Hamas Tunnels

I don’t really know a lot of the truth about the Gaza strip conflict, certainly not the ‘truth’ that is reported in the news, but I suspect it’s not as simple as everyone makes out. It is clear that the landscape of Israel has changed to a massive degree, from Palestinian territory being vastly in the majority, to Israel taking over that majority, I very much doubt it’s all been peacefully accomplished.

My grandmother tells it thus; that in the beginning, the Israelis had no home of their own, a displaced people. Palestine allowed them house-room because the majority of the Palestinians were a nomadic race who took their homes with them. The Israelis moved in, built cities, developed as a people and became prosperous, at which point the Palestinians decided that they wanted a piece of that and started oppressing the Israelis to take their stuff.

Again, I don’t know the truth of that. I don’t think anybody really does. One thing I do think to be the case though is that this wrangling back and forth between two peoples, sharing a space has been going on with many atrocities, much fighting and many revenges being generated for a lot longer than just this recent escalation in conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Certainly on the face of it, Israel appear to be the wronged side, although that may just be clever reporting. Israel are the majority shareholders of the land and unless they plan to stamp Palestine out altogether (which is possible) they should be happy with the current status quo. They have been blockading Gaza for at least the last dozen years and this blockade tightened in 2007, it’s possible the Palestinians are fighting for their own freedom as an oppressed occupied nation? If indeed Palestine are sending unwarranted rockets over the border into Israel, killing indiscriminately, then at the same time, I can totally understand why Israel won’t stand for that.

At the same time, it seems that Israel are trying to control the situation and if the following reports are true then it speaks highly of their attempt to do so; dropping leaflets in advance of a bomb attack to warn civilians that they are living on the site of a munitions dump and should get out before Israel bomb it. Trying to destroy the tunnels Hamas built and are using to access Israel. Agreeing to and abiding by ceasefires and attempting peace dialogues.

News reporting suggests that the ceasefires have been broken by the Gaza side, usually with a few hours of them beginning, nobody can get aid in to help the civilians and nothing seems to be working to bring this current issue to a close.

All this said, Israel have reportedly known about the Hamas tunnel system for 2 years at least, why are they only now acting to close them? Is it a result of the current escalation and before, they were willing to live and let live until the rocket attacks began?Or is this current conflict giving them an opportunity to ‘clean house’ under the guise of protecting their population.

It seems everyone I speak to on the subject has their own opinion, their own agenda and nobody really seems to be sure of their own truth. I think that probably there is a massive share of the ‘blame’ for each side and nothing is going to be accomplished until both agree to let bygones be bygones and work out how they are going to move forward together.

I don’t think the UN are really helping, reports that the US is re-supplying the Israeli army with weapons is another occasion of the dangerous game they (and the UK) played in Syria during that whole insurgent mess, the UN are also trying to impose sanctions on Russia that mean something, I think they are a little stretched, especially since nobody can seem to agree on what the sanctions consist of, the UK is still supplying Russia, but apparently not ‘militarily’ which doesn’t seem to make much sense. Perhaps it’s because no-one wants to start another cold war, but as with Israel, unless someone can come up with definitive evidence that one side or the other is “right” and not just “politically advantageous” I really think they should keep out of it.

Still, the whole Russia/Ukraine thing seems to have gone quiet in the wake of the Israel/Palestine conflict escalation – it does make me wonder what the press/government are hiding in the news that won’t draw our attention because of the in-fighting though. The pictures in the press and the reporting of the conflict are designed to rile the Daily Mail readers of the world into a breakfast-time apoplexy and that campaign seems to be working a treat, however, even Newsnight is failing to keep an open mind and is reporting heavily on the side of Israel, so the chances of ordinary Joe’s like me being able to get at any kind of truth is quite remote.

As with all conflict around the world, only the powerful people involved know the real situation and as always, the innocent civilians will be the ones to bear the brunt of their leaders decisions. I just wish someone, somewhere could take an objective view, report the situation without emotion or over-reaction and tell it like it really is. My opinion of the matter isn’t going to make any difference to the outcome, but it would be nice to have enough information to be able to solve my internal conflict over what is being done by my government in all these cases.

