Beating the system, in small ways.

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Recently I went to a car boot sale. I like car boot sales, I just have to resist the urge to fill my house with more junk. I have had some bargains though. Not that I desperately needed the mirror candle holder that lives on my bedroom wall, but still…

One of the best parts of the day was going into the car park, and the person I was with (who was driving) being given a ticket to park, with plenty of time left on it. Why is this so thrilling? Have I completely lost the plot? I have given the matter some thought, and settled on the following reasons.

1) Feelgood factor. Just another human-being being nice.

2) Getting something for nothing. Everyone loves a bargain.

3) Rebellion. No-one actually likes paying for parking, so it’s a bit naughty ‘beating the system’ in this small way. We can’t do it in big ways, generally, so this fulfills a small part of that otherwise largely unmet need.

We were able to pass the ticket on again on the way out. I have always believed in recycling!

Seizing the day….

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I drove down a street today and was reminded of the last time I drove down it. This street is in an area largely populated by students from a local university. It was a nice day. Many people like to sit outside on nice days. Occasionally I do myself. Although if you live in a terraced house, with only the pavement in front of your house,  you probably have to want to do it more as you are much more in public. I have seen people put kitchen chairs etc out there to enjoy a sunny day in our unpredictable climate. Good on them, I say. On this particular day, a few. students (I am assuming they were) decided to avail themselves of the British weather. No kitchen or garden chairs? No problem. They had man-handled a sofa out there to sit on.

And they looked happy.

I just can’t imagine myself doing this…and that is a Bad Thing. I admire the ability to ‘seize the day’, and ignore the voice in the head that says, ‘You might knock the paintwork on the way out, the sun might go in, what will the neighbours think’. Children have the ability to live in the moment. At what stage did I lose this and start justifying why I couldn’t do this stuff? Why I had to do the ironing, or whatever, instead.

I need to try and get this back.

In the words of a famous mobile phone company, I need to ‘Be a bit more dog’.

Why Coronation St has sold all women down the river

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Ok. So we know that the  recent story-line of Tina and Peter’s affair and Tina’s subsequent murder was designed to get ratings. Coronation Street over the last decade or so has had ever more unbelievable tales to get people to ‘tune in’. I know they were not on their own with this one, but being the loyal northern bird that I am, this is the soap that I grew up with, and it remained a constant in my life. In times gone by, it was an ‘everyday tale of northern folk’ and was famous for its somewhat gritty northern humour.

But the tale of Tina/Peter has left a very bad taste. We know Peter is a bigamist and a headworker who can’t keep it in his trousers. But it would be nice to think that bad stuff gets punished sometimes. Am I the only one to find it misogynistic that Tina has paid the ultimate price for her affair with a married man while Peter hasn’t? Doesn’t this have a horrible parallel  with women being stoned to death for adultery? And the Christian idea that all the trouble started with Eve being a wicked temptress and poor Adam didn’t stand a chance, the poor love…

And yes, I know that Rob actually killed Tina. Those scenes too showed him using force, before the later fatal blows to get his own way. I would argue that it somehow normalised this. During the argument he claimed that everyone ‘fancied Tina but no-one wanted to be with her’ (para-phrasing). Once again a woman is having her looks used against her, in a way which de-values her as a person. When was the last time you saw this happen to a man? Tina was punished for her beauty, in the way that many of us have been punished for our ‘averageness’. We know that Rob may, or may not get punished, but this is too far down the line to remove the damage already done.

Coronation Street used to have a history of strong female characters and I am sad that this is changing. Unfortunately I see society valuing women less, and allowing more and more Strip Clubs. 

I had hoped my teenage daughter would grow up in a better society for women than I did. Sadly, this is not the case.

It’s not up to you how we look!

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Sometimes it’s hard to believe we are in the 21st cetntury. Recently, again, I heard another nasty dig on the television about Susan Boyle’s looks. What is the matter with people? The woman is a fabulous singer, who looks like a pleasant neighbour. She is NOT employed as a model! So why do people expect her to look like one? I’ll say again what many people have said before me. If she was a man, she would be allowed to go about her business without any comment about her looks. There are a few male singers, without model-looks who are not commented on by the media.  For goodness sake, why can’t we leave her alone? And leave all women alone. It should not concern anyone else how we look. To assume it is your business is supremely arrogant. Every time we hear someone doing it, we should challenge them.

Divorce….some thoughts

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I have read a blog about this tonight…

I hhttp://www.thesecretdivorcee.co.uk/2014/03/ten-things-that-surprised-me-about.htmlave . This is all relevant. Having been divorced twice now ( yes, I know… what more can I say?) I would add the following points…

Husbands of your friends will hit on you…

This is both surprising, and horrifying. Do they think you are ‘going without’ some essential, err, sex? Hello! I have just got rid of a married man who was cheating, ie, my husband. If I wanted a married man who was cheating, I would have stuck to the man that I was married to!

