the fruit markets and arid hills.

London: Animal victims of #Grenfellfire looking for temporary homes, can you help?

The Blue Cross Animal Hospital are looking for people who would urgently help offer a home for a pet, due to displacement of the Grenfell Fire Tower victims.

I have offered to offer a hamster a temporary home, if they have any. My room is too small for a cat I think (and no, I could not swing a cat in it!) Am a Millwall fan, gotta help out!

Please contact them on 0300 777 1890 if you would like to help or a pet that needs help. They are also on Twitter the_blue_cross

You can also donate to them on https://www.bluecross.org.uk/donate

UPDATE:19/06/2017 They have reported back that they don’t need any more foster homes for the Grenfell Tower pets. Thanks to everyone who have helped.

Grenfell Tower Fire: Press Complaints Poll: Results so far

I asked if Twitter followers have complained to IPSOS, the Independent Press Standards Complaints Organisation, about the appalling standard of tabloid journalism on the Grenfell Tower Fire.

Here are some results so far:

Have you made a complaint to IPSOS? 25% Yes

I won’t make a Complaint: 63%

0% Don’t know

12% Not Yet

If you would like to make a complaint about to IPSOs about the tabloids insensitive behaviour, the website is https://www.ipso.co.uk/make-a-complaint/

London: Press Complaint: #Grenfelltowerfire Stop Tabloids Identifying Vulnerable People #Respecttheirprivacyingrief

I was disgusted to see tabloids naming the person who owned the fridge that caught fire in the Grenfell Tower fire. This included The Sun, The Daily Mirror and The Daily Mail, others also followed suit.

As a citizen journalist, there’s a fine line between telling an important story and putting vulnerable people at risk. It is extremely insensitive. This man is in grief and shock and he is not allowed privacy in such a time. This is inhumane. What kind of world are we in?

This will cause extra psychological trauma to the person, who not only could get PTSD but could be at risk of suicide, which will also affect the rest of his family too, if he doesn’t have a good support network. He has a child too. As a writer, we have to stand up to unethical behaviour like this.

Maybe they took the photo from a Facebook account, and tabloids would say, “well, it’s ‘his fault’ he made it public”Come on guys, you have degrees in journalism, surely you have some common sense. Why aren’t the police protecting this guy too?

I am a citizen journalist who has an interest in trauma and mental health. Perhaps these journalists should have some Mental Health First Aid training and learn about mental health. Even they themselves, may need counselling and could be vulnerable too after witnessesing this. I wonder if they are getting any help? Anyone who experiences such overwhelming trauma needs a lot of support, love and self-care, not ‘shaming in the media’ so media organisations can get huge profits.

Several members of the public, both in the UK, and worldwide, have complained on various forums about their behaviour. Some professional journalists, seem to have no duty of care to those they write about. Some QCs online are also disgusted.

If I knew him, I would offer him a cup of tea and a chat, and try and get him some trauma counselling. It will take years and years to deal with that. I hope he is surrounded by ‘friends’ that don’t sell him’ to the gutter media’.

If you are a professional journalist reading this, come on, show some balls and tell your boss to ‘stick it’ if they make you identify a vulnerable person like this.

To make a Press Complaint
: https://www.ipso.co.uk/make-a-complaint/

For those who need help after the Grenfell Tower Fire, here are some useful numbers

Mind Charity (for Mental Health) 0300 123 3393

Child Bereavement Uk, if parents etc have lost a child. UK Tel 01494 568 900

Cruse Bereavement Care 0808 808 1677

Winston’s Wish (The Charity for Bereaved Children) FREEPHONE
08088 020 021

The Guardian complain about identifing the person but flash up the Daily Mail with their tweet identifying him, here (which is ironic). https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/16/mail-online-story-about-alleged-cause-of-grenfell-fire-prompts-more-than-1100-complaints?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theguardian%2FIOlg+%28Media+%7C+The+Guardian%29

Ironically if the Royals behave badly, the Press censors their photos. Identifying vulnerable people is ‘an attack on the poor, the superrich who can afford gaggling clauses.

Homemade Mango Yoghurt & ‘Rum’ Ice Lolly – Review

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This was recommended to me by a Kentish woman who works at a fruit stall in England. Sometimes we swap recipes. Instead of milk, I used almond milk which I thought would be healthier. It gels the ingredients well together. I used a couple of lolly moulds.

INGREDIENTS (eyeball)

Ripe mango – chopped

Natural Yoghurt

To sweeten: Sugar or honey

Almond or Oat Milk

Drops of rum flavouring (sometimes Eastern European shops have this)

METHOD
: Just mix up!

Review: 9/10 Very nice! It was slightly cheesy at first, but in a nice Icelandic Skyr way. Far nicer than the ones in the shops too. Personally I preferred a bit of sugar, but that’s me. The lolly took about 10 minutes to eat. I gave one to my friend, who also enjoyed it. I find the ice lollies in the shops far too rich for me, and they’re not very fruity.

Tip: Some chopped almonds would be fun to add and would work very well with the almond milk.

Company Greed: Taxi Companies charging Full Rates for Grenfell Fire donors

An unnamed taxi driver driving into Notting Hill has been charging people full price to whose who have been giving large donations to the Grenfell Fire survivors to avoid getting ‘abuse from his company’.

The Metropolitan police say that 17 people were killed, including children, in the devastating Grenfell Fire, in Notting Hill, London, this week.

UPDATE: 15/5 Some cabbies are offering discounts or their services for free unlike the cabbie who charged £37.00 http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/grenfell-disaster-black-cab-and-uber-drivers-join-charge-to-help-victims-as-londoners-unite-in-a3566316.html

Notting Hill: Grenfell Fire: Nine British Red Cross Volunteers helping out

The British Red Cross have been providing Grenfell Fire survivors with food and water.

They say that nine volunteers are helping to distribute clothing, food and water donated by members of the public to people affected by the blaze at Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington.

Jon Pewtner, Red Cross senior emergency response officer, said: “Nine volunteers from the British Red Cross are providing practical and emotional support, including breakfast items, at a rest centre for residents”

They currently state that they have enough donations but advise the public that the Westway Trust needs large plastic containers to store donations for the GrenfellTower residents.

If you would like to fundraise for the Red Cross see http://www.redcross.org.uk/Donate-Now/Donation-enquiries