In pictures: Winter storm impacts the US
SOUTHINGTON – Police on Christmas arrested a man and accused him of breaking into two businesses and trying to break into a third.
Scott Rhault, 43, of Thomaston, faces charges in burglaries at both Wine Works and Silver City Vapors, and an attempted burglary at Smokers Dream World.
Police said they received the first burglary alarm around 10:28 p.m. at Wine Works, located at 1700 West St. Responding officers found signs of forced entry into the building, as well as video surveillance that showed a suspect wearing all black clothing.
Then at 11:06 p.m., police received another burglary alarm, with this one being reported at Silver City Vapors, located at 1049 Queen St. Police there also found signs of forced entry and video surveillance that showed a suspect wearing all black clothing, similar to the suspect in the Wine Works break-in.
At that time, a suspect could not be located. Shortly thereafter, around 11:30 p.m., an officer saw a man matching the description of the two break-ins approach a strip mall along the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike. The suspect, police said, tried opening the door to several businesses and tried fleeing as officers approached him.
Police were able to take the suspect into custody, identifying him as Rhault.
Police also said they were able to tie him to the break-ins at Wine Works and Silver City Vapors, as well as an attempted break-in at Smokers Dream World, located at 1209 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike.
Rhault was held on $50,000 bond and was expected to be arraigned in New Britain Superior Court on Tuesday. He faces six counts of attempted third-degree burglary, three counts of possession of burglary tools, and two counts each of third-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal trespassing.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or email@example.com.
As a massive winter storm continues to blast much of the US with brutal winter weather – leading to at least 37 deaths nationwide – parts of western New York have been buried by up to 43 inches of snow, leaving vehicles stuck and power out for thousands during the Christmas weekend.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told CNN the storm is the “most devastating storm in Buffalo’s long storied history.” The heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions made roads impassable with zero visibility, froze power substations and left at least 17 people across the state dead as of Sunday night.
Western New York is drowning in thick “lake effect” snow – which forms when cold air moves over the warm waters of the Great Lakes – just one month after the region was slammed with a historic snowstorm.
As rescue crews and hundreds of plow drivers fanned out on Christmas Day, even emergency and recovery vehicles sent out to help have gotten stuck in the snow. Eleven abandoned ambulances were dug out on Sunday, officials said.
“We had to send specialized rescue crews to go get the rescuers,” Mark Poloncarz, the executive of Erie County, which includes Buffalo, told “CNN This Morning” Monday, adding it was the worst storm he could remember. “It was just horrendous, and it was horrendous for 24 hours in a row.”
“We’re used to snow here, we can handle snow,” he said. “But with the wind, the blinding views – it was complete whiteouts – and the extreme cold, it was some of the worst conditions that any of us have ever seen.”
Many of New York’s weather-related fatalities were in Erie County, where some people were found dead in cars and on the street in snowbanks, Poloncarz said Sunday. Deaths reported in Buffalo “are people found outside and in cars,” a Buffalo Police statement read.
Hundreds of National Guard troops have been deployed to help with rescue efforts in New York. State police had been involved in over 500 rescues by Sunday, including delivering a baby and helping a man with 4% left on his mechanical heart, the governor said.
“We’re still in the throes of this very dangerous life-threatening situation,” Hochul said, urging residents to stay off the roads as a driving ban remains in place in Erie County through Monday.
“Our state and county plows have been out there, nonstop, giving up time and putting themselves in danger, driving through blinding snowstorms to clear the roads,” Hochul said.
As blistering blizzard conditions swept the region, about 500 motorists found themselves stranded in their vehicles Friday night into Saturday morning, according to Poloncarz, who described frightening conditions on the road.
“Think about looking just a few feet in front of you at a sheet of white for more than 24 hours in a row. That’s what it was like outside in the worst conditions,” he said. “It was continual blizzard and whiteouts such that no one could see where they were going. Nobody had any idea what was happening.”
While abandoned vehicles pepper the snow-covered roadways – with hundreds of cars still along the streets of Buffalo – conditions are also difficult inside homes.
Some residents have remained in their homes for the last 56 hours, some without power in the freezing cold, Hochul said during the news conference. This is not due to a lack of resources, the governor said, but rather a mobility and access challenge faced by utility companies.
As of Sunday evening, 94.5% of Erie County residents and 87% of Buffalo residents have had their power restored, Hochul said.
Still, there were 12,000 homes and businesses in Erie County without power Sunday evening, and many won’t have lights and heating back until Tuesday, Poloncarz said.
Buffalo will continue to see snowfall and frigid cold temperatures Monday, with a high of 23 degrees expected in the daytime and a low of 21 at night, according to the National Weather Service.
Over the past week, the prolonged winter storm has enveloped a large swath of the US with dangerously low temperatures and wind chills, also bringing with it widespread power outages and thousands of canceled flights.
More than 10 million people remained under freeze alerts across the South Monday, including residents in Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham.
Subfreezing temperatures are expected across the affected areas, where temperatures will be in the teens and low 20s, potentially killing crops and damaging plumbing. The majority of these alerts are set to expire Monday morning as temperatures finally begin to recover from the polar air.
Nationwide, around 65,000 customers were without power early Monday, according to PowerOutage.US. Since the start of the storm, the number of outages has at times exceeded a million customers.
Electricity was not the sole utility impacted: Jackson, Mississippi, issued a boil water notice Sunday after its water system lost pressure due to line breaks “likely caused by the weather,” officials said on Facebook. The city – which just two months ago overcame a separate lengthy water crisis – distributed water to residents throughout Christmas Day.
The storm also snarled travel in the US during the busy holiday weekend, with more than 5,000 flights canceled Friday, more than 3,400 flights canceled Saturday and more than 3,100 canceled for Christmas Day. More than 1,500 flights within, into or out of the US have already been canceled before 8:30 a.m. ET Monday, according to tracking site FlightAware.
Since the brutal weather’s arrival, multiple storm-related deaths have been reported across several states. In addition to the deaths in New York, the fatalities include:
• Colorado: Police in Colorado Springs, Colorado, reported two deaths related to the cold since Thursday, with one man found near a power transformer of a building possibly looking for warmth, and another in a camp in an alleyway.
• Kansas: Three people have died in weather-related traffic accidents, the Kansas Highway Patrol said Friday.
• Kentucky: Three people have died in the state, officials have said, including one involving a vehicle crash in Montgomery County.
• Missouri: One person died after a caravan slid off an icy road and into a frozen creek, Kansas City police said.
