Black Kids, Time To Be Loving and Spoil Them A Little

I am white, my family is Mixed, perhaps we need to try a new thing to keep our kids safe.


Every Black or Mixed family (yeah I said it, I put Mixed families in the mix) in the Western World have to have “The Talk” with their children.  The talk on how to keep safe, how to interact with Police and other authorities.

I am White, very White, yet I’ve had The Talk with my family because my family is ethnically diverse.

Something I heard recently which has resonated is that the raising of Black Kids or Mixed Kids is to be hard on them, to prepare them to interface with how the world is going to interface with them, to get used to the idea that they will be harassed.  To be physically rough a little, to yell a little, to be super demanding on grades at school.  And there is merit in preparation.

HOWEVER, that’s pretty much not the tack I have approached.  Perhaps because I didn’t have to grow up in that sense or feeling of being oppressed.  Perhaps as a direct result of being white.  Perhaps because I wasn’t particularly raised that way.  I was raised Irish-ish in England – “obey your parents, pinch of salt everyone else”.

I have noticed that I have chosen to make the family aware of the challenges Black Kids face when going about their ordinary business.

But I have tried to raise my family with a sense of belonging, of expectation, of belonging, of being able to absolutely count on having someone in her corner, of expecting that she will take opportunities as they are presented to her, that if she chooses she can obviously attend University, that as she chooses she can obviously have the career of her choice, that she can count on daily hugs, of affirmative words in the home, of being happy to see her, of parental strictness and cultural protocols, of gentleness and kindness from her parents hands and everyone else in her sphere of influence, that we will not let her coast along flying under the radar, that we know who she is and she has a responsibility to raise her game.

Perhaps it was because I was raised in a white household without those long reaching external influences and fears that my family now has had the freedom to be raised in a similar environment.  Perhaps it has been entirely the wrong message to give her, this after all is a 40 year experiment I have got going on.  Perhaps life will hit her like a freight train, the same freight train which used to roll past my front door in the childhood family home.

I fear for her, I know full well what the world can do and how brutally lives can change in an instant.

However, I believe if she is not raised in a fearful of “them” home she will not interact fearfully with authority and this will smooth the edges of the interaction.  Her body language screams positivity and “I’m English, I belong, I will interact with you in a mutually respectful manner” which is disarming and hopefully safety assuring.

Now, she’s had the privilege of being raised in a town in the Countryside of England and all of the insulated safety that provides, but has been to the City Of London frequently to take advantage of all that offers and visit with family who are based there.  She has frequently experienced racism but so what.  She’s not a country bumpkin but instead some kind of hybrid city/country kid, she see’s the world but doesn’t have to fear the world.

Perhaps, if we can, we parents of kids who look ethnically diverse could hug our kids more frequently than we yell at them about how other people will interact, we’ll raise a more confident generation who feel they belong and in tandem with demanding that authorities treat them right, they’ll start to exude a sense of calmness and exude very little fear.


Jury’s out.  I’ll let you know how it went in another 23 years.


Trump Detox, Zero Contact

I cannot look at his face or listen to his voice anymore. I need a break.

I’ve decided that if I can go no contact with crummy and dangerous people in my life, abusive people, people who don’t have a humble bone in their body or who erroneously call you a liar to your face, I can do the same with the characters who show up on my TV and in my newspapers.

I’ve decided to disregard everything that crass, nasty people say and give it no space in my home.

I’ll still write to my MP’s, I’ll be pro many things that my Ecclesiastical leaders would prefer I were not, still be part of Amnesty International, I will still defend in the first person other peoples rights and hold them to their and my responsibilities.

But I will not give place to bullies in my life.

If an issue is big enough, it’s going to filter through my emotional firewalls.  I’ll read a variety of news from different sources but all of it will be focussed away from brash egomaniacs.

I neither care what people eat in bed at 6pm, or that they take most mornings off to watch TV, or that their Military Doctor lies to reporters from a podium in the White House, or that the contempt between husband and wife is palpable, or that the grown children are wholly unqualified for the advisory role into which they’ve elbowed themselves, or that they say “I would apologise if that what you want” and then not apologise for repeatedly sharing atrocious content on the internet, or for admitting on tape that they are a predator, and for constantly referring to them winning in 2016 rather than governing with dignity and grace in 2018, or that as soon as somebody says No that’s not right they try and sometimes succeed in having the person fired, that constant rumours of infidelity abound, that they cannot stay off social media without being vulgar and abusive to other users.

