Monthly Archives: July 2013

I have a brain

Is it just me or are we constantly being told things that we have the intelligence to know for ourselves? I’ve talked about the nanny state mentality before but this current spell of glorious weather has presented us with even more opportunities for being told the obvious. Yes, I do know that if I’m on a journey I need a bottle of water, I mustn’t leave my dog in the car, I should take care of my elderly neighbours (actually, in my street, we ARE the elderly neighbours!) and I should put a sun hat and sun cream on my grandchildren if they are playing in the garden.

I really don’t need to be told by TV, radio and twitter what to do and find it most patronising. Stop it at once.

 

Weigh that pig!

Today’s news makes me foam with anger. My grandson is five. He is a clever boy with a thirst for knowledge and we often have quite meaningful conversations. But the thought that he could be given tests to rank him in his school makes me so angry. He is a child. Not much more than a baby really.

I’ve already blogged about the importance of play for young children so won’t repeat myself. The two quotes about not making the pig fat by weighing it and the fish climbing the tree come to mind. Anyone know who wrote the ‘pig’ one? I can’t seem to find out.

I can only see this move – one of the latest in a stream of ill-informed government decisions for education – alienating little ones and giving them a hatred of school and education. It might be great for Johnny and Johnny’s mum and dad to find out he is ‘top of the class’ but what about those at the bottom of the pile? Add to that the fact that a test is only a snapshot of one moment in time and only measures set objectives and it looks like a recipe for disaster. Children are individuals. They each have strengths and weaknesses. Every child is good at something. An early years or key stage 1 teacher is the expert at observing and noting constantly how every child is doing.

It is time we trusted our teachers to bring out the best in our children, allowing them to grow through play, forming relationships, communication and using imagination. And you can’t measure that!

Eyes

I’ve got a thing about eyes. The thought of having anything done to my eyes fills me with shudders. My husband told me he had surgery once which involved taking his eyeball out and laying it on his cheek. Can this really be true or is he just winding me up?

I once told children at school that I hated the phrase ‘keep your eyes peeled’. Big mistake. For at least a month, they tried to introduce the phrase into every lesson.

I might just have made the same mistake again.

Words I dislike

I was looking for inspiration today and can often find it on Twitter. It can be guaranteed I’ll find something to whinge about by reading the last hour’s timeline. Today it was looking at someone’s bio and seeing a word which triggered a reaction.

Now this may upset some of you but the word was ‘feminist’. I find it quite a distasteful word. It conjures up images that don’t endear it to me. I see butch-looking women, shouting and aggressive. I see women looking at men with distain. I see eyebrow piercings, cropped hair and tattoos.

I know that this is not what a feminist looks like in reality but it is the image that the word gives me and I can’t help that. I strongly believe that women should have all the rights and responsibilities of men. They should be paid equally for doing the same job. That is just common decency. But I also enjoy being a woman and I like my man to be a man. He has strengths that I don’t and vice versa. We are a team. We just work together. But I also like it when he treats me like a woman. We are different. I embrace those differences.

The other one I really dislike is ‘partner’. To me, a partner is a business arrangement, not your lover or boyfriend/girlfriend. The word has become unclear because of its use to describe someone you live with but have made no formal commitment to. It causes confusion. I love to watch ‘Homes Under the Hammer’. People buy a house at auction and then do it up. They are interviewed after buying and I often hear ‘I am buying it with my partner’. Then I don’t know what they mean. Is it a business partner? Is it a same-sex lover partner? Is it a girlfriend / wife?

There are lots of other words that make me cringe. Which ones annoy you?

More on Parenting

A couple of days ago, my twitter pal Julia reported about a juvenile seagull called ‘George’ who seemed abandoned on a hotel roof. Then lo and behold, we found we had our very own George on the house roof this afternoon. His little cry was pitiful and mum and dad circled nearby, keeping a watchful eye on him. Occasionally they landed but didn’t feed him. They just sat on the roof near him and then after a few minutes took off again.

