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Akenlatte

Akenlatte
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Member since: 03.09.2007

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    • Frogs / Pet / Animal / 72 Readings / 64 Ratings
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      25.09.2007 20:11
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      Enjoyable to watch, Quick to Tame -Feed from your fingers, Responsive to owner

      We have a menagerie at home & quite a mixed bag of pets they are!

      Two of our pets are "Albino African Clawed Frogs" (Xenopus laevis).
      They are commonly described as "albino" but it isn't a strictly accurate description as they have golden tints & they have black nails.
      They are 100% aquatic frogs.
      They're easy to keep, fairly low maintenance pets & I'd recommend them as "starter pets" - but not neccessarily for children!!


      I must admit I only brought these home originally so I could take test samples from their skin!!
      (I needed to establish/confirm what types of bacteria they carry & transmit to humans)

      I got quite attached though (yes I know -strange woman!) & I kept them at the end of the trials!

      My hubby objected to their presence initially as he claimed they were "alien-looking, anti-social creatures totally lacking in etiquette with some gross & even canabalistic tendancies!" & couldn't understand why anyone would actually like them!
      He still doesn't "like" them but tolerates their presence in the house - although he does now concede he likes the tank when it's all lit up & we use it as a decorative "lamp" in the evening!


      *******************************************



      Albino African Clawed Frog Details & Physical Description
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------

      These strange little creatures are like a photo-fit-composite of classic "Addams Family" type features - They are made up of a most unfortunate mix -

      ........... comprising of Pugsley's smooth, almost semi-translucent, pale cream skin (albeit they are slippery).
      They have large, webbed rear feet with five toes but only three claws on each foot!
      Their non-webbed, front legs look & act more like pointy-fingered-hands.
      They have distinctive Morticia Addams style nails - long & black! (Xenopus means literally "strange foot"...derived from the sharp dark claws).

      Add to this their "Uncle Fester" 'good looks' - aka. smooth, flattened head, no external ears, no eyelids, no teeth & no tongue!

      Their head is stuck onto their long flattened body with the absence of a neck!
      They have a HUGE Homer Simpson style mouth & are never likely to win any prizes in the next Miss World comp!

      They are a medium-sized frog (approx 5 inches / 12cm long) & are 100% aquatic.




      Sexing them
      -------------------

      They're really easy to sex once they are adult - not easy as young froglets though.
      Females are often larger and fatter than males, and they have a little extension between their legs (swelling (papillae) around the cloaca). The frogs mature after 10 months to a year, and the males begin vocalizing at this age in the evening hours. Males also develop dark mating pads on the undersides of their hands and arms.




      Warning When Buying Them
      -------------------------------------

      These frogs are often confused with their smaller cousin, the African Dwarf Frog. Please ensure you have buy from a reputable source who can supply you with the correct breed. Although the two breeds look almost identical when they are young, they have different requirements as they grow.
      Also, don't ever mix the breeds, as the dwarf breed will simply become lunch for their larger cousin!

      There are 14 species of Xenopus. This review is specifically about Xenopus laevis.



      Habits and Characteristics
      ----------------------------------

      These particular frogs tend to live 5 to 15 years but some have been recorded as reaching nearly 30 years old!

      Mine are about 5 and 1/2 years old.

      They shed their skin every season, however you don't have anything to do to help, and like many creatures they then eat their own shed skin (gross!).

      They swim very fast & will occasionally go berserk flying around the tank like lunatics then hiding behind the filter!
      They are entertaining to watch when in acrobatic mode.


      Food & Feeding Habits
      -----------------------------

      Now I like feeding these chaps, but I wouldn't ever want to share their meal or go out in public for dinner with them............

      These frogs will eat many kinds of foods, live, frozen, dried etc.

      Favourite foods include ........ bloodworms, waxworms, earthworms, small live fish (i.e. guppies & minnows), maggots, slugs and brine shrimp and are all good sources of nutrition for these greedy little frogs.

      Some owners even report feeding "floating reptile sticks" with success. While these are apparently fairly well balanced -nutritionally, feeding a variety of food is still a good idea.

      Even small amounts of tinned dog/cat food can be fed to these frogs - - (Yummy - always good in an emergency when friends drop by at the last minute!)

      I've never used it, but a commercial food specifically for clawed frogs can be purchased via mail order from companies such as "Xenopus Express" (these frogs are used fairly extensively in research laboratories so food & supplies for them are available quite readily). As long as a balanced food is used as the basis for the diet, supplementation with vitamins and minerals is not necessary though.

      You should only feed them the amount of food they will clear from the water in 10-15 minutes, if feeding them daily or they will over-eat!! They are REALLY greedy!

      Some sources say fully grown frogs only need to be fed 3-4 times a week.

      In general over feeding is more of a problem than under feeding, so you can feed daily but keep an eye on the body shape of your frog - if it seems to be getting overweight, then cut the food back a little.


      CANNIBALS
      ---------------

      Make no mistake about it, - these "delightful" friendly frogs will quite happily eat each other if they are hungry enough. If the other frogs are smaller than them then watch out!!

      They will also eat their own eggs if they are left in the tank. Owners who don't wish to be overrun with separate tanks of smaller frogs will often just stop feeding their adult frogs for 1-2 days & let them eat their own eggs to prevent them hatching - sounds gross & cruel but is "nature"!



      TAME FEEDING - BUT BART SIMPSON STYLE
      --------------------------------------------------

      Like many other owners, I pleased to say that my frogs are tame. As soon as I put the lid up they come to the surface. They appear to be creatures habit though as they always come to the same side of the tank.

      I find this really rewarding that they respond to me.

      I enjoy feeding times, however I have to say "table manners" are not high on the list of priorities for frogs.

      They have all the good manners & social graces of the rude/obnoxious Bart Simpson cartoon character!!

      They don't have tongues, so they can't "eat" the food in a civilised manner - they either take it from my fingers & swallow it down whole or they grasp it with their front "hands" and feed themselves by stuffing the food rapidly into their mouths - a handful at a time!!

      Although they feed by taking food directly from my fingers they don't have any teeth at all, so they can't/don't hurt.

      (Please ensure your hands are clean when you feed the frogs, but make sure you don't have any soap or chemicals etc still on your hands or you will make them ill or even risk killing them.)



      Habitat Requirements
      -----------------------------

      They're South African - although the genus is also found throughout much of Europe, North America and South America, so they require warm water - generally around 21-26degC.
      Mine seem to be happiest at around 26-27degC though, so if you buy some you may wish to monitor their personal progress & adjust their temperature to suit.

      They are much cheaper to set up than tropical fish as they have far fewer requirements.
      They also are less temperamental to keep than tropical fish - they don't have as many stringent demands regarding pH/temp/water quality etc.

      They require a fish tank with glass sides that are at least 30cm (12 in) high. The frogs are strictly aquatic and do not need a land area available in the tank. However, the water itself should only be about 12 inches (30 cm) deep so that the frog will be able to easily reach the surface, as they must breathe oxygen at the surface (a minimum of 6 inches is recommended to allow the frog room to swim -they're quite acrobatic!).
      For water volume, approximately 10 gallons per frog is a good rule of thumb - with an absolute minimum of 15 gallons per pair of frogs.

      The tank must have a really good strong plastic lid/cover so the frogs can't jump out of the water - they are notorious for it & being fully aquatic can't live for long out of water!

      They require "Gravel substrate" - which is also decorative (available in many colours or in "natural" pebble shades).
      It's also a good way of hiding the metal-weights that hold down the plants. Avoid small size gravel to prevent accidental ingestion.

      A selection of items (i.e. rocks, driftwood, flower pots, artificial plants, real plants) can be used to decorate the tank and provide hiding places.
      The actual choice of which items to use is purely a personal matter but they are a "must have" accessory not optional.
      The frogs need hiding places - they can get a quite freakish if they can't occasionally hide when the mood takes them! -
      They will often eat live plants & dig them up from the gravel. However if you are happy to regularly replace them then I would recommend live plants as they look so much nicer! I don't use artificial plants or ornaments as I really don't like them!


      Filtration
      --------------

      The subject of filtration is apparently somewhat controversial.
      According to petcare websites such as allaboutfrogs.org the frogs have a sensory system (lateral line) that allows them to sense vibrations in the water, so some experts believe that using filters provides constant stressful stimuli to the frog. However, gentle filtration is used by some owners with success, and this will keep the water a lot cleaner. These frogs live in stagnant water in the wild, but that is not the same as dirty water in an aquarium - as the frogs are not able to move outside of the 12" perameters here if they are unhappy!
      If no filtration is used, the water should be nearly fully changed every week, if not more often.

      Other sites frog owners say they must have a good quality LOW-NOISE - high-rate-filter.

      I agree with this. For five and half years I have had happy healthy frogs (they regularly produce eggs which is a sign of optimum conditions) & I have absolutely IMMACULATE tanks!!
      I'd personally say that a really high power, low noise, high quality filter is a worthwhile investment - the better the quality of filter the lower the maintenance! They need cleaning out far less & the water will stay in good clean, healthy condition.
      There's no way I'd have time to do a full tank change every week! Frogs do pass a high volume of ammonia into the water that should be filtered out -especially if you have plants in the tank.

      The filter also oxygenates the water too, which is also essential for keeping levels my frogs & plants require.

      Filters also can be purchased with water-heaters built in or separate heaters can be bought.



      Temperature & Lighting
      --------------------------------

      A tank heater is essential if the room itself is not kept at a constant ambient temperature sufficient to keep the water warm.
      My tank is kept in a room where the temperature is sufficient (and constant) so I don't have a heater & they permanently remain at 26-27degC.

      A stick-on type of "strip thermometer" is the cheapest means of monitoring the temperature without breaking the bank.

      No special lighting is actually required for the frogs themselves. Indirect lighting is acceptable and may be preferred.
      Like virtually all animals though, a general light/dark lighting-cycle is required for good health.

      Like many frog owners though, I have a light unit & a specialist strip light on the tank for two reasons -
      1) I have lots of plants in the tank so the light maintains photosynthesis rate for healthy plants.
      2) I think aesthetically the tank looks great as a room "lamp" in the evening.



