Red-green colourblindness is the most common form of colourblindess in the world, and affects more men than women.
First of all, we don’t see in black and white. Let’s just get that out of the way before we go any further. Secondly, we still see greens and reds – we just don’t see them like other people. Most of us still know what a red folder looks like, and we still see green trees.
We still see the difference between green and red traffic lights (which look red and green). Poppies look red to us, also.
So what do colours look like to you?
Well, this is a really difficult question to answer as sadly science hasn’t yet invented a way of switching between colourblind and “normal” mode but a good example comes from the copy who invented EnChroma glasses. They describe red-green colourblindness in terms of “greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and browns may appear similar, especially in low light. It can also be difficult to tell the difference between blues and purples, or pinks and grays” which pretty much sums up how I see.
For example, my sister is was buying a new car and showed me a photo. I said “urgh, brown? What would you want to buy a brown car for?” to which everyone else exclaimed that it was actually red. Pinks and greys really confuse me as well.
Does colourblindness effect your job?
No, not really. I once worked as a car salesman and struggled to tell the difference between shades of very light metallica blues and greens, which could sometimes be a little bit embarrassing but actually worked in my favour as it was a good ice-breaker with the customer. I never had asperations to join the RAF (who don’t allow colourblind people to join)
A cash machine at Brightlingsea CO-OP was stolen in the early morning in a ram-raid on the front of the building.
A representative from the East of England Co-operative said that the theft happened around 2am this morning. He believes that thieves stole an excavator owned by Case Plant Hire from a nearby field and then drove it it to the site. They then used it to smash open the front of the building. Police helicopters were scrambled to the area in search of the thieves.
“It’s the extent that some people will go to to steal money” said the man.
Police have now arrested a man in connection with the theft.
Police are on scene and carrying out investigations. There appears to be extensive damage to the front of the building with brickwork demolished, roofing damaged and no sign of the cash machine. Anyone with any information should contact Essex Police on 101 or can leave information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
0330 30th August. Brightlingsea. Assisting @EssexPoliceUK with a search for suspects. Enquiries continuing
In the Summer of 2016, we made our way from Stansted Airport on our flight to Kos Airport, ready to start our week long all-inclusive holiday at Holiday Village Kos. I’m not going to go into massive detail – you can get that on TripAdvisor – but I am going to point out the good and bad points of the holiday. There’s also a video of my review of Holiday Village Kos you can watch on YouTube.
Holiday Village Kos was well equipped to deal with the hundreds of holiday makers that it caters for daily. It has extensive, modern grounds with excellent facilities for all types of holiday makers. Located close to the beach with a number of pools, Holiday Village Kos is perfectly located for a summer break.
The grounds were well kept, the staff were very friendly and it was an excellent and relaxing break.
You need to stop blaming teachers for your child’s poor behaviour or lack of progress. We’ve all heard the jibes made at teachers such as they get too many holidays, but what’s it REALLY like to be a teacher and why do the public constantly criticise the people who care so much about educating people that they’ve dedicate their career and lives to it?
“Teachers get 13 weeks holiday!”
Let’s put this one to bed straight way – teachers don’t get 13 weeks holiday. Like most employed people in the UK, they get the standard entitlement of 5.6 weeks of paid holiday. The other weeks that they are off (due to Christmas, Easter, Summer Holidays and Half Term) are adjusted in their annual pay so that they get paid less over the year to make allowances for those additional weeks. They get paid during the holidays, not for them. In fact, teaching is one of the only professions in the UK for which holiday’s aren’t specified in a contract.
“But teacher’s only work from 9am-3.30pm!”
A teacher’s day doesn’t begin the minute you drop your child at school and end when you pick them up at 3.30pm. Most teachers will arrive at work at 8am to start preparing for their classroom, or have staff meeting, or deal with emails from parents. Once the day’s lessons are finished, teachers then have further meetings, or have to deal with any behavioral issues that have arisen. They may start lesson planning, or do some marking. They may have some ongoing training, or some emails from colleagues and parents to answer. They may also have after-school clubs to run, or detentions to supervise.
