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Mark Ashley&Co - Burnt Oak: They are NOT members of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). They refused to tell me what (if any) officially recognised body they belong to.
My experience was that the owner acted as judge and jury, dismissing my written complaints without investigating or even viewing property.
As a prospective customer that stumbled on one of their adverts online-they called me non-stop initially to suggest properties to view on our own (their agent told me later, it is not in their job description to actually view any of the properties they advertise-as they work on assurances)- however these were of the caliber you see on CSI e.g. they sent us to Grahame Park Estate one of the more notorious housing estates due to high crime levels - and couldn't understand the reservations of 2 young professional females.
Finally found a house that was being refurbished and we were given a date by agent to sign agreements and move in-We were not informed at this stage that they 'don't view properties and work on assurances' - and the agent said everything had been fitted and fixed as landlord told him so. Following date 4th July to move in we found landlord was still living in the property and hadn't even fitted the plumbing in the bathroom. He was in his pyjamas and had the washing machine going - when we arrived with our moving van and had taken annual leave day off from work. We had handed notice at our previous accommodation so had nowhere to stay and all the agent could say was 'I was working on assurances' - Although he had spoken to landlord on the previous day we had signed tenancy (and must have been told he wasn't ready to move yet).
Communication: I have NOT received a call from the agent since they took our money even when these issues arose. I had to keep calling each day sometimes multiple times to be told...oh' we can't get hold of the landlord' - when we asked for the landlords details to try ourselves- we were flatly refused. The following week I had become fed-up of being out of pocket and homeless and sent a written complaint with pictures of the incomplete renovations, exposed wires, broken cupboards, holes in walls, windows that wouldn't close, electricity issues, rodents etc and stated what a health and safety hazard the property was due to a rushed job. I gave them up until 10th July to resolve the issues or return our money. NO ONE called or responded to my email by 5pm that day. I had to call and ensure they had read it to take action.
This went back and forth for over 2 weeks with no concerted effort made by agent to resolve the issue. We sought mediation services to facilitate better communication and invited a 3rd party presence which we felt was much needed so that no back pedaling could be made. This step proved pointless as the agents were unwilling to work with us or mediator to come to an amicable agreement.
This left us out of pocket as we had given notice at our current residence (currently staying at friends while we resolve this mess), hired a van to help move our stuff and taken an annual leave date to move. When we complained that this was unacceptable and we wanted to take it up further as we had paid £1972.50 (1 month's rent & 1 months deposit with admin fee-for us to obtain our own references as the secretary sent it to the wrong contact.). Although we had paid for a "service", we were informed that if we refused to sign a new contract tying us to the invisible landlord and wretched agency we would lose our holding deposit of £500". I personally found this approach highly biased on their part as they had breached their agreement with us. I informed the owner of my deepest disappointment with what was coming across as an antagonistic, non-compromising approach. Requested landlords details to facilitate effective communication, repeatedly denied this opportunity by agent. No details of landlord provided apart from his name.
I have found their methods misleading, misrepresenting of what an estate agent should provide in terms of customer service - and currently pursuing this with the Office of Fair Trading and the local Trading Standards.
WORST SERVICE EXPERIENCE IN MY LIFE
Poor communication skills were displayed, a real understanding of customer services was lacking. Get EVERYTHING IN WRITING (assurances of repairs, inventory, landlords details etc) before giving any money over. Agent was unwilling to get all parties together in their offices even for 5 minute chat - or telephone call while we were present to speak with landlord to resolve as I suggested. Agent informed us they were speaking on behalf of the landlord - but I believe if we had been able to speak to the landlord, another interesting service experience would have been brought to light.