      Water
      ----------

      The water in the tank must be de-chlorinated - using a product from the pet store designed to remove chorine (and chloramine if necessary).
      We have our own water supply, so we simply use just tap water as it's "fresh" (untreated). A friend of ours uses bottled water (17p per 2 litres) for his frogs as he prefers to do that than use de-chlorination products! It keeps it simple and hassle free that way & saves the cost of the chemicals.

      It's also reported that these frogs are very sensitive to toxic effects of metal ions in the water, so it's important to ensure that their water does not come in contact with metal (e.g. on the tank cover - so plastic is best)



      Optional (but useful) Equipment
      -------------------------------------------

      A net is a good idea for if you have to remove frogs or other items from the tank.

      A magnetic glass cleaner is a great idea too. - half of it lives in the tank with a scrubby pad on it -half on outside with a soft felt on it & they hold together with magnetic attraction. You slide the outer half along & it cleans inside & out at same time - this means you simply clean any algae formations quickly off the inner glass (without putting your hand & arm in the tank) & polishes the outer glass too.


      *****************************************

      Initial Costs
      ------------------

      The frogs themselves are cheap to buy - the equipment isn't. They aren't "pocket-money" pets! They are cheaper than tropical fish though.


      African Clawed Frog - approx £3.50 - £5.50 each

      Glass Tank -Silicone edges type with strong plastic lid - £49.99

      Filter - with foam & carbon pads -(Mine is a Hagen Fluval 2PLUS) - £29.99

      Gravel - approx £3.99 - £6.99 per bag (I have 4 bags in)

      Stick on thermometer - approx £2.29

      Plants - approx £1.00 to £2.29 each (I have approx 10 at a time in my size of tank)

      Light Unit (Arcadia 15 Watt T8 Control unit -For 15-18” Light Tubes With 1” Diameter) -£17.99

      Light Tube (lasts about 2 years) (Arcadia 18” 15 Watt T8 Freshwater Lamp 1” Diameter -Ideal for tropical aquariums, enhances colour and plant growth) - £13.99

      Picture for back of tank - £4.00 - £6.00 per metre

      Magnetic Glass Cleaner - £7.99

      Net - £1.98

      Bloodworm - 500g pack of gamma frozen bloodworm - £9.99
      Brine Shrimp - 450g pack of gamma frozen brine shrimp - £7.90


      I personally buy my bloodworm etc at a local aquarium but here is a "nationally" available source (Internet supplier) of Bloodworm -
      www.frozendirect.com/shop/product


      **********************************

      General Running Costs
      -------------------------------

      You'll need to be able to cover the cost of the following .........
      Plants
      Food
      Electricity
      Renewable lamp
      Renewable pads for the filter


      ************************************

      African Clawed Frog Disease and Injury
      ---------------------------------------------------

      Although they are easy to look after (and touch wood I've personally never had any problem yet with sickness in my tank) there is lots of information available if you do have a problem.

      For "In Depth Information on Common Aquatic Clawed Frogs" one of the best sites I've looked at is........

      http://aquaticfrogs.tripod.com/id10.html


      *******************************************


      PERSONAL WARNING
      ---------------------------

      Your own personal hygiene needs to be tip-top when you have pets like these. They carry quite a wide range of bacterial & fungal infections.
      When you remove your hands from the tank -slip the lid back on immediately & then scrub your hands & arms thoroughly with a good quality product such as Hibiscrub or Carex.
      If you have any open cuts/wounds try to avoid contact with the water.



      ******End of Review *************************
      *******************************************
      *******************************************


      Acknowledgements
      ------------------------
      The information in the review above is gathered from personal observations over five and half years of owning AACF's and from a wide range of sources over that time -including websites, books & journals.


      1) I can confirm that I have written many articles/letters/reports/documents/research papers etc that can be found in other places on the internet & that have also been published in books/journals/circulars & other professional formats.

      2) I can confirm I have also written about them too in various places & contributed to collaborative works & articles!

      If any part of my work that appears here in this review that can also be read elsewhere, then these are the internet sites I have read-from or contributed-to over a period of years ..........

      The sites are......

      http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/frogsandtoads/a/africanclawed.htm

      members.AOL.com/sirchin/afc.htm - 23k - Cached

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_clawed_frog - 27k - Cached

      www.clawedfrogs.com - 47k - Cached

      allaboutfrogs.org/info/species/clawed.HTML - 12k - Cached

      Columbia.edu/itc/cerc/.../invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/xenopus_laevis.htm - 17k - Cached

      www.petstation.com/clfrog.html - 21k - Cached

      www.clawedfrogs.com - 47k - Cached

      www.theaquariumwiki.com/African_Clawed_Frog - 25k - Cached

      www.pollywog.co.uk/africanclawedfrogcaresheet.html - 8k - Cached

      www.pipidae.net/species_kept_acf_xenopuslaevis1.php - 12k - Cached

      exoticpets.about.com/do/frogsandtoads/p/dwarfclawedfrog.htm - 25k - Cached

      home.nycap.RR.com/cm325/albinofrog.HTML - Cached


      Book Sources
      -----------------
      Xenopus laevis: Rearing and breeding the African clawed frog by Albert L Etheridge (Unknown Binding - 1978)


      South African Clawed Frog, Xenopus laevis: Rearing & breeding manual by Gordon McBride (Unknown Binding - 1978)


      Xenopus laevis: Laboratory studies of the African clawed frog by Albert L Etheridge (Unknown Binding - 1976)


      The Guide to Owning Frogs (Guide to Owning A...) by Jerry G. Walls (Paperback - May 2001)


      Frogs, Toads, and Treefrogs (Complete Pet Owner's Manuals) by Richard Bartlett (Paperback - Feb 1, 1996)

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      • Shopmobility / Local Service / 59 Readings / 48 Ratings
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        21.09.2007 01:50
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        Main "handicap" is often 'people' - not the physical disability!

        This review is not specifically about 'Oxford' Shopmobility Service - it is a review of actually "USING" one of the shopmobility wheelchairs & trying to shop or carry out "normal" tasks in one of their wheelchairs & how the shopmobility scheme is great (in theory), it's just the rest of it that stinks!! ....

        ((((REALLY LONG REVIEW!)))) - available soon as hardback version ((grin))

        I realise that most members probably won't want to read this, but for those of you who do want an insight into wheelchair use in the "real world" then here it is....


        *******************************


        I'm totally wheelchair bound - I am not allowed to walk at all ........

        To put the current situation for this review in context, I'll firstly explain a bit of relevant background history - many years ago ("when Adam was a lad") and I was in my early 20's, I was involved in an accident and ended up in a wheelchair for five years. I was unable to use my legs so I was totally reliant upon the wheelchair for mobility, but the rest of me worked fine!
        The wheelchair was difficult to get used to for all of the obvious reasons you can probably imagine - I had been young, fit and active and suddenly my whole life was turned on it's head & I was "trapped" in a chair.
        I've always been stubborn though & still wanted to 'live' so I really got cracking with learning new ways to do old things.
        It was physically hard work - I ended up with upper arm strength that made 'Arnie' look like a wimp.
        Wheelchairs back then were VERY heavy, not very compact, wide, relatively low-tech items.
        We didn't have "Shopmobility" and electric wheelchairs available to all.

        We also didn't have the equality laws regarding treatment of the 'disabled', buildings were not compelled to be wheelchair friendly & the world was not obsessed with being "politically correct" when dealing with disability issues.
        I met with a wide range of human-emotions & reactions from strangers - embarrassment, curiosity, helpfulness, pity etc generally though people were always at least polite & well-meaning.

        I was "lucky", after painful, radical surgery, prolonged treatments and much physio, despite the disheartening prognosis of being permanently disabled, after five long years I was able to walk once more. Yeehaaa .......... On with life to the full again......

        The years have progressed and I have always remembered what it was like being the one actually stuck in that damned chair.
        So I always try to treat any wheelchair users "appropriately" according to the situation I meet them in.
        i.e.. -
        If they are struggling with a door, I'll open it. (but Helloooo ..............it's just good manners isn't it something you'd do anyway & nothing to do with the "wheelchair"?)

        If they are looking at the beans on a high shelf I'll pass them down without me making it into some major act of simpering human kindness that I have just favoured them with! (Nope, I'm not looking for a Nobel Prize for this act either)

        If they are avoiding eye contact I don't feel compelled to speak to them just because they are in a wheelchair! I do like I would with any other stranger who wishes to be left alone.

        If they look terribly alone & they initiate a conversation I'll say a casual hi with a nod & take it up from there. I'll spend a few mins - but hey - many of us do that with an old person who is obviously looking for a little bit of conversation to break up their day - so again, it's nothing to do with the 'wheelchair'.


        So the bottom line for this section is that I treat them according to the situation and not with any 'special' treatment just because they are in a chair ................ the one thing I do ALWAYS remain very much aware of though, is that they might only be in a wheelchair because their LEGS etc that are not working. It has never crossed my mind to treat a person in a wheelchair like a brain-dead cabbage!


        So it's therefore come as a huge shock to the system for me to be now treated like a prize-winning "Cerebellum-Deceased-Brassica" !



        I'm 50 (and a little bit over!) -just keep that between the two of us though please and don't tell anyone else ;-) and I've just had major surgery (totally unrelated to the old injuries). I am not allowed to walk at all for a few months. I've actually mainly been confined (condemned) to bed (just laptop and lucozade for company) but if I'm a really good little cabbage I'm allowed out in a wheelchair for trips to hospital etc.


        At first I thought it would be a doddle to cope this time, after all, wheelchair technology is now so advanced, places are all supposed to be 'wheelchair friendly', dropped kerbs are on every road, and equality rules/issues are plastered all over the papers and news every day, and all the related "isms" are now illegal!


        I especially couldn't wait until I was able to use the Shopmobility Scheme, as I thought it was the answer to everything!

        I figured that if I had previously coped for five years with adverse conditions, this few month stint now, with the Law and technology on my side was going to be a breeze!

        Hmmmmmmmm! Think again Aken! How wrong could I be .......................................


