Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Sad stories

A man who'd separated from his wife picked up his 3 little lads for his usual weekend wth them, drove his car into the sea, and used his mobile to let their mother hear their dying cries for help as the sea came in.
Their mother will never recover.
A man on holiday had words with his wife in their 3rd Floor hotel room, picked up his two tots and jumped from the balcony killing the 6 year old and breaking the 2 year old's bones.
Their mother will never recover.
A man, having lost his custody case, traced his separated wife to the Scottish Island hideaway she'd run to, abducted his 12 year old daughter and took her off abroad to be married to an adult stranger.  The child is now lost to some unknown Pakistani village with strangers who don't even speak her language.
Her mother will never see her again, and will never recover.
Who can be surprised if marriage has lost it's 'Happy Ever After' allure for British women?

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Doubly sickening

An Austrian girl was kidnapped 8 years ago aged 10 and kept in a cellar until her recent escape.  Her kidnapper has committed suicide and she is now safe and back in the family home.  Imagine the massive trauma for this girl and her family. 
Imagine how she and they must feel as the police and the world's media press for intimate details of her abuse in captivity.  Listen to the prurience of the newsrooms.
Now, can anyone tell me what anyone will gain from hearing about whether and exactly when and how he ripped her knickers off, and what he did then, and what he did again, and again.
Imagine why they should feel the need to know.  Can they prosecute him?  Will seeing the details of her abuse spread on front pages and TV screens help her or her parents?
Or do you think as I do that the demand to hear the literal ins and outs of the rape of a 10 year old amounts to yet more seriously damaging abuse?

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Happy Days :O)

Yesterday we went to Barmouth and yes, I know you're enviously thinking that there's nothing quite like the North Wales coast in torrential rain with 3 children and a dog, but hold on there - you forgot the aroma in the car en route back! 
Whatever the weather tho Connie is a gal who knows how to have a good time 

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Ramblin Jack rules, ok?

I wonder why it is that some people just seem not to understand that DNA contains more than one genetic marker?  On the politics board someone is claiming that because a piece of research has shown that some of the (very) few people whose DNA has actually been tested have a genetic marker in common with the ancient found in the Cheddar Gorge that therefore proves that he, and presumably anyone else who is white and cares to make the same claim, is 100% through and through British.  <soz for the Levinesque sentence there>
The whole 'genetic Brit' argument is the argument of dummies who don't know even the first thing about genetics.  Asked about the origin of the many other genes in their DNA they have no answer - obviously as very very few could answer - but still fall back on this old dimndumma argument.  None of us knows for sure who or what nationality or race each and every one of our forebears were - and that's without mentioning the fact that even in today's scientifically au fait world it's a rare man who knows his father.  Of course many men believe they know their father and the vast majority are correct, but even so, a goodly few are calling a man Dad when the milkman has the same eyes <gg>
That so few are able to trace their matrilineal lines simply adds to my point.
Someone else on the message board has countered with a claim that being British is nothing to do with genes and everything to do with culture.  I'm left wondering which culture she means.  The Sun readership culture?  The culture of the aristocracy?  The culture of remote Scots fishing villages? My culture? Yours?
You know I think everyone's culture shares just one thing with my culture - all are a mix of subcultures.  For me there's my two professional subcultures, my educational subculture, my family subculture, my women friendship circle subculture and that of the friends I share with my husband which is very different.  Then there's those who share my particular taste in music - so that would be bluegrass fiddler subculture which in turn is a division of Cajun, which is a subculture of American folk music, which is..... etc etc  Not forgetting my WI jam making subculture, my gardening subculture etc etc  - and those of us who surf the net are ourselves an 'umbrella' subcultural group for all the other subdivisions of our surfing subculture of which we may each belong to several; bloggers; videologgers; message board posters; chatroomies; simple surfers; researchers; shoppers; games players; music fans - the lists of the subcultural groups we each pick and choose from is endless.
You may think that these are not cultural groups at all - but you'd be wrong.  They all have a specific language and historical references which apply only to them but not to others.  My point is that belonging to a specific set of them says sfa about nationality.
What makes someone British is emotional attachment to a land and the national life of the land.  As far as I'm concerned if someone themself says s/he is British - and only British so dual nationalities are excluded here - then they are as British as the next Brit.  And that applies even to crinoids who can't argue a rational case but can only come out with crap about genes.