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Band Snobbery


Listening to our favourite radio station today, the hated Al Murray show on Planet Rock. A listener wrote in and came up with a proposal that anyone seen out-and-about wearing a band t-shirt should have to take a rock citizenship test to determine their worthiness to wear said t-shirt. The criteria suggested were thusly:

The person should be able to name 3 singles and 1 album by the band, also should be able to name at least 1 band member……

That doesn’t seem unreasonable, apart from the fact that it means I may only wear t-shirts for the Mighty Mighty Foo Fighters, Queen and Eminem!

This is mostly to do with the fact that I have a rubbish memory, particularly for names, I can name 3 singles and an album for Metallica, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC, but until the Mister and I started discussing it, I couldn’t think of a single band members name. My memory takes what little I thought I knew and scrambles it into incomprehensible nonsense. Lemmy is the lead singer of Motorhead, but my memory had associated him with AC/DC so now I realise that I can’t name a single member of AC/DC if Lemmy isn’t one of them?!

Metallica, again I can name you singles I love but not an album title and the band members totally elude me!

I don’t think this makes me any less of a ‘fan’ of their music though, it just makes me flawed from a memory standpoint. I can still tell a Motorhead song when I hear it on the radio, the music of the bands I love still speaks to me on a personal level, but the music, the words and the way the songs fit together on an album still means much more to me than the 2nd Bass Guitarist’s inside leg measurement or the favourite ice cream flavour of the guy who was the original drummer in the late 1800s!

So, what we’ve learnt from this is that there is a division between fans of particular bands, it seems to be more prevalent in grown ups when it comes to rock bands…I’m not counting the tweenies with nothing more on their minds than the number of pairs of fluorescent socks owned by each member of 1Dimension or whatever they’re called!

Rock Band Snobbery is alive and well, according to some, I can’t call myself a fan of Led Zep because I didn’t know Robert Plant was in it. I first heard his name associated with Alison Krauss in the mid-noughties and thought I hated him!

Needless to say, if anyone stops me on the street while I’m in my Motorhead t-shirt and starts quizzing me on band members, they’re getting a punch in the mouth for their trouble!

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Feminism as a concept has gone totally to hell!

When women were actually, properly unequal, the ‘feminists’ of that time took real, direct action. Chaining themselves to gates and horse carriages, protesting with their underwear and demonstrating en force to try to get basic rights like owning property, voting and getting a decent education.

Today there’s a news story (and I use the word ‘news’ very wrongly!) that some fatuous bint who used to be married to a cheating footballer and is now married to a French pastry chef (or something) has changed her surname to be the same as his.

Apparently this is medieval and regressing feminism back to the late 1800s. The idea of a Father ‘giving his daughter away’ to the man she’s marrying is misogynistic and also be be abhorred generally.

Why? A woman now ‘has the right to choose’ to change her surname if she wants to, but she also ‘has the right to choose’ not to, or to organise a blending of both surnames, or a double-barrelled affair, the sky’s the limit really.

The point is that she ‘has the right to choose’ and for me, that’s the entire point of feminism.

A Father who escorts his daughter down the aisle and ‘gives’ her to her husband isn’t transferring ownership, like you would with a cow and a bill of sale, he’s demonstrating to her new husband that he has cared for and loved his daughter and that he’s trusting this man to do the same.

From my perspective, women still have a long way to go in terms of equality of thought. No matter how much they preach about marriage being a joining of equals, the majority of women still “choose” the traditional and habitual wedding in a church, in a big white dress and they repeat the ritual phrases of marriage.

That’s their choice, but the fact that they are still choosing to do that, speaks volumes to me about how ‘equal’ the modern day woman really wants to be in a traditional relationship.

