Friday 11 March 2011


On Wednesday afternoon I got the opportunity to meet 'Fluffy's Mum' when she was driven to our house by husband Terry to collect the portrait which he had commissioned as a surprise birthday present.

Terry wanted the portrait to be presented as part of a week long birthday celebration which he has organised.   He was very good at keeping the portrait a secret and poor Alexandra was quite bewildered to be driven to a house in Whitstable, told to brush her hair before leaving the car and then being introduced to a total stranger!

Terry had also arranged to have a beautiful oak frame made which complemented the picture beautifully and matched their furniture at home - what a very organised hubby!!

Here's a photo - I do wish I'd have taken it in a tidier area of the house - please ignore the background which is the 'odds & sods' area of my workroom.   If I was more au fait with photo manipulation packages I could probably remove the offending bits ..... but this is real life!

Cheers Alexandra .... I hope you had a wonderful week!



Firstly a huge thank you for all the lovely messages I've had over the last few days (both via the Blog and by email) - you're a lovely bunch of people

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself this morning and then read your messages ..... and then started following the news about the dreadful events in Japan and I felt ashamed of myself!

I have much more movement in my left arm now but still get constant aches/pins & needles.  I'm just impatient to get back to normal (whatever that is).

I was told by my chiropractor not to sit at the computer, or to draw, for a few weeks and I disobeyed him.  I paid the price by spoiling a portrait I was working on and having to re-start it.  So I'm going to be good now.  We go back to our holiday home on Fuerteventura on Wednesday so I'm sure I'll feel more cheerful once I see the sun again :o).   I have commissions to get on with immediately on my return so I'll be back at the drawing board and posting regularly again then .

Tuesday 1 March 2011

01/03: NATIONAL FRAUD AUTHORITY - Report Scam Emails (or not)!!

I guess, like me, you receive lots of scam emails every day - sadly its an unfortunate part of modern IT driven life.   Most scam emails are instantly recognisable by their poor spelling and grammar (particularly the Nigerian ones).  However there are some quite sophisticated ones in circulation and I was nearly caught by one purporting to be from a person I know well - had I clicked the link to view the photos he was allegedly forwarding, my contact list would have been phished and used to bombard everyone in my address book .....

I use an excellent Spam filter but it always seems a bit of a waste simply deleting these messages that somebody has gone to such lengths to put together.  So I was very pleased to read on the BBC website (Saturday) that the National Fraud Authority is planning to track down these fraudsters.    They provided an email address to which viewers were urged to forward scam emails (one time only).   GREAT!!!

So I forwarded two of the 'better ones'   ...... 5 minutes later they bounced back to me.   Trawling through the return delivery mail to ascertain the reason I was amused to see that one was because 'your email was detected as spam' and the other 'your email contained a virus'.        I tried sending two more ... with identical results - they were bounced back to me.      I sent an email to Action Fraud (minus any spam email attachments) advising them of my problems ... no response to date (3 days later).

David (hubby) tried sending some of his messages and got the same result.   However, he has had a response from Action Fraud saying that a small number of people are experiencing problems.     Now on their official website, 'Action Fraud' has added the following paragraph:

Got an email bounce back? A small percentage of emails you forward to Action Fraud may not get through because of the content of the email. If this is the case, you can send your scam mail to our freepost address:

Action Fraud - Scam mail
Freepost Action Fraud
4th Floor
Westminster House
11 Portland St
M1 3HU

The emails received by Action Fraud will be forwarded to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau run by the City of London Police for collation and analysis. This will enable crucial intelligence to be gathered and preventative action to be taken. The activity will seek to disrupt the fraudsters and close down the links between them and the victim.

Dr Bernard Herdan, CEO of the National Fraud Authority who runs Action Fraud, said: ‘This is the first time we have been able to collect and analyse scam mail and emails in this way. Collecting intelligence is the key to us being able to disrupt the activities of fraudsters and target their networks for closure.’ 


Now I don't know about you ..... but I found it very disappointing that Action Fraud/National Fraud Authority  can't find a way to receive these very emails they are supposed to be analysing ... yes I could print out the messages and post them but surely that defeats the object as a print-out won't give details of the message source, or the path the email has taken to arrive in my Mailbox.

Methinks this is another half-baked idea which will occupy a government department or three without really getting to the root of the problem.   Or am I just being cynical and niggly because I'm feeling under the weather and tetchy