Hm. Well tonight I had been hoping to showcase shots of my newly installed kitchen appliances. Sadly, though the electrician DID spend four hours here this afternoon, the only thing he actually fitted was the coffee machine, and very nice coffee it makes indeed. As it should. So I am not yet @MsAppliance. I’m beginning to wonder if this project will ever be at an end. There are 10 days to go until the formal completion date and a seemingly unending amount of bits and bobs yet to be sorted out. My patience is wearing thin.

So instead I’ll take this opportunity to tie up a few loose ends. I find that, since I have been blogging every day, I no longer keep things in my head to fester. Once they have been committed to laptop, I tend to forget about them. Which is essentially a good thing for me but which means that I can get a little disorganised and confused if someone questions me about something I wrote last week, for example. I have no idea what I wrote about last week.

A few posts stick in my mind if I’m particularly proud of them, but only a few. I’m very pleased at how interactive this blog has become. It’s more of a conversation than a broadcast and I’m happy to encourage that: this is, after all, where I put things that I cannot express fully in 140 characters. If you have any suggestions or questions, I’m only too happy to hear them. If nothing else it means I have a few readers, for whom I’m most grateful.


Let us start then with the faulty pump on the Hourglass Veil Foundation bottle. I tweeted Hourglass, who (almost) immediately sent me a replacement pump. The problem is that their Veil foundation is too thick for their pump. Apparently they will be revising the packaging at some point soon. I bought the foundation through Net-A-Porter and they immediately sent me another bottle. So now I have two bottles of foundation and two working pumps. Which is nice as I’ve decided that it is really my favourite foundation so far. I am somewhere between a Light Beige and a Beige colour, which is a tad disheartening. I’d much rather be something that sounds nicer like honey or caramel or perfectly done toast instead. Does that verge on the racist? I don’t know.


At the weekend I told the sorry tale of my Clinique Purifying Cleansing Brush. After several tweets and emails to various branches of this Estee Lauder brand – and the customer service email is elusive on their website – I received a somewhat garbled email and a couple of follow-up phone calls. Apparently the crazy behaviour is a known fault with these brushes, which has since been corrected, but the customer service person I spoke to was unable to help me ascertain why this was happening. Apparently they have rectified the situation now. So today I received a product recall Jiffy bag and apparently they are sending me new brush in the post. I haven’t received that yet though.

I must admit that I was surprised by all this. I would have expected a huge multinational like the Estee Lauder Corporation to have a more professional system of handling complaints but in a way it was quite sweet that they were obviously not used to handling calls such as mine. Perhaps it indicates that they don’t receive that many complaints. Or perhaps I’m being optimistic. Whichever way, I’m surprised not to have seen a general product recall if this was a known fault. You only have to look at the reviews on the John Lewis website to see how their brand is being damaged by this faulty product. I feel like adding my own review with a YANBU (You Are Not Being Unreasonable) explanation.


Finally tonight I’ll post a reply from my MP, Colonel Bob Stewart DSO etc, to my plea to him to vote against the laws on fox hunting being changed to make it easier to hunt foxes with multiple dogs. I was quite cross with his response to me. I found it rather patronising. Here it is:

Dear Mrs Beecroft

Thank you for your e-mail containing your views on fox hunting and any changes to the law concerning how it is carried out if and when the House of Commons takes up the matter again. I have received a huge number of e mails on this subject. To be honest I am rather surprised and a little shocked too that this subject has raised far more e mails than matters like child protection, female genital mutilation in the UK or modern slavery for women. However it is clearly a matter of great concern to you and I wanted to say where I stand on the subject – at least right now.

To be honest I wish the whole subject had not been introduced by the Government as I feel we have other massive problems which are a priority first. But I suppose that’s life!

I suspect you may know that fox hunting in the traditional way with hounds was banned in Scotland in 2002 and within England and Wales in 2004. However in a modified form hunting with hounds and subsequent shooting of their quarry, foxes, remains within the law and certainly destroying them as vermin is still lawful. Personally, despite having been an infantry officer with some combat experience, I have never hunted or shot any animal as a sport. I simply don’t like the thought.

I was not an MP in 2004 but I recall thinking at the time that there was an element of political nastiness (dare I say class envy) about the law changes in England and Wales. As I recall the House of Lords revised the bill to make it easier to apply and more sensible but many in the House of Commons simply wanted to make a point without regard to the real mechanics of enforcement and operation. So the House of Commons rejected the Lords’ amendments which were, I thought, more humane and practical.

Actually the current proposed adjustment of the law was not its repeal or indeed a gateway to the law being scrapped. What was being suggested is far more about farmers, particularly upland ones, having the ability to flush out foxes as pests which take their livestock. Traditional hunts would still have to kill their quarry with a shot rather than hounds.

I must say we here in South East London are flooded out with foxes which some people encourage even further by feeding. There are too many foxes around us – existing largely on scraps and rubbish that we humans either discard, throw away or give them. I wish we could reduce their numbers as they are starting to be a menace; brazenly coming into people’s houses – and they may even have attacked a couple of children. However the urban fox around us here was not what this revision of the law is all about. It is about foxes in the countryside.

The last hunt which took place in the constituency area apparently took place starting at Beckenham Junction Station in 1901! So in truth this matter has little impact on our lives here on the borders of London and Kent. But that is not the case of many who live in the countryside proper. They feel that they know best about how to manage foxes and I acknowledge their primary right to that view.

Just to get a feel of what most constituents – not just those that e mail me normally as part of a campaign – felt about fox hunting I asked 130 constituents a few days ago whether they supported changing the rules on fox hunting or not. By a large margin most people asked thought the rules should be changed and not left as they were. Some people admittedly didn’t care less. At least that snap poll, imperfect as it was, gave me a feel of what those constituents felt about the subject.

I understand those who argue for revision and I have listened to those who think fox hunting should not happen at all. My rough and ready opinion poll also suggested that the people I asked favoured a change to the rules. Based on that I should favour revising the law.

However, as your MP, I am a representative and not a delegate – which means I am elected to make my own mind up. I have promised to do that many times to constituents over the last year or so when I have promised them that I would think hard about hunting.

With best wishes


Now, I wasn’t entirely surprised by this reply, though I did find it rather patronising: him wondering why I should worry my pretty little suburban head about an issue that didn’t really concern me. And I was incensed at his comment about his surprise that he had received more correspondence about this than child protection; female genital mutilation and modern slavery for women. Does he mean that these are the issues with which women should concern themselves?

I’m afraid I could not let that pass so I replied briefly saying that obviously these matters concerned me but that I had assumed that his views would not differ from mine (and those of all right-thinking people) on these subjects. I also reminded him of the widely-cited BBC poll suggesting that 80% of country people are against fox hunting. To date I have received no reply. The fox hunting vote was shelved until the autumn, as we know, but I’m glad I had my say.

As I said, if there’s anything you want to ask me, do. I could do one of those Ask Me Anything things, couldn’t I?