It’s a dog eat dog world

Shit is getting real. Theresa May is holding an away day at Chequers to nail down her proposal for the Withdrawal Bill to the EU, today. Boris will be there. Boris, the one who said, “fuck business”. You know him. David Davis will be there, the Brexit chief negotiator who has only spent four hours negotiating. You know him. Going on the progress of the last two years – I expect literally nothing will be achieved.

Bonkers Brexit breakdown (With alliteration like this, I could have had a career as a sub-editor on any number of tabloids):

Jacob Rees-Mogg has moved a part of his investment business to Dublin to avoid the consequences of Brexit, whilst all the while continuing to extoll its virtues to the man on the street. Who keep buying it. Speculation is rife that Farage tanked the pound with his premature announcement that Remain had won, thus benefiting speculators, who coincidentally were his associates. A photo that emerged of him laughing and pointing at a screen indicating the sterling crash at more or less three thirty in the morning after the vote, does nothing to discredit this claim. Nigel Lawson had applied for French citizenship, Farage, German. John Redwood, a leading Brexiter, first threatened businesses to keep their mouths shut else there be severe consequences in the form of cutting Government support, then encouraged investors to take their money out of the UK and put it elsewhere. Lord Ashcroft has suggested British businesses head to Malta to avoid the economic fallout of leaving the Union.

But, but, I thought Britain was going to be a thriving place for investment post Brexit……. No? Remind me again – why are we leaving?

An investigation by the Electoral Commission found that Vote Leave broke the law, along with Leave EU, headed up by Arron Banks, which was also found to have broken the law. I repeat: THE LAW WAS BROKEN. And the UK is haemorrhaging leading industry investors at a rate of knots. But you know – tally ho! Over the cliff edge we go.

Donald Trump’s visit to the UK in the next couple of weeks, is going ahead despite his racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny and baby cages; and his just general disgusting human beingness. He’ll be rewarded with a meeting with the Queen, for his troubles. I wonder what she thinks of it all. One can assume she watches the news.

Most notably, there have been absolutely. no. consequences. for any of the above. Nothing. NADA. So it would appear that bollocks, lies, fuckwittery and bullshit are rewarded.

With this new world order in place, where the arsehole takes it all (a fresh take on an ABBA classic), I’ve decided to go on the rampage. Who’s with me? I’m thinking bank robbery, grand theft auto, tax avoidance, spot of fraud and maybe a new plot to topple Parliament. Oh wait, what’s the point of that; it voted away its own power during the ‘final say’ vote….. so much for the ‘fight for sovereignty’. Irony is dead. Okay, well all the other stuff. There are no rules anymore and no accountability. I’m going to start small and work my way up.

First on the list is to start using a gym I don’t pay for and shout ‘BREXIT!‘ in the faces of the staff when they try to evict me. I’m going to order cake in restaurants and cafes and bakeries and not pay for it. Then shout ‘BREXIT!’ as I run away shovelling it into my face. I’m going to sneak into the zoo over/under a fence, then shout, ‘WHERE ARE THE FUCKING UNICORNS? I WANT UNICORNS!‘ and then ‘BREXIIIIIIT!‘ as I’m dragged out kicking and screaming. I’m not going to pay any tax and when the tax office call me up, holler ‘OFFSHORE‘ and then ‘BREXIT!’ I may also wave a tiny Union Flag, just to hammer the point home that I am in fact British, God damn it, and I can quite literally do what the hell I like; and you can too.

The goons in charge of this illegal debacle, and Trump, have changed the rule book forever and anything is fair game. We can all do what the hell we want……… right?

Somehow, I suspect we’d all be hauled into the slammer faster than you could murmur, ‘I didn’t really want the cake and I was only joking about the unicorns’. Anyway, for you, and only you, I’m going to give the idea a little run out, see what happens and get back to you. It might just save you a lot of embarrassment. I’m willing to do that.

Don’t say I never give you anything….

p.s. I am still mightily pissed off that we’re going to lose our EU rights and freedoms for this utter shower of shit. Just in case you weren’t completely convinced of that.

