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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Things are moving

Thank you dear readers, it's been a roller coaster of a ride and I've thoroughly enjoyed ranting at you.

I taken the decision to move everything over to a wordpress platform for simplicity it brings to my simple brain so any further updates will appear on http://www.mrbunnychow.com/

I'm afraid that you will need to resubscribe until I can work out how to create a distribution list

For now though many thanks for all your support and I look forward to welcoming you to the new site

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Friday, 14 October 2011

Letter from Gavin Barwell attempt 2

Apologies if you got the wrong post the first time to my email subscribers I'm having some technical issues brought about my my incompetence.

What you should have received is replicated below.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Dear Mr Bunny Chow,

Just a quick update on two issues:

1.       Learning the appropriate lessons from the riots

Yesterday, the Backbench Business Committee granted me a three hour debate on the response to the riots that scarred our town and other parts of the UK in early August. You can read my full speech here but in essence my argument was that two months on we have a much clearer picture of what happened and what the appropriate lessons are for public policy.

In the immediate aftermath, there were two competing narratives of why the riots happened. The first, most bluntly articulated by the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, was that the riots were a spontaneous reaction to Government cuts (“If you’re making massive cuts, there’s always the potential for this sort of revolt against that”, Newsnight, 8th August). The second, articulated by much of our media, was that they were the result of a feral generation of teenagers.

The evidence doesn’t support either of these narratives. Far from being spontaneous, there was a significant degree of organisation behind the riots. 19% of those arrested in London to date are known gang members. According to the Ministry of Justice, 73% of those who came before the courts before midday on 12th September had a previous caution or conviction and the average number of offences they had committed was 15. So the riots were not a political protest by people with no previous criminal record that got out of hand. And in Croydon only 15% of those arrested have been under 18, 38% have been under 21 and 7% have been over 40. So the riots were not solely, or even primarily, the work of teenagers.

Lesson one then is that we need to tackle gang culture and lesson two is that we need to reform our prison system so that it does a better job of addressing prisoners’ underlying problems - few if any educational qualifications, mental health problems, drug and/or alcohol abuse - because at the moment a high proportion of those released go out and re-offend.

The next issue relates to the police response. The Met have been honest enough to admit that with the benefit of hindsight they didn’t have enough officers on duty on the Sunday, Saturday and Monday (the figures, if you are interested, were 3,380 on Saturday, 4,275 on Sunday and 6,000 on Monday). On Tuesday, we saw a massive increase to 16,000 - and it worked. So yes the police can’t be immune from the need to save money and yes we can reduce bureaucracy so that a higher proportion of the officers we have are on visible duty but numbers matter. The Government and the Mayor need to work together to make sure we make savings without reducing frontline policing.

I have spent the last few weeks visiting schools and colleges in and around my constituency to talk to young people about what happened and what we need to do to stop it happening again. On most issues, they agree with their parents and grandparents but on one issue - attitudes to the police - they have a very different view. Many young people - particularly young black men - don’t feel the police are on their side. When they are stopped and searched, they don’t feel they are treated with respect. I am sure that many police officers feel young people don’t treat them with respect either. The Met has come a long way since I was a teenager but clearly there is more to do. We need our police force to be more representative of the people they are policing and we need young people to understand that the police are there to protect them and police officers to understand how it feels to be stopped on a regular basis.

The final lesson relates to how we punish people. According to the Ministry of Justice, those who committed offences during the riots were more likely to receive an immediate custodial sentence and to receive longer sentences than those who committed the same offences a month earlier. I support the decisions the courts have taken - I think it was important to send out a clear message that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and that it has done a lot to restore some faith in our criminal justice system. But there is also evidence that it has helped to reduce crime. If you compare the four weeks from 17th July to 14th August with the four weeks from 15th August to 11th September, property crime in Croydon is down about 30% and violent crime about 20%. You would expect to see a significant reduction in property crime because clearly a large number of property crimes were committed on 8th August and you would expect to see some reduction in both types of crime as a result of the extra police on our streets. But the reduction in violent crime in Croydon is larger than elsewhere suggesting there is something else at work. The answer appears to be that, in the short term at least, prison works - a number of prolific offenders have been put inside and that has reduced crime. As is often the case in politics, we are being offered a false choice by those who argue the way to cut crime is to be tougher and those who argue that the answer is to reform our prisons to reduce reoffending. Why can’t we do both?


2.       The national independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel public meeting

The national independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel will be holding a public meeting in Croydon Braithwaite Hall on Tuesday 18 October.