I am the ultimate fan of beat'em ups due to the fact that I find all other types of games tiresome and not worth the effort. But from the days of playing games like Street Fighter on the Super Nintendo -yeah, that far back-, to the release of Playstation which opened up a world of beat-em ups, I think this maybe the least enjoyed game I?ve purchased. Firstly, it was recommended by my younger brother since all his friends thought it was ? pardon my ebonics- 'heavy' so like the good ole big sis, not wanting him to lack anything I got the game. Now I've played the two previous Tekken games and I was quite impressed by the simplicity yet quite intriguing storylines and the 'kick-ass' moves. But this latest release somehow didn't quite come up to scratch. Although I totally rate them for their awesome graphics, and the ease of executing the player's special moves, I thought it was not a fun game to play when alone. But when playing e.g. tournaments with friends, it matched the fun factor displayed by the previous Tekken games. This is not to say don't buy the game, this is only a personal observation, but my brother seems to think its fun regardless so I'd advice you to judge for yourself. Keep an eye out for Tekken Tag, it is the ultimate in FUN and ACTION when talking about beat'em ups.
Eve Jeffers first lady of the RUFF RYDERS label, has just released her second album titled Scorpion. The general vibe from critics and review magazines is this is the best female, rap album to be released this year. I couldn't agree more. Its filled with track after track of head rocking beats and wity lyrics to rival that of say Eminem. In this album Eve has expressed herself more and it has a personal feel to it. She has moved away from the ordinary collaborations with 'just' rappers and R'n'B artists and she has gone for a fuller sound. With collaborations with the likes of Gwen Stephanie form No Doubt, Stevie J HipHop, and the Marley brothers for a Reggae sound. The production is mainly done by Swizz Beats who produces most of the Ruff Ryders tracks and there are some tracks with the immortal Dr Dre adding his own production skills to make this album a must have for everybody. My personal favourite tracks include 'Let me blow your mind' feat. Gwen Stephanie, 'You had me you lost me' and the copy of an original song..'No No No (you dont love me)' feat the Marley brothers. I would recommend this album for those who want an album they can play over and over again.
The main problem I think with this issue is that when it comes to young people, the rules suddenly change. There is a limit on what can be done to these felonious youths without violating their 'human rights'. But when individuals of reasonable understanding go so far as to commit crimes against society for example, murder, rape, assault etc., then what type of rights do they have or deserve?. It never ceases to amaze me how much credit young people get about how mature they are for this day and age but when one of these youths commits a crime, then the most used excuse given is that they are too young to comprehend their crimes therefore should receive a 'softer' punishment. There is no age restriction on crime; crime is crime simple as that. So if a person regardless of age commits a criminal act, then the same punishments should be dealt out. I never understand it when I see criminals benefiting from the system, simply put, why should tax payers shell out an obscene amount of money each year to accommodate offenders and not only that but provide facilities that makes their 'time' at prison more comfortable e.g. pool tables, televisions, gym equipment etc. I know there maybe some out there who think that my views on criminals is a bit medieval but if a person aged for example 13 goes out and worst case scenario murders somebody, why should that young person be able to escape the correct punishment because they are not 'fit' to be tried at adult age. I think the main problem is most of these kids don’t have such a stable background and with the help of a good counsellor the reasons for their delinquent behaviour can be established and therefore suitable facilities can be arranged to help them onto the right path. With less serious offenders some kind of network could be set up to teach them worthwhile skills so that they will be able to get a steady job, hence forget the discrepancies of the past. It
's mainly about what the government is prepared to fund, and what type of money is given to organisations that deal with the rehabilitation of young offenders. Its like the James Bulger case, although those two young men did commit a crime, they were also subjected to some truama due to the mass media coverage. It may not have been the best thing to let them off like that, but in hindsight if they had gone onto adult prisons, they risked the possibility of being seriously harmed themselves. We must not forget that these are young men who haven't seen the outside for around 6 years so the sudden exposure to adult criminals e.g. murderers, rapist, robbers etc. would not only be an act of bad judgement but it would be like throwing them to the lions. They have been given the chance to rehabilitate and who knows they might even contribute something good to society.