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Things I have (and have not) done whilst under the influence

Soooooo, Roseanne Barr flip-flopped on leaving Twitter (one can only assume based on some sort of legal advice), and has returned within about twenty-four hours, with the pathetic excuse; the Ambien made me do it.

Let’s just take a moment to dissect this….. actually, let’s not. The racist thoughts are in your head and the racist shit came out of your mouth. It is only right that we should give Sanofi a standing ovation for the following:

“… while all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication,” Ashleigh Koss, Head of Media Relations, North America.

Below is a list of nonsense that I have done, under the influence of various things:

Thrown up on the steps of my local.

Thrown up onto the Miami Vice style boat shoes, of a man who was chatting me up. It pooled. I’d been drinking snakebite and black.

Blacked out.

Thrown up out of the window of a moving black cab into on-coming London rush hour traffic.

Tried to steal a full-sized casino roulette wheel with a friend.

Tweeted utter shit which I have later deleted. And sometimes not.

Flashed.

Given myself alcohol poisoning.

Drunk phoned/emailed/texted.

Flagged down a car on Regent Street and offered the driver twenty quid to take me to Queens Park. He accepted. It was not a cab. Of any description.

Picked a couple of chaps up. Not at the same time.

Bought a spy kebab and cheese-n-chips at the Lobster Pot in Liverpool. Not at the same time.

And on and on the list continues……

The worst thing I ever said to anyone was when I was round at a friend’s in London for the evening, and after dinner we decided to have a little smoke. I asked her boyfriend a question, he was giving me an incredibly in-depth answer when I thought, ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?’ When he suddenly got up and went to bed, I realised I hadn’t thought it, I’d said it out loud. I apologised profusely. That was also the evening my friend and I fell about laughing, while miming being trussed up like gimps and mumbling our safe words, in her lounge………

I have been out of my mind on many an occasion, all over the place, with different things (I was the Prozac generation and lived in London in the nineties), and I have never said or done any of the following:

Had sex with someone who wasn’t my partner. Or even kissed anyone who wasn’t my partner.

Never said, ‘I was so drunk, I didn’t know what I was doing babe!’ As an excuse for having sex with someone who wasn’t my partner.

I have never wet the bed. Or worse.

I have never hurt anyone, except myself.

I have never damaged property.

I have never stolen anything (we got about five feet up the jetty before dropping the roulette wheel on my foot, cracking a bone in it, fell over laughing and crawled the remaining length to my friend’s boyfriend’s car). Karma is a thing.

I most certainly have not spouted a constant stream of vitriolic, racist bile.

And I have most certainly not blamed any of my own bad behaviour on anything other than my own recklessness and/or stupidity.

If you’re going to be a racist piece of crap, at least step up and own that shit. Take responsibility. Apologise. And mean it. Have the decency to at least be honest about your shitty views. So Ambien is responsible for this particular tweet, what about all the others? Eh, Roseanne?? It’s pathetic, it’s the lowest of the low and it’s weak. Roseanne Barr is only regretful she lost everything, that she only very recently regained. She’s not sorry. She’s sorry she was called out and suffered the consequences.

It completely baffles me that she didn’t realise the only person who could possibly get away with this sort of language, was the President of the United States. Dumb or what?

If you see it, call it out……

Reasons why I don’t have kids #67

Uuuummmm, because I’m good? Thanks.

Another week, another sweet-intentioned ( if a tad tiresome) insistence that’s ‘THERE’S STILL TIME!’, to birth that family I somehow overlooked/forgot to have.

It basically started with a simple, throw-away, ‘I’m not a mother, but even I know it’s not good to leave your toddler home alone, so that he can exit the flat onto the terrace where he will dangle from the balcony over which he has climbed, for some heart stopping moments until a kind boy rescues him without a thought for his own safety, by scaling four floors of the outside of the building.’

You know, that type of thing.