• Ohio: Nine people have died as a result of weather-related auto crashes, including four in a Saturday morning crash on Interstate 75, when a semi tractor-trailer crossed the median and collided with an SUV and a pickup, authorities said.
• Tennessee: The Tennessee Department of Health on Friday confirmed one storm-related fatality.
• Wisconsin: Wisconsin State Patrol on Thursday reported one fatal crash due to winter weather.
The powerful system continues to move away from the Northeast, yet many cities and towns remain covered with thick snow. Over a 24-hour span, Baraga, Michigan, received 42.8 inches of snow while Watertown, New York, got 34.2 inches.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, had its snowiest Christmas Eve ever, receiving a record 10.5 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
Winter storm warnings remain in effect in New York for Buffalo, Jamestown and Watertown and will expire throughout the following couple of days. Forecasts show Jamestown could see another 8 inches of snow, Buffalo could see another 14 inches and Watertown could see another 3 feet. Winds could also gust up to 40 mph.
Lake effect snow warnings remain north of Jamestown until 10 a.m. EST Tuesday, an area where up to 18 inches are possible.
Lingering lake-effect snows blowing downwind from the Great Lakes will slowly become less intense, but the Arctic air enveloping much of the eastern half of the nation will be slow to moderate, according to the National Weather Service.
Lake-effect snows will continue to make for hazardous travel conditions for the next couple of days and conditions are expected to slowly improve over the week.
The low-pressure system is forecast to move farther away into Canada, while another system quickly across the northern US into Monday, bringing snow from the northern Plains through the Midwest.
Much of the rest of the eastern part of the country will still be in a deep freeze through Monday before a moderating trend sets in on Tuesday, forecasters said.
It is four days before Christmas, and all is not well at our house.
I’m irritable and cranky from the realization that much work remains undone: unpack and wash the special holiday plates; put up more outside lights and find a way to prevent the wind from blowing over the three reindeer now lying flat in our front yard (my daughter loves the reindeer).
My wife – overworked but still smiling – bristles when I set up this argument: “Your brother hasn’t made an appearance for the holidays in over 20 years.” She fires back, “For crying aloud, he lives 4000 miles away in Paris, France.” Within seconds, my son and daughter, like Calvary reinforcements, charge in to support their commanding general: “Dad, stop yelling!!” So, I retreat upstairs, with a sincere apology, lay down and try to chill.
My mind, now a river flowing backwards, takes me to my most memorable Christmas, when I was six… It is the day before Christmas, and I am sitting next to my grandfather in my parent’s heated garage. He is showing me two tiny fishing poles to be used when we go ice fishing tomorrow. As he explains how the poles work, he takes his cigar and blows out a huge, white cloud of smoke which rises, curls and merges with his snow-white hair. If he had a big, bushy beard and a belly, he’d look just like Santa Claus, my six-year-old mind thinks.
I want – badly – to take a puff of his cigar. But he would never allow it. So, I’ve set my plan to action. “Grandpa, I’m freezing, can you turn up the heat?” “Sure,” he replies as he stands up and walks to the far end of the garage where the heater is located. With his back turned, my arm, like a striking rattlesnake, shoots out and grabs the cigar, and I take a huge puff. “Ughh,” I’m choking! He hears me cough, but says nothing. As he sits down next to me, I try to cover my coughing with talk: “What is that red band on your cigar for?” I ask. He replies, “Oh, that’s just like a ring.” He takes it off the cigar and puts it on my thumb. I see two golden letters, SC, on the red band. My mother opens the door and says, “Hey you, get to bed – tomorrow is Christmas!”
In my bed, I execute the first part of my plan: alarm clock is now set to 1 a.m. You see, this year I’m going to catch Santa Claus.
As the alarm rings, I’m up and moving down the upstairs hallway which, at the stairway, gives a good view of the downstairs living room. I see my Dad putting together something huge and complicated, and I hear my Mom tell him, “Let’s stop and get some sleep, you can finish this in the morning.” I watch them turn off all the lights as they go to bed. I reset my alarm for 5 a.m. I’m up before the alarm goes off and I’m now standing in the middle of an incredible feat of engineering: A huge, oval train track – at least 50 feet around – now occupies our living room. Two trains sit on the tracks. Each train has an engine, 10 cars and a caboose. Inside the oval track, mountains rise as tall as my chest, and I see green valleys, hidden tunnels and a miniature city with light poles, stores, houses and tiny people. I see a red and green button on a black control box and I push both. Two trains begin to move with a shrill sound as the engine whistle blows. My parents, now awake, come closer to me. Both are smiling – like me- but my Mom says, “who put it together?” My Dad just shakes his head from side to side. I’m struck by this mystery. Who did this?
As I go over to the fireplace, something red catches my eye. I reach into the fireplace and pull out the stub of a cigar with the red band on it. A hand on my shoulder causes me to turn and my Grandfather asks, “What did you find?” I say, “Nothing, Granddad.” He looks at me while smiling, and tells me, “Oh, by the way, SC stands for Santa Claus…”
My mind returns to the present and I go into my closet to locate a small wooden cigar box. I open the lid and look inside, where I find the two red cigar labels with the SC letters in gold. My hands, now grown to adult size, are too big to put the red rings on. But my mind, the same size as the child I use to be, knows why my grandfather wanted me to believe in Santa Claus. I go downstairs and put on my warmest coat – the forecast is for record cold – so I can find a way to keep the reindeer from being blown over.
This story, a mix of autobiography and Christmas wonder, is my holiday gift to my readers. Happy holidays to all!
(The content of this article is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for treatment by a professional.)
Dr. Richard Elghammer is a clinical psychologist in Danville, Ill., and Crawfordsville, Ind. He received specialty training in child, adolescent and family psychology at Riley’s Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis and completed his clinical internship at Indiana University School of Medicine.
December brings more than just a nip in the air, for ‘tis the season of merriment. Just as the over-usage of the words ‘tis and ‘twas comes back this time of the year, decorations going up on the traditional Yule trees with a dazzling star atop (not to forget the red-and-white stockings hanging from its branches) is a thing of joy that has become synonymous with Christmas. So have the mouth-watering cakes and cookies that end the year on a sweet note.
In India, Christmas is celebrated with much zeal and fervour, particularly in regions that have retained the colonial heritage. And none can top the list but Kolkata, which knows how to celebrate a festival so as to live up to its title of the ‘City of Joy’. Bengalis are known for their eternal love affair with food; so it is hardly surprising that the eatables and the eateries across the city are ingrained in the history of Christmas in Kolkata.
