Kent: Passengers on South Eastern Railway take their dogs to work today

It is National #Takeyourdogtowork day which is great for mental health in the workplace, and gets the dog out too, and, of course, immensely spoiled.

I was pleased to see some railway passengers taking their beagle to work this morning, on my way to London Bridge. The lady took the dog after 10am and avoided the crowded rush hour so he was quite comfortable.

Hope to see more and more people take their dogs to work, perhaps more often than a day, to help animal welfare charities and reduce workplace stress and sickness. It also makes the workplace more fun and ‘human’.

To take part next year, keep a note of this website: https://bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk/ for details.

England: “Because it’s Tradition”, we do weird & stupid things.

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I always find that State Opening of Parliament fills me with nausea. We have this cringeworthy spectacle for an unelected woman to make a speech in Parliament, a supposed democratic institution. (hello?) Is it just me to thinks this is weird?. The mass media never talk about this. It is like the elephant in the room.

Then I also get annoyed that the soldiers in their bearskin hats are outside Parliament in a 32C heatwave, and are not being allowed to take them off ‘because of tradition’. It is just ‘not good form’ to do that. So soldiers are expected to faint instead. What kind of culture are we in? The class system is plain stupid. What kind of army leaders do we have? What, a ‘real soldier’ doesn’t take his bearskin off? The Queen didn’t seem bothered at all that they were very uncomfortable. Well, she is of a different generation. After all these years, they still make soldiers keep them on. Why don’t soldiers stand up to this nonsense – they are probably court martialled if they do, or bullied.

Even 91-year-olds like the Queen should not be out in a heatwave, on the ‘hottest day of the year’ and the NHS encourages us all to ‘check on their neighbours’ and to keep out of the sun from 11-3pm. Haven’t we forgotten that we are human? In countries like Spain, they have siestas for times like this, but no, we English go ‘out in the Midday Sun’ as the song says. And a lot of the time, we don’t even wear hats either to protect us from the high UV levels, which again, the Government warns us out. Some Brits have second degree burns because they don’t even use any sun protection, unlike people in other hot countries.

What about the emergency services who are inundated with people ignoring Government public health heatwave advice? Why don’t public health warnings apply supposed old people like the Queen? Why couldn’t the Queen just get Prince Charles do her job, at least she wouldn’t be out in the heat getting roasted? No, the Queen has to be out in a heatwave at 91 years old, ‘because it is tradition’, and even then, she’s stubborn enough to be out there during this time because ‘she wants to’.

I understand that the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, has been taken to hospital yet the Queen would appear to be at the State Opening of Parliament, instead of being with him during the day. And, after that, she even went to Ascot in the heatwave. All because she cannot upset ‘tradition’.

Horses should not be racing on the hottest day of the year either, and she is supposed to be a horsewoman. Horse.com advise “Know your horse and signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke can happen anytime your horse is exposed to excessive heat that his body cannot handle. Heatstroke can happen if exercising in hot conditions, but be aware that it can also happen if standing in a hot stall or trailer.” I am at a stables, we keep our horses cool, and none of them have even been out riding in the heat today. The racing industry can be appalling and greedy. The Queen should not be encouraging racing in this weather too. Why not have race times only in the cooler part of the day, or would that ‘not be tradition’? I would rather ‘blow tradition’ than have a sick horse to attend to. I don’t hear anything from the vets at Ascot, maybe they are gagged or are ‘enablers’ of the greedy racing industry in a heatwave, after all, they get a free day out at Ascot.

There comes a point in life that doing the ‘right thing’ is taking the time off work for family reasons, health reasons and animal welfare, this is more important than ‘being on show’. Some traditions are plain stupid, and even more so, in a heatwave. Being a younger generation than most of the old fogies who carry on making these stupid rules, I make my own stamp, by standing up to it and questioning it.

Some people who do ‘challenge things’, actually comes from kids. Recently a academy school banned kids from wearing shorts during a heatweave, so the boys wore skirts as a form of protest and got lots of media coverage. Why can’t boiling soldiers all together, in a band of brothers’. and make a stand, why can’t horse grooms make a stand for their horses? Even the journalists are made to wear suits in a heatwave, ‘for show’, which is ridiculous too. Sometimes were Brits are a bunch of wimps and won’t say boo to a goose!

