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Since the inception of Hints and Things over thirteen years ago I have produced a free monthly newsletter and below is an illustration of one of these ezines.

ISSUE 119 - JULY 2010
30th July, 2010
I would like to start by thanking those people who contacted me regarding my comments about the possibility of stopping or reducing this newsletter. I appreciate all the support; it is reassuring to know that it is being read and enjoyed by a few people out there. I will let you all know if and when I make any decision to change the current arrangements.



Answers to last month's quiz.
Plant bulbs for Christmas
Beauty thrift tips



1: Jacqueline Du Pre
2: Larry Adler
3: Julian Bream
4: Oscar Petersen
5: Charles Mingus
6: Miles Davis
7: Jimmy Smith
8: Chris Barber
9: James Galway
10: Yehudi Menuin
11: Mary O'Hara
12: Ginger Baker
13: John Coltrane
14: Derek Guyler
15: Acker Bilk


How to Make an Inventory for Insurance Purposes

from Staveley Head

None of us know what the future has in store for us and it is always advisable to be prepared. This is not being pessimistic, it is being realistic. Bad things happen all the time and we should always try our best not to be caught off-guard!

By having home insurance, you will also have great peace of mind; but how do you go about making an inventory of your possessions? This is the first thing that a Loss Adjuster would want to see should you need to make a claim. But if you are not sure how to go about making an inventory, then you will certainly not be alone! Here are a few tips to help you on your way...


To begin with, it is crucial that your insurance company have accurate information. If there is even the slightest chance that something is inaccurate or has been overlooked, then you should get in touch right away! Any discrepancies could cause all manner of problems if you need to make a claim.

You should also look out for any ‘special categories’ in your policy... certain insurers may neglect to inform you that some of your items are not actually covered!

It may be necessary to take out an additional policy to get the full amount of protection. This may be more costly, but in the long run it could prove to be very worthwhile!

Your List

Okay, so you are ready to make your list of possessions. Grab yourself a pen and paper, make sure you won’t have any interruptions (or you may well miss things out or discover duplicates on your list!) and you are ready to start.

Begin at one end of your property and work your way from room to room. Be as organised as possible and do not rush.

To Include or Not to Include?

Some of your possessions may be relatively small in value, but you should still put them on your list.

If your home is consumed by fire (and I really hope it never is), then you will want everything replaced; not just the large and expensive items!

When you are listing books, videos, CDs or DVDs, do not write down every title; simply mark these down as ‘job lots’.

However, when you are making a note of jewellery, you do need to list each individual piece. If you have any items that are especially valuable, get in touch with your company to make sure they will be covered on your basic house insurance. Most insurers will have a maximum replacement cost for an individual item...

Go Digital!

When you have completed your inventory, it is always a good idea to transfer it to your computer.

You should then make a back-up copy and keep this away from your home. This will mean that your inventory is still safe if you have a fire at your property or your PC goes on the blink!

You can also take photographs (or even video footage) of any particularly valuable items and include them alongside your other data. This can also go a long way to recovering your possessions if you are unlucky enough to be broken into.

By following this advice you cannot go far wrong. However, if there are any other matters that are unclear then it is a good idea to get in touch with your insurer. They are providing your home insurance and will be able to tell you exactly what is/is not necessary to include on your inventory.



Originating from Neighbourhood Watch Communities in the Stafford District

These days there are many scams circulating, with more raising their ugly heads each day. The best way to combat these is to be pre-warned of their existence and, it is with this in mind, that members of the Neighbourhood Watch Communities in the Stafford District have suggested publication on Hints and Things.

Protect Your PIN numbers

Police are urging people using credit and debit cards to take precautions when using their pin numbers.

The warning follows an incident at midday on Sunday 27 June at the Tesco store in Heath Hayes, Cannock.

A woman returned to her car after shopping in the store and put her bag on the passenger seat of her car. She was then approached by a man who placed a map on the bonnet of another car and asked for help with directions. It is believed a second offender then stole the woman's debit card.

Fraud investigator at Chase divisional crime bureau said: "Unfortunately this type of crime, where offenders look over the shoulder of people using their credit or debit cards to see their pin number and then one person distracts a victim while the other steals the cards, is quite widespread nationally.

"We would urge everyone using credit or debit cards in any situation - whether at an ATM, in a store, restaurant or pub, to take precautions when using their cards, ensuring that no one sees you tapping in your pin number.

"Make sure no one is looking over your shoulder and use your free hand to cover over the hand you use to enter your pin.

