Sexism

Watched Louis Theroux’ new documentary on Jimmy Savile on Sunday night. Appalling. But here’s the thing. Jimmy Savile’s behaviour was dreadful and abusive, even for the time, but there was a different culture then. Although if, in my mid-twenties, a middle-aged man had told me I was too old for him, alarm bells would have rung loud and clear.

I was at work in Birmingham (UK) city centre in the 1970s and it was normal, just totally normal, for men to whistle at women as they walked past, to comment on female bodies, to say whether or not they’d want to have sex with a woman.(“Yeah, I’d do you, darling!” – well, I wouldn’t “do” you, mate. Not the best chat-up line, really, now is it?) In my lunch hour, when I went shopping, it was common for men to shout stuff in my ear about how I looked. You were expected, then, to be grateful for the attention. Grateful. Yes. I felt very uncomfortable about it all and just ignored the shouters. I’m no great beauty, not particularly outstanding in any way, and wasn’t then either, but because I had a reasonable figure, that’s what attracted the attention.

Women were thought to dress for the men in the workplace. My ex-husband thought so too, so when I wore a smart skirt and blouse for work, he was irritated, because it was clearly, in his head, for the men. But in my head, I just wanted to look nice and smart, and to compete with the other women in the office.

And, like in Mad Men, if anybody made a pass at you, and you turned them down, it could only possibly be because you were “spoken for”. Not because you didn’t fancy them back. You were supposed to be glad. Pleased. Hmm.

Things are better now, but there are still many men who don’t get it. One example is the use of “Ms”. In the dictionary, Ms is the female equivalent of Mr.  I have this theory that some men feel they can “chat up” a Miss, have to be respectful to a “Mrs”, and don’t know what to do about a “Ms”, because it’s not clear whether she is “available” or “not”. How about, guys, you treat women as equals, respect women as people? Huh? Nobody knows whether a man is married or not (unless there’s a ring) because you’re all called “Mr”. And we manage just fine addressing you.

And don’t even get me started on Trump.

Was it really 3 months ago?

Goodness me. I have been meaning to blog for a while now, but life has been just slightly fraught here.

Have just read Harry Potter No 8 – The Cursed Child – amazing! am planning to go and see it at the theatre somehow or other. Really, really good.

Lots of medical appointments, including osteopath for wonky back (me), for both of us.

Visits from family – absolutely wonderful to see everybody, just lovely. It’s hard to believe that the oldest two grandchildren are 15 and nearly 15, and the youngest are nearly two years old, and seven and a half  months old. All just delightful.

We had a date for the boiler service but the man never turned up, and it proved to be difficult to say the least to re-book. So I wrote a fairly snotty email and it’s being done on Friday morning, and they’re paying us £30 for the inconvenience. So that’s ok then (sort of).

We also had a date for the man to assemble and fit five cupboards in the utility, but he didn’t turn up either. We did try to contact him (two phone calls, 10 am and 7 pm, and a text message), but no reply at all. Strange, as he was very enthusiastic about how wonderful we were to work for (he did the refurb of our kitchen). However. New plan in the making. Frustrating though, as we’d stripped the room for him. But it would be worse if we had taken time off work . . . .

This week has been particularly fraught and busy, and we are both really tired. But next week looks much less manic, so we can relax and catch up with ourselves. I really thought retirement would be restful! but then I thought having a baby would involve four hourly feeds and sleeps in between. How wrong can a person be.

Yesterday I went to Stitch and Sip at the local yarn shop, and it was lovely! lots of laughter and banter, and I actually got some knitting done. Excellent. Also a couple came in with their nephew. The couple were 101 and 102 (he was in a wheelchair), both as bright as a button, their (chatty and funny) nephew was 74 and there was a carer too. The 101-year old woman lives nearby, and knits as well as crochets, so we tried really hard to persuade her to come to the Stitch & Sip sessions. She was born in 1915. We were all trying to work out all the changes she’s seen in her life. It would be great to see her at the group.

Been knitting loads for Christmas, no pictures yet of course, and a little cardigan for a baby boy due this month. Just started a cardigan for my friend Charlie’s little girl. I made her one when she was 3, and she still wears it! a little on the small side now of course . . . and the one I’m knitting now is in a sort of mermaid pale green.

 

The garden is looking ok too. There is a large phormium which isn’t terribly well placed, too near the washing line, and hubby sometimes finds he’s been poked in the eye by one of the leaves. So I’m getting it moved to the back of the garden, where there is a dead pieris which needs digging up. Phoning for quotes tomorrow. Also have some “Seeds for Bees” which I’m going to plant soon, and once the phormium has been moved, I’ll plant some bulbs and a small ornamental grass (which won’t poke hubby in the eye) in the space left. Exciting.