Traditional fruit cakes are an integral part of Christmas celebrations, and in Kolkata, its history dates back to over a century and lands straight at the heart of the city in Nahoum and Sons. An establishment that became popular among the 5,000-odd Baghdadi Jews during World War II, the iconic Jewish bakery in Kolkata’s New Market area is among the first shops known to sell the traditional fruit and plum cakes in the city, and has stood the test of time to remain a fan-favourite till this day.
Within a few miles of this age-old bakery lies Flurys, one of the oldest and most renowned joints in Kolkata. Once a dainty tearoom, the eatery which nears its centenary specialises in an assortment of fruit cakes, rum and raisin cakes, and even the traditional Dundee cake. Around this time of the year, a long queue in front of this celebrated establishment in Park Street is a rather familiar sight.
“Bakeries like Flurys, Cakes, Kookie Jar and Nahoum have been some of the oldest traditional bakeries of Kolkata which specialise in the year-old traditional recipes passed down over generations,” said Debarati Ghosh, a home baker and owner of Little Indulgence. “We, as the people of Kolkata, have our emotions attached with them and would go back to them time and again, if given an opportunity,” she added.
However, the lack of alternatives is what allowed these behemoths to run their oligopoly in this city for years. At one point, the traditional fruit cakes from these bakeries and confectioners became exorbitant for the common people. So it is no surprise that a large number of them started venturing to the home bakers who not only provided competitive prices but also accounted for the changing times and the subsequent change in people’s tastes.
Niloy Mukherjee, an avid cake lover, said, “Standard bakeries in Kolkata majorly fall in two categories: the ones catering to the elite population, like Nahoum and Flurrys, and the ones everyone else goes to, the kinds of Monginis, Mio Amore, Bake Club, Kathleen and so on. There really is no middle ground there, for people to get the best of quality at affordable prices. Home bakers really bridge that gap for us and that’s possibly why I hardly remember going back to a standard bakery once I got used to the concept of home bakery.”
With ample room for customisation, these chefs have truly posed a serious threat to the kingpins of the baking world in this city by spoiling the patrons with choices.
“The possibility of customising the cakes to the utmost level for one’s requirement, in terms of flavour and design, is the main reason that home bakers have gained popularity,” said Vedika Agarwal, owner of The Dessert Box. She added, “Consumers can now directly communicate their ideas, designs and specifications to the baker which makes them more satisfied regarding the final product.”
Agreed Antareepa De, home baker and owner of Scooters Cake: “Nowadays, people want everything to be unique. People reach out to us with specific requirements related to the event or person they wish to celebrate, and we, in turn, try to deliver what they have in mind. You want me to put a man gobbling chowmein on the cake? Sure. You want me to put a p*nis on the cake? Sure. It’s like a blank canvas where you can literally draw as you wish. We are only here to execute the best we can.”
“My husband is a Potterhead and I wanted a cake with a Quidditch snitch and a scarf on it. While conventional bakeries refuse to customise cakes below 2.5-3 pounds, when I went to a home baker, she instantly agreed and delivered as per my requirement,” said Rhiddhi Saha, who has been buying cakes from home bakers for over a couple of years now.
While tailor-making (or in this case, tailor-baking) a cake may seem like an expensive venture, the truth is far from it. Hot-chocolate with marshmallows priced at Rs 65 each sachet, mini rum-balls priced at Rs 40 each, vanilla pound cakes at Rs 350 per pound, the traditional rich fruit cake at Rs 500 per pound, and walnut brownies with molten chocolate priced at Rs 60 each are some of the Christmas special delectables to be found at Little Indulgence.
Such wide assortments are to be seen at almost every home baker’s doorstep during Christmas. “For our Christmas menu, we have baked plum cakes (with or without alcohol), strawberry cakes, strawberry Nutella tea cake, walnut brownies, mini cupcakes with Christmas decor, and chocolate tarts,” said Vedika.
The pandemic did much to bring these home bakers, who operate mostly from their kitchens, into the limelight. Since most of these chefs played an active role in satiating the sweet tooth of the masses who lacked the option of turning to established bakeries and confectioners in those testing two years, they have inadvertently inculcated hygiene protocols in their regime and still adhere to them more than what is expected of the commercial eateries.
“We got our FSSAI certification done. General food hygiene measures are checked regularly. Frequent hand washing with soap and water and use of hand sanitisers have been our topmost priority along with PPE such as face masks, hair nets and disposable gloves. All our delivery executives have been trained based on COVID protocols,” Debarati said.
Mirroring Debarati’s take on maintaining health and hygiene, Antareepa added, “Since we operate from our home, there are hardly two people who have direct contact with your food. The delivery boys are instructed to use gloves while handling the dispatches.”
Preeti Kaur, a customer who claims to be addicted to the standard of hygiene home bakers maintain, said, “During the lockdown, I was pretty sceptical about getting cakes from the bakeries near my house. We tried baking on a couple of occasions, and in the meantime, I discovered a couple of home bakers on Instagram. Getting cakes from them seemed safer because literally one or two persons were baking and delivering them to us, ensuring high standards of hygiene. Even after the pandemic, I kept going back to them for the same.”
With this shift in paradigm in terms of more people turning to home bakers, what does a festival like Christmas mean to these chefs?
“Christmas as a business side of the profession primarily means delivering yummy cakes and desserts to our clients, because baking and making occasions joyous is what gives us pleasure,” said Vedika.
Sharing that Christmas is the time of the year where they make the maximum sales, Debarati said, “Since each household in Kolkata looks forward to relishing cakes, especially during winters, we try our best to make the traditional fruit cakes in different price ranges so that everyone can afford them. And nothing tastes better than a fresh home-baked cake!”
“Last two weeks of the year, we see a huge rise in the sale of the dry loaf cakes and cookies which are otherwise dominated by custom cakes. At this time, people tend to lean towards the classic flavours that bring nostalgia and warmth to the otherwise chilly winter,” Antareepa stated.
In keeping with the spirit of giving gifts, such home bakers are nothing short of incarnations of Santa Claus himself. “The general demographic that we cater to are the parents of children aged 0-10 years, because our forte is cakes for children. With the doorstep delivery option available up to 15 km, we cover almost all major areas of the city,” Vedika said.
NFL fans were left stunned on Christmas Eve night when they tuned in to watch the tributes planned for the late Franco Harris, only for NFL Network to go to a commercial break midway through the ceremony.
Harris died at the age of 72 earlier this week. The initial plan had been for him to be at the ceremony on Saturday night as the Pittsburgh Steelers retired his No 32 jersey on the 50-year anniversary of his ‘Immaculate Reception’ – one of the most iconic catches in NFL history.
