This evil puppy trade is both cunning and sophisticated - knowing exactly how to manipulate public emotion, con local authorities and even forge documentation. It doesn't matter what your background or education is either - as long as you're prepared to part with your money you're fair game.
I wonder if the folks in the shelter would continue to shrug if I asked them if there was any hope on the horizon. I wonder if they, like me, finally see a source of optimism in Jeremy Corbyn.
So-called Hallmark Holidays such as Valentine's Day, with bleach advertisers even getting on board, shimmer with the very best of intentions, but the crudeness of brands piggybacking on their popularity really dilutes their brand equity.
One of the saddest things I read while investigating community spirit was to learn that one million people in the UK may not have spoken to another human being in a month. And, for an estimated five million older people living alone, TV is their closest companion.
"I'm often asked about the Parisienne. What does she look like? How does she dress? [...] Then I bump into Ines de la Fressange and it's all there: the silhouette as slim as the stroke of René Gruau's pen, the sober style that exudes innate elegance, the deep brown gold-flecked eyes."
Sometimes the magnitude of everything you want to do in your lifetime is so overwhelming that you don't do any of them at all. Read all of Game of Thrones, re-visit chess, triathlon training - the list trundles on and on.
I won't lie; I did suffer a bit of cabin fever after a time in the forest, missing the big city and busy shops. But just being able to relax with nothing but films, games, drinks and family was a treat for me.
Here in our modern hotel in the mountains of Moganshan, there were no traces of the area's infamous colonial past that would have had white people served their traditional Christmas fare regardless of practicality, throughout the early 20th Century.
In a chestnutshell Festive Freeze aims to help households save money and stamp out the absurdity of food waste. But it is not just households that can benefit from the campaign. Across the UK the prize for cutting food waste is considerable as it is estimated that a concerted effort could prevent £30billion tonnes of food being wasted by 2025.
I won't indulge myself in my own personal problems with the Mass, how the language sounds to my ear a lot like lines Christopher Lee should be spouting whilst dancing around a windswept island in The Wicker Man ('It is right to give Him thanks and praise'), because I'll probably come across exactly as I am. A man who vehemently railed against his indoctrinal upbringing mid-teens when he realised his homosexuality made him, in the Dr Eckleburg eyes of the church, a sinner.
Christmas - It's meant to be about family, sharing and a whole lot of food. It's a time for relaxing, when most of us have a bit of time off work or hopefully a few worry free days. But not for everyone. Specifically I'm talking about high school students; the ones with exams anyway.
Being Armenian-British has certain privileges. In fact, the Christmas period is the most rewarding for many easterners living in the west. By easterners I mean those from countries that are traditionally Orthodox Christian. You see, we effectively do Christmas celebrations twice.
Sometimes it seems that reconciliation stands little chance in the face of war and discord. But, as the Christmas truce a century ago reminds us, peace and goodwill have lasting power in the hearts of men and women. On that chilly Christmas Eve in 1914 many of the German forces sang Silent Night, its haunting melody inching across the line. That carol is still much-loved today, a legacy of the Christmas truce, and a reminder to us all that even in the unlikeliest of places hope can still be found. A very happy Christmas to you all.
I've experienced some really shitty moments in my own life, and it's this time of year where I'm usually reminded - not because of any specific event that occurred during this festive period, but because of the over indulgence that usually happens within the following weeks.
A few days before Christmas I bought a free range turkey at Lidl's, use by date 26th, drove home and put it into the fridge, still in its carrier bag. On Christmas morning I opened the bag to discover a somewhat unpleasant smell. The turkey was just on the turn.
What's a Xmas Orphan? Extremely unlike an actual orphan, it's someone who's going to spend the holiday season well away from the majority of their friends and family.