        Here's a review to see........

        -------------------------------------------------------

        **********
        So here begins THE DIARY OF A CABBAGE Age 52 3/4

        ************

        First trip out in the wheelchair - (aka "The Hellloooo I am still here, trip")
        -----------------------------------------
        I've been issued with a wheelchair as I am not able to walk at all now for a few months & so I'm off to the hospital. First trip since being discharged after surgery. I set off dressed in smart 'work clothes' - i.e. skirt-suit and silk top.
        Hubby says the wheelchair was much lighter weight to lift than the one all those years ago.
        It was easy to fold, more compact. Felt more comfortable to sit in & felt 'stable'.

        Hubby put me in wheelchair at the hospital and left me 'parked' by the hospital foyer whilst he moved the the car (I don't have a "blue badge" so he can't park anywhere for disabled people!)

        A lady smiled at me and said "A R E Y O U A L R I G H T D E A R?" in a V. E. R. Y. slow, clear, loud voice whilst making a point of bending over and letting me see her lips clearly mouthing the words.

        "Yes thank you" I said with a smile but speaking clearly whilst thinking ah, bless, she must have a hearing impairment due to her speech etc.
        (As a Doctor though I did notice the absence of the gutteral note often detected in the voices of the severely hearing impaired, but thought no more of it.)
        I now look back over the past week and realise this was actually the first stage of "Brassica Syndrome".

        So hubby & I went to see the consultant, no problem there. We discussed the case (he knows who I am, so we spoke professionally - with no frills & the coffee served in a China cup and saucer -relevance explained later!)

        We left the hospital and having spent a few weeks in bed I was in no rush to go home - so I blackmailed hubby into taking me for lunch.

        We arrived at a restaurant we've used a few times over the years - we're not 'regulars' but we know what to expect and have never had any problem in there.
        We parked, wheeled our way in - access easy - low ramp - no problem.
        Hubby asked for a table for two. Simple you'd think ..................... Well what a drama!!! (All it needed was one of the wooden chairs removing & I'd be fine at any table - but noooo!)
        One waiter said "you can't sit her there she'll be in a draught" (what???? - never had them worry about that before!)
        One waitress said "You can't put her there she'll be too close to the fire door".
        The third member of staff said "Put her near the window then she can see the ducks".
        ***She***, meanwhile is sitting like a cabbage (a mere two feet away from them all) with a grin whilst they all decide what exactly is best for "her".
        My husband finally flipped, pulled out a chair from a table - wheeled me to the table and politely asked for them to bring the menu!

        I'm on really heavy meds, so a glass of wine was out of the question & hubby was driving so won't drink & drive. He therefore asked for two non-alcoholic drinks & a carafe of water.
        A waiter brought the drinks, the carafe, the glasses & - wait for it ---- a straw!!

        The food arrived and the waitress asked my husband (as is customary) "would you like any condiments sir?"......... She looked at me however and pointed to my fillet steak and asked "will that be all right like that?.......erm....I mean...erm.......whole..."
        Now I must say, I bit my tongue so bl**dy hard I could barely taste the meal - but at least I didn't reply with what was really going through my mind!!

        The two coffees (identical types of coffee ordered) arrived at the end of the meal - but with hubby's in a cup & saucer & mine in a mug!
        I'd had enough by now & politely asked them to take it away & bring me a cup & saucer - adding.... "without a straw please!"

        ------------------------------------------------------------------

        Second Trip out in Wheelchair - (aka "The Julia Roberts for a Day", Trip)
        -------------------------------------------

        24 hours bed-rest requires an absolute minimum of 2 nighties per day if you're going to be comfortable, and my well meaning (polite description!!) hubby decided to do the washing to ease the pressure on our daughter who has temporarily taken over running the household. He had this ludicrous idea that 5 pure silk pale blue nightdresses they were therefore safe to go in with dark blue jeans & a navy blue 'dog-towel'.....all on a hot wash!!
        So after yet another hospital trip in the city I said I'd like to go & buy half a dozen new nightgowns!

        We went to a shop that I quite often go into. Again, I was smartly dressed - I mention this only so you can understand I was not dressed in a baseball cap worn backwards, or sporting a 'velour-shell-suit', or a 1970's nylon printed size 28 smock - I therefore don't think by any stretch of the imagination you would label me as a "chav", "pikey" "minger" or any of the other disagreeable titles that might 'exclude' me socially from certain city shops!
        However I was just about to have my very own "Julia Roberts - Pretty Woman" experience.
        We arrived at the shop I intended to get the nightwear from & realised the step to the shop was too high to use (7" high step -listed building original front) -whilst I was pointing through the glass door to show my husband which nightgowns I'd like him to go and buy for me, the assistant came to the door.
        I smiled as she opened it & politely asked did they have another access please that I could use. She looked and gave me the phoniest smile I have seen for many a year and said "No we're waiting for the building work to be arranged. Although it seems ridiculous we have to go to these lengths as it's not as though we get YOU PEOPLE in here every day. Our prices are somewhat prohibitive!"

        Now I don't know how old some of you are who may be reading this....but those of you who are "ancient" (like me) will probably remember the advert for "Standard (TM) Fireworks" and this line that comes from the firework ads ............."Light the blue touch paper and stand well back ..........................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Hmmmmm...I don't think she'll ever make THAT mistake again!



        --------------------------------------------------

        Third Trip out in Wheelchair - (aka The "Do Cabbages Float?" Trip)
        -------------------------------------------

        As you've probably now gathered, I only am allowed out for the weekly hospital trip, however I have perfected the art of emotional-blackmail & normally get to play hooky from the confines of my bedroom for an hour or two after each trip!

        So after a little light-blackmail I was contentedly "parked up" outside a bistro, near the river waiting for hubby to bring the menu to the table.
        I was just closing my eyes for a minute to savour the gentle summer sun on my face & enjoy being out of bed after yet another period of 6 days cooped up under the duvet.
        I sat there eyes closed, basking in the warmth, relishing the fact that I am alive, feeling I'm going to eventually be ok .......ahhhhhhh ...... all felt well with the world .......until ....................

        "A R E Y O U A L L R I G H T H E R E I N T H E S U N S H I N E ?"

        I must have looked a little startled for a second - wondering why a total stranger was gripping the chair tightly & speaking soooo slowly and mouthing the words a few inches from my face.

        "D O N'T B E F R I G H T E N E D, Y O U 'R E S A F E, Y O U W O N'T F A L L I N !"

        "Fall in where?" I suddenly panicked. Thinking Oh cr*p what's happened???

        "I N T H E W A T E R. - T H E R I V E R I S V E R Y D E E P"

        The penny was now starting to drop - the voice of this lady was the same sort of tone I experienced on the first day out in the wheelchair! It was slow, loud, clear, precise, almost monosyllabic - the two women weren't deaf - they didn't have a speech impediment - they both thought I was an imbecile!

        Before I could reply, my husband returned with tray of drinks & the menu. The woman stood up and rounded on him, saying he should have been ashamed leaving me there in the sun and so near to the river (about 18 foot away!).
        She added - "If she had messed around with the brakes she could have gone in the river".

        Somewhat stunned, I pointed out I was fine thank you and absolutely nowhere near the river edge & as for "messing" with the brakes, I had no intention of going for an afternoon dip, but if I did it was not a problem as I happen to be a long distance, bronze medallist swimmer!

        My poor husband had to endure accusatory glares for the rest of our (short) stay!

        -------------------------------------------------------------------

        Fourth Trip out in Wheelchair - (aka " The Does She Need A Wee?" Trip)
        -------------------------------------------

        This little sojourn proved to be quite an event!
        I'll point out here that I don't drool, dribble, have a snotty nose.
        I have no "body odour" - well I'd better not with the amount I spend on Estee Lauder (lol).
        I am NOT incontinent & do not go out sitting on a large waterproof mat or wearing plastic pants that crackle.

        I do not go out dressed in tartan carpet slippers that zip up the front.
        I do not wear "American Tan" tights, nylon dresses, cardigan, or carry a brown handbag when wearing blue shoes or anything else that would "outwardly" indicate that my husband had been responsible for choosing my clothes, or looking like he dressed me as a result of me not being of sound mind!!

        We took my 10 year old god-daughter with us on this particular hospital trip as she was due to stay with us for one of her regular overnight visits.
        After the hospital, we visited a small cafe. Hubby ordered our drinks etc & then left us there whilst he nipped to pick up the huge list of prescriptions from the pharmacy a couple of doors away.
        After a few minutes later I was trying to wriggle gently just to get a little comfortable as I was in a lot of pain but didn't want to tear my many stitches.
        The waitress came over and totally ignored me (the adult) and looked directly at my little 10 year old god-daughter (who only looks 8-9years old at the most) & asked out loud "Does she need a wee?" Claire started to giggle & spluttered "I don't know!"
        I said "No thank you, but I'll be sure to let you know when I do!!"
        A minute later a colleague of mine saw me & came over to have a quick coffee & natter.
        We were sitting discussing a patient of mine whom she's covering for me, when she realised I was in pain. She asked quietly what setting the morphine drip (a line currently set into my hip) was on. She discretely leant over to click the setting up a notch when the waitress barged over & said at the top of her voice "You'll have to take her out if she's going to have an accident!"
        The whole cafe turned to look at me............my colleague was astounded, I was embarrassed beyond belief and young Claire was in shock!

        Yet another letter of complaint to write tonight!! Ooh whatever happened to Esther Rantzen??

        ---------------------------------------------------------------

        Fifth Trip out in Wheelchair - ("The Shop-immobility Day" Trip) -
        -------------------------------------------
        This was to be the Ultimate test of "modern life" in a wheelchair - life with such wonderful facilities as "Shopmobility". We were going to hire an electric wheelchair for the afternoon & really benefit from the freedom (and some 'retail-therapy!')

        This trip was a taken in a different town. I had been to see a Consultant in another hospital - partly work related & partly regarding my own med case.
        Afterwards I said I was feeling strong enough to have a little peep around the shops.