After his death, Saturday’s game and the ceremony itself took on an altogether more significant meaning – not that fans watching on television could feel the sincerity in the coverage.
‘WAAAITTTT…. no no no no no,’ wrote one fan. ‘Why is NFL Network cutting to break during the Franco Harris tribute in-stadium??’
Fans were left stunned when NFL Network went a commercial break in the Franco Harris memorial ceremony held by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night
Harris died earlier this week at the age of 72 – days before the ceremony to honor him
Another viewer was more upset, writing: ‘Absolutely pathetic job by NFL Network, going to commercial during Franco Harris tribute.’
A different fan said: ‘Shame on you for not letting us see the Franco Harris video.
‘Cutting away to commercials was absolutely disrespectful to Franco and the Pittsburgh family. I am not a Pittsburgh fan, but truly wanted to see the tribute video. Where the hell is your holiday spirit?’
Most fans felt it was a distasteful move to show the commercials at such a sensitive time.
‘Shame on you NFL Netwotk for cutting to commercial as Steelers show Franco Harris tribute! Should have shown all fans the tribute! If you need more commercials find another time for them,’ said another angry fan.
‘Did you really just Not show the video tribute to Franco Harris and instead show us commercials nobody cares about? I guess Franco doesn’t make you money like commercials do. SMH’ another said.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Harris stands next a statute of himself on September 12, 2019, at Pittsburgh International Airport near Pittsburgh. Harris died on Wednesday morning, December 21, 2022, at age 72, just two days before the 50th anniversary of The Immaculate Reception
During the ceremony that fans watching from television didn’t get to see at halftime, Steelers president Art Rooney II officially retired his number and aired a tribute video featuring a number of Harris’s teammates.
‘Franco was the heart and soul of our team. When Franco arrived, we became the Pittsburgh Steelers,’ Hall-of-Famer ‘Mean’ Joe Greene said in a tribute to Harris.
‘Everything went through Franco,’ Bradshaw added in that video presentation. ‘One handoff, I’m watching and I’m going “wow, this guy is special.”‘
‘He is the consummate team player. It wasn’t about how many yards he gained, all he cared about was winning,’ Hall-of-Famer Jack Ham said.
Harris’s wife Dana and son Dok were on the field for the ceremony, which was held at halftime in the game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Earlier in the day, fans paid tribute to Harris on the 50th anniversary of the catch by laying flowers at the Immaculate Reception Memorial at the Acrisure Stadium.
A stuffed football is placed at Immaculate Reception memorial outside Acrisure Stadium on the Northside of Pittsburgh in memory of Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris
Flowers and Terrible Towels are placed at Immaculate Reception memorial outside Acrisure Stadium on the Northside of Pittsburgh in memory of Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris
‘My dad had such a personal relationship with so many people, the city, this country, all over the world. And a lot of people are hurting and a lot of people are mourning, and they really are all family,’ Franco’s son Dok Harris earlier told ESPN.
‘It’s almost impossible to process that he could give so much to so many people personally.
‘People [have been] telling me stories about how they met him sometime in 1977 or 1987 or 1991. It was important to them, and it made a difference in their lives. And that’s really the beauty of my father, truly a very blessed soul who just really sought to help everybody out.’
Steelers players all wore jerseys with No 32 on in tribute to Harris when they warmed up before Saturday’s late game against the Raiders.
Last year, Nataliia Doroshko, a 35-year-old lawyer, celebrated St. Nicholas Day with friends and family in her home city of Cherkasy, on the snowy banks of the Dnipro River, downstream from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
During the party, one of the men snuck away and returned dressed as St. Nicholas, a Santa Claus-like figure known as “Sviatyij Mykolai” in Ukraine, she recalled. He was greeted by wide-eyed children, who lined up eagerly to see what gifts he’d brought for them. It was one of the last joyful evenings Doroshko remembers sharing with loved ones before Russia invaded Ukraine and her world turned upside down.
“We had special food, special music, presents for everybody,” she told CNN from a church hall in Henley-on-Thames, a town upstream from London, in Oxfordshire, where she was marking the holiday on December 19.
More than 100 people – a mix of Ukrainian refugees, host families, local residents and teachers – had gathered at the small hall, decked out in strands of snowflake-shaped lights. The vicar was serving drinks, as others dolled out cookies and cakes. One Ukrainian father had donned a red and gold St. Nicholas costume, while children dressed in Christmas sweaters played musical chairs and laughed.
“We’ve celebrated a festival we don’t usually celebrate,” said Krish Kandiah, the man behind the event, who earlier this year launched the Sanctuary Foundation, an organization that helps match Ukrainian refugees with British host families. “It’s been brilliant that the community has welcomed Ukrainians.”
Doroshko, who was sponsored by Kandiah, came across him by chance. While on a packed train trying to flee the fighting, she was scrolling on her phone searching for refugee schemes. She saw him in a YouTube video announcing the launch of a British program called “Homes for Ukraine,” which would allow Ukrainians to travel to the UK if they could find a sponsor. She immediately reached out, asking for help. Five minutes later, Kandiah gave her a call.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to talk, as my English level was close to zero,” said Doroshko, who is now nearly fluent. Over several weeks, with the help of Google Translate, Kandiah assisted her to secure a visa and travel to the UK. She has been living with him, his wife and their six children since May.
As of mid-December, more than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Britain under the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme, while another 42,600 have come stay with relatives, according to the UK government. When the scheme started in March, families were asked to commit to a minimum of six months of hosting. But that period has now elapsed for many Ukrainians who arrived in the spring.
CNN spoke with eight Ukrainian refugees and nine British hosts, as well as UK charities helping to support the scheme, to get a sense of what’s next as the war stretches on, with Russia’s relentless attacks on Ukraine’s power grid threatening to trigger a fresh wave of refugees this winter. An elderly Ukrainian couple that arrived in the UK on December 1, fleeing the conflict and freezing cold, sat together in the corner of the church hall, speaking quietly and letting the festivities sink in. More are expected to join them in the coming weeks.
For Ukrainians spending their first Christmas in their new homes, it was comforting to celebrate old traditions. But, while the room was brimming with good will for the holidays, there was a palpable sense of uncertainty about the year ahead.
Many are unsure how long they will be welcome in their new homes and whether the six-month “deadline” will cast them out on the street. While many Britons signed up to the scheme are happy to continue hosting for as long as necessary, others are hoping to find a more permanent arrangement for both parties. Some say they’ve “done their bit” and simply want their lives back, but are unclear on an exit strategy.
