One of my favourite activities these days is reporting fly-tipping – a task made much easier now Sparrow Council has a new app. You simply photograph the fly-tipping and the app tells the council where it is and that they should come and get it. I report scores of incidents each month because, sadly, our road is the unofficial rubbish dump of Sparrow.
Today, I came across the most unusual case of fly-tipping I have recorded to date – two young men on a mattress. I was on my way to collect a parcel from the post office and was quite startled to come across the men who were fast asleep in a fly-tipping hotspot. It may well have been a fly-tipped mattress they were sleeping on as we get lots of those. Perhaps they saw it and thought it looked like a pleasant place to have a nap. I was in two minds whether or not to photograph them and report them via the app. Living fly-tipping.
Over Christmas I deployed my detective skills once again to help with the case of a missing cat. Always on the alert for intruders in our neighbourhood I photographed this suspicious cat at the bottom of the garden.
The next day I spotted this sign on a tree in our road. A missing cat!
I put mew and mew together and became convinced this was the SAME cat I had snapped in our arbour so contacted the owners and emailed them the photo. However, they maintained the cat in the garden was “too fluffy” to be theirs. Subsequent examination of the two images by a cat expert (Helen) confirms they are NOT the same the cat. This was very disappointing and suggests I am not cut out to be a pet detective.
In a worrying development, the M25 cat killer who is believed to have claimed the lives of 400 feline victims since 2014, recently struck again…in Sparrow! Could the missing cat in the poster be victim 401?
Meanwhile there is a NEW poster on the tree outside Mum and Dad’s house that says “CAT FOUND” with no more details apart from a phone number (which is not a very useful sign, if you ask me). However, I am not going to get involved this time.
Readers of Helenandjo.com will have been looking forward to this all year – it’s our annual Advent feature! This year we have devised a brilliant quiz to test your knowledge of Helenandjo-related trivia. We will be adding a new question each day in the run-up to Christmas.
Three different shops and four different freezer flaps later and I have finally managed to secure the correct freezer flap to replace the broken one. This is a major victory marred only by the fact that the freezer flap is BLUE so does not match the others. However, it fits and that is all that matters.
In other online shopping news, I bought some lightbulbs because a lightbulb in the kitchen had gone. They arrived today but looked a bit dodgy. I installed one and it almost immediately exploded, showering the kitchen in glass. This was most disconcerting. However, I immediately complained to the company and within 15 mins had all my money refunded. Online stuff is annoying AND good.
I am in a flap about a flap on my freezer. It has cracked and I am trying to replace it, something I assumed would be relatively straightforward as the same part has broken before and I replaced it then with no bother.
This time round has proved to be a frustrating mega-stress. I ordered the correct part but was sent a freezer flap that did not fit so returned it and asked the spares company to send me the right one instead. I spoke to a man who assured me the correct flap was flapping its way to me. However, that was the same as the first one – wrong.
In the picture below you can see the two flaps on top of each other. One has holes so it can be attached to sticky out bits on the freezer door and flap up and down. The incorrect replacement has sticky out bits that are incompatible with the existing sticky out bits. (I did explain the issue quite clearly to the man using these technical terms).
The picture of the part on the website showed exactly what I wanted but both times something different was sent. So I got fed up with that company and tried another one in the hope it would be third time lucky with flap three – aka threezer flap. THE SAME THING HAPPENED. Picture = flap I want. Flap that arrives = WRONG flap. Now I don’t know what to do as I can’t bear the idea of re-living this rollercoaster of emotions only to be disapppointed once again.
Proof that I am not the only mad person who puts up signs when cross. Someone has gone to the effort of making a laminated, hand-written sign that they have suspended from a bush on the edge of a popular fly-tipping hotpsot just round the corner from the H&J.
“BEWARE,” it says. “Verminous scum who dump here will be reported on!! To the council/police by people who RESPECT their neighbourhood – film/phot/report!”
I think phot is short for photograph. Anyway, it is a very good sign featuring capitals, exclamation marks and underlining in red pen – and it has my whole-hearted support.
We have received a piece of post – a gadget/DIY catalogue – addressed to three Helens – Mr Helen Grines, Mr H Grines and Helen Grines (surname disguised by me). Who are all these people?
In exciting news, a hotel is due to open its doors close by. None other than Journeylodge – my favourite budget hotel chain. I have stayed at pretty much every single Journeylodge in England while touring around the country. You know exactly what you are going to get right down to the artwork on the wall, which is always a red orb floating in a blue background. Also – you used to get the smallest, thinnest bar of soap in the world but this has now changed to soap dispensers so there is even less danger of you using or taking more soap than you need.
Journeylodge is so cheap that I could stay at the one round the corner while we rent out the H&J to Air BnBers and still make a huge profit. This is definitely worth considering.
Sparrow is in the forefront of innovative town planning with its new scheme for the main road near the H&J. As part of the project, funded by the mayor of Blondon, Sparrow Council hired a consultancy to bring disparate local businesses together to improve their rather scruffy shopping parade. This was very successful – the consultancy succeeded in uniting local businesses in their hatred of a) the consultancy b) Sparrow Council and c) the work that has been done to “improve” the area.
They have a point. The improvement works include an amusing take on double yellow lines – a wiggly line like a snake. All well and good – if it hadn’t been painted so badly.
I find the above very distressing. It is slapdash and untidy and makes me wince every time I walk past. If you’re going to do a silly wiggly line then at least do it properly!!
Poor Sparrow – despised and ridiculed by most people who enjoy living here. Now, to add insult to injury, Sparrow has been dubbed “Ratland” because of all the rats that enjoy living here too.
Our beloved home town has been on the news for being infested with rats – worse than Hamelin – after a couple of video clips emerged showing scores of rats skipping about in broad daylight – helping themselves to a light lunch from some bin bags and also scurrying about busily under an underpass.
Regular readers of helenandjo.com will know that we have had our own battles with rats – Helen kills them on a regular basis with her trays of blue poison.
In the light of the rat surge someone has set up a group called Fixit Sparrow to tackle environmental health issues and I have joined. So far we have done nothing – not even contact the nearest pied piper, which would be the logical first step.