Firstly I'm not a massive fan of either of these artists but I respect their contribution to the industry if not only for the entertainment they provide but their ability to spurn compilations after compilation overflowing with wit, fury, hate and then some fun. Marilyn Manson's latest album called Holy Wood (in the valley of the shadow of death), has been described as an opus full of wrath, the man they love to hate hits back with tracks like The death song, godeatgod which is enough to leave the more 'hard knock' listeners fragile. But always one to look past the hype and just take the music for what it is, I would say this album is one of his best to date. There is no hidden messages that tell the 'impressionable youths' to go out and commit crimes, hurt themselves or any of the usual rubbish these 'killjoy censor groups' come up with. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP mixes scathing rhymes, cutting edge beats, lyrics with more twist than a country lane, to make the most 'drug-fuelled, murderous, schizophrenic' triple platinum selling album in less than a year of release. But if you take that last line seriously then I'd suggest a day at the local massage parlour to cleanse your body and mind of those little voices that tell you that… 'fun is bad'. I mean if you listen to these albums it's just great music to move your head to and when you catch a witty lyric, then you laugh along to it. It is not some type of brainwashing garbage that suggest to members of the 'knowledgeable public' to become homophobic, take drugs, mutilate their bodies etc. I mean if we were to take all artists so seriously then when Britney Spears so sorrowfully sings… 'my loneliness is killing me' (how depressing) or my personal favourite… 'I don't know what I'd do without your love, I was born to make you happy', and my favourite of all time...Am a Slave for yo
u, we can just as equally argue that it teaches young impressionable girls low self worth but to reasonable people its just too silly an argument to even mention. So to censor this type music would be nonsense because not only is it suppressing somebody's views, most of these albums have a 'Parental Advisory' sticker on them so if an adult doesn’t want to listen to Eminem or Marilyn then the mature thing to do would be to turn it off, for yourself.
Firstly let me just say that I am suffering from a disorder called "cheapskate syndrome" also known by its scientific name "tightwad extremus" and when I start suffering from withdrawal symptoms from my main addiction (book shopping), I try to minimise the amount of money spent to get me my fix. There are so many places out there to buy good quality stuff but if you want some great "dealers" in the cheap book trade, then I have the places for you. Firstly I would have to say that the cheapest place to get books would be from CHARITY SHOPS especially Oxfam. Although you cannot order or go in and buy the latest bestseller, there is always that special item that will make and impact in your book collection. It is from Oxfam that I got my first Raymond E. Fiest book for just 69p and I have never looked back. Secondly ONLINE book suppliers like amazon.com are amazing with price and you can be sure to be able to get your hands on almost anything you look for. Also recently I tried wh-smith.com and found that not only do they have the same selection like the stores but you can get up to 50% off some books and they are very generous when it comes to the sales. The only problems are if you trust online shopping which I'm still a bit wary of and the absurd postage and packaging prices. Thirdly there is that old favourite, the BOOKCLUBS but what I seem to find with these clubs is that the choices are limited and there is always a catch. Like to complete your membership you have to buy another 5 books but there are some exceptions. If you?re looking for a one-off buy then check in the Sunday papers for TSP, which is short for The Softback Preview. There is no commitment to buy anything thing else ever. Finally you can always try HIGH STREET STORES but personally I don't recommend these because they tend to be more expensive than the previous choices above. But in the end it doesn't matter wher
e I get my books from I just HAVE TO GET THEM.
I don't think I have to be a parent to make my point that 'discipline' no matter what you call it is violence in place of reason. My dad always told me that silence was golden and I never really understood. If you have done something 'bad' and you know you have, then expect the silent treatment. This worked for my dad who is a father of 6 children. I cannot remember a time where he has ever laid a hand on me or any of my siblings. It was the thought of making my dad 'upset' enough so that words failed him that made me the stable individual I pride myself in today. He always sat us down and told us how we made him or our mom feel and how would we feel if we were in their situation? (this almost always worked). Reading the opinions about the level of discipline and how to 'explain' to your kids why you are hitting them not only infuriated me but led me to believe that these individuals lacked what we call 'common sense'. That does no good, there is no justification for raising your hand to bring pain onto an individual in the name of discipline. It's just not logical. The only thing that is being portrayed to these kids when their parents 'explain' why they're being punished is that, its okay to hit someone if you explain why you are doing it (does it make sense?). I have always been told that unlike animals, humans have the ability to rationalise and speak about things diplomatically so that in the case of offence or anger the best approach is to explain the reason such an emotion was evoked and explain the 'punishment' that is to be dealt out e.g. time out, removal of privileges, restriction of playtime, T.V time etc. The sceptics out there will ask me how this method can be practised with the very young or even babies. But all I can say to that is that at their age they shouldn't have to be worrying about discipline that time in their life should be as carefree
as possible. I know there are those out there that will disagree that there are children that are so 'hard headed' and although it takes only 8 muscles in your face to smile, it only takes 4 to extend your arm and 'bitch slap' that kid in the head. I ask this of you how would you feel to see another person 'disciplining' your child in that manner? Point made. I mean even the word awaken thoughts and images of a kid afraid to act as children do in the fear of ?discipline?. Parenting takes work don't opt for the easy route but take the one with thorns because where there's thorns roses will soon grow.
