Monthly Archives: April 2013

Grass

Grass…..what is the point of it? It’s green, yes. I’m sure it’s good for the planet too. But it sits there in your garden determined to make your life as difficult as possible. You cut it. It looks good for one whole day (as long as you also strim the edges and occasionally use an edger to keep the borders crisp and clean). Then it starts to grow again. And, boy, does it grow quickly. Before you know what’s happened, it needs cutting again. You then have the problem of the cuttings. If your mower doesn’t pick them up, you have to rake them up. If it does pick them up, you still have to dispose of them somehow. It’s no use creating a pile in the manky corner of the garden because eventually you will have a mountain and the lower part of this mountain will be a stinky, sludgey mess.

Sooner or later it will get bald patches or clogged with moss. It will develop crops of dandelions or daisies. A passing dog will use it as a toilet. Next door’s cat will hide in the long bit you missed last week and pounce out on you when you least expect it. If it is a hot summer (fat chance) it will wither and die and you won’t be allowed to use a hosepipe to water it. If it rains all summer, it will resemble a bog and you won’t be able to walk across it without wellies.

Take my advice……don’t bother with grass unless you want to be run ragged for 9 months of the year!

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Wasps

I really dislike wasps. To be honest, they haven’t really tried to enamour me over the years.

My first wasp experience came at about age 11 when I sat on a wall at school, put my palm down flat and on top of a basking wasp I hadn’t spotted and it stung me on the fleshy part at the base of my thumb. 

My second experience was when my fiancé and I were travelling to see my parents. We had to change buses and there was a bit of a wait before the second bus. It was a fine day so we were enjoying the sunshine and chatting. I was wearing a pale blue dress with round pearl buttons and loops down the front. Unknown to me, a wasp crept sneakily into a gap between buttons and then stung me on the boob. I shouted out in shock. Over the road there was a Working Men’s Club and a group of men were sitting outside having a lunchtime drink. Imagine their amusement as my fiancé grabbed the front of my dress and wrenched it open with a ping, ping, ping of little pearl buttons, to enable the wasp to fly away having done its evil deed.  It didn’t end there. After we arrived at my parents’, I was in the kitchen telling my mother about the tale when I felt another sharp sting at the top of my leg. I shouted out that I’d been stung again. My mother (always so sympathetic and tolerant) told me to stop being hysterical. The fiancé grabbed the hem of my dress and pulled it up over the top of my head, just as my dad walked into the kitchen to see what all the fuss was about. He saw my dress being forcibly removed, turned round and went out again. Indeed I had been stung again at the top of my leg.

The next time it happened was when my children were small. In those days, you put your baby down for an afternoon nap in her pram out in the garden. For that reason, we used to buy a pram net which went over the top of the pram and its elasticated border prevented insects, cats etc. getting into the pram. Allegedly. I was doing dishes in the kitchen when I spotted something crawling over my baby and rushed into the garden to investigate. There was not one wasp in there with her but THREE. In a blind panic, I wrenched off the net and grabbed her but unfortunately one wasp stung her on the arm at the same time.

The next time involved my poor baby again. We were seeing some visitors off on the drive when a wasp landed on my daughter’s ear. Her natural reaction to this tickling insect was to bring up her shoulder to her ear, thus trapping said menace. Of course it stung – right on her ear lobe. I’ve never seen something so amazing and horrible as what happened over the next hour. Her ear swelled to about double its size and a quick call to the doctor confirmed that it was a bad place for a sting as there is nowhere for the swelling to go so the ear just gets bigger and bigger.

Last year they little blighters moved into my house as well, building their papery nest in the eaves, flitting back and forward making it bigger and bigger and taunting us to try and do something about it. They ‘ate’ our garden shed too. If you went over to the shed, you could see and hear them scraping the wood away to masticate it to make their new home!

So, as you can see, I have had some nasty run-ins with wasps. In my opinion, they serve little purpose. They don’t sting to protect themselves. Oh no. They have a vengeance on humans, plotting when and where to cause mayhem. I am convinced that having delivered their sting, they fly away grinning from ear to ear at having got one more victim.

Wasps – what a pain they are.

Responsibility

The news this week saw the collapse of a clothing factory in Bangladesh. Estimates say that there are possibly 300+ dead and up to 1000 injured. One woman gave birth to her son in the rubble. Today heavy lifting gear has finally arrived to try to reach many others still buried.

Is it YOUR fault and MY fault? Well, yes, actually. It is.

