Thursday, 17 November 2016

'Distraction' burglars take much more than property

People who prey on the elderly and vulnerable really are despicable.

So-called 'distraction' burglars who trick elderly people into letting them into their homes by pretending to be from utility companies for example, before searching the house and then stealing whatever they can get their hands on, they take much more than just property.

They often shatter the older person's confidence and trust, they make them feel vulnerable in their own homes, and they cause a great deal of worry and stress for them, their family and friends.

There has been a spate of such incidents recently in Northamptonshire, so the Police have re-issued some helpful advice reminding people what to do with unexpected callers:

Here are the key points:

·        Don't feel pressured into opening the door - if you're not sure, don't open it. 
·        Make sure you can see who is at the door before you answer it - use a spy-hole or talk to them through a nearby window. 
·        You can set up passwords with your utility companies, and genuine callers will need to recite this password to you. 
·        Don't use telephone numbers on ID cards callers might produce - if the person isn't genuine, then the telephone number won't be either.  Get the telephone numbers from the phone directory, save them into your mobile phone or make a list of your important numbers and keep it near the phone. 
·        If someone knocks on your door saying they are the Police, call 101 and check the identity with the Police control room.  In an emergency call 999. 
·        Look out for those who are vulnerable within your family or neighbourhood and please share this information.

In Northamptonshire, agencies have come together to form the Doorstep crime Action Network (DAN).  If you have any concerns that doorstep rogue traders or distraction burglars are operating in your community please call the dedicated doorstep crime hotline on 0345 23 07 702.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Theme-park face

I have a theme-park face.  That is, a face I seem to pull on certain so-called thrill rides at theme parks.

I only discovered this after I'd had my photo taken several times on these various attractions, and when viewing the results on the screens in the little booths, I realised I was pulling the same face in each.

I'll try to describe it - it's a rictus grin, I look like I'm trying to smile, but my teeth are gritted and you can see in my eyes that I'm actually terrified, but I'm putting a brave face on it.

Well, that's the face I've been wearing for a good part of 2016.

This year's rollercoaster ride shows no signs of slowing down.  In fact, it's speeding up, the highs and lows are getting greater, and now my knuckles have turned white from gripping onto the safety bar and my jaw is aching.

Way back in April, when the prospect of a Trump Presidency seemed like a very distant possibility, I wrote about an article I'd read with the terrifying headline "A Trump Presidency rated among the top ten global risks".  The Economist Intelligence Unit reckoned that Donald having the keys to the White House was riskier than Britain leaving the European Union.

I remember listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio2 while I was in the dental hygienist's chair about a month ago, and he was saying that he didn't think Trump would be elected, but then he didn't think Britain would leave the EU either.  And it was at that point I thought to myself, 'What if Hillary doesn't win?'

Why didn't people vote for Mrs Clinton - would it be like Cherie Blair standing for Prime Minister here, are the Clintons really that unpopular in the USA?

Much like after the EU referendum, we are at the stage where we have to accept the result and work with what we have.  Has anybody got a paddle?

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Dedicated followers of slipper fashion

Do you ever look at the various fashions highlighted in magazines or in the Sunday supplements and think 'There's no way I'd wear that, people would laugh.'

I only ask because I was flicking through the Sunday paper and there was a feature about the new, latest, most fashionable footwear as seen on the tootsies of such trendsetters as Alexa Chung, one of the Kardashians and that chap who was the Night Manager and who may or may not be the next James Bond, Tom Hiddleston.

They were slippers.  OK, mules, backless slip on shoes - a nightmare for hammer toes I imagine - and apparently the latest 'thing' in which to be seen.

Now, I can't speak for you of course, but I would not be seen outside the confines of my own home in my slippers.

Having said that, my slippers are actually quite 'on-trend' I believe - they are Moshulu ballet pumps in a fetching leopard print.  I used to call them my Bet Lynch slippers, but have re-named them after Theresa May and her penchant for a similarly patterned kitten-heel shoe; I don't think she'll be offended.

But other than running to the washing line if it suddenly starts raining, or popping to the bins armed with my recycling, they don't see the outside world.

I wouldn't even dream of heading out into the street to fetch-in the wheelie bin on collection day wearing them.  In fact, if I see somebody outdoors wearing slippers I assume they've had an in-grown toenail removed or a bunion op and can't wear proper shoes.

Which leads me to wonder, what fashion PR genius persuaded a bunch of celebrities that to be seen out in public wearing what is in effect a leather, fur-lined slipper is the height of sophistication?

Now I've said this, I expect I'll be seeing these shoes, or high-street copies of them, everywhere, and I won't know whether people are keeping up with fashion or simply nursing a painful foot injury!