Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Sound of Music

We have always liked music, hubs and I although neither of us were particularly good at it, hubs used to play bass and I had played a little bit of guitar and trumpet, hubs had dabbled for a long time and I had stopped after school.

When we had the girls we thought to ourselves we really must encourage their musicality. We brought all the usual kids toy instruments, penny whistles and xylophones and they banged and blew loudly. As they got bigger we bought an electric keyboard and guitars.

Hubs decided to take up guitar again around this time. And he practiced, and practiced .... He has a little room in the house just for him, his computers and his growing collection of guitars and sound pedals. And he practiced and practiced.

The girls continue to wonder in and play keyboard with him, both of them have guitars and can play a little.

One year on my birthday I was woken to the girls and hubs serenading me singing and playing happy birthday. Possibly one of his most romantic moments ever....and he is good at the old romantic moment.

But if there is one thing I love, it is wondering around the house mooching, doing chores and I can here him strumming and picking out tunes I recognise. It's incredibly calming, soothing and lovely and he is literally filling our house with music.

learning the Travis picking thingy...apparently

Friday, 15 August 2014

Summer Holidays - Week One

I realise lots of you have already been off for weeks and enjoyed scorchio weather. (My hubs is included in this...not that I am in anyway bitter...ahem), but now the weather is a bit rainy and a bit colder it is my holiday time (OK, maybe a little bit bitter). So this is my week 1 of 2.

Day one. Saturday. Did nothing except the washing.  Boo.

Day two. Sunday. Went to see my friend Biggles as she is off on her travels again. A lovely goodbye BBQ.

Jon gets his sausages on
Here is her hubs in charge of the BBQ.

Day three. Monday. Had to go into work as I left an SD card there - had lunch with work friends and daughters wondered at the many buttons and security aspects of getting into my office....strangely they thought this was exceptionally cool. Which I will take as a win.

We came home and I played with my macro lens (not a euphemism) and got some pretty pictures.

Day four. Tuesday. Drove to Shrewsbury to take my Dad for an X-Ray. Afterwards we visited Biggles again, my girls played with her girl and their friends little 2 year old girl and had a lovely time, they also played with Tess the grumpy old man looking girl dog. Such a sweet thing.

Tess the girl dog that looks like a grumpy old man but is actually very lovely
Day five. Wednesday. We had to stay in as I was waiting for a parcel to be delivered (my smallest girls birthday present shhhhhhhh......)So the girls chilled out watching movies and I had a day in the pod and took some cat pictures.
Millie, our cat.
Day six. Thursday. Today we went to the local library for a treasure hunt. The girls are doing the 6 week reading challenge so it was linked to that. They caught up with some school friends and had a great time. All for free. It is well worth checking out what is happening at your local library. Then more macro photography for me.

Close up of the furry purple sage
Day six. Friday. Today we went to see my old pal Tara and went for a lovely walk round the back of a needle museum (who knew there were museums for needles...then again...why not?). The girls had a great time and much fun was had, particularly whilst paddling in the stream.

 So that was the first six days. More to come soon :)

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Gallery - A Younger Me

This is me, in 1977, I was 9 and this was our first big holiday that I remember. Here I am standing on the bridge above Niagara Falls with one foot in Canada and one foot in America.

I remember the long walk along the bridge to get to this point and the amazing view, but mostly the sound of the falls. A huge sound, indescribable and thunderous. It was awesome. We went on the maid of the mist afterwards and went behind the falls.

We went for 6 weeks, and traveled all over Canada (we have relatives there and visited all of them), we went to the Calgary Stampede an old school rodeo, the Japanese garden in Lethbridge, Alberta, the rotating restaurant in Toronto (the CN Tower) and then in America we went to Yellowstone park and camped out, Dad had an axe under his pillow because of the bears and we saw Old Faithful the Geyser that goes every hour.

We did lots of other things too like visit a native America reservation and all sorts of other stuff. It was a great holiday.

To get this holiday, Dad had to save up his holiday at work over about three years, and our holidays prior to this were always camping whilst we saved up for our Canadian adventure. This is how I remember our holidays prior to this one.