The point is….they have the right to choose and you can’t decry them for exercising that choice, even if you don’t share it or agree with it. If you do Polly Hudson, then you’re not very bloody feminist!

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Same Sex “Marriage”

Love is Louder

Someone I’ve never heard of is speaking out on behalf of same-sex marriage. Her name is Demi Lovato and according to Wikipedia she is a singer. Fair enough, that’s not really important, what’s important is that the law in the UK is on the side of marriage equality now, the legislation was passed in July 2013 and yet the USA are still debating it and getting laws passed in each state to allow people who love each other to marry.

Let’s just say that out loud together…..”allow people who love each other to marry”

I know it hasn’t really been the popular opinion but I have never understood how anyone thinks they wield the power to stop people in love from marrying and achieving the same status of marriage as other people in love. There are quite a lot of people who think Marriage should be between a man and woman with the object of procreation and raising children in a settled household with a provider (man) and nurturer (woman) but I think we did away with that concept of family a VERY long time ago.

Nowadays, people co-habit for years, raise children in non-traditional families, some choose to remain childfree-by-choice and some marry, only to later divorce and children are raised by one parent alone.

The concept that we should still be using a book that was written in a different time, a collection of reminiscences and fables, parables and opinions to determine the rights of people today is laughable. I don’t care what your religion is, surely by this time any actual resemblance of the world to the stories in your book is long gone, what would God say (if he existed) to the knowlege that we are operating on babies in utero? Or that all the collective knowledge of the world can be accessed at the touch of a smartphone from anywhere there is signal from space?!

With all this, people still think they have the right to determine how adults live their lives? Arrogance doesn’t just restrict itself to religion clearly!

Look, two people (or three, or five) fall in love, they live together for a period of time, they establish roles in a household, they determine their compatibility and decide that they want to formalise their arrangement in law, by standing up in front of the people they love and exchanging vows. Whether or not you argue the semantics, that sounds like marriage to me! They take each other through the tough times, working as a team, keeping each other happy, safe and secure, the family unit works and when there is a breakdown they use the strength of their love and respect for each other to work through it.

Marriage is a formalised arrangement between people who love each other and want the world to recognise their commitment. Who cares if it’s between a man and woman, two men, two women, a triad, a quad? It’s not as though the state has to manage the arrangements of the home on a day-to-day basis, the people who make the commitment make it work and it doesn’t really matter what you or I think.

Love is Louder than the religious opinion or the bigoted bullshit, it’s about people loving each other and making the world a more love-filled place. Sometimes I think John Lennon was right…. – “All you need is love” – it’s about acceptance and the security of your own life that stops you feeling threatened by someone else’s assertion of their way of life.

Who does it hurt when two men marry?

Nobody at all, so build yourself a bridge and get over it!!

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Women on the Front Line

Fighting Women

I’m not linking to anything in this post. This is purely my opinion and tbh I think there’s been so much wrangling in so many countries over this subject that all official ‘opinions’ (the ones that make the news) are effectively cancelling each other out. I think this is a Marmite topic, you’re either all for it, or all against it, I can’t imagine anyone being “Meh” about it!

The ‘against’ lobby appear to be citing the following as reasons why women shouldn’t fight on the front line in wars, alongside their male counterparts:

“Women are the delicate species, they aren’t built for combat” – I know many women who are just as capable, mentally tough enough and technically as able as the men they would be fighting with. Women are no longer the delicate little flowers of the world, I think there are enough female murderers, rapists, bullies and psyco/sociopaths now to prove the argument against this. I’m not saying they’re military-grade, but they certainly exist in ever-greater numbers.

“Women are less able to handle torture/rape” – Well, considering women have twice as many pain-receptors as men and yet have been proven to have a higher threshold for pain than men, I don’t think this holds water either. They may be more likely to suffer rape in a torture situation but then they no doubt know this and wouldn’t put themselves up for this type of thing if they weren’t prepared to have the theory tested. Besides which, many male torture victims have suffered rape as a reported outcome during their capture and they aren’t prevented from putting themselves at risk.