        So, rather than using the normal wheelchair that we have been issued with, we decided to try an electric one.
        Hubby had found out about the "Shopmobility" scheme electric wheelchairs (& "scooters") & we called in on the off chance they had one available (you normally have to book in advance).
        We visited their office & filled out all the forms, joined the scheme, showed ID etc, left the money (excellent value - a £2.50 refundable deposit - plus donations if you want to as they are a registered charity - although some towns do charge a fee apparently - precise details from the website listed below).
        I chose an electric wheelchair, not one of the large scooter type vehicles.

        They gave a few mins training in the wheelchair & I practiced in their office & off we went (female driver competency proven! (lol).

        (Shopmobility details for all of UK can be found at http://www.justmobility.co.UK/shop/)

        It was wonderful. Off we went down the ramp into the city. Ohhhh this was so much better than it was as a youngster wheeling myself in a heavy manual wheelchair.

        This really felt like "mobility".

        Hubby thought it was great too (albeit he was still clucking like a mother hen worrying about stitches, lines, venflons for drips et al!) He was now able to open doors for me rather than try to juggle a manual chair & the door whilst the rest of the world looks on to wait to see if he can do it (Grrrr).

        Hubby is a few years older than me, so although I'm only a size 10 & not a huge weight, pushing me around is really hard work due to hilly county we live in.
        It also adds to the awful feeling of "guilt" you live with when you are wheelchair bound. You feel like a burden. You don't like to ask to go to specific places as someone else has to take you there.

        This was fantastic. I was absolutely delighted with this wonderful motorised transport. It was simple to operate, comfortable to sit in (with the additional back support they kindly provided), it was easy to use the hand control.
        The foot rests were adjustable so could be pushed out a little to raise leg height.
        I didn't have to "steer" so no risk to all my stitches etc - it was a simple one handed control that is placed on the correct armrest - according to whether you're left/right handed.

        The next few months would be ok after all. I could put up with the insults & rubbish if I could at least get out and about easily!

        Ah bliss............

        Hubby opened the first shop door & in I wheeled - stop - stuck - what the?? - the shop had put a large display overhanging the width of the entrance so the wheelchair wouldn't physically fit in! It wasn't even a large wheelchair - but the additional hand rim on the wheels just would not fit through.
        Out I reversed.

        Ah well minor set back. Hubby nipped in and bought the item I needed - I sat outside - bit miffed but ok..

        ***************

        Off to the ATM next for some cash - "Oh! I can't reach!" - You see, if you go straight up to the machine the wheelchair foot-plates are in the way.
        - so a little bit of strategic manoeuvring (whilst enduring being severely tutted at, by the chap waiting to use the ATM next!)
        There we go, I'd moved sideways on now - but nope, no good - Still couldn't reach!
        No matter how close to the machine I got, (essential for my arms to reach so I could insert the card in the slot) I still then needed to be able to twist the top half of my body at a 90degree angle whilst reaching out & at the same time lift my bottom up off the seat, as the seat is much lower than the screen. The screen is angled upwards so I couldn't read it anyway!
        If I could do all of that little gymnastic routine I wouldn't need a flippin' wheelchair I'd be an aerobics instructor!!

        As I said, even if I could reach, I would not be able to read the actual on-screen instructions any way to know if I was pressing the correct buttons!

        So hubby to the rescue again! Gave him my card & PIN & wheeled away leaving hubby and "tutting" man glaring at each other in equal disgust!

        I sat out of the way - bit more miffed but ok.

        ***************

        Off to next shop I wanted to go in. A two inch doorstep soon puts a stop to that idea!
        Electric wheelchairs and scooters can go up some kerbs and steps but some thin designs of obstacles are really difficult & can't be safely managed. The design of each machine varies & their capabilities vary too.
        The electric wheelchair I was in needed someone to actually tip the chair backwards for me & manhandle it over the step, it wasn't able to go on it's own.

        So scrap that shop! Hmmmm...... now quite miffed but ok-ish.

        ***************


        Off to Boots the Chemist. Got to be okay there surely. Major store. So off I trundle.

        Good start - electric doors -wheelchair friendly width too - brilliant..........half way through the electric doors........... BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP... What the???? Security guard stops me, wants to know if I've been in any other shops....yea, right, that I should be so bl**dy lucky!!

        Everyone around stops and watches/listens to be nosey........He clears his throat & asks me do I have a pacemaker.....What??? ....Why the hell do people think they can suddenly ask personal questions at the top of their voices just because I'm a "crip"? (another term I'm becoming rapidly familiar with during my time in a wheelchair!)
        He sees the look brewing on my face & finally flusters & says it must be all the metal/electronics & lets me enter (Is this my claim to fame? - Being the first shoplifter in history who steals from outside a shop and takes the item in!!!!)

        So we head through the store to the elevator. I can't reach the button due to boxes blocking the way. Hubby to the rescue (AGAIN!!)
        Off we go upstairs - because of course that's where they keep the "disability aids", the pharmacy, the OTC medicines & the new born baby stuff! - Of course it makes sense to have the young fit people downstairs buying make-up and make everyone else go upstairs with prams & wheelchairs for their purchases.

        Couldn't get to the pharmacy counter at all, as the ribbon-thingy that they use to herd the cattle-like buyers into a queue was set so close to the shelves the wheelchair wouldn't fit.
        Three guesses who had to go and buy the items for me?? Well done you guessed! -Not surprising really as we've started to establish a pattern!

        Couldn't reach the aromatherapy oils I wanted to try, as they were too high ...but never mind, at least the incontinence pads were within reach if I had wanted them - well I am in a wheelchair & bound to be incontinent - just ask the woman in the cafe!!

        Paid for my items - hubby however had to insert my PIN number as the chip&PIN machine is fixed up too high!

        Got downstairs to door - decided to use a different door to avoid hassle again incase it was just a dodgy sensor........ AhHah, think again...... BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP ........ fortunately the same security chap arrives, who promptly apologises & open the door for me to leave, although plenty of customers are watching suspiciously!
        Left Boots with only a handful of items (ALL paid for I hasten to assure you!!)(lol).

        So now REALLY miffed and feeling way less than ok!

        ***************

        Crossed over the road. Nearly do my "crash-test dummy" impersonation out of the front of wheelchair due to the "safety, drop-kerb" being still two inches high & giving one heck of a whallop when I hit it! - Huh - You just try approaching a two inch high kerb at speed, then tell me what you think! No chance of approaching it slowly & gently when the traffic is already on the move -albeit the lights are still not on green!!

        Then in agony & feeling really unstable wobble the wheelchair across the 'tactile paving' - (those pink flagstones that have those raised bobbles all over them to warn you that you're about to cross the road)


        I would strongly suggest at this point that anyone who doubts this article goes along to hire a wheelchair for a day & carry out their normal chores. I think you will be shocked at the experience & give thanks for your mobility when you stand up and walk away from the chair! (I know I will when I'm finally out of it again!!)

        ***************

        So life in hands off I go over a side street that has NO dropped kerbs - OMG! It feels like you are going to tip right over. It is NOT pleasant at all. Hubby had to do that & guide it down a kerb & up the next one - not possible to do without manual assistance.

        *****Handy Tip**** Please folks save your money next year don't pay £25 to go to Alton Towers or Blackpool Pleasure Beach - hire a £2.50 wheelchair & go over council kerbstones!
        Hold onto your popcorn though!! (and your lunch!!)

        ***************

        So I then pass tentatively through a crowd of people blocking the pavement, standing talking - not an easy task & a few disgusted looks when I said politely "Excuse me please" - you'd think I'd just said "It's a hold up!!" or something rude!!
        Then I heard - "shouldn't be allowed out - they're a bl**dy nuisance!" only to be followed by "why can't you go around, the road is big enough? You shouldn't be allowed on the pavement."
        A young Mum with a pram looked at me pityingly & said "It's okay I get that every where I go!!"

        ***************

        Now one other thing to be noted here, is on the subject of crowds/confined spaces - & this is specially for the unenlightened amongst you who are fortunate enough never to have spent time in a wheelchair -

        The first point is that in a standard height wheelchair (electric or manual) means it is very intimidated going through a large crowd of people - - (please all of you try it at some point - go through a crowd of adults on your knees and see what a scary world it is for children & wheelchair users!!)
        I am NOT the sort of person who is easily frightened (A&E duty on a Friday night soon ensures you're not the feeble-girly type of Doc), but going through a crowd at such a low level - especially when people are being most unpleasant about you actually being there is most disconcerting!

        The other issue about crowds is a .....**delicate** one ....... - "personal odour" - pheweeeee! You would NOT believe how bad it can be down there!
        Travel through a crowd or go passed several shoppers in a crowded store or other confined space, or better still, sit in a crowded elevator - & just see for yourself.

        Some people's idea of personal hygiene leaves a lot to be desired at that height!!

        ***************


        Anyway.....off I go though the crowd ...... off to Waterstones Bookshop.

        I managed to fit in (just) narow aisles & lots of those "special offer" cardboard display stands. Looked around can't see anything other than fiction type books (not my thing).
        So I asked where the reference books etc were. I was told they were upstairs! Staff really helpful & polite though - said I was welcome to use the freight lift!!
        The young girl had to move two displays & unlock the double doors at the rear of the shop. She then had to move three cages full of heavy boxes/books. She had to ask the manager for a key.
        Then she had to empty the lift of two more cages & a box. She had to accompany me up in the freight lift - whilst telling me that she would wait for me as she would have to take me down again when I'd finished!

        I ended up feeling such a pain in the butt & so uncomfortable that I spent money in there on books that I really didn't want!
        Incidentally, all the children's books, medical books, new born baby books, fitness, health/recovery books etc are ALL upstairs, so anyone with a wheelchair, pram or toddlers will need to go up whilst the grab-a beach-fiction-paperbacks are all conveniently located on the ground floor!

        Came out of there... Totally miffed and by now, NOT ok!!

        ***************

        Hubby still had to carry the bags on this trip, as the electric box on the back of the chair means that special wheelchair bags can't go across the handles on this model.
        Ordinary bags would catch on the wheels & split.
        Also, the weight of bags when on the back always risks the chair tipping up - especially if you're not fat.