According to the BBC, the week for a secondary head teachers stretches to an average of 63.3 hours per week – the longest of any of the teaching jobs. Primary classroom teachers worked longer hours – 59.3 hours – than their secondary school counterparts, who worked for 55.7 hours per week. The hours in a secondary academy were slightly less, at 55.2 hours[1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27087942].
Teachers do a considerable amount of unpaid work
A teachers day doesn’t end at 6pm. Once home, most teachers will have to complete their lesson planning for the following day, or mark books. This can go late into the evening, and usually involves spending time on weekends. Overtime is consistently required but never paid.
Teachers rarely get a lunch break
Speak to teachers and most will tell you that their lunchtime is a case of grabbing a quick bite ready to deal with knocks on the staff-room door from students needing help, or patrolling the school grounds, or dealing with phonecalls from parents.
Teachers have to put up with a lot of crap from students and parents
There, I’ve said it. Some kids are horrible, and so are some parents. In fact, some kids are really horrible and so are some parents. Children know that in the modern era they can pretty much get away with speaking and behaving however they like and that the punishments will be, at most, a detention and a letter home, due to their “human rights” or some other source of over-the-top legislation. Many parents can’t stop blaming teachers and point the finger at almost every opportunity.
Of course, the majority of parents will take bad behaviour very seriously and do something about it, but there is a section of society who won’t. Some parents think it’s ‘funny’ that their kids misbehave (probably because they behaved the same at school) and can’t stop blaming Teachers. Teachers get verbally and physically attacked by students, and teachers get attacked by parents on regular occasions. Don’t take my word for it – a quick Google search with provide you with numerous links to articles of such attacks. I’ve heard parents say “it’s your problem when [my child] is at school” and refuse to take any responsibility for their little darling’s crappy behaviour.
Of course there will always be the odd bad teacher, but if your child is going through school and different classes with different teachers and persistently the center of problems, you probably need to look closer to home for the reason and stop blaming Teachers because you’re not prepared to accept responsibility.
Teachers pay and conditions are constantly under attack
There are two professions that successive Governments constantly attack – nursing and teaching.
One of the arguments used by the government against teacher’s strikes is that strikes put the education of children in jeopardy. It’s a trite old argument designed to turn parents and the public against the teaching profession by laying the blame at the feet of teaching staff. What you’ll never hear in the following sentence is just how must money isn’t being directed into education. What you’re also unlikely to hear from government ministers is that schools are facing the worst cuts in funding since the 1970s. They can’t stop blaming Teachers because the profession is an easy target to use as a political football.
The reality is that it’s actually the government who are putting education of young people at risk through a lack of support and funding due to oversized classes, schools falling into disrepair, and teachers who are burning out. Add to that the constant pressure from Ofsted and barrage of criticism from government, and it’s easy to understand why teachers are leaving the profession in their droves.
On the 24th June 2016, the United Kingdom woke to the news that the country was to leave the UK, after a 3.8% majority voted in favour of a British exit – a Brexit.
Brexit, as it was called, resulted in immediate financial uncertainty in the county. The value of the British Pound dropped to a level not seen since 1985, stock markets reacted badly, and European Leaders were quick to confirm that ‘out’ really did mean out. There was no turning back.
By far the biggest cause of majority vote to leave was caused by the concerns people had regarding immigration. Many, specifically the less well off or older generation, blamed migration for increasing pressure on hospitals, schools and GP surgeries. However, they seemed reluctant to accept that much of this pressure was being caused by the Conservative governments squeeze on public finances through imposed Austerity. People were so blinkered by the immigration debate that they failed to see the true picture of why people are so desperate to get to the UK. They stuck their heads in the sand as stories quietly emerged about 30,000 Iraqy people being left in refugee camps to eat rotting animal feed due to fighting between the UK backed Iraq army and ISIS. Out of sight, out of mind.