The meeting will be held at Croydon Braithwaite Hall, Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street, Croydon CR9 1ET and will start with refreshments from 6.30pm.

If you would like to speak to the Panel about your experience of the riots then please come along to this open public meeting. All views will be welcome.

This Panel is separate from the Local Independent Review Panel that has been set up in Croydon. Panel members are Darra Singh OBE, Simon Marcus, Heather Rabbatts CBE and Maeve Sherlock OBE. The Panel will deliver early findings by November, and present a final report by March 2012.

The Panel will look at:
·         the motivation for a small minority of people to take part in riots;
·         why the riots happened in some areas and not others;
·         how key public services engaged with communities before, during and after the riots;
·         what motivated local people to come together to take civic action to resist riots in their area or to clean up after riots had taken place;
·         how communities can be made more socially and economically resilient in the future, in order to prevent future problems; and
·         what they think could have been done differently to prevent or manage the riots.

If you can’t attend the meeting on Tuesday and would still like to speak to the Panel, they can be contacted by:

Email: riotspanel@communities.gsi.gov.uk
Twitter: @riotspanel
Post: Riots Panel, 6th Floor, Eland House, Bressenden Place, SW1E 5DU

You can find out more about the independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel at www.riotspanel.independent.gov.uk.


Gavin Barwell
MP for Croydon Central





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The trouble with the system part 2

As promised here is an update.

I have now met with Mr Litebeer and his two oiks for a session of what they call restorative justice. PC Fred was there too although mostly silent. Unfortunately it was a complete waste of every bodies time. The two youths listened to me rant at them sullenly refusing to meet my eye throughout, they mumbled apologies to each other and to me after initially trying to deny that anything had taken place and professing to be the best of mates despite their body language displaying a mutual loathing of each other.

They obviously have more distrust of figures in authority than their hatred for each other though as they stuck to their guns, seemingly not caring about their school, their education or the general public's perception of them or their school.

I explained to them that I was just as unimpressed with their schools handling of the situation as I was their behaviour which went someway to softening them up before they were dismissed and sent back to classes by Mr Litebeer.

I then set about Mr Litebeer, a surprisingly young man (my age at a guess) explaining my utter distaste for his handling of the situation and his lack of consideration in getting back to me in a timely fashion. He tried to head me off by explaining that modern Head Teachers are like CEO's and that if I had been trying to contact the head of any other business I would have been faced with similar setbacks and delays.

Of course I didn't point out my history of dealing with the boards of plenty of big businesses in my recent crusade against poor service, but I did explain to him that whilst business may indeed put in place barriers to stop the general public from harassing their boards, this may have helped him in dealing with nutters but did nothing to improve the reputation of his school which he held so dear and that if he had bothered to head me off early with swift and decisive action he may well have saved himself lots of embarrassment and even more wasted time.

If I'm entirely honest I don't think any of this went into his head blocked as it was by all the grease emanating from the slime bag that he was as he continued to spew soundbites about improvements that his wonderful self has made since he took over the running of the school and how great and wonderful his shiny new building will be once it's completed.

I gave up and took my leave, but if you're thinking of sending your child to a high school in the Coulsdon Area email me at rantingmrbunnychow@gmail.com for more details of this school so that you can avoid it.

I'll bid you all adieu

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Friday, 7 October 2011

The trouble with the system

How an earth do I get myself into these situations, I'm not entirely sure if it is because I care more than most or if I'm just unlucky or just stubborn but I have become one of those people I always swore I wouldn't. I have become the interfering, grumpy old man.

I'm going to give a bit of background information here before I launch into my full blown rant mode.

My older son the Monkey Boy attends a day nursery which is located within the grounds of a local high school, this high school is publicly funded but privately run as a business and here lies our first problem, they have targets to achieve in order to continue to receive the government funding required to make them profitable.

Anyway that's the very basic background of why I have become involved in a local high school so I'll go into my story of why I am shocked and displeased with the education system.

I didn't know much about the school or academy when I decided to send my son to the the nursery, they are unrelated to each other in any way other than sharing the same premises so didn't think it all that relevant.

The school itself is undergoing extensive renovations so large parts of it are closed off while they knock down old buildings, erect new ones etc and the administration block and a percentage of the classes are taking place in prefab temporary structures and there is a large presence of site traffic and builder types.