“Families need Mothers” – Families need Fathers too, but any Mothers putting themselves in harms way to defend our freedoms will have contingency plans for the event that they don’t come back from war. The military is not about to put both parents on the front line in a war situation, they have checks and systems in place to ensure that partners don’t fight together, they aren’t even allowed to be in the same disciplines in the forces. Which brings me on to:

“Women on the front line would distract their male colleagues who would want to protect them” – I very much doubt it. By the time any fighting company gets as far as the front line they will have undergone months, even years of training together, they would all have passed the same stringent physical and mental testing to make sure they are fit for combat and they would be practised at each doing the roles they have been assigned.

“Giving a pre-menstrual woman a gun would be a mistake” – This one is just ridiculous, women in a combat situation would not be the type that suffer with mood swings and back-stabbing, they would have to undergo the same psychological screening as the men and anything of that nature would be sure to be picked up by the rest of their company long before they ever got near a battle.

In short, if women are willing, capable and fit enough to fight, I don’t see why we are still labouring under the impression that men are the only ones who should be allowed to stand up for their beliefs, fight for their countries and work to protect the rights of the people they love.

As a footnote, the Spartans were encouraged to engage in carnal relations with other men in their battalions as the commanders believed that they would fight harder for the men they were involved with. Gives us something to think about eh?

Women have been fighting and dying for equality for centuries, why shouldn’t they be given the choice to fight and die for another cause they believe in passionately?

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I saw this link a little while ago :–kills-you.html via a website I read sometimes. I’ve been very much pro-choice on this issue since I entered a debate about it at secondary school and became known as “Death Girl” for a while in that way that only little kids can carry off.

Honestly though, I don’t understand why people would believe that forcing someone to continue living, against their wishes, is a reasonable way to behave? People surely have the right to choose the manner of their death, in the same way that they choose the manner of their life? Nobody has the right to decide that a persons desire for death (for whatever reason) is invalid, isn’t “the right thing” or shouldn’t be allowed!

For the most-part, people cling to life in whatever way serves them best, some have their lives cut shorter than they would wish or are happy with, they may die feeling as though they’ve never really lived. Some I’m sure, carry on long beyond the time they would choose to end their life because of feelings of obligation, religious requirement or the needs of their loved ones.

Some people however are able enough to make a definite choice about the timing and manner of their dying and make a choice that says enough is enough. Why then should they not be allowed to take action on that choice? Equally, there are people who aren’t physically able to take action, they need the help of someone else to carry out their wishes and yet they risk the liberty of that person by asking for the help they need.

The majority of suicide methods I can think of are fairly horrific, pain-filled, at great risk of not working and ending them up in a worse situation than they started with, possibly then finding themselves a greater burden on society, the healthcare system and their loved ones than they ever dreamed. I don’t see why the people in the know shouldn’t be allowed to make their passing dignified, painless, calm and controlled.

I once watched this: and it’s powerful, very moving stuff, a frank look at the different ways people choose to end their lives, the reasons and the thought-processes behind it. It involves the well-known Swiss assisted suicide clinic Dignitas and is a very thought-provoking study of two people who have chosen to make the trip to Switzerland while they still can, so they can exercise their right to choose how their life ends. Watch it if you like, it exploded a number of myths for me that the pro-life lobby use in their arguments against this most basic of rights.

There are a number of viewpoints about why people shouldn’t be allowed to request assisted suicide, it might be abused by unscrupulous people as a method of bumping off elderly relatives, or by those seeking a big will payout. I don’t buy either of these two reasons, the process of assisted suicide is a long and difficult one, it is also expensive, they must be accompanied by medical records, they must be seen by a doctor twice before anything happens, be psychologically evaluated and they must give their consent to the action. The person is asked over and over again if they are sure, at each meeting and several times before the actual act. Everything is explained in great detail and the person must be able to lift the glass and take the draught themselves. Each process is videoed for the Police, these are basic safeguards and are in place to protect the clinic as well as the patient. I don’t understand why these same procedures couldn’t be managed in the UK, we have the ability, the professionals, the facilities and the know-how to do what the Dignitas people do.

