Category Archives: Ava Whinge

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.


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.

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.

Teenage pregnancy

Following on from yesterday’s post, I started thinking about pregnancy generally.

My experience tells me that there are still many young girls who believe that having a baby will be the answer to all of their problems. Firstly, they will have someone in their lives to love them – and this might be quite a novelty for some. Secondly, they have a misplaced vision of motherhood – some romantic ideal of baby powder and little, cute clothes, when, in reality, it is more like poo and puke.

My own daughter told me once that she was angry that many girls from her year group in school had deliberately got pregnant as they got a house, furniture and a nice cheque through the letterbox regularly, whilst she worked hard to get enough money to have a home of her own. I had to admit that her comment was backed by my experience from over thirty years of working in Secondary schools. In my first year of teaching, a fourteen year old in my tutor group was pregnant. This was actually quite a rare occasion. I remember visiting her in a home for teenage mothers. It was dire and the expectation was that she would give her baby up and go back to being a teenage girl at school. She didn’t.

As time went on, there was a much more relaxed attitude to teenage pregnancy and cases where those girls continued with their pregnancies and kept the babies themselves seemed on the increase.

What concerned me in more recent years was the gradual change which led to girls deliberately planning babies as a perceived escape route from their mundane lives, bolstered by the benefits that would be available to them.  I am very much in favour of those in genuine need being supported by society – the disabled, the elderly, those who really and truly can’t find work – but have to admit to having doubts about those who choose to go down the benefit route when there are real options available.

Children deserve to be brought up by a loving parent with adequate resources to feed, shelter, educate and clothe them. This is my ideal world, far removed from reality I suppose.


My own personal experience has rather coloured my view on abortion. In 1982, I was in a hospital side ward fighting to keep a little boy and failing, whilst the lady in the next door side ward was deliberately throwing hers away. The injustice of it all scarred me for a long time.

However, this does not make me anti-abortion as I know that there are circumstances when it is the only sensible option. What it does make me is exasperated that we focus more on whether abortion should be legal rather than educating people to not get pregnant in the first place. Yes, accidents happen. Even the most careful people can get it wrong and sometimes nature works against us.  However, there are still too many unwanted pregnancies and, as every child should be really wanted, this only leaves one option. We don’t want to go back to the days of backstreet abortions and so it is right and proper that abortion is available to those who need it.

Two points though. In the old days, parents who were desperate for children but couldn’t have their own had a ready supply of children for adoption. This is not the case today. I have been watching the Monday night programme about separated parents and children and this has made me feel differently about the effects of adoption but there are many happy, healthy children who have been adopted. Children who couldn’t have good lives with their birth mother, but had good lives with parents who desperately wanted them.

Secondly, I watched the argument on the news this morning about abortion in Ireland. Someone stated that it was a breach of human rights to deny a woman an abortion. It made me wonder where the rights of the unborn child were and when they begin. My little boy was born at 24 weeks. The staff at the hospital told me there was no way he would be born viable. There was nothing available to help him when he was born and the nurse attending put him in a silver metal kidney dish and exclaimed in disgust that he was trying to breathe. I saw his tiny hand raised in the air and he wiggled his fingers as if waving. That was all I ever saw of him. I so regret that day and not demanding more of the staff there, not holding him, not preventing them from just taking him to the sluice room for ‘disposal’. Babies born at 24 weeks survive now.

Yet abortion is legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy and beyond that under certain extreme circumstances..

Weather Whingers

Does it get on your nerves when people whine for months about the cold, wet, windy weather and then when we get a hot weekend they whine because it is ‘too hot’? It really annoys me. I love the sunshine. It makes me feel so good. I have more energy, a big smile on my face and a general joie de vivre. I love the heat. I was meant to be a Mediterranean child, not a north east England girl. So if we have some Mediterranean weather, I’ll be out there, lapping it up, not whingeing about it.


I must say that since our move, we have been very lucky with our new neighbours. But there’s always one, isn’t there? The sun brings them out. They drink too much, play raucous party games, shriek at the tops of their voices, the dog barks incessantly, they have a bouncy castle and a trampoline. You get the picture?

Well, tonight’s the night. Sadly, it is also the night when my small grandsons are sleeping at my house. I’m hoping that the Addams family have the decency to stop the noise at a reasonable hour. If not, bright and early tomorrow, the paddling pool will be out, the boys will be very active and noisy and we’ll hope that this will exacerbate their hangover heads.