None of this is a major issue other than The Monkey Boy's obsession with diggers, which he will shout repeatedly whenever he sees one and if they leave his vision or he thinks about them he will instead shout digger gone or digger all gone which is actually quite sweet even for the millionth time. His vocabulary is now expanding daily and the digger obsession is easily distracted by something else he sees now anyway be it a neenaw (fire engine) or copter' (pretty much anything in the sky but better if it is actually a helicopter)

I'd initially been quite impressed with the school with staff on the gate in the mornings checking the state of the students uniforms and contents of their bags etc. etc. but since this current term began I have been forced to report two instances of groups of pupils fighting outside of the nursery block and then on Monday morning having dropped off The Monkey Boy and about to head back to the hospital to look after The Bug (see my previous post) that I witnessed a young man and he was a young man well over six foot and although gangly not a kid by any stretch of the imagination punch a female pupil in the face.

I was incensed, I was enraged, I very nearly punched him on her behalf but instead what I believed to be common sense prevailed, note the use of the past tense there. Anyway I instead frog marched this young man across the playground in front of all of his friends berating him on his behaviour and handed him over to a member of the faculty who I later learned was called Mr Northern County, well he isn't but it's close enough and will do for the purposes of this narrative.

The following morning with The Bug still in hospital and my blood still up I decided to make a formal complaint to the school which I did and asked for the head teacher to contact me to discuss what was being done about these levels of violence. Remember I am on school premises for a maximum of twenty minutes a day and only walk through the very public areas. I dread to think what is going on in the quieter corners of the school. The school secretary assured me that she would pass my complaint on the headmaster Mr Litebeer and he would be in touch to discuss my concerns.

Later that morning I received a call from Mrs Dragon, Mr Litebeer's PA, she began getting my heckles up by saying that Mr Litebeer was too busy to call me personally but that the school had a policy of restorative justice  which you can read more about in that link and that because the pupils were confined by the building works etc. etc. they are going to play up and that once these building works were finished they would become sweet and lovely children and that they were not doing anything different in this time as it was all going to be hunky dory once the builders were gone and all the kids would love each other and become decent and upstanding members of society.

Rather impolitely I explained to her that she was talking bollocks (I know I don't normally swear here but I'm really angry so sorry) and that Mr Litebeer had better call me with a better explanation as to what his plans were to get his pupils under control or I would take my complaint further.

Surprise surprise, by the following morning Mr Litebeer had still not bothered to call me despite me following up again the previous evening so on my way to the school I called and said that I was on my way down and would like to meet with Mr Litebeer and that if he couldn't find five minutes to call me then I would be forced to knock on his office door and interrupt his very important meeting with my complaint.

Instead of this happening though I was met at the school gates by a very nice policeman who we'll call PC Fred again a psuedonym but you'll notice not an unflattering one, PC Fred walked with me while I dropped off The Monkey Boy and then invited me to his office to discuss my complaint further. Office, OFFICE, OFFICE I hear you ask, yes his office, PC Fred is permanently based at the school.

PC Fred explained some more background to me, he is not a school spokesman and in reality wanted more info on my complaint but we spoke for an hour or so during which he was extremely frank, fully agreeing that when he first joined as a beat policeman it was the good old days and misbehaving kids were given a clip around the lughole by the Local Bobby which actually gave them respect and fear for the constabluary something that is sorely lacking from todays youth culture. PC Fred being based at the school is copied in on all communications relating to violence and other potentially criminal behaviour at the school. He explained to me that the school had originally been a government school funded by the local authority but had been so unsuccessful that a contract had been given to a private company to try things differently.

All of the senior management had been replaced and this profit making took over changing the school name, it's uniform but not it's nasty pupils which it ships in from all over South London and not just the local area. The School is set targets by central government and has to adhere to them in order to keep it's contract. Key to these targets is they need to reduce the number of permanant exclusions that the local authority had to make. In order to achieve this they use different measures of punishment and have different policies to more traditional schools (read they don't exclude the kids because that costs them money) and instead do things like separate problem children into a different part of the school and onto different timetables etc, they also as mentioned regularly search the students not only for contraband but to ensure that they have their stationary, books etc as required and ensure they are in the right state of mind to learn.

PC Fred explained to me that as an independant he could not force Mr Litebeer to call me but did agree to attempt to chase him on my behalf. He also obviously had little belief or faith in the softly softly methods employed by the school (which the schools PR Team call "Tough Love" by the way) despite him on the surface backing up their policies. He explained to me that the punching I had witnessed the previous day had been dealt with by the school but that as both parties had independantly denied anything other than horseplay taking place they were unable to place any sanctions on either child despite there being an independant complaining witness.

