SO I’ve put my dogs on sharemydoggy.com, a supposed free site that cost me £40 to join. It’s either get time away from my pets or rehome them. We have two dogs and a cat, and a tortoise, and some birds, and a couple of fish tanks. Sometimes I suggest we move house and don’t tell the pets so they are forced to find us, like in the film The Incredible Journey. Hopefully, at least one of them wouldn't make it.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my labrador, miniature dachshund, and cat-reincarnation-of-my-grandmother, but add them to my three children and husband, and not a single second goes by when someone doesn’t want something from me.
If the cat isn’t attacking my toe at 4am for breakfast, my husband is, and not just to be fed. If one dog isn’t barking, the other one is. The little one only wants to eat the big one’s food. The big dog wants to eat all the food. You have to referee every meal time with lemon spray and a whistle.
No one wants to feed the cat because it bites as soon as it sees the food come out. The tortoise clomps around in the night, sounding like a burglar, forcing me downstairs where our lack of curtains means the moon falls on me, naked and armed with my daughter’s ukulele, like a crazed but musically advanced cave woman.
The love birds compete with the radio,dogs, and my constant laments of 'You’ll be the death of me’, while over it all the children sing songs from Grease 2 in terrible loud and out of tune American accents. “I wanna coooooooooooooool, rider. A cool cool cool cool rider!” wails the six-year-old, as she thrusts her pelvis across the floor like a mini Michelle Pheiffer.
They used to be such sweet girls. Now when I’m out and about, people ignore my beautiful daughters and my lovely big dog. Instead they all coo and marvel at the dachshund. “Oooooh look him, he's so tiny and sweet.” (Their voices get higher as the sentence goes on).
This exclamation is followed by them kneeling down and patting themselves, hoping she’ll hop on for a cuddle (would you?). I like to wait until she’s licked them a couple of times before I say; “I wouldn’t let her lick you on the mouth like that, she like to eat poo.”
You know how you can buy coffee that has been passed through the bowel of a golden monkey, to make it tastier and more exquisite? Well my dachshund only likes her Pedigree Chum after it’s come out the back end of a Labrador.
So, a much- loved cat has died in Fiveways, causing an outpouring of grief from the locals. Apparently ‘Wilf’ used to wander into shops and cafes bringing joy, and sneezing fits to customers.
Maybe I’ll let my cat loose in the area to replace him. I loved her until my mum decided she was a host body for her late mother, now I’m thinking rehoming her.
“It’s my mother, come back to see me” mum said in, lost in reverence as my fat black cat lashed out at her, “She’s here with us again, how wonderful.” My dad told her it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard, before locking the cat outside and telling me to block up the cat flap. It’s Friday 13th tomorrow, I’m a tad nervous. I never got on well with my grandmother.
People are complaining about the new recycling bins, which are ugly, unwieldy and block pavements. Of course, people would moan if a unicorn attached to a golden sledge appeared each week to take away their recycling. Until we take work harder to try to reduce the amount of plastic packaging we buy, I guess the bins are here to stay. Note, I say this as a mother of three who cooks as little as she can and is seen every recycling day morning running up and down the street in her dressing gown, fly tipping gin bottles and pizza boxes into her neighbours neat, orderly bins.
Local anti-plastic protagonist Libby Darling says we should use net bags, and buy our fruit and veg loose. “We can’t just say ‘no more plastic’, but single use plastic has no place, like vegetables in plastic trays covered with cellophane – it’s ridiculous. By 2050 scientists say there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. Ordering online has become an effective solution for busy families, but the amount of plastic it creates is obscene. We need government backing for things to really change, but it’s not just down to them, it’s up to us to make choices.
There is a lot we can do ourselves to reduce waste and therefore the need for such large bins (made out of plastic). Shop local where you can and take your own bag. Buy things in bulk and re-use the packaging. Get out the 60’s Tupperware, go back to hard soap, instead of shower gel or hand wash. Buy a soda stream to make fizzy drinks, use the Brighton based company, Mooncup, instead of tampons. Choose ‘no bags’ when getting online shopping delivered. It all helps. Charging for plastic bags is working, our beach cleaning teams are finding less and less bags on the beach.”
A man was threatened with a five-inch-blade and told he was going to be ‘shanked up’ after intervening in an argument at the Brighton open market. He stepped in to try sand help a woman in a row with her boyfriend, and got tea thrown over him along with an advertising board, before having a knife pulled on him and threatened with his life.
It makes you wonder what to do in these situations. I remember watching a man spit in his girlfriend’s face in Portslade high street. I didn’t know whether saying something would help or make it worse, so I left it. It’s always bothered me, but what can you do when you don’t know if someone has a knife? I have three children, putting myself at risk to protect strangers seems foolish in some lights, and inspirational in others.
A pub in Patcham has been escorting female staff and customers home after reports of a woman being followed home and raped. A notice in the pub reads “Most recently, a” young lady was targeted by a cream Mini which drove past her several times before pulling alongside her. Fortunately, she was able to run away and is safe, however we would strongly recommend you take a taxi home, or at the very least do not walk home alone, especially at night.”
The publican of ‘The Long Man’ did not have to respond this way to the rape.