Sunday, 20 August 2006

Domestic Bliss :O))

My day:
Wake late, realise I have toothache following Friday's visit to dental hygienist - aka Bloody Mary
Listen to Husband's complaints that his plectrums have disappeared, how he knows they're inexpensive but he likes them 'worn in' and now he's got to use a new one. Boo hoo.
Face demand that I finish his crossword which already has alterations and which he did in ink.  Discover that he got 2 clues wrong in ink.  Correct them, finish the crossword, am told that once corrections had been made the rest of the answers were obvious.
Barrow approx ¼ ton of topsoil to new herbacious bed and rake.  Rake the soil shifted by husband.  Pick up and dump all pieces of rubbish and glass discovered when digging the subsoil. Cut hand in process.  Discover plasters all gone.
Make lunch, discover less pie in fridge than last time I looked.  Give husband pie and salad. Make myself a banana sandwich.
Put chicken in casserole in oven for dinner.
Dismantle compost bin, turn compost.  Catch edge of toe with garden fork.  Still no plasters.  Husband manages to drape rotting plant material on my head.
Remove chicken from oven.  Don rubber gloves and dismantle chicken.  Put little bits of decent meat into bowl for later chicken and mushroom pie.  Put nasty boneless scraps into bowl for dog.  Husband gives good meat to dog and nasty scraps in fridge.
Seriously consider composting husband  :O))

Die and IT'll get you :O)

Stephen Byers, a man who is ever the bandwagon jumper, has 'called for' the scrapping of Inheritance Tax which apparently is now netting twice the number of estates since 1997 when New Labour gained power in the UK.  The main reason why this tax is so hated is that the bar is set so low at £285K that almost anyone with property is in fear of their descendants gaining nothing from their lifetime of investment and savings.
I agree that it's iniquitous that people who have paid taxes - on their lifetime of income and purchases - including not only the earnings used to pay their mortgage but also the equally iniquitous 'stamp duty' on the purchase of their home - should then face having their estate - ie anything left after they die - taxed at 40%.  This tax is without doubt a disincentive to low and average income families to buy property or to save for their old age. 
However I don't think that Inheritance Tax should be completely scrapped.  I have the occasional socialist bone left in my body and altho taking IT from the estates of billionaires may not be 'fair' from the individual billionaire's point of view imo it's socially fair that those who are very very substantially richer than most should, once they have left this world, contribute towards the wellbeing not only of their own legatees but of the country which gave them the chance of becoming so rich.  I think that because I believe that no-one becomes rich except at the expense of someone else - and the descendants of all those someone-elses should get a little communal payback.
If I were Chancellor I would raise the bar for IT to estates valued at £750K.  That would remove the burden from the majority of average income families but would still continue to bring into the public purse substantially more than was gained through IT when this government came into power.

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Say aaaaah bless

9 weeks and 12lbs 4oz, sleeps 5 hours at night and tries to pull himself into a sitting position.

Next week:  Felix's SATs scores revealed :O)

Okay so I'm immature

Okay, I know this is serious:   VOA News - Researchers Study Role of Male Circumcision in Preventing HIV Spread  but really, what wisecrack (!) at the WHO decided to appoint Kevin De Cock as their HIV Director? 

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Stream of consciousness ramble

