dorsetgirl: (NZ_Black)
Is it just me, or is it totally disrespectful to the other two people that died to go on at such length about the one of them that happened to play rugby?

The ten o'clock news has done a whole piece on the rugby player, and barely bothered mentioning the names of his father and brother. How the hell must the rest of the family be feeling at this moment, knowing that to the media one of their lost matters more than the others?
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
A brief diet update, as I'm posting anyway. Some time ago I posted that I'd lost five pounds, probably down to getting rid of the fluid retention. That was three weeks ago (my God, where does the time go), and until yesterday I'd have said I hadn't lost any more. What I would say, though, is that at least I had arrested the seemingly inexorable weight gain that started around five years ago. Which is worth a lot all by itself.

cut for length )
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
Scientists claim to have discovered (again - I'm sure I've read this before, several years ago) that older men are more likely to father autistic children than are younger men. This is of interest to me as I have an ASD son whose father qualifies as "older". Then I read the article and discover that the findings are based on "seventy-eight Icelandic families".

I have no idea of the average size of an Icelandic family, but let's assume for a moment that it's three children. So we're talking here about 234 children in all. Average incidence of (diagnosed) autism is currently thought to be somewhere between 1 in 60 and 1 in 100. So we might expect to find a total of two to four noticeably autistic children within the seventy-eight families. My university stats courses are a long way behind me and I was never very good at it anyway, but I'd be interested to see the confidence levels on there even being two to four ASD kids in such a small sample, never mind the age of their fathers.

The newspaper article, predictably enough, quoted some supposed expert saying "Nature designed us to produce children while we are young". Well yes, but nature also designed us to carry on producing children until we are fifty years old (females) or too old to get it up (males). This means that throughout history, men of fifty or sixty have been fathering their tenth or twelfth child on women approaching fifty.

Here's an idea for a study: today's eighty- and ninety-year-olds are the last (in this country at least) product of an age where (according to my family history research) women generally had an average of ten children over a period of 22 years or so. It follows that - very roughly - ten percent of today's elderly will be the youngest sibling, born to a man of maybe 45 - 50. So compare the rates of autism amongst them with the rate amongst those who were the oldest in their family, born to men of around 23 - 28. Simple. Yes, I know there's a lot of fine detail to be ironed out there, plus I have no idea how many autistic people would have died of neglect in asylums in the 1920s, but seriously - seventy-eight families? That's simply ridiculous.





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dorsetgirl: (Default)
I can’t honestly say I enjoyed much of the Closing Ceremony, in fact I was totally bored after only five minutes, but I was determined to stick it out, and there were a few moments worth waiting for.

Some random outbursts:

Freddie!

Oh my god, Brian May’s gone grey! And he’s finally looking older. Until recently he’s been looking the same ever since I first saw Queen in 1974.

Eric Idle! It’s very difficult to believe that I was a child when I first saw that man on television. That song’s definitely a bit of a British icon though, and I’m pleased it was included.

Kudos to Gary Barlow for turning up and doing a good job - true professionalism.

Pleased to know that Ray Davies and Roger Daltrey can still (more or less) sing. Certainly better than Suggs or McCartney.

Russell Brand can be quite disturbingly good-looking on occasion - this was one of them. I enjoyed his performance; I didn't even know he could sing.

I’m definitely a bit old for One Direction, but I actually recognised and enjoyed their song (or songs?). I can see why they're so popular.

I've probably missed out something important - what did anyone else think of the show?

So that's that, then. Back to reality tomorrow. One of the best things about the Games, for me, has been the way it’s dominated the news. I mean, that’s actually seriously irritating when you’ve just been watching the Games for the past however many hours, but there hasn’t been a single stupid story about stupid politicians for two weeks now. I wish the BBC would keep to that from now on, and concentrate on actual news, but I don’t suppose they will.





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dorsetgirl: (Gene_draw)
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If I started explaining exactly what is so complicated, I'd be here all day, so I'll just mention the current confusion:

I've just booked "guaranteed entry" tickets for Victoria Park tomorrow (no, not just to see if Boris is still up there), and the blurb says "tickets should be printed no later than 24 hours before the event." Well, the "event" starts at 11am tomorrow, and given that it was already 11:02 when I read those words, I'm not sure if I'm screwed or not.

We don't own a printer so I've just booked a screen round at the library to go and print out these tickets. Just one question, on second thoughts make it two: Have they really programmed their ticket-bar-code reading machines to read the time the ticket was printed? And WHY THE FUCK DOES IT MATTER WHAT TIME I PRINT THE FUCKING TICKETS?
dorsetgirl: (Default)
My entry in #Dangleboris:



(Cap from www.sundive.co.uk)




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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
So apparently a teenager has been arrested for sending "malicious" tweets to Tom Daley. OK, it was a cruel and upsetting thing to say ("You let your dad down i hope you know that.") but honestly, arrest? For what, exactly?

If Tom Daley had been standing in a pub, or walking down the street, and someone called out those very words to him, I do not for one moment believe that the speaker would have been arrested. So why arrest him because he tweeted it instead?

Obviously I don't condone him saying such a thing, and I do appreciate how much it must have hurt, but I really can't see that arresting him was an appropriate response. Get his mum to give him a severe bollocking instead. (In fact she probably did anyway, because he apologised very humbly afterwards).





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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Well. I loved the children’s choirs at the beginning. I’d been a bit worried that it would be English as opposed to British to an extent that would piss off the Scots and Welsh (and the Northern Irish, presumably? How can they be in “Team GB”?), but choirs in each country was a lovely touch.

James Bond! I was gobsmacked at Daniel Craig actually going into Buckingham Palace and coming out with the Queen. And they even got the corgis to nip at his ankles so he could smirk at them being left behind. And the idea of Queenie jumping out over the stadium made me smile.

Sir Simon Rattle and the London Whatsity: I was so totally not expecting Mr Bean. Fucking perfect. I like to think no other country would have undercut that proud Olympian moment with humour like they did there. I cracked up. What I really liked about the whole thing (well OK, I hated the last few minutes, but you can’t have everything), was that the entire ceremony was a statement about