As the results were analysed it became clear that the EU Referendum was more than just a vote for the future of Great Britian – it was a vote of class war. The higher the level of education, the higher the EU support. Research by the Telegraph showed that university graduates were the most likely people to want to remain in the EU – while those with a GCSE or equivalent as their highest qualification were more likely to back Brexit.
A very sad time in the history of the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Scotland had overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU, but they only way that could now happen would be for another refurendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK. Whether Scotland will every get that vote is open for debate but it if does, it might be time to move there!
You’re probably here because you’re one of the thousands of people who have received a letter threatening court action from a company called Direct Publisher, for an advert. The advert will claim that you agreed to place an advert on a website called the Commercial Register.
Before we go any further, let’s be clear: no one has been taken to court due to the scam. The scammers are complete chancers so stop worrying.
I reported Direct Publisher SLU to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, who advised that they were aware of this company and not to pay the bill. A warning has also been issued to farmers. There are reports on Spanish websites of the same where Spanish companies have been duped into this scam (you can see comments in a translated page here). However, Action Fraud have failed to take action, and to the disappointment of many, you may be wasting your time.
How it all began
In June 2016 my company received a letter from a company calling itself the Commercial Register, purporting to be acting on behalf of Companies House. The letter advised us that we needed to complete our company details and return the form to the company in the pre-paid envelope. The form was accidentally completed by the admin team and returned. This would result in months of battles, emails and telephone calls to overseas scammers.
We received a bill for €993 for placing an advert on the website. The invoice came from Madrid and included a copy of the signed ‘order form’. The order was for listing our company in the ‘England Commercial Register’, but it transpired we had actually signed up for an advert on the very poor quality website com-reg.com. We had been hit by the (yet another) scam on small business
Direct Publisher SLU are scammers
Direct Publisher had hoodwinked my company into signing a contract for an advert, and the actions the company used to obtain the signature weren’t honest, weren’t upfront and hid the real terms and conditions in very small print on the reverse of the form. That’s an excellent example of fraud. In my opinion, these scammers are nothing more than bullies who attempt to apply pressure using various guises. They prey on small business owners and bully. They use poorly written letters and attempt to make themselves look official.
Should I pay to be in the Commercial Register?
Quite simply, No! Don’t pay it. It’s a blatant scam and to date (after receiving hundreds of emails from people) no one has ever been taken to court. They will threatened and try to scare you into paying, but don’t be fooled. It’s nothing but hot air.
In June 2017, some victims of the scam began to receive letter and emails from people claiming to be legal representatives of Direct Publisher. The emails come from firstname.lastname@example.org and threaten court action. There is no name of the law firm on the email, which immediately looks suspicious.
You would have thought that if Direct Publisher had such a firm legal case that they would have taken the matter to court months ago, especially as they have given so many victims a final demand on numerous occasions. Alas, no. It seems that their bark really is much worse than their bite.
Another thing suspicious issue with these emails is that the legal-recovery.com has no website and the domain is hidden for privacy on the WhoIs database. Why would a genuine legal firm want to hide their details from the public domain?
The company was clever with the original letter looking to be very official and from a UK Government department. So be careful what you sign, and definitely don’t pay them.
I have been contacted by various people by phone, email and via this blog about this company. Here’s what I’ve been told to date:
the initial letter looks official and as if it was from Companies House
most people can’t recall seeing any terms and conditions or mention of a payment
some people have alleged that their signatures have been scanned and then printed on a different contact
What to do next if Direct Publisher threatens you:
What you do next is completely up to you but I recommend:
don’t return the form
don’t reply to their emails
don’t get into a conversation with them – you’ll get wound up going backwards and forwards with their ‘brick wall’ style communication
don’t pay them any money, regardless of their threats
do report them to action fraud
Where are Direct Publisher located?