"Examine an ATM closely to make sure there is nothing stuck in it or in the card slot. If there is, don't use it and report it to your bank and the police.

"When withdrawing cash from an ATM, don't let anyone see how much you've withdrawn and put it immediately in a purse or wallet and place securely in your bag or pocket before moving away from the machine.

"Cancel your card immediately if you have difficulty getting your card out of the ATM or if it is lost or stolen.


How to Tie a Baby Sling

Many different types of baby slings are available, and each can be tied several ways. The most common baby slings are the cradle carry and the hip carry.

The cradle carry is popular because it is perfect for infants with its excellent head and neck support. It is also a good sling to use while breastfeeding.

The hip carry is great for children that are a little older because it allows them to look around and interact with the world while still remaining close to mom or dad.

Cradle Carry

The cradle carry baby sling is not difficult to tie but can take a bit of practice.

To tie a cradle carry baby sling, fold the sling in half lengthwise and then hold it against your body so the folded side of the fabric is facing your shoulder and the opening is at your neck.

Adjust the folded piece of fabric so it is draped over one shoulder evenly, with an equal amount of material in the back and front.

Tie a knot at your opposite hip, slide the sling so the knot is at your back and spread the fabric out for support.

Practice this method several times before you need to use the sling to give you the confidence to tie it for your child.

Placing your baby in a cradle carry sling will be simple when you follow a few tips. You might have someone help you with the process of putting your baby in the sling for the first few times. Place your child in the sling feet first until his/her feet and bottom are secure. Continue to support his/her weight and head until he/she is resting comfortably in the sling. This process will become like second nature to you over time, so don't worry if it doesn't come naturally at first.

Hip Carry

The hip carry is similar to the cradle carry, making it an easy graduation when your baby is older.

For the hip carry, tie the same knot as you do for the cradle carry, then rotate the fabric until the knot falls at your shoulder.

The sling will now form a pouch at your hip.

Hold your baby at your shoulder so his/her body is well above the sling's pouch and then slide him/her into the sling while bringing the pouch up over his/her bottom until he/she is sitting in it. His/her feet and legs should be free.

Spread out the fabric so it is supporting his/her body from his/her knees to his/her shoulders.

Baby Sling Tips and Warnings

If you want a little extra practice, try placing a doll into the sling before attempting it with your baby. Treat the doll as if it is your child, remembering infant head and neck support and accounting for weight.

You can keep your sling tied after each use to make the process easier, just be sure to regularly check that the knot is secure.

Don't put items into the sling with your baby, as there is just enough room in there for your little one.

Practice common safety sense when using a baby sling. Never use a stove or oven or handle hot liquids when wearing your baby and never wear your baby while driving.


Home Office Set Up - 3 Steps To Get You Started

by Lloyd Burrell of www.officedeskreviews.com

Your laptop is ready and clients are waiting... it's time to set up your home office. Whether you've negotiated a remote work arrangement with your employer or have decided to become your own boss, a little thought about what you really need will help you set up a productive work area at home. You'll find millions of pages of home office organization advice online – everything from ridding yourself of clutter to finding workplace zen - but before you lose yourself in the finer points of Feng Shui, I suggest you get started with these 3 simple steps.

Step #1 – Define Your Work

Begin by thinking about what you're actually going to get paid for.

When you're finally sitting at your desk, it's easy to lose time dealing with administrative details or getting distracted by “productivity tools”.

Take the time before you start to define your priorities.

This will help you design your home office in a way that supports you in avoiding unprofitable activities and staying productive.

Ask yourself these questions:

What is the product or service that I'm selling, and what specific activities are required to produce it?

What tools, reference material and supplies do I need access to?

Will clients visit me in my home office?

Will installing specialized equipment or services help keep me on track?

Whatever your circumstances, at the most basic level you are probably setting up a home office in order to make money. The more clearly you can define the nature of the work you're getting paid for, the better you will be able to make this happen. Defining your work will also guide you in investing in the most useful tools and accessories for your specific needs.

Step #2 – Fit Your Space

Now that you know what you need to get done, it's time to look for a place to do it. While size and floor plan have an obvious influence on where you set up your home office, your options are not as limited as you may think. Even if you don't have an entire room to dedicate to a home office, you can still make sure your most practical needs are met by choosing the right furniture and accessories to give you the space, storage and functionality that you need.
Whether you've decided that your first priority is a large desktop work area, plenty of file storage or simply finding a way to fit a complete office into the corner of your bedroom, a little bit of online research will show you a variety of affordable options.