        If I had been on my own I would have had no way to carry to items so would not have been able to shop at all.

        ***************

        We trundled over desperately uneven (and dangerous) pavements to a shoe shop.

        I have more shoes than Imelda Marcos but I needed some just half a size larger due to awful swelling at present ....well that's my excuse & I'm sticking to it!(lol) I was told that the ladies shoes were downstairs & inaccessible - we were also told that the manageress was the only one who could use the service-lift with customers & she was off ill!
        I asked a young assistant if it was possible for her to please bring a couple of pairs upstairs for me to try on & indicated that I only wear very high shoes & prefer pointed style ....... Next thing I know I heard my hubby demanding her name & was whisking me out of the shop!
        After much insistence, I prised from him what it was she had said, & apparently she had turned away & said to another girl "What the f*** does she want shoes for? It's not like she's going to wear out that pair that she's got now!"

        My husband is fiercely protective of me & he was even more upset than I was.
        After I'd calmed him down & assured him we'd write to her head office & report her, he agreed to carry on.
        The day was already turning into a disaster though.

        ***************


        The next three shops I tried to go in were no-go areas - one shop owner however was very kind & realised I couldn't get in more than a few feet and she was so sweet & asked if I'd like to "park" at the side of the door and she would bring me anything I'd like to see. She apologised for the cramped shop & said that rent was so high she had to cram in all that she could into a small space to maximise sales.
        She had some lovely items, but the changing room was inaccessible.
        She then asked my husband could he carry me to the changing room? You should have seen the poor dear's face! I thought he was going to have a fit at the suggestion!
        We declined politely. People just don't comprehend how embarrassing that sort of thing is!! A grown woman being carried across a crowded shop!
        So I bought a pair of trousers on the condition I could try them at home & change them if not suitable.


        ***************

        Really feeling deflated, dejected & defeated I proclaimed I wanted to go home. This was really becoming a ""Shop-IMMOBILITY"" trip now. I'd had enough.


        ***************

        I said I wanted to go to the loo before the long journey home - not unreasonable surely. It is a tourist city so should have lots of public loos, shouldn't it? - Think again!

        We trailed around until I was nearly in tears with frustration.
        They were either totally inaccessible or out of order.

        In one public toilet, I got in there so relieved to finally find a loo, but then realised the wheelchair wouldn't fit into the actual cubicle. The attendant realised I couldn't fit it in & she said "Well it's only a few feet, leave the chair here & go in without it". I 'quietly' said that I can't physically walk at all - not even a few steps - and she looked at me like I had just announced I secretly had two heads! She then said "well I mopped it an hour ago, shuffle across the floor if you want."

        Yeeeeuuuuuuuuuwwwwwwww !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


        I left (penny still in hand!) We went to Debenhams as someone said they had a loo on the top floor with their cafe. So we agreed we'd have a coffee & use their facilities. - However the cafe is split level - the elevator goes to the cafe's floor, but then there are two whole flights of stairs to go up to the toilets! The elevator does not go up to the final level where the toilets are.
        I am not able to walk at all - not even a few steps - so two flights was out of the question -
        (Meanwhile hubby ended up helping carry a pram with a baby in it & all the shopping up the steps for a young Mum who's toddler was crying & bursting to go - she had already tried to get into two toilets with the pram & had no joy!)

        We finally were told of a "disabled" toilet that was "fully" wheelchair accessible. We went there...... right across the city....... but it required a special key (called a "Radar Key") to get in!
        It was totally locked & does not have an attendant etc.
        (We now know you have to apply to "The National Key Scheme" & pay £3.50 per key - they offer disabled access to around 7,000 locked public toilets around the country.) (http:// www.radar.org.UK/radarwebsite/tabid)


        ***************

        So that was it, I was totally gutted .......... I arrived in the city thinking I finally had a little taste of freedom in a "disability-conscious" society & here I was now wanting to go home in tears!

        I'm by no means 'mard', but I had just about met with my limit!

        I had still needed my husband to be with me to do all the tasks for me - so NO independence.

        I was not even able to physically access many of the places I wanted to go in, let alone make purchases in there.

        I was asked personal questions out loud.

        I was embarrassed by suggestions made.

        I was insulted.

        I was not able to access a single toilet in the entire city (we actually had to drive back to the hospital & use their facilities before travelling home!)


        So things have NOT improved to the point of equality over the past 20 years. In fact if anything people's attitudes have hardened, they seem to resent the fact that wheelchair users are given "concessions".
        They fail to see though that technology has drastically improved the equipment we have, - especially the wonderful wheelchairs, - but the high-tech equipment is no damned use if it won't physically fit through a doorway due to stupid/thoughtless placing of shelves!


        ***************

        Then to add insult to injury I couldn't even have a G&T when I got home after this disastrous trip, as I'm not allowed to drink yet & besides that, Oddbins was one of the other shops I couldn't get into to make a purchase even if I could drink!!

        -------------------------------------------------------------


        So there you have it, the diary of a "Crip", "Spac", "Lame-brain", "Vegetable" & "Cabbage" (these are actual quotes - of names I have heard used about me and other wheelchair users in the past couple of months).


        I MUST stress, we have also had two trips out without event or insults.
        Some people have been really lovely - some people have been just 'ordinary' (which is a welcome relief!) but these 'diary' events (above) are not totally isolated incidents - I have heard many awful stories from my petients who likewise have suffered as a result of nothing other than being in a wheelchair.



        I hope it's given you a taste of what it's like to be confined to a wheelchair - sometimes humorous, occasionally upsetting, often bl**dy infuriating!


        I hope you now understand it from "our" perspective. Being disabled isn't a great "club" to be in - I don't suggest you to rush out & jump under a number nine bus to just to join us!


        Next time you see me out in the wheelchair you can say "Hello" without thinking you're stretching my powers of intellect using a polysyllabic word (lol) and without miming it for me either !!

        I'm thinking of having a large badge made saying - (((((((********** "I'm a Crip not a Cabbage, and by the way, I'm fully House-Trained!!" ***********))))))))) - it might be insulting to me, but at least 'certain' other people will understand the words & may take it on board!!


        So I would ask that next time you're out and about, that you please just stop and think for a second - would you ask an able bodied adult out loud "Do you need a wee?"



        I'm NOT mentally deficient, I'm just physically handicapped!

        Most of the issues could have been avoided if people put their brains in gear before their mouths!

        ***************

        I hope you've enjoyed reading this & you can actually see what it's REALLY about - and that it's not just someone whingeing & whining for "more equality" or banging the "political-correctness" drum etc - it's just a lady who happens to be like thousands of other wheelchairs users - fed up of insults & 'presumptions' about her competency & being excluded from ordinary places.


        Shopmobility 5 stars
        Shopping Ability 0 stars

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        • More +
          05.09.2007 00:02
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          I find them very good value as I only require half the dosage they recommend.

          "Valerina" (Night-Time) is a licensed herbal remedy that is available as an OTC (Over The Counter) medicine so does not require a prescription.
          It combines three standardised extracts -
          1) Valerian,
          2) Melissa (lemon balm)
          3) Hops

          Valerian and Melissa are two natural herbs known for their calming and relaxing effects.
          Hops have been shown to encourage sleep.

          Valerina Night-Time has been proven by clinical research to reduce insomnia & improve sleep quality without the side effects associated with conventional sleep aid medicines.

          Sleep disorders are common in most 'civilised' societies - it seems ironic that the more "civilised" we become the more stressed and over-tired we become and the less "civil" we become to each other! Hmmm.....

          Anyway, unlike the hundreds of OTC & Prescription medicines available to treat sleep disorders, Valerina Night-Time does not have an unpleasant 'morning-after hang-over' effect, thus allowing you to wake refreshed.


          Valerina Night-Time can be taken by adults who are finding it hard to sleep because of overwork, tiredness, stress, financial worries or general fatigue etc.

          It helps reduce tension & thereby improves natural sleep patterns over a period of weeks.

          The manufacturers recommend "Four Valerina Night-Time tablets should be taken at night".

          Valerina Night-Time is *not* known to be
          habit-forming. ...... HOWEVER..... If you take prescribed sedative drugs or anti-depressants use Valerina Night-Time with caution as any sedative action could then become addictive.

          Pregnant and breastfeeding women or children under 16 years of age should not take Valerina Night-Time.

          You should always consult your doctor or a "reliable" pharmacist if:
          • you are taking other medicines
          • your symptoms persist or worsen
          • you need advice.

          Valerian's historical use as a sedative, anti-convulsant, migraine treatment and pain reliever is well documented.

          Valerian is used not only to treat sleeping disorders, but to calm restlessness and anxiety during the day.
          It is also used as a muscle relaxant & has been widely used to treat gastrointestinal pain and spastic colitis.

          Valerian seems only to work when taken over longer periods (several weeks), though many users find that it takes effect immediately.

          ******PLEASE NOTE****** Some of this Information can also be viewed on wikipedia, the Lancet and The BMJ... however I haven't "copied" it from there.. I actually wrote several articles myself which have since been reproduced in various internet locations. The rest of the information is (as with all medical/clinical/research/reference material) all taken from a finite number of tests, trials & cases so therefore will reproduce the same findings. This is what happens with medical reports unlike the 'personal opinion' bits which of course are exactly that -personal opinions'.

          Valerian medication is sometimes recommended as a "transition medication" during the discontinuation processes involving bromazepan, clonazepam and diazepam and other addictive/habit-forming prescription meds.

          Valerian has been recommended for epilepsy but that is *not* currently supported by research (although its analogue valproic acid is used as an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug). Valerian root generally does not lose effectiveness over time.

          While shown to be an effective remedy for the reduction of anxiety, it has also been reported to cause headaches and night terrors in some small number of individuals.
          This may be due to the fact that some people lack a digestive conversion property necessary to effectively break down Valerian. In these individuals, Valerian can cause agitation. One study found that valerian tends to sedate the agitated person and stimulate the fatigued person, bringing about a balancing effect on the system.

          Few adverse events attributable to valerian have been reported and those that were reported were related to the use of very high doses. Large doses or chronic use may result in stomach ache, apathy, and a feeling of mental dullness or mild depression. In some individuals (as mentioned in the paragraph above), valerian can cause stomach ache, anxiety, and night terrors.