“Two years is a very long time to have somebody living in your house,” one host told CNN.
Currently, the UK government gives host families £350 ($425) a month in “thank you” payments to help cover costs, regardless of the number of people they host. But, for most people CNN spoke with, the major incentive to sign up to the scheme was getting the chance to help – not any sort of monetary gain.
“Frankly, it’s enhanced our lives,” said Robert Aitkin, 76. He and his wife sponsored Oleksandra, who goes by Sasha, and Igor Kuzmenko along with their 2-year-old daughter, Miroslava, and host the young family at their home in Henley-on-Thames. Sasha’s sister has also moved to the Oxfordshire town with her son, who was only a couple of months old when the war broke out.
The families, who came together to the St. Nicholas party, have forged a relationship they say will last a lifetime. And while they initially agreed to the living arrangement for one year, Aitkin said if the Kuzmenkos need more time, “we would definitely do that.”
But not everyone is willing or able to keep their doors open indefinitely. The Aitkins have an apartment attached to their house, so the Kuzmenkos live separately from them. For those with less space, stretching past six months might pose a challenge. “People have made a great gesture at the beginning, but if they’re living in a small space together, it’s got to be difficult for both parties,” Aitkin acknowledged.
With those difficulties in mind, Kandiah’s Sanctuary Foundation started a petition calling on the government to provide more housing support to Ukrainians struggling with accommodation. Kandiah and a group of Ukrainian refugees went to 10 Downing Street on November 29 to hand deliver the petition, signed by more than 4,500 people.
Two weeks later, the government acknowledged the need to support British families who had welcomed Ukrainians into their homes, increasing the monthly stipend to £500 for those who have hosted for over a year. The government also rolled out a £650 million support package, which includes funding for local authorities to help support Ukrainian refugees move into their own homes, acquire additional housing stock and reduce the risk of homelessness.
CNN asked Oxfordshire County Council, which oversees Henley-on-Thames, what help they currently offer Ukrainian refugees who find themselves without a place to stay. “We will do everything we can to continue to provide suitable accommodation for guests, but longer-term housing options may not be possible within the county for everyone who needs it,” a communications officer told CNN.
In the absence of long-term options through local councils, British charities are looking into creative solutions to re-house refugees. One possibility being floated is “re-hosting,” something Kandiah says is akin to “sofa-surfing.” But he worries that if Britons weren’t interested in helping out when the war started, they’re unlikely to do so now.
Part of the problem is that Ukrainian refugees have begun to put down roots in places they can’t necessarily afford, as most of their hosts live in expensive areas. On top of that, Ukrainians have been unable to find comparable work and wages to what they were making before the war, so the steep cost of rent is out of reach.
Many Ukrainians CNN spoke with said they feel frustrated that their qualifications do not translate over. Natasha, who was a lawyer in Cherkasy now she works in a retail store. Another woman, Tania Orlova, 45, was a clinical psychologist in Kyiv and also ran a number of her own businesses; now she works for a local charity in High Wycombe, a town in Buckinghamshire.
Orlova, who speaks several languages, said she could have gone elsewhere in Europe – Spain or Germany, for example – but felt that the UK offered her the best future for her son, Danylo, 8, and her mother, 67, and the chance of becoming “financially independent.” But so far that hasn’t happened, and as a 10-month timeline that she agreed with her hosts approaches, she’s becoming more anxious about where they will go.
When Orlova calls real estate agents, she said that they all start with the same question: “What is your salary?” After a quick calculation, they tell her what she is eligible for. “I couldn’t take anything within that price that would suit three of us – or even two of us,” she said. The median monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment in Oxfordshire is £1,295, according to the latest figures from the UK’s Office for National Statistics.
The UK government started the Homes for Ukraine scheme in the wake of its disastrous Afghan resettlement program. In August, a year after fleeing the Taliban’s takeover of the country, thousands of Afghan asylum seekers and refugees were still living in UK hotels at a cost of more than £5 million a day, according to the government. While the program offered permanent residency, it has only been granted to a few thousand so far.
Ukrainians have received a warmer welcome than other groups of refugees in the UK, but a cloud of impermanence hangs over their stay. The visa for Ukrainians is only valid for three years, with the expectation that they will return home afterward. And though many want to return, for those who can’t or are unable to, their future in the UK is uncertain.
“The people who planned to go back as quickly as possible [to Ukraine] would not have made the quite considerable journey to the UK, gone through the whole rigmarole of the visa process, found a sponsor, gone to the most distant part of Europe – and then only settle there for a short time,” said Stanislav Benes, managing director of Opora – which means “support” in Ukrainian – another charity that helps match Ukrainians with British host families.
“There needs to be much more thought dedicated to, what are the support structures going to be between year one and year three?” he added.
While hosts were aware of the steep costs and cultural differences they might be confronted with when they decided to host Ukrainian refugees, they were less prepared for taking on the mental stress and anguish that their guests were still grappling with.
Orlova told CNN that support is urgently needed for Ukrainians, like herself, who are still wracked with the trauma of the conflict. She said she recently went to a local hospital for an X-ray and the noises from the machine sparked a flashback. Suddenly she was back in Ukraine hearing the wail of the sirens on the morning of the invasion. “I wanted to run from there. I had tears in my eyes,” she said.
Her son Danylo has suffered from night terrors since the war began. At the St. Nicholas celebration, the organizers removed balloons from the church hall after someone pointed out that children might panic if one of them was to pop.
In order to properly recover and regain their sense of self, Kandiah said that Ukrainians will need a space they can truly call their own. “You need to be able to close the front door and say, ‘We’re a family. We can choose what language we’re going to speak, what we’re going to eat.’ That’s part of trauma recovery – having agency, the ability to make decisions.”
But until then, Kandiah said his own family is happy to help with the healing process and make Doroshko feel at home. Bortsch, perogies and holubtsi, a Ukrainian stuffed cabbage dish, are now staple meals in their household. And Kandiah has swapped cough drops for a Ukrainian practice of drinking hot beer to cure a sore throat, just one of many cultural exchanges.
Doroshko said she is relieved to no longer have to travel around with an “emergency suitcase” and worry about being woken by sirens. “I lost my parents when I was 20 years old,” she said. “Now I feel that I have a family again. I was adopted, as it were, only in adulthood.”
