So, by all accounts I’ve been a bit lazy recently with doing these. Reasons? Well, there’s always an excuse isn’t there? Going on holiday, Jacob refusing to sleep past 5am meaning that I’m knackered (and living on a diet of mochas and beroccas, now there’s a good blog title for someone!) and eating out a bit, which if I’m perfectly honest I prefer to cooking. You prefer cooking? Meh, your loss.

I also have bloggers guilt. Quite a few people have sent me recipes and I haven’t got round to trying them yet which I feel bad about. Case in point is Rachel from A Discount Ticket to Everywhere who has sent me the recipe for a fish pie. And I love fish pie! And I used to make it quite a bit! But every time I buy the ingredients I then have a mocha and berocca day and it turns into pasta instead. Oops. Anyway, thankfully Rachel is a good sort so has in the meantime has sent me another recipe, being this one for a tuna bolognese bake. Not only is it easy (its pasta! I can cook pasta!) but it included everything that I already had in the flat which meant that when we had friends due over I was able to prepare this guilt free while Jacob had a  nap. The instructions are as follows: View Post

So, in a former life (which for obvious reasons, we’ll refer to as pre-child) I was a second hand book dealer. Actually I’m amazed I haven’t mentioned that until now, it’s the exactly the kind of thing that sounds cool enough that I should be showing off about it. Only, like many jobs that sound cool on paper, the reality isn’t all that great. Imagine if you will a cold and rainy afternoon while you hunt around in a garage down an alleyway for a book that’s gone walk-abouts or one which a delightful customer has asked a million questions about but then won’t buy. Hmm. And this is why I am an ex-book dealer.

Anyway I digress, the point I am slowly reaching is that I love books. Not just to read but I do still have an eye for a nice plate or coloured edges. Books which are aesthetically pleasing. I suppose this is quite a common thing, why do most of us keep our books on show in a way we never would with old copies of The Times when I’m sure the content could be just as interesting?

Digressing again aren’t I?

So anyway, a little while ago I saw some prints on Etsy which had images printed onto dictionary paper and these rather appealed to me, but at a fiver a pop (reasonable) plus postage from the US (hmmm) I thought I’d leave it. Then I saw some similar ones on Not On The High Street and they were fifty five quid (fifty five quid!!) and I thought hmmmmmmm….. bet I could do that.  View Post

Where the husband works they run a number of projects and courses, confidence building, arts and crafts, cooking, that sort of thing. One of the other projects they run is a gardening group, a farm on the outskirts of Southend very kindly gave them a small plot of land so that people could go out there and learn to grow their own vegetables. Its all organic and all very nice (well, I’m not the one doing the weeding which makes it enjoyable in my eyes!)

After having been out there last week the husband mentioned that they were having some kind of open day. Something about train rides for children? He didn’t really know but did I fancy it? Well, I’m pretty much ok with anything that doesn’t involve housework or the dreaded food shopping so that was an obvious yes. And this is what we were met with.

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So, you may remember last week me desperately hoping that someone would send me the recipe for a cheese sandwich. Because, as lovely as all the recipes are, they are recipes and I am busy and knackered and tired. In fairness, I do know how to make a cheese sandwich, I don’t know how to make a tuna bolognese (which I’ve just been sent the recipe for and which sounds great) but sometimes…aww… it’s just a long week, y’know?!

Anyway, just as I was having my normal ‘what shall I make’ panic up popped an email from my friend Anne. It reads as follows:

“Rachel said I had to propose the pesto pasta dish!  View Post

Remember that time you were depressed. That time you were skint. The day you really struggled with your child, what about the day when you really really hoped that things would work out, but actually they didn’t. On that day, that really rough day, imagine that you had all the stress of moving. The boxes, the paperwork, the money! (Aww heck, lets try not to remember the money). The hoping, dreaming of something better, a new start. On that day, in that time of your life, is this what you would like to have been presented with, when you walk into your new property, with your small child

Yep, that’s right, it’s bird excrement, all over the wall. Lets go over that one again. Its faeces. All over your wall of your new property.

Now, if you want to read the full situation of of Clara from I Want My Mummy (and I highly recommend that you do) its all over at Mamasaurus’s blog. It’s well written and from the heart. There’s obviously more pictures than this, none of them make the place look like Kirsty and Phil are going to pop up any time soon.

My point is that actually, no one should be expected to live in a place that’s full of faeces. And I write this as someone who when I bought my property had the estate agent refuse to come in because the stench of urine was so strong, that was my choice though, and there’s a lot of difference between me making that choice and Clara having it forced upon her. So here’s what you can do.

Got 30 seconds? Share this story through twitter and facebook, who knows, maybe your BFF is Chief Executive of the council…(doesn’t have to be this blog, I’m not precious!)

Got 1 min? Tweet @NorwichCC and let them know (politely) what you think

Got 2 mins? There are 2 MPs in Norwich, Chloe Smith and Simon Wright  both look nice, send them an email or tweet.  There’s nothing like a bit of pressure from the wider community.

Got 3 mins? Contact Norwich Council using the Freedom of Information Act and ask them to explain themselves. I did training on how councils must respond to this this very week (don’t ask, but also who knew it would come in helpful!) All you have to do is give a name, an address(email is fine) and a sensible question and as long as its something they can answer with about 18 hours of research they have to answer it within 20 days. So, I’ve filled out the email us form here and asked “what are the standards a council property must meet in order for it to be deemed habitable by Norwich City Council. I would also like to know if the council has a budget for making properties habitable and if so how much this is and how much the council spent on this in the most recent financial year for which you have accounts.” I’m sure you can think of something else that would help.

Got 20 mins? Blog about it yourself. The more the merrier and the wider the pressure to change things for everyone.

I appreciate that council budgets are more than stretched these days. I appreciate that Clara’s council has given her a (small) amount of money to improve her property. I appreciate that many of us have lived in properties that are far from perfect. I also think it is not at all acceptable to place a family who are down on their luck in a property which has faeces in it and I believe that every council has a duty of care to ensure that vulnerable families are not placed in properties which could make them ill. If you feel the same please help, even if it’s just for one minute.