Working on new projects

I have not posted on this site for ages, largely to do with my work and personal circumstances.  I may, in time, come back to regular posting here, but for the time being I will be busy on a few projects I’ve started recently.

My Family and Other Gubbins is the blog I am writing exploring the world of health and social care and offering tips and advice based on personal experience handling care for family members.

I am also developing a campaign for personal hearing equipment (not hearing aids) called Hear Here.  More of this later.

and finally,

I am writing a news blog called Sutton the Inside, offering news and analysis on political, community and social stuff going on in Sutton.

Thank you for taking time to stop by and I hope you find my latest projects of interest.


The era of stupid

We’ve lost the mains stopcock at the flats.

I call out Thames Water to locate it.

A chap turns up and draws a blue line round an area.

A crew turn up and dig a trench.  They are unable to find the mains pipe which I am told means they cannot find the stopcock because they have to dig back from the mains pipe in the trench to find the stopcock.  They are not able to dig beyond the blue lines drawn on the ground – a new chap needs to come out and draw new blue lines in order for a new crew to visit and dig a new trench.

Today I see a van and two chaps from Thames Water outside the window – I ask them what they are doing.   Filling in the hole they say.  But we have not found the stopcock yet, I say.  No, we are nothing to do with that, we just have to fill in the hole, they say.

I ring Thames Water.  I ask why the hole is being filled in when it may very well have to be re-dug that area to find the stopcock.  Customer Services is equally baffled and has passed on all details to the our job project manager, who is to call me back with details of when we will get new blue lines drawn and a new crew to dig a hole.

Finally, the crew filling in the hole left behind the plastic guard rail that were left up to warn people about the hole.  Presumably the removal of these rails will require another crew to visit.

This is a complete waste of time and effort, quite apart from the waste of money.   Our water charges include the cost of running this nonsense.

Exasperated of Epsom!


What’s the point?

A couple of weeks ago a two bicycles were abandoned where I live.  I got in touch with the police and reported the incident.  At the time I was asked if I could go out and check the number stamped on the bike.  By the time I got out there the bikes had been moved again so I was not able to check – but I had taken photographs.  I sent the photos to the police anyway just in case a description given to the police linked with the picture sent.

Today I found another bike.  Armed with the information I got from the last incident I got out there, scrubbed off the mud and took down the number.

I rang 101 and was put through to Epsom Police station.

  • Me: I have an abandoned bike to report
  • Policeman: can you bring it in
  • Me: no sadly I cannot as I have full time care responsibilities and can only get out when I have someone else here to cover me
  • Policeman: well we can’t come and get it
  • Me: I know that, I have the number off the bike
  • Policeman: well you will have to bring it in
  • Me:  I don’t know why I bloody bother, I really don’t.

Can someone tell me what’s the point of these numbers if, when you get one off a bike, the police are not interested enough even to take-down that basic information from you?

Exasperated of Epsom!



48 percent

Well the result is in.

As someone who voted Remain, the result is devastating.

I was in Stockholm during referendum week taking part in an EU Erasmus Plus funded project working with organisations from Sweden and Germany; a cross-country/cross-project initiative looking into peer to peer learning.  (If you are interested please visit the website  Knowing the cultural and organisational benefits that have accrued from this project already, I am horrified that the vote will take us out of a structure that has made this possible.   During the trip we were all talking about how we might develop the work we have been doing, submit a further bid for funding and broaden our collaboration.  I cannot see how the door is not now closed on this for the London based team.

I started the referendum campaign listening to coverage and shouting ‘liar, liar pants on fire’  (amongst other things!) at most of what was coming out of the Leave campaign.  Towards the end I simply could not listen to it any more, and it was at that point I reached the conclusion that the Leave campaign would win.  Even believing that this would happen, did not make the actual news any easier to handle.  I feel I am in mourning.

A few ‘Leavers’ have spoken to me and they say things like “well we will see what happens”.  Well quite a lot seems to have happened so far:  £200bn wiped off stock value; the pound falling to an all time low;  Scotland looking to revisiting the independence issue; the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr – son of the most staunch Unionist that ever walk this earth – advocating getting an Irish passport.  And that was all in the first day post the vote.

And we also have the spectacle of  Nigel Farage confirming what many of us already knew, that the £350m per week we send to the EU is not really £350m because of the money we get back,  and the campaign strapline that it could be used for the NHS was a ‘mistake’.   Click here to see the interview.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has resigned leaving the Conservatives to look for a new leader who will then become Prime Minister supposedly to steer us through the Brexit arrangements.  But given that this person, whoever they will be, will have no legitimate mandate, how credible their leadership can be is open to question.  But then holding a general election to confirm their manifesto is yet another de-stabalising factor, as if we have not got enough going on.  To plunge the country into a general election would hardly help the situation in my view.

There are people reporting that they voted Leave but now they know the result want to vote Remain.  How they can not have understood the nature of the Referendum beggars belief, but they somehow failed to understand the enormity of the question they were posed and the consequences whichever way they chose to vote.  It was not some sort of  mid-term by-election that you can use to deploy a protest vote.

What this referendum has done not just through the xenophobic rhetoric that was used by many during the campaign, but through the result itself, is divide the nation.

I have heard so many people talking about getting our country back; there was an 80 odd year old man on the TV crying and saying how glad he is “to get my country back”.  But what sort of country has he got back.  The referendum has put the divisions into sharp focus, indeed much of the campaigning was predicated on creating division between people and institutions.  The regional differences, the age of those supporting Leave and Remain and far from the vote being decisive it was in fact very close.  And as I write this over 1.7m people have signed a petition calling for a second referendum.

May we live in interesting times.