He did say that the school was meeting with both pupils and that they would be undergoing the afformantioned restorative justice sessions where they would have to sit and explain to each other how they feel about the incident and hopefully prompt an apology and feelings of guilt from him to her. I have my doubts of course. PC Fred also showed me the schools incident report which included the charming quote from Puncher, "why is this man even getting involved it's none of his business, she kicked me so I pushed her it was just messing around, stupid man" The girls report was similar but said that they had just been messing around like they always did and it was no big deal.

I know I have already said it but this is not what happened, she may or may not have kicked the puncher as I didn't see it but the punchee received a severe fist punch to the face, why does no one care what I actually saw.

Surprise surprise Mr Litebeer again did not phone me and I placed a call to the schools head office (they run a number of schools for the government around the country) speaking to the HR Manager for the south east who again promised to follow up on my behalf. She agreed with my assesment that it was unlikely that someone could be so busy as to not have five minutes to spare in their day to phone a concerned and upset member of the public, not to mention the welfare of the children.

I also left further messages with Mrs Dragon requesting that Mr Litebeer contact me as soon as possible. One of the above methods obviously worked though as first thing (before 8am) the following morning Mr Litebeer finally saw fit to call me and whilst not apologetic for his lack of earlier response he did take the time to listen to me rant and does agree that the current position is unnaceptable.  He still cannot place any sanction on either child because they both deny the incident but he will be adressing an assembly on violence and meeting with both students to discuss the incident further.

He agreed with me that perhaps there can be further consequences for their actions without official sanctions being placed, I have suggested that perhaps letters of appology and even essays on the problems with acceptable violence in youth culture may be appropriate especially given the recent events in the town in which we live. He said that he will consider this and has also agreed for me to meet with him and the pupils concerned in the near future. An appointment has been made for next week and I will report back my discussions with both Mr Litebeer and the puncher and punchee once this has occurred.

I fully intend to be bluntly honest with the students and Mr Litebeer that the actions of the students and Mr Litebeer are unnaceptable to a civilised public and that I am dismayed by the lack of courtesy shown to me as a visitor to the school both by the faculty (by Mr Litebeer in his failure to return my calls in a timely fashion) and the students themselves in thinking that it was acceptable in engage in acts of violence in front of members of the public.

I realise that this post has been longer and more disjointed than many I've been composing it in dribs and drabs over the last few days between hospital visits and short breaks in my day, but I'll come back to my original point that there has to be something wrong with modern society when the government can take control away from a local authority and give it to a profit making business who achieve results by fudging the books to make them money and the government look better with reduced school exclusions because they instead just don't take any actions.

This school has a police officer permanently based on the premises for gods sakes, I know that I just sound like a cumudgeonly old man but why not bring back proper punishment and teach these kids that there are consequences to their actions, what happened to every action has an equal and opposite reaction, I certainly learned that in school. Yes I fought, I realise that kids do, but I never hit any girls, and if I was caught doing anything wrong, which I innevitably was as the schools were run properly by proffesionals, there were consequences.

I have no objection to running schools as profit making organisations, every school I went to was a private one and yet ahead of these profits there was a deep underlying care for the welfare of the children and how those children in adult life would become better people and in turn bring their kids back to make them more money, as well as reflected glow from high flying pupils who went on to greater things. Now I realise that they largely failed in my case but that doesn't change the fact that their ethos was right and that this current way of thinking in my mind at least is grossly wrong.

I have ranted on for long enough now, I'll let you know how I get on next week.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Diary of a sick baby

I apologise that I have been remiss of late in keeping this blog up to date but I will endeavour to explain why below.

Last Friday I was designated the duty of driving my parents and older son Monkey Boy to Heathrow so that they could return to their home in a tinpot dictatorship and allow Mrs Bunny Chow and I to try get some level of order back into our lives following the arrival of our younger son now christened The Bug in reference to his resemblance to an angry woodlouse. (I do love my kids but find their ever changing appearance endlessly amusing)

As is often the case of a Friday afternoon or any other afternoon for that matter the M25 was gridlocked and I found myself humming Chris Rea's The Road to Hell and setting out after the two and a half hour journey to Heathrow with a fractious toddler and a feeling of dread. Mrs Bunny Chow called several times to let me know that The Bug had a really high temperature and that she thought we should take him to hospital to be checked out (he was 22 days old at this point) although slow the return journey was much better than the outward one and I was able to make it back to the M23 within an hour which should have seen me within 30 minutes of home.

