Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Striking Teachers.....why I support their action.

I'm a bit bored of the fluffy posts I normally write...not that anyone ever finds them riveting reads!

Tomorrow, thousands of teachers from the UK will withdraw their labour. The streets will be awash with mums and their kids. The parks will be packed to the gunnel's, and the whole of society will crumble for one day. It doesn't matter that the weather is blissful, or that life is sweet...someone, somewhere will moan. For many this will make uncomfortable reading and I don't apologise for my thoughts.

The NUT state:
  • Teachers will loose on average £250,000 over the length of their retirement
  • Teachers will be expected to work until they are 68
  • Teachers will be expected to contribute at least a further £100 each month to cover shortfalls

The impact of this on our childrens future is in the hands of the people we have elected into power.  Summer of discontent? I don't think so, I think it will be a decade of discontent.  Money is in short for many except the uber rich.

BUT education is a fundamental right whether you are rich or poor.
Every child deserves the right to be educated to a standard and that standard should and must be excellent. For our children to receive that education we should and must reward our teachers accordingly.  This is not only happening within the public sector, the private sector too are being hammered over pension rights. Surely, if you have paid into a scheme for years the "powers that be" have an obligation to continue and honour that contract?  It seems to me, that companies and businesses countrywide are using their lack of good judgement to distort the truths in the ineptitude of  their management teams!

I pay for my children's education, because I believe they have the right to a great education.  I pay for all three (buy 2 get the third free!), and it is worth every penny.  As Michael Jackson said "Children are our future" (sorry...corny, I know!) they always have been and always will be. We're lucky in that we can afford it, but there are thousands who can't and they should be assured that teachers are still going into the profession will not be hampered by a bleak financial future, because this is what will happen. Potential teachers will be discouraged from entering teaching and will chase the money into a more lucrative profession. 

Public sector workers are standing up for the right to a decent pension.  They are using their rights as a union member to protest about the way they are being treated....the only way they are able to draw attention to their plight and be taken seriously.

So why do the general public berate the unions?
Because it inconveniences them?
Because they are fundamentally against the rights of the "workers"?

For years now, the unions are being beaten in submission by the very people they are helping.  Collective bargaining is the only way many companies can negotiate change.  Yes, of course businesses are in the business of many money...but it should not be to the detriment of their workforce, yet many companies can only save money to pay their shareholders by ensuring that their workforce is exploited and disadvantaged. .  Take from the bottom to put at the top! Yet you rarely see changes to enhanced services that these company offer.   Personally, I think it is immoral.  Bill Morris (TGWU) was instrumental in negotiating the minimum wage.  Unions are the voice of people who can not talk for themselves, so why the need to beat them up?  Don't they need support? Many feel that it is the unions themselves that are corrupt, but there is a need for unions and without them, workers worldwide will see a dwindling responsibility from the very companies they work for.

Unions and the private sector is in melt down.  Government officials are crying out for reform.  Recently the RMT brought about a ballot for strike action.  The RMT are concerned about government intervention and the safety of the Rail stating

"These reviews could lead to a highly detrimental impact on Britain's railways including the break up and sale of Network Rail, longer franchises which have greater flexibility to cut services and a significant dilution of safety standards"
But not only that, workers are being were being disciplined and dismissed for actions brought about by the behaviours of the company that they work for.  Fortunately, London Underground, saw sense and reinstated one of their drivers...but only after the ET (employment Tribunal) found that he was unfairly dismissed.

Private company, British Airways recently brought about an end to the 2010 summer of discontent with cabin crew accepting a deal negotiated by their union. Cabin Crew went on strike for 22 days for imposed changes to their terms and conditions.  In the process over 18 staff were dismissed, with over 80 suspended. Forced changes to their pensions and closure of their pension ensures that they are working well beyond the age of 65. Do you really want to see a hostess at the age of 70 severing you a drink?

The press and media coverage in the run up to all of the strikes are very rarely balanced. Both RMT members and Unite members were subject to berating by the public. Yet these people are passionate about their jobs and have a right to voice their concerns and doubts, especially when their concerns are to do with their future. 

Strangely enough, I'm in the process of writing a book (fictional) about Union Busting and the effect on workers and workers rights. It will be interesting to see how all this pans out....okay rant over!!!

P.S. As I write, both the Government and unions are debating the success of the strike.  The Government believe that the strike has not affected many, with a different perspective from the passengers coming through UK borders.  At Heathrow, passengers were complaining of delays up to 2 hours and "chaos" at border control.

