Friday, 24 July 2015

Cheesden Valley

Amazingly, there have been one or two days with some nice weather since we broke up and so for one of our Family Days Out we decided to go to Cheesden Valley, near Bury.

The walk took us up a hill to a TV mast and then over into a gorge/valley where there are ruins of old Victorian mills.

If you look carefully in this valley you can just see a chimney peeking out of the trees:

This chimney:

We walked a bit further on and guess what we saw?

 another mill!

If you look carefully you can see hubby and daughter in the windows!

What a fascinating walk!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Not to Pony Club we go

So, as I start the Summer Holidays, daughter gets a job!

Yes, really.

Here's the story:

A year ago daughter joined The Pony Club:

and although it started well with a well-planned programme, working on achievement badges and fairly easy (for daughter) but disciplined riding lessons, it has deteriorated.

After Christmas the woman in charge stopped running Pony Club and handed over to two younger blokes, there wasn't much happening in Winter, or Spring, but we thought it would pick up in Summer.

It has got worse.

There is now no planning, no structure and the lessons are a shambles (no attention to detail, children shouting out, no discipline) and I'm worried about daughter picking up bad habits.

In twelve months she has achieved one badge (the Pony Club website shows 90 possible badges) and to add insult to injury they have increased the subscription from £15 this time last year, to £17, then £20 per week!

That's a 33% increase.  

Hands up who's had a 33% pay increase this year?

I thought not.

Although we tried to find out what badge she is working on and what plans they have for the summer (last summer they did the Tetrathlon Badge going shooting and swimming as well as riding), they were very defensive and clearly have no plans - and yet they are now charging £1000 a year for this?

Eventually we decided she had to leave.

Now, she joined Pony Club because she wanted to learn about looking after horses, so I had this brainwave that we ask at the stables where she has her riding lessons if they do any kind of stable management lessons for children.

Well, it turns out she can "work" at the stables during the holidays where they will teach her all about horses and for every 5 days she works she gets a free riding lesson.

Hang on........

..... so this costs us nothing and she gets some free lessons?

Where do we sign?

She starts tomorrow!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Why you should always check your statements

My mum brought me up to be pretty financially savvy so I always keep my receipts and check every transaction when my statements arrive.

Good job, too!

On Saturday my credit card statement arrived and there, amongst all the petrol, Amazon and Tesco shopping, was a transaction for £88.87 to

Not me.

Not hubby.

I rang the credit card company to report this fraudulent transaction, but the guy at Security didn't seem to believe me.

"It's just one transaction, normally they use your card as much as they can until it's cancelled", he said.

"It's not us", I replied.

"Have you flown with Jet2 recently?" he asked.

"We went to Rome in May with Jet2, but booked it through Thomas Cook and paid with a debit card"

"Did you pay for excess baggage or upgraded seats?"

"No, we didn't use our credit card at all"

and so it went on.

He clearly thought I paid for something and forgotten.

Eventually, he agreed to refund the money, but said they would contact Jet2 and if it was genuine, we would be charged.

Fair enough, but I knew it wasn't us.

I also asked for the cards to be cancelled and new ones to be sent out.

So then I contacted Jet2.

They looked up the transaction and said that the card was used last Wednesday to book a flight from Glasgow to Prague in a completely different name to mine!

I have to say I was pretty impressed with Jet2.  

They took the matter very seriously and obviously have robust systems in place as the woman I spoke to went through various stages to deal with the matter.  She said they would refund my card and would pass the matter on to their head of security (she gave me their name) who would contact me for further details and they may prosecute the fraudster.  Sure enough, the security person phoned me back, apologised that this had happened through their website, went through some details, refunded my card and advised me to report it to the police via Action Fraud.

I phoned my credit card company back, asked to speak to the same person as before and explained to him that it was a fraudulent transaction and that Jet2 are going to investigate.

"Well, it's strange that it was just one transaction", he said.

"Maybe they thought I wouldn't notice and then they could do it again next month" I suggested.

That seems a pretty good scam to me, and perhaps one that credit card security employees should consider?

Or is it just me?

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


In more ways than one.

Yesterday I broke up for the summer hols, so I've finally finished this academic year.  (Apart from having to go back in next week to unpack and check off the department stationery order which still hadn't arrived yesterday).  It was a long one, but I made it.

Also, daughter has finished primary school.


She's had the year 6 party:

(Daddy was the bouncer at the the party, in case you were wondering)

I've bought the leavers' hoodie and the yearbook (is it me, or is this a bit too much when she's just moving up to the seniors in the same school?) and on Monday we had her final Junior School Speech Night/Prize Giving.

Now allow me a little proud mummy moment here:

Daughter won the English Prize!!

Out of 65 children in her year, she won the English Prize!

She's an official Prize Winner!!!
Who knew that when she got the Good Work Award in 2008:

It would lead to the English Prize at the Year 6 Prize Giving?

Well done, Izzy Wizzy!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

How Men and Women Shop

This morning daughter had a party at the Trafford Centre so we dropped her off and then set out to do some end of term shopping.  Hubby needed to get presents for colleagues who are leaving or retiring, presents for his form tutor team and presents for his brother-in-law's birthday (which was on Thursday, see my earlier post Get With The Programme!).

As we headed off to John Lewis he declared:

"Now I'll show you how men shop!"

He had his list, he knew exactly what he wanted, no browsing, no messing about, in and out.

After 45 minutes of going from shop to shop trying to find what he wanted and failing, I said,

"Shall I tell you how women shop?"


"We stay at home, on a comfy sofa with a cup of tea and a laptop, and order everything we want, to be delivered tomorrow"

Advantage Working Mum!