Archives for July 2010

One Street: making money

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 17:43 UK time, Monday, 19 July 2010

Two of the High Street's families tried to make some money. The Williams' cleared out their attic and the Powson's collected their clutter.

They set up stalls and logged on to the internet hoping to sell their unwanted items.

We took the families to a car boot sale in Porthcawl. As well as being a great way to de-clutter, it can also be a lucrative day out.

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X-Ray investigates - doorstep crime

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 14:41 UK time, Monday, 19 July 2010

Last year, 67 year old Ioan got a knock on the door which would change his life. Ioan has lived with a mental health condition for several decades. The caller appeared to know him and offered to do some work on his house. When the caller came, Ioan was at a vulnerable point, and at the time it seemed reasonable to Ioan to pay in cash.

Ioan told Rachel Treadaway-Williams "From then on they started making more and more suggestions for more and more work which they would do - the patios in the garden, rewiring the house, a new kitchen and so forth. To keep going they'd keep asking me for small amounts relatively speaking - £2,000 one day, £1,000 another, just to keep them solvent."


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One Street: booking your summer holiday

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 16:05 UK time, Monday, 12 July 2010

Are you looking forward to a holiday? Over at Heol-y-Cyw the school term is almost at an end and everyone's looking forward to a break.

But the six-week break is a long time that puts a lot of pressure on parents financially - especially if they want to go on holiday.

And it's the cost that makes 40% of Welsh parents take their children away during term time, when holidays are on average 72% cheaper.

Photograph of a beach in South Brittany

But going away during term time puts a real strain on the school, as headteacher Lynne Bowen-Jones explains:

"A fortnight is a long time for a child to be out of school as they miss out on so much, and, of course, when they return teachers have got to find the time to work with those children to help them catch up with what they've missed out on."

But is it possible to get a good deal during the peak holiday times? Sue Watt is a travel agent with almost 40 years' experience finding holidays that cater for a wide range of budgets and tastes.

Here are her top tips for finding the right holiday at the right price:

  • Consider camping as a good option on a tight budget, particularly if you've left it late. Or if you want to be sure of things to do if the weather isn't on your side, then a holiday camp can be another low-cost option, since entertainment and facilities are included in the booking price.
  • By looking ahead to 2011 and exploring what the various travel operators are offering you could make a substantial saving on family holidays. Many will offer free child spaces if you book a year in advance.
  • Going last minute? Sue recommends holding your nerve until the day before you leave to get a proper bargain. It's important to be as flexible as possible in order to pick up a real deal.

Sue holds a holiday clinic at the school for parents and teachers alike to be able to benefit from her advice.

Kevin Meredith pictured with his son Bailey

Kevin Meredith pictured with his son Bailey

Single dad Kevin Meredith wants to take his son Bailey and their family dog Pepperpot on a short break on a tight budget. Sue finds a four-day caravan holiday at a camp in North Devon for £150.

Leanne Hayball, a mum of four, finds it too expensive for the family of six to go abroad during the peak holiday season. So Sue recommends booking well ahead.

For example, if Leanne booked her 2011 holiday now, she could get a two-bedroom apartment for around £2,300 instead of £3,200 with two free child spaces - a saving of £900, or 30%.

Rhodri Owen with travel agent Sue Watt and mum of four Leanne Hayball

Rhodri Owen with travel agent Sue Watt and Leanne Hayball

And finally, teacher Laura Lyons and her husband want to go somewhere warm to have a lot of nice meals and do some sightseeing - preferably not overrun with children, so she feels she is having a proper break from school!

For their £1,000 budget, Sue recommends a bed-and-breakfast deal for £860 on the island of Korcula, Croatia, which Laura is very happy with: "Croatia isn't somewhere we've been before so it'll be nice to go somewhere a bit different."

Let us know below if you have any tips for planning a break with the children this summer.

Supermarket alcohol and underage drinking

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 14:40 UK time, Monday, 12 July 2010

Supermarkets have to make sure they don't sell alcohol to under 18s - but are they going too far?

