Ironing put a few porkies

You know there may be light at the end of the dark tunnel of sexual equality when you buy your husband an iron so that he can do his work shirts and he gets excited about it.

I bought it partly out of guilt because I accidentally broke his old iron. He had it poised on the board ready for action, then I just clipped the board with my hip as I breezed past (he wasnt in the room), the iron fell to the ground and ‘ping’ went the plastic as I broke the iron his mother bought him when he first moved out of the family home.

Of course I did what any women would do, having rendered it unfixable with one glance, I pieced it together and positioned it exactly as it was on the ironing board (with the power turned off of course) and sat down in front of the TV. When he returned he picked it up (before he turned it on – i wouldnt let him electrocute himself) and the iron promptly came apart in his hand. He was none the wiser and I successfully managed to keep the wool over his eyes.

There are times when this strategy has back-fired on me (such as repairing a cigarette burn in the car upholstery of his precious hot hatch after a girls night-out only for him to say the following day ‘where’s the fag burn gone?’..Doh!

The ‘biggie’ was told by his best man at our wedding, when I completely pretended that the engine had gone for some strange reason other than a ridiculously low oil level (I topped it up after the big ‘n’ went so he would be none the wiser).

You’d think after 17 years  he would have cottoned on to me by now…….bit s far so good.

This blog is for Unicef, thanks for reading.

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A revival of the sexes

Why do men do most of the driving?

We passed gorgeous vintage cars on their way to the Goodwood Revival, most of them were being driven by the men, with the women looking glamorous swathed in fox furs and rouge lipstick. All of the men appeared to have a semi-serious, semi-smug expression on their face depicting their awareness of their presence as part of the privileged few who can afford to own, maintain and drive the best of automotive history.

Initially, my ‘girl power’ kicked instinct kicked-in as the men drove past in…..droves, but then I was doing the exact same thing, albeit in the far less glamorous environment of the pick-up truck on our way to collect a boat for repair. I enjoy being chauffeur driven as much as I enjoy driving. The only time I dont enjoy driving is when my husband is a passenger. He is on the same level as a driving examiner, without the politeness. He is so critical that I instantly tense and drive in anticipation of his criticism, which affects my concentration levels. Sometimes I am lucky and he falls asleep, but this doesnt happen enough as he is rarely relaxed enough when I am behind the wheel. Yet he seems to ignore the fact that I have had no insurance claims, while he has has had many and I have beaten him karting every time.

So, I prefer to think that the Goodwood Revival women were letting the men drive, in much the same way that they would let their child push a trolley in a supermarket……

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

The worst type of charity?

I think private schools should only have charitable status if at least 50 per cent of their children receive significant subsidies because their parents do not have the income level to support boarding fees. These would be children who would benefit from a boarding school environment. There are a couple of schools in my area that offer this but nowhere near enough in my opinion. I mentioned to a mother that I was thinking of applying for one of the schools if my daughter proved academic enough, but she said ‘they have a lot of children from awful backgrounds though dont they’. I replied that a school where everyone can benefit is more desirable than an environment that perpetuates a bubble of privilege and upholds the segregation of social classes that continues to plague this country.

 If the vast majority of independent school parents were honest, they would admit that one of the prime reasons for sending their children to private school is so that their child mixes with the ‘right people’, it also helps them access more exclusive social circles. Most private schools have bursaries and scholarships that spare the offspring of aristocracy and upper middle ‘nice families’ of the state system. It is shocking that these schools have charitable status when they are, first and foremost, a business, taking facilities, teachers, modern curriculums and the best higher education opportunities away from the masses for a privileged minority that get a better access to the top jobs in this country…….and these institutions are ‘charities’.

I wonder if the MPs that upheld the decision on the charitable status have children in state schools?

I think not.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Oh the joy of being ‘Mum’

I am going to try not to sound bitter in this next paragraph….

My cycle test to be a bikeability instructor for primary and secondary schools went well and they want me to do the full course. Downside being that, as a Mum of a 2 year old, childcare costs will mean my earnings are minimal. However this will improve as he gets closer to school age. Hubby doesnt understand this. Thinks I should stay at home until I am in a position to earn ‘decent money’. But when will that be…. when they turn 18? The fact is that jobs that fit around school time dont tend to be big earners. But when I have proposed to hubby that I take on the full-time breadwinner role and that he stays at home, he back-pedals faster than Chris Hoy in reverse. Why is it women who have to organise and deduct childcare from their salary thus limiting what they can actually do as a job?