Christmas Eve is celebrated on January 6 in Ukraine. Last year, Doroshko said she celebrated with an old tradition: writing a “dream” down on a piece of paper before burning it, pouring the ashes into a glass, and drinking it. “It makes your dreams come true,” said Doroshenko.
What is she wishing for this year? “Peace.”
From carols to Christmas lights and jumpers, prime estate agent John D Wood & Co has been getting into the festive spirit this December.
Its Battersea office took part in the local Carols in the Square event, which it has supported since 2009.
This year, families and friends gathered around the Christmas tree in Battersea Square to sing carols and enjoy treats from stall holders.
Master of ceremonies Hugo Jennings was joined on stage by the choirs of St Mary’s Church, Westbridge School and St John Bosco College.
The tree lights were switched on by the Chelsea Pensioners who were dressed in their signature scarlets and donations were given to The Katherine Low Settlement.
Alex Oppenheim, director at John D Wood & Co.’s Battersea office, said: “It was an absolute joy to see Battersea Square full of local families and friends singing their hearts out around the Christmas tree! My huge thanks to St Mary’s Church who worked incredibly hard to ensure a great time was had by everyone.”
Its Chelsea Green office took part in the area’s annual carol service, now in its 34th year.
Locals and visitors gathered for an evening abuzz with good cheer, evening carols, mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas cake on 13 December.
Treats were provided by the Chelsea Green shops and businesses and the event raised funds for Glass Door – a charity which coordinates open-access services for people affected by homelessness.
In Lymington, agents turned into a sea of Santas and festive friends in this year’s Santa Dash to fundraise for Oakhaven Hospice.
Santa was given a run for his money when all budding superheroes, elves, snowmen, reindeer, puddings, crackers and fairies were invited to unite and run, jog, walk or stroll around the streets of Lymington on Sunday 4 December.
Kat Mitchell, senior lettings manager at John D Wood & Co. in Lymington, said: “This is a wonderful event which brings the community together. Knowing our sponsorship goes to a great cause is brilliant, but the best part is dressing up and getting involved!”
Colleagues across John D Wood & Co also took part in a Christmas jumper day on 8 December, not only to get into the Christmas spirit but to raise awareness and funds for Trussell Trust.
Connells Group steered the fundraising initiative across their UK wide business.
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A couple are facing eviction just days before Christmas after their landlord raised their rent by an unaffordable $170-a-week.
The couple said they had ‘begged’ their real estate agent not to increase the rent on their property in Griffith, Brisbane by more than $100.
However, the agent instead ‘offered’ them an increase of $170-a-week – a price they can ill-afford, so they now face eviction.
The couple said they had ‘begged’ their real estate agent not to increase the rent
However, the agent instead ‘offered’ them an increase of $170-a-week – and they are now being evicted
Writing to their local MP, Max Chandler-Mather of the Greens, they said: ‘I’m disabled and have been unable to work for more than a year.
‘We saw you were talking about rent increases and we have a whopping one to show you: a 35 per cent increase and $170.’
The MP shared the couple’s story, along with an email from the estate agent detailing the new rent.
As well as the rent increase, the agent said an additional bond of $680 was required.
‘An email today – a couple in Griffith who begged a real estate agent to not raise their rent by more than $100. The agent turned around and ‘offered’ a $170 a week rent increase,’ the MP wrote.
‘Now they’re being evicted. This is happening across Australia and will only get worse.’
Figures earlier this month showed the shortage of available rental properties in Australia was at its highest level since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
And the outlook for next year appears to be even more dire, with double-digit house price rises now predicted for 2023 and investor landlords set to rake it in while tenants deal with sky-high bills.
A long line of would-be renters snakes down the side-path of a Sydney street waiting to see a $700 per week two-bedroom rental property in the eastern suburb of Clovelly
This photo of a crowded open inspection in Bondi (pictured) sums up Sydney’s dire rental crisis, where desperate tenants are competing for properties
Sydney house prices are expected to rise by 8 to 12 per cent next year when interest rate rises are paused, with Melbourne tipped to see up to 6 per cent increases and Perth up to 13 per cent.
Rents have soared an average 10.3 per cent in Australia since the start of this year, with the short supply of housing forcing families to share houses or shift into caravans, cars and tents.
The national rental vacancy rate is at a record low 0.9 per cent, according to recent Domain research.
The Rental Affordability Index Report by SGS Economics and Planning and National Shelter released earlier this month makes for even more grim reading.
The report found renting had become less affordable in every capital city in 2022 compared with last year and rentals in regional NSW, Victoria and Queensland were at unprecedented levels of unaffordability.
The RAI found 30 per cent or more of a person’s income was generally spent on rent.
The report’s lead author Ellen Witte said this was extremely taxing for people on single income budgets, including single parents and pensioners.
Many have pointed out that a new Christmas commercial for Kay’s ‘Love Entwined’ $299 necklace features a couple that bear a striking resembles to the royals.
The couple in the TV ad are seen kissing and snuggling as the Harry look-a-like places the necklace around his beloved, with the narrator promoting the jewelry.
‘An interlinking design embracing a signature diamond, representing your hearts, souls and lives forever entwined by love,’ the voiceover says.
While its clear upon closer inspection that the actors are not the royals, the camera angles, fades and low-lighting has left plenty of people questioning the ad.
One Twitter user with handle Molly J. echoed the confusion on social media, writing: ‘Is it just me or did Kay Jewelers purposefully cast a commercial so you’d think, just for a split second, that Harry and Meghan were in a jewelry commercial.’
A new commercial for Kay Jewelers features a couple (pictured) that bear a striking resemblance to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Harry and Meghan
Pictured: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their wedding day
The ad uses plenty of shifting camera angles, fading effects and low-lighting tricks that keep the actors out of focus, which many claim are meant to cause viewers to believe that Harry and Meghan really are doing a commercial for Kay
Many on social media were quick to share videos of the ad, which has been playing since the end of November as they were confused over the identity of the couple.
A Twitter user with the handle Miss Lady, asked what many were questioning: ‘Is that prince Harry and Meghan Markle in that Kay jewelers commercial or am I just seeing stuff?? Lol.’
Melissa Carter, another Twitter user, suggested the doppelgangers were picked on purpose.
‘You can’t tell me @KeyJewelers didn’t do this [on] purpose,’ she wrote.
Another Twitter user with the handle Victoria, wrote echoed allegations that the company knowingly hired the look-a-likes to pose as the royals.
‘I just saw a kay jewelers commercial that i swear to god featured actors chosen specifically to evoke harry and meghan vibes, like the guy was a bearded ginger and the girl had meghan’s skin tone and long dark hair,’ Victoria wrote. ‘I’m dying to know how that brainstorming session went.’