Monday, 27 June 2011

...and I actually wore a dress!

God, wasn't yesterday hot?  The most skin I was prepared to bare was an sliver of an ankle. I find the fashion of longskirts and maxi dresses very useful for disguising lumps and bumps, especially the empire lines which fall straight from the bust.  However, mine was topped off with a cardi to disguise the fat. 

Bart was surprised when he saw me.  The combats and the T-shirts replaced with a lovely flowing (black) boob tube dress....could I really go through the day without  my uniform and still get "down and dirty"?

"Mummy, you look nice" he said  "Are you wearing makeup? You normally look like a boy".

BH countered it with  "Woah, where are YOU going, hot lady! "

I must say, I felt nice.  It felt good to wear a dress and feel feminine for once. It wasn't restrictive and I could move quickly even if the flip flops kept flipping off in my haste to get somewhere fast. I was able mow the lawn, do the washing, and walk the dogs.  I could also lounge about, not worrying if my pants were showing, and I didn't have to keep tugging down the t-shirt which normally rides up and uncovers the the vast expanse of fat which had been grown to keep me warm in the winter.

At the end of the day, the dress was splattered in mud, stained from the splashes of food and looked similar to the rag I used to clean the car   I must say, I enjoyed my day in a dress, even if it doesn't happen that often, but I don't want to get carried away as I've only got the one!

Miriam Update
Miriam (au-pair) is still with us. She just won't go! She has just found herself a boyfriend and  has decided that living with us is not so bad after all. I wish I could say the same.   I was hoping for a new victim, but it seems we're stuck with the one we've got.....

Thursday, 23 June 2011

My baby girl...

Now Mimi is a beautiful child. She's the kind of child that people come up to in the street and exclaim "Oh my goodness, isn't she pretty!" It's not a question but a statement of fact. When she was a baby, she wasn't so fact she was a bit ugly, looking back. But as my ma-in-law would say, she's grown into her face. To look at her one would think that butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. Her curly hair and her chocolate brown eyes melt many hearts and she's going to be absolutely stunning. Mimi can do no wrong. She's also a "mean table layer!" She does it properly; making sure the knives and forks are placed correctly.  Unlike her brothers she clears the table of the debris before laying.....and puts it away.  Her bothers just slide stuff to one side or lay the places on top of the piles of papers.  But she's more than just her face.  She has a personality. She's feisty. She's funny, and she has a great turn of phrase.

Looking through the many photos I have of her, there are very few where she's not pulling some kind of gross face. There's not a picture where she's wearing anything that resembles an outfit. It might not even be clean.  It may be crumpled but  as long as it's pink, it's fine.

She will play with her dolls, have picnics with the "fugly" bears that my sister has bought.  Sis won't buy pretty dolls or bears..Mimi thinks "fugly" is good!

Yesterday at dinner, Bart stole a a piece of her cheesecake.

"Do that again" she growled  "and I will stick my hand down your throat and yank it back! "

She didn't whine or moan, just told it like it was.  Her brother replaced the stolen piece with a biscuit stolen from Finns plate.  Finn whined and moaned...but that's what boys do! She is 5 years younger than her oldest brother, yet she takes no nonsense. When the boys do something that offends her she tells them "I'm going to rip your skin off!"....probably not the best way to deal with incidents, but she knows a firm hand is needed with boys.

I don't have any worries for her, like I do my sons.  She knows what she wants; she's direct and a joy to have working alongside me in the kitchen. She empties the dishwasher because she wants to. She hugs me hard and won't let go; she squeezes me hard and sinks her teeth into my hand then smothers it with kisses. I know then that those are the feelings she can't contain, and I know that she will love without fear.

I know what my ma means when she says, "You love your children in different ways".  I couldn't understand when I was younger (pre-kids).  I thought you should love your children the same way. No favourites, all equal.  But now I can understand what she means.  Each of the children are so different, and I love them for their quirky ways.   I will always love them not for what they do for me, but what they are to me.

Hopefully she will grow into the woman she wants to be.  She's  moving along the right track and I will attempt to guide her. I love my daughter and I know that I am all she needs...for now!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

I puff up with joy!

It's nice to know that there are some things that will make me happy no matter what.  Some things can change from week to week, but there are somethings that make me sigh with utter contentment.

The static things that will always be there gives me  the greatest sense of peace. I puff up with pure joy when I visualise them in my minds eye.

