Thursday 30 June 2016

Anti-Loitering Devices Dangerous To Window Cleaners

The “Mosquito”, which emits an irritating high-pitched tone aimed at people under 25. Young workers exposed to the device included a window cleaner Seymour-Dearness observed working directly beneath it. People had experienced pain and ringing ears for hours after leaving the device’s range. These are installed World-Wide.
National ban sought on sonic anti-loitering device aimed at young people: Queensland solicitor’s (Seymour-Dearness) success in having shopping centre stop using high-pitched ‘Mosquito’ drives push for it to be barred around the country.

A community legal service that forced a Queensland shopping centre to stop using a sonic “anti-loitering” device after its own workers complained of headaches and ringing ears has called for a nationwide ban. The shopping centre in Hervey Bay, a politically conservative coastal city known as the state’s retirement capital, claimed to be one of the first in Australia to install the “Mosquito”, which emits an irritating high-pitched tone aimed at people under 25.

The device – installed 10 years ago on the recommendation of police and operated at all hours without warning signs – gradually came to be associated by local youth with lasting “distressing ear ringing and pain”, according to the Taylor Street Community Legal Service. Melissa Seymour-Dearness, a solicitor, gathered multiple accounts of affected youths, including a 15-year-old supermarket worker who suffered headaches after passing it on the way to work, said it was a “textbook case” of unlawful discrimination.

The shopping centre owners recently agreed to remove the Mosquito after two years of pressure by Seymour-Dearness, who alerted anti-discrimination authorities to the case but stopped short of formal legal action. Seymour-Dearness wants the federal government to “recognise the discriminatory nature of these devices and investigate product safety with a view to entirely banning its use within Australia”.

Centre management originally told her that “young people were more likely to commit public nuisance and possibly crime and a device was therefore warranted to deter loitering and unwelcome behaviour previously experienced”, Seymour-Dearness said. The blanket effect of the device on young people who weren’t breaking the law violated the UN convention on rights of children and could constitute criminal assault, she argued.

“Usually when I mention it to people, it sounds like something out of a movie,” Seymour-Dearness said. “Initially when [the shopping centre] wrote back to me they said the purpose of it was to make it a more pleasant experience for everyone and that they didn’t accept that it was discriminatory in this context. But in terms of the law, it is definitely unlawful. It’s a textbook example of discrimination. It’s black and white.

“I would like to see an outright ban on them. Aside from the discriminatory effect and the direct physical harm that it causes, to me too the concern is that it’s reinforcing a negative stereotype of young people. “It’s demonising young people and I don’t think that’s fair, and I don’t think that’s the sort of society that any of us should have to live in.” Seymour-Dearness said she appreciated the shopping centre would have assumed the device was lawful when it was recommended by a police officer, whose details the centre had provided.

The British company selling the device confirmed that its 17.5khz tone was generally heard only by people under 25 – including infants – and that its range had a radius of 15 metres, Seymour-Dearness said. People had experienced pain and ringing ears for hours after leaving the device’s range, which included some shops and a bus stop routinely used by school students.

Young workers exposed to the device included a window cleaner Seymour-Dearness observed working directly beneath it. “Maybe I wouldn’t have found it so offensive if they had a sign up and it was only on outside business hours, but people literally had no idea,” she said.

The shopping centre told the lawyer it was one of the first in Australia to install the Mosquito and it was now used all over the country. A local council and businesses in the Western Australian city of Geraldton also sparked controversy when installing the device in 2012.

A Sydney council that played Barry Manilow songs to deter loitering in a beachside car park reportedly considered the Mosquito in 2008 even as the children’s commissioner for England called for a ban in the UK where it was invented.

But youth advocates in Queensland had not heard of its use and no other cases were raised when Seymour-Dearness was in touch with the Human Rights Commission and the Queensland Anti-Discrimination commission, Seymour-Dearness said. “They seem to be under the radar and I don’t know whether that’s because they’re not widespread or they’re there and people don’t know what’s giving them headaches so they don’t know to complain,” she said.

The Hervey Bay case was raised at an Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities meeting last November, prompting anti-discrimination authorities to press for an investigation by product safety regulators of the device’s effects on youths, people with disabilities and assistance animals. Seymour-Dearness said this may have influenced the Hervey Bay shopping centre’s decision, which pre-empted formal legal pursuit of a discrimination complaint.

A 2007 report on the Mosquito by the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health could not certify the device as safe, and said it put small children and infants “especially at risk”. This was due to possible “lengthy exposure to the sound, because the adults themselves do not perceive the noise”. Its ultrasound effects went beyond hearing to “dizziness, headache, nausea and impairment”, although this was “not the limit of the total risks to safety and health”.

Commonly placed in commercial areas where window cleaners work for long periods. "My understanding is dogs have a different audible range to humans," she said. "Lots of products come onto the market without having to meet a certain standard. Nobody has ever really thought about it."
Buzz-off device raising concerns: An investigation has been triggered into controversial high-pitched anti-loitering alarms - known as mosquito devices - which are being used to repel and make young troublemakers and bogan types scatter from public places. The devices, legal in Australia and being used in at least Western Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory, NSW and possibly Tasmania, emit an irritating high-frequency buzzing noise only heard by people aged between 13 to 24, according to its manufacturers.

Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks, has spoken to the state's Consumer Affairs chief about her concerns, which are shared by commissioners throughout the country. The commissioners' concerns about the devices include "the unfair targeting of young people, the negative affect on young children and babies and their inability to effectively communicate their discomfort to an adult, a reported negative effect on people with certain disabilities, possible impact on assistance dogs and their ability to assist as required".

Security companies market the mosquito devices, such as the "Anti-Graffiti and Delinquency Alarm MK4", as "the most effective tool for dispersing groups of teenagers who regularly congregate in a location and behave in an anti-social manner". One such company, Q-Matrix Security Solutions (Aust), says the devices can prove more effective than the police. "If you have groups of teenagers regularly loitering near your property, causing criminal damage, putting off customers or even abusing customers and staff, then the Mosquito MK4 anti-loitering device is the most effective way to put an end to the problem without confrontation," the company advertises.

However, Ms Banks told Fairfax Media there were increasing concerns about the devices, invented in 2006 and used widely by councils and law enforcers in the UK, United States and Europe, especially now, given their growing popularity in Australia in public places including shopping centres, bus malls and foreshores. Use of the devices has led to civil court action overseas, including litigation between neighbours.

Examples on the mainland include the town of Geraldton, Western Australia, where locals complained in 2013 of discomfort, migraines, dizziness and nausea after the devices were installed by the council and local businesses; in Hervey Bay, Queensland, where an employee at a shopping centre recently complained of health problems after the technology was installed by centre management; and in NSW where State Rail used them to drive young people away from graffiti hotspots between 10pm and 4am.

Ms Banks said it was understood the devices were also deployed in the Northern Territory and possibly Tasmania. "It's (the noise) uncomfortable and it clearly affects young people and possibly babies," she said.. "The fact it affects all young people in a particular way is a problem."

Ms Banks said, aside from the largely untested health impacts, the devices discriminated against young people, adding that examples in WA had shown they simply shifted the anti-social behaviour to another location. "It's not a civically responsible way to deal with it," Ms Banks said. She said that by referring the matter to Consumer Affairs, there could be some investigation into whether the devices also affected babies and guide dogs. "My understanding is dogs have a different audible range to humans," she said. "Lots of products come onto the market without having to meet a certain standard. Nobody has ever really thought about it."

Ms Banks said Consumer Affairs and Trading in Tasmania were "keen to look at it", and the concerns would be discussed at a national level. A communique from a recent meeting of the Australia Council of Human Rights Authorities in Hobart noted that: "Authorities agreed to approach relevant consumer and product safety authorities to ask for the safety of these devices to be examined, with a particular focus on safety and health impacts on young people and other people in particular people with disabilities, and impact on assistance animals".

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Woah! A New Window Cleaning Association

Coming soon!
The WCA - A new window cleaning association. Mark Munro will release a new association at the WCP show this September. He plans to make it a more affordable choice for many window cleaners in the UK. 

All he has to say at the present time is, "If you are a window cleaner, the WCA will have much to offer you." "Indeed, we believe that membership of the WCA will be a means by which all professional window cleaners will be recognised."

Meanwhile, you can register your interest on the facebook page here. For more information, email Mark Munro at

The countdown begins!

Woah! A New Window Cleaning Association

Coming soon!
The WCA - A new window cleaning association. Mark Munro will release a new association at the WCP show this September. He plans to make it a more affordable choice for many window cleaners in the UK. 

All he has to say at the present time is, "If you are a window cleaner, the WCA will have much to offer you." "Indeed, we believe that membership of the WCA will be a means by which all professional window cleaners will be recognised."

Meanwhile, you can register your interest on the facebook page here. For more information, email Mark Munro at

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Tricks Of The Gutter Clean Con Men

Aftermath... The mess left behind at the home of the elderly couple who were almost duped out of £3,000. “I want all households to be aware that this could happen to them, the men were very nice, they looked very presentable."
Conmen try to scam thousands out of blind pensioner and wife: Fraudsters tried to con £3,000 out of a blind Nuneaton pensioner and his wife. The 85-year-old man and his wife, who did not want to be named, have been unable to sleep since the incident , which took place on June 18. They have spoken about their ordeal in a bid to highlight the tricks used and ensure no-one else is duped.

The pensioner said: “He was an Irish chap and he said ‘good morning to you’ he was very nice. He said that they were going all the way up the street, to the top of the street, cleaning gutters. “He said that they would clean my veranda and the bit around the corner for £5, and that they would make a good job of it. “He said he would be back at 9am on Monday and so I said ‘yes’, fair enough if he was only going to charge a fiver. “We normally get the window cleaner to do it, but we haven’t seen him for about two months, so I thought ‘why not’.

“On Monday one of them went up the ladders and came down with bits of wood, grass and bits of black roofing felt with holes in it, “The boss man of them said ‘I don’t know what you are going to do with the state of things up there’. “He said that is it rotting and going to go through next door, and we would have to repair their roof as well. “My wife couldn’t believe it, she said that there is no way all of that rubbish had come out of our gutter.”

The workman was insistent that they needed to carry out repair works to the roof and it would cost £2,850. Fortunately, the pensioner had phoned his grandson while the incident was ongoing and he told the men he was coming over to have a look. He added: “That is when they scarpered, they literally disappeared, I didn’t even have chance to get the registration number on the van. “I haven’t been able to sleep, it has knocked me for six.