It was not a last minute cry for help, or a yowl for a motherhood lost – I was simply emphasising the outstanding stupidity of the ‘responsible’ adult at the heart of the drama. To be honest, it makes a refreshing change to not be talking about my own….. (The chap charged with taking care of the toddler; if I haven’t made that clear enough.)

So, instead of provoking the conversation I had hoped for, (using second conditional sentences. Natch.) that being about the heroic saving of said child by an undocumented migrant to France who has since met the President, been awarded citizenship and a place training to be a fireman there. And of course the rampant stupidity of the chap charged with taking care of the child – it went a bit like this:

AAAHH, THERE’S STILL TIME!’

‘Hombre! Que no… tengo cuarenta y siete años.’

YES! BUT YOU CAN ADOPT!’

‘I could adopt. I know that.’

YOU CAN FREEZE YOUR EGGS!

‘Dude! I don’t really know you. But yes, I am aware of that.’

MEDICINE IS MAKING SUCH GREAT PROGRESS!

‘I don’t want them. But good to know.’

‘….. ? ? ? ? ? ? ..………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………….

……’

You get the picture.

Look. I like the peace and quiet. Especially now I’m not in the heart of noisy, stabby, smelly let me take a shitty-on-your-doorstepsville.

I like lost weekends with friends. That doesn’t necessarily mean blurred by alcohol (but most of the time it kind of does). I have a lovely little place with a lovely little balcony and a nice little job. I please myself. I lie-in. I meet friends. I don’t meet friends. I can go out for dinner on Friday night and not leave my house afterwards until Sunday morning. Truth be told, I’m not a massive fan of responsibility. It strikes fear into my very soul and has the ability to freeze what’s left of my charcoal heart to its very *cœur. I am responsible for myself, my students’ education and a few plants. That’s quite enough adulting for me. Thank you very much. I am totally ensconced in my happy place.

There’s a crack in the pipe under the sink in the kitchen I’ve been meaning to sort out since I moved in. I’ll get around to it. Not that I’m comparing a childcare to a plumbing job… well, not intentionally, anyway. There’s no fuss, little drama (especially when I’m single)………. and probably most importantly – absolutely no chance of me LEAVING MY CHILD HOME ALONE, TO ALMOST PLUMMET TO HIS DEATH.

So, you know, it’s a win all round.

And that is my ‘reasons why I don’t have kids’ #67.

*see what I did there?

Royal wedding fever

WARNING: CONTAINS EMOTIONS

Considering that the last royal wedding happened back on the 29th of April 2011, the day after I was made redundant and discovered my boyfriend (who I lived with at the time) had been unfaithful, and that I’m not a big fan of the idea of me getting married again – I fully intend to embrace the pomp and circumstance and romance of someone else’s wedding today! Fuck you Walt Disney for doing this to me. *Screams into the void where princesses go to die*.

As I spent the last one downing two bottles of bubbles in my pyjamas on the floor of our flat in Liverpool, sobbing all over the Daily Mirror (don’t judge me) royal special-edition route-planner which was spread across the floor while wailing and howling – this one has been meticulously planned to not include any of those things.

I’m not a royalist by any stretch of the imagination, (and I’m certainly not a massive fan of my home country right now, as you well know), but I am quite giddy to see the spectacle unfold. As a fellow shenanigator, Harry has long been my favourite of the Windsors….. those photos from Vegas – I mean, come on! One thinks sir might be a ruddy good egg (and totally awesome on a night out). All the japes.

And what’s not to love about their romance. ❤ ❤

ANOTHER WARNING: DO NOT PISS ON MY DEWY-EYED CHIPS – I WILL CUT YOU.