After some hours, as I sat in the arbour lapping up the last of the day’s sun, I noticed one of the adults approaching. It wheeled around in the sky then came in towards the tail of the baby. What happened next was amazing. With a heavy push, the parent nudged the little one off the roof, it spread its wings and flew.

This made me think about our role as parents. Sometimes we have to give a little push when our little ones are reluctant to do something which we know is best for them. At the time they may not appreciate our decision but in the long term, they come to realise that it was for the best.

Sadly, I see evidence of some parents who are not there to give that push. Those relationships are dictated by the children – they are in control and the parents fail to realise the significance of this role reversal. Then, when those children get to school, teachers have to somehow instil all sorts of values in loco parentis. I have had several instances over the years of parents telling me that they can’t do a thing with their little darlings and asking me to help.

A few people could do with the determination and drive of that seagull. And they say birds are stupid?

Are parents to blame?

I was watching the troubles in Belfast on breakfast TV news this morning. I know that the problems there have a great deal of history behind them but wondered why in places like Ireland and other parts of the world where religion or land is the issue, troubles drag on through centuries.

Each generation has a chance for a fresh start. A child is born with no hate or prejudice. Those feelings are instilled in children by their parents. It is passed on through the generations like a rogue gene, infecting and destroying through the family layers, perpetuating the troubles that we see today. I wonder how many young people truly understand what happened in the past?

If we were all able to put the past well and truly behind us and bring up our children to get along with each other and care rather than hate, how much better would the world be? I suspect that the vast majority of people in troubled areas do exactly that. But while there is the minority where hate, bitterness and anger prevail and it is passed from grandfather to father, father to son, there is no hope of seeing an end to the troubles in some beautiful parts of the world.

Pets

I can understand people wanting to keep a pet. A soft, cuddly, furry pet. Maybe a feathered pet. But anything slippery, slimy or scaly? No. A reptile is really not meant to be kept in a house in Burnley. A big, hairy spider should not be in captivity in Falmouth. These creatures ought to be in their own habitat, free of spirit and following the pattern of life that nature intended. You can’t really have a relationship with a terrapin. You can’t walk a python or throw a ball for an iguana. It’s just plain weird.

100WCGU #97 Heat

I was supposed to be born in the Mediterranean. When it is cold, wet and windy,  days are short and dark and the wardrobe is full of jumpers, trousers and boots, I feel gloomy. My arthritis hurts and I want to eat naughty foods for comfort.

When it’s sunny and warm, I feel energised and alive. My arthritis goes to sleep and I dig deep into the wardrobe for summer dresses and pretty sandals. I eat salads and dig in the garden. I want to run and skip and jump and I feel happy to the core.

I love Summer heat.

Blog Juggling

I really like WordPress for my blogging needs. It is efficient, offers plenty of options for layout and personalisation and is easy to maintain. The only issue I have is juggling two blogs with different identities. I linked them as admin but that still caused issues when commenting on others’ blogs or making comments as part of the 100 Word Challenge team. Maybe I was missing a trick somewhere but decided today to merge the two with some clever use of menus and categories. Everyone knows that Enterprisegran and Ava Whinge are the same person anyway so it really doesn’t matter.

On this occasion, the ‘whinge’ has been resolved by a bit of perseverance and some techie knowledge. A whinge that isn’t really a whinge. That’s a first!

Summer Madness

We get a few days of sunshine and the whole world goes mad. I think that as we don’t see a lot of sunshine, we tend to go over the top when we do get some. I have seen some sights over the last few days! The way some people dress (or undress)  for the warm weather is amazing. This was backed up by an item on BBC Breakfast this morning – socks with sandals, vast areas of exposed flesh, outfits which are more suited to the beach – I’ve seen them all in the last few days. Then we also get the cars zooming by, music turned up full blast, all windows open, the acrid smell of wood smoke as your neighbour tries out their new chiminea, the sizzle of the neighbourhood barbecues, garden centre car parks full and people carrying big boxes of patio furniture out of B&Q.

Next week, those people will be in wooly jumpers to keep out the chill, behind closed doors as the rain falls on their shiny new garden furniture. Summer in England is always uncertain.