“God forbid that they try this on someone else and they fall for it, I hope that by talking about it, I have done my duty for the rest of the public.” All three men were wearing red caps, with oatmeal coloured zip-up jackets with a logo on it. Despite not falling for the con, the couple have suffered as a result of the trick - all of the fascias at the front of the home have been damaged and will need replacing. “I am convinced that they backed the van up to the house and put all of that rubbish up on the roof, and then brought it down,” the OAP added. “They have left a lot of mess and some damage and they didn’t even clean the guttering.”

Monday 27 June 2016

Testing The Limits On Glass

The Skyslide, a glass slide fixed along the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, is open for business this weekend. Thrill-seekers can pay $25 to slide down 45 feet of bulletproof glass nearly 1,000 feet in the air. How do you clean the windows?
The incredible glass slide that's 70 floors high: Take a look at this glass slide in America which has been built on the side of a skyscraper. The Skyslide was built on the 70th floor of the US Bank Tower and gives riders a pretty incredible view of Los Angeles in America. It's made out of glass which is a thick as a book, and has been built to withstand strong winds and earthquakes. Would you be brave enough to have a go? Take a look at it in action...

Dramatic safety tests for glass-floor bridge in China: Theirs is a task perhaps few would envy. These courageous volunteers are making sure China's latest glass-bottomed bridge is safe to be opened to the public. At least one felt the need to shout "I love you mom" as she brought her sledgehammer crashing down. They were attached to safety harnesses just in case but none of the volunteers managed to smash right through.

Just to underline how much the structure can take a 15-tonne vehicle was driven over the bridge as well. At 300m above ground and 430m long, China's claiming this to be the highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge in the world. These safety tests might also be intended to reassure the public after a similar bridge in the same province was closed last year because of a cracked panel.

Friday 24 June 2016

Window Cleaner Jailed

Alexander Toth, a window cleaner tried to murder his wife with a claw hammer & knives.
Window cleaner jailed for 17 years for attempting to murder his wife in Torquay street attack: A vengeful husband from Torquay who planned a murderous revenge attack on his wife after they split up has been jailed for 17 years. Window cleaner, Alexander Toth, 45, stabbed his estranged wife Brigitta, 41, in the back three times and bludgeoned her over the head with a hammer during an ambush as she walked to work along the street in St Marychurch in March.

A judge at Exeter Crown Court, who today sentenced Toth for the attempted murder of his wife, said the defendant had not been able to accept their 21-year marriage was over. He said: "You came to the conclusion that you would revenge the wrong you perceived she had done to you. And you would revenge that wrong by killing her." Residents in Hartop Road described being woken shortly before 6am on March 23 by the sounds of a woman shouting for help.

When police arrived they were confronted with the mum-of-two lying on the road outside St Marychurch Primary School covered in blood. Her husband, who had attacked her with two knives and a claw hammer, was sat nearby threatening to kill himself. The victim suffered severe life-changing injuries as a result of the attack and is still receiving treatment in hospital in Plymouth.

Judge Cottle said a psychiatrist's report on Toth found he had 'become obsessed with revenge and planned for some time to kill her.' The judge added: "You had carried out a considerable amount of research on the internet in order to obtain information dealing with broken marriages and you had accessed sites that encouraged you to take revenge. "It was the process of revenge that drove you to do what you did."

The court was told Brigitta was walking to work at Sainsbury's. She was within a few streets of meeting her daughter Pamela, who also worked at the supermarket, and the pair were speaking on the phone at the time of the attack. Judge Cottle said: "You chose your moment when your wife was walking to her place of work at a nearby supermarket and in the early hours of the morning you had planned to attack her as she walked there alone. And in order to carry out that attack you had armed yourself with a claw hammer and two knives. 

"You came up from behind her and you attacked her from behind, stabbing her in the back three times and hitting her on the head with the claw hammer. In so doing you caused her terrible injuries." He said the victim sustained several fractures of her skull together with bleeding to the brain and needed surgery as a result. The court was told she still requires psychological and physiological treatment at the neuro-rehabilitation unit of Mount Gould Hospital Plymouth. She also struggles with her language, vision, sense of smell and taste.

Her daughter said she felt 'broken' by the attack. She said her mother was her best friend but now she sometimes forgot her name. "As a result of this attack she has suffered permanent and severe disability," said the judge. "There is significant impairment to her ability to work, to interact socially and her ability to lead a fully engaged life." He said the couple's two children, aged 20 and 16, had been left with the 'awesome responsibility' of caring for their mother 'in consequence of your murderous attack.'

The judge said if Toth had succeeded in killing his wife he would have been jailed for at least 25 years. But because he 'failed in his mission' the starting point was 23 years, minus seven for an early guilty plea. Toth was told he will serve half of that in jail before being released on licence. Detective Sergeant Chris Rooney of the Major Crime Investigation Team said after the sentence: “Toth's guilty plea will prevent the members of the family having to attend a trial and relive those horrific events, and we welcome the courts sentence.

“The Major Crime Investigation Team conducted a thorough investigation and if it wasn't for the actions of the local community, police officers at the scene, paramedics and the medical teams who provided excellent medical care to his victim, Brigitta, this could easily have been a murder investigation. “I thank everyone who assisted and supported the Police in this investigation including the family who have acted with dignity throughout, and we wish Brigitta well for her continued recovery."

