• https://mailchi.mp/0dab2eab9c81/your-may-newsletter-from-london-wildlife-trust-417306?e=b79eada136
  • This is a strange new obstacle to switching energy supplier - if it ever becomes worth considering again! The hike in the 'market stabilisation charge' must have gone unnoticed when it was introduced in April, what with all the hoo-ha about the hike in the energy price cap. It does, however, seem fairer on the original supplier. Look beyond the title of the article, to see what this is about. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2022/05/ofgem-announces-plans-to-change-the-energy-price-cap-every-three/
  • I never normally remember to watch formal pageants but this Jubilee one should be the exception. It's a damp and grey Sunday in London, so watching it from home has considerable appeal. Not so much fun for those in the pageant if it's rained on but the thunderstorm forecast for this afternoon doesn't cover the capital any longer. At least it isn't meant to last nearly as long as the BBC's extended coverage; just from 2.30pm onwards. Time to cook Sunday lunch first! https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/how-to-watch-the-platinum-jubilee-pageant/
  • This group is invaluable for those who know about it and has potentially a very wide reach, which I hope will expand ever more over time. Many older people find face-to-face support with unfamiliar IT a pleasanter experience than confessing to all one's ignorance in a public forum, however. So I was delighted to find that the perpetually-changing system of local digital support seems to be going from strength to strength. I hope that other areas are able to offer similar support, too. The problem has always been the wildly fluctuating availability of funding but perhaps political appreciation of the need for facilities that promote such inclusivity has become normalised. This new backer is a charity that I hadn't heard of before, which doesn't mention anything about how it's funded, but maybe it's relatively new. https://50pd.uk/
  • When I was offered a new boiler under the Mayor of London's Warmer Homes programme, I'd no idea that the grant would cover so much. The existing boiler was installed over 17 years ago and began deteriorating last Christmas, but they're also replacing the hot water cylinder and immersion heater (which were in this house before I came here, so they must be over 30 years old), and redesigning the entire, apparently inefficient system of pipework connections to the boiler that was installed in 1993. I didn't expect the gas meter to be disconnected for this job but perhaps the 30-year-old piping was undersized, by modern standards, and needs upgrading. A lot of long new copper pipes, mostly bigger than one sees on radiators etc, were included in the plumbing supplies. So much for the idea that I might do a lot of cooking (using a gas hob) today, while the engineer got going on this huge job! At least I should be able to microwave something later, with any luck. Meantime, the mains fuse has been flipping off as unpredictably as the internet connection - even though I had all the wiring etc thoroughly overhauled shortly before the pandemic. Yet more complications....
  • I've been using this year-old Dell laptop to attend Zoom classes with no connection issues, but trying to attend meetings held via Microsoft Teams is a disaster. The connection drops as soon as the meeting formally begins and I end up spending the whole time struggling to renew the connection and rejoin the meeting, while auditing the meeting by telephone - unaware who's talking, since I don't know this large group. It means having to be muted whenever the connection is restored, and to turn the volume on my laptop right down, to prevent feedback, when I'm asked to speak by telephone. The weird bit is that yesterday's disastrous Teams meeting was at exactly the same time as I normally have a Zoom class - so it's not just the awkward time of day/internet traffic locally that's causing these problems. Is there a substantial technical disparity between the two platforms? Does Teams (in meeting mode) perhaps demand radically more bandwidth, or something like that, than Zoom does?
  • Not content with holding Restart Parties and opening Repair Factories to help folk learn to mend their own gadgets, the Restart Project has been collating a Repair Directory of small repair businesses - somewhere to take the gadgets which need more than enthusiastic amateur work to put right. Work on this began some years ago, focusing on north and east London, but has now expanded to cover the west side of the capital, thanks to the sensible collective waste authority over that way. So it should be useful to ever more people as a result, as well as giving more folk an incentive to recommend more of their local small businesses for inclusion in the directory. https://therestartproject.org/news/west-london-expansion/
  • I've been doing the CovidenceUK survey for nearly two years with no problems but some use more difficult formats. Those using Qualtrics - which seems to be much favoured by major academic institutional research studies - remained stubbornly impenetrable for months. Then someone to whom I'd rehearsed the whole problem suggested changing browsers and lo! that finally gave me access to the latest survey I wanted to take. I had looked online in case this system were notorious for incompatibility problems but didn't spot anything this basic. So, if anyone has a Qualtrics-based survey to do, then don't try to tackle it via Microsoft Edge. Google Chrome works - at least for me.