There is also the viewpoint that every life is worth saving, is worth extending beyond the whit of lifespan, in short, every person should be made to live because death is somehow a failure, a necessary evil that must be delayed as far as is possible…even if the person doesn’t want it!


Why can’t people choose to die? It doesn’t really matter the reason they don’t want to live, as long as the process is followed and they can provide a sufficient reason to take their own life, why shouldn’t they be allowed? What is it about humanity that makes us determined to prevent human death in the face of suffering, illness, depression, pain, torment, to force people to carry on against their will and give us another opportunity to try and “save” them from their demons? It’s not as though we are in imminent danger of a population failure, we have more than enough people to continue our existence, so if some people want to end their lives, why shouldn’t they?

We talk about compassion when it comes to our pets, putting an animal down in the face of it’s suffering, putting animals out of their misery is seen as the right thing to do, the right choice. Why not with people? Do we really believe that animal life is worth less than human life that it’s our choice to make? Or is it just that death has always been viewed as a bad thing, something to be avoided at all costs?

In the video, the family members were supportive of the choices made by the participants, they didn’t necessarily agree with them, but they were able to discuss it maturely and agree that it wasn’t their choice to make, it was the right thing for their loved ones and they wouldn’t have missed the chance to be there by their side when the act was carried out. I can’t imagine everybody would be that mature, responsible and supportive, but the pain felt by the families of “surprise” suicides must in part be because they had no warning, no chance to understand the reasoning, no chance to say goodbye, to say “I love you.” The sense of responsibility must be enormous, but at the same time, if someone is determined to take their own life, then their will can always find a way.

If you love someone, then I believe it is right for you to respect their wishes when it comes to the treatment of their own body, their life. I don’t think it’s right for the person that you love to be too afraid to come to you and have a discussion about why they want to end their life. Communication is the key to any successful relationship and whether it be as lovers, parents, siblings or friends, I don’t believe anyone has the right to make a decision as huge as life or death on someone else’s behalf!

If you have strong feelings about Do Not Resuscitate orders, action upon requirement of life support, brain death, coma anything like that, start talking to your loved ones now, make a living will, make sure everyone knows how you feel and perhaps when it becomes your turn to choose, it won’t be a hard decision, the facility will be there for you to ultimately decide for yourself. If you want to live and want every effort to be made to keep you alive then go for it, but if you don’t, then you should be allowed to say so!

In the end, the most powerful message I took from that video was the sheer number of people who go through the process, they have the tests, the examinations, the evaluations and they receive permission to set a date…..then the clinic never hears from them again. The sure and certain knowledge that (if it comes to it) they have a way out, gives them the strength they need to keep the fight going, for as long as they choose!

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Fit Vs Fat

I’m increasingly confused and angered by the stereotyping of people who are overweight. There seems to be an attitude of overweight = no control = failure which just drives me nuts. Apparently overweight people are all lacking in some part of humanity which makes them eat more and exercise less than “normal” people.

There’s a sort of inherent selfishness that is felt about people who overeat, and nobody ever looks at the backstory, nobody ever asks the question “why”? People assume that they know, “fat people are fat because they eat too many burgers and cakes” or “Fat people are fat because they have no self-control” and this is a massive assumption to make.

To put the shoe on the other foot: “thin people are thin because they’re too poor to afford proper food” or perhaps “thin people are thin because they care more about what other people think of them than they should.” As you can see, it’s totally illogical.

In days of old, being overweight was a sign of plenty, that you were rich and could afford the best things in life, being thin was a sign of being poor and undernourished. Fat women were considered healthy and buxom, artists wanted the botticelli babe to paint because curves are more interesting (or perhaps easier) than getting the ribcage showing through the skin just right.

Nowadays though, curves are looked down upon, women are made to feel less than women, unattractive and wrong if they are carrying more pounds than is considered healthy. Men too, don’t get me wrong, although I only have the female perspective.