Kay Jewelers and its parent company, Signet Jewelers, did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Many went on social media to point out the doppelgangers in the commercial
While the doppelgangers appeared to fool many, keen eyes would have noticed that the ring the Meghan look-a-like is wearing does not match the $170,000 engagement ring Harry gave to his wife.
The real gold band features one diamond originally from Botswana and two smaller stones from Princess Diana’s collection.
Harry previously told reporters that the ring was yellow gold ‘because that’s [Meghan’s] favorite.’
Along with the engagement ring, Meghan also wears her wedding band, which is in yellow gold and matches Prince Harry’s.
Arabel Lebrusan, owner of the ethical jeweler brand bearing his name, said the ring had been redesigned to make the main diamond ‘look bigger,’ a popular trend to emphasize the main jewel.
Keen eyes would have noticed the differences between the actor’s ring (left) and the genuine, $170,000 engagement ring worn by the Duchess of Sussex
The confusion over the Kay Jewelers commercial comes as all eyes remain on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex over their controversial Netflix documentary.
The couple have recently made headlines after announcing that they’ve organized Christmas presents for more than 30 reunified and refugee families along the US-Mexico border.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are currently living in their $14 million mansion in California having stepped back from royal duty, shared the news on their Archewell Foundation website.
Alongside a photograph of a pile of presents, a description explained: ‘On Friday, the Archewell team including The Archewell Foundation, Archewell Audio and Archewell Productions gathered to celebrate the holidays and participate in This Is About Humanity’s annual Holiday Party for Reunified Families represented by Immigrant Defenders Law Center.
‘Led by The Archewell Foundation, the company organized holiday gifting for over 30 reunified and refugee families.
‘This Is About Humanity creates a community of allies and advocates dedicated to raising awareness about separated and reunified families and children at the U.S.-Mexican border.’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ‘organized gifts for more than 30 different reunified and refugee families’ at the US and Mexico border this weekend
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are currently living in their $14 million mansion in California having stepped back from royal duty, shared the news on their Archewell Foundation website alongside a photograph of boxes of gifts
The news was shared hours after a new trailer was released for a Netflix show fronted by the couple which celebrates inspiring leaders.
The couple, who appeared last week in the last three episodes of their bombshell docuseries ‘Meghan & Harry’, will look at figures ‘who have made brave choices’ including Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, late US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Greta Thunberg and former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Other people who will be featured include Bryan Stevenson, a 63-year-old US social justice activist and law professor, Albie Sachs, 87, a former South African judge, rugby player Siya Kolisi, 31, and the journalist Gloria Steinem, 88.
The trailer features an interview with Ginsburg, who died in September 2020 after receiving several months of cancer treatment.
Need a new signet ring with the family crest for a lucky someone’s stocking? Or a Boxing Day’s shoot in Devon?
Perhaps a new cocker spaniel puppy with a five-generation pedigree to delight the children on Christmas morning?
Then you need to become a member of Britain’s most elite social network.
Known as Radio H-P, this online members’ club is like a posh Gumtree — a website which allows its well-heeled members to discreetly sell houses, animals and silver candlesticks to one another, as well as finding staff and suitably smart holiday rentals.
A few weeks ago tickets for an afternoon spent Christmas decorating with Michelle Dockery (otherwise known as Lady Mary from Downton Abbey) were advertised
Founded in 2015 by Nigel Haddon-Paton, 69, a charming and impeccably dressed former major in the Household Cavalry regiment Blues and Royals, it’s become a much-loved resource by all those who use it. And it’s particularly handy at this time of year when posh people do their Christmas shopping.
Because dukes and countesses couldn’t possibly venture on to Oxford Street or browse anywhere as common as eBay. Instead, they look to Radio H-P, where current Christmas presents on offer include signed lithographs of Balmoral and Sandringham by King Charles (from £6,000), an antique snooker table (from £6,900) and a used mini Land Rover for children (£2,700).
There was particular excitement a few weeks ago when tickets for an afternoon spent Christmas decorating with Michelle Dockery (otherwise known as Lady Mary from Downton Abbey) were advertised, though it’s unclear whether the actress herself is part of the H-P community.
Current Christmas presents on offer include signed lithographs of Balmoral and Sandringham by King Charles (from £6,000)
No doubt at this point you’re wondering how you gain access to Radio H-P. Well, it’s tricky. Very tricky. It’s not like signing up to Facebook. They don’t let any old riff-raff in. As with old-school gentleman’s clubs, you have to be proposed by someone who’s already a user and seconded by another user (these two people can’t be related).
These proposers and seconders fill out a testimonial form, illustrating that person’s ‘character’, and ‘what you think they might bring to the Radio H-P community’.
Whoever is being put forward then has to provide a potted CV of their education and career. Every single application is read by Nigel himself.
Nigel Hadden-Paton was inspired to set up Radio H-P thanks to his very smart friends asking him for help to sell whippet puppies or rent their house in the South of France. And so, eight years ago, he launched a website to connect those in his address book with others who wanted a whippet or a week in Provence. He dubbed it Radio H-P after his surname, and it’s grown ever since.
Known as Radio H-P, this online members’ club is like a posh Gumtree — a website which allows its well-heeled members to discreetly sell houses, animals and silver candlesticks to one another
Today, he says his website is ‘not only considered the friendliest network on the internet but a much sought after resource to reach an influential target market for selling or publicising almost anything.’
Nigel, who lives in Dorset with his wife and has four children — one of whom is the actor, Harry, who played Martin Charteris in the first two series of The Crown — is an entrepreneurial sort.
He’s also a truffle salesman who runs a separate website called Truffle UK. It sells tree saplings, imported from France, Italy and Croatia and infused with truffle spores which, ideally, later sprout truffles themselves. The late Duke of Edinburgh was a client.
With these sort of connections, then, it’s perhaps no surprise to hear that the 11,000 members of Radio H-P are largely made up of extremely grand types: dukes, earls, countesses, lords and ladies, the odd celebrity and Sloaney sorts ranging in age from 18 upwards. While some members live all over the world, the main clientele are mostly British.
This green, vintage-looking toy landrover is priced at £2,700 on Radio H-P
My mother and I are both members and we text the funniest adverts to one another.
Recently, she sent me a post offering members the chance to recycle their ‘family gold’ and turn it into signet rings. Since I’m thinking about getting a dog, she also sends me the puppy postings.