I won’t let that kind of atmosphere in my home anymore.  It’s not happening.

I’ll check on issues regularly, I’ll participate in the legal process, I’ll be an awesome citizen of the country I love.  But I will not let a bully have a foothold in my life.

When people in power are screaming about a non-issue, it is to distract from something very real, important and frequently detrimental to the masses.  I’ll be keeping an eye on the news and not the show.



9 Days Holiday To Take – Whooohoooo

While all my “if wishes were kisses I’d sure be a floozy’s” dreams of what could be done are delightful to contemplate, I still need to be realistic somewhat.


Our company holidays run from April to March.  Being in the UK, we have an organised system for holiday days from work.  Mine currently run at 25 days per year plus Bank Holidays.

Much has happened this year around work.  There was a company restructure which took a few months for word to reach us individually on how we were impacted, if at all.  During that period I looked for new roles, was successful in an internal role and an external role.  I enjoy working here so opted for the role within the organisation.  Then the training was scheduled and that will take a while because the job is in a completely new discipline and bears little to no relation to what I was doing before.  If all goes well and if everything is signed off on to a permanent contract at the end of March, happy days!

During all this period, I’ve been banking days holiday because transitions and training take up one’s calendar.

Now I have 9 days to take before the end of March.  It is currently nearly the end of January.  That’s a huge quantity of days to take.  Almost unprecedented among my peers.

What to do, what to do?

I could see if we have a few shekels left for a get away in the sun.  I could schedule days out in the UK.  I could schedule absolutely nothing and just sit in a chair in the conservatory and read books.  I could visit friends.  I could do house repairs and maintenance as the shed needs a new roof and the stairwell could do with a lick of paint.

9 days is 7 days too many to waste.  I can mooch around for 2 days happily but after that I start to feel the guilt of a slothful life.

While all my “if wishes were kisses I’d sure be a floozy’s” dreams of what could be done are delightful to contemplate, I still need to be realistic a little and accept that this year I’ve cleared down £25,000 in legal and other expenses, bought a house, bought a car, put my kiddo through an expensive state school and seen her pass all her 16 year old exams, nearly lost my job, secured another job and I learned how to fix a wall which was missing bricks, renovated a home to go from vandalised to liveable, sourced some food storage and put up a curtain rail.  That’s quite a heavy load for one year and not one that I’d wish on another person.  Had fun though.  How often can a person say they cleared £25K liability, bought a house and car, raised a kiddo and saw friends often – most frequently down the pub?  Not many, I’d bet.  Sometimes my wants outstrip my ables.  At some point I have to accept that I shall remain dissatisfied, or shall have to learn some grace in dealing with this malarkey we call life.

So, 9 days.  I have 9 days.  9 days to call my own.  Now, deciding how to spend them, that’s the next challenge.  What to do, what to do…..


Is it Domestic Violence? How to discern.

I can testify that through the other side of scary is a delightful, gorgeous, joyfully ordinary life free of fear and free of worry over things which shouldn’t be a thing.



Thanks to my friends at Women’s Aid ( and the founder Pat Craven, there is a handy infographic to help a person figure out if their relationship is affected by Domestic Abuse.

What we do is look at the picture above and tick any that apply to our situation if there are any at all.

If a person can tick a bullet point, it is cause for concern.

If the page looks like a teacher marking homework, help is needed and required to navigate a dangerous situation.

If you are in a relationship, please review the different types of abuse on the picture and see if you are impacted.  This is also gender non-specific.  If you are in a same gender relationship, same rules apply.

To, to recap, one tick on one line, might be indicative of a problem.  Two or more ticks and we have a problem which needs resolving.

Abusers behaviour is never novel or new or innovative.  It is textbook cliché, every single time.  Experts literally write textbooks about this stuff.  It is also dangerous and will never ever ever ever go away by itself no matter how much the recipient of the abuse tries harder.  Never.  It will never stop because you wish for it so or because you comply with the current demands.  Never.  It only escalates.

There is a pattern, it is documentable.  An abuser isn’t doing anything new or innovative.  What they are doing, however, is dangerous and frightening.  But it doesn’t have to remain so.

There is help.  Lots and lots of help.  People take this stuff seriously nowadays.  Police are well trained, they get other services involved as appropriate, Judges have seen this a thousand times.

But first, review.  Is your relationship healthy and safe?

Here’s what a healthy and safe relationship looks like:



It’s not rocket science, it is not rare as gold dust, there are a great many good people out there who’s affection is not frightening or conditional.