          WARNING.
          As day-time valerian tablets cause mild drowsiness it may affect the ability to drive or operate machinery, so watch the dosage carefully.


          The tablets contain the following ingredients -

          Night-time variety contain.........
          (Active ingredients per tablet)
          Valerian extract (Valeriana officinalis radix)
          Equivalent to 400mg
          Hops extract (Humulus lupulus flores)
          Equivalent to 382mg
          Lemon balm extract (Melissa officinalis herba)
          Equivalent to 162mg

          Available as: 80 tablets for £5.99
          They say take four tablets at night.
          Personally I find 2-3 are plenty!


          Day-time variety contain.........
          (Active ingredients per tablet)
          Valerian extract (Valeriana officinalis radix)
          Equivalent to 400mg
          Lemon balm extract (Melissa officinalis herba)
          Equivalent to 330mg

          Available as: 80 tablets for £5.99
          They say take 2 Valerina Day-Time tablets 3 times a day.
          Personally I don't take any or I would never get through a full day at work!!


          An unusual feature of valerian is that the dried root affects the domestic cat in a similar way as that of catnip. If valerian root is left in a place to which cats have access, they will roll in it, salivate onto it and eat it. Burmese cats are attracted to the dried herb and will deliberately destroy containers to obtain it. However, some breeds of cats will not go near valerian root!

          You may well feel the same when you smell the tablets! You may also run a mile!
          The tablets come in blister packs and you have to get a glass of water/juice ready, then quickly pop the blisters and swallow the tablets quick.
          They taste absolutely VILE if you procrastinate and hold them in your mouth.
          They smell like cat's pee - and although I've never tasted cat's pee, if I did I'm sure it would taste like valerian!!
          You will need to wash your hand after you have held the tablets.

          So I would give them 4.5/5 for efficacy as a "Natural" non-addictive sedative .

          and 0/5 for taste and smell.

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          • More +
            04.09.2007 21:55
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            There is a push to have it legalised once more - time will tell

            I was really surprised when I was scanning through this list of medicines and I found Kava kava on it!
            So I think it's only fair to warn anyone else reading the other two reviews for KAVA KAVA (Piper Methysticum Root) that they are 6-7 years out of date and EVERYTHING has changed DRASTICALLY since then!
            So please don't get your hopes up if looking for natural pain relief or an alternative anti-depressant.

            KavaKava was/is fantastic stuff and thousands of people the world over swear by it as a pain relief medicine and as a very powerful anti-depressant- unfortunately though it is currently ILLEGAL in the UK & Germany if bought/sold for "Internal Use".

            KK capsules & KK drinks are ILLEGAL simply because they are CLEARLY intended for Internal use!! But KK can still be bought LEGALLY if used 'externally' - doh how daft is that!
            The Police will let you **buy** and **sell** the **exact**same product but if you say it is for incense or wibbly-wobblie rough bits in soap or smelly bits in candles you are safe .........but if you publicly admit you are going to 'ingest' it they can arrest you!

            A moderate amount (2 spoons) of kava in a drink drink causes effects within 20-30 minutes that last for about two hours, but can be felt for up to eight hours.


            With KK use, the sensations (in order of appearance), are slight-moderate tongue tingling and lip numbing (caused by the contraction of the blood vessels in these soft tissue -high contact areas)
            Then the lips and skin surrounding the mouth may appear unusually pale.
            Patient becomes mildly talkative and euphoric behaviour begins.
            Anxiolytic (calming) effects, sense of well-being and clear thinking takes over and the muscles relax.

            Sleep is often restful and there are pronounced periods of sleepiness correlating to the amount and potency of kava drink consumed.

            A potent drink results in a faster onset with a lack of stimulation, and then a deep, dreamless sleep within 30 minutes.

            Unlike alcohol-induced sleep, after wakening the drinker does not experience any mental or physical after effects.

            KK cannot be smoked or heated as this detroys the active ingredients.

            Although not currently legal for internal use, it is still for sale though (ebay have some) and the shop selling it (Ree04 Apothecary Box) points out that you can OPENLY and SAFELY buy it with NO PROBLEM, but they're only selling it as EXTERNAL USE. .......... They do go to great lengths though to reassure you though that it is the EXACT same product & hygiene standard as Internal Use KK ;-)

            I've had a quick flick though their advert and it IS accurate and the information IS reliable.

            Even their facts are accurate about buying KK from abroad that is marketed in another country as for 'internal use' & then knowingly importing it into the UK, is currently Prohibited/Illegal.

            So they know their stuff & then they do the responsible thing by clearly stating that there is lots of info available on the internet so people are able to research for themselves.

            If you do decide to buy and kava kava you should ensure you ONLY buy the "Lateral Root" as that is the highest quality - don't get fobbed off with 'botanical mix'.

            Genuine Dried, Fijian KK lateral root is a pale sandy coloured mix with soft powder and bits of thin strands of root. It should smell clean but slightly peppery.

            The Fijians cannot understand why the UK has banned it. The famous Fijian fire-walkers (the guys who walk over hot coals etc ) drink kava kava before they do their walk. It's actually their sort of "National drink" in Fiji!
            They mix it up in special ceremony using beautiful wooden bowls to drink it straight from.

            It apparently is mixed to a very potent level with strong firey taste when the Fijians drink it and it is quite an "acquired" taste.

            When it was legal in the UK to drink KK, people used to drink it in much smaller doses than the Fijians use it.

            For pain relief and ease of depression etc - it was made it by adding just two tablespoons of it into a blender with some milk & making a milkshake of it to drink.

            It's apparently used to taste quite peppery though (kavakava -aka Piper Methysticum is from the pepper family) so to make it more enjoyable than pepper-milkshake (yuck).
            Most people used to add a whole banana to the blender & make a nice banana milkshake with it...

            For those who didn't like banana's, they used to use chocolate chips & spoon of choc ice cream which they would add to the kavakava & milk and produce a chocolate milkshake!

            One of these milkshakes a day was enough to ease pain and for others lift their severe depression.

            There have not been ANY recorded cases of addiction to kavakava.

            In Germany & UK it was banned when there were three German cases of liver failure from OVERUSE !
            (We have more fatalities from paracetemol overuse than that but you can still buy paracetemol in every cornshop!)

            So, the jury is very much out on this one! Lots of people believe it should never have been banned.

            There was actually no research that substantiated/justified the move to ban it.

            The research proving its efficacy outweighed any claims to the contrary. And the fact that it is NON-addictive made it highly desirable in preference to some of the "prescribed" alternatives.

            So, as long as you know the current legal situation and you know can no longer buy it in Holland & Barretts!
            You can then make your own mind up as to what to actually do with it if you buy any for making soap or incense.

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            • More +
              04.09.2007 20:26
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              FOUR WEEKS of new regime and see the difference.

              Avoid Rimadyl if at all possible!
              It is not to be recommended if you love your pet! There are so many alternatives (see below) to this drug that it isn't worth the risk of your dog being one of a long list of casualties/fatalities.

              Rimadyl is often prescribed for dogs with arthritis. It's is a NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that provides relief from pain & the inflammation due to arthritis.
              It is supposed to be only available on prescription - however I know of non-registered buyers being able to purchase this over the internet.

              It is currently banned in the USA. There is a mountain of research available for you to read online as to why this drug is unsafe - the bottom line is normally liver damage.

              There's a wide range of known side-effects associated with Rimadyl - ranging from lethergy, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea to urinary problems, behavioural issues, facial swelling and disorientation.

              There are serious implications for the digestive tract, liver & kidneys when Rimadyl is used long term.

              Some vets argue that "the reason Rimadyl has the highest recorded number of incidences linked to it's use is because it is still the most widely used, therefore logical by proportion."

              This has to be agreed with that the "percentages" correlate, however the fact still remains that Rimadyl is UNSAFE and should not be used.

              Fatalities have been linked to and even directly attrbuted to the use of Rimadyl.

              Rimadyl contains ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen - each of these presents its own problems & side-effects when used singly, so to feed this cocktail to your much loved pooch is asking for heartache.

              If your vet prescribes Rimadyl for your dog, you do NOT have to agree to use it. Politely point out that you have read of the dangers & ask could they suggest an alternative med to this that would suit your specific animal.
              If no suggestions are forthcoming or they are disinterested in YOUR opinion then firstly - thank them politely, walk out and find another vet!

              You have a right to say no!
              If however your vet is willing (as many I know are) to try a different approach to helping you dog, then listen to them & ask questions - read up on the internet for yourself and compare notes.

              If you wish to make suggestions then you could ask is YOUR PARTICULAR dog safe to take the following list of tablets for his/her arthritis -

              VITAMIN C
              MSM (Methylsulphonylmethane)
              Glucosamine
              Omega 3 Oil
              Hemp Oil
              Garlic Tablet

              They are simple to purchase, easy to administer & work very effectively!

              Please remember this........ it is SO important.....
              simple things such as Raisins ***KILL*** dogs. They cause liver failure and just SEVEN simple raisins is sufficient to kill your much loved pet dog.........

              THEREFORE ........

              Medicnes that YOU may consider to be 'herbal' and 'harmless' may prove to be fatal for your pet.

              ......Likewise, Medicines that we humans can only take in small doses are insufficient for some animals to be effected by (a cat can be safely prescribed enough valium to knock you, me and an elephant out!)

              So you may wonder why something as innocuous sounding as Vitamin C can be used to ease your dog's arthritic pain, but it the whole way the dog's body metabolises and utilises the actual chemicals on a molecular level that changes the effect it has on the body.

              PLEASE always check out any herbs, tablets, meds, oils etc with your own vet first, as YOUR animal may have other conditions that would prevent him/her using them.

              If your vet says the meds above are fine for your animal - give them a try for just FOUR WEEKS and see the difference!!

              Other options are ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) 20ml a day dropped into tepid gravy (NO onions- they cause renal problems) pour it over their biscuits and your dog will lap it up with glee! It helps arthritis, coat, skin, intestines etc etc.