It seems to me that terrorist attacks, once they get to the stage of putting their plans into operation are virtually unstoppable because the range of potential suspects is limitless and indistinguishable from the general population. 
Once terrorists get to the stage where they're physically present and in position to attack, who is in a better position to observe them than the people on the same bus, or tube, or in the same Check In queue? 
Who stopped one of those WTC planes - US security and Intelligence experts or other ordinary everyday travellers?  We already know who the real heroes of 9/11 were, don't we?
Why does the Blair govt not treat the British people as adults rather than as a somewhat dim and totally vulnerable target for attacks which they as 'ordinary Brits' can themselves do nothing whatsoever about?
This latest lot of suspects, I honestly believe we'll eventually hear, were plotting and conspiring to bomb aeroplanes rather than actually there lurking around Heathrow trying to get on a plane. 
I've certainly heard nothing to indicate that any airport arrests were made, as far as I know they were all snatched up by the police in their own homes and towns. What sense then, once the suspects were collared, in frisking little French exchange  schoolgirls and making a reported 10,000 British families lose their annual holiday? 
I must admit this particularly galls me in light of Blair's flight taken a few hours before shutdown when he knew in advance exactly what was going to happen to less privileged families in British airports.
One terrorist a couple or so years ago was actually discovered trying to board an aeroplane, but do we now have to remove ourshoes for checking at Check In?  Nope.  So I wonder, given that he actually was a terrorist rather than merely a suspected terrorist, why has New Labour not insisted on shoe X rays?  Do they have special insight and know that no other terrorist will try the same tactic?  No they don't. 
Are tube travellers subjected to limits on what they can carry onto the Tube?  Are Bus passengers?  Nope.
As Bush so memorably tried to say, terrorists are innovative.  They don't repeat flawed tactics. So why are the Govt acting as if this latest type of attempted attack is going to be repeated when shoe bombing, tube bombing, bus bombing are apparently thought to be a one-offs?
And if the Govt is convinced that liquids and/or gel are going to be a recurrent threat, then isn't it time that they stopped thinking only in terms of bottles and tubes?  Heels, belt buckles, substantial earrings, bulky 'stone'finger rings, capsules up noses, inside ears.... other places.....   Where is the intelligence???
And why are they spending so much time buggering our lives up to demonstrate that they're on top of something that didn't happen instead of busying themselves in the communities far away from Heathrow and securing those would-be terrorists who are doubtless even now as you read this hatching new and novel plots?

Heave some more <g>

While I'm writing of gross things.... these 'moon cups'... I mean really, isn't that THE single most disgusting notion?

I've always wanted to heave at the idea of Dutch Caps, and how anyone could feel rampant putting one in and thinking of taking it out later........... <wave of nausea moment>.............  anyway, I've always found that idea repellent. 

But excuse meeeee, inverted Dutch Caps instead of tampax or Dr Whites???  Are they quite quite mad?

Pulleeeze, that's so gross :O))

Excuse me for mentioning this, but scented tampax??? 

Now, you simply have to ask yourself why this innovation was either needed or wanted - unless, of course, and the notion appalls, but ............. well, do normal people - even within the widest realms of 'normal' -  do they really go around sniffing the damn things??? 

Monday, 14 August 2006

Guilt - Get Over It! :O)

I've been reading a few blogs where people are talking about personal guilt, and how difficult it is to cope with.  Most often this guilt is about a decision they made in the past; to return to work while their child is still young for example, or taking personal time for themselves away from their loved ones; choosing a school which turned out the wrong one for their child; paying for a family holiday and then being made redundant and so forth.  
I just don't understand this particular sort of guilt thing at all.  If we're rational people - and most of us are as rational as we can be - then we weigh up pros and cons and make what we believe to be the best decision possible at that time and in those circumstances.  That's what I try to do. 
Having said that, like everyone else sometimes my decisions are influenced by my emotions but emotions don't rule my decisions, they're just another factor to weigh up.
Of course sometimes we find that the results of our decisions don't turn out as we'd believed and hoped they would when we made them.  That may be cause for regret, but guilt should only apply when we've knowingly at the time made a poor decision which has had a bad effect on others as we knew from the start that it would.  Now that's cause for guilt. 
Not addressing (where possible) the bad effects on others of decisions we've made, there's another genuine cause for guilt. 
Not knowing what the future will bring, and how that may reflect on past choices is what we get for not being omniscient.  To err is human, to suffer guilt over being human is dumb.  :O))

Sunday, 13 August 2006



Ordinary individuals can offer no solutions to macro problems such as the way our sham of a democracy has led to what in practical terms- and whoever you vote for -is a ruling oligarchy.  They are beyond our power to change, whether from without or within.  Those who have genuinely gone into Party politics with the intention of changing policy direction have either been seduced into collaboration or have left in despair.

What we can do however is refuse to support this system and cease colluding with the sham.  If we give our support to a political party and help them gain power, then we are by default party to all that they do - and all that they don't do.