Even a small space can yield a generous desktop work surface by installing a wall-hugging L-shaped desk in the corner.

If you'll be meeting with clients, you'll find that there are very affordable office furniture sets available which manage to look elegant and traditional (or if you prefer, contemporary and artistic) without breaking your budget.

If buying online, remember to consider all aspects of the shopping experience to ensure that you're completely satisfied. Look for a low price combined with responsive customer service, easy returns, and free shipping.

Step #3 – Choose Your Tools

The next question is:

What do you need to have on hand to make your home office really work for you?

The answer may be as simple as “just a clear head and an internet connection”.

There are affordable desks available which combine remarkably efficient use of space with style and practicality. If you don't need regular access to files or specialized equipment, you may decide that a compact, efficient work station with an ergonomic chair are all that you need to get started. On the other hand, if you use a scanner, printer, webcam, phone and reference material every day, you'll want to design a layout that gives you easy access to these tools without having to cross the room every time you need them.

With a little research, you'll find a variety of options for desks with built-in storage designed for modern office tools and accessories . Be wary of cluttering your desktop – if the desk itself doesn't have enough built-in storage, keep frequently used items close at hand with under-desk filing cabinets, wall-hanging shelves and rolling supply carts.

With a little planning, you really can design to fit your needs while using a very small amount of floor space.

Following these three simple steps in setting up your home office will get you off to a great start. There's always time to add bells and whistles as you go along, but if you've made it this far you'll be able to work productively and enjoy all the benefits of being able to work at home.



Skateboarding Tricks: How to Ollie

So you’ve picked your favourite from all the jazzy skateboards and have got the hang of the general method of riding, what next? The first trick most people move on to is almost always the ‘Ollie’. It is the foundation of the majority of other skateboarding tricks and if you get a handle on that one then you’ll find it much easier when you move on to the more complicated stuff. But how do you produce the perfect Ollie?

The first phase is getting the correct stance.

The ball of your back foot should be on the tail of the skateboard with your front just behind the front trucks. This is also slightly based on the comfort of the rider so feel free to adapt slightly depending on your personal preference.

From there you need to bend your knees and slam your back foot down as hard as possible. The harder you slam, the higher you go. At this point you need to jump up from your back foot as well and raise your body into the air. This is a motion that will take some practice but is the key to a good Ollie.

This phase is called the ‘the pop’- timing is everything.

So what’s your front foot doing while this is going on? It is basically your steering wheel – it is used to guide the skateboard where you want it to go.

Really all you need to do is drag the side of your foot up the board; this guides the board where you want it to go as well as pulling it up slightly more using the grip tape on the board itself. Again, it will take time to get the hang of but will come naturally with time.

Once in the air, you need to level the skateboard out. After you’ve jumped you should pull your knees up to your chest and get into a (floating) crouch position. As you’ve reached the maximum height of your jump and you feel yourself starting to drop you need to think about levelling out the board. This is done by getting both feet level on top of the board as you come back down to earth and ensuring the board lands flat.

Now’s the tough part. Many people can get in the air and flick the board up but struggle when it comes to landing back down with the board in control.

The key is getting the skateboard straight in the air and then really bending your knees as you land. This will give you better control and also minimise the possibility of any unwanted injuries.

And then all that’s left to do is roll away and soak up the glory of the perfect Ollie! It will certainly take some time to master, but persevere and follow these tips and you’ll end up with a great foundation to become a top class skateboarder capable of producing every trick in the book!



A new sign in the Bank Lobby reads:

'Please note that this Bank is installing new Drive-through ATM machines enabling customers to withdraw cash without leaving their vehicles.

Customers using this new facility are requested to use the procedures outlined below when accessing their accounts.

After months of careful research, "MALE & FEMALE" procedures have been developed. Please follow the appropriate steps for your gender.'


1. Drive up to the cash machine.
2. Put down your car window.
3. Insert card into machine and enter PIN.
4. Enter amount of cash required and withdraw.
5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt.
6. Put window up..
7. Drive off.


(What is really funny is that most of this part is the truth!!!!)