Following the guilty plea on Thursday, prosecutor Rachel Drake said the couple had separated several months before but Toth had then learned Brigitta had a new partner. It was her usual practice to speak to meet her daughter, Pamela, on the way. "Suddenly the phone went dead," said Ms Drake. 'There were no shouts, no crying, nothing."

In the aftermath of the attack both the victim and her husband were taken to hospital. Toth's injuries, inflicted on himself with a knife at the scene, were not as severe as his wife's, the court heard. Doctors assessed him and found he was not suffering from a mental illness at the time. However during the assessment he said he was 'constantly looking things up on the internet and the truth is I wanted to kill her and myself'.

Barry White, mitigating, said Toth was deeply remorseful for his actions. He said the defendant led a quiet, 'small life' with few friends and when the marriage broke down had no emotional outlet or person to talk to. "He is a quiet and unassuming man who lost it and did something terrible and will never do anything like it again," said Mr White. He said Toth worked 55 hours a week as a window cleaner and at a supermarket in Paignton.

Thursday 23 June 2016

This Isn't Work, This Is Fun

Ty Smith Of Executive cleaning says, "this isn't work, this is fun," in a nice video documentary.
A Day In The Life: Washing windows on Montana's tallest building (Billings, Montana)  - Not many can say they've been to the very top of the nearly 300-foot First Interstate Bank Tower in downtown Billings. But a duo do it everyday for weeks, hanging over the edge. Ty Smith and Nick Silva are window washers with Executive Cleaning. Their task - cleaning 20 floors worth of windows. 

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Beware The Sun Spider

They are arachnids and go by the more common name: sun spider. The scientific name is solifugae, Latin for "those who flee from the sun." Despite their twisted appearance, they are neither spiders nor scorpions. Locals may be used to their seasonal presence when the bugs take up residence in shady porch crevices, window sills, under bedsheets and inside bathroom slippers. 
Sun spider more aggressive than scorpions - Creepy-looking arachnid getting more common (Kingman) - You might have felt one crawl across your foot during a night time Netflix binge. You casually brushed it off thinking is was a fly or moth, then saw something scatter away in the corner of your eye, looked down and let the terror sink in. It goes by different names: camel spider, whip scorpion, wind scorpion or the Kalahari Ferrari. They've been mistaken for vinegaroons and even scorpions themselves. 

They are arachnids and go by the more common name: sun spider. The scientific name is solifugae, Latin for "those who flee from the sun." Despite their twisted appearance, they are neither spiders nor scorpions. Locals may be used to their seasonal presence when the bugs take up residence in shady porch crevices, window sills, under bedsheets and inside bathroom slippers. Out of state transplants and tourists are probably unfamiliar with the parade of stinging, biting creatures that roam this desert habitat. 

Window cleaners beware of the Sun Spider, it delivers a nasty bite.
Out of the woodwork - The warm weather has brought out armies of pests, including sun spiders, and pest control companies aren't suffering any loss of business. "We are starting to see more of them in both Kingman and Bullhead City," said Matt Hanrahan, General Manager of Baron Services. "The only real question we get is if they are poisonous and to identify them in general. They are a nuisance every summer and are much more aggressive than the scorpion."

"With all the new construction going on the Kingman there's an influx of insects," said Mohave Pest Control's Lisa, who only wanted to be identified by first name. "(The construction) is digging up the dirt and moving stuff around. The bugs are on the run." 

Menacing as they seem, sun spiders lack venom and are for the most part harmless. The yellow/tan arachnids have eight legs like a spider but also two long, forearm-like pedipalps and vicious, bug crushing chelicerae (jaws) tipped with poisonous looking pincers. They will deliver a painful bite if aggravated. The jaws and pincers help capture, mince and consume the creatures' insect-based diet. In a way, they're a cleaning crew for the over-represented cockroach community. 

The silver dollar-sized nightmare-weavers can grow between one and six inches and have been clocked at crawling speeds up to 10 miles per-hour, meaning they could keep up with you while driving through a school zone. They detest sunlight and when exposed, scatter for shade and shelter, hence the seemingly hostile and aggressive attitude. They'll also gun for light during the evening, making a beeline across your sandals on the way towards a porch light. 

According to, sun spiders/camel spiders have garnered quite a bit of attention since the start of the Iraq War. Photos manipulated by depth-of-field and forced perspective gave the public misrepresented images of a crab-sized sun spiders and rumors by American soldiers in Iraq that the spiders were eating camel and human flesh. In reality, the bugs don't pose much of a threat to humans, since they'd much rather munch on something more bite-sized. And solifuges aren't limited to the deserts of Iraq. There are species found in the desert regions of every continent but Australia and Antarctica. 

Shane Walker, a physician assistant at Kingman Regional Medical Center Urgent Care, said they get a few insect bite patients a year, mostly during this time of warmer, dryer temperatures. The bites are considered Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a staph infection commonly mistaken for bug bites, until proven otherwise. "Most of the spiders we have in our area are mostly benign," he said. "True spider bites will have necrosis of the skin. The venom kills off the tissues." The black widow is the only real dangerous spider to look out for. Despite claims of sightings, brown recluse spiders tend to inhabit the southern states. 

Again, the sun spider doesn't produce venom so an ER visit probably isn't necessary. Should you suspect you've been bitten, immediately wash the bite area to prevent infection and apply a cold compress or ice pack to reduce pain and swelling. Antihistamine creams and over the counter medicines such as Benadryl or Zertec can be applied to the bite or taken to reduce pain and itching. Secondary infections can be introduced by intense scratching of the bite area.