  • Don't know how I didn't hear about the public consultation about the draft remit for this inquiry but there you go. At least the resulting recommendations for extending it include the one issue that really riled me at the times I was ill with Covid-19. So this should update everyone who's interested. Given how widespread the infection became - and still continues to be - almost no-one will probably be completely uninterested in what this inquiry uncovers. https://covid19.public-inquiry.uk/2022/05/baroness-hallett-makes-recommendations-to-the-prime-minister-on-the-inquirys-terms-of-reference/?fbclid=IwAR29FWAQNy45nUmnIqHCTGE7Jj7-TMiWzgJ5lN9bzh8J4AkmU_qFi0DUI6A
  • I've seen it before but asked someone this morning why her comments kept being littered with tiny dotted boxes containing the letters OBJ. She has no idea - they're not a substitute for any emoticon that she intended to include, for instance - and she can't see them when she looks at the same conversation. Does anyone know what might be causing this - and how to stop it happening?
  • I'm very happy not to have had to pay Microsoft a huge subscription for their Office suite when I don't need half of it, just simple word-processing and spreadsheet software, but this Word-substitute has a few tiresome aspects. Even if I've created a new document in LibreOffice Writer, I can't then open it again directly by single-clicking on it. That triggers Word, which I (obviously) don't have, trying to force me to start a subscription in order to use my document. I can only open it from a file manager, using the "open with" option, which is tedious. And Writer persistently displays every long document in a two-page wide format, which is much harder to use than a simple, single-page one that scrolls down (not across and then down). Can these issues be prevented at all, please?
  • Martin Lewis has conveniently just published the results of his straw poll about how much DDs were being hiked by energy suppliers, even though we can only be charged 54% more for our energy than before the rise in the consumer price cap. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2022/05/energy-direct-debit-hikes-mse-survey/ Since my supplier had just announced that it was going to take nearly double from my bank on 1st June what I reckon it's entitled to have monthly from now on - and hasn't answered my original objections, I spent yesterday morning successively objecting to that and complaining. I got back only two shabby autoreplies, blaming high consumer traffic for delay in replying. If they were charging us fair amounts, there wouldn't be a huge hike in objections, complaints etc to keep their teams over-busy, though; it's all their own fault. I'm going to cancel that DD mandate well before 1st June. Easier to deny them access than get back what they steal, I reckon. Next stop, Ofgem - or whoever MSE advise taking this up with, next....
  • My elderly next-door neighbour just whispered to me over the fence about the outsized puppy that her resident grandson has been given, supposedly an XX American bulldog. If that's a type of pit bull terrier, which sounds extremely likely, then it would be illegal, cf https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/banned-dogs. My neighbour said that I should report it to the police if I were worried about it but it sounds more as if she's scared to have it around. I've seen the creature once and it looks adult-sized - more than knee-high to an adult and very hefty - but it's only 4 months old. One doesn't need to wait until the dog attacks someone to call the police, fortunately. But I've never done this and have no idea what to expect. Has anyone else ever been involved in reporting a suspected illegal dog which hasn't already (to their knowledge) attacked anyone?
  • This is the last of a series of articles produced for UK savers and investors, but it's probably far the most useful one because it covers what's already available free, although not well enough known. This is where people who need to fund social care will almost certainly begin their planning. https://monevator.com/free-social-care/
  • I've been invited to become a guest on an institution's Microsoft Teams account but run into problems getting to use that. I don't think that I can ever have used this before. Downloading MT onto this Dell laptop initially produced a different setup from the one which downloaded when I tried to use the guest account, so I deleted the first one in case they were incompatible. But I couldn't log into the institution's account when invited to do so, because Microsoft identifies me by an ancient Outlook e-address which isn't, of course, the e-mail address by which the institution knows me. The institution's administrator must have put my everyday e-mail address into the invitation to join as a guest. There's a long error message, quoting the ancient Outlook e-address, which I've sent to the administrator when asking her for help to get this guest status to work. Does she simply have to use that ancient e-address to issue me with a workable invitation? What role does one's e-address have in Microsoft Teams, other than for signing in to use the system?