I guess these are the same for most people.
Beach at West Wittering
For me they are:

My familyThe sea
A blue sky
A great book.

On any given day there might be any number of things that brings me joy. Today my reasons to be joyful, thankful or just plain grateful are:

Any coffee chain where I can go and drink my coffee in peace and read the papers without a child asking me questions. Guilt free me time!  I jump on the Internet and check my mail...for free!  I used to be a Starbucks freak, but have since decided that their ethical stance is not as ethical as I once their coffee in the UK has gone right down the pan!! U find that it differs from country to country and the last cup is never as good as the first.  These days I'm a bit of a fan of Costa, and I think a lot of mums feel the same. Their loo's are seriously massive, and could probably accommodate 3 prams in one sitting. There is always plenty of seating and I regularly see groups of mums with their toddlers and prams so I guess it's popular with them too! Big up to Costa!!

The salvation!!!  Without it  I know I would be doing the cleaning.....and without it I would be lost.  Information can be found at the flick of a finger tip and when I'm bored I can lose myself in cyberworld for hours on end....and that can mean hours and hours. 

I lost my Internet connection this week for a couple of days and when I phoned my ISP, they told me they couldn't get anyone to me for about 10 days.  I went deathly quiet and in a very calm and controlled voice told the person in India that it was completely unacceptable. My appointment was reduced to four days.  BH said that the four days was probably a god send as many of the chores (wtf?) were falling by the wayside...into the gutter.  Every half hour I checked for a connection in case by some miracle it would fix itself, and wept when I couldn't get on line...sad times I know, but can a girl do when she's been forced to live in Stepford.  Anyway normal service was actually restored within 48 another reason to show how good life is!!

My family. I love my family.  I love my brothers and sisters, my kids, BH, my ma and pa, nephews and nieces and all that go into making up my family.  Each day they add complexity to my life and their problems and issues become mine, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  We may fallout from time to time (I am too outspoken for my own good!), but we know that the words we spoke in "that" moment were only for that moment.  It's easy to take offence when you want to and we all have a choice.  Either choose to take offence or not....I prefer not to.  They each add to my rich tapestry of life and I'm happy that they are in.  There are some who have chosen not to be in my life, and for that I am sad, but if it makes them happier....then I am too!

So, what has made your heart melt today?  What always makes your heart melt?

Saturday, 11 June 2011

My new regime...Charles Poliquin and BioSignature

You may have noticed (or not) that I have a sidebar on my page which indicates weight that I will/have lost in preparation for the next few weeks. I have been preparing myself for the inevitability that my clothes no longer fit and that it's cheaper to lose the weight than it is to buy new clothes.

We've had BB (nephew) staying with us for some time and he has been extolling the virtues of eating properly, organically and with lots of protein.  As an ex vegetarian, my diet is pretty awful.  Hangups from a bygone era still play a major part in my choice of food, but after listening to BB for the past few months and watching him pop his supplements with regularity I became interested.  He was healthy ( he's young) fit (he's young) and has so much energy (he's young) that I wondered whether I was ever like that. 

BB showed me some stuff from the legendary Charles Poliquin, and to be honest, I have taken it all on board.  BB didn't want to train or coach (family and all that), but has passed me onto a rather lovely young man called Luke who specialises in a procedure called BioSignature, (he was so busy I had to book this appointment weeks ago!)  and this is how it went.

The Consultation

Earlier this week, Luke (tall, gorgeous, well fit and healthy) came over to the house, and while the kids were kicking each other into touch he went through the process. It took over an hour but he put me at ease and made me realise that my diet was not only sparse, but as a role model for my children showed them that bad habits were acceptable as part of life.

He explained what Biosignature was all about. In a nutshell, Biosignature is the measure of body fat in specific areas.  By measuring the fat (and there is plenty of it) he could tell what areas of my life I needed to address, and hormones that were out of kilter.  The fat laid down indicated what supplements I needed to take, and the ones which were lacking.  What surprised me about the process was that he didn't need to take any blood tests.  Because I've eaten so much bread and potatoes in the past (and I have wild cravings) I have a sensitivity to gluten. NOT an allergy, but sometimes my tum expands soooo much I can't do up my trousers. Anyways, Luke tells me I'm have stress (indicated by the fat around the waist and needs to be addressed...quickly) amongst other things. So he has set me up an initial "Boot Camp" protocol, to get my body back into line.