More and more people are coming to realise that their vote means nothing.  No matter who you vote for you get the same.  With or without your vote they will continue to rule.  But when enough people stop going along with the voting scam then at the very least none of them will be able to pretend that they have a mandate.

When you can save nothing else, then make sure you save your own integrity.

Friday, 11 August 2006

In the garden this morning

Chatting this morning in  Book Club Chat I was bewailing the effect of today's strong winds on my cardoons and said I'd go out, take a pic and post here:

En masse:




You can't tell from these pictures but the plant is - or was before the wind struck - 8 foot tall.  Cardoons are in fact a vegetable.  The leaves are stripped of their outer surface and lightly poached.  I have no idea what they taste like but I doubt the flavour is any recompense for losing the flowers.

While I was out I took a few more photos;







And finally one of my favourites, 'Toyshop' sunflowers:


Thursday, 10 August 2006

Safety Precautions

I'm sorry Madam, you may not take that acetone nail varnish remover, nor that L'Oreal hair lightener into the passenger cabin.  Put them in the hold instead.  Yes, your Chanel No 5, spare sanitary towels and baby's extra bottle must go in the hold too.

We'd all feel so much safer if we can be sure that the bomb's in the hold.

But you can of course keep your angina spray and your asthma inhaler in the cabin.

It's not funny

1. Blair delayed his holiday flight to Barbados in order, he claimed, to be available for anything arising regarding the possible UN ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Lebanon - even tho the UN had specifically instructed him to keep out of it.
2. The UK informed the USA about this latest terrorist threat on Sunday.   The airports were shutdown in the early hours of today.
3. Blair belatedly flew out yesterday.
Given that we told the Yanks on Sunday what chance Blair didn't know before he left the country yesterday that the airport shutdown was coming this morning, even before his plane had landed in Barbados? 
If he knew, what made him think that it was ok for him to go sunbathe rather than stay in the country he purports to lead?
What sort of Leader disappears off to make sandcastles before he knows that the biggest anti-terrorist action ever to have taken place in the UK has been successful?
Now consider:
Blair's parliamentary party and much of his Cabinet are opposed to his stance regarding Israel's actions in the Lebanon.  150 MPs yesterday signed a statement calling for Parliament to be recalled.  Many ordinary people also believe Israel's actions are totally disproportionate and think Blair is very wrong in not having joined the rest of the world (except Bush) in calling for an immediate middle east ceasefire.
So, finally, does anyone recall how Blair sent tanks to Heathrow precisely at the time he was getting a lot of criticism for invading Iraq?


In a recent survey, 80% of women thought their arse was too fat, 15% said their arse was too thin and the other 5% said they didn't care - they would have married him anyway!!  :O))

Monday, 7 August 2006

Thank goodness my name's not Norah

Did you know that headlice are only attracted by clean heads?  I can vouch for that fact. 


The upside is that I can now say with 100% certainty that I have no nits - and at my age what a proud boast that is!  

My Mother would be turning in her grave if she knew.

Sodding kids eh?

More Marital Musings

Stuart, in commenting on my piece Marital Musings, said: 'the marriage vow talks about and the two shall become one. '  It does, but the Marriage Vows, and most marriages that have ever taken place did so when people couldn't realistically expect to live beyond their mid 40s, and moreover, when women were extremely prone to dying at childbirth.  I daresay were we now faced with the prospect of marriages lasting a maximum of 20 years or until childbirth, then we'd not have any problem with finding everything in one person. 
Most people too didn't expect to find their soulmate in marriage.  Women's soulmates tended to be female and men didn't need soulmates because they were too tired from working at t'coalface to want someone to talk to and in any event didn't have the language to express and share their feelings and expectations had they wanted to.  Sadly, many still don't.
These days tho we can expect to live into our 80s and that means marriages are expected to last up to and beyond 60 years.  Consider also that in our parents' and Grandparents' time the concept of, for example, lifelong learning was unthought-of - what with t'pit, t'pub and patching the patches on patchwork laundry pinafores. 
Now however some young adults continue their education, engage in interesting and time-consuming activities outside the home, read far more than their grandparents ever did - and now both men and women expect to get social and other sorts of stimulation and some independance by working in paid employment outside the home. 
The chances that a young couple will continue to share their intellectual and social life as they grow older are less and less likely as the wider world opens up new avenues to explore.
The idea of spending 60 years in a relationship which excludes all others is a good one in many ways - but only if they remain compatible.  60 years living in a totally incompatible exclusive relationship is surely insupportible to most people and the divorce rate appears to provide the evidence that it is.
Perhaps we need to review, clarify and mutually agree our expectations and options in light of the very different circumstances which apply today before we make those ancient promises?