  • The five HealthWatches in north central London (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington) have surveyed long Covid sufferers seeking medical help. Their experiences weren't positive but let's hope that this evidence might help to change that in future. https://www.healthwatchbarnet.co.uk/report/2022-04-13/new-healthwatch-report-long-covid-north-central-london?fbclid=IwAR2bid5sJfE1dFqz7f5QVz2DJlxzu38xmm-XDOhxZlLPloZicy8FT3_BNzo
  • Long Covid support groups contain endless discussions about which supplements people are taking, based more on word of mouth and desperate hope than any scientific reasoning. But a Cambridge research study that I read about recently has produced scientifically-focused supplements, with some clear beneficial effects. What I found most notable, though, is that my breakfast already includes almost all the food elements that they've named, which may help to explain why even two bouts of Covid-19 apparently didn't leave me with nearly such bad after-effects as affect many others. I'll just have to add pomegranates to my regular diet, in case that helps significantly. https://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2022-04-19/a-changed-person-long-covid-sufferer-hails-new-plant-based-treatment?fbclid=IwAR3xoVAqo1-tk-ty4xKL2aXHtyKStBtwl_LRCv-zkd-DYweCL-n2_DXS1Qk
  • I finally managed to write an e-letter to my own new supplier about the enormous proposed hike in DD payments that they wanted me to make for the next nine months. Tackling that somewhat slowly gave me the benefit of citing Ofgem's recent warning to suppliers, not to abuse our DDs. (Apparently it took the form of a 12-page letter, so this brief BBC news report is probably much easier reading!) Ofgem's chief executive had even made a guest appearance on Radio Four's 'Today' programme to help publicise this very welcome initiative. If only all regulators were so pro-active in defending consumer rights.... https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-61122210?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA
  • The promise of permanent Fixing Factories hasn't taken long to become a reality. The first one opens in Brent on Saturday 23rd April and the Camden one is due to follow suit in a couple of months' time. The Brent one, hosted by the local collective waste authority, won't resemble a Restart event so much but be more focused on electronics recycling. The Camden one, in the high street, will include more familiar functions. I do hope that this pattern takes root in far more of our underused high streets and that the recycling model is taken up by other collective waste authorities. It's just what our big cities need. The Restart Project is asking people for their ideas about how to make the best use of these new ventures, so there's also a comments facility at https://therestartproject.org/news/brent-fixing-factory
  • An elderly friend has been receiving calls from irritated strangers accusing her of having called them, which she hasn't done. It sounds as if some nefarious person could have cloned her number and be making the nuisance calls, leaving her number to show up on the recipients' call logs. Is that possible? I've advised her to register her telephone numbers with the Telephone Preference Service and shown her how to report nuisance calls, if she also gets those - but this is a different problem, which I can't think how to help her solve. Any brilliant ideas, you clever techie people?
  • I'd just come across this delightful new twist to the Snake Island story when the BBC reported that Ukraine has apparently done potentially fatal damage to that same Russian warship - the Moskva, which is the flagship of Putin's Black Sea fleet - with a couple of missiles. "Up yours, Russian warship" (or however you like to translate the defiant Ukrainian's original comment) has now taken on a new meaning. https://blog.ankerherz.de/blog/sonderbriefmarke-stinkefinger-fuer-russisches-kriegsschiff/?fbclid=IwAR0wmUvaAZyWxsjqj4P_5YCgaTUlJeWz3l-0i98AFzmry17L7_rSMcIqphE
  • I've just tried unsuccessfully to order groceries because my Sainsburys Bank credit card has introduced a new complication to the payment process - without notifying me first. Now one has to put in a security code as part of the payment process and that code is sent to one's mobile number - but that's not the number that they have registered on my account. I didn't have a mobile 'phone when I obtained this card (yes, it's that old), so the only telephone number registered on the account is my landline. They think it's a mobile number but of course it isn't, so I can't be sent a security code at all. One cannot change one's registered mobile number online; only by telephone and - as they don't bother to put on the notice about that problem - only during their limited banking hours. So the customer goes through the entire credit card identification process, only to be told to call back tomorrow when the bank re-opens. And of course one can't hold onto a delivery slot overnight without being able to pay for the groceries.... All that trouble could so easily have been saved by notifying customers in advance of introducing this complication, giving us time to ensure that we had registered a current mobile number on our credit card accounts.