The boy whisked her to Botswana to camp under the stars for Christ’s sake…… *swoons all over the buggering place*. OK, that’s not within everybody’s realms of possibility I know (and in reality she probably needed to have a load of painful jabs in preparation), but I think if money were tight, he’d just as likely have shipped ‘er off to Canvey Island and seduced ‘er wiv a fish-n-chips supper, guv’ner. *doffs cap*. She’d have been just as bowled over, looking into his naughty twinkle in his eye……. eyes. (And also probably relieved she didn’t have a mild dose of malaria to deal with from the inoculation). She must have been doing bloody cartwheels when she returned to the set of Suits after that trip! So. Much. Romance. *I think I just did a little sick*……

The day won’t however, pass without the tiniest hint of sadness – as I mourn the death of the carefully orchestrated plan my sister and I hatched many years ago. That being to send her down to Chelsea, to hang around in the nouveau riche, rich kids’ playground that is Mahiki, casually bump into Hazza at the bar (or dance floor), apologise for her misdemeanour, locking her baby blues with his over a giant gazillion pound cocktail laced with gold leaf and the tears of angels; and get chatting to him – thus appealing to his ‘down-to-earth, one-of-us, man-o-the-people’ sensibilities. He would fall instantly in love with her, love meeting the fammly (Phil Mitchel voice) back in Welsh Wales and the rest would have been history. Then, she and I, who would of course become her lady in waiting, would commando roll around the corridors of whichever house she had been gifted by Lizzie, laughing and swigging Dom, the day of her wedding. After all the guests had left and the footmen had been dismissed for the evening, natch. We’re not animals.

Yes. I married my sister off in my imagination. Guilty as charged.

So, here I am with my breakfast of booze steeped, plump strawberries, a cup o’ cha and a glass of the fizzy stuff (this is perfectly fine behaviour for celebrations), ready to watch the sparkle and the ponies and the fancy clothes and the men in breeches. And the ridiculous fascinators. Come on Fergie’s girls, don’t let us down!! I bloody love a wedding, me, even if it isn’t people I know, and I will stop and gawk and cry if I happen upon one. Loiter, take pictures, throw confetti, you know – the whole shebang. So a few tears will definitely be shed as I chug back cava while celebrating a real-life fairytale. Absolute scenes. Again seriously, fuck off some more Mr D – I cannot stress this enough……

If I were you lovely readers, I’d be thankful I don’t live anywhere near you, and if I do – you definitely want to hope I never stumble upon your special day.

And on that (somewhat creepy) note, from all of us here at Pank Towers (one person and some plants), we (I) encourage you to raise a glass with us (me) and holler, ‘up yer bum Harry and Meghan!

AP x

How to handle rejection – a guide

The most violent thing I’ve ever done in the wake of rejection, is smash a couple of chocolate bars into my face in two seconds, drink a barrel of wine and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s; and cry myself to sleep so I look like I’ve gone ten rounds with Conor McGregor, the next morning. I’ve instructed a hairdresser to chop off an inch or give me a fringe. Radical. Maybe, worst of all, stayed in bed for a couple of days without having a shower.  (Oh, and once I did destroy a wooden bread bin with a hammer in the back garden. That felt gooood.)   More recently however, and less dramatically, I have been decorating my outside space and cultivating a couple of window boxes, while bingeing podcasts.

In the space of the last two weeks, we have seen in the international news: a fatal van attack in Canada by a self-proclaimed *’Incel‘ obsessed with rejection by women, and the arrest of the Golden State Killer suspect, whose crimes ‘may have been fueled by break up with a woman named Bonnie’.  Now, call me old-fashioned, but these reactions seem a little extreme.  I’d hazard a guess that most of us have experienced a broken heart at some point in our lives, and I’d hazard another one – that the first time is always the worst and after that you kind of just deal with it because you know it’ll pass.

*Incel – “involuntarily celibate”, a person (usually male) who has a horrible personality and treats women like sexual objects and thinks his lack of a sex life comes from being ‘ugly’ when its really just is blatant sexism and terrible attitude. Incels have little to no self awareness; even when they see other “ugly” men with girlfriends, they consider these men to be tricksters who have somehow beaten the system.  Wow.  See full definition here care of Urban Dictionary……… Again: WOW.