We have to question our culture, but adults never seem to learn, and that’s a tradition too!

++ Note I am typing this in a library, keeping cool with fans.

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.

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.

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

DIY British Sherbet: Review

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I made some sherbet today and I wanted to test it out.

Now, I am an aunt, so ‘I have to do ‘aunt things’ and get into practice for when I need it.

I was inspired by a stall selling sherbet at a Food Fair at Syon Park. They did lots of flavours, including pizza (which I am still working on). This particular recipe is a ‘plain one’ other than a few sprinkles. If you add liquid, like coconut flavouring, there will be a ‘fizzy reaction’. The photo above was when I put flavouring in it, so it is a bit ‘ball’ like but you don’t need to use any flavouring so it will be more powdery looking.

In the UK, sherbet is traditional eaten with a stick of licorice or eaten with the fingers. Nowadays, cooks use it as a topping for ice creams.

INGREDIENTS

Citrus Acid powder (I got this online, but you can apparently get it at pharmacies)

Bicarbonate of Soda

Sprinkles and/or edible glitter (from a cake decoration shop)This adds a little texture and colour if you want it.

Icing Sugar (be generous)

Vintage Sweet Bags (You can get a good range, blue, green, yellow, black and ‘mixed’ on Amazon.

Optional: Licorice sticks from Simpkins on Amazon (not licorice roots) If you can find a good health or candy store, even better as you don’t have to pay for any delivery charge.

Tip: You only need a little citrus acid powder and bicarbonate of soda. The more citrus acid you use, the more ‘sour’ it is.

REVIEW: It is not bad at all.You don’t need to buy sherbet in the shops now, it works! It is fun to have a variety of sprinkles to make it more unique and ‘homemadey’. I would give it a 9/10 and a Gold Star in ‘Aunt Points’

Drunk woman urinated on a Bermondsey street dressed as an ‘Angel’

A drunk woman was seen with two other giggling women, aged in their late twenties/thirties, peeing on a Bermondsey Street tonight. They were all dressed as angels.

The dirty incident happened near Bermondsey Tube Station, in broad daylight and near CCTV. The area is a regular ‘hotspot’ of non-toilet trained adults who come out from Bermondsey station, in Southwark.

Anti-social behaviour of this kind can be reported to the police https://beta.met.police.uk/report/antisocial-behaviour/report-street-drinking/?stepid=1-2-2

Visit to the Pigeon Poo infested ‘Super Slums’ of The Bishops Avenue in London

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I visited so-called Billionaires Row, in East Finchley, in London. It is reknowned for properties owned by the super rich, owned by royals, Russians, Arabs and wealthy business people. Some of these mansions are in the region of £70m. The owners are ‘hogging’ prime investment land and making parts of London soulless and sterile.

When I went up there at the weekend, numerous properties still remained empty and protected by security guards, some with guard dogs. Gardens were completely neglected with wildlife and rats taking over. Smart courtyards were boarded up. Some properties that were actually occupied had a gleaming Rolls Royce and a Bentley behind their gated property, they were not even garaged.

The road didn’t really seem to have much character, and I would say it was a pretty boring road. There were so many empty mansions, some had been partly demolished, it was an eyesore. I have been to Beirut, and even in bombed out properties, people were living here, but the only people there were security guards or builders and roofers. Instead of a family car in the entrance, there was a private security car. Hardly anyone walked there. It looked a dreary sight. Along other side roads, instead of residents, were strings of security cars and more empty mansions.

One vulgar (as most of them were) mansion , soon to have an Open Day Launch, promised a swimming pool and maid service (apparently the super rich want a kind of hotel service at home). Some are offering ‘super basements’ with several floors to maximise investment. The whole place is simple grotesque. it is like the middle class have ‘gone rogue’ when they win Euro Millions or something. It look all very sad and shallow, what a pointess existence these people live.

One British builder said to me, he was sad to see that his work would just be a property that would only be used for a few days a year, but at least ‘it would pay his bills’.

Even round the corner of the scruffy Bishops Avenue, I saw a virus of empty properties owned by property tycoons not far off from Kenwood House, and further along the road towards Highgate.

Here’s a selection of photos I took at the weekend:

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