Society has taught overweight women that they should feel ashamed of their weakness, they are sneered at if they dare to enjoy a treat in public, I’ve even experienced being told by another (skinny) woman, that perhaps I wouldn’t be so obese if I didn’t eat cakes. This was while I was sitting on a park bench, enjoying a monthly treat that I allowed myself as a reward for weigtloss! It’s no wonder that fat people feel the need to hide in their homes!

Why do people feel that they have the right to comment on another persons size? I’ve never dreamed of going up to a painfully thin person and advising them to eat more bacon! It’s rude, but also it doesn’t take into account anything other than their immediate appearance. In the same way I would never publically humiliate someone by advising them that their clothing choice makes it look as though they got dressed in the dark, 3 days ago!

My point is judgement, how can you possibly think that you know enough about me to make a personal comment about my appearance? You have no more right to judge me based on a perception, than I have to reply that you are clearly a selfish, rude and arrogant wizened old hag because you have made that comment.

There may be an entire psyche behind the weight gain, it may be a coping mechanism for something else entirely and by drawing attention to it you’ve just completely derailed a personal recovery that is in progress.

My question is why? Why does everyone have to be healthy and slim and gorgeous? Why can’t society be diverse enough to encompass people who have no problem with their weight? I have been “clinically obese” for the majority of my adult life and for the mostpart I’ve been very happy. I haven’t spent my time at home, lonely and unloved, I have tons of friends and family who love me just the way I am, I’m excellently fit with a good stamina level, I’ve never let my weight stop me from achieving anything I’ve wanted to do. I don’t think people should be lambasted into doing anything they don’t want to by people who have no idea what’s going on in their lives. Why does everyone have to be perfect?

I direct you to Single Dad Laughing: A disease called Perfection

Read that and then tell me that you have any right to judge!

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The end of “Mademoiselle” ?

Emily Davison being force-fed during a hunger strike

According to the BBC magazine article found here: the term Mademoiselle is falling out of fashion. This is apparently a feminist movement by women who don’t want to have the distinction between being married or unmarried, and it appears to be mostly because men only have Mr to define them.

I don’t understand the big deal? I was married and I was Mrs, now I’m divorced and use Miss, what’s the big deal? Does admitting to being married or single give people a weapon to use against you?

I always thought Ms was used by divorcees, but I never understood the point. What does it matter if people know whether or not you’re married? Are you more likely to be raped or abducted if you admit to being a Miss, do married women get paid more, or get more rights than single women? Is it just because Master has gone out of use for boys and young men?

Sometimes I think the feminists are fighting entirely the wrong battles!

Let’s face it, feminists tend to go on about how they are seen as “less” than men by the great misogynistic majority of men, but in this case we have two options for address, where they only have one, surely we’ve won this round? Am I the only person who doesn’t believe that it’s a problem for a woman to be addressed according to her marital status? After all, if you’re really rabid about it there’s always “Ms” as a form of address, but is that any better?

In this day and age I don’t believe it makes the slightest bit of difference how you’re addressed, especially given the way roles within families have changed, but doing away with an entire form of address because women want to be entirely equal with men is non-sensical, why aren’t these women fighting for equality in pay, or any of the other things that have been campaigned for over the years? I haven’t seen any of these so-called “rabid” feminists throwing themselves under carriages to make their point publically and sacrificing themselves for their cause, Emily Davison must be sitting in her heaven looking down at these women wondering how the hell they call themselves feminists…having their militant coffee mornings and talking about Miss vs Mrs.

According to some of the more radical feminists, nothing has been achieved since the suffrage movement, but over the years since it all began in the early 1900’s with the votes for women campaign of the suffragettes.  I’m sure Millicent Fawcett is turning in her grave at the very idea! Feminist activists have campaigned for women’s rights – such as in contract law, property, and voting – while also promoting bodily integrity, autonomy and reproductive rights for women. Feminist campaigns have changed societies, particularly in the West, by achieving women’s suffrage, gender neutrality in England, equal pay for women, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property.

Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity leave, and against forms of discrimination against women.

It’s worth pointing out that Feminism is mainly focused on women’s issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, some feminists argue that men’s liberation is a necessary part of feminism, and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles.

With all the things that have been fought for and won on behalf of women everywhere, arguing over a descriptive address seems petty in the extreme, especially when you consider that equality for women isn’t anywhere near as advanced in other countries as it is in the west.

It also seems that feminism entirely ignores subjects like male rape, abuse and slavery which is still rife, and even in the west. Equality for women shouldn’t mean inequality for Men, and neither should it mean making women “more” equal than Men.

In my relationship, Red and I have gravitated towards a set-up where we do the things we enjoy and that seems to put us squarely in the gender-specific role catagory. I enjoy taking care of the laundry, I do most of the cooking and we take a fairly equal role in keeping the house clean and tidy. At the same time, Red mostly does the DIY around here, and he takes care of the car maintenance. It’s not because I’m not capable of doing my own car maintenance and it’s not because he’s incapable of cooking, it just seems that we do the things we enjoy most. I don’t see any problem with that and neither does he. Red accepts that there are some things I’m better at than he is (frying eggs for one) and I accept that there are things he’s better at than I am (undoing wheel-nuts springs to mind) but it has nothing to do with our gender, it’s just the way things have turned out.

I was once told that I “set the feiminst movement back 50 years” because when I had my first careers interview at school, I said that the only career I wanted to have was to be a mother. Now I’ve wondered about that on and off over the 20 years or so since then. As far as I can see, being a Mother is a fairly exclusively female job title, it’s also a very important job, giving birth to, nurturing and raising a human being and one who will take over this world when we leave it. Parenting is a massively important role, moulding and guiding your progeny in the ways of the world so that you leave a bit of yourself behind, safe in the knowledge that you have done the best job possible to make them a good and useful member of society. Why should this be any less important a career choice than astrophysicist, Doctor, Lawyer or Librarian?

The way I see it, Feminism used to be a big important thing, women felt so strongly about their cause that they would throw themselves under carriages, starve themselves to death or chain themselves to railings for days on end to demonstrate the passion they felt. I think that wave of feminism has passed on into a new “activist” phase, with women who sit behind their computer screens bitching about “mansplaining” and misogyny, even though they themselves have never been put at a disadvantage due to their gender.

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Diamond Jubilee

Queen Elizabeth IIThere appears to be a lot of debate going on over the most appropriate gift for the Queen upon reaching her Diamond Jubilee. For those who don’t know, this means she has been our reigning monarch for 60 years! To be honest, I think having stuck at anything for 60 years is well worth celebrating, but this is The Queen we’re talking about.

The current suggestion is that the nation buy her a new yacht and this is estimated to cost the public purse about £60m. That sounds like an awful lot of money, but when you break it down to real terms, it’s about 62p per person in the country.

From research it appears that the general opinon from those in the know (and I have no stone-cold facts here because I’m not connected in any way to the Royal Family) that the monarchy costs us about 66p per person per year. The travel budget for the entire Royal family is about £7m per year. The Queen travels in a standard Sikorsky helicopter, she doesn’t even own a jet and I think that virtually no one considers her a spendthrift. If she wasn’t The Queen most people would think of her as an ordinary rich lady with a big stock portfolio. Most of the criticism goes towards the extended family.

The tourist argument is difficult. The revenue from immediate attractions is nowhere near £40m and many people argue that tourists would pay to see Windsor Castle if it was empty. Personally, I think that the royal family is responsible indirectly for a big chunk of the tourist dollar, because people tend to go to London simply because they always read about the monarchy. England makes way more tourist dollars than Germany (a much bigger country). Although there are a lot of tourist dollars in France and Spain and Italy,

The other argument is the “crown estates” which were taken from the monarchy in 1760. They have been managed like a corporation for the last several decades. The value of the “crown estates” is about £7b, or the equivalent of the net worth of the Duke of Westminster (the richest peer in Britain). They produce an income of £200m, almost 5 times the allowance for the royal family. Each new monarch renews the agreement with parliament, so if the monarchy is abolished, the heir might have a valid legal claim on taking the estates back. At the very least they might ask to have Windsor Castle as personal property.