Sunday, 6 August 2006


My dog poos in the paddock and not in the garden.  Her learning to do that was a difficult and time consuming achievement for both of us.  Dalmatian walks - Click image to download.

My cat craps out of sight altho occasionally the idle beggar makes use of the soft option -  molehills.  I use the hose to flush catpoo and soil back down the molehole so that's not really a problemo.  Orange Cat Waves - Click image to download.

But what in heck can I do about the fox(es) who leave up to 4 piles of crap - some right outside the french windows - every darn night?

Big eared fox - Click image to download.

Friday, 4 August 2006

Something to celebrate

Yesterday was both my husband's birthday and our wedding anniversary.  It was also the day on which our property sale was finally completed after 6 full months of stress, so plenty of reasons there to celebrate. 
We spent the day revisiting places we'd not been to since childhood - and wasn't the weather glorious!  For my husband it was Conwy Falls:
 and for me Fairy Glen:
 both places are near to Betwys Y Coed and very beautiful and as we were the only ones in Fairy Glen I managed to get 10 minutes nekkid swimming which I absolutely adore even tho my husband's always a bit nervous about me doing it. 
On the way out and back we stopped at the Rhug organic cafe for first class fodder and when we got back home there were flowers in the courtyard from my husband. In the evening we went to a local bistro bar where we had the best food we've ever eaten in this corner of England. 
 What a great day.  I'm so glad I married (and kept) this one <g>

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Marital musings

Before you start making assumptions I have a happy marriage and have no intention of ever divorcing my husband, I'm simply indulging in thinking   :O)
And when I use the words 'us' and 'we' I don't mean you and I don't mean me, I mean folk in general.
I wonder if, when you first decided to marry your beloved or shack up with your squeeze, whether you thought that you knew yourself, knew your intended, knew you'd always be in love, knew what you wanted from life and knew that you each wanted the same?  I think we all believe that we know those things. 
What we either don't know or, in that heady rush into twosomeness, what we most of us forget is that nothing stays the same.  Human beings are constantly changing - altho were I kinder or more sentimental I suppose I'd say that we never stop 'growing' - in my case both literally and figuratively  :O(.
We might become more widely read, more artistic, more athletic, fatter, thinner, richer, poorer, more generous or more bitter, more peaceful of more aggressive, more smart or more ignorant.  Some of us might choose to stay as we were which could be fantastic or could mean that at 50 we still get smashed every Saturday night, won't eat anything our Mums didn't cook and want to hang out with our friends 5 nights a week.
What most of us do in fact is, like John Wayne's cowboy characters, we get partnered up without knowing much more about how well matched we will remain in 10 years time than what the notches on our bedposts tell us.  So what we believe will be lifelong partnerships are actually based on assumptions about not only what our own future self will be like, but what this distinctly different person we're about to 'commit' to will be like either.
And we lie.  We lie to ourselves and to each other altho equally often these lies are lies of ommission rather than direct untruths.  Who customarily says 'oh you choose, I don't mind either way', or 'really, I'm happy with whatever you want' or 'truly whatever you decide as long as I'm with you it'll be great' other than people in that first mad rush of infatuated affucktion?
Do we check out our assumptions?  Do we discuss and agree ground rules or do we take it for granted that both parties accept what's believed to be the relationship status quo? 
Did you ask your intended if s/he thought adultery sufficient grounds for divorce for example?  Did you ask whether your intended wanted 6 or no children and did you believe their answer or think that you could change their mind?  I'd guess not and I'd also guess that unless/until the poo hits the fan you haven't really given many such matters much extensive consideration yourself. 
And do any of these questions have any validity now, or do we all have the possibility of divorce in the back of our minds ready for when the glare of the difference between ideal and actuality hit us smack in the eye?