Women’s Aid ( is choc full of pertinent and useful information.  I recommend them wholeheartedly, they’re a safe place, their website doesn’t leave cookies or history on your device if you hit the really big “don’t leave cookies or history on my device” button.

I trust them.

Nobody should live fearfully.

It is a scary time, likely a recipient of this behaviour has been conditioned to believe they’re to blame, if they behaved differently then it’d all be fine, that if they try and leave the perpetrator will keep the kids.  That if they’d put out more they wouldn’t have been forced to have all those affairs.  That if the recipient were more trustworthy they wouldn’t have to bug or scrutinise their phone and decide which friends could be around.  That if they were a better parent they wouldn’t have forced the abuser to shove them around and hit them in front of the kids.

Re. the custody thing….. NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

It is not written in to law but is typical and common practice.

If the kiddo’s are in senior school, the judge will ask them who they would prefer to be with if it gets to that point.  And the judge will listen.

Talk to a friend.  Determine if you are willing to act.  Please be willing to act.

I can testify that through the other side of scary is a delightful, gorgeous, joyfully ordinary life free of fear and free of worry over things which shouldn’t be a thing.

There are ordinary worries, bills, schedules, kids playing up and being a bit of a worry or pain in the posterior.  We call this “normal life”.

However, there is safety, happiness, contentment, freedom (oh the joy of freedom from abuse – there’s nothing comparable).  There is emotional growth, there is calmness, there is dancing in the kitchen just because you can, there’s kissing boys who fancy you!  There is happiness.

Now it is likely the recipient has forgotten what that feels like, but it is worth pursuing.

In closing, if there’s been a blow-up recently, there’ll be a honeymoon period, but we know – it is textbook – that the honeymoon period will not last.  People are poised to help, plus you are tough and if you had to, you have it in you to go it alone because alone is better than this, surely?  You’re tough, you’ve survived this thus far, you can surely survive being happy and safe!


Cycle of abuse.png



Toughen up a bit, People.

Lamenting and pearl clutching are becoming a hobby born of a feeling of impotence, of feeling like there is nothing that can be done, a default reaction, and yet those move the cause along hardly at all.


I love that all kind of -ism’s are being called out and revealed in broad daylight.  I love that everyone from creepy weirdo’s to predatory world and industry leaders cannot now easily hide their evil doings by throwing money at the problem or intimidating somebody in to silence.  I love that people are finding a voice, are being heard and have courage to say the difficult truthful thing.  Love it.

There are times where feelings occur, it is natural to have compassion for our fellow person on this planet.  These feelings are a motivating force.  But that brings me to my point.  Force and power.

People, I perceive, are clutching at their pearls and lamenting about awfulness which every woman on the planet has known is going on for generations.  And then people are clutching and lamenting further and then a little more.  I perceive that lamenting and pearl clutching are becoming a hobby born of a feeling of impotence, of feeling like there is nothing that can be done, a default reaction, and yet those move the cause along hardly at all.   Speakers need people to hear them, absolutely.

We cannot become a nation of cissy’s, of passive people, of those who wring their handkerchief between their fingers in helpless distress.

We have to be able to face the unpleasant things in life and we have to be able to deal with it there and then.  We have to reclaim laughing in the face of adversity.  We have to be able to demand a seat at the table of our own life.  The best creativity, art, music always stem from periods of adversity.  Maybe the best of our life can be brought forth in times of trial and difficulty.

We need to know who we are despite what others say about us.  If somebody withdrew their approval, would we be bereft or flounder?  No!  We wouldn’t, we’re tougher than that!  Our emotional core strength is invaluable.

With the caveat that we should do no harm to ourselves or others, it matters not whether somebody accepts our lifestyle.  Do we accept ourselves?  Are we going to embrace the good in life while the others yell in to their own echo chamber?  Are we going to bruise at an unkind word or are we going to be resilient and cheerfully persist?  If somebody insists on telling us all our faults, can we be resolute in our own sense of humility and self worth?  Can we continue to learn and grow, developing an amazing life?

Standing in front of evil ill intent and boldly declaring as Gandalf “You Shall Not Pass”, or as Doctor Who “She Is Defended” is a minimum starting point.  A swift “thanks for your input” and going your own way is another possibility.  A further step would be to separate our wants for our life from the wants of others for our life.

To whimper and twist a hanky will do nobody any good.

For items playing out on the worldwide stage, there are things we can do.  We can write to our government representative if the matter relates to a national situation.  We can join Amnesty International’s Facebook page (how  easy can that be!), always be polite if you are contacting an organisation.  We can donate to organisations pulling in the same direction.  We can be a person who can be confided in, who survivors and fellow travellers can trust.

