Wednesday, 8 October 2008

New blog

Hi folks - just a last word to say that I have a new blog here: Rattlebox


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Bloody AOL

AOLUK are dumping all journals from the end of this month, bastards.

Anyone interested in continuing to read can from now onwards find Rattlebox in its new home here:  Click here: Rattlebox 

I don't know who reads this blog apart from 2 or 3 who occasionally comment - and your comments have been very much appreciated - but whether you are a commentator or lurker, you'll be welcome on my new blog so please Fave the link up and sign up for notifications.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Marooned :O)

A bloke, having split from his girlfriend, decided to take a holiday.   He booked himself on a cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life, that is, until the ship sank.

He found himself on an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing, only bananas and coconuts. After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to the shore.        

In disbelief, he asks, 'Where did you come from? How did you get here?' She replies, 'I rowed from the other side of the island. I landed here when my cruise ship sank.'

'Amazing,' he notes. 'You were really lucky to have a row boat wash up with you.' 'Oh, this thing?' explains the woman. 'I made the boat out of raw material I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm branches, and the sides and stern came
from a Eucalyptus tree.'

'But, where did you get the tools?'

'Oh, that was no problem,' replied the woman. 'On the south side of the island, a very unusual stratum of alluvial rock is exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware.'

The guy is stunned.

'Let's row over to my place,' she says. After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As the man looks to shore, he nearly falls off the boat. Before him is stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white.
While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man can only stare ahead, dumb struck. As they walk into the house, she says casually, 'It's not much but I call it home. Sit down, please. Would you like a drink?'

'No! No thank you,' he blurts out, still dazed.  'I can't take another drop of coconut juice.' 'It's not coconut juice,' winks the woman. 'I have a still. How would you like a Pina Colada?'

Trying  to hide his continued amazement, the man accepts, and they sit down on her couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, 'I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the bathroom

No longer questioning anything, the man goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, a razor made from a piece of tortoise bone. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge are fastened on to its end inside a swivel mechanism.       

'This woman is amazing,' he muses. 'What next?'
When he returns, she greets him wearing nothing but vines, strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her.
'Tell me,' she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, 'We've been out here for many months. You've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for?'

She stares into his eyes ..

He swallows excitedly and tears start to form in his eyes....................

'F*****g hell, don't tell me you've got Sky Sports?'   

Friday, 19 September 2008



What a fab day.  We went to one of our very favourite places, Barmouth on the Welsh coast, for a picnic lunch and a good long walk on the beach.  Barmouth has old fashioned charm, a treasury of everything anyone over 40 remembers of family seaside holidays.  A gorgeous stone walled harbour sits at the mouth of the beautiful estuary among narrow streets of slate roofed stone houses at the foot of steep rocky hills covered in bracken and heather.  Sand dunes, rock pools, swing boats on the beach, stalls covered in racks of buckets and spades and a very small funfair with very subdued music playing.  And it's all set in the most lovely scenery.  It's one of the best places in Britain to get some sun on your back and sand in your toes.

A puzzle.

Here's a conundrum.  An older woman becomes pregnant for the 5th time just months after getting a very highly ;paid powerful job. She is an outspoken anti-abortion campaigner.  She decides to have an amniocentesis test to discover whether the foetus is 'normal'.  She discovers that it is not.  The logical inference is that she can only have had the test so that if necessary she could prepare her family for a future with a disabled child. 
But then she doesn't tell her family and when the infant is born and her elder daughter worries that the baby looks as if it possibly has Down's Syndrome she tells her that they will have to wait and see.  So the initial inference was wrong because she didn't use the time and knowledge to help her other children come to terms with having a disabled sibling, in fact she prevaricated even when the evidence was before their eyes.
So, why did she have the test?  Is it because she knew that two of every five amniocentesis tests lead to loss of the foetus? 
Welcome to the principles of America's potential Vice President.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


6 years ago when we first moved to this house with its very large garden I wanted to buy a sit-on mower.  My husband was most reluctant because he is an absolute innocent about anything mechanical and he worried about not being able to fix it when little things went wrong, and also because we didn't have a vehicle we could use to transport the thing to the dealers for repairs & servicing.  As a result we've spent all these years first using a very large and heavy petrol mower which almost killed me off, and then using a Stihl petrol strimmer which we both found much more manageable, and surprisingly perhaps, even at 3 hours minimum, quicker than a mower.
It took 6 years, but today our new superduper Countax lawn tractor was delivered.  It was raining so I just took it for a short circular test drive around a tree and then into the garage. Where I crashed it into a ladder, grazed the cabinet freezer and finally crushed the cat's boxbed.  Result!
Isn't this a fab photo of Grace, Constance and Felix looking like chicks in a nest!
My other news is that a mere 8 months after making my New Year resolution to go scuba diving I've actually booked it.  One week cruising the Jordanian Red Sea to Aquaba and a tootle by Moses' burning bush and striking water from rocks country followed by a week scuba diving at the beginning of February next year.This will be not only a first scuba holiday but also a first for actually keeping a NY resolution.  Then again, scuba holidays are more likely to be kept than my usual weight-loss/more tolerant of dimwits doomed hopes. There's my top tip for successful NY resolutions - make them a treat rather than a threat  :O)

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Is teenage pregnancy as sad a misfortune as we think?

Young women across the whole of the less economically developed world have children at very young ages as happened in the west before industrialisation (and equal opportunities) came into play.  We don't condemn rural peasant cultures where marriage and motherhood commence shortly after puberty, and even if we wish it were not so, then generally we appreciate the reasons for it - shorter life expectancy, lack of state social welfare provision, lack of health care, lack of education, lack of alternative lifestyle choices etc.
Here in the west tho single teenage motherhood is viewed by those not involved as a bad thing even when there are no economic costs to society - generally because of the notion that very young mums are damaging their own potential life chances and consequently those of their infants.
But as we all know, over the past couple of decades it has become harder not easier for people to climb out of the socio-economic position they have been born into.  A young girl born poor has little chance of becoming not-poor whether she becomes a teenage mum or not.  In fact, research has found that poor teenage mums have very similar earnings trajectories to similarly poor young women who wait until their mid or late 20s to begin a family.  These days having a baby at 14/15/16/17/18 does not economically disadvantage either the mother or the child in comparison to older poor mums.
Given the increasing likelihood in western societies that a woman will at least partially raise her children alone isn't it economically sensible for a poor young girl to choose to have her children while she still has the financial and practical support of her family rather than wait until she has no choice than to go it entirely alone?