The sweet peas I grew from seed eventually came up trumps, but next year it’ll be small plants rather than seeds. The dwarf rudbeckias also eventually grew, but what a faff. I do like them though, bright yellow really cheers up an autumnal garden. Along with the bright pink sedums (though not adjacent to each other). The purple smoke bush (cotinus coggyria) is lovely, and the leaves turn a beautiful colour before they fall.

Watched “The Danish Girl” last night. Melancholy, beautifully shot, and a lovely, if very sad, film. Very brave of the actors I think. Equal weight was given to both the husband’s and the wife’s feelings about what was happening.

Have recently discovered nail “wraps”. Yeah. I’m absolutely crap at putting on nail varnish, partly because I’m just clumsy, partly because I have a tremor. So it’s a major faff, and then within an hour or so I’ve smudged or chipped it. However, nail wraps are just the job for me. Have a look here and see what you think. I have some samples, so I’m just trying to get my hands into a suitable state (the nails are ok, but the skin round them is dry and flaky) and I’ll have a little practice.  My friend is having a “party” on Saturday night and I’m hoping to go.

I can’t believe that’s all. But it is for the moment.

Footwear Malfunction

Yes, I had a shoe problem this week. I have wonky feet. Have had three operations on them and lots of steroid injections. They don’t look particularly wonky, no lumpy bits or bunions or anything, just practically invisible scars. But there is quite a lot of pain.As a result, I don’t do pretty shoes. Almost all my shoes are Birkenstocks, which are comfy, but not terribly elegant. Normally I don’t care about elegant, but this year I thought I’d try something different.

So I bought a pair of flat leather ballet-type pumps from Marks & Spencer. Inside I have put orthotic support things and heel grips. The plan was to wear them if it’s raining or cold outside in the summer, as my summer Birkies are open-toed sandals and look a bit odd in the wet weather. Otherwise I just wear winter-type shoes, which also look a bit odd in the summer.

But the ballet pumps are not comfortable. Really not. So popping out to somebody’s house for a meeting, in the car, would have been ok. However, the day turned out to be somewhat more fraught than just a UNISON meeting. I ended up having to walk what felt like miles in my uncomfortable shoes. To add another little dimension to the whole shebang, I only had a t-shirt on and it was cold and wet outside.

So. New plan. Keep a pair of comfy shoes in the car, for just such occasions. Comfy shoes duly delegated, and will go in the car when my new Birkenstocks arrive. Two pairs – one is a pair of felt type slippers, one is a slightly prettier version (Florida) of the ones I already have (Arizona). We shall see. And the flat ballet pumps will be worn, but only for short periods, and not for any serious walking.

Will also delegate warm jacket to live in the car. Haven’t quite made that decision yet, but hubby is talking about sorting out his wardrobe, so may be able to liberate one of his throw-outs.

Fascinating, isn’t it. Not. Only if you have wonky feet too, I guess.

I can’t believe it’s April already!

Have been meaning to blog for weeks and weeks now. I’m not sure, to be honest, where the time goes. I’m retired! but my diary is fuller now than ever. Note to self: Keep at least two, preferably three, days a week clear.

Had a wonderful birthday a couple of weeks ago. A lovely, relaxed day, dinner with hubby that night, excellent. And last night we went for another meal out as it was our 16th wedding anniversary. We’ve been together for 25 years now, but it took us a while to tie the knot  … … …

ESW is now three months old and an absolute delight. Happy, chuckly, coos and gurgles. There are still some difficult nights but generally I think she’s turned a corner. Mum and Dad are looking less fraught and more relaxed too.

LCS is almost 17 months old, also a joy. Happy, happy little boy. Smiley, cuddly, fun to be around. Love them both so much.

Been knitting and crocheting up a storm. I learned how to do Amigurumi style crochet, and although I need some more practice, it’s going ok really.

Starting a new project tonight – in a beautiful linen yarn – and it’s a shawlette. Love shawlettes. Who knew?

Also went and supported the junior doctors in their strike action a couple of times – first time it was really cold and raining. Second time much more clement weather. Made a two-sided poster, which is fairly sturdy. So I’m quite pleased about that.

 

And what about the Panama papers? about damn time. Very interesting that only three members of the Tory cabinet were clear about their non-use of off-shore tax havens, the others would not reply. Ha.

Need to get in the garden more. I’ve done some spring-cleaning, but now I need to give the lilac bush a jolly good talking-to, in the form of a hard prune, and I also need to get some ericaceous compost, cut the haggard pieris back, and top dress it. Next week hopefully.

February! goodness

Hi people.