If we continue to demand cheap clothes, if we continue to buy sports clothing and some designer labels, we are responsible. So where do we buy clothes – do you really know where the clothes you are wearing right now actually come from? Sadly, most big clothing companies source from Third World countries.

The average worker in these factories does a 70+ hours a week shift and earns around 35 dollars a month. One T-Shirt can sell for more than that. Workers often have to hand their children over to other family members and just see them for a few hours a week. The premises where they work are not subjected to planning laws and are not built safely or inspected adequately. 

On the other hand, what situation would these workers be in without the factories which employ them? It could be argued that without work, no matter how low-paid and in whatever poor conditions, their situation would be a whole lot worse.

At one time, we made clothes in the UK. They were generally of good quality and cost us more than the clothes we now buy from clothing chain stores on the High Street. But people in the UK did manufacturing jobs, didn’t struggle to find work, could support their families and felt a sense of belonging to an important industry. Then it became clear that as we had to pay people a minimum wage in the UK, it made much greater sense to have those clothes made abroad, where wages were miniscule, you could work people hard and unions didn’t kick up a fuss. It was the beginning of the exploitation we see today.

Are we responsible? Yes, I believe we are. As are governments and the very High Street stores who profit from those people whose bodies are currently entombed in that factory.

Tattoos

This is a very personal whinge and apologies to any readers who have a tattoo. I hate to see tattoos. It doesn’t really matter whether they’re on men or women, I just don’t like them at all. I can appreciate the artistic talent that it takes to create them – some are excellent artistically. But I just don’t understand why anyone would want to have something so permanent on their skin. I have seen some ridiculous examples of tattoos gone wrong – incorrect spelling or a long-departed partner’s name  – and wonder if anyone ever thinks about what happens to their skin as they get old and saggy. Surely there could be nothing more revolting than the words or images hanging in wrinkly folds?

There’s one thing for certain, I won’t be going wild any time soon and rushing off to the tattoo parlour to have my buttock embellished with a cute little butterfly. 

Guest post

Today I am linking to Julia’s blog for my daily whinge. I read this and it struck a chord so thought I’d share it here:

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/friday-thought-3/

Shoes

Is it only me who finds it virtually impossible to buy shoes? I find it hard enough to buy them in a shop and consequently could never buy any online. Over the years, my feet have deteriorated because of Rheumatoid Arthritis and I spend a lot of time walking indoors with bare feet. Looking back now, this probably wasn’t such a good idea as my feet have spread and this had made it even harder to get a good fit. 

I watch with envy as Rachel on Twitter posts photos of her extensive shoe collection. She has some truly magnificent shoes. I do still have some with heels but every time I try to wear them, I am unable to walk by the time I get to the front door. I have to go back to the comfy pair of flatties which are now almost worn out. Soon I will have to face the music and go to a shoe shop to buy their replacements. I am putting off this evil day because I know how impossible this task will be.

I am a size five. Or a five and a half. Or a four and a half. I can’t get normal fitting shoes on. Wide fitting shoes slop up and down as if I’m wearing boats on my feet. I can’t buy cheap shoes as they just don’t make them to fit people with feet like me. But then I worry about paying a lot for a pair as I don’t truly know if they will be right until I’ve worn them for an hour or two.

I pine for the days when I wore sexy little sandals with kitten heels, gorgeous strappy platforms and sparkly evening shoes. In winter I wear my rapacious brown slip-on boots (like Uggs but cheap) and in summer I wear my good old flat, black, leather ones or flat sandals. I dream of sexy shoes, making me look taller and coordinating with the colours of my outfit. As my day-to-day wardrobe has become more black and beige, my shoe collection has dwindled to boring and functional.

How I envy women like Rachel, with their gorgeous shoes, sky-high heels and butterfly wardrobes. Shoes can make you feel so good about yourself…..

Shorts

I was driving along the estate road yesterday (let me make it clear that I don’t own an ‘estate’ but I mean the housing estate where I live) and I saw a lady walking her son home from school. She was quite a rounded lady and probably in her thirties. 

The view I got was interesting and sparked today’s whinge. She was wearing dark coloured leggings with a quite nice top, but what looked really odd was the pale blue denim short shorts she had put on over the top of the leggings. Who told her that was a good look? Did she not look in the mirror from the front and behind before setting off? It looked awful and really emphasised her rounded dimensions. Personally, it’s not a look I really like on young, thin, modelly-type girls either. It made me wonder where these new fashion trends come from.

Maybe I might sit and dream up a new trend and parade around my town giving it a try? Erm…..maybe not.

P.S. I know I should have been watching the road – another reason why she needs to examine her fashion sense as she is distracting drivers!