The Queen is perceived as having a net worth of about £320m . About a third of that is Sandringham and Balmoral, and some smaller properties. About £100m is a stock portfolio, and the rest is some personal artwork, jewelry, horses and such. A lot of it she inherited from her mother who is from a very wealthy Scottish family.

I’m not that upset at the thought of an extra 62p, for one year to buy her a yacht, this is the Diamond Jubilee for heavens sake, what do people think would a more fitting gift from the nation? £25 M&S voucher?

I accept that quite a lot of people are anti-royalist, which is fine, but if the numbers are true then having a monarchy is worth the price we pay. In comparison, the Danish Royalty costs the equivalent of £10m per year. A much smaller amount, but considering Denmark is the size of Scotland it is almost double the amount per person.

If you’re that upset about 62p, as you read this on you iPhone or Android or laptop or computer, if you consider that a waste of money as you sit in your centrally heated house and watch your 64ft television, then poor old you, I’ll pay your 62p!

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Prophets of Doom

“Enjoy it while it lasts”

“Keep your feet on the ground” and it’s brother “Be Realistic” or how about “You’ve got to live in the real world” or “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”

What’s with the nay-sayers and negative thinkers? Why must they insist on pulling everyone down to their level of natural depression? At the start of December, I mentioned to someone at work that I was really looking forward to the Christmas break, that I needed a nice long rest, it’s been a tough year and I had a few things at home that I wanted to get done that the holidays would be perfect for.

Perfectly reasonable statement I thought, but no, her response was “yeah, but it won’t last long, time flies when you’re having fun and then it’s all over for another year, back to the grindstone” ….. Wow! Talk about wishing your life away, not to mention sucking all the fun out of life for other people. I managed not to get bogged down in the “enjoy it while it lasts” mentality and had a really lovely, relaxed and proportionate holiday. It was just long enough for me to get through all my little jobs around the house and garden, but not so long that I started to get bored or waste time.

The thing is, weekends are 2 days long, they are always 2 days long and how long or short they feel is irrevelant. I know that if I sleep until midday both days of the weekend, then they will feel shorter because I won’t have as much time awake and achieving things. However, if I get up at 10am both days, get on with my chores and manage to have some down-time to relax and recharge ready for another week then they feel much longer.

It’s my choice.

Peoples perception of the time taken for a holiday or weekend, or even a full week at work doesn’t change the amount of time you actually spend. If you take a 2 week holiday and go somewhere sunny (or snowy if you prefer) then it will last precisely 2 weeks, if you take an extra day over the weekend to have a 3-day weekend, guess what? It will last for 3 days. How you feel about it doesn’t actually change anything and constantly moaning about the passage of time won’t make you, or anyone else feel any better about it.

It was my first week back at work after the holidays last week, we had Monday off so it was only a 4-day week, but it felt so much longer, each day seemed to drag and hometime seemed to take forever to come, but it was still just a 4-day week.

The thing I’ve learnt is that tempus fugit at exactly the same rate whether you are at work or on holiday, whether you are sick or well, whether you are happy or fed-up, the only difference is how you deal with it. Being a doom-laden prophet for time isn’t going to change that.

If you insist on being a grumpy gundyguts and spend all your time concentrating on how slowly time is passing at work, or how fast it passes on holiday, then you will get the perception you are looking for, if you have to work then suck it up and deal with the requirements of your job, but try to keep a bit of perspective and treat time for what it is, then perhaps you won’t spend so much time huffing and sighing and bringing everyone else down.

Wish your own life away if you must, but leave the rest of us to live ours to the full.

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