Milan 2015 – Out and About

OK – this isn’t Milan. This is Adam in the pod transport at Heathrow. He’s happy because I’m excited.

I wonder if these are culinary herbs?

I do like looking up and seeing little details…a nice balcony…

…snarling beasts…

…a dancing bishop…

…an interesting looking cafe…

…a great t-shirt…

…a decoration on a block of flats, which would have caused Howard Roark to go bonkers.

We also came across a massive apple…

…a snooty lion…

…a nearly invisible gift shop…

…and a HUGE sewing machine.

Thoughts on Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday.  As a woman without children, I always end up feeling slightly queasy. It’s a reminder that I’ll never be a mother, and it confirms my perception that society values me less because of that.
For my part: 
  • I’m happy to pay tax to fund education.
  • I’d like to pay more tax in order to subsidise affordable childcare.
  • I stand back and let work colleagues with children have ‘first dibs’ at booking holiday time (although that’s not such an issue in my current job).
  • I’ll listen, and be a shoulder to cry on when you have problems with your children.
  • I understand that your children are at the centre of your life, and it’s difficult to talk about anything else.
  • I’ll babysit.
But please:
  • Don’t tell me that being a Mother is the hardest job in the world.(I don’t know what is, but my money is on rag picking in India, or silver mining somewhere in the third world).
  • Don’t tell me that my opinion is worthless because I’m not a Mother (it may well be worthless but it’ll for another reason).
  • Don’t ask me why I don’t have children (as it happens it’s not by choice, but what business is that of yours [oh, and yes we did try to adopt, but given my time again, I wouldn’t try, because it nearly destroyed me]).
  • Don’t exclude me. I may not have a child, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t enjoy coming to your child’s birthday party along with your other friends who have kids (I might not, but please ask).
  • Try and understand that conversations that are just about children makes me feel that you’re part of a cosy, smug ‘Mum’s Club’ that I can never be part of.
And please:
  • Being a Mother isn’t the best, or most important thing a woman can be. Women’s lives are made up of many different facets, the most important or best will vary from person to person.

Shame on you Richard Bacon!

This afternoon I had Radio Five Live burbling in the background, while I toiled away in the basement of the ivory tower.

Richard Bacon was in the chair, and Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s resignation was a hot topic as you’d expect. One of Richard Bacon’s guests was William Nicholson, the screen writer. I was enjoying the interview with William Nicholson until I was brought up short, then horrified.

Shame on you Richard Bacon!

William Nicholson stated that abuse in the Roman Catholic church was as a direct result of clerical celibacy. It’s a common opinion, and one that Nicholson is perfectly entitled to voice. However, it’s an opinion, and I was horrified that a responsible journalist such as Richard Bacon, just let it pass without contesting it, or asking for evidence.

Shame on you Richard Bacon!

The interview was paused, in order to ask for comment from two Roman Catholic Sisters from Scotland. Their interchange with Richard Bacon was robust, but nothing out of the ordinary. I was scandalised to hear Richard Bacon refer to the exchange as ‘hysterical’. I’m sure he didn’t mean himself. Why is it that women who aren’t afraid to express their opinions are called hysterical?

Shame on you Richard Bacon!

One of the Sisters said in passing that she was celibate, and was William Nicholson saying that as a consequence she was a sexual predator? When the conversation returned to Nicholson he was at pains to make clear that he wasn’t implying anything about the Sisters themselves. He felt that the male sexual urge was stronger than the female, that the latter was easier to sublimate (I paraphrase). WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!! Again Richard Bacon didn’t even blink at this extremely contentious statement (he was rather excited about his next interview, with Johnny Marr).

Among the many reasons I listen to Radio Five Live is the high standard of reporting and debate, and the large number of female presenters (who are feisty – another word that only seems to be used about women).

Shame on your Richard Bacon!

You let Radio Five Live down.

Shame on you Richard Bacon!

You let journalism down.

Shame on you Richard Bacon!

You let women down.

Shame on you Richard Bacon!

You let yourself down.

Who’s ill here?

I’ve been suffering from a cold. Colds always hit me hard, so I was snuffly and snotty for a few days, then exhausted for a few days. The boy Lawrence has it now, and is out for the count upstairs.

I often declare (with pride?), that I’m the world’s worst nurse. Or is it that I want to be the person who’s looked after? Do I see myself as a rabbit in the headlights? Is it that I don’t want to make effort?

I have resolved to be a great nurse.

Winchelsea Friars

I had a lovely morning in Rye today with my folks. I suddenly realised that I’d never been inside the church, and it’s certainly worth a look, on my way out my eye was caught by the monument above.

It’s in the memory of a Thomas Howard of the the ‘Friars of Winchelsea’.

This hound made me wonder if the Friars concerned were Dominicans, and after a bit of research, I found out that there were Dominicans in Winchelsea, but 1780 is far too late. I assume that he lived in a house called ‘Friars’, which was a Priory.

Huddersfield Favourite Sons

Last weekend we were up in Huddersfield. Here I am with Ed Clancy’s golden postbox.

We went to the Huddersfield Food Festival, which took place in St George’s Square, outside the station. Slap in the middle of the square, is a statue of Harold Wilson.

Here is my beloved hanging out with the great mam.

Keeping up with the kids….

I’ve found a wonderful new work displacement activity. I’ve sent the last hour or so tinkering with the Facebook page I’ve created for the educational establishment I work for. The theory behind creating the page is that this is how ‘young people’ communicate and pick up information nowadays (i.e. now that they don’t read email). That said we are probably about five social networking steps behind, so the whole approach is doomed to failure.

However, I’m rather pleased as I worked out how to embed some calendars. I managed this all on my own, albeit by mashing the instructions on a number of websites together. It’s the kind of fiddly thing, that while it’s not terribly difficult, has annoyed me in the past. Even if no-one else looks at them, I’m happy 🙂

JaffĂ© & Neale Bookshop & CafĂ© – Chipping Norton


The kitchen is coming on apace, but yesterday I badly needed to get away from the noise, dust and Plant Rock (although I’ve been surprised by how many lyrics to classic rock songs I know).

At the suggestion of Jackie, the landlady from the Queen’s head we headed up to Chipping Norton, to JaffĂ© & Neale and wonderful independent bookshop. As well as books, it sells tea & coffee, cakes, cards and tat (of a superior kind). Lucy shopping heaven basically.

All that, and a fantastic Oxfam second hand bookshop. I’ll be going to Chipping Norton again, despite the danger of bumping into Jeremy Clarkson, David Cameron et al.