Archive for October, 2011

What’s in a name?

Posted: 31/10/2011 in Bunny Chow

I’ve had a few people questioning the meaning behind my pseudonym and what it all means so I thought I’d have a go at explaining it and the tradition behind it.

I’ll begin with a little background when I was a young teenager we got two Siamese kittens and whilst trolling through the myriad of possible related names and having eliminated all of the usual contenders like Harley and Davidson, New and York, etc and etc 2 we settled on the names of a local delicacy which translated to porridge and meat but the die was cast and all family pets from thence forth were given food names like the next dog being relish and my own cats being Vino (wine), Wors (sausage) and Marula (an african fruit.)

When we got my beloved Staffie we again begun casting around for names and then inspiration struck me, we were at the time regulars at a sadly now defunct local South African Indian restaurant named 1860 and their signature dish was the famous and fabulous Bunny Chow, which is basically an early form of street food consisting of curry served in a hollowed out loaf or partial loaf of bread. The curry is traditionally mutton but commonly chicken, seafood or vegetarian curries are used too. Despite some personal research I have as yet been unable to track down a purveyor of bunny flavoured Bunnies. 

So anyway after gaining the restaurant owners blessing that is where my hound got her name and ultimately where this blog got its name.

Hope that clears things up for you

As always


Mr Bunny Chow

Sick Kids

Posted: 28/10/2011 in Uncategorized

So another week and yet again we have a sick child, The Monkey Boy or InfectaBoy as we’re now affectionately calling him has once again managed to get himself sick.

It all began when I collected him from nursery on Tuesday evening I was told that he had been coughing a lot (we’d noticed this too) it wasn’t that long since he’d last been on antibiotics for a chest infection, I forget the exact timeline but certainly since The Bug was born so in the last 6 or 7 weeks anyway.

The wonderfully attentive nursery team told me that they’d kept him indoors for the day and that he had been very dopey and cuddly all afternoon although not developed a temperature. They also told me that he’d fallen asleep in the afternoon something he never does with them although not that unusual when he’s at home (I guess we’re boring or tiring). He certainly did look miserable though.

By the time I got him home from the nursery though he was running a 39C temperature and looked even more miserable, of course we did what all parents of toddlers do, dosed him up with Calpol (baby paracetamol) and cough mixture and once knocked out on painkillers put him to bed. He certainly crashed hard but was awake and hungry by midnight and after a snack I moved into the bed in his room which thankfully is still there after my parents recent stay and he kicked snuffled and approximated sleep with me for the rest of the night.

Mrs Bunny Chow shuffled him off to the doctor’s surgery in the morning for them to confirm our suspicions he has bronchiolitis and Mrs Bunny Chow was dispatched to the pharmacy with a lengthy prescription for more antibiotics, steroid tablets and an inhaler with instructions to return and see another doctor that afternoon and the warning that if he hadn’t improved we may have to take him to hospital. Thankfully after he had been dosed with antibiotics, steroids and a few largely unsuccessful attempts at the inhaler he had improved sufficiently enough for that warning to have been removed by the time of the return visit.

That evening with me now able to assist Mrs Bunny Chow and I were able to deal with InfectaBoy’s numerous arms and legs and hold him down long enough to get him to inhale the prescribed dose of 10 pumps of the subutamol inhaler, I mean seriously who’s stupid idea was it to think that a toddler would hold still and calm while we pumped his lungs full of drugs via gas mask type spacer.

Still we managed to get it done and after more doses of the beloved Calpol he was put to bed and awoke yesterday morning without a temperature and although the cough is still there we’ve sent him back to nursery where he is at least happy. 

We will of course continue dosing him up as prescribed and I’m making yet another visit to the GP’s with him after work/nursery this evening.

I guess the reason I’ve decided to come and have a rant is purely because we’ve had such a run of sick kids and wondered if any of you dear readers have had similar experiences and how you coped with the exasperation, worry and concern around your kids being sick.

I’d love to hear from you.


Mr Bunny Chow

Six weeks ago today The Bug came into our lives and has turned everything upside down all over again.