Annoyingly though as soon as I pulled off the M25 the traffic ground to an inexplicable halt, literally going from 70ish MPH to zero, if the traffic reports had made any mention of this I could have driven on to the next junction and around the problem but of course they hadn't and I was now stuck with an extremely fractious, hungry and screaming toddler and a wife who was becoming understandably anxious on the end of the phone. Despite that fact that I was now only a few miles from home, I could see that we were stuck for the long hall and suggested to Mrs Bunny Chow that an ambulance was summonsed to come to her and I rummaged around to find snack goods to sooth Monkey Boy.

Mrs Bunny Chow and The Bug were ferried to A&E at Croydon University Hospital with my journey taking much longer and no explanation as to why it took an hour and a half or so to drive the length of the M23 before it cleared to relatively empty smooth roads. I of course observed all speed limits and drove as only an Audi driver can with extreme patience and courtesy to the hospital to meet up with my sick child and beloved wife.

On arrival at the hospital it became apparent that A&E was business as usual and despite having been there for some time and being brought in by ambulance Mrs Bunny Chow had seen no one but a Triage Nurse and we were in for the long hall wait. Our dear friend Mrs T (thank you) kindly agreed to come to our home to babysit the now sleeping older child so I was sent to take him home to his bed returning to hurry up and wait.

Eventually things started happening with various worried looking doctor types arriving and prodding The Bug and it was decided that he was indeed a very sick little boy although they did not know what was making him ill so they would need to conduct various tests to establish what was wrong whilst agreeing that until then it was best to get him started on intravenous antibiotics and fluids. The exams included conducting a lumbar puncture to extract a spinal fluid sample, a Chest X-Ray as well as blood and urine samples. I watched the Lumbar puncture take place against the advice of the doctors and was very proud not to faint and only felt a little queasy, in all honesty although it was a touch distressing to see my little boy in such an unnatural setting I found the procedure fascinating.

I eventually went home leaving Mrs Bunny Chow and The Bug at about 4am knowing that I would have to be up early to deal with older child and also to relieve the duties of the wonderful and lovely Mrs T (thank you again we owe you one or several) Mrs Bunny Chow tells me that after the chest X-Ray they were taken to the Rupert Bear Ward and checked into an individual room with still no one any the wiser as to what might be wrong with the little man.

The following day I was stuck at home with older child whilst Mrs Bunny Chow and The Bug had to endure lots of hurrying up and waiting for doctors to come with little or no news and The Bug continued to supper from discomfort and high temperatures. That afternoon I managed to arrange with another friend who we'll refer to as The Kiwi (thank you too) to babysit older child so that I could get to the hospital and support the exhausted Mrs Bunny Chow, the doctors had at this point let her know that they had not managed to track down the source of The Bug's illness and as some of the symptoms he was presenting were consistent with Meningitis they were going to do a second Lumbar Puncture as there had been blood present in his first sample they had been unable to rule this out.

Still the test continued to come in with no conclusive results not really showing anything other than that the little mans white blood cell count was up and he was fighting off a massive infection of some sort whether it was viral or bacterial though they were unable to say. I sent Mrs Bunny Chow home so that she could try and have a decent night or at least some rest.

Sunday came and went with little change other than myself and Mrs Bunny Chow swapping places again and more tutting and confused doctors, they must have been doing something right though as The Bug began feeding again and his drip was removed in the wee hours of Monday morning retaining only his cannula in place for the IV antibiotics to continue.

We swapped places again on Monday evening by which stage he was looking better and better with his temperature coming down to relatively normal levels and demands for food rising in tempo and pitch.

I stayed with him again through Tuesday and Tuesday night and he was eventually released on Wednesday lunchtime following five days of antibiotics and no one having any real clue as to why he ended up where he did.

Before I go though we'd like to once again thank our friends and family for all their support in this difficult time especially the wonderfully kind Mrs T and The Kiwi we honestly don't know what we would have done without you. Chuckles your support and kind words were also a great help as were the wonderful and lovely messages we received through face book and twitter. We Love you all.

We would also like to express our sincere thanks to the staff of Croydon University Hospital and the Rupert Bear Ward, yes it was a hospital stay which is never pleasant but the ending was a happy one and with a few minor exceptions you were kind patient and healed our Bug.

I hope that none of you readers never have to experience what we have just been through but rest assured that even when things look grim there is not always a sad ending.

thank you for reading, normal grumpy service will resume with my next post

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Monday, 26 September 2011

Back to the old grindstone as a new dad

Apologies to you all my dear readers, I have been remiss in keeping you updated since I went on Paternity leave.