Other symptoms such as intense swelling, dizziness or nausea might indicate a black widow bite or scorpion sting. "Scorpion stings come in now and then but the most we can do is just observe the patient to make sure they don't have an allergic reaction. Unless the bite is witnessed, we really don't know what they are. It could be anything from a bad reaction to a mosquito or other insect bite." 

Common sense advice is to keep an eye on areas sun spiders might hide such as under lawn and porch furniture, near door sills and houseplants and even in couch crevices or between bed sheets. This is the desert, the weather is hot and like just about any other organism, sun spiders are looking for a place to cool off. From the looks of it, these bugs are here to stay. 

"We try to remind people that we live in their house, not the opposite," Hanrahan said. "They were here first and their need for food and water is just like any human being or other animal or insect." "General pest control service helps control their populations. There is nothing special that can be done. We make sure we treat their harborage areas (place they hang out). They are extremely hardy insects, they're hard to kill."

10 Most Dangerous Spiders in the World #9
10 Most Dangerous Spiders in the World #9. Camel Spider (Solifugae) - The camel spider really is the stuff of nightmares. The biggest is the Egyptian giant solpugid with a body reaching up to six inches (15cm) in length and powerful jaws making up about a quarter of that this would be one of the biggest, scariest looking spiders in the world, except for one thing – it isn’t a spider, or a camel for that matter. Camel spiders are in fact a type of arachnid known as solifuges, which literally translates as ‘flee from the sun’. Also known as wind scorpions and sun spiders, solifuges are found in deserts throughout the world.

So why is the camel spider in the list at all? Well basically just because they look so fierce and grow so big. They are also lightning fast and capable of running at speeds of up to 10 mph (16 kph). Solifuges can inflict a painful bite but they are not venomous. So those stories about them crawling under camels, disemboweling camels and eating the insides might just be a little bit of an exaggeration!

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Killed By Falling Glass

Helpless family: The victim's brother and her mother were seen next to a schoolgirls body after she was killed by falling glass, from a window that was being cleaned at the time.
A piece of glass fell & killed a schoolgirl when a housemaid was cleaning a window from the 20th floor: The victim was pronounced dead at the scene in Zhuhai, China, on Saturday when she was struck while walking to an extracurricular class with her two siblings.

A 11-year-old girl has been tragically killed after a pane of glass fell from a 20th floor flat and hit her in the head in a Chinese city. The glass was thought to have dropped when a housemaid was cleaning a window in a residential high-rise in Zhuhai, southern China, on June 18, reported the People's Daily Online.

According to the report, the school girl was walking on Leyuan Road in Xiangshou District, Zhuhai, together with her two siblings. She was struck by the glass at around 10am.  An eyewitness, with the surname Luo, said he heard a loud bang from a distance. He said after he rushed over, he saw a girl lying on a pedestrian crossing covered in blood. Her siblings were crying in shock next to her.

Unexpected tragedy: The girl was on her way to an extracurricular class when the accident occurred.
An ambulance was immediately called by Mr Luo, but paramedics were unable to save the girl, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim's younger brother, who witness the tragic accident, told a reporter that the trio were crossing the road in front of the residential compound when his sister got struck. 

The Zhuhai Public Security Bureau confirmed the accident on June 18 through its official account on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter. A later post from the police authority confirmed the cause of the accident. It read: 'After initial investigation, the glass had fallen from a house on the 20th floor in building number 2 at Hengfu Court on Leyuan Road.' Chinese media suggested that a housemaid was cleaning the window for a family living on the 20th floor when the glass dropped. Further investigations are being carried out by the police. 

Monday 20 June 2016

Electric Hose Fathers Day Wind Up

The PowerUp hose & reel from Waterworks impresses Brads Dad.
HOSE LAUGHING NOW? Dad is delighted with his generous Father’s Day present from his son – but there’s a catch. Serial prankster Brad Holmes is at it again - and this time it's his window cleaner dad who's on the receiving end. Brad Holmes is at it again – and this time, it’s his dad who’s copped the short straw.

In a video posted to his Facebook page, Brad, 24, presents his father with a generous gift for Father’s Day. He explains to his unsuspecting pa that the “first electric hose-reel wind up thing” from Waterworks Window Cleaning is meant to help him with his work. Brad says: “As it’s Father’s Day I thought I’d treat you, make your life a bit easier.”

Chuffed to bits with his new toy, Brad’s dad exclaims: “B****y hell, that’s cool as you like isn’t it? Thanks mate.” After he’s had a play, the pair then climb into the front of the van, where Brad’s dad thanks his son again for his kind gift. He gushes: “It’s f*****g handy that, going to make my job 20 times f*****g easier, you know that don’t you?

“F*****g brilliant. Didn’t have to get that though, could have just got me a card, that would have been alright.” Brad tells him it worked out at around £349 plus vat, to which his dad replies: “You soppy c*** you didn’t have to spend that much did you?” It’s then Brad drops the bomb that he didn’t. When his confused dad asks who did, Brad explains: “You paid for it.” He then informs his furious father that he used his credit card, warning him: “You shouldn’t leave it lying around.”

Incensed, Brad’s dad goes off on one of his infamous sweary rants, calling his son all the names under the sun. It’s only at the very end that Brad puts him out of his misery, telling him: “I’m joking you p****, I got it.”