In the UK, you have to be 18 or over to buy alcohol. But many retailers now operate a 'Challenge 25' policy, which means even if you are over 18 but look under 25, you should expect to be asked for some form of proof of age. It's an attempt to cut down on the sale of alcohol to those who are underage.

Image of Lucy Owen behind a bar

Lucy Owen photographed behind a bar

But 31-year-old Helen Martin and 29-year-old Becky Kelly are fed up of being asked to prove their age whenever they buy alcohol at the supermarket. Helen doesn't drive and so the only proof of ID she has would be her passport and she's reluctant to carry it around with her all the time.

Becky thinks that supermarkets should show some common sense when asking for ID. She was recently asked for some proof of age when she was out shopping for a Sunday meal with her sister. She says that she wouldn't be buying an expensive bottle of wine "if I was 17 years old and my aim was to go to the park to get drunk."

According to the law not only is it illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under 18, it's also illegal for an adult to buy, or attempt to buy, alcohol on behalf of someone under 18. But are the supermarkets taking this part of the law to the extreme?

62-year-old Peter Sheldon from Swansea thinks so. He was out buying some gifts with his young son Jamie and he had asked his son to help him by carrying some alcohol to the checkout.

Image of Peter Sheldon and his son

Peter Sheldon and his son

He was outraged and humiliated when the supermarket refused to sell him the alcohol because they thought it was for Jamie, even though Peter repeatedly assured them that it wasn't. He feels that in his case the supermarket were "being totally over zealous and totally missing the point of what they're trying to achieve."

There are quite hefty penalties for shops or bars caught selling alcohol to someone underage. But it goes one step further than that - the person actually selling the alcohol also faces an on-the-spot £80 fine. And it's Trading Standards' job to check that shops stick to the law.

Helen Picton from Trading Standards is the spokesperson in Wales for age restricted products. She believes that it's not always easy to tell someone's age and, because shops selling alcohol are worried about the huge fines, they can err on the side of caution.

All the supermarkets tell us they take their responsibilities in selling alcohol very seriously. Both Asda and Sainsbury's say they moved from a Challenge 21 to a Challenge 25 policy to make it easier for their assistants, and to prevent alcohol being passed to under 18s.

Have you been challenged over your age when buying supermarket alcohol? We want to hear about your experiences and whether you think 'Challenge 25' is a good idea or not.

Planning your funeral

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 17:53 UK time, Monday, 5 July 2010

Now how much thought have you given to your funeral?  Maybe not a lot.  Neither had Chris Corcoran until we sent him on a mission in today's programme to discover the things you need to think about before you die.




Chris Corcoran

Here are some websites that will help you when planning a funeral:

BBC Health: Bereavement - useful contacts

The Natural Death Centre

The National Association of Funeral Directors

More information about donating your body to medical science

Have you thought about your funeral? Why would you make one choice over another? Let us know by posting your comments below.

X-Ray investigation: Thomson 'Dream' cruise turns sour

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X-Ray production team X-Ray production team | 16:55 UK time, Monday, 5 July 2010

They promoted it as the pride of their fleet. Spacious, stylish and modern and their biggest and most luxurious ship.



Rachel Treadaway-Williams

So the holiday makers who'd booked a Mediterranean cruise on board Thomson's newest acquisition - The Thomson Dream - expected nothing less than the best.

Maria and Andrew Challenger, Maria's daughter Cerys and her boyfriend Alex, had been planning their holiday for months.

Although Maria and Andrew were veteran cruisers, this was the first time Cerys and Alex had taken to the water.

Cruises don't come cheap - Maria and Andrew's fortnight in the Med cost more than £3,500. Alex and Cerys were on holiday for a week and paid over £1,700.

But even as they boarded the ship - there were signs that the plumbing system wasn't working as it should. Andrew said, 'the smell, you couldn't describe it, it was raw sewage'.

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