Guys.  Listen up.  There are other ways to deal with this stuff…… Case in point, let’s take a look at my break-up/rejection history, below:

First love 1990 – lay on sofa for a week, didn’t go to college
(body count 0)

Divorce 2000 – lay on sofa for three days, was a drunken liability on nights out for about three months
(body count 0)

Several non-starters in the UK – nada, went to work as normal
(body count 0)

A couple of ghostings (one before ghosting was even a thing) – nada, went to work as normal
(body count 0)

Live-in partner 2011 (made redundant same day) – went to bed for two days, drank two bottles of cava while watching the wedding of Wills and Kate with the Mirror wedding pull-out special. Worked my notice, retrained as a teacher and moved to Barcelona
(body count 0)

Traded in for younger model, by short, fat ten-years-older-than-me-tango-teacher-short-term lover 2013 – cried fiery humiliation tears, then did a little happy jig
(body count 0)

Several non-starters in the BCN – little rant, went to work as normal
(body count 0)

Barcelona love 2017 – drank a barrel of red wine and cried myself to sleep so I looked like I went ten rounds with Conor McGregor, the next morning.  Got up, packed boxes, made repairs, re-painted and cleaned the flat and moved to my current place.  Currently seeing a therapist
(body count 0)

Two good dates with decent chaps this last month – nada, went to work as normal, got excited when my flower seeds sprouted.
(body count 0)

Firstly: can we just take a moment to mourn my romantic life _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ OK, that’s enough.

There are things you can do guys! There really are. Go for a run, buy a puppy (unless your history started by torturing and killing small animals of course), take up a class. How about keeping a journal? That’s nice, right? In years to come you can look back on it and think to yourself, ‘well, will you look at that. I can’t believe I felt that bad back then, when I look at myself now.’ Take a break. Go on holiday, or an ‘I must not be all murdery and kill lots of people two week yoga and meditation retreat’. I’m sure those exist. Chaps, if it comes to it (no pun intended) stay in and masturbate yourselves blind. Even that’s got to be a better solution, at least you’re the only one incapacitated in that scenario.

What is it about men and rejection and ‘respect’? When someone doesn’t agree with your feeling that they’re obligated to be in a relationship with you, it isn’t disrespect. It’s life.

Ok, I will give you the rejection bit. It’s shit, that I can’t argue with, at all. But when does it cross someone’s mind to commit mass murder as a means to ‘get even’? The worst I’ve said after a rejection and a two day mourning period on the sofa is, ‘I could murder a curry.’

So, based on my recent spate of unsuccessful dates, in so much as they were lovely guys but it didn’t develop into anything and based on my most recent hobby; it won’t be long before I’ll have to hack my way through a jungle of house plants with a machete just to get on with my everyday life. But on the whole, all things considered – I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

The gift of life

I’ve been in love these last four weeks. Deep, pure, unadulterated love. I’m intoxicated.

The love I feel for my balcony is stronger, I truly believe, than any love I have felt for a partner in all of my days. I’m obsessed, I’m giddy all the time, I have butterflies when I think about it and I can’t wait to get home and spend time with it.

To recognise and celebrate this union, what could be better than trying to cultivate life? I was gifted a jasmine some weeks ago, which is thriving, so I figured maybe it was time to sow some seeds of my own. Phnarr. (I know, I know, this is traditionally man’s territory, but you know in these days of equality). This morning, I almost raked my window boxes – not a euphemism – and stopped just in time not to drag up the tiny shoots poking through the surface. I’m gobsmacked! I did a little dance of joy. I am giver of life….

I ran around the apartment repeating over and over, ‘shoots!’ ‘shoots!

Mums. This might be the closest I will come to relating to your unbound joy, upon discovering you’re expecting…..

An ode to the good guy

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when you set your relationship bar, by the high standards of a casual encounter born in a bar in 2015. But that’s exactly what I’ve done. That boy from Toulouse, who was briefly mentioned in my post Dating World Update was wonderful. Sweet, charming, gentlemanly and…….. on and on it goes. Proving even if it’s casual, it doesn’t have to be cold or brutal. And it most certainly was neither of those things.