Many people are receiving an email from the scammers saying that the website has been moved from com-reg.com to comm-reg.com. The registered person of the com-reg.com and comm-reg.com domains has now been revealed and listed on Whois as:
Fernando Mancho Palacios
Fuencarral n.160, Entreplanta, 7.puerta
State / Province
Don’t bother sending a letter back without a stamp
Royal Mail have confirmed that any letters meant for Europe without a stamp will be thrown away, so don’t bother returned the envelope without a stamp. You’re just wasting a good envelope!
Previous threat letters
I decided to write to this unscrupulous company and so sent them an email, saying that we would not be paying it and that we had reported them to Action Fraud. I received the following reply from Ella King <email@example.com>:
“Dear Mr Hicks
We thank you for your e-mail of 31st May 2016.
We confirm that an advertisement order was placed by [our company name] when returning the original order form to us duly completed, signed and dated.
All the conditions of our commercial offer including a prominent price in bold were given to you at the outset and it can only be expected that you were fully aware of the contractual commitment being entered into.
Since your cancellation request was not sent to us within the contractual cooling off period of fifteen days from the date of signature this order has come into force. Your company’s advertising can be viewed on our website at: www.com-reg.com.
We kindly ask you to honour existing contractual commitments and settle the invoice at your earliest convenience.
Customer Support Dept. www.com-reg.com”
Of course, I still had to intention to pay, so replied and said: “as previously advised we will not be making any payment and leave you to take any action you feel necessary”. A couple of days later, I received another email:
“Dear Mr Hicks
In reply to your e-mail of 6th June 2016 we must reaffirm that full consent was given to the business terms for the publication of your professional data on our website upon returning the signed order document.
Absolute Asbetsos Solutions Ltd.’s order has become valid and legally binding since no withdrawal was effected within the contractual cooling off period defined in Point one of order terms and conditions.
We look forward to receiving your payment.
Customer Support Dept. www.com-reg.com”
So I wrote back, and said the following:
“I’ve already made it clear that we will not be paying it. I also left you to take whatever action you feel necessary.
No further correspondence will be entered into.”
Update – 21/06/2016
Today we received a “PAYMENT NOTICE” from Commercial Register scam HQ. I’ve ignored it.
Update – 27/07/2016
Ella King from Direct Publisher S.L.U. has accused this blog of containing “subjective material with no legal foundation or filtering or verification of the veracity of claims made” and that Direct Publisher SLU is a “fully registered business and the order document in question meets all legal criteria” (see comments below).
In response to this I would say that Direct Publisher SLU know exactly what they’re doing and they don’t like being called out on it. Action Fraud have themselves told me (and others) that Direct Publisher SLU is acting fraudulently. That’s fact, not subjection. As for “legal foundation” – if you scan someone’s signature and add it to another form that’s illegal. It is a fact that some of the people who have contacted me (see below) have alleged this has occurred.
Direct Publisher SLU may be a “fully registered company”, but not in the UK. They hide this fact on the original letter in small print and give the overarching impression that they are acting on behalf of Companies House in their initial letter. That’s not illegal, but it’s immoral and if nothing else its hoodwinking.
Update – 16/08/2016
Received a “THIRD REMINDER” regarding the Commercial Register Scam today dated 12.08.2016. I’ve ignored it. This was received after my email to them on 28/07/2016 which read:
Time for you to take this to court. We’re not paying.
I look forward to hearing from your solicitors in due course.
I received a letter from Direct Publisher SLU and their ‘Legal Department/Departement Juridique’. The letter is another demand for the invoice to be settled as says that “to date you situation has not been regularized” and that they “demand that the outstanding amount is paid upon reception of this notice.cf1”. I’ve ignore it.
Update – 25/09/2016
A person who has been a regular contributor to this article, Nina Woolcock, has spoken to a solicitor. Whilst I am not a solicitor and unable to offer any legal advice, she has this to say:
“I spoke this week with a solicitor specialising in commercial law/disputes. He said he had only that very morning had a client in with exactly the same issue with Direct Publisher as all of us. He also said, having looked at the evidence, that it is a scam, do not pay anything, do not enter into any communication with them. He interestingly also said there was another scam, virtually identical, about 6 years ago.”