Be true to your word and be braver than you think you are.

And laugh, laugh lots, laugh at funny things.  Take away the fear of living in a dented world.  Go out dancing, have kitchen discos, use the nice things you own and treat yourself and the people around you kindly.  Speak the truth.  Have the courage of your convictions and the courage to continue learning.  Hold the line.

But for the love of sunshine, stop clutching your pearls.




Spartans had the right idea

Perhaps not as brutal or unreasonable as first thought… the people of Sparta had a strategy.


Spartans used to put their newborns on the hillside and leave them overnight.  If the newborn survived they were deemed Strong and Spartan Like and worthy of song and celebration.  If the baby got the snuffles or worse, meh, it was worth a try, at least they knew right then.

When I first heard of their supposed practice I was pearls clutchingly horrified but now not so much.  I can see the merit.

Thankfully we have great access to medical care in the UK.  It may not be shiny or new fangled or particularly swift if you attend the one for all and all for one NHS, but the staff know their stuff and are lovely, the medicine is readily available and nobody dies because they couldn’t afford a co-pay or were uninsured.  Darwinian it may not be, but it works for us.  A healthy-as-can-be workforce is an appreciative and productive workforce.  A healthy student is a hard working student.  Hardworking students go far in life and end up running the world.  There’s everything to play for.

But the people of Sparta, not as daft as they seem perhaps.


Sunday School – 144 chances to get it right

I’ve had the great blessing of being a Sunday School Teacher for 3 years, teaching 8-9 year olds and letting them teach me too.  It’s been a challenge and a blast.  The kids are amazing and full of intellectual rigour – as much as a 9 year old can be, that is, and filled with a quiet resolve to be kind and keep learning.

But this Sunday I was released from that calling as we say in Mormon circles.  It’s time to try new things and see where I can be of service elsewhere.

But, why the pictures above?

Each week for the past couple of years, I have written my name on the board along with a self portrait reflecting kind of how I look that day.  Every weeks portrait came with a smiling face.  They were very specific in proscribing whether I’d omitted my reading glasses and the portrait needed correcting.  Heaven forbid if I started class without including this weeks portrait.

The portrait came with the 10 second comment, every single time, that it was there so they’d know who would be happy to chat with them in the corridor at Church or outside and what to look for, that I would always be delighted to chat with them in the busy corridor.

I thought it was just a fun way to start class and get the attention to the front of the room rather than the “pillowcase of puppies” approach to wiggling and distracting each other thing they had going on.

But like I said, this week was the week that I became a former Sunday school teacher.

And this week is the week that many, many, many of the students came by to get affirmation they wouldn’t be forgotten.  I would be walking and one of the girls would jump in with a surprise hug, another girl would jump in too.  The boys came by to test whether I’d smile if they greeted me and beamed when I did.  They wanted me to notice their Christmas gadgets on first show, and notice I did.  They wanted to know that I would ask them to sit up in the chairs rather than taking up 3 spaces each!  One girl came by and forlornly stated that she really didn’t want me to not be a teacher anymore, and I said cheerfully “we’ll always have the corridor”, “oh yeah, great” and smiling she dashed away.

It started as a silly throw away to cheerfully begin class, and became an ethos of inclusiveness and togetherness.

I had 144 chances during those 3 years service, 48 weeks a year x 3 years, to help those wonderful children – a different group each year – know that I had a Testimony and their quiet moment experiences where they felt an assurance that what we were speaking about had application in their lives was important.

We likened a Testimony or belief in Churchy things to two possibilities:

  • A boulder, is a testimony one big block of rock, giant, immovable?
  • Sand on the beach, is the beach made up of lots of little sand grains, each one representing a smaller testimony?

We determined a testimony is like the beach, with some boulders.  There are big strong beliefs, these are the big ticket items.  Then there are tens, hundreds or thousands of smaller testimonies of the smaller things.  Both types make up a beautiful vista and both make up a valid, strong, and beautiful testimony.

I’ll miss being with those students.  They have richly fulfilling and complicated little lives as they navigate school life and sibling rivalries. They’re great people and I very much look forward to watching them learn and grown in the forthcoming years.  They’re amazing people, hold on to your hats!

(I know many people here have no organised religion and you are very free to record your personal experiences, I’m trying to share here a lovely experience and hope that it makes you smile a little.  It takes a village and all that.)