Angry Bug

 How such a little bundle of angry humanity can inject itself so deeply into your soul is something that fascinates me. Mrs Bunny Chow and I debated at length the wisdom of having a second child, we both grew up as only children and are relatively well-adjusted adults, I was certainly spoiled, Monkey Boy already had a dog and two cats to keep him company, we already loved him more than we believed it was possible to love anybody, how wise was it going to be to bring somebody else into this already chaotic and busy little home.

In the end poor prophylactic practice (i.e. no prophylactic) made the decision for us and we found ourselves quoting our mothers with the line we now know for a fact, it only takes once. This is of course not something that we regret happening we were both delighted if a little daunted at the news that the decision had been taken out of our hands and made for us in a fit of drunken passion and dog eviction.

Now of course the dog is back in the bed and I’m too scared to kiss my beloved wife for fear that this may happen again, but that is of course besides the point here, The Bug has arrived and in his six short weeks on the planet he has caused heartache, terror and huge amounts of sleep deprived joy. His presence has in no way caused our love for The Monkey Boy to diminish in any way shape or form but our hearts have simply opened up even wider to receive this new addition.

Last night I was gifted the ominous chance to learn for myself that one tired and hungry toddler who misses his Mummy plus one angry hungry little Bug is not in fact two children but that the amount of noise that they can creat multiplies exponentially with the addition of one. Now those of you out there that know me know full well that I am not a patient man, in fact judging by my ranting in these very pages even those of you that don’t know me know that I am not a patient man.

Yet here I found myself alone with these two beautiful little beings who were both wailing their heads off at the same time and whilst I fed and comforted the older boy the dog, the sweet bouncy stupid dog understood that she could help and began to lick the back of The Bugs head to try to comfort him and gosh darn it it actually worked and here I was in sole charge of these little people who moments before had been wailing their heads off and between the Dog and I we managed to make their lives happy and quiet again and  my heart just melted. I am not ashamed to say that I began to cry too, but mine were tears of joy that I have been blessed with an amazing wife who has blessed me with two beautiful children and a stupid dog.

It is at times like those when I cannot help but think how lucky I am and how through all the trials and tribulations that a young family brings into your life there is nothing else that I need other than to be surrounded by those that I love.

Thank you family and stupid dog for being part of my life.


Mr Bunny Chow

I’m getting there.

Posted: 19/10/2011 in Uncategorized

I had a little bit of time in the middle of last night while The Bug (my youngest son) wasn’t wailing to be fed/burped etc to have a fiddle with some of the design elements of the site and it’s begining to have the feel and look that I want from it.

There is still a ways to go and it will take me some time to get it perfect but I must admit that so far I’m very happy with the wordpress platform and glad to have made the step across from blogger.

I apologise to all of my subscribers for having to make you go through the effort again and hope that I haven’t lost too many of you, I hope that the process is suitably simple and that you’ll all be back again in no time.

As before the site is broken down into a couple of elements, my space to rant and praise and generally let off steam, my Amazon Store wherwe you can buy stuff that I recommend and my review site where I will be posting reviews on stuff that I think you might like to know my opinions on. These will mostly consist of book reviews but could also include other things I’ve been particularly impressed or unimpressed with.

Please do let me know what you think of the new sites design and content in either the comments section below or via email

Thank you all again for your support


Mr Bunny Chow


So the first proper post on the all new is going to be a guest rant from one of my old friends writing under the pseudonym of Chuckles.

I can’t personally vouch for how bad this company appears to be but Chuckles has certainly convinced me that I don’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I’ll leave you in his capable words.


Mr Bunny Chow

I’m a big chap (38/40 inch waist) so I thought I’d give Jacamo a go. I called their 0800 number to ask for a catalogue, after giving all my details the lady at the other end went quiet for ages. After a while I said “hello”. She said, “please hold on, I’m just doing a credit check”. “WHAT?, Why” I asked, I didn’t want credit. She said they do a credit check regardless. I explained that I didn’t want that and left it at that. She was going to perform a credit check without my permission.

