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September 22, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are– Robin Gibb: a missed opportunity to discuss gendered professions.

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007t575

Who Do You Think You Are Robin Gibb 21/09/2011

I like who Do You Think You Are. I like the Bee Gees. However, through no fault of Robin’s, it seems the two together are less than the sum of their parts. My quibble lies with their discussion of his midwife ancestor, who, judging by her character references, was undoubtedly an excellent midwife and a treasure in her local community.

It seems that in 1937 she neglected to inform a doctor, as per the regulations, that a child she was looking after had an eye infection. At the time, gonorrhea was seemingly rife and children could go blind if the infection was passed to them while they moved through the birth canal.
Robin, through misty eyes, assumed that, as a doctor had seen the child previous to the midwife, his ancestor MUST HAVE assumed that the child was already under a doctor and therefore did not need to inform a doctor herself. The midwifery powers that be, of the time, disagreed and cautioned her for negligence.

While I do not doubt the soundness of calling a doctor for a potentially blinding infection, I also think there are other mitigating circumstances that would preclude hurrying to the nearest doctor- for the mother’s sake. The programme failed to make a point of the pre NHS situation that this incident transpired in. When doctors cost money. Maybe the mother couldn’t afford a doctor and a midwife and his ancestor was doing the mother a kindness which common sense suggests may have been commonplace. If the mother had gonorrhea, could she have caught it while operating as a prostitute which would have been shameful and illegal, leading to a well-founded fear of authority- another reason not to get too involved with medical professionals, who would also have been predominantly male, which leads me to my next point.

The programme alluded to the stringent nature of midwifery rules at the beginning of the professions professionalization and probably did not have time to ask why they were so stringent for anything other than medical reasons. They did explain that doctors (male) made these rules for midWIVES. They did not take the time to discuss the idea that they were deliberately codified to restrict the power and initiative of a female profession dealing with feminine issues over which men had never had the opportunity to wield power before. Suddenly men qua doctors could set the rules over something they had previously had no power, and they set, what was referred to throughout as, restrictive and stringent rules.

What a terrible couple of missed opportunities.

April 08, 2011

Feeling frustrated

It's been a difficult couple of months. I feel like all I'm doing is going round in circles and I can't see where the gap in the loop is for me to escape. We've been trying to find a house for what feels like forever, and I really just want us to get our own place now, somewhere completely private, where we can put our stamp on and actually make a home ready for married life. Not too much to ask! But perhaps it is us who ask too much of the housing market...we've not got a massive budget but we're after quite a lot - 3 bedrooms, a good sized kitchen (pref kitchen diner) and lounge, reasonable sized garden, garage, parking...it's a lot to ask, especially because we're ideally looking to live in Kenilworth! I think we could easily get more than our minimum requirements in Coventry, but we don't really want to stay in Cov, it's time for a change. Seeing a couple of potentials today though, so perhaps our luck will change! I really hope they're what we're looking for, it's hard work constantly looking, I certainly am glad that we're not having to sell a house as well as look for a new one!

Just for the record, I'm not moaning about this, I realise I'm in a really fortunate position to be able to afford a house at all, but I guess none of us want to settle for simply what we can get, it's always good to try and reach for what we want, pushing ourselfs that little bit further and hopefully being happy with the choice we make.

Of course in an ideal world I'd win the lottery and be able to buy a house like this:



March 11, 2011

Never underestimate…

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12709598

...how destructive nature can be. As a huge earthquake and Tsunami hit and affect a large proportion of Japan I can only watch in horror as the news reports flood in and the casualties and devastation rage across the country. Only weeks after New Zealand suffered terrible loss and damage it really seems like nature is proving to us just how devastatingly powerful she can be.

It brings all those little niggling things that you hate about your life into perspective. I feel very fortunate to be safe right now.

March 07, 2011

I'm back!!!


After a very lengthy absence from blogging (due to password loss and general idiocy) I'm now able to log on and unleash my ramblings upon the blogging world again! Woo!

I find I have nothing interesting to say.

I'll get my coat.

October 30, 2009

Musings while on a train.

I have been on many trains of late and luckily(?) remembered to write some of my most recent thoughts down.

As a Primary School Teacher I don't often get to the use the language associated with University and, more specifically, my Politics degree training. So I thought I'd have a go at seeing how this language could be used (abused) in a Primary Classroom context.

(To be read i the voice of Joyce Grenfall)

"Billy et al. stop chattering!"

"Fran. You do not have hegenomy over the crayons. Share please."


"Anne, you know the answer to question 1; Ben, you know the answer to question 2; Cate and Deirdre likewise 3 and 4. If you set out the worksheets using the division of labour model you will get it finished more quickly and be able to go out to play.