As discussed in my last post, Monkey Boy Two was born on the 8th of September and has since officially been christened Bug and moving forward will be dropping his original name.

Bug and Mrs Bunny Chow came home to us after two nights in hospital and are doing brilliantly, there were some early concerns about Bug's weight dropping once home but he seems to now have a handle on this and is certainly looking healthy although the official discharge from the care of Croydon's midwifery team is yet to be forthcoming, Mrs Bunny Chow, Bug and Ouma Bunny Chow are going to see them later today and I have every confidence that this will now be a mere formality.

Ouma and Oupa Bunny Chow have been a great support to us and have been acting as chauffeur's to Monkey Boy as well as fetching and carrying tea, beer, wine and food so that Mrs Bunny Chow and I have been able to spend lots of time settling back into having a new and demanding master.

I think that we had both forgotten all about late nights, unsociable demands for feeding, changing, cuddling etc, although we are a lot more relaxed about it all this time around and also have the knowledge that whilst the early days are tough they also pass and become something new and exciting as routines are established and order of some sort comes about.

Monkey Boy has taken very well to having a brother and whilst he has been a tad attention seeking, he also enjoys pointing at the Bug and very solemnly stating Baby. He also enjoys patting and stroking him.

My biggest worry with the Monkey Boy is that he has become very attached to Ouma Bunny Chow and is going to be very upset when she returns home to the dark continent on Friday.

Anyway, that's the end of my spiel for the time being.

Normal service will resume in the coming weeks.

Take care and as always

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Friday, 9 September 2011

Being Dad Again

Good Morning dear readers,

I just wanted to drop you all a short note to tell you a little bit about the arrival of Monkey Boy Two, he was born at lunchtime yesterday 08.09.11 by Cesarean Section at Croydon University Hospital (Mayday in old money) weighing in at a whopping 9.1lbs and 58cms long.

There are some amazing things that happened on the day besides the happy and safe arrival that I thought I would share with you all.

Mrs Bunny Chow arrived at the hospital slightly apprehensive about the whole Elective Caesar thing and concerned although we knew all along that it was the right choice it is major surgery and not to be taken lightly. The initial wait was awful, the maternity triage unit, had zero privacy and we were both nervous and excited, but also irritated and bored and interesting cocktail.

After we'd been seen by the anaesthetist and surgeon a young man walked into our cubicle introducing himself as a trainee and querying our southern African accents, we gave him a brief rundown of our history and he began telling us about his and how he'd recently had a Son himself, his story sounded vaguely familiar to me and then it all clicked into place, I'd read his story and sent it to Mrs Bunny Chow a week or two ago and the excellent Bumi Beat Blog wow what a small world. Talking more to him it also became apparent that our parents were acquaintances.

Tom Stayed with us throughout preparation, filling in all the notes, doing blood pressure checks keeping us calm and informed and was genuinely lovely, he made the whole experience so much better than it could have been and he's going to make a fantastic doctor when he's finished his training. I thank him from the bottom of all of our hearts.

The surgery itself was as uneventful as these things can be, and Monkey Boy Two was brought into this world looking very much like a baby as opposed the the squashed little sausage we were handed when Monkey Boy One was born, I suppose that's an advantage of the sunroof exit. I was a little concerned when I heard the surgeon mutter an expletive that was explained to me after as the umbilical cord had not only been wrapped around Monkey Boy Two's neck but also had two knots in it which had we gone with natural childbirth would have severely affected his chances of survival and would almost certainly have resulted in an emergency C'Section anyway. Phew we made the right choice for once and all that fighting with consultants to get booked in for the surgery in the first place was justified.

Anyway Monkey Boy One and Two have now met, both Mrs Bunny Chow and Monkey Boy Two are doing brilliantly and I'm desperately in love with them both and think they're amazing.

Take care all

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Friday, 2 September 2011

Changes to Mr Bunny Chow

I'm moving all of my future product reviews over to their own tab and keeping the original section for my rants and essays.

I also hope that as many of you will take advantage of the items reccomended in my little shop, there are some bargains to be had.

I really do appreciate all of my readers and appreciate the feedback I have received since starting up at the beginning of August.

Please keep your thoughts coming and let me know of any idea's that you have.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Shameless plugging

As some of you my dear readers may have noticed I now have a new link at the top of my page which links through to my own Amazon store, yes I will get commision from stuff that you buy through it, and yes I'd be grateful if you do indeed buy stuff through it.

