thanks karma!

Not a load of balls!

When the Health Lottery first launched last October (I think), I was very against it, as it was giving less money to charitable causes than the usual National Lottery, and this was highlighted quite a lot in the sector press.

Anyway, as my own snub to the Health Lottery and Richard Desmond, I decided to set up standing orders to take part in three hospice lotteries, as this way the actual charity gets much more money – and you still get your gambling fix.  I decided to support Havens Hospices, The Children’s Trust and St Francis Hospice.

All together, I pay about £17/month between the three of them.

Two weeks after I started playing, I received a £10 cheque through the post from Havens as one of my numbers had come up.  I felt slightly guilty that I probably hadn’t even paid that much to them yet, so I decided not to cash it.

Tonight, I got home and to my absolute shock, I have won more than a grand from Havens!

Yes, I will be cashing it this time.

Anyway  all I wanted to say really is that if you’re thinking of doing the lottery, please consider supporting your local hospice, or perhaps one that looked after a relative in their final days – the majority of them tend to run lotteries, and it’s a great source of income for them.

And you might win!

secondhand book sale – rose & crown, e17

OK – totally out of character for my blog, but this is a shameless plug for a used book sale to raise money for the RNIB that a friend of mine is organising as part of their ‘Read for RNIB‘ campaign.

This is going to take place in the Red Room at Ye Olde Rose & Crown pub on Tuesday 11th October from 5pm – 9pm.  If you’re in or around Walthamstow and love reading, please do come along and show your support (I will be helping out on the night – whta more incentive do you need?!) 😉

chug abuse

Chug chug chug chug

As is often the case (and that I have blogged about before), on Friday there were a LOT of chuggers on the streets of Camden.  This time they were from British Red Cross.

I had managed to avoid them at lunchtime, but when it came to home time, they seemed to have bred, and there was NO avoiding them!

I walked past one, and less than 20ft later, there was another one – she was determined to grab me, so I just said “NO THANKS” as always, and walked that little bit faster.

Another 20ft behind her was yet ANOTHER one, which just pissed me off!  I took a deep breath and tried to make a dash for it when he looked at me and said “Ooooo, angry bird!”

“How bloody rude!”, I thought.  i was quite happy when I left work, not 5 minutes ago – the only thing that’s making me angry is all these bloody chuggers who are likely to make me miss my train!  And as for calling me a ‘bird’.  Yes, I call women/girls ‘birds’ all the time, but generally not to their faces, and not if I want something out of them – that’s just impolite and bad business practice!

I was just about to give him a piece of my mind when I suddenly remembered my handbag…

He's not angry, he's just a bit miffed!

doing our community bit

Search for 'London riots' and this is the police image you are likely to see!

Well, it’s been a funny old week for the UK, hasn’t it?  Luckily, since my last post, there hasn’t really been any more trouble in London.

A lot of this has probably been due to the heavily ‘advertised’ huge police presence on the streets of London – 16,000 police have been enlisted across the capital – 10,000 than there were on Monday night, which I believe was double the usual amount as it was!

We still haven’t had any trouble in Walthamstow, but there has been a massive number of additional police (not surprising considering our close proximity to Tottenham (our house is less than a mile from where Mark Duggan was shot, to put it in perspective).   I had heard that the local police (I can’t speak for others) have had their canteens closed over recent years (don’t know when exactly) and so our MP suggested to a local church group that they open their building as a respite centre to give tea and coffee.

The wonderful Andy jumped on the idea, and it just grew from there – it didn’t take much to convince our fantastic local community to donate both food & drink and their time.  On Tuesday, the St Mary’s Respite Centre was up and running and serving many tired, hungry policemen (and other emergency services).

I managed to get along Wednesday night for 2.5 hours, making sandwiches, serving police and getting to know some of the others who I hadn’t met before – always great to meet community-spirited locals!  I even managed to get a chance to chat to our lovely Borough Commander Steve Wisbey who told us what had been happening locally, and what plans for the immediate future were.  It was great to have our minds put to rest – and he was a jolly nice fella too!  It was great to be able to come home and tell The Girl what was going on, as she had found the whole situation ‘a bit scary’.

Cater for the police and they will come! Such a good feeling 🙂

I went along again last night for about the same length of time, and this time saw more people that I knew, as well as others from the previous night – and there seemed to be even more police there tonight.  It was a fantastic atmosphere, even when it got extremely busy and I didn’t have a momen’ts respite from preparing  jacket potatoes, chilli, sausages or paninis (yes reall – we are THAT sophisticated in our charity here in the Stow!)  I was surprised how much I enjoyed it all!

Volunteer Jess tries on a rather cumbersome police vest

Last night the police wrote a load of thank you messages for us, which were really touching – especially a couple who wrote poems – it was great to feel that our efforts were so appreciated (photo of the board from Martin’s pics)!

A particularly warm fuzzies giving message 🙂

I will definitely be going along again tomorrow, and probably on Sunday too.  I’d love to hear if anywhere else in London has been doing similar.

You can read Andy’s blog on it here.

Fantastic set of photos from Martin here.

Much kudos to the church group – especially Andy, Dean, Nic and Frances who have been tireless in their support, organising the volunteers, getting the word out, gaining the support of local businesses etc and actually making this happen – an amazing bunch of people!

totally chugged

Chugger = "charity mugger"

I was out taking photos of charity shops around Camden earlier (as you do!) and I (ironically) walked past a couple of Save the Children chuggers.

The first one came up to me and I just said “No thanks” and he went away.  all well and good, so I just had to get past the second one.

He stood right in front of me, looking me straight in the eye and smiling.  Obviously it helped that he was pretty cute.

Chugger:  Can I have a moment of your time?
Me:  No, I give to enough charities thanks…and always in my own time!
Chugger:  Do you know about Save the Children
Me:  I know a LOT about Save the Children thank you
Chugger:  How about a hug then?  That’s free!
Me:  Oh, OK then.

And yes.  I did.  I hugged the chugger.  And it did indeed make me smile, and gave me a little warm feeling without needing to give to charity.

He totally put the ‘hug’ into ‘chugger’.

style icon?

Before she went off to school, The Girl made another one of those comments that makes me laugh hysterically but unable to show it, and just love her even more.

They have a non-uniform day today, and are paying 50p for the privilege, which will go to DEC for Haiti.

So, she got dressed this morning, and then came into me and said “OK, so, do you think I look OK?  I think I was right to put this outfit together – I used my girlie intuition and sense of style.”

Oh how I laughed (on the inside).

And then she definitely proved that she’s my daughter, she said “I had a look in my moneybox, and I don’t have 50p, so I thought I’d give £1 instead, as it IS for the poor earthquake victims isn’t it – and that’s charity.”

I gave her a big kiss on the head and said she looked great, and that she IS great and I love her.  🙂

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