One member is currently advertising a litter of basset hound puppies (‘bred through French and Irish lines’) and I was quite tempted by the photos of the pups peering sweetly over their dog bed. At least you know you’re not buying from a puppy farm here.
It’s also terrific people-watching because underneath every advert is the name of the person who posted it, so I often spot one and think, ‘Oh look, the Duke of So-and-So is selling his old Defender.’
Last month, I learned that a friend was pregnant only when I saw her advert on the site, looking for a bigger rental house in Chelsea.
Indeed, a good number of the members know each other in real life and would wave to one another at Royal Ascot or on the Eton playing field as they watch their son in a rugby match, which is exactly why they like Radio H-P: it’s a safe space. You can rent someone’s house in Puglia or their chalet in Verbier knowing you’re not about to be conned.
That said, there can be hiccups: this summer, I bought a swanky, second-hand Fisher & Paykel cooker for £1,000 from another member and arranged delivery, only for the seller to ring very apologetically on the day (‘I’m so terribly sorry’), confessing that her husband had sold it to another member who’d already got the cooker upstairs and installed in her Maida Vale flat.
The daredevil’s toboggan is available for £2,500 and is decorated with the Scottish saltire
But my money was returned immediately and I never worried at any point that I’d been ‘had’.
Similarly, I recently spotted a splendid testimonial written by a Radio H-P member, lamenting that, having arrived on holiday in Antigua, she discovered the house they’d rented was ‘awful’ but that, thanks to Radio H-P, she was able to rent another, ‘thank goodness!’
For the anointed few, once you’re a member, you can either log on to the site to browse the adverts or sign up for a twice-daily email listing the new postings, dubbed ‘Morning Post’ and ‘Evening Post’, with every email you receive signed off ‘Love and best wishes, Nigel’.
If you want to sell something, say an antique chest of drawers or a house in Gloucestershire, you have to pay the website a fee, which depends on the cost of the item, plus a commission from the sale. If you like the look of something, you simply click on the advert and then message the seller.
But you have to be quick. Earlier this year, I spied a beautiful wooden bath for sale — a bargain at a few hundred pounds — and immediately messaged the seller, since I was doing up my bathroom at the time. Alas, it had sold within minutes.
Although the idea of a posh, private online club may enrage class warriors and it’s all too easy to poke fun of, Radio H-P does a lot of good, too. Last month, one user posted about trying to find a blood stem cell donor for a young relative with leukaemia. It offers tickets to charitable events and helps members find trustworthy carers for their elderly parents, or drivers who can take relatives to hospital and back.
As Nigel himself says, it has ‘old-fashioned values that make Radio H-P a watchword for reliability and good behaviour in business and contribute to [its members’] growing sense of community.’
So what kind of treasures can you find on Radio H-P? Aside from royal lithographs by His Majesty, here’s the current best of crop. Just don’t tell anyone I showed you . . .
BEST OF PETS FOR THE SWISHIEST HOMES
Six Kennel Club-registered French bulldogs are available for £2,000 each
A ‘sweet and loving’ pony called Breeze is being offered for £4,500. She’s grey, very well-behaved, ‘likes hunting and games’ and would make the perfect present for a small child. Pick up from Northumberland.
Or why not surprise the family with a Kennel Club-registered French bulldog on Christmas Day? Three boys and three girls are available, £2,000 each, they’ve been wormed and have had their first vaccine.
Members also often advertise for male or female dogs to breed with theirs. Tragically, I always find these adverts extremely funny. ‘Bilbo seeks a babe,’ says one current post, going on to explain that the member is keen to breed her Shih Tzu Bilbo with another dog because she’d ‘love to have one of his puppies’.
SLIDE INTO THE POSHEST OF TOBOGGONS
One of my favourite adverts ever on this site, a member is selling his Cresta Run toboggan. The Cresta Run is the very exclusive and very icy slope in St Moritz, Switzerland, which European Royalty and British toffs have been flinging themselves down since it was built in 1884.
This daredevil’s toboggan is available for £2,500 and is decorated with the Scottish saltire.
‘The Cresta run has always been known as the best thrill you can have with your clothes on, and here is the means to achieve it,’ promises his advertisement.
TIME TO BUY YOURSELF A NEW BENTLEY?
One member is currently flogging his blue Bentley, which has walnut veneers and heated seats. It’s a snip at £35,000.
Another declares ‘For the person who has everything’ in his advert, offering a 2007 black cab with nearly 400,000 miles on the clock, air-con and a top speed of 70mph. ‘I bought it to drive to Germany and back, and now it is ready for its next adventure,’ says the double-barrelled member from Chelsea.
COUNTRY MANSIONS TO A CHIC PIED A TERRE
Property is often advertised on the site because you can sell directly to another member without having to deal with an oily estate agent.
Right now, you can pick up a sensationally beautiful, seven- bedroom Georgian house in Dorset if you have a spare £2 million knocking around. Built in the 1780s, it has an adjacent paddock and a separate two- bedroom cottage.
Or why not buy a luxury penthouse in Lisbon — solid oak floors, marble terrace, walnut staircase and three bedrooms for just €4 million (£3.4 million).
TRUSTED HOUSEKEEPER OR A CHALET HOST
Nannying jobs, as well as PA roles and live-in caring jobs, are regularly posted on Radio H-P because it’s a trusted network where you’re more likely to find someone brilliant than using a dubious or expensive agency. A housekeeper is currently required for the Cotswolds (must be able to cook ‘to dinner party standard’) and various chalet hosts are, naturally, needed for chalets across the Alps as the winter ski season kicks off.
LUXE HOLIDAYS FOR THOSE IN THE KNOW
Renting your nine-bedroom house on Radio H-P is popular because its membership is so select you won’t (hopefully) come home to a place trashed by plebs a la Airbnb. And the prices are competitive, too.
‘Escape the cold and dark — come to Cape Town!’ says a recent post, offering a pretty wooden three-bedroom house in the South African city for £1,500 a week. Other holiday homes currently on offer are in Sri Lanka, Morocco and Botswana.
Or you could opt for ‘a slice of heaven’ in Kenya over New Year, and spend £3,300 a week renting this member’s house on the coast which comes with five staff, including a ‘superb’ chef.
ONLY ONE PLACE TO BUY YOUR FOIE GRAS…
‘Although avian flu has made it difficult to source this year, I do have a small quantity of delicious foie gras,’ writes one member, who imports the delicacy from France. Prices from £32 and ‘fig, raspberry and truffle condiments are available’ to go with it. ‘I also have some wonderful highly alcoholic cherries that make the perfect present,’ adds the member. Delicious.