Henry, you know all of the answers yourself and you can wear the neo liberal hat this afternoon. What? You don't think it's fair that they'll get the same marks as you in half the time? Aaaah, Henry, you see, while they remain unable to complete the whole worksheet, you; my dear boy, will do better in the test.

Pardon? You'd rather go out to play now? Think of your future Henry! If you forgo playtime and complete your sheet you can have all of lunchtime in which to frolic with your friends. What's that? What if it rains? I don't know Henry, stop asking questions. I have too much paperwork to complete in order to proceed down my own chosen career path. What Henry? Is that why no one is in the staffroom Henry? What do you mean am I happy, Henry?! Don't ask silly questions boy, if you are going to do well in that test you are going to have to forget happiness and complete that worksheet, otherwise you will have to stay in at lunchtime too.

Eh? You've seen a gap in the market Henry? What do you mean you'd like to go back to middle table and write the date on each worksheet for them Henry? What a waste dear child! You're too bright to be merely writing a date over and over again and wasting time with playtimes. You don't know what's best for you. Think of your future Henry! Now go and sit on top table and complete your worksheet and show me how good you are. Good boy."

August 24, 2009

Ashes to Ashes, Memories to Dust

So we won the Ashes. Yay. Awesome. Etc.

Can’t help but wonder how many people actually saw it happen though. There were several thousand in the stadium, but the best that the bulk of the country could do was hope to catch it on the radio.

Given how much press the series has generated on both back and front covers, isn’t it a bit wrong that so few had the opportunity to see it happen? Isn’t it time to move the Ashes – home and away – to the protected list of events that have to be on terrestrial?

July 01, 2009

Watching black and white paint dry…

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_1/8124105.stm

No. This is not fair.

The BBC have a grand total of ten Championship matches last season. That’s ten between a league of 24 teams, so already four teams won’t be making an appearance. So in the interests of fairness… they give Newcastle the first two games.

How can this be fair to the myriad of quality sides in the division that some team, who at the back-end of last season played some pathetically soulless football, can be guaranteed two appearances on terrestrial television when unfashionable sides like Doncaster who play a decent hard-working probably won’t be shown at all? Would it really have been that difficult for the BBC to, if unable to at least pick up a couple more games, structure things so only four clubs miss out rather than immediately focus on a club which claims to be big yet continues to achieve nothing?

Oh wait, I forgot – Newcastle are going to be the Man Utd/Chelsea/Liverpool/Arsenal of the Championship, getting far more TV exposure than the rest of their division. Difference is, in Newcastle’s case I think it’s going to be 1 from 24 rather than 4 from 20.

Mafia sympathy card or accident lawyers promo?

                                                  Had an accident? (Wasn't your fault?) Card punctuation and tone FAIL.

Another reading of it is in the rather sinister tone of the Mafia sympathy card. Had an accident? Sorry to hear that you're not well...

This is what you get if you pay 79p for a card. Bought, by me, today for comedy value only!

June 30, 2009

Aromacupuncturetherapy. Pine needles.

Aromacupuncturetherapy. Pine needles!

June 21, 2009

Wooden mobile phone.

I would like a wooden ipod, and a wooden mobile phone.
I would like a wooden toaster, I am tired of one of chrome.
I would like a wooden laptop, and a wooden DVD,
I would even like a plasma screen of tough mahogony.

I would like some wooden headphones, and a wood remote control,
A wooden fridge would suit me fine, I’d power it with coal.
I could hang some paper curtains and lay blankets made of card,
And if they gave me paper cuts, I’d burn them in my yard.

I’ll have credit cards of plywood, pay with debit cards of ash,
I’d like pennies cut from ebony, play chequers with my cash.
I’d carve my keys from silver birch, my locks hewn out of pine,
To protect all of these wooden things, that I’d like to be mine.

Inspired by the faux wood finish on the back of my black plastic MP3 player. Why? Phllips, you’re fooling no one!


PS- I want to access the internet on a typewriter,

June 16, 2009

Don't tax my phone line

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8102756.stm

So the latest great completely stupid idea of the government is for all of us with phone lines to pay £6 a year to make Britain “the digital capital of the world”.

Wonderful. By 2017, our internet speed will have caught up with where Japan and South Korea are… um… well, where they are in 2009.

Something doesn’t seem quite right with this deal…

June 03, 2009

03/06/09 The goose drank wine… and the monkey went to heaven in a dress.

My Dad received post today, stamped with HALFPENNY denominations of stamps. How? My sister couldn’t find any comemorative HALFPENNY stamps on the postal service website? Bizarre!