They are few and far between these decent chaps, but I think it’s only fair to mention them in an ocean of experiences, conversations and posts about just how bloody crap they are – on the whole. Fast forward to March 2018. I’d had a dalliance with Bumble earlier in the year, which has not really taken off here – but there I was confronted with the craggy good looks of a ‘Dane living in Barcelona’, a beautiful black and white portrait that gave him the look of a sexy seafarer. He disappeared before I’d even worked up the courage to connect, in the blink of an eye and I was annoyed at myself. He was hot, I think I might have had butterflies. After a few more days I deleted Bumble and Tinder and just got on with stuff.

I logged back on to trusty old Tinder a couple of weeks ago to see who was about and lo and behold, the fruity fisherman was there! (He’s not actually a fisherman, but roll with it). I swiped immediately, and he swiped back. Waiiiitttt, whaaaaaattt??? It couldn’t be possible. Long story short we chatted briefly, made a plan and had a mad first date. One of those, that you never want to end. We chatted and laughed and continued drinking until the wee small hours. It was the best first date I’d had in……. like an eon. Second date planned, not so crazy, chat and laughs again. And then it was finished before it began.

A message from his native town, simply to say he didn’t feel ‘it’. And he also didn’t want to leave it the two/three weeks he was away to let me build up my excitement, only to be let down upon his return. I was fun, sexy, smart and we had lots in common, but ‘it’ just wasn’t present. And I get it. Completely. We’ve all said that at one point or another. On paper it should be bang on, but that certain je ne sais quoi, just isn’t fizzling. He is sweet and fun and sexy, and honest. Bloody hellfire, can you even imagine? It was ‘more about feelings for him’. Wow. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, UNIVERSE?!?!?! Sod’s bloody law, that the only man who has ever voiced those actual words to me in my entire time on this planet, is not into me! *shakes tiny fist at the heavens in outrage*. No ghosting, no game playing and with enough respect for another human being to lay out the simple facts, without digging any knife in any especially sensitive place (like say your heart, for example), unnecessarily. Unlike he who shall remain nameless…….. (read last year’s entries). What a massive breath of fresh sea air. I hope we stay in touch, he’s a very cool human being and I’ve let him know I’d like that. And if not, then so be it. I will however, always have that mini experience, along with the French brief encounter, that quite frankly left me with a much more pleasant aftertaste, than a lot of the other so-called serious (attempts) at relationships I’ve had in my lifetime. In terms of treating a fellow human with a modicum of respect in what could be a very delicate situation, those two men were streaks ahead.

The only fundamental difference between myself and my latest date, is that now I’m older, I value the ease with which I can be with someone, over the hot flushes, sweaty palms, palpitations of a first meeting – and for me those two evenings were so easy, it was as if we’d known each other for ages. For me that is ‘it‘. But it is what it is, and so to the Dane living in Barcelona and the Boy from Toulouse from way back when, I say – thank you.

And I end this post as I began, saying – isn’t it a sad state of affairs to feel so thankful for such a tiny glimpse of basic respect and sensitivity.

Mothers’ Day 2018

Right, here’s the thing.

I’m a disaster, and that’s why it’s a good thing I don’t have kids.

~The end~

Only joking, but not really. Well, not joking about the disaster bit, am joking about ‘the end’ bit. I know people say that when you become a mother, you just do all the stuff and get on with the massive, terrifying life-adjustment. But here are all the reasons why I cannot imagine that situation for myself, and also why I admire mums everywhere (and why social services would definitely be called):

1. Sometimes I go to bed at 8.30/9pm to read, listen to podcasts or you know, go to sleep. I love sleep.

2. Pretty much everyday, I need to go back into the flat for something I have inevitably forgotten. Not so much now that I have five flights to climb if that situation ensues. Forgetting one of your kids upstairs, and deciding to leave them there because of the stairs; not acceptable.