There is one thing certain about the great marijuana debate whether you're a stoned ex-hippy bent on dishing out the drug for free or a prohibition-mad Jack Straw, you are likely to have a lot more opinions than facts on the issue. Past reports have tried to clear the clouds of unreason but have been unfairly ignored. My own opinion homes on the main claims frequently made by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and other such organisations that 'research' in pursuit of the harmful effects of drugs. One of their claims is that 'Marijuana causes long-term changes in the brain similar to those seen with other drugs of abuse'. This was due to animal experiments carried out in the early 1970s that suggested that marijuana blows holes in brain tissue. These claims were later discovered to be unfounded by a more sophisticated organisation. The main argument against the legalisation of cannabis is that "The more we discover about the neurobiology of addiction the more common elements we're seeing between THC (tetrahydrocannabinol the main active ingredient in cannabis) and other drugs of abuse." Some of these 'common elements' are cannabis's ability to trigger chemical changes in the brain that lead to strong withdrawal symptoms. In humans, some researchers claim to see clear evidence of insomnia, anxiety and even flu-like symptoms. These types of claims make us wonder if Cannabis is more addictive than we think. But it is the opinion of Roger Pertwee (a university pharmacologist and president of the Cannabinoid Research Society) and myself that these symptoms aren't so much observed as manufactured. Heroin, cocaine, alcohol and nicotine all trigger a surge in the chemical dopamine in a small midbrain structure called the nucleus accumbens. The animals in these experiments (usually rats) are injected with high doses of THC, then injected with a second chemical to block cannabis receptors
in the brain. Without the blocks, the sharp withdrawal symptoms can't be seen because cannabis clears so slowly that evenly heavily doped rats are likely to experience a gentle wind down. But what nobody tells you is that rats don't like cannabis. It's easy for them to get hooked on heroin or cocaine-but not marijuana. What they also fail to tell you is that there are plenty of non-addictive drugs that stimulate dopamine in the brain. It's easy to find simple traits that are shared by all addictive drugs. Unfortunately, the differences are as important as the similarities when it comes to weighing the risks and pleasures involved in taking drugs. And subjectively at least, the intense rush of cocaine and orgasm-like high of heroin have little in common with dope's subtler effects. I leave you to make your own mind up but personally I see no reason why cannabis shouldn't be legalised.
As a woman, I understand the arguments raised by family groups about the disgrace, the filth, the dangers and all the moral injustices. But as a person with a functional brain in my head, I can also argue the logic behind this ancient trade. Prostitution as a whole cannot strictly be defined as women being paid for sex. It has many sub-catergories. Since time past Kings and rich men have had courtesans. Women who entertain their guest and also pleasure these men in exchange for a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and warm food in their bellies. In Japan the art of being a Geisha a woman that uses her 'charms' (may it be art,music,dance etc) to entertain men for money, was thought an honour by many women. Basically it is only in recent times that the main trouble has started. The introduction of a 'protecter' figure (pimp) was at first a blessing for these women because their clientele could be monitoured and it was less dangerous. But as is the case with things like these, the pimps became greedy and started collecting vunerable women (mostly by force) to build their empire. Now most of these women if given a chance will turn their back on the trade and start a 'decent' life. But to some the amount of money made is a narcotic they cannot amange any other type of lifestyle. So if the government really could control the trade like the introduction of legal brothels and abolish the need for 'the pimp' then there is no reason that prostitution should'nt be legalised. I mean these women have to live too, you cannot take away their only source of income. That itself is injustice. And to prohibit prostitution is to deprieve society of a trade as old as man itself.