              There is no "cure" for your dog's arthritis but he certainly doesn't need to be in pain and have his quality of life severely impaired by it.

              I really hope this helps you like it's helped hundreds of other dog owners who've tried the combination. xx

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              • T-Rex Dry Tortoise Formula / Reptile / 19 Readings / 16 Ratings
                More +
                04.09.2007 19:31
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                Fruit flavoured cuttle fish is much cheaper -no wastage & they love it just as much

                I've got two South African Leopard tortoises and they love these little 'rainbow drops'! .....HOWEVER.....

                There is a lot of waste though with them and so do actually work out fairly expensive.

                The manufacturer says to serve moistened - my tortoises both REFUSE to eat them moist (aka mushed!!)
                I gave some to a friend to try with her tortoises and they refused to eat the mush also!
                So because mine are large adults who drink a lot I tried them with a small sprinkling of dry pellets on their food.

                They are tiny little pellets - only about 4mm and hard, so when they get knocked off the feeding platter and into the ground substrate that's it they're gone!
                Tortoises are not the most careful eaters in the world, so inevitably such tiny little pellets as this get thrown all over the terrarium.

                We call them 'rainbow drops' simply because they are brightly coloured (you can just about see it from the picture they provide here)

                They smell fruity when you open the lid (a totally synthetic smell though not fresh fruity).

                I didn't know anyone else who used them so it was a gamble the first time I bought them.

                My tortoises have their usual fresh veg & dish of water everyday but they also have a small plate each with a few dried leaves/blossoms/herbs etc on and these get sprinkled on top as a treat.
                I realised the tortoises seem to be attracted by the smell so although I still use these sometimes I actually now find it is far cheaper (due to less wastage) to give my tortoises a plentiful supply everyweek of "Fruit Flavoured Cuttle Fish" - they are brightly coloured, smell the same synthetic fruity smell but there is NO waste at all due to the large size -easy to find!
                Cuttle fish of course gives all the calcium they need.

                As Leopard Tortoises do not hibernate ever, feeding them all year round is expensive, so these are given as a bit of a treat - I certainly couldn't use them every day of the year as I couldn't justify the high volume of waste.

                Let's face it, if your tortoises are being given a balanced diet of fresh food, dried botanicals, water & cuttle fish they really don't need these other than as a treat!

                Also the BIG danger is - if your tortoises DO like it - then eating mushy food daily will cause their 'beak' to overgrow & you'll end up with a sick tortoise or a vet's bill for trimming the beak.

                It's a big jar, and if yours don't like it moistened (aka mushed!) as the manufacturer recommends & you don't wish to serve it dry-sprinkled then you're stuck with it.
                (So find a friend who has it and try that first before you buy it!)

                It costs - on internet pet sites an AVERAGEof -
                170g - £4.50 +P&P
                340g - £6.95 +P&P
                680g - £9.75 +P&P

                It costs in high street pet shops that I have seen -an average of
                170g - £4.99
                340g - £6.95
                680g - £11.49

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              • Olbas Oil / Coughs, Colds & Flus / 26 Readings / 21 Ratings
                More +
                04.09.2007 19:27
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                Fantastic Product - Save a fortune by cutting down on other products

                A great oil to have in the house for PETS and HUMANS!

                Recommended by several vets and we've used it for nearly 20 years & it works a treat on our dogs and on us!

                It can also be safely used for earache and other medicinal uses not mentioned on the bottle! (directions below)

                Diluted into Sweet Almond Oil it is very versatile & will also leave your skin smooth from the high Vit E in Almond Oil! (will give details further down)

                Olbas Oil is an OTC (over the counter) inhalant decongestant for immediate relief from catarrh, colds & sinus problems. It's also useful against bronchial congestion & hayfever.

                It can also be used for the relief of muscular aches & pain, by massaging directly into the effected area - it has a non-greasy formula, but can be too harsh for some people's skin, so can be either dropped into a little almond oil & shaken up then applied to the skin, or can be mixed with baby oil & used.

                Olbas Oil is mixture of various natural plant oils: Cajuput Oil, Clove Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Juniper Berry Oil, Mint Oil (Demethonised 1), Wintergreen Oil and Menthol BP.
                As it's Natural rather than synthetic many people prefer to keep a bottle of this in the home to use first - before resorting to prescription meds.

                The Inhaler stick version of Olbas Oil is handy to carry around in your pocket during the winter, it's small, handy, clean, sealable & discreet. You can even recharge it slightly towards the end of the Winter to save money - if you carefully add a couple of drops of olbas oil into the stick -via the tiny hole in the top it will give it that extra oomph to see the winter out! - the stick costs around £1.99. Then just buy a fresh one next year.

                The bottle of oil looks expensive on first sight, but works out really good value. It can be used in so many ways that its versatility therefore makes it cheaper than other 'limited use' products on the market such as Karvol or Vicks.

                You can purchase Olbas Oil pretty much anywhere these days - all good chemists supermarkets, garages etc - anyone who holds a GSL licence for OTC meds.



                Directions for use - various methods -

                For use by Localised Inhalation:
                Children aged 2+ upto adults, simply place two or three drops onto a tissue or handkerchief, hold near to the nose & inhale. At night place a few drops onto your pillow for fast effective relief that lasts through the night.
                For children 2 months to 2 years old, place one drop on a tissue or handkerchief, near to the child, but out of reach of the child.
                At night time, place the tissue/handkerchief inside the child's pillow case.

                For Vapourised Inhalation -
                An effective method is to place three to five drops into a plastic inhalation cup (available from any pharmacy & main stores -approx £3.99 -£5.99 but will last a lifetime!) with a small amount of hot water
                and place the nose/mouth piece over your nasal area & breath slowly.
                IMPORTANT WARNING........
                Some people say it can be used in a steamer, (the 'old fashioned' way!) with a towel over your head and breathe from a bowl of hot water with olbas oil in it - this is really NOT recommended though -
                Honestly, I have seen far too many patients injured this way - either through tipping the water up and scalding themselves or damaging the eyes with the oil vapour. ....................... Also many people react adversely to having the hot steam & vapourised oil in contact with facial skin & the rash is NOT pretty!!!

                For Topical Application -
                To ease Muscular Aches & Pains: massage the oil directly into the effected area, anything upto 3 times a day , for a great soothing and warming sensation.
                DO NOT use too near to the eyes - if you do get it into the eyes, wash out immediately - seek medical attention if concerned.
                As Olbas Oil can be too harsh for some people's skin, it can be either dropped into a little almond oil & shaken up then applied to the skin, or can be mixed with baby oil & used.
                If you don't want to get greasy at all, then simply buy some Aloe Vera Gel - it is REALLY good for dogs and humans & the Olbas can be put in that & rubbed into the skin - disappears in quickly & is very effective - aches will be gone and skin will look great!


                For Earache -
                With cases of severe earache - Olbas oil can be added to Sweet Almond Oil or Olive Oil and can be used.
                If you do not have a dropper available, then simply pour it onto a cotton ball & squeeze the cotton ball gently over the upturned ear. Insert the cotton ball into the ear & lie back to enjoy the relief!
                It's s*ds law that earache normally begins at Christmas or late night when no pharmacy is open - so this way grab the trusty olbas oil and a bottle of olive oil from the kitchen and you're sorted!!
                As with ALL eardrops, do NOT use if the eardrum is perforated.


                For Pet Dogs

                Earache - Olbas Oil can be used for earache in the same way as per human directions above.

                Joint Pains, Muscle Ache - Olbas Oil can be dropped into a little almond oil & shaken up then applied to the skin if your dog suffers from stiff joints or arthritis. Sweet Almond Oil is very high in Vitamin E, so it is extremely good for their skin & coat.
                If you don't want them to get greasy at all, then simply buy some Aloe Vera Gel - it is REALLY good for dogs and humans & the Olbas can be put in that & rubbed into the skin - disappears in quickly & is very effective.

                For Cats - Cats normally hate the smell of Olbas Oil, so it works really well to STOP cats from scratching furniture! Put a dab on a tissue & hang the tissue near to the chair/curtain etc wherever is the problem & the cat will leave it alone.

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                • T-Rex Tortoise Dry Formula / Reptile / 10 Readings / 7 Ratings
                  More +
                  04.09.2007 19:24
                  2 Comments

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                  Fruit flavoured cuttle fish is much cheaper -no wastage & they love it just as much

                  I've got two South African Leopard tortoises and they love these little 'rainbow drops'! .....HOWEVER.....

                  There is a lot of waste though with them and so do actually work out fairly expensive.

                  The manufacturer says to serve moistened - my tortoises both REFUSE to eat them moist (aka mushed!!)
                  I gave some to a friend to try with her tortoises and they refused to eat the mush also!
                  So because mine are large adults who drink a lot I tried them with a small sprinkling of dry pellets on their food.

                  They are tiny little pellets - only about 4mm and hard, so when they get knocked off the feeding platter and into the ground substrate that's it they're gone!
                  Tortoises are not the most careful eaters in the world, so inevitably such tiny little pellets as this get thrown all over the terrarium.

                  We call them 'rainbow drops' simply because they are brightly coloured (you can just about see it from the picture they provide here)

                  They smell fruity when you open the lid (a totally synthetic smell though not fresh fruity).

                  I didn't know anyone else who used them so it was a gamble the first time I bought them.

                  My tortoises have their usual fresh veg & dish of water everyday but they also have a small plate each with a few dried leaves/blossoms/herbs etc on and these get sprinkled on top as a treat.
                  I realised the tortoises seem to be attracted by the smell so although I still use these sometimes I actually now find it is far cheaper (due to less wastage) to give my tortoises a plentiful supply everyweek of "Fruit Flavoured Cuttle Fish" - they are brightly coloured, smell the same synthetic fruity smell but there is NO waste at all due to the large size -easy to find!
                  Cuttle fish of course gives all the calcium they need.

                  As Leopard Tortoises do not hibernate ever, feeding them all year round is expensive, so these are given as a bit of a treat - I certainly couldn't use them every day of the year as I couldn't justify the high volume of waste.