  • I've often had long periods when my wi-fi didn't work reliably and I had constantly to click to re-connect to it, to get rid of that annoying non-connection icon. My supplier recently suggested doing a factory reset of the router, which they can apparently see has not been reset for some time. I Their instructions are as follows: "There is a small hole on the back of the router and next to this hole it says Reset. The hole is the size of a paper clip or the back of an earring. If you can insert the paper clip into the hole until you hear it click or until all the lights come off. Remove the paper clip. Await all the lights to come on, this will reset the router." This sounds very odd; should this a normal maintenance chore? I periodically get so cross at the wi-fi that I just turn the router off completely, wait a while and then turn it back on again. Does that have a very different and less substantive effect than doing this factory reset?
  • I was surprised to find that my replacement energy supplier's new rates are so complicated. They haven't just raised the rates at which they charge per kilowatt hour for electricity and for gas but have also changed the standing charge for each of them - in very different ways. That makes their charges very hard to compare with the capped rate, which isn't (as I recall) expressed in that way. Meanwhile, the MoneySavingExpert website has (unsurprisingly) crashed as people try to understand how their bills are changing and if they can do anything to minimise the effect. Does anyone here have a supplier other than Shell Energy which has notified them of changes to standing charges as well as to rates per kWh, so that we can compare what different suppliers are doing?
  • I'm not expecting any parcels but had a text this morning from an unfamiliar number, saying: "Your package is on it's way , c lick the fol lowing link to track: naveenvishwakarma.tech/ [and then a long list of letters and numbers etc]". The illiteracies and the unfamiliar number made me think that this might be a scam but I've never had anything like this sent to my mobile number before. (Lots of scam calls etc to the landline, obviously.) What do you think, people? Has anyone else received a message of this kind?
  • Almost everyone condemned Will Smith for slapping the loutish "comedian" for his unfunny crack about Smith's wife's alopecia, but that remark obviously upset her and she had no means of answering back. No-one should be required to put up with abuse but all the criticism has concentrated on Smith's reaction, not on the abusive remark that prompted it. He's now apologised for that reaction, even to the person who victimised his wife - but I've not heard that the "comedian" has expressed any regret at all for his comment. So how should one respond to an abusive remark, especially one made by someone who's abusing their platform to do so publicly?
  • I never liked cameras and haven't had to use video on Zoom etc for the past two years but someone insisted that I did so yesterday and I balked; it really freaked me out. The very notion of camera phobia seems barely to have been considered - and then, very poorly, judging by what little I could find on the subject. It's way beyond being camera shy...! After all this time when we've had to meet one another online, I can't be the only person in the world who literally cannot face a camera lens without freezing - can I?
  • We talked about this subject a couple of weeks ago but this petition seems to be relatively new and already very well supported. (There's a much less successful one on Change.org too, but why split the vote by using that?) I normally avoid Avaaz' petitions like the plague but not supporting this one would feel wrong. So do let's lend it our support: https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/prosecute_putin_loc/?aPppbdb&post_action=1&cid=45673&lang=en
  • A friend just posted this on Facebook, but without showing any source for it. Talk about a picture saving a thousand words....
  • There weren't any experts actively supporting this change at the press briefing on today's announcement, I understand. Had the chief medical officer and chief scientific officer supported the change of policy, surely they'd have been speaking up for it. A number of others have spoken up - but against the change, not for it - in the form of an open letter, which members of the public are invited to sign too. I haven't spotted anyone else posting this yet, so here's the link. https://openletter.earth/open-letter-from-uk-scientists-and-medics-re-early-end-to-englands-isolation-rules-14a731a1?fbclid=IwAR04QEx21plnePkXAqaUuK9vMEjvjIXpv-y5AOJcmc6p3VDkGVhB2unPH6I
  • Here's another, very topical and invaluable petition - trying to stop the idiot government from ending free public testing for Covid-19. Do please sign and share it as widely as possible, ideally before there's any official announcement of the ending of such testing. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/593320?fbclid=IwAR0nhn37VJz25-ko8zy4cHiONceYIneVSb8bRtZoQ8ZE6IHzgm-ytHr9smU
  • I've just had this person asking to be my friend on this site: catayip782 @catayip782 Sudagala , Sri Lanka - joined quite recently I've never heard of them; has anyone else heard of them or had a similar request? I wanted to block this person, since the request didn't inspire confidence (just the reverse) but there's no option to do so on the basis of their being strangers or seeming untrustworthy. Am I alone in thinking that we should be able to block on such bases?
