Sweet, sticky, smoky, crunchy, chewy, tart. All of the flavours and textures in one tiny jar of glory.
Buy and try. You will not regret it.
One of the most beautiful things about nature, is that it forces you to reevaluate what you think you know.
For instance, when I moved into my flat, I bought a large rug for my living room. Or rather, I should say I *thought* I bought a large rug for my living room but it turns out that it wasn’t a rug at all. It was actually a large, floor-based, cat scratching pad. Silly me! What did I know in the face of such obvious feline determination to demonstrate how wrong I was.
Similarly, the Lidl was recently selling what I believed to be a small bird feeder which sticks on your window. As I have a flock of goldfinches living in the trees by my flat, I naively thought I could use this “small bird feeder” to attract these beautiful little birds closer to my window. So I bought the contraption from Lidl, researched what goldfinches like to eat (niger seeds, but also black sunflower seeds and oats) and dutifully started filling the “feeder” every morning.
For many mornings, nothing happened. However, as I live in between two large parks, I am lucky enough to have an abundance of bird life. I have starlings (which annoyingly nest in my wall), swifts, the goldfinches, and then the more ubiquitous magpies, crows, gulls, and whatnot. I knew patience was all that was required: one of them would come!
Turns out that, much as with my so-called rug, this so-called small bird feeder was actually the hardware for a Pigeon TV installation for my cats. Who knew?!
Every morning, a pair of pigeons come and peck at the empty feeder until I get up and refill it for them. I’ll be honest, when you get up close with a (healthy) pigeon, they’re actually kind of pretty. They have really nice pink and green shimmery feathers around their neck which clash with their beady little orange-red eyes. They’re also kinda gangsta. Because they are too big to actually get at the food in the feeder comfortably, they kind of half garrotte themselves to get at the food. It cannot be comfortable. They do not care. I respect that.
I will say, at £2.99, Pigeon TV is remarkably good value. Whilst there are ongoing subscription costs (bird food), the joy I get from watching my cats chirrup and fail in their attempts to climb through the window to get at the pigeons is priceless. Very good value for money, highly recommended. Thank you, Lidl.
Nowadays I don’t think there are many private landlords dumb enough to not protect their tenant’s deposits since the law has been in place for well over a decade. However, just in case your landlord is as much of a slumlord as my previous one, I thought I would recant my experience of successfully doing a deposit reclaim. Especially because I found London Renters’ Union and Shelter to be utterly useless in terms of help and advice. (Although Shelter’s legal website is very useful and informative.)
I discovered my deposit was not protected at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. I was living in a house-share and one of my flatmates was a zero-hours contract, minimum wage retail worker. When lockdown suddenly happened, she had enough money in the bank to pay her rent or to eat, not both. Since we had no way of knowing how long lockdown would last or when she would get an income again, and since her low wage job meant she had no savings, I naturally told her to keep her money for food.
When I explained to my thankfully now ex-slumlord that April’s rent would be one quarter short (it was a house-share of 4), my slumlord responded in a way I should have anticipated but didn’t. She is a counsellor and social worker so I erroneously assumed that she would have sympathy for the plight of my flatmate. What I should have remembered is that, formal profession aside, she also has a large portfolio of rental properties across north London that she invests no money in yet charges obscene amounts of rent for. Ergo, she is a greedy slumlord shyster whose only concern is for fattening her bank balance and living a life of luxury at the expense of renters in London.
It is important to note that I did not demand some kind of rent amnesty like the belligerent children of LRU (“can’t pay, won’t pay!”). Rather, I simply said that we would need to postpone payment of one quarter of one month’s rent until my flatmate had gotten an income again. I said that as soon as that happened, we would set up a payment plan and make up the shortfall. (As it happened, we managed to do so in about 6 weeks.)
The slumlord replied that this was “too big of a hit” and that she would use my deposit to cover the shortfall. This, of course, is illegal and precisely why the deposit protection schemes are in place. What her response alerted me to, was that my deposit was not in fact protected as I had assumed. Given that, by that point, I had paid her in total well over £150,000 in rent over the close to a decade I had rented from her, and given that I had only been short on rent once before in all that time, I felt that she could go fuck herself and decided to do a deposit reclaim.
Deposit reclaims are, in principle, quite easy to do. The helpful people at Flat Justice passed on a really good guide to doing a deposit reclaim by Unipol. I can’t seem to find this online anymore, so I have uploaded it here (PDF). Almost everything you need to know about doing a deposit reclaim in terms of procedure is in that document. Below I will talk only about what they missed out.
The world is a shit show, capitalism is a ravaging devil, and in the absence of anything resembling democracy in this country – local or national, I remain convinced that the only way to effect change is non-participation.
I haven’t quite figured out how to do that (yet), but in the interim, I reckon supporting small businesses is a decent enough bridge towards something better than the corrupt and unequal world we have. Maybe if we all stop working for the man and start working for ourselves, which means buying from each other, we can start making tiny fractures in the oppressive systems which make it hard for ordinary people to breathe.
It is for this reason that I support Black Pound Day. Racism is an ever present evil that needs to be fought on multiple levels at every opportunity. Supporting black entrepreneurs is one way we can cut through the tangle of inequality that strangles.
Lawd have mercy! Stop the press! An alternative remedy that actually works and works fast! I have used Moringa Family Group’s balm on arm tendonitis, osteoarthritis, and muscle knots and I was actually shocked by how well it works: the pain stops almost immediately, and the analgesic effect lasts maybe 4 or 5 hours. It’s pricey but I can’t see myself ever being without this again. It also knocks you right out if you suffer from insomnia: just rub some on your temples, palms of your hands, and soles of your feet and soon you will be 😴😴😴.