3. I was devastated when my goldfish, Formby, died after five years. How am I going to deal with empty nest syndrome?

4. What if my kids never want to leave home??!! Also a terrifying prospect as I love my own space. Poor buggers can’t win.

5. I’m rubbish at money. The money I have, I like to spend on wine and the cinema and books. Ooh, and new pyjamas and bed-linen. (See point one).

6. I’m not very good (read: absolutely f*cking useless) at rejection. So that wipes out the best part of their teenage years (maybe even sooner these days), when they grunt at me and/or tell me they hate me. Standard teen.

7. I can’t keep plants alive. It’s a worry, when all you gotta do is put them in the sun and water them occasionally. I believe that is not how to care for kids. *So actually I was very proud of the fish situation. (See point three).

8. I’m worried about even having a cat in the flat, because of the possibility of them going over the balcony. Kids?

9. They are heavy. And need carrying a lot. I get most of my food shopping delivered because of the five flights (see point two). I don’t think schools operate home delivery of your offspring.

10. There’s a good chance I would break them. Probably psychologically. If not physically – by not watching them for a split second as they climb over the balcony, (see point eight).

11. It bothers me that this list is not an even number. Foist that kind of shit on them?

Woman on the steps - that’s me

(12. I like a drink, a glass of wine most nights isn’t unusual. An excuse for day drinking at the weekend with brunch or a lunch with friends – I’m in. That woman on the steps in the illustration: Anne Pank)

Aaaahh, that’s better, an even number.

So mums everywhere, listen up……

YOU’RE AMAZING

I genuinely, hand on heart look at myself, and wonder in God’s name how you literally do it all. Honestly. I wonder how you get up every day, how you organise your life, how you work and care and find time for cooking and homework help, hospital trips, uniforms and your own life. But you do it. It’s no mean feat bringing kids into the world, so give yourselves a break. Bloody hell, raise a glass to yourselves. Double high five, rip open your pyjamas tops and scream into some corner or other, in the manner of Cristiano Ronaldo – whatever you want. Recognise what an incredible thing it is that you’re doing. You are doing a cracking job, it’s not easy and you’re doing it. Every. Single. Day. And that shit’s for life.

It’s probably no surprise at all to anyone reading this, that my mum still worries about me at the age of forty-seven thirty-nine.

I’m in awe.

Happiest of Mother’s Day to you ALL.

International Women’s Day 2018

Happy VAGINA day wimmin’! Coz that’s basically all it is, innit? We just want to dominate men, take all their jobs, steal all their money and just like, be the boss of everything and rule the world. Right? *sighs*, Wrong.

Well, it’s been quite a year for womankind, hasn’t it? #MeToo and #TimesUp are the two most visible movements that have captured the attention of the entire world. I can say truthfully, hand on heart, that I know not one woman who couldn’t say #MeToo, whether they choose to express it online or not – which is pretty bloody sad.

It’s been a year during which I’ve had to explain at work, why sexism is bad and feminism is different from sexism, and not bad…. seriously. It’s been a year in which I’ve listened to intelligent men say, “oohhoo, gotta be careful now” or “I’m a hugger! What am I gonna do now? I’ve got friends who are women” or “can’t bloody pay a compliment now” – and also watched some (a lot) unknown idiots on telly, say the same. To all of them, I would advise watching the brilliant Rachel Parris on The Mash Report below; for a really simple breakdown of what’s OK, and what’s not OK.

I’m a hugger too, I love hugs, me, they’re great! As the lady said: just don’t hold me a little too tight to escape when the natural and comfortable time is up. And most definitely don’t brush my breast with your arm. Or your semi- on against my thigh in release, that you got during the ‘too long’ bit, because that squirmy moment is what does it for you.

What I was heartened by, however, is the positive steps forward we’ve also seen. Most significantly – shaking off the shackles of fear, allowing us to speak up. A fear of work bullying, a fear of losing your job, a fear of even more severe consequences than the grope in the photocopy room, fear of being ostracised, fear of violence – fear of death. We are nowhere near completely fearless yet, absolutely not, but something significant has shifted, something positive has started – and that can only be a good thing. Time Magazine’s Person of the Year was people. The Silence Breakers.

