Advent – Day 2

Whatever can it be?

It’s an angel themed pencil – very Christmassy! Actually, the pencil shows Michael Angelo’s painting of The Last Judgement – when we all float up to heaven and get sorted into good or bad. This is less Christmassy. It reminds me of the time Helenandi went to see the Sistine Chapel and I did not see the most famous bit with the two fingers. I also remember that trip because we were massively over-charged by the nasty woman who sold us our bus tickets. Those were the days when different countries in Europe had different money – lira in this case. Memories! The pencil is unsharpened, which is GOOD.

Mystery squash

I have grown this mystery squash on my allotment. You can just see my fingers at the bottom of the picture for scale. Helen gave me the plant but even she is not sure what type of squash it is. She suggested it was just a big courgette but it is not because it has a hard, waxy skin. I wonder if it will taste nice and when I should harvest it. Yet another Helenandjo Mystery waiting to be solved. Other open cases include The Mystery of the Balloon in the Garden and The Mystery of Which Moron Vandalised Our Trees – see previous posts.

Another intruder!

Fresh from dealing with vandals entering my garden and attacking my trees, I was forced to deal with another intruder today. This!

A dreadful balloon, which had also come into the garden without permission. I don’t know which selfish four-year-old it belongs to but they too deserve to be fined/jailed – like the tree smashers -for letting a beastly balloon float willy nilly and into the garden of someone who loathes balloons. Thankfully the balloon was quite withered and old enabling me to carefully snip it with some scissors and defuse it. What next?!

Major victory

I have won yet another major victory for common sense after making an official complaint to my bank about the way they handled an application for a new account.

To cut a long and very boring story short this required sending some certified documents. I sent them some certified documents but they were rejected because the person doing the certifying had not written exactly the right thing. However, when I rang my bank – let’s call it Grimace – they could not tell me exactly what wording was needed and this information was nowhere to be found on their website. I told them this was ridiculous and that I was being asked to do something but no one would tell me how to do it.

Today a man from Grimace rang me to say that my complaint had been upheld and they were giving me £75 for the inconvenience. I said the main thing I was interested in was that Grimace provided unambiguous guidance to customers on the certification of documents. However, what I really meant was: Woo! £75!

Unusual fly-tipping

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.

Jo Plays Pet Detective

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.

Verminous scum

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.

The Three Helens

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?

Travelblogdge

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.

Wiggle niggle

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!!