Brad’s videos, which often features his dad and his girlfriend Jenny, have a huge online following.
Last month, Brad played a cruel trick on Jenny which involved rubbing chilli on her tampon during her time of the month. Despite the cruel stunt receiving over 19,000 likes and 12,000 comments, the ruthless trick sparked outrage, with many accusing Brad of over-stepping the mark.

Friday 17 June 2016

New Canadian WaterFed Pole

The new 32ft Northern Lite WFP.
Northern Lite 32ft Full Carbon Fibre (including bonus brush) CAD$995.00: Introducing the new Northern Lite water fed pole. The perfect 3 story pole with a 32ft reach. Pole weighs only 5.6lbs - 2.5 kg (not incl. brush). A very rigid pole with the shortest collapsed height in its reach class. 

Comes complete with brush, pole hose and garden water connector. Optional 10ft extension sections coming soon for even greater reach. Product launch special; receive a bonus 10" radius brush from now until July1st.

Thursday 16 June 2016

Window Cleaners Brainchild Unites Northern Ireland

Flags fly on west Belfast street for football sweepstake. A Northern Ireland flag is not the most common sight on west Belfast's Springfield Road. But it is one of many flying proudly on one street ahead of the Euro 2016 football tournament. Each of the qualifying nations in the championship is represented on Iris Drive in what has been described as a "sweepstake with a difference". A group of window cleaners first had the idea ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
Euro 2016: England and Northern Ireland flags fly in west Belfast street for football sweepstake: They are just some of the 60 flags flying in Iris Drive, off the Springfield Road, that represent each of the qualifying nations in the tournament for a neighbourhood sweepstake.

The colourful and impressive display was organised by locals who held a sweep for countries and put up flags for participating homeowners. Although only 24 nations qualified for the championship, demand for flags was so high that three separate sweepstakes were carried out so that everyone could join in.

'It's not a political's a bit of banter'
One of the organisers Sandy Turley told the BBC: "Every resident in the street was involved, the kids loved it. "We also had a street party and everyone came out and enjoyed themselves. "It's not a political thing - it doesn't matter if it's the Republic, Northern Ireland, or England. We like to see everyone represented. It's a bit of banter - I've my money on France but I got Germany in the sweepstake, so I'm not worried."

The neighbourhood sweepstake was the brainchild of local window cleaners and was first started ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

England, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland flags are flying in one west Belfast street ahead of Euro 2016.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Routine Danger In Grand Rapids

Sam Rodriguez, with Award Window Cleaning Services, cleans the windows of the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids. The hotel is cleaned twice a year. More pictures at the link.
23 stories up, window washers dangle high above Grand Rapids, MI – Dangling over 200 feet in the air, four men inch their way down the face of the JW Marriott while wiping each window clean. The building's height and its unique shape make rappelling from the roof the most efficient way to ensure that the windows shine on the riverfront hotel that has become a Grand Rapids landmark.

The work is not for the faint of heart. "Terrifying," window cleaner Sam Rodriguez said of his first trip down the JW Marriott. "You finally get to the ground and you almost want to kiss it." One "drop" or trip down the face of the hotel takes more than an hour.

From left, Sam Rodriguez, Brenden Riggins, and Tim Scott, all with Award Window Cleaning Services, clean the windows of the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids.
The first time Rodriguez performed the task as part of the Award Window Cleaning crew, it took him twice the time of an experienced window washer. With each swipe of his squeegee, he felt sure something would go wrong. After six years of working high above the ground, like any other job, it becomes routine. Now, he has to remind himself that it's dangerous and to check and double check his equipment.

What's one thing facing window washers that passersby can't see from the ground? "Spiders," said Mark Reinhart, Award Window Cleaning's president. The eight-legged creatures leave cobwebs for the cleaners and sometimes crawl up their pant legs. Before pesticide use, window cleaners would duct tape their pants and shirts closed to keep them out. Now, there aren't nearly as many, but they still can be found even on the highest buildings in town.

Grand Rapids' most recognizable buildings, including the Amway Grand Hotel, Bridgewater Place and the JW Marriott are cleaned twice a year, moments that often draw the attention of downtown crowds.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Window Washer To Soap Maker

Larry Plesent of Vermont Soap, whose unofficial slogan is "Replacing yucky stuff with yummy stuff," specializes in formulating natural, organic and nontoxic home and garden products.
Vermont Soap has a Formula for Cleaning Homes the Nontoxic Way - The curing room in Vermont Soap's manufacturing facility in Middlebury may be one of the most fragrant spots in Vermont. As dozens of soap bars cure on drying racks like ageing craft cheeses, the air is laden with the rich aromas of pine, peppermint, lavender, lemongrass and other essential oils.

But, unlike the scents added to most conventionally produced soaps, shampoos, toiletries and home-cleaning products, none of these odors comes from artificial chemicals or toxic ingredients. In fact, the earthy reddish hue of some of the bars is derived from lobster shells.

Vermont Soap, whose unofficial slogan is "Replacing yucky stuff with yummy stuff," specializes in formulating natural, organic and nontoxic home and garden products. Those include underarm deodorants, oral-care products, antiaging creams, pet and horse shampoos, surface cleaners, fruit and vegetable washes, car cleaners, and even yoga-mat cleaners. Most are U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified organic, and all are safe and nontoxic. That makes them ideal for consumers with severe allergies or chemical sensitivities, or those who simply have concerns about the prevalence of hazardous materials in the home.