Olde worlde stampes usede ine poste todaye.

03/06/09 the goose drank wine…. or rather 5 ducks as viewed from my upstairs window.

View from- 03/06/09

May 27, 2009

Paradise Electronic.

If I were a cartoonist, I would draw Adam and Eve sitting in some kind of control room/ laboratory. At their fingertips would be the equipment to find out and control everything in their domain- from the infinitesimal to the gigantic. To the knowable to those things of which we are not yet aware. These things we shall call- Science and Technology.

However, in this centre of knowledge and therefore, undeniably, power, there is a large red button. On this button are written the words- "Do not press".

In my cartoon, the eye would then be drawn out of a window into space. It becomes clear that should the button be pressed, all the equipment, that would prove for certain every conjecture that our investigators could conceive, would be ejected into space. Our investigators would be cast out into nothingness, perfect knowledge gone, leaving them to scrabble together imperfect apparatus that can only scratch the surface of what they were given.

In my picture the laboratory (a little like the Spaceship in 2001 a space odessy, a film I am aware of but have never seen) Adam and Eve are seen waving from out in space, hand in hand, the button has clearly been compressed, the airlock is open and some screen on a monitor is proclaiming imminent catastrophe for ideal knowledge or whoever made the space lab's idea of perfect knowledge, all neatly set out for us to find, their way.

In another, similar control room, a figure thumps a fist on a desk. How dare they not figure things out the way that they had been told to? The cheek of literally thinking outside of the box! What might they find on their own path to knowledge?

And yes, I am watchng the Armando Iannucci programme on Paradise Lost!

May 20, 2009

RIP Sergeant Lee Bates.

When reading tonight's Express and Star I was deeply shocked and extremely saddened to read of Lee's tragically early death from Leukaemia aged just 29.

I was selected to sit on the BBC Regional Accountability Panel (now Regional Audience Panel) at the same time as Lee in 2006. As the youngest people in the room we sometimes had remarkably different opinions to the older members or remarkably similar- both standing up for the representation of young people in the Black Country across the BBCs various platforms.

Lee was polite, friendly and engaging and it was a pleasure to listen to how he worked with young people as well as being a full time police officer. We can truly say that Lee made a real difference during his painfully short life.

I'm doing the Race for Life in June and I'm sickened by just how personal a 5 kilometres this is turning out to be.

May 13, 2009

Telephone Hygienists: a reality?

The flu virus can survive on hard surfaces such as telephone handsets. Quick- call a telephone hygienist. Or then again maybe don't... Pick the telephone up in a tissue and then put the tissue straight in the bin. Avoid using a lift whilst waiting for your telephone hygienist and do not shake their hand. Better still- in order to protect yourself fully from infection dig yourself a moat. There is government funding available for such life saving home improvements. Contact your local government office by phone on 08...

Catch it, kill it, bin it, burn it. Curse the ashes then dispose of them. Do not dspose of ashes in your bin. For free advice on disposal of flu ridden ashes please call the, oh forget it... :)

May 04, 2009

What if…

Last week, Britain’s only world champion boxer (Carl Froch) beat American Jermian Taylor in the final round with seconds remaining. Of course, nobody in this country could watch it, as due to the senselessness of boxing politics no TV channel would screen it. So of course, it was off to YouTube if you want to see any coverage of any of the fight.

Once you remove the anti-American/British/English/Welsh/disestablishmenterialism rubbish, you are left with two strong opinions:

  1. If you disagree with me, you are gay. In fact, the only place where you are more likely to be gay is Xbox Live. Not even Gay Pride has as many people who are gay, if the comments are to be believed.
  1. Taylor “deserved” to win because he was winning most/all the earlier rounds.

Of course, the latter was largely the thoughts of bitter Americans and/or Taylor fans who couldn’t accept their man had lost, let alone the circumstances. Their case was that Taylor had been so dominant in the fight, that he was clearly the superior fighter. Moreover, because Froch was just a punchbag until the end, the fact that Froch had fought so well in the 12th and forced the referee to end the contest in his favour was irrelevant, as Taylor was ahead on the scorecards.