I’ve been a little preoccupied what with one thing and another. But YD finally had her baby, whom I shall call ESW (initals), in the middle of January, 10 days late, and had a very difficult time indeed. ESW is now three weeks old and had her tongue-tie snipped yesterday, which has made life much easier for YD, her hubby, and most of all for ESW. Let’s hope it just all settles down now and they can enjoy, instead of enjoying and worrying about, their beautiful little girl.

Knitting has continued apace as you can see from the photos. And even a little sewing, for LCS (14 month old grandson). He loved it. I’m going to make another clown cushion and keep it at home so children who come to see me (I have a little friend called Henry, for example) can play with it.

Guitar playing – not so much. It’s been a year, I’ve tried two different guitars (classical and plain acoustic) and a ukulele, and it’s just not working for me. I thought a ukulele would be easier to handle, but it’s a pain. Under the boob? above the boob? right on top of the boob? nah, just got to the stage where all three are just sitting staring at me balefully. I’m going to hang on to the Fender acoustic and try to get rid of the other two.

We are in the process of getting quotes for refurbishing our kitchen (cabinet doors and worktops only) and it’s all quite exciting. Today I went to a kitchen showroom. By myself. Not the best plan I’ve ever had really. My inner wimp appeared. I spent approximately 45 seconds in there, wandering around aimlessly, feeling really stupid and as if I were 12 years old again, lumpy, adolescent and awkward, so I came home. There really wasn’t any need to go, because we’ve requested samples of the sort of thing we want anyway.

So I wrote to my lovely French penfriend instead. That’s an hour’s job, because I write in French, then translate into English, and correct her English letter to me. Hardly any corrections this time though, at all. (Bravo, Réjane!)

It’s “Time to Talk” day today – is that global? or just in the UK? anyway, on my facebook “on this day” there was my post from last year. (not sure this will be available if you’re not on facebook!) Still makes me feel a bit wobbly, to be honest. Now I’m on the maximum dose of Paroxetine, having tried to go back down to the 40mg a day dose, but need the 50 to be stable. And I need to be stable.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to have the energy to start re-organising the craft room. The lids on the boxes I got from ebay are starting to split. So I’m going to dump the broken lids, keep all the boxes and unbroken lids, and we’ve been to IKEA and bought a load of Samla boxes, some inserts, and all the lids. Am very nerdily excited about it! I’ll post photos when it’s done, just because I can.

And oh god my computer. Last Sunday it started behaving very oddly indeed. The mouse stopped working. Eventually I twigged that none of the USB ports were working. I reinstalled Windows 10 three times, to no avail. Luckily I was able to find a very old fashioned mouse with a PS2 (small, round) connector – with a ball in it! Haven’t seen a mouse with a ball (so to speak) for years! but I had one so was able to use that and installed Linux Ubuntu 14.04.3. All working really well now. How frustrating it was though. I realised it was the Windows drivers when I went into the BIOS (Setup), and a USB stick was recognised in there.

So I’ve needed to re-think my strategy on certain things, for example cloud storage. After much searching and testing, I’ve settled on MEGA which allows you 50Gb free storage. Yep, 50Gb. And it was simple to install on my computer and on my mobile phone. Just need to get it set up on my (Android) tablet now. I was using OneDrive (MS) but it just won’t work on Ubuntu. Dropbox you only get 2Gb free. And so on.

And it’s been such a long time since I posted. Mother’s knee which needed 19 stitches has healed well. Her shin is still bandaged up though. She’s going to meet ESW this weekend, YD + hubby are going over to see her, my sister who lives nearby, and at least one of my nieces. Lovely.

 

better

Yes, I am. Thank you! yes, I am a little pale, but a bit of make-up will sort that out before I go into Solihull later. Don’t want to frighten the children .  .  .

Finished the steroids on Sunday, the Doxycycline on Monday, and voice returned on Tuesday. A bit quiet, but nonetheless a voice. Hooray!

Phoned Mother. Not only has she gashed her right shin, she now has 19 stitches in her left knee (car door blew back onto her leg). Her only complaint is that she’s slow walking everywhere! She says she has no pain, but her right leg is a bit stiff in the morning, and no thank you, there’s nothing she needs us to do. Brave or what. Eighty-three. Planning to live to be 100, she says.

Hairdo booked for later today, dentist booked for next Monday, ECG for next Thursday, (blood pressure textbook today, but pulse a bit fast), bish bash bosh.

Feeling like a proper person, finally! all the worries in my muddly head have sorted themselves out – some practical, some just worries (what about Islam? what about religion? what about the world in general?) – and have relegated themselves to their proper place at the back of my filing cabinet/brain.

Still haven’t knitted anything for weeks though, haven’t even picked up the needles. Maybe later. We shall see.