Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Provident.

Shame on for this email, which is neither a great offer, nor anything about savings.

The Provy, those bullying, preying-on-the-poor, knocking-on-the-door loan sharks, have offered me possibly the worst terms for a loan ever.

Have a look at the bottom right,
*Example. Cash loan amount £300.
56 weekly repayments of £9
Total amount payable £504

183.2% APR

183.2% APR typical. So some people presumably get even higher rates!

Let's have a look. CCJs, poor credit history, been turned down before, renting a home, unemployed... yep!

So you're perhaps not in the best financial situation? How can you almost guarantee to make it a million times worse? Oh yes, borrow from the Provy! Borrow £300, pay back £504. And that, of course, is if you make every payment every week. If not... well, higher interest, increasing your 'loan' amount to cover missed payments... add a bit more to the end cost. You're already buggered, why not?

I am furious that this was sent to my email. I *hate* these people.

Now, a good organisation is Church Action Against Poverty. A Church group putting their faith and efforts to the good (unlike some).

Their Debt On Our Doorstep campaign
is a national campaigning organisation made up of local activists and public organisations. We aim to end extortionate lending and ensure universal access to affordable credit and other financial services. To this end our objectives are to:

* Publicise the extent and impact of extortionate lending on low income groups

* Lobby Parliament, assemblies and other decision makers to end extortionate lending

* Research and promote models of affordable credit

* Provide a platform for people on low incomes to comment on the impact of debt

We are part of a growing international movement for responsible lending and have been involved in the planning of a series of national conferences throughout Europe which culminated in the launch of a European Coalition for Responsible Lending in Brussels in 2006.

Debt on our Doorstep was the first organisation in the U.K to call for a 'responsible lending' duty to be placed on lenders, and this has since been introduced into the new Consumer Credit Act. We are expecting a consultation exercise on the requirements for lenders in the near future. Unfortunately, our campaign for interest rate ceilings to be introduced has not been successful, although the Government has pledged to keep this matter under review, and our work to bring about a competition commission inquiry into the Home Credit industry has recently brought about a real possibility for price caps in that market.

We are also working to develop local financial inclusion partnerships, and are calling for requirements to be placed on the banking industry to disclose, and then improve, the level of financial services available in low-income communities. In this respect, our work has been informed by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in the U.S, with whom we are closely involved in our international work.

Debt on our Doorstep is also calling for excessive default charges, made by credit card lenders and banks to be refunded to borrowers - a total of £1.8 billion has been overcharged in the past 6 years for credit cards alone - and is working with the Bank Charges Action Group to recover these..

Good on them.

Also, if you're in financial trouble yourself, I can't recommend National Debtline too highly. They are a source of great advice and support, they don't charge anything (unlike so many of those companies who advertise on TV to help with your debts) and have helped me consistently over a long period.

As for, gmail rightly put their shit into my spam folder, where it will stay.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I just went to my local shop, to find it had displays of Mini Eggs and Cadbury's Creme Eggs.

Happy Easter, folks!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The 90s

I'm watching some old Silent Witness episodes (an Amanda Burton fix was feeling necessary).

Weirdly, one of the things that dates them is the fact that all the women's trousers come up to their waists! Every woman really stands out because she's not wearing hipsters. Damn those things have taken over.

They look cool, but I can't wear them. My tummy is too round and they fall down all the time. It's now virtually impossible to buy jeans that cover tummies.

Let's go back to the days of Amanda Burton on telly, and jeans with tummies. In finding a link for her I discovered that Ms Burton's last two relationships have been with photographers. Admittedly they were male, but there's hope for me yet. Maybe.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Helping Charities with Recycled Used Stamps is in need of an update, so until that happens, still collect all the used stamps off envelopes you receive (particularly at this time of year with Christmas cards and such), and send them off to:

Posted! Stamps for Charities
Education Distribution Service
Freepost FPN 772
Castle Road
Kent ME10 3RL

Apparently these will be distributed to charities such as Great Ormond St Children's Hospital, RSPB, Macmillan cancer support and RNIB.

Info from the ever good money saving expert forums.

Go awn, it's an easy good deed to do :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's exactly as we all hoped!

Jodie Foster comes out - at last!
Congratulations, Jodie. But why did it take so long to confirm what we already knew?

It's standard practice for Hollywood stars to thank friends and family when accepting awards. But when Jodie Foster paid tribute to "my beautiful Cydney" during a speech at the Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment breakfast last week, it caused a ripple of excitement.

So now we know. Jodie Foster's partner of at least 15 years is a woman. Just like Jodie. That's right, folks: Jodie Foster is a lesbian. This startling piece of news is akin to the shock revelation that Rudolph the Reindeer has a very shiny nose. In other words, if you didn't already know this, you seriously need to retune your gaydar.

It's a secret as open as the Grand Canyon that Foster has been stepping out with film producer Cydney Bernard for years, and that they are raising Foster's two children together. The surprise is not that Jodie is gay, but that it has taken her so long to say so.

Famously protective of her privacy, Foster has long resisted calls from gay rights advocates to become an out-and-proud role model. Lesbians across the land have long been divided by the Jodie question. Her willingness to take on gutsy, serious, even feminist roles is admired, while her coyness about her sexuality has been met with disappointment. After all, we don't have many role models, and a trip down the red carpet hand in hand with Cydney would have done a lot to raise lesbian visability.

There's a widely held view that being gay is bad for a celebrity career: Ellen DeGeneres - who had a TV series cancelled shortly after both she and her character came out - is a case in point. But surely someone with the prestige and power of Jodie Foster could challenge the squeamishness about homosexuality that still prevails in America.

Perhaps, though, we should cut Jodie some slack. I don't recall Nicole Kidman, say, having to "announce" her heterosexuality. The fact that the grand gesture of "coming out" is still a big deal just shows that most straight people still assume everybody else is heterosexual. The advantage for Jodie is that she only has to come out once. Non-celebrity lesbians and gay men have to do it every time they meet someone new.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Continued 2

We just wanted the life insurance money, and that was more important than letting you grieve your dad for 5 years, believe he's gone forever, and actively hide his existence from you.
I don't think you could ever forgive that.


Who is thought to have left panama for florida, has been feeding stories to the papers about how, amongst other things, he hid in a tunnel when they had visitors, including their sons.
Now, this is what blows my mind. Life insurance fraud, while maybe unusual, isn't that weird. But pretending to your sons that their dad is dead, when you know he's not, is just horrific.
It was recently the 2 year anniversary of my dad's death. If, in another 3 years, my mum said oh, by the way your dad is fine, we just


I've been following this news story over the last week or so, of the guy who turned up at a police station saying he had lost his memory. It came out that he had been presumed dead after disappearing when canoeing in the sea 5 years ago.
It then got stranger, when someone told the police that a recent photo of this guy + his wife was on a website about buying property in Panama.
It all began to look like a big life insurance scam. He has indeed now been arrested and charged with fraud, and his wife