“The women and men who have broken their silence span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe. They might labor in California fields, behind the front desk at New York City’s regal Plaza Hotel, or in the European Parliament. They’re part of a movement that has no formal name. But now they have a voice.”

Notice also, that Time Magazine has not excluded men. Because ultimately that is exactly what feminism is – a simple and fair desire for equality.

And what can possibly be bad about that.

Happy International Women’s Day one and all. Celebrate women; and their persistence in the fight for equality and to be heard.

NB. International Men’s Day does exist, you do get one, it’s on November 19.

Reasons why I don’t have kids #66

Social media.

Somewhere, deep in the annals of time (like maybe a thousand years ago), there are hazy memories of shenanigans and japes and underage naughtiness. Of course there are, none of us are angels. And if you claim to be, then I don’t trust you one little bit.

I tried my first cigarette at thirteen. Thankfully it nearly choked me half to death and I threw up behind the bike shed, putting me off good and proper, until my twenties in London. I remember buying a bottle of Martini to share with my friend in the public toilets, age fifteen/sixteen, before the work’s Christmas dinner at the local Chinese restaurant. We adopted different Coronation Street characters as we polished off the bottle, and swapped from cubicle to cubicle acting out life on the cobbles, as if we were Vera and Hilda. Totes hilarious, until we arrived at the restaurant, where I promptly threw up again. I’ve never been able to hold my liquor.

On that occasion, I was taken back to work (the hotel where I was a chambermaid), by a very understanding boss, sobered up and sent home in a more acceptable state some hours later.

I snogged boys and tried to get into pubs. In a town as big as a thimble, and with a father who drank in most of them – the latter was not my best idea. The former wasn’t all bad…… But, although my parents were not at all stupid, they couldn’t know for sure exactly what had gone on, could only guess and cook me a full English – in all its greasy glory – the morning after; to prompt a reaction that might cement their suspicion. Crafty mother. *narrows eyes*.

However, in the absence of smart phones (and shared drives, more of that later), and a complete lack of the narcissism necessary to carry around an actual camera – none of this, none, was documented. Thank all the gods in the heavens above. Unlike, say for example, the son of one of my students…….

Whilst scrolling through his photos, in order to show me something from the weekend, he happened upon his son smoking in several snaps and with his girlfriend draped over him etc. etc. All very James Dean, although I doubt very much the kid knows who he is. Nothing too disturbing, but nonetheless there in all their high-definition glory. I’m quite sure no parent wants to actually see their suspicions confirmed. I know absolutely for sure that I wouldn’t.

First thing – don’t photograph every. little. detail little people; it’s just not necessary. Why do you do it? Trust me, when you look back in future years, you will be so mortified and ask yourself, ‘what was I thinking?’. I do, and that’s without photographic evidence floating about the ether for all to see. Secondly – WHAT IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU DOING SHARING A DRIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS? Come on already, think damn it, THINK! For the love of sweet baby Jesus.

This is where we’re at. No kids have dodgy make-up mishaps, they’re contoured and plucked and sculpted to perfection. Where’s the fun in that? And everything, literally everything is recorded and posted online. And if the ‘rents are footing the bill, chances are – you’re all connected. And for that reason, I am soooo glad I don’t have to face that. I’m happy enough simply not needing to worry about where anybody is or who they’re with or what they’re doing; let alone worry about the possibility of actually seeing it too. I’d be a nervous wreck, more so than I am already. Probably a thin nervous wreck, but a wreck nonetheless. I know that’s by the by, but you know…….. The problem is you see, I remember me at that age, I know what we get up to, and now it’s sped up and happens earlier than ever before. I don’t have the emotional strength to deal with offspring that would inevitably have inherited at least some of me and my character – and most definitely not to see it reflected back to me by chance, while flicking through my cloud/drive.

And that is my ‘reasons why I don’t have kids’ #66