Always cold and outside. Brrrrr.... it was worth it though.

For more Younger Me's go to the Gallery over at Tara's Blog here.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Gallery - Faces

This is so difficult, so many photo's, so many favourites that remind me of things....ahhhh Ms Cain has out done herself this week at her Gallery

So here are a few of my favourite faces.

My Nephew & God son a few years ago with Heather behind him.

Mum and Dad, visiting when the kids were little.
Lola and Heather up close and personal with my camera
Love this picture of Lola and Dan, Great faces.
Hubs with the small one, one of his un-gurning pictures...a rare thing.
There are so many more, but I will stop there as I won't stop if I go on. Enjoy all the other faces at Tara's Gallery this week xxx

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Are you a feminist?

When I was growing up Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister (she was in power from 1979 to 1990). I started secondary school in 1979 and finished college in 1989, so all through my formative, educational years we had a female Prime Minister.

Margaret Thatcher 1983

When I was at college my teachers (male and female) were ardent feminists, they could not see beyond their subjectivity. I re-wrote one essay three times because I would not say that I thought the male protagonist we were reviewing was demonstrating rapist tendencies. I evidenced the argument I was making well and even now over 20 years later stand by my views on this essay. I was told I would fail my year if I did not re-write it with the 'correct' perspective. I eventually re-wrote it to a pass grade, but it influenced my view of feminism.

Germaine Greer, author of the Female Eunuch
Prior to college I would have said I was a feminist readily, I read The Female Eunuch and believed in myself and my abilities.

Throughout college, the feminists chipped at my confidence and my beliefs. I was to hate men if I was to be a true feminist. I like men, always have, always will. I generally prefer their company, I don't want to sit and share my emotional nonsense, I like to keep it nicely repressed, thank you very much.

Don't get me wrong, I have many long and successful friendships with women as well.

Back to feminism, so what is feminism now - The Cambridge dictionary describes it as 'Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women'

I expect to be treated the same as a man at work, and get paid the same, but I still want people (male or female) to open doors for me, as I would for them. I still want my husband to do the heavy lifting, the facts are, he is stronger than me, therefore he can. I still want to wear make up and wear clothes that make me feel sexy, or confident or smart or whatever. However, I also think it is OK for men to wear make up, if they want, and yet in my average working day, I rarely see this, but when you do, boy oh boy, does the gossip start. That's not treating someone very equally is it?

But; and here is the nub of it, I feel strongly that women should have the choice and freedom to do whatever they want to do, whether that be terminating a pregnancy, or acting in pornographic films, for example. As long as it is their choice to do it, then I am fine with it. People will argue that women are made to feel it is their choice to get involved in pornography but actually it is the manipulative nature of men that takes away women's choice. Or it is because the women have a drug problem and are making these films to earn money to pay for their drugs - their drugs have taken away their choice.

For me, these are excuses, in some/many cases women get involved in porn because they want to, it is their choice. I find it insulting for people to say that men have manipulated them - are we (women) so stupid that if a man tells us to do something we just do it. I don't think the majority of women would. Similarly, we all have a choice when it comes to drugs, a pivotal moment when we have our first cigarette, our first drink, our first hit of heroin. What influences this choice? Our upbringing, our home life, our psychological make up....yes all of these.

So the battle for women, isn't about porn, drugs or manipulation, it is about instilling confidence. Can we give our daughters the confidence and skills (and street smarts) to say no sometimes, sometimes it is OK to say no. The battle is teaching our children not to acquiesce, not to be complacent, to get the next generation to stand strong.

So am I a feminist. Yes, I am, but I won't treat others (men) with inequality just because they are men.

My Mum thought Margaret Thatcher was brilliant. (Me less so). The feminists felt she put the movement back 20 years. Regardless, she was our first female Prime Minister, that's a big deal and it is a tough job. So, although I disagreed with her politics I am impressed that she did what she did. She had a family, a job and a husband and was successful. She must have made a lot of tough choices, I respect that.

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