So let’s put this logic into other sports…

  • Pretty much any team sport on the planet, but let’s stick with football: Man Utd go 4-1 on Liverpool. Liverpool score 4 in the last six minutes. However, Man Utd were better for the first 84 minutes, so they should win the fight.
  • Golf: Tiger Woods leads by six shots with two par 4 holes to go. He finishes bogey-double bogey, Ernie Els finishes eagle-eagle and takes one shot less for the competition. But Tiger was better for 16 holes, therefore he deserves to win.
  • Motor Racing: Jenson Button is six laps clear of Lewis Hamilton in second place, before his engine blows up and he stops at the last corner. Hamilton crosses the line first, but because Button led until the last corner he should be the winner.
  • Rowing: Oxford have rowed ten lengths clear of Cambridge with metres to go before the end of the race, but the stroke violently sneezes and tips the crew into the water. Cambridge row past and cross the line in first place, but Oxford led for all that way so they should be the winners.
  • Diving: Tom Daley executes a whole series brilliant dives to leave him miles ahead of Blake Aldridge. Unfortunately, on his last dive Daley gets it wrong, smacks his head on the diving board, the crowd watches his brains splatter across the pool, and he scores nothing. Aldridge dives into the pool, avoiding the bits of broken skull, and does enough to make up the deficit on the final dive. However, Daley was better before that dive, so he should win.

These farcical examples should go a long way to proving three things. Firstly, that the winner is the one who is in front at the end of the competition, not some arbitrary point in the middle. Secondly, that the internet gives a very powerful voice to very stupid people. And thirdly, I am supposed to call your sexual orientation into question if you do not agree with this entry. According to YouTube, anyway.

As an aside, Ricky Hatton got beaten by Manny Pacquiao, and said that the winner deserved it. Just like Jermain Taylor did, as a matter fact. Wonder how long it is before Mancunians claim Filipinos are homosexual?

April 20, 2009

Mea culpa = My bad.

Latin CI.

April 13, 2009

Sustainable development?

Sustainable development?

From an industrial to a service economy. From a service economy to an education (probably international) economy. Notice the long undeveloped foreground, unlikey to be developed in the current climate.

The industrial railway line bringing in the people for all 3 kinds of economy, and people out. In the background- the new Wolverhampton University student accomodation reaching up into the future. Is this development really sustainable?

Immediately- employment (services of domestic staff), fees and spending from students.

In the long term- even if these sudents leave Wolverhampton after their training, they should be able to contribute to the economy somewhere, and with the local and global economies inextricably intertwined, one could say that the accomdation is a sound investment for now and the future.

Goodness- I think that’s the driest entry I’ve ever written- let’s liven it up a bit.

Berry Brook, Northycote Farm, Wolverhampton.

March 28, 2009

Gillette Samurai– now surely that would be the best a man could get?

There’s quite a long gag here involving the process of Samurai sword making in miniature but I’ll leave that to your imaginations rather than mine!

March 21, 2009

Don't cancel the Wolverhampton City Show.

Wolverhampton City Council - don't cancel the City Show, or for that matter the Steam and Vintage Rally. Wolverhampton is not the most buzzing place in the world. These occasions are one of the few where Wulfrunians gather in one place to enjoy each other's company in united appreciation of local or bought in talent. In these cash strapped times people can afford to do even less, and let's face it, many people that I know haven't been able to afford to travel further afield or shell out for fun since the last recession. Cancelling such events would be depriving the deprived as well as the fortunate of any vestige of civic unity, and a good day out.

Why not only hold it on the Saturday? (Or is two days cheaper- economies of scale and such?) I've always wondered how these events could be staged for free and would be willing to pay a small entrance fee. If everyone paid I'm sure it would at least help towards costs. In addition, as a tax payer I'd much rather have my tax money paying for something we can all enjoy not bailing out bankers with more money than sense to start with.

A simple way of keeping any populace happy is to provide bread and circuses. We're already skimping on bread. Are we about to lose our circus?

(I know this is a bit reactionary and Daily Mail, and I don't think I've ever used the phrase "As a tax payer" before but I really look forward to the 'Town Show'. Taking it away would make me sad :(  )

March 02, 2009

Why doesn't Windows Task Manager recognise itself as a running programme?

Just curious. Not like I’m gonna stay up all night pondering this… or am I?

February 27, 2009

My very own FAIL!

Taken by my sister in the Wolverhampton branch of Home Bargains.


Also, me and a fun crisp (Ready Salted).

Face Crisp.

February 14, 2009

Where do mathematicians live?

Where do mathematicians live?

Correlation Street.

February 05, 2009

Not nearly so nice.

“Can I have a glass with some water in it please?”

“Can I have some water with glass in it please?”

February 01, 2009

Go Cat for Indoor Cats

Is your cat for some reason house bound? Does it miss the opportunity to eat grass until it vomits with joy? Is it unable to bring you such 'presents' as half dead birds and spiders? Go Cat for housebound cats contains all of the grass and pre mauled, yet inexplicably still living, animals your cat needs to simulate the fufilling existence that is a prerequisite of any predator.

Sounds more like an advert for house cats to me!