                  Let's face it, if your tortoises are being given a balanced diet of fresh food, dried botanicals, water & cuttle fish they really don't need these other than as a treat!

                  Also the BIG danger is - if your tortoises DO like it - then eating mushy food daily will cause their 'beak' to overgrow & you'll end up with a sick tortoise or a vet's bill for trimming the beak.

                  It's a big jar, and if yours don't like it moistened (aka mushed!) as the manufacturer recommends & you don't wish to serve it dry-sprinkled then you're stuck with it.
                  (So find a friend who has it and try that first before you buy it!)

                  It costs - on internet pet sites an AVERAGEof -
                  170g - £4.50 +P&P
                  340g - £6.95 +P&P
                  680g - £9.75 +P&P

                  It costs in high street pet shops that I have seen -an average of
                  170g - £4.99
                  340g - £6.95
                  680g - £11.49

                  Comments

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                  • ukauctionhelp.co.uk / Internet Site / 25 Readings / 20 Ratings
                    More +
                    03.09.2007 21:26
                    5 Comments

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                    Horrendously mis-managed site & now wants to charge people to be insulted & controlled by him!

                    Fairtraders is sadly now NOT a site to be involved in! It used to be an absolutely fantastic, worthwhile site full of supportive members and great information. It was a credit to the previous owner (Dave).
                    Don't get me wrong, the MEMBERS are still WONDERFUL people.
                    The HUGE problem however the self-styled 'Junta' (eRay) who has recently taken over as site manager!! He breaks the Rules of the site (proven) and when he was told he was also Breaking the Law of the land (proven) he banned the member who most respectfully tried to tell him!! Doh!!
                    He has an apparent disregard for all things honest, decent and reputable -based solely on his atrocious attitude and outlandish dummy-spitting.
                    He bans members without any warning if they simply stand up and say (VERY POLITELY) that he has been unnecessarily rude or offensive to other members. He has a very snide, offensive manner.
                    He does stop short of sarcasm though - possibly because this requires intellect and he does not come across as at all intelligent.

                    The WORSE THING IS, he has a REALLY terrible underhand habit of hiding the TRUTH from members by way of his removing members postings!
                    - when certain members have written FACTUAL information and asked him to act on it etc - he simply removes the emails from the site - so unless other members happen to be on there the minute the emails are posted no-one gets to actually read the info!!

                    This way he can totally control what is said and the MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS REMAIN OBLIVIOUS to any problems that exist!
                    He does NOT leave the messages there for the members to read and form their own opinions about. He REMOVES TOTALLY RATIONAL, POLITE, NON-OFFENSIVE, RESPECTFULLY PHRASED, LEGALLY ACCURATE member emails as the matters mentioned raise simply too many questions about his running of the site.

                    He totally ''CONTROLS'' the site and NO member is allowed to make suggestions for it's growth.
                    He then claims that people are trying to stop him expanding the site - au contraire -
                    the members are INTELLIGENT people (many of them business/professional people) and so those members DO want Fairtraders to flourish, as it is MORE important and lends MORE CREDENCE to your business to be a member of a LARGE, WELL-KNOWN & RESPECTED organisation than a pathetic two-bit one!!!!

                    So the main members DO want to pay fees and fund FTS and see it grow - HOWEVER they want it to be AN HONEST, REPUTABLE SITE that they can be PROUD OF!!

                    eRay's slip-shod handling of supposedly 'professional' memo's, documents and emails does nothing what-so-ever to promote a professional image - the chap doesn't even have the sense to use a spell check let alone an acceptable format or any professional etiquette. He therefore presents FTS as some little group of no-bodies operating from a spare bedroom - which was NOT the image we previously portrayed under eDave.

                    A classic example of his attitude was this.... when eRay was told that approx 50% of the members would be leaving now that HE was running the site he sent us all out a letter saying 50% were leaving & simply a flippant "Bon Voyage" to them all!
                    Now I would have thought that ANY decent manager worth his salt (who claims to have bought the site with his own money) would have been most upset at this mass exodus & immediately wanted to analyse why & possibly modify his own behaviour to restore the balance pro-tem until issues could be resolved. Wouldn't you?

                    eRay has single handedly ruined a really wonderful and worthwhile organisation. I would suggest if you need some support during auctioneering then you pray that the hundreds of former members who have been forced to leave FTS set up an organisation of their own!!

                    eRay is clearing the membership of FTS quicker than amoebic dysentery clears the system -and in the same repulsive manner!!


                    **************************************

                    Addendum.
                    ---------------

                    (After reading "comments" from a specific Dooyoo member - I will add the following details)


                    The fact that the Fairtrader site is now down to an abysmal 415 members proves my point exactly. The site is now a 'two-bit' site that has been ruined.
                    As one FTS member pointed out recently - "there's hardly enough of us left for a card school let alone a trading organisation!"

                    The DY member asks "what exactly is the issue, what's happened? who did it? why?
                    I thought I'd answered those in the review so I will reiterate for clarification -

                    The issue is - the site was reviewed by Dooyoo some time ago as being great, free & worthy of 5stars - my review is based on current information to point out the changes made - ie.
                    - FTS site now dwindled to zilch
                    - FTS site now about to start charging for membership and is NOT worth paying to join so save your money.
                    - see above for lengthy explanation of 'what has happened' as not rewriting all of that here.
                    - I stated the "who" part several times in my review - eRay has done it
                    - the only point I cannot not answer of the specific DY member is - "why" - only eRay (and a good therapist) can explain why he behaves the way he does - that is not for me to 'speculate' on.


                    The FTS site is nothing about unnecessary 'Financial Protection' as mentioned by the DY member.

                    All ebay users probably know that Paypal covers them (supposedly -but NOT always!) - however, anyone who regularly buys on ebay will also know all that the supposed "ebay-help" links and "paypal-protection" procedures are not always straight forward in their dealings & due to automated mailings their supposed "help" often falls way short of the mark!

                    So FTS WAS about having group support when you were being harrassed by unreasonable ebayers, a quick source of info when you need help in dealing with an issue.
                    Not having to "re-invent-the-wheel" there is always someone who has had the problems before you and you can learn the short cuts from them or learn the pitfalls of certain processes.
                    A very valuable instant emailing Neg FB/Bad buyer/ Bad Seller service allows you to read the details & choose to block buyers/sellers from your own site if you buy and sell in a similar items.

                    It is a fact that ebay - like ALL organisations - is full of conmen, sharks and idiots.
                    Ebay choose NOT to remove them as long as they pay their fees to ebay.
                    Buyers cannot trust the ebay FB system 100% as many buyers refuse to leave negative for fear of retaliation.
                    So some appalling sellers still have great FB ratings!

                    So FTS was there to prove to any interested parties that the members of FTS did not personally fall into those categories of shark/conmen/unreliable etc & could be checked out by prospective buyers *before* trading.
                    It also allowed FTS members (by means of FTS automated emailing) to be warned who was a bad buyer/bad seller and we could then personally choose whether to avoid trading with them or not.

                    Fairtraders WAS a good site and I, along with many other members am now sorry to see it go to this pathetic two-bit-op.

                    The FTS site does not, as the DY member implied, 'make money off the back of ebay' - it's a choice thing - it was run by voluntary donation only - those of us who contributed did so as we believed it was a worthwhile organisation to be in. I got more value for my voluntary donation to FTS than I ever got from my compulsary & extrotionate fees to Ebay!!!

                    As for "square-dealers" he mentions - well Square Dealers assoc is heavily tied in with ebay so many distrust it! It is expensive and not for buyers to join who simply wish to be good buyers or pre-warned buyers etc.
                    It is not an independant organisation & not value for small traders.

                    I for example am a "buyer" on ebay - however I have sold a few of my books and an unwanted gift etc so I would like to know which sellers I can trust and I would like a sign (FTS logo) in my listings that clearly states people can check me out as being a Fairtrader on the odd occasion that I do choose to sell something.

                    The DY member wants to know the point of my review -

                    I thought that was fairly obvious, but apparently not to all so I will clarify -
                    The point about putting this review on Dooyoo was because FTS is run down to nothing now but eRay wants to make it a "fee-paying site" ... so this was a warning to anyone here on DY, that Fairtraders is now NO LONGER as it was originally portrayed in the 5* review that was previously written on Dooyoo, so I wished to advise DY members to think carefully BEFORE handing over their money & joining FTS.

                    I was under the impression that that is pretty much what the entire Dooyoo site was here for - supplying information to "potential consumer's" - to allow each of us to make a slightly better informed choice about whether we risk our hard earned money on particular items & services.
                    Is it not??

                    The DooYoo member who keeps emailing & writing comments, leaving 'personal remarks' about me & my reviews thinks my personal opinion of the FTS site having been 'fantastic' at one time is "total drivel".
                    He/she is of course entitled to his personal opinion however, -
                    I'm totally new to Dooyoo so although unsure how it actually works on here, I was under the impression (from other comments I have read around the site), that it was the "technical" details of reviews that were up for praise or shooting down in flames and not 'personal opinions'.
                    I was under the impression (perhaps wrongly so) that members were to comment on my factual content, any major gaps/ommissions, the quality of information, quantity of information, accuracy of portrayal for product/service, style of writing, presentation, spelling, grammar, syntax, lexus or any other such issue, but I foolishly didn't realise that my 'personal opinion' was up for hammering down too.
                    I didn't think it appropriate of me to write this review without including my personal opinion - especially as I have seen that many reviews on dooyoo (one of mine included) have been gently (politely) flagged for being slightly too clinical & devoid of personal detail/opinion in them -having stuck to facts about the product and it's efficacy.

                    So, I thank the Dooyoo member for the lesson in public humiliation. I have learned to be most careful in future about where and when I air my personal opinion.

                    ______________________________

                    Note added on 11th September -
                    My sincere thanks to the kind Dooyoo members who informed the site officials about the string of personal comments being left by a specific DY member on several of my reviews.
                    I was unaware that I could report such matters and have their comments removed.
                    I really appreciate your help & support in this matter.
                    I'm pleased to see that as a result of the intervention, his comments have been removed from my reviews & he has stopped emailing me!
                    Many thanks. Aken x

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