Your life will get more complicated…

It will be awkward to organise access  visits. Ex will make it difficult, but not impossible, and will organise this as if you do not have a life….

Previous husband, in my case, will announce a new wedding before the divorce is finalised… this was a surprise, particularly as exhusband held the divorce up until the last moment.

Blended families have their own complications. Even  when they are pleasant, there will be issues. One’s own children can be difficult. When step-kids are hard work, it’s harder, because you are not linked by blood. Koudos to the people who are married to the parents of their children.

You will spend much of your life driving your child accross the city to accomodate the above…

Sometimes though, divorce is the only way to save your life. In which case, do it anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

(Accidentally) going without make-up….

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At the weekend, a friend and I got a cheap night in a spa. Lovely! Twas only about twenty minutes into the journey, that I realised my make-up bag was sitting, oblivious, on the window ledge which is its normal home….

Disaster! Too late to turn back, without adding another forty minutes onto the journey, and anyway, I wasn’t driving. Friend and I have a very civilised arrangement. She drives, and I bring the booze…. Anyhoo, I digress. I have to say, that this is not the first time this had happened. I have nearly done it many times, as I do not keep said make-up bag in my handbag. This is less to do with my organisational skills than the not small make-up bag, and the amount of ‘essential’ stuff I carry around in my bag.

The last time it actually happened, I was seventeen, and going to a wedding, and unable to readily access a shop to get make-up, so I went without. Me, with my low self-esteem, with a boyfriend, who didn’t think I was pretty. I know this, because he told me (a whole other blog post). At the wedding, the bride, who was the sister of Tactless Boyfriend, insisted I sat on the Other Side of the church, not on the Family Side. A slight that I vaguely recognised, but would have been much more sneeped had I been on Mumsnet in those years! Anyhoo, it was a bit traumatic, but mainly because I needed all the confidence I could get, and my Mask was not available to me.

Roll on over thirty years…. I was a bit irritated. Mainly because I have a List of things I need to do at the last minute, and this includes putting my make-up bag into my case, and I had Failed. I know I shouldn’t need a list, but I am slightly dyslexic and find it easier to work in this way.

So. It was fine. Maybe not for people who live on the other side of my face, and have to look at me, but for me, it was fine. And curiously liberating. And yes, I KNOW that’s not an original thought, but I discovered it, for me personally, accidentally, rather than making a deliberate choice to do it as an experiment.

I don’t wear that much make-up normally, partly through time, and cba issues. On a night out, I will make more effort. I don’t intend to do it regularly, out in public, but it was freeing to know I could.

I wish I could go back and tell my seventeen year old self that it was ok. That the bride was a Bridezilla and I should have stood up to her earlier (this was the latest in a long line of unecessary slights). Oh, and that I was going out with a bit of an Idiot, and I deserved better.

The last point would take until my fifties to get into my head, but better late than never.

My life is too complicated. If only I wasn’t divorced…

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Continuing the theme of an ideal life is a simple life… My life has unfortunately got more complicated as I have got older. Or it may be because I got divorced. Or in a new relationship with someone who also had children, so we have become a kind of ‘blended family’, albeit one who doesn’t live together. I am glad that all the men involved have relationships with their offspring,and actually grit my teeth a lot to make sure it happens with the minimum of drama, but it does make life more complicated. Weirdly, the oldest progeny (in her twenties) needs more attention than the teenager….  I wonder how I got to this situation. I felt I had done all the right things, and should have been ‘rewarded’.  I had tried, I felt, very hard, to be with the father of  my child forever. If only he had felt the same, and his behaviour had reflected this.I  had one child, was married to her father for almost twenty years. I even felt a bit smug… I was part of a an Endangered Tribe. Very few of us had made it this far. But pride comes before a fall, and all that. I had reckoned without an online-dating habit. Among other unsavoury habits.

But when you have a child with someone, if they have an involvement in said child’s life, you are stuck with them, even if you are divorced. Although my daughter is a teenager, and  can make her own arrangements to see her father, he still needs to co-ordinate holidays etc with me. We only have six weeks in the summer to go away. He in theory asks me if dates are suitable, in practise tells me the holidays he has booked… He wasn’t enormously cooperative when we were married, so logically he wasn’t going to improve when we divorced. Although the ability to make my life (more) complicated will become less over the years, we are still tied. An umbilical cord that goes beyond the obvious. Our daughter will graduate, get married, have children ( probably). And we will both have to be there, and I will have to pretend that I forgive him.  The father of my only child, who I feel  (illogically?) biologically bonded with forever.  I loved him dearly, and he betrayed that. In the worst possible way. And I may be wonderfully civilised in public, but I don’t think I will ever forgive such a betrayal of my love.