  • The political boys' club has succeeded in forcing Cressida Dick to step down as commissioner, blast them. It's not as if many ideal potential female replacements were available. How on earth could any male replacement possibly engender more public confidence after all these revelations of misogynistic police officers' appalling antics? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-60340525
  • When Pure Planet failed, its customers were automatically transferred to another supplier and Shell Energy got the job. It took them months to issue me a first bill but at least all the credit on my PP account seems to have (just) exceeded what they've now charged for that period. But the cheeky beggars blandly asked me to pay another £10 a month, which I'm not going to do. SE may not have direct access to the Shell group's massive profits from generating and selling energy to consumers but their cashflow has to be much healthier than any individual customer's. How have other transferees found their new suppliers' attitudes?
  • Someone posted a link on my neighbourhood association's Facebook page to a very useful tool which should help sufferers to get better medical help and social support; see https://mylongcovid.org.uk/my-long-covid-needs . Developed by the British Lung Foundation but general in its scope, it enables people to rate their post-Covid symptoms by relative severity, add anything else that may be affecting their overall health and generate a report that can be downloaded as a PDF and/or e-mailed to them. It saves an immense amount of time reporting to one's GP or trying to explain to disbelieving family, friends etc why one isn't feeling at all well yet. There are also useful links to a number of other sources of support.
  • This organisation called my landline this morning. The caller didn't address me by name but introduced himself as Alex from the Medical Alert Service and said that they understood that I might be eligible for a medical alert pendant, free of charge. He then immediately asked if I was over 50, which I didn't answer. I told him that I had not requested any such call and asked how he had obtained my number. Not satisfied with the assertion that his manager gave him a list of people to call every morning, I asked what name was associated with my number on that list - which he did not answer. I repeated the question, varying the wording slightly, twice but he avoided answering and ended the call. Does this sound familiar? If he'd had any form of my name as well as the number, I'd be wondering which of the organisations I'd recently first dealt with might have shared my details. The lack of a name to go with the number suggests that they might have called me by random dialling, although I didn't notice the characteristic pause before the caller took over from a machine.
  • This is a new venture for the Restart Project, which has hitherto only organised pop-up fixing sessions. I could wish that the two sites weren't both in NW London but it's a start, at least. If this works, maybe our failing high streets could provide space for more local fixing factories, in due course. Read all about the venture - and the job opportunities it's offering - at https://therestartproject.org/news/fixing-factories/ . Do share this news around sustainably-minded friends and your other networks, too.
  • I've been reading the digital version of our local independent newspaper for years but they've suddenly begun putting MailChimp Trackers onto use of all their "Continue reading" links, which upsets Ghostery and isn't as easy to get around as the warning page suggests. Apparently I can't just stick in a screenprint but this link may show what I've been getting after clicking on such a link: extension://fclbdkbhjlgkbpfldjodgjncejkkjcme/app/templates/blocked_redirect.html I don't care for my reading habits being tracked, let alone by MailChimp; on the other hand, I do like being able to read local news from this excellent source. What (if anything) can I do to achieve the latter without being stuck with the former? I've written to the publishers, in case they don't realise what's happening, but I hoped that someone here might have other ideas before they reply - if they ever reply!
