No Matter What

Scrolling through my Twitter feed a couple of days ago I came across a photo that made my day: Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai together in Oxford. I showed the picture to my nine year-old-daughter who cheered loudly; Malala and Greta have inspired both my daughters in various ways.

While Malala and Greta don’t need any further introduction, I’d like to call attention to another young woman whose activism is not very well known, but which is equally important. Her name is Heidi Crowter, she’s 24 years old and she has Down’s Syndrome. This week Heidi went on television to highlight Britain’s discriminatory policies against people with Down’s Syndrome. Continue reading

Midlife Trouble

Either I’m in the midst of a full-blown midlife crisis, or I am proof that propaganda does work, for how else to explain what’s been happening to me lately? As I wrote a few weeks ago, I thought I’d given up on self-improvement and made peace with my failings, but alas, it seems I am growing a conscience at the tender age of 47 and ¾. Continue reading

Spot The Spinning Jenny

I loved learning as a child (and still do), and I was generally a studious child. Even so, much of what my history teachers taught me, have long since disappeared into a cloud of fog. I’ve all but forgotten the names of the kings and queens I had to memorise, not to mention the myriad of dates of important historical events. Ask me today what I learned about Mesopotamia, or ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, etc., and I’ll shake my head in embarrassment. It’s all a blur. Continue reading

All Life is One

Having given up on self-improvement long ago and made peace with the inevitable fallibility of my being, something rather unsettling seems to be happening to me lately. Against my wishes, and indeed, without trying, I am changing. 

I’m not referring to the wrinkles around my eyes or the greys in my hair – that too I’ve made peace with – but something more disconcerting. I am going animal friendly. Whilst not wanting to offend anyone who has pets, I have never been in favour of them personally, and for many years my allergy to furry creatures served me well in that I had a perfectly acceptable excuse to stay away from cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and guinea pigs. Continue reading

The Tooth Fairy is Dead But Unicorns Are Real

Is January always as bleak as it has been this year? Is it always this dark, cold and depressing? Are people always this rude, callous and xenophobic in January? Either way, I’m holding out for a better February.

In just over a week Britain will finally liberate itself from 40 years of oppression and to celebrate this historical moment, people will descend on Parliament Square, dressed as colourful unicorns, dancing the night away. It’s a shame we can’t get Big Ben to bong on that momentous night, but oh well, at least we’ll have a fabulous bonfire with all those EU flags going up in flames. Continue reading

Muddy Puddles

It was Saturday afternoon, and my husband was out with our nine-year-old. The weather was grey and windy, but at least it wasn’t raining…yet. I knocked on the teenager’s door and, granted permission, I entered her cave. 

My daughter was sitting cross-legged on her bed with headphones on and a sketchbook and pen in her hands. 

“I’m going for a walk on the heath, do you want to come?” I asked.

She hesitated for a moment, then nodded. 

“OK, as long as I don’t have to talk,” she said and pointed to her headphones. 

“Fine,” I said, no more inclined to engage in conversation with a mono-syllable teenager, than she was listening to a lengthy monologue performed by her middle-aged mother. Continue reading