I've been given Fish Oils (not cod liver oil...apparently they're different) to eat by the van load and I am to eat protein by the ton!  I'm now on the Paleo Diet, which looks to be quite straight forward....if a caveman ate it, then I can too! No processed foods, or cakes and biscuits which should mean I could lose the pounds quite quickly.

So far it's been three days. I've not suffered from hunger pangs, and in some cases I feel I've over eaten. The biggest mistake was trying to take the Fish Oils with a cup of tea!!  The warm tea melted the capsules before they left my mouth so I had the vile taste of the oil lingering.

Luke's coming on next Wednesday to check my progress, and already I feel alert, and a little bit lithe. He won't tell me my weight ( I won't weigh myself as it depresses me too much)  as he says we all get too hung up on the pounds and is no indication of the body fat loss. He's also writing up a programme for a workout in the gym, and to be honest it all sounds pretty straight forward.  He uses mainly weights (thank running!), as he says using weights, burns calories longer than like!!!

Biosignature  isn't for the feint of heart.  It's expensive. The process and supplements which I'm to be given will be expensive, and the regime is demanding, but after a few years of being uncomfortable with myself, I think it will all be worth it.  I can already see BH eyeing Luke, and wondering whether he was ever like him....I have to say that he wasn't!! 

Friday, 3 June 2011

Who's the Daddy? Review - The making of us by Lisa Jewell

OK, I promised that I would do a book review in return for the book!  Well, I couldn't really do a book review without it could I? It's taken me an age, as I really needed some time to sit down and take it seriously...and I'm so glad that I did.  Normally, I just plough through them, with no thought to the work and effort that has gone into writing, but wishing I could write as well and wondering how I could fit in the time between the shopping, cooking and cleaning, to write my best seller.. ..not a chance!!

Thought provoking in the main, Lisa Jewell's portrayal of a children alone, reuniting and  forming their own nucleus. A reality that many will face now and in the future. Lydia, Dean, Robyn and Daniel all joined in a search, to find the truth, themselves and each other. Each of them are told of the circumstances surrounding their births, and each of them have walked a separate and traumatic path to adulthood. 

The story begins with Glenys, in 1979 desperate for a child, but unable to approach her macho husband and confront him with the dilemma. With the help of his brother and in secret, Glenys visits a specialist in artificial insemination and conceives. Robyn, always has know that she was special. Dean suffered his own tragedies, but a drunken night out results in an action that he won't be able to stop and makes him realise the consequences of his actions will impact on his own future.

Fast forward to 2010. Daniel, a sperm donor has become ill and wants to know that his offspring have lived a good life; that it has all been worthwhile. Daniel has no idea how many children he may have fathered, and did not realise that it would come to this, but there is more to Daniel than just a sperm donor. Daniel has secrets, and Daniel will leave them to no one. I don't want to go too much into detail, as I don't want to give away too much and spoil the very realistic plot. Suffice to say...go and get this book!

The characters are believable, ordinary and real. We could pass them on the street each day, and have no idea of their incredible story. The coming together of brothers and sisters is very special. They have a bond, despite their different upbringings and mothers. How many children will a sperm donor, father? Who knows? 10? 20? 30? It also raises questions as to how much sperm donors, (who were generally young men who were paid a small sum) are responsible for their children,  genetics and the importance of knowing their medical and genetic background.

For many, sperm donation has been a saving grace for those unable to father a child. The years have passed since sperm donation was cloaked in mystery but unlike the past, the children of sperm donors are able to find out some information.  Like many, this will be an issue for many in the coming years. As children grow, it is important for them to understand their genetic inheritance. I would imagine, that many parents nowadays are able to be honest with their children about their conception, learning from the mistakes of the past.

In the midst of reading the book (I also read magazines as a hobby!), I came across an article about a family who had actually lived the life that Lisa Jewel predicted. The article pictures the siblings together with their donor father; explained their new relationships and how important it was for them to connect.  Their story has been filmed as a documentary "Donor Unknown" and will be released July 4th in the USA. 

I've read most of Lisa Jewels, novels, but I must say that this one surpassed my expectations. Thoughtful, provoking and very topical, Lisa Jewel sets the tone for the future for many. The perspective of children who are donor conceived. If you like Lisa Jewell, then please pop along to her facebook page.

You may have also notice I have put a "fat bar" on the side of the page.  I did plan on a diet or healthy eating, but it would mean that I have to step on the scales and I have no idea how much I weigh.  I know my clothes are far too tight...even my shoes have shrunk, so maybe I'll guess...I'll let you know when I've plucked up the courage to step on those pesky lying scales!!!


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