There are not many products in the store as yet as I don't want to link you through to anything that either I have not bought myself or will not buy myself.

I will add stuff in as and when I have some time.

I'd be grateful for any feedback and thoughts you have.

Happy shopping

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Being Dad part 4

Well if it all goes according to plan I will become a father for a second time a week today so I thought I'd put down some of my thoughts in advance of the big day as may not get a chance for a while once it's happened.

As I'm sure I've mentioned previously we're both a lot more relaxed about what's to come this time around, this I'm sure is brought about in part by the lack of snow on the ground, but also the fact that we now know or at least think we know what to expect from a little bundle of trouble when we bring them into our home.

Of course there are some nerves, I know that no two babies are alike and there are risks to Mrs Bunny Chow and Monkey Boy Two involved in the birthing process, I'd be a fool not to have a least a few niggling concerns, but mankind has successfully continued to breed for thousands of generations and I also have total confidence in the amazing Mrs Bunny Chow's abilities having seen her in action so to speak once before.

Mrs Bunny Chow has been in a frenzy of cleaning, washing and organising since she went on maternity leave and the house whilst not sparkling is certainly looking a lot shinier than it did a few short weeks ago. We've moved a lot of stuff into storage and have no idea where it all went before we took it down there as everything is still amazingly cluttered but I guess this is the lot of the family with not much money, a Monkey Boy, a dog and two cats and an obsession with the hoarding of books, kitchenalia and anything else we find along the road.

Mrs Bunny Chow is holding up well, she's now very obviously very uncomfortable in her massively expanded body and needs my help with little things that historically would have posed no problem to her, but she is amazing and carries on with a fierce determination that I cannot help be proud of her. She is an amazing woman and mother and I often find myself watching her and thinking how did I get so lucky.

Right barf fest over my parents have had to delay their arrival due to the unique qualities of living in a tinpot dictatorship and the vagaries of their national airline (Air Zimbabwe) their original flight which was due to land today has been cancelled due to the fact that they would rather buy new aeroplanes than pay their current staff who've understandably gone on strike.

They are now flying with Ethiopian Airlines on Sunday but have to go via Lusaka, Overnighting in Addis Ababa, then Rome before finally arriving at Heathrow smack in the middle of rush hour on Monday thirty six odd hours after leaving their house in Harare. It's been nearly a year since I last saw them and they last saw their grandson Monkey Boy One (I'm having to distinguish them now)so I can't wait to see them both.

Anyway I've done enough wittering on about feelings and girly stuff for today.

I will keep you all posted and may even put up a few pictures once Monkey Boy Two makes his presence known.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

Saturday, 27 August 2011

book review

My latest book is one of the most upsetting I have ever read, Mugabe and the White African is the story of a White Zimbabwean farmer and his family standing up to the Zimbabwean government in an effort to remain on thier farm an in their homes.

It tells tales of abuse of power, corruption, greed and downright sickening evil.

It is not especially well written and the Author, Ben Freeth peppers the text with somewhat naive religous zeal, but you can't help but admire Mr Freeth and the rest of their family for the stand they took and as such I applaud them.

I thoroughly recomend that everyone reads this book but add the caveat that it will upset you, especially if you have a heart.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Another Message from Gavin Barwell

Dear Mr Bunny Chow,

My apologies for sending you yet another email - this will be the last one for a few weeks I promise.  I just wanted to update you on three issues.

Supporting the town centre

I’m delighted to see that the Council, the car park operators, the shopping centres and individual retailers are repeating last weekend’s offers to encourage people to come and shop or eat out in Croydon town centre over the Bank Holiday weekend.  Parking on-street is free and you can park all day in any of the multi-storey car parks for just £2.  In addition, there are lots of special offers and lots of family entertainment laid on.  For all the information, go to http://www.croydontowncentre.com/offers.html.

So come into the town centre this weekend.  If we want Croydon to recover we need to support it, not shop in Bromley or Bluewater.  Please forward this message to your neighbours and friends in the Croydon area.

In the long term, of course, people are only going to come into the town centre if they feel safe and if the parking charges are reasonable.  That’s why I’m campaigning for the current policing levels to be maintained and for a permanent cut in the parking prices in the multi-storey car parks.