Larry Plesent, 57, founded Vermont Soap in 1992, after he'd learned the hard way what toxic chemicals can do to your body. In the 1980s, Plesent earned money for college working as a Burlington window washer. In an effort to economize, he concocted his own window washing solution consisting of dish detergent, floor cleaner, windshield-wiper fluid and antifreeze.

For about eight years, Plesent essentially soaked himself in noxious chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, methanol and ethylene glycol, which left him with severe contact dermatitis and multiple chemical sensitivities. Conventional deodorants gave him rashes across his arms and torso that lasted for weeks. Normal shampoos caused his hair to fall out.

He tried one conventional brand after another, but the problems never went away. By 1991, Plesent's "reactive body" was so sensitive, he couldn't touch or be around artificial scents, artificial colors or petrochemical products, including most plastics.

Then, one day at a Vermont craft fair, Plesent picked up a bar of soap made with goat's milk. Just days after he tried it, his eight-year bout of dermatitis disappeared. Realizing that countless other consumers must suffer from similar sensitivities, Plesent decided to turn his disability into a business venture. Thus Vermont Soap was born.

Of course, Vermont Soap isn't the only producer of eco-friendly home-cleaning and personal-care products in the Clean Mountain State. According to Forbes magazine, Burlington behemoth Seventh Generation does more than $300 million in annual retail sales.

Many of Vermont Soap's customers suffer from asthma or chemical sensitivities or have compromised immune systems due to chemotherapy and other medical conditions.

While Vermont Soap hasn't reached that level, it's growing quickly as more consumers seek products labeled organic. The company now has 25 employees and sales in excess of $3 million annually; it recently expanded into Asia and is exploring new markets in Europe. Two-thirds of Vermont Soap's products are now sold under other labels or are added as ingredients to other products.

A June 2015 fire in Vermont Soap's factory on Middlebury's Exchange Street shut down operations for four months but ultimately proved fortuitous: It forced a move into a manufacturing facility more than twice as large just down the road. The company still maintains a discount retail outlet at its original location. There, consumers can find deals on Vermont Soap products and visit its modest soap museum, which features antique washing machines, shaving kits, classic toiletries and, of course, old soaps.

In accordance with Plesent's goal of "doing as little harm as possible," his new and much larger manufacturing space is all electric and at or near zero emissions. Eschewing landscaping that might expose his employees to pesticides and other allergens, he recently planted vegetable gardens for his staff's use.

Consumers who typically buy organic meats and produce can shop online at Vermont Soap for similarly nontoxic alternatives to familiar cleaning products. For example, Produce Magic is an organic cleaner that removes waxes, pesticides, and other dirt and residues from fruits and vegetables. Green Car is an automotive cleaner similar to Armor All, except it's certified organic and contains no petrochemicals.

Liquid Sunshine is an all-purpose spray-and-wipe surface cleaner and concentrate similar to Citra Solv, but it contains all-natural citrus oils. According to Plesent, it can be used safely on cabinets, woodwork and hardwood floors, just like Murphy's Oil Soap, but it's nontoxic and easy on your hands.

Sandy Lincoln, owner of Sandy's Books & Bakery in Rochester, sells organic baked goods and says she uses only Liquid Sunshine on all her countertops, glass surfaces, prep tables and dishes. "So many chemicals on the market leave a chemical, toxic smell behind," she says. "Liquid Sunshine has a really citrusy aroma that our customers love."

In 2014, Delicious Living magazine gave Liquid Sunshine its Editor's Choice Award, noting that the household cleaner contains no volatile organic compounds, which can irritate eyes and cause headaches. "Is it possible to fall in love with a household cleaner?" wrote managing editor Jenna Blumenfeld. "If it's certified organic, eco-friendly and made with a mere five ingredients, it is."

Many of Vermont Soap's customers suffer from asthma or chemical sensitivities or have compromised immune systems due to chemotherapy and other medical conditions. Over the years, some have reached out to Plesent to seek his advice or thank him for the products he's created.

In response, Plesent published a downloadable 68-page book, The Reactive Body Handbook, which instructs people with chemical sensitivities, asthma and other environmental triggers on how to become a "Sherlock Holmes to unravel the mysteries of your own body."

"One of the first comments I ever got on our website was from a woman who wrote, 'Thank goodness you wrote this, Larry. I thought I was the only one,'" he says. "No, you're not. There are millions of us."

Monday 13 June 2016

Brexit - Looming Vote for UK Window Cleaners

Gibraltar leader fears Spain sovereignty push over Brexit. Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity in 1713 but has long argued it should be returned to Spanish sovereignty. How will window cleaners home & abroad be affected? Click to enlarge.
Brexit puts jobs at risk' vs 'The EU is failing': Teesside MPs debate Euro referendum - Ahead of the EU poll on June 23, Teesside MPs Anna Turley and James Wharton argue their case :: Which way will you vote?

Teessiders will next week go to the polls to cast their vote in the EU referendum vote. Writing for The Gazette, two of our area's leading politicians have made the case on whether the UK should stay or leave the European Union. For our region, the biggest issue at stake in this referendum is the local economy and thousands of skilled jobs reliant on Europe. Brexit will put these and Teesside’s recovery at risk. Our area has been devastated recently by the closure of SSI and the loss of over 175 years of steelmaking.