Traffic to this blog has become exponential compared to a few months ago. I am probably being contacted by 5 people a day on average either reporting that they have been duped by the Commercial Register scam or that they have received a letter. It seems that this is a reincarnation of various other scams, including a European City Guide scam which even has the same greyed out terms and conditions on the reverse of the letter as the current fraud
Please share this website on social media and spread the word about this dreadful company, and if possible link to the article from your own website. The more people that spread the word, the less people that will be conned!
The Latest Update
As of 27/06/2017 I have never received any court letter. I’ve never been taken to court, seen a bailiff or anything else that this company threatened to do 8 months ago. This all goes to confirm that this is a scam set up by people who have absolutely no intention of actually commencing legal proceedings because they know they’ll never win a case.
I have been contacted by hundreds (if not thousands) of people who have been touched by this scam and my blog is currently receiving almost 75,000 page views a month. I’m always pleased to hear from people in the comments section but am unable to reply to individual emails or queries (I’m not a solicitor and can offer no legal advice, so please don’t ask).
If you’ve been helped by this blog or saved money, please consider making a small donation to help towards it’s upkeep.
Every now-and-then, Aldi supermarket have a range of different Ales available and yesterday I discovered a new one called Spill the Beans Coffee Porter produced by Welsh brewery Brains. I love dark beers and I love coffee porters so snapped a few up, and at a quid a bottle, who wouldn’t?
I poured it in a glass and Spill the Beans Coffee Porter looked like a porter. Can’t say much more about that.
Sadly, Spill the Beans Coffee Porter just didn’t hit the spot for me. Although the flavours were balanced (and could definitely taste coffee and the promised caramel flavour) the beer just lacked body. It felt far too thin on the pallet, I’d even go as far as saying it was watery.
Also, as is often the case with bottled ale, it was far too fizzy. In fact, it was so fizzy I felt like it had been carbonated at bottling stage rather than been conditioned in the bottle (which could explain the lack of body).
Would I recommend it?
No. OK, so it’s £1 a bottle which makes Brains Spill the Beans Coffee Porter a very cheap beer, but as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. It wasn’t bad, but compared to a real ale like Colchester Brewery’s Brazillian Coffee porter or the classic Nethergate Old Growler it was miles off. It’s a cheap drink and tastes like a cheap drink.
Shame, as if Spill the Beans had taste as good as the label looked it could have been a better all-round beer. But for me it lacked body.
When I was a kid I was always told “never drink water from the upstairs tap!” but I never really understood why.
Although less common nowadays, many houses still have water header tanks in the loft to increase pressure to the taps in the bathroom and they hide a dark, nasty secret.
Whilst on a job today removing an old asbestos water tank, we had to scoop out the last few gallons of water before we could wrap it and move it through the house. As you can see, the bottom few inches contained a nasty, dirty brown sludge. This sludge had built up in the tank over 40+ years since the house was built.
Bernie Ecclestone’s recent announcement that a London Grand Prix street race could take place as early as 2017 has got British F1 fans in a bit of a flap, and although the glass half empty brigade are saying it’s impossible, many others are already starting to predict were the circuit could be placed. Including me and my excellent Photoshop skills [irony].
Formula One Management have a good record of putting on street-circuit races in other cities where people once said it would be impossible to hold them, including Singapore, Montjuïc circuit and Detroit street circuit.
London is one of the most historical cities in the world and a London Grand Prix would be great for the British economy. Imagine a British-built McLaren Honda flying past Big Ben, a Red Bull turning into the hard right-hander at St. Paul’s just before crossing Blackfriars Bridge, or a Mercedes breaking heavily outside Buckingham Palace as it proceeds to make its way around Green Park. And for those with more money than sense, a seat on the London Eye would give superb overhead views as cars make their way over Westminster Bridge.
