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.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Easter - The Gallery

For me, any holiday means spending time with the kids. And we have had a fun packed week (I am back at work after the bank holiday).

This is one of my favourite photo's from this week when we went to the Botanical Gardens in Brum.

This was a completely spontaneous race that my two girls created together and where they are genuinely enjoying each others company. Priceless, and a great way to burn off all that chocolate!

For more Easter pictures go to Tara's Stickyfingers to see the Gallery

Monday, 21 April 2014

Hatton Adventure World - A lovely day out

The lovely people at Hatton Adventure World, kindly invited us for a visit to their recently revamped adventure world, set in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside.

We were lucky with the weather and had a lovely day out. Prior to the visit my eldest investigated their website and found the animal cam. Apparently the chickens get up much earlier than the ducks....who knew?!?

So this morning we set off bright and early with our four adventurers (my two girls, and their friends, two boys, ages ranging from 7 to 11)

But what shall we do first?
 We started off visiting the animals,  you can buy a little tub of food to feed the goats and the sheep
 It was a great time of year to visit as all the animals had recently had babies, I was very taken with these Glouster Old Spot piglets....so cute.
 This baby goat was brand new.
 Then there were the guinea pigs, I don't think any of us have seen so many together before - this is just a small selection.
Double nom

 After the farmyard animals we got to the new Scales and Tail section to see the reptiles, just in time for the kids to get a chance to hold a small python
Very serious business this snake holding

Bit lively
 Then it was outside to the zip wire where the adults got to have a bit of a sit down whilst the kids zipped.

Zippity Zip...

Or do a bit of climbing.

 Then off we went for a little walk down the hill to the Gold Rush where you can look for gold. If you get ten pieces, you get a medal.
I want gold, darn it!

Meanwhile the smaller two went down the bouncy slide


 We did think about going on the time warp tractor but instead chose to go on the helter skelter. There was also an Easter Egg hunt and loads of other activities.

We did get slightly put off by an Easter Bunny
But decided on pony riding

Yee Haa!
 The pony riding was one of the few things where you had to pay an additional price - Most things were free once you were in the grounds.

OK...What next

 We decided to go in and see the inside play area, there were some heart stopping slides

This one was a dead drop and terrified Mummy (she was fine!)

More traditional indoor play
We had a fab day out, and I would recommend it to anyone with a young family, there is something for all ages. I asked my two girls to score it out of 10 (10 being Awesome and 0 being absolute rubbish). Both gave it a 9, I asked why it hadn't got a 10 and my eldest (the 11 year old) said she would have liked some more grown up rides to go on, like waltzers, and my little one (the 7 year old) said the only reason she gave it a 9 was because when she got to the top of the helter skelter she couldn't get the sack on herself and so had to come down by the stairs. They both would love to go again and will be recommending it to their friends.

From a parent perspective, it felt safe, clean (lots of places to wash your hands after playing with the animals and lots of bins) and there were lots of places where you could sit and watch your kids whilst having a nice cup of something.

Thanks Hatton Adventure World we had a lovely day out. x
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