A few weeks later my wife tells me she has ordered me some jeans from them, it turns out Jacamo is not a company in itself but is run by a company who have 26 catalogues and my wife already had an account.

Jacamo do next day delivery as standard so I waited to see what my wife had chosen. Nothing arrived, no biggie, I’d wait until the next day, nothing arrived and my wife received an email from Jacamo out of the blue saying delivery would be 3 working days. Odd but no fuss, they’d be here the next day. Nothing arrived. At this point I called Jacamo. I found out the reason it was 3 working days was because my wife had used this other account and that the 3 days starts from 2 days after the order??? (clearly bull but Ho hum) the order would be here the day after. Nothing arrived.

I called Jacamo again a week after the order. I spoke to a manager who assured me the order was coming that day and that she would call me tomorrow to check it had arrived. Nothing arrived. I waited for the promised call back but it didn’t happen. The next day I called again, I was told that as a gesture of good will the order would be there by Thursday. I was dismayed that they would use the expression “gesture of good will” to describe offering to deliver the order 8 days late.

Thursday came and went and nothing arrived. I called Jacamo again and was told that the service reconciliation team would call me straight back. Half an hour later I called again, at which time I was told they would call but it would be within 48 hours.

On Saturday my wife called Jacamo again and was told the same team would call her back on Monday, now they have promised to call us both. You won’t be surprised at this point to learn they called neither of us.

My wife called Jacamo again (yesterday) and they said they would send the order again for next day delivery. Today I called Jacamo to enquire as to why they did not call me as promised, they couldn’t tell me but promised me the service reconciliation team would call me back.

A short while ago my Jacamo order arrived. One of the pairs of jeans fits fine but I don’t like them. The other 2 pairs, however, are a good 6 inches to small at the waist and are obviously mislabeled. Now I have to go to the trouble of taking the package to the post office and returning them.

A few hours later they turned up again with another parcel containing the same items. I explained to the lady at the door, in a polite tone, “I’m not sure we actually want this”. The response was “You ordered it” snapped back at me. At this point I said “no, we ordered it over two weeks ago and we really don’t want it” and handed it back to her. She had the cheek to tell me off for being rude. 

Further to all this, Jacamo have a freephone number, but only for ordering their catalogue, after that it is 0871 only (10p per minute) and a lot more from a mobile. They go to great lengths to make sure you call this number and the geographic equivalent (got from has a recorded message telling you to call the expensive number. Their staff seem very apt at taking things slowly. At £6 an hour to phone them they are probably employing their staff at a profit.

This firm seems to me to be a con and nothing more. I suggest giving them a wide berth.



Welcome to the new site

Posted: 18/10/2011 in Uncategorized

Hello and welcome to the all new I promise to keep it as irreverant and cheerful as the old blogger site with lengthy rants about people who annoy me, things that move me and stuff of which I approve.

Please bear with me while I get everything in order.


Mr Bunny Chow

Apologies if you got the wrong post the first time to my email subscribers I’m having some technical issues brought about my my incompetence.

What you should have received is replicated below.


Mr Bunny Chow

Dear Mr Bunny Chow,

Just a quick update on two issues:

1.       Learning the appropriate lessons from the riots

Yesterday, the Backbench Business Committee granted me a three hour debate on the response to the riots that scarred our town and other parts of the UK in early August. You can read my full speech here but in essence my argument was that two months on we have a much clearer picture of what happened and what the appropriate lessons are for public policy.

In the immediate aftermath, there were two competing narratives of why the riots happened. The first, most bluntly articulated by the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, was that the riots were a spontaneous reaction to Government cuts (“If you’re making massive cuts, there’s always the potential for this sort of revolt against that”, Newsnight, 8th August). The second, articulated by much of our media, was that they were the result of a feral generation of teenagers.

The evidence doesn’t support either of these narratives. Far from being spontaneous, there was a significant degree of organisation behind the riots. 19% of those arrested in London to date are known gang members. According to the Ministry of Justice, 73% of those who came before the courts before midday on 12th September had a previous caution or conviction and the average number of offences they had committed was 15. So the riots were not a political protest by people with no previous criminal record that got out of hand. And in Croydon only 15% of those arrested have been under 18, 38% have been under 21 and 7% have been over 40. So the riots were not solely, or even primarily, the work of teenagers.

