Monday, 31 October 2011

Smashing pumpkins

Today we had two Halloween carved pumpkins stolen from the front of the house.  This is the second year in a row this has happened to us.

I got close to seeing the culprits and ran and shouted after them.  They dropped the heavier pumpkin just a bit further up the street.

Dave didn't want me to go after the group that were running off because there was one of me and about eight of them.

Hannah was upset.  She'd taken a lot of time working with me to carve the pumpkins and had been planning to take both of them to the Brownie pumpkin carving competition (which she'd won the prior year) on November 1st.

I was annoyed and fairly full of adrenalin after chasing the thieves and shouting at full volume, including, to try and bring on some guilt, "Do you realise you've made my daughter cry?" *

I called the police.  I didn't dial 999 and it took me a while to find the non-emergency number.  While explaining what had happened I did say "This sounds silly", "I realise it isn't the crime of the century" and "You're not going to ask me to describe the carving on the missing pumpkin are you?" but the woman I was talking to was taking it very seriously.

I guess what I wanted was for any patrols to keep an eye out and if they saw a group of about the right size in the area, to stop and talk to them.  I wanted them to get a ticking off.  I knew it was a long shot, but thought it was worth it.  Previously the Police have actively encouraged calls about what they termed "anti-social behaviour."

What happened next though surprised me.

I was then asked when I might be available for an officer to pop round for a chat and an appointment was arranged.

I can't help thinking this echoes a situation in which a group of teenagers were responsible for a broken window at the front of the house.  When I reported that an officer came round and I was contacted by phone and mail by Victim Support.

I didn't feel like a victim then and I don't feel like a victim now.  I am annoyed, but that's about it.  Involving the Police will teach my children a lesson about acceptable behaviour (which I would hope they would already know) but a home visit won't prevent this happening again, unless of course I'm persuaded to join the rest of the country with lights off hiding in the dark on Halloween.

Anyway I'm off to remove the spiders, bats, skeletons and rats from the front door.  Ding dong the witch is dead.


*Actually they didn't make Hannah cry.  As I keep telling the children, they are in control of their emotional reactions.  Hannah chose to be upset.  She could have chosen to be non-plussed.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


I ordered an iPhone 4S on the first day I could. I'd been clinging onto my deteriorating 3Gs for too long and reading all of the technology press rumours about the launch of the iPhone 5.
I also checked to see how much cash I could salvage from my old iPhone and Envirophone came up trumps offering £120.
When I started to look at the timing of the new phone and the deadline to return my old phone to Envirophone, there seemed to be a discrepancy.
The Envirophone date for return was October 21st and yet Apple's site was suggesting that would be the earliest my shiny new phone would be dispatched.
I checked Envirophone's site for a new quote and was dismayed to see that their offer had fallen to £60.
I contemplated £60 and whether that was worth being without a phone for up to a week. I concluded I wasn't the sort of person who could survive without her phone.
I gave up checking the Apple website and I decided I'd just have to take the financial hit on returning the old phone.
Today I need to work later than normal and I didn't get in until ten to three. There was a UPS card on the doormat.
I checked the Apple website and my phone had been dispatched.
I fought my way through the UPS voice menu to speak to someone to ask if the driver could possibly redeliver. They checked and called back to say the driver would try. I said "There's a banana and chocolate muffin in it for the driver if he makes it".
I waited. I checked with Envirophone that posting today would mean it would arrive tomorrow. I phoned the Post Office to check opening times and was dismayed to discover the Postman collected the post at five.
I also had to get the children to their swimming club by five o'clock.
At four twenty the UPS man and I exchanged a phone for a banana and choc chip muffin.
I'd already backed up, sync'd and prepared for the transition.
I extracted my SIM card, used Victoria's SIM card cutter (nervously) and plugged the phone into the MacBook.
I waited. I decided things were looking like they were working so I erased all content and data from the old phone and we dashed off to the Post Office entering just after the man from Royal Mail.
We ran to the counter and handed over the old phone in its padded bag and Special Delivery envelope.
We went home to find the sync'ing was still progressing. It finished. I unplugged. I made a phone call. It worked. With minutes to spare.
There are times when everything falls into place and I just feel lucky. This was one of those times.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Hindsight isn't always a wonderful thing

I mentioned this a while ago on Twitter and Facebook, and maybe Google+.

The weather was balmy as we had a late blast of summer warmth in September.  I'd just come home from a long day in London and needed to change quickly to be able to collect Ethan from Beavers.

I probably didn't need to change but I'd just been on a hot and sweaty tube and train so it seemed appropriate.  I chucked on an easy quick cover up; a summer dress that covers a multitude of sins.  It's long and fairly shapeless and probably isn't at all flattering.

Dress on I hopped in the car to drive to the church.    On Wednesdays Ethan goes straight from Beavers held in a church hall, to choir practice in a completely different church.

I arrived early and while I was waiting I chatted with some of the other parents who were waiting for their children.  When Ethan emerged I whizzed him off to a different church for choir practice and then I drove home for the hour before Ethan would need collecting again.

I was early to pick Ethan up and waited for a few minutes talking to the priest and other parents until Ethan had finished tidying up and was ready for home and bed.

It was when I got home that Dave said "What's that on the back of your dress?"  We both investigated and the thing that was on the back of my dress was actually something that wasn't there.  The dress was sporting a large hole.  The hole was situated a hip height at the back of the dress.  There wasn't much under the dress.  There was something, but not much.  I think we all know what I'm saying.

I'd been to two churches, one of them twice, wearing a dress with a large hole that exposed my backside.  A tad embarrassing, with hindsight.