And while we’re dreaming, how about some floating grand stands places near to the waters edge?
First of all, asbestos can be expensive to remove, especially if the material is asbestos insulating board (AIB) which is the more hazardous asbestos containing material found in properties. AIB has to removed under what are known as controlled conditions; including installing an airlock to contain all asbestos fibers and using a negative pressure unit (NPU) to ensure that the air is filtered. This type of work can only be carried out by a licensed asbestos contractor.
Because of the possible expense of removing asbesots, lenders are keen to protect their investment. If the person borrowing the money defaults on repayments and the property is repossessed, the lender doesn’t want to be lumbered with a property riddled with asbestos. Basically, they don’t want to be saddled with the extra cost of removing the asbestos in the property if you don’t stick to the terms of your mortgage.
Finally, the Lender doesn’t want a property that they have a financial interest in to be condemned and become worthless. Some older houses in areas such as Jaywick in Essex were constructed mainly of a timber frame and asbestos sheets inbetween (prefabs intended for temporary use after World War II). Remove the asbestos sheets and you are left with a pile of timber, so understandably not many lenders wants to take that risk.
My mortgage lender is insisting on an asbestos report. Can I refuse?
If you want the mortgage, you’ll have to abide by the lender’s terms. If that means that they insist on an asbestos report being carried out, then you’ll need to arrange one. Failing this you can look for a lender which won’t ask for a report, but this can be time consuming and there’s no guaranteed that the new lender won’t ask for one. You also need to ask yourself if you want to get involved in property without first knowing if it contains hazardous materials.
How do I chose an asbestos surveyor?
There are lots of companies offering asbestos surveys, but don’t assume that all asbestos surveyors are the same. If you’re paying for the survey make sure the surveyor has a qualification such as a Part 402 in Surveying and Sampling Strategies for Asbestos in Buildings. It may cost you a little extra than a survey carried out by someone without this qualification, but the survey will be of better quality and carried out in accordance to a set of rules and regulations. Ask to see the surveyors certificate for the Part 402 qualification if you’re in any doubt.
How much should an asbestos survey cost?
A local company should be able to provide you a management survey for around £180+VAT depending on the size of the property. Commercial properties may be more expensive and prices increase depending on the number of rooms, floors or dimensions of the building.
What type of asbestos survey should be carried out?
An Asbestos Management Survey will usually be carried out on a property being purchased. During the survey, the Surveyor will identify any materials which he or she believes contain asbestos and mark them on the report. Samples cannot be taken of any suspected ACM’s with expressed permission on the owner of the property as this may result in damage to walls, floors, etc. A good Surveyor should be able to tell is a material is known as being one which was historically made using asbestos. Some materials, such as textured wall coverings (Artex) may require a sample to be taken.
There is a more intrusive type of asbestos survey known as a Refurbishment and Demolition Survey, sometimes called a R&D Survey. If you’re buying the house with a view to carrying our any demolition or renovations it’s a good idea to have this type of survey carried out. It is more expensive than the standard Management Survey but it will provide more detailed information about where asbestos is present in the building.
What happens if I want to remortgage?
If you’ve already obtained a survey your lender should accept it.
However, a lender may request a survey if there’s never been one carried out on your property before.
Does the presence of asbestos devalue a property?
This depends on the type and amount of asbestos present, but in general, no. It’s generally accepted that properties built prior to 2000 may contain asbestos. Asbestos cement sheets were used on numerous buildings for roofing and cladding and removal of asbestos cement is usually straight forward. Left alone and undisturbed, asbestos containing materials are usually of no risk.
However, if a property contains lots of AIB, or asbestos which must be notified to the Health & Safety Executive prior to removal, or if asbestos is damaged, the costs can escalate. Get a quote for removal if you’re unsure as Asbestos and Mortgages can be a volatile mix.