1. Drive up to cash machine.
2. Reverse and back up the required amount to align car window with the machine..
3. Set parking brake, put the window down.
4. Find handbag, remove all contents on to passenger seat to locate card.
5. Tell person on cell phone you will call them back and hang up.
6. Attempt to insert card into machine.
7. Open car door to allow easier access to machine due to its excessive distance from the car.
8. Insert card.
9. Re-insert card the right way.
10. Dig through handbag to find diary with your PIN written on the inside back page.
11. Enter PIN.
12. Press cancel and re-enter correct PIN.
13. Enter amount of cash required.
14. Check makeup in rear view mirror.
15. Retrieve cash and receipt.
16. Empty handbag again to locate wallet and place cash inside.
17. Write debit amount in cheque register and place receipt in back of chequebook.
18. Re-check makeup.
19. Drive forward 2 feet.
20. Reverse back to cash machine..
21. Retrieve card.
22. Re-empty hand bag, locate card holder, and place card into the slot provided!
23. Give dirty look to irate male driver waiting behind you.
24. Restart stalled engine and pull off.
25. Redial person on cell phone.
26. Drive for 2 to 3 miles.
27. Release Parking Brake.



Cups of Tea ..

One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me.

I was maybe 2 1/2 years old. Someone had given me a little 'tea set' as a gift and it was one of my favourite toys.

Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought Daddy a little cup of 'tea', which was just water.

After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my Mom came home.

My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was 'just the cutest thing!' My Mom waited, and sure enough, here I come down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watches him drink it up.

Then she says, (as only a mother would know.. :)

'Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach water is the toilet?


Courtesy of Ann Graham

Richard Jones sent me the following:-

A college class was told they had to write a short story in as few words as possible.

The instructions were:

The short story had to contain the following three things:

1: Religion
2: Sexuality
3: Mystery

Below is the only A+ short story in the entire class.

"GoodGod, I'm pregnant; I wonder who did it."

That's it for another month. Thank you for your time. All being well I will be back at the end of August, beginning of September.


Planting bulbs indoors for Christmas flowering.

As these are required for early flowering you will need to buy 'prepared' bulbs, these have been treated to speed up their development. 15th September is generally considered to be the best date for planting to ensure flowers for Christmas, but as nature is not an exact science this, of course, cannot be guaranteed.

Put some potting compost or well soaked bulb fibre into a pot leaving enough space to allow the bulbs to be placed inside with the tips just below the rim of the container. They should be placed close together but not touching.

Cover with compost or bulb fibre and water well.

The container should then be placed in a cool spot such as a shed or bury it in a shady corner of the garden.

Contrary to some beliefs darkness is not essential, however, coolness is. Do not put in a black plastic sack as this encourages mould.

After 10-12 weeks young green shoots should appear (these will be paler if the pot has been kept in the dark).

When the shoots have reached about 5 cms. (2 ins) in height bring the pot into a cool room and they should flower in time for Christmas.

A lovely present for someone too.





1: Television

2: The Machine Gun

3: Scissors

4: Telephone

5: Penicillin

6: First Flying Machine

7: Steam Power

8: Electric Guitar

9: Electric Light Bulb

10: Pasteurisation



Beauty Thrift Tips

Spray perfume onto your hair to avoid skin rashes.

For a good skin avoid tea, coffee, spicy foods, alcohol and tight clothes - that's Saturday night out of the window then!!!!

Apply hand cream before putting on rubber gloves to do the washing up. The heat from the water will help the cream soak into your hands and leave them nice and soft.

To strengthen fingernails, dip them into a salt solution (2 teaspoons of salt to a glass of water) for 2/3 minutes.

Long lasting lipstick can dry lips.

Lighter colours make lips look bigger.

Dark colours make lips look smaller.

Pearlised lipsticks enhance imperfections, therefore, best avoided by the older generation.

If your foundation is too dark mix it with a little of your usual moisturiser on the back of your hand and it will lighten.

Before applying a face mask cover your face with a piece of damp, fine gauze, making sure it completely smooth and touching everywhere on your face. Apply product. When mask is ready (usually about 10/15 minutes) peel of gauze, leaving skin clean.

A drop of oil on the end of a dry mascara brush will make it last a bit longer.

Pop your eyeliner into the freezer before sharpening, this gives a sharper point.

When applying mascara, lay your mirror flat on a table, this give the right angle for application.

When plucking eyebrows at home, place a hot flannel (face cloth) on your eyebrow, pull skin taught and pluck. The heat makes it easier and less painful.

Keep eye cream in the fridge and it will be really cooling when applied and it will help to reduce puffiness and make you feel instantly energised.

Clean mascara brushes thoroughly with a tissue once and week and it will help application



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