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Odeon won’t cancel my membership but I feel it’s unsafe to go | Money

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I signed up to Odeon Limitless (for which I pay monthly) but due to the pandemic, I am not able to visit the cinema. I would have to take a bus, which is not safe, and sit in a cinema with a mask on for three hours, which would be too uncomfortable. More to the point, I have a vulnerable husband and would hate to infect him.

I tried to phone Odeon to cancel my membership (its terms and conditions cite medical reasons as a reason to terminate) but it is not accepting calls. Instead, I emailed Limitless but only got an automated reply.

As I had not heard back, I cancelled the direct debit. I have now received a threatening letter from Harlands debt collectors demanding I pay the money, reinstate my bank details and pay an extra £9.99. I have to do this before 8 September to avoid further charges.

I think this is shameless behaviour, especially during the pandemic, and I wonder why people should all be expected to take risks to go to the cinema.

HS, New Malden

We agree this amounts to shoddy treatment as you were within your rights to cancel. Cinemas closed all of their venues in March and while some chains and independents have been reopening since 4 July, they are operating under strict conditions.

We got in touch with Odeon which says that due to staff homeworking practices, its Limitless phone line was temporarily suspended, triggering more inquiries via its email address. “HS will have received a letter from a third-party debt recovery company as a result of having cancelled her membership on our system,” it said.

After our intervention, Odeon contacted you and cancelled your Limitless membership. However, it really should not have set its attack dogs on you and, disappointingly, it did not apologise.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at [email protected]. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions: http://gu.com/letters-terms

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Autumn seems to come later these days – is the climate crisis to blame? | Autumn

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I’ve noticed that trees begin turning colour much later in autumn in recent years, and don’t begin to drop their leaves until late October or November. Our mulberry tree was always “last to come, first to go” but not in recent years; the apple trees are later too. Is this another aspect of the climate emergency? Has anyone else noticed this?

Jill Bennett, St Albans, Herts

Post your answers – and new questions – below or email them to [email protected]


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‘It’s literally the perfect knife’: Dan Hong on the three most useful objects in his life | Food

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How does a chef get through one of the most challenging times the hospitality industry’s ever faced?

For Dan Hong, it’s been a chance to get buff.

The Merivale executive chef – behind restaurants including Mr Wong, Lotus, Queen Chow – hopped on the phone to tell us about the most helpful things in his life right now.

The My Fitness Pal app

Every couple of years I go in phases of gaining weight and losing weight. I first started using this app five years ago. I started going to the gym, I got a trainer and I lost a lot of weight – 12 kilos.

But then, Covid made me gain eight kilos. At first, I was drinking a lot. So, for the last nine or 10 weeks I’ve been on a massive diet and not drinking. I decided at the beginning of July I wanted to lose weight. And the only way for me to really see results is to record every calorie I put in my body – not everyone is like this, but for me, it’s essential.

A lot of people think they’re eating healthy but they’re not. They think “I can still eat olive oil, I can still eat a poke bowl”. You can still eat carbs and oils and stuff, but you have to know when to stop, and recording it really helps.

Of course it’s difficult as a chef, to really commit, because I was always travelling. If I was going overseas or interstate I’d be eating a lot. So this was the perfect time to start, because I knew I wasn’t going to go anywhere.

Kiwi knives

Someone chopping baby corn with a wooden handled blade.
‘It’s so perfect for what I need to do, from julienning and simple chopping and dicing.’ Photograph: PhotoTalk/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Kiwi brand knife is one of the cheapest knives on the market. They’re available at any Asian grocer, and they come in different sizes for no more than $10. They’ve got wooden handles and they’re super sharp and light. We use them at home and when they go blunt, we just buy a new one.

When I was a second year apprentice we had this French-Canadian chef who’d just come back from a stage (an internship) at El Bulli, he told me about them. This was in 2002 and they were $2 each. I’d been spending hundreds of dollars on knives – so this was a revelation.

It’s so perfect for what I need to do, from julienning and simple chopping and dicing. They last quite a while, if you use them every day they stay sharp for a month. Once they go blunt, you can just buy a new one. I’ve used them all through my career. I would always have a box of them in the draw in the office, a stash.

If you go to Thailand, all the street food vendors use them too.

It feels good to have something so cheap that works so well. It’s nothing against good knives. If you look at sushi chefs for instance, you just can’t do your job with a Kiwi knife. It’s the same for butchering. But for simple at home chopping jobs, it’s literally the perfect knife.

Magnesium tablets

I find it hard to sleep every night, especially with the amount of training I’ve been doing. I have aching muscles every now and then, and magnesium really helps to relax them, so I can have proper sleep and a clear mind.

Not drinking helps too. I like this, rather than trying to take melatonin or something that makes you drowsy, because this way you wake up feeling really refreshed.

Taking them is an old personal trainer thing – they always recommend it when you first start working out. Now, it’s pretty much become ritualised for me. It’s not that I notice a big, big difference when I take them, but I do notice I have a deeper sleep and I’m not waking up in the night as much.


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Try sugaring at home instead of waxing

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It helps remove hair using a gel-mix of sugar, lemon and hot water.

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