I had not played Dungeons and Dragons or seen the cartoons I dont think I would have bothered if this was the case. I remember hearing about it years ago from my brother and his friends so when the film came out I was compelled to see for myself. Well what I did see was a very bad attempt at an action/sci-fi film. At times I thought the film would be redeemed by the special effects but after a while that didn't help. As far as I understand from the plot, there is a Gamemaster who controls what is happening (because its all a game). But in this game there are characters that fight against the gamemaster (because he is evil) and theres the magician, archer and co. Then somehow something terrible happens and there is lots of fighting and dragons and so forth (I lost interest after 25 mins). But as I understand from my brother this is all part of the story and its very good for those who are already fans.
I recently went to view the University and the Biological Science department for an interview/open day and I was quite pleasently surprised. I stayed with a friend in University accomodation and apart from the fact that the rooms were quite small, overall everything looked in order (no mice, cockroaches etc like a University I visited no names mentioned...Surrey). But I was at first dissapointed that nothing looked the way it does on the prospectus. It was a bit more dreary and lacked lustre. The buildings looked cold and intimidating but the people there were very friendly in some cases too friendly. The science department was very impressive and apart from the fact that I couldn't understand some of the lectureres due to the impossible accent, I would say its not a bad place to spend 3 years of your life.
Previously, I hadn't read anything by Mr Fiest before and I had bought this book to store with my other books for a rainy day. But my younger brother got to it first and was so impressed that he urged me to read it instantly. Although I hadn't read the other parts of the saga, I easily caught on what was happening and I found this book to be totally mesmirising. I even had to get a second copy because the first was worn out by re-reading it again and again. The story itself is totally captivating and the power of the Valheru leaves you to wonder what ifs... I was in awe of Pugs ability and until today my brother and I argue if it is not the best series in my collection of over 120 books to date. The only word to use for Raymond E. Fiest work is 'Immortal'.
Honestly you would think that people with a brain in their head would'nt even need to discuss such an issue. But unfortunately there are those that enjoy the fear, hunt, to a sense masacre of another living thing in the name of sport. The main argument for this is that the foxes are pest, that they are dangerous. But let me put it like this, man is a pest to himself and the place he lives. Not only that but tell me when last did you hear of a fox condoning the production of nuclear weapons or the use to chemicals which are not anly toxic to the earth but to its inhabitants?. So would'nt it make more sense to hunt those men in power that are obviously so 'dangerous' in the name of humanity than to hunt animals that cannot change what is in their nature in the name of sport?. The is no excuse for it, if you're so interested in sports take up football rather than to use 'sports' as a pathetic excuse for mindless slaughter.
I was geared up an rearing to go into the unexpected, be thrilled beyond comprehension, to be left numb from the mind shattering experience that was 'The Gift'. Yet when I left the cinema it dawned on me that I could have had more fun scratching my behind for the past 1 or so hours. Firstly the positive part of the film was Ms Blanchet's ability to pull the film together whenever I thought I was finally going to give in to the 'deathsleep'. Apart from that it was poorly imitated 'deep south' accents all around. Okay firstly Keanu plays this wife battering 'redneck' that gets set up for thr murder of Katie Holmes who plays a rich mans daughter. But Cate has the gift and although she is glad that Keanu is going to jail (he had previously threatened her and her kids because she advised his wife to leave him) she sees a vision that Keanu is not the murderer. But the real fun is guessing who is the murderer and the dramatic music that signals a pulse racing moment.
I was introduced to Tamora Pierce's book when I was 14 by a friend that thought I needed something "good" to read. Well she was not wrong, I instantly went and bought the quartet and the follow up 'Wild Magic' series. I can honestly recommend these books to people and guarentee that they will NOT be dissapointed. I cant even begin to describe the imagery, the story line, the way Ms Pierce weaves the characters so that the story itself is like a fine piece of cloth. The magic takes you to another world and the books are very hard to put down. The only word that can describe these books is 'enchanting'. Totally fabulous, I have saved my collection to give to my kids. An immortal book that will continue to entertain and please readers for decades to come.