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.




Single Mum Sickness

Single mums have pretty strong superstitions

You know a single mum feels really sick if she tidies up a bit around the house. It is not a sign of her feeling better, it is actually a sign that she feels wretched. 

Coughing up a lung, take the cups out. Sneezing her head off, gather the laundry and chuck in a load. Vomitting, have a whip round the bathroom while you’re there. 

Doesn’t matter if she has taken over the counter medicine that makes her smell colours they’re so strong. Doesn’t matter she’s not kept anything down apart from simple carbs in two days. Don’t matter.

No one is coming in her house saying she can’t look after her kid. It is a primitive drive. It cannot easily be overridden. They try, but always seem to fall prey to “the whip round instinct”.   

Sure the dusting may not get seen to, and she won’t be in the kitchen prepping crock pot dinners for a month, but it’ll be tidy enough that if paramedics get called or if someone drops rund they can receive ther guests with the dignity befitting the occasion. True story. 


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.)



Inuit Snow and British Rain

It is said (as a linguistic myth) that “Eskimo’s have 50 words for snow”.

I throw down a challenge and state “the British have dozens of words for rain”

Raining, pouring, tipping down, heaving, bucketing, drizzling, chucking down, sprinkling, wet air, misty, wet right through, cats and dogs, damp, soggy, bit wet to name a few.

Brits, if taken from a sensory deprivation tank and placed outside, can tell you if it rained but dried up or if it is going to rain in a few minutes or an hour or so.

Brits are walking barometers.

Brits have to be thus, because historically they’d have to plan to whip the crops in or stoke the forges in between downpours.

The fair Isles of Britain are at the point where seven (count them, 7) weather systems converge over that little cold wet rock in the middle of the Atlantic and each weather system jostles for dominance bring the changeability we all know and love.

So, if a Brit uses a word relating to rain, all other Brits know exactly what they’re talking about, specifically how hard or fine the rain is falling, how long it is likely to last, exactly which coat is required, if they’ll need to change shoes, and if they’ll need to duck as they exit a building.  Language is a beautiful thing.

Inuits, pah!  Got nothing on the British.



Down to 4000 calories a day

First day back to work after the winter / Christmas / New Year break.  I feel I should have brought more provisions with me…. I don’t know what suddenly dropping down to 4000 calories a day will do to a woman after the holiday excess!  My clothes are no indicator of whether I have overindulged as I wear jersey wrap dresses or long loved jeans on any given day and both are relatively forgiving.  Three squares a day with Hobbit-esque mid-meal-meals thrown in to the mix and all should be well.  I ate fruit willingly yesterday, that’s a good thing, right?  So, if I eat an apple, do I have to sacrifice a square of chocolate to offset the calories?  Hope not.  No resolutions here, just an onward and upward trend toward awesomeness.  Happy 2018, folks.


Do Not Scratch The Surface

Flipping heck.  There I was, bimbling along, having a nice time making new acquaintances and learning new skills at a First Aid refresher course and they talk about recognising heart problems, described the symptoms and inexplicably and unreasonably I started feeling upset and raise my hand and say in a quiet voice “I’m not having fun anymore, this happened to me” and like a freaking cissy I start fighting back tears and feel stupid.  “I’m not having fun” was a light-hearted way to indicate distress to the instructor who was flipping amazing and brilliant and responsive and kind.  But stupid happened and the tears came and every time I was alone for the rest of the day tears came again.  Continue reading “Do Not Scratch The Surface”