Lesson one then is that we need to tackle gang culture and lesson two is that we need to reform our prison system so that it does a better job of addressing prisoners’ underlying problems – few if any educational qualifications, mental health problems, drug and/or alcohol abuse – because at the moment a high proportion of those released go out and re-offend.

The next issue relates to the police response. The Met have been honest enough to admit that with the benefit of hindsight they didn’t have enough officers on duty on the Sunday, Saturday and Monday (the figures, if you are interested, were 3,380 on Saturday, 4,275 on Sunday and 6,000 on Monday). On Tuesday, we saw a massive increase to 16,000 – and it worked. So yes the police can’t be immune from the need to save money and yes we can reduce bureaucracy so that a higher proportion of the officers we have are on visible duty but numbers matter. The Government and the Mayor need to work together to make sure we make savings without reducing frontline policing.

I have spent the last few weeks visiting schools and colleges in and around my constituency to talk to young people about what happened and what we need to do to stop it happening again. On most issues, they agree with their parents and grandparents but on one issue – attitudes to the police – they have a very different view. Many young people – particularly young black men – don’t feel the police are on their side. When they are stopped and searched, they don’t feel they are treated with respect. I am sure that many police officers feel young people don’t treat them with respect either. The Met has come a long way since I was a teenager but clearly there is more to do. We need our police force to be more representative of the people they are policing and we need young people to understand that the police are there to protect them and police officers to understand how it feels to be stopped on a regular basis.

The final lesson relates to how we punish people. According to the Ministry of Justice, those who committed offences during the riots were more likely to receive an immediate custodial sentence and to receive longer sentences than those who committed the same offences a month earlier. I support the decisions the courts have taken – I think it was important to send out a clear message that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and that it has done a lot to restore some faith in our criminal justice system. But there is also evidence that it has helped to reduce crime. If you compare the four weeks from 17th July to 14th August with the four weeks from 15th August to 11th September, property crime in Croydon is down about 30% and violent crime about 20%. You would expect to see a significant reduction in property crime because clearly a large number of property crimes were committed on 8th August and you would expect to see some reduction in both types of crime as a result of the extra police on our streets. But the reduction in violent crime in Croydon is larger than elsewhere suggesting there is something else at work. The answer appears to be that, in the short term at least, prison works – a number of prolific offenders have been put inside and that has reduced crime. As is often the case in politics, we are being offered a false choice by those who argue the way to cut crime is to be tougher and those who argue that the answer is to reform our prisons to reduce reoffending. Why can’t we do both?

2.       The national independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel public meeting

The national independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel will be holding a public meeting in Croydon Braithwaite Hall on Tuesday 18 October.

The meeting will be held at Croydon Braithwaite Hall, Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street, Croydon CR9 1ET and will start with refreshments from 6.30pm.

If you would like to speak to the Panel about your experience of the riots then please come along to this open public meeting. All views will be welcome.

This Panel is separate from the Local Independent Review Panel that has been set up in Croydon. Panel members are Darra Singh OBE, Simon Marcus, Heather Rabbatts CBE and Maeve Sherlock OBE. The Panel will deliver early findings by November, and present a final report by March 2012.

The Panel will look at:

·         the motivation for a small minority of people to take part in riots;
·         why the riots happened in some areas and not others;
·         how key public services engaged with communities before, during and after the riots;
·         what motivated local people to come together to take civic action to resist riots in their area or to clean up after riots had taken place;
·         how communities can be made more socially and economically resilient in the future, in order to prevent future problems; and
·         what they think could have been done differently to prevent or manage the riots.

If you can’t attend the meeting on Tuesday and would still like to speak to the Panel, they can be contacted by:

Twitter: @riotspanel
Post: Riots Panel, 6th Floor, Eland House, Bressenden Place, SW1E 5DU

You can find out more about the independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel at

Gavin Barwell
MP for Croydon Central

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