They do not have to put women in taxi’s or offering lifts. How often do we do things for others with nothing in it for ourselves? I know when my husband goes to London each week he always buys the Big Issue and offers to help women struggling with pushchairs and suitcases on the Underground, even if it makes him late. I pick up litter on the way to school and put lids back on recycling boxes that have blown into the road. When my daughters ask me why I’m picking up other people’s wrappers I tell them ‘why not?’ We do not have to do big things to make big changes.
Brighton and Hove manager Chris Hughton has joined forces with a host of football bosses to help raise awareness of prostate cancer.
He said: “Prostate cancer is an opposition like no other. Just seeing stats like one man dies every 45 minutes shows why we all have to take action to change this. This disease does not discriminate. Albion have always embraced their community and that football family can come together to nail their colours to the mast in this fight.”
If only more people used their profile to help others not just themselves, what a wonderful world it could be.
One of the most shocking things about the shooting in Las Vegas, is that I wasn’t shocked to hear there had been another mass shooting. It’s happening so often we’ve become desensitised. Perhaps the most shocking thing though, is that it is not being called a terrorist attack, because the killer was white. Stephen Paddock was a high stakes gambler. He planned his attack meticulously. This was not ‘revenge shooting’ at Las Vegas because he’d lost money at the tables.
Paddock hid cameras in his hotel room and along the corridor. He specifically requested a room that overlooked the festival, which he named when he checked in. He had 23 semi-automatic guns in the room, which seem to have been modified to maximise the devastation. He had 50lbs of explosives in his car. More guns were found at his home. Las Vegas Sheriff Lombardo said “He meticulously planned the worst domestic attack in United States history. Do you think this was accomplished all on his own, face value?’
A new phone scam is doing the rounds. Fraudsters are texting people, which generally reads something along the lines of: "Hi its Sarah. I need you to do me a favour if possible. I had a small accident and broke my fibula and left elbow. Can you text me back once get this message x" A lot of people have a friend called Sarah apparently, which us why this scam is working so well ‘Sarah’ goes on to ask for £20 of phone credit.
A spokesman from Action Fraud, which is warning about the scam, said: "These messages can quite easily evolve into more elaborate scenarios and are designed to play on your emotions and get you to react quickly without thinking.”
A 71-year old Grandmother from Worthing had all her antique jewellery stolen by thieves posing as plumbers. She was having a nap on her sofa as they robbed her. She woke to find two men in her house who claimed they were checking her plumbing. The stood and admired photos of her children and grandchildren before pretending to check her taps. They walked with treasured rings, necklaces, bracelets and watches, some of which dated back to the early 1900s and were worth thousands. Mrs Knapp said; ‘I trusted everybody but now I’m a nervous wreck.’
In Stourbridge, West Midlands, a man has been sentenced to life after murdering the woman who took him into her home off the streets, and her 13-year-old son. Good Samaritan Tracey Wilkinson first met Aaron Barley when he was begging outside TESCO in a cardboard box. She took him home and fed him, found him accommodation and bought him a mobile phone. Her husband got him a job with his firm. They built him a new life. In return he hid in their shed and murdered them in their sleep. Peter Wilkinson survived the attack. Barley was the product of incest and spent his life in and out of care, battling drug addictions. The court heard had 21 previous convictions including beating an ex-girlfriend 50 times with a piece of wood.
Do we stop trusting in times like these, and what is left of humanity if we all do?
Lana, an 18-year old student from Brighton was abused by her boyfriend for over five months before a friend called the police. Taylor, 22, who was breaching a conditional discharge for an incident against a former girlfriend, was given a two-year restraining order and told he would have to complete a course on “building better relationships”.
Taylor, 22, moved in with Lana, 18, at her student residence in Phoenix Halls, then began to take control of every part of her life - forcing her to get rid of her phone and computer, accessing her social media accounts and forcing her to leave her job.
The five months of torture Lana endured will shape the rest of her life. Where is her support to build better relationships? Abuse doesn’t end the day the insults or punches stop. It can’t be washed away by a hot bath. It’s a weight carried for life.
Crown prosecutor Martine Sherlock told Brighton Magistrates’ Court: “Miss Milner had suffered extreme emotional trauma. She felt she was being watched all the time. She was too afraid to leave the flat and go into the police station itself. She was cut off from all her friends. If she stood up to Mr Taylor he became aggressive. He shouts at her, spits on her when drunk, pushes her out of bed and laughs at her. He punches her and claims its a joke. He wouldn’t let her talk to or have men as friends. When he found out she had spoken to a man from home he shouted at her; making her scared.”
Taylor pretended to have been a Marine and in the SAS. His real job was as a glass collector at Pryzm nightclub in West Street, Brighton.
Easy to think Lana was a fool to stay right? When you read the above and are not the one he worked over with a mix of adoration and control. So easy to say “I’d have knocked his teeth out” and maybe you might have done, but what would he have done back?
Have you ever been scared of someone, ever ‘put up’ with behaviour that deep down you knew wasn’t right? Have you ever not made a big deal out of someone’s behaviour because it’s not worth the hassle they’ll give you? That’s emotional abuse. More common than you think, and tolerated daily in all walks of life.
Taylor admitted engaging in coercive and controlling behaviour - a new offence introduced in December 2015 for which Sussex Police only secured their first conviction in May. Coercive control is a relatively new offence to try and tackle the patterns of abusive behaviour that stop short of physical violence.
The law does allow offenders to face up to five years behind bars, but Magistrates decided Taylor’s fate had no sentencing guidelines on which to decide a proportionate punishment for his crime.