  • I was automatically upgraded to "superfast fibre" broadband last February, which I hoped would improve the unreliable daytime internet connection that had been plaguing me worse than usual for months by then. It's been even worse recently but the supplier insists that these problems are due to wi-fi failures inside the house, not with their connections outside it. (Their connection records show only one 'drop' yesterday afternoon, but I spent the morning wrestling to get - and stay - online.) There's no problem in the evening but trying to stay connected in daytime (including weekends) is simply maddening. They've checked and apparently I'm the only user of this internet channel; all my Sky and TalkTalk-using neighbours are on a different one, so it's not due to congestion. And their speed test unexpectedly showed a current speed of 40Mbps, even though I can't seem to watch more than a couple of minutes' recorded drama without it freezing. The supplier has recommended that I install a powerline adapter (or booster) but the standard advice warns that that device has to be on the same electrical circuit. Since the router is downstairs and I work upstairs (where it's warmest), and I know that each floor of this small house has a separate power circuit, that sounds as if no such device would help me. If only people living in single-floor flats (or bungalows) can benefit from using this device, hasn't anyone worked out a solution for those of us living on two or more floors? What about all those family houses with teenagers online in their bedrooms as well as adults downstairs? I'm only using a Dell laptop PC, which is usually plugged in at my desk upstairs. Any brilliant ideas for how to fix this maddening problem would be very gratefully received....
  • Essentially, it's not the time to go for a fixed energy contract, despite the horrid prospect of the price cap going up hugely in April. There will be a few exceptions, however, for some very low or very high consumers of household energy. It's worth checking to see if either of those covers your case, but staying on a capped rate is still the safest option for almost everyone, for now. See https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/latesttip/?anchor=energy&utm_source=MSE_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=04-Jan-22-601f0e1500346a58738-61d4bc53452a53e583486e234472563f&source=CRM-MSETIP-601f0e1500346a58738&utm_campaign=nt-hiya&utm_content=3#energy
  • Not being a driver, I know practically nothing about what restrictions there may be on parking what vehicles on our streets overnight. Very occasionally, something like a caravan appears briefly but usually disappears very soon. Some selfish person parked a huge, dirty-white van outside my house before Christmas, overflowing the parking space there at both ends and blocking the view from both my and my next-door neighbour's front windows; then another, identical van appeared on a single yellow line next to it last night. Neither shows any parking lights but the traffic wardens haven't done anything about them yet, so there they maddeningly remain. Talking to unreliable, barely adult children at both my neighbours' homes suggests that someone in each family who doesn't live there permanently may be responsible for each of these vans but catch them removing obstacles to other people's view! As this is a quiet residential street, not an industrial vehicle park, can anything prevent such intrusion? The AA claims that "Parking rules in London mean that parking commercial vehicles in residential streets overnight is banned in boroughs across the city. [They cite] Rule 244 of the Highway Code" but I can't substantiate that claim by reference to the Highway Code, let alone the legislation said in it to underlie that provision or any other possibly relevant one. Does anyone happen to know how to stop this kind of abuse in practice? I need an irrefutable way to stop the selfish tweenager next door from doing this again (such as a criminal offence which would put points on his very new HGV licence) - or from leaving this eyesore parked there any longer, this time - but I can't find anything clear enough.
  • The suddenly skyrocketing and apparently relentless rise in gas prices must be a factor in how fast we all move away from using gas central heating. While my ageing gas boiler is usually still functional (apart from a stuck valve which meant a chilly Christmas weekend), keeping it may no longer be the most sustainable approach. I hate waste and wouldn't normally replace a functioning device but the awful prospect of unaffordable gas bills is very real. As the boiler is well over a decade old, I was previously offered a replacement - so I'm asking the grant managers if this offer would cover replacement with an electric boiler. I do hope so but will seriously consider funding it privately, if not - as long as the new boiler is compatible with a solar water heating installation on the roof of the room containing the boiler cupboard. (Not ensuring that would be stupid, given that it's not feasible to install solar PV panels on this house.) So I started looking into this and found a useful initial guide at https://www.boilerguide.co.uk/articles/best-electric-boilers . It's not obviously dated and must, I think, predate the rise in gas prices, but it's a good start.