On top of job losses at Boulby Potash and Air Products, three thousand jobs were lost overnight at the works, with many more in the wider community – everyone from window cleaners to child minders has been affected in some way. Some people have sought to channel the justified anger and sense of betrayal that we feel against Europe, but that would result in us ‘cutting off our nose to spite our face’ by hitting our remaining industries.

'Protects our rights'
At the time the government said they couldn’t intervene to save SSI due to European State Aid rules. We knew that wasn’t the case, and even gained confirmation of this from the European Commission.

The fact that the government is now discussing a state loan of hundreds of millions of pounds to stop Tata’s UK business closing shows that Europe was not the barrier. Our own government was. It would be deeply damaging to vent our anger at the very institution which was, in fact, working to raise tariffs on Chinese dumping and protect the steel industry in Europe.

We now have to rebuild our economy on Teesside. This means getting inward investment, growing small and medium enterprises and regenerating our area. In the Redcar constituency, we have two major assets which are vital to our economic recovery.

Both the Teesport and Wilton International benefit hugely from access to the European Union. The North East Process Industry Cluster joined business leaders from across the region to say that leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs and put the North East economy at risk.

There are many other projects, such as the Teesside Advanced Manufacturing Park, which rely on EU funding, and many local businesses that rely on exports to the single market.

'Regenerate our area'
Our region is a net recipient of EU funds and we are entitled to more European funds than any other English region. The European Social Fund alone paid £157m into the North East between 2007 and 2013, and we are due £726m from the EU over the next five years.

The EU has also kept people safe at work and protects our rights as a consumer. It protects paid leave (before EU membership we had no right to paid holiday), maternity rights and equal rights for agency workers.

We have a huge job on to rebuild our local economy and regenerate our area, but the EU has a vital role to play in this. I hope you will join me and the many people in Redcar and Teesside who are voting ‘YES’ to staying in.

James Wharton, Stockton South's Conservative MP: I want to trade with Europe, but we do not need EU membership for that. The EU sells more to us than we sell to them. Germany will still want to sell cars to British drivers just as France will want to sell wine to British drinkers. Those who claim that to leave would endanger investment to our region fail to understand that we attract investment because we are good at what we do.

Teesside has a world leading chemical process capacity, incredible workforce and excellent connections through Teesport. Nissan in Sunderland is the most productive plant they have, that is why it succeeds. Hitachi in Aycliffe is backed by a big UK Government contract to provide trains to the UK. That is what brought them here.

'Expand our trade'
We should look to sell to the whole world, not focus only on our near neighbours. We should take back control over our laws and borders and should look to the rest of the world to expand our trade. The EU economy has halved in size as a proportion of world GDP since 1980. It is the only continent other than Antarctica that has not seen its economy grow over the past decade.

The EU influences trade, regulations, spending and immigration. It has become too big and too bureaucratic. It has countless challenges ahead, from the debt and the Euro crisis with places like Greece still in deep trouble to its demographic time bomb and the failure of its immigration systems.

We will be affected by what is coming, but if we are outside then we are free to take what action is necessary. If we are inside the cost will fall to our Government and, ultimately, your money. The real risk in this referendum is staying in an organisation which is failing.

'Cause instability and disaster'
European funds we receive are a tiny fraction of the money the UK sends to the EU every year. We pay in £8bn per year more than we get out. If we leave we can spend more to develop our economy and have more control over how it is spent.

It is also a matter of sovereignty and accountability. We choose our political representatives in the UK. We have little or no say over those making decisions that affect us in the EU. Teesside should be free to take what action is needed to prosper in an uncertain world, working with Europe but not being run by it.

Finally it is about long term stability. Peace in Europe has been guaranteed by NATO, not by the EU. With so many unresolved problems the EU cannot be seen as a force for stability. It may instead cause instability and disaster, especially given the troubles of the euro currency.

Friday 10 June 2016

Friday Funny As Window Cleaner Photo Bombs Ronnie Wood

Taking 40 winks: Ronnie of the Rolling Stones was caught stealing a moment's sleep as he kept close by his daughters in the hospital on Friday. The cheeky photo bomb of a window cleaner giving the thumbs up outside the hospital window. Click to enlarge.
New mother Sally Wood, 38, looked the picture of happiness alongside rocker "Rolling Stones" husband Ronnie, 69, as she's seen for first time since giving birth to twins. She recently welcomed healthy twin girls Gracie Jane and Alice Rose into the world. Ronnie, who hasn't missed a moment by his wife's side, led the way into the back of a black vehicle no doubt excited to get the new additions to his family home.

Ronnie looked typically cool in a quilted black leather jacket worn over a buttoned down white shirt and a pair of black aviators. The rocker still had a spring in his step on Saturday as he emerged from his London home for another visit to the hospital after sharing an adorable picture as he slept at their bedside. The 69-year-old new dad couldn't hide his infectious smile on no doubt one of his last solo outings for some time. 

Despite the dull day, fancy free Ronnie dressed for sunnier skies in mirrored purple shades and a bright shirt, appearing like he was on top of the world. The previous day, he posted an adorable picture by his wife's bedside in the hospital where he stole a moment's sleep. Though capturing the sweet moment as he napped with his children, he also captured a window cleaner outside sticking his thumbs up for the camera. Ronnie wrote: 'While I was sleeping with the twins,' and accompanied it with love hearts as he eagerly awaited their return to his home with wife Sally.

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