So I guess my issue is not with parenthood but society’s historic approach to womanhood.

On a separate note, Oxfam emailed me about the appalling situation in South Sudan, which seems to be un-reported in the media. The country is nearing a famine and thousands of families are in refugee camps living in appalling conditions…… all because of war. If you can help please visit this site.

This blog is for Unicef. As i missed last night’s blog, £1 in the pot to Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

PS I did feel a bit of an idiot in my over-sized hi-vis gear and my panic buy helmet from Halfords, particularly when positioned next to  lycra clad and cycle shoe heeled streamlined instructor.

PPS, if you are in need of a laugh,check out the Sam Mendes film ‘Away We Go’.

 

 

 

 

 

The careers race – who will win?

My husband and I are engaging in a careers race. His body is broken and he needs to switch into the slow lane, my career has ground to a halt as most of you know thanks to the HMRC. But to get a job that makes childcare worthwhile, i need an experience level that i havent had the chance to attain. No wonder most women leave it til their forties before they have children, because then they at least stand half a chance of earning enough after childcare to make it worth their while (assuming they spent their twenties and thirties climbing the ladder). I spent my twenties and thirties in labour/toddler groups and voluntary roles  sandwiched between two dead-end jobs.

So when my husband eggs me on to go for the ‘big roles’ that I know i dont have a cat in hell’s chance of even getting to interview, i start to get frustrated by what is expected – Mum and career woman – aahh! I give it my best shot while cursing i wasnt born with a willy.

Then i moan at my husband for not focusing enough on his career change because of the continued effort to bring the pennies in – you cant really blame him for that can you?

All the while i wonder how many couples are going through the exact same issues and what, if anything, can be done about it?

At the moment we are taking the machine gun approach to job applications – a fast-track route to feeling rather shit about yourself rather quickly.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Maternity leave or better pay?

Today I broke the news to my boss about HMRC’s decision. The option to improve the salary was quickly squandered and the other alternative that he offered was to work from home, although he later back-tracked from that idea. So, since receiving the news from HMRC last Thursday, i will now be leaving my job next Thursday after four years (because i was due to finish for the school summer holidays anyway). I have yet to find out from HR  whether i will be required to return to complete outstanding notice in September, I hope not as I will incur further childcare costs that exceed my salary.

I was also interviewing for the maternity cover post for my colleague. Three candidates were interviewed. Myself and my colleague favoured the woman with the most experience and skills set. My boss wasnt so keen, feigning surprise at her independent school background saying she was “a little rough around the edges”. What he really disliked was the lack of a posh accent and her short skirt. If I was to be brutally honest, the woman he preferred was very pretty and lovely but with nowhere near the same skills-set or experience. He felt that she would be a better ‘fit’ within the department – more like he has one eye on the hareem of good-looking women he has in his office. The only problem is that women have children and need maternity leave and money for childcare – damned inconvenient.

When my Mum had me in 1980, there wasnt such a thing as maternity leave, but she did at least get paid enough to afford childcare when she returned to work a few weeks later. Supposedly in 2014 we have ‘moved on’ but what is the point of maternity leave if most mothers cant afford to return to work anyway?

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

 

Eco motorsport gets a Legge up

I am very pleased today about two things. The first that a friend from school has secured a drive to enhance her racing career, the second is that she will be driving in Formula E – an eco version of Formula One – about time too that these two boxes have been ticked – a woman at the top of motorsport and environmentally friendly racing.

Also any thing that makes the likes of Jeremy Clarkson squirm and grumble is a good thing. Not that I dont like the guy, i think he is quite entertaining, but he does come out with complete crap sometimes – a bit like Boris Johnson (just less frequent).

So well done to fellow school-mate Katherine Legge for continuing to push for a career in an industry that is more male dominated than a working men’s club and well done to her sponsors Amlin Aguri, for backing her.

And as for Formula E – what it lacks in sound and fumes it will more than make up for in edge-of-your-seat racing. Watch this space…..

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.