Improving street lighting across the borough

On Wednesday I was up in Corbett Close, New Addington to see the first of what will be thousands of new streetlights installed.  Croydon and Lewisham Councils have formed a partnership with the construction and development company Skanska, who will take over the day to day responsibility for the maintenance of our street lighting network.  Over the first five years of the contract, they will be replacing pretty much all the lights in the borough.  The new columns focus the light down onto the road and where necessary additional columns will be installed so lighting levels across the borough will improve.  This is great news - not only should it make our roads safer but it will deter some crime and make people feel safer.  As well as replacing streetlights, Skanska are replacing the underground cable network in much of the borough and this will make it much easier to identify faults and to raise or lower the lighting levels in particular areas at particular times of the day if required.

As the MP for New Addington, I am delighted that the replacement work has started there.  All too often in the past, New Addington has been overlooked - it’s great to see this Council giving it priority.  In terms of the other areas that I represent, the provisional plan is that most of Shirley and part of Addiscombe will be done in the first half of next year, the rest of Addiscombe, Woodside, Park Hill and Croydon town centre in 2013/14 and upper Shirley, Addington Village, Forestdale and Monks Hill in 2014/15.

Litter pick in Ashburton Park

Tomorrow morning, the volunteer litter picking team I have recruited will be out in Ashburton Park.  If you would like to join us - it’s one small way to make Croydon a better place to live - we are meeting at 10.30am at the car park off Tenterden Road.

Gavin Barwell
MP for Croydon Central



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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Carpetright part 4

Since my last post on the subject of Carpetright, I have received a Cheque for £30 from Mr Dick Woof the Head of Consumer Affairs and the following letter from  their Operations Director who we will call Ms Manycreams:


Dear Mr Bunny Chow,


Thank you for your emails to Mr Dick Woof regarding your carpet order and estimate. I have spoken to Mr Dick Woof this morning and understand that he called you following your email and was able to explain the situation more clearly over the phone.


I would like you to know that we do take complaints like this very seriously and that as a Board we look at feedback like yours to ensure that we help the stores give the best possible service. I am very sorry that the store left you feeling misled and badly treated and I hope you have been reassured that this is not our normal practice. The issues regarding the stores processes and behaviour are being dealt with to ensure that no other customer feels the same way, and I am grateful to you for alerting us to the problems.


I hope this now answers your complaint, but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further queries.


Yours sincerely


Ms Manycreams
Operations Director UK


As she invited me to I have taken the time to respond to her.


Good Evening Ms Manycreams,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me, I have indeed had communications from Mr Dick Woof and a cheque for £30 yet I note with disappointment that we still have not received the stain guarantee for the carpets as promised by Mr Smarmy in the store and the gentleman who actually fitted our carpets.

I am genuinely surprised that despite having been forced to complain to such a high level your organisation has not seen fit to ensure that their administration is in order.

I look forward to hearing from you and receiving this guarantee as soon as possible.

Yours Sincerely

Mr Bunny Chow

I'll keep you all posted as this unfolds further

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

my geeky side

interesting to see the break down of how you my dear readers are viewing my blog this week.

I'm amazed how many of you are still using internet explorer.

Are you checking out my blog in the office where you don't have a choice?

Chrome ahead of Firefox, again I'm surprised although I approve.

I must confess I'm also suprised how many of you are using iPhones over Android, I am an iPhone guy but I would have thought would be much closer than that.


Pageviews by Browsers
Internet Explorer
 273 (36%)
Mobile
  210 (27%)
Chrome
  77 (10%)
Firefox
  75 (9%)
Mobile Safari
  63 (8%)
Safari
  36 (4%)
Opera
 16 (2%)
chromeframe  
4 (<1%)
NetFront
  2 (<1%)
Version
  1 (<1%)
Pageviews by Operating Systems
Windows   
410 (53%)
iPhone   
227 (29%)
Android
   60 (7%)
Macintosh   
25 (3%)
Linux
  15 (1%)
BlackBerry
  12 (1%)
iPad
  8 (1%)
SonyEricsson   
2 (<1%)
Nokia
  1 (<1%)

Message from Gavin Barwell

Dear Mr Bunny Chow,

On Sunday 18th September, I will be doing my annual sponsored walk around the boundary of my constituency, a total of around 16 miles. This year I am raising money for Croydon Crossroads, a great local charity that supports carers (they provided outstanding support to my Mum when my Dad was sick with Alzheimer’s).

If you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so at http://www.justgiving.com/gavinbarwellmp2011 or by sending a cheque made payable to “Croydon Crossroads Ltd” to 133 Wickham Road, Croydon CR0 8TE.  And if anyone would like to join me for part (or even all!) of the walk, some company would be much appreciated.

Many thanks
Gavin
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