  • Try this approach instead and be happier for it: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/jan/01/be-bad-better-from-anger-to-laziness-how-to-put-your-worst-habits-to-good-use?fbclid=IwAR0bsWcY5fn29rTjke-jnBdTsaTTaWLf-0D7N4-ZzWWtLWKkKIVc0XjUy3g
  • Sellers' assurances that more trees will be planted if we buy more stuff from them aren't necessarily reliable or beneficial to the planet. As with so much else in life, getting this right takes time, thought and effort. https://www.euronews.com/green/2021/09/01/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-tree-planting-schemes-and-scams?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=green_newsletter&_ope=eyJndWlkIjoiYTMyZmIyMTZlZDMyMTdhNWMzZTUwMzhlOGY4N2I0ZjEifQ%3D%3D
  • I've not yet obtained any of the newer, rapid LFT kits which only require one to swab inside the nose (as I understand it) but it seems that that system doesn't necessarily detect the Omicron variant of Covid-19, perhaps because its primary symptom can be a sore throat. So do follow this advice and continue to swab both, to ensure that your test result is as accurate as possible. https://inews.co.uk/news/lateral-flow-tests-omicron-covid-variant-detection-testing-kits-1374073?ito=twitter_share_article-top&fbclid=IwAR3ZLzKxMXt-wzEDBngeHo6g_ZTH87ZWKFp51k7Icp0oCAwUSMtVhbdyyVc
  • I'm having to consider switching suppliers again, because the supposedly fibre service that I've had this year has been no better (recently worse) than the standard broadband I had before. The landline connections have been hopelessly unreliable, even though the handsets are properly fitted. Switching services advise that my area already has both BT Openreach (non-exclusive, fibre to the cabinet) and Virgin Media (fibre to the property) networks and G.Network have just laid another exclusive network in our streets. So there should be options available.... Since the exclusive networks only provide fibre broadband, however - not landline service - that's another wrinkle that I'm trying to manage. I do need to keep that facility, if it can be made sufficiently reliable, as I don't carry a mobile everywhere. The only useful, if too sales-oriented, advice I've found online is this article: https://www.premitel.uk/consultancy/expert-advice/what-type-of-phones-for-fibre-broadband/ Has anyone else done this successfully, or found more objective advice on how to manage it? Switching providers is bad enough but changing services and possibly losing the landline number that I've had for nearly 30 years are really unnerving me.
  • 'You and Yours' is just airing a programme about a truly terrifying case, in which a stranger managed to obtain a valid lasting power of attorney entitling them to manage the financial affairs of someone who didn't know them at all (!) and tried using it to sell a house owned by that other person. An astute conveyancing solicitor, instructed by the supposed attorney, asked for additional proof of the supposed attorney's alleged relationship to the real owner, which stopped that particular attempt - but they may not have been the only conveyancer who was approached to act. Apparently the fraud began with a Freedom of Information request to identify empty properties in that borough area. The programme warns that properties held in one person's sole name, with no mortgage, are particularly vulnerable to this fraud. Since it's not been possible to retrieve the valid LPoA document from the fraudster and cancel it, the victim's entire financial affairs may also be targeted as well. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0012scr
  • I've been using Microsoft Edge since the summer but have recently had such constantly failing internet connections at most times of day that I tried Chrome instead and found that it usually worked when Edge wouldn't. Is Edge misbehaving at present, does anyone know? The problem with Chrome is that it's so user-unfriendly and cumbersome. I can't search for anything (even Gmail login, to get into my webmail) using that without having to go through the process of customising cookies, and it seems incapable of memorising any passwords for websites, so I have to keep resetting those (and then remembering to transfer the new ones to Edge, when that's working). What am I getting wrong, please? I'm using a Dell laptop PC.
  • Given how little Christmas shopping I have to do, keeping it sustainable seemed as if it should be easy enough. That was before I read this, however. What a good thing that I'd already bought what I needed.... https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethical-christmas?utm_source=ECRA+Monthly+Newsletter&utm_campaign=a21898f971-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_12_16_2021_non-subs&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9856040c29-a21898f971-321357508
  • Although we should all consume less of everything, some essentials are constantly used up, or wear out and need replacing. So seeking out more sustainable replacements for our daily needs seems worthwhile. This offer can be used as a starting-point for finding ethical suppliers, not only of the small treats in the goody bag but other presents for our nearest and dearest: https://mailchi.mp/ethicalconsumer.org/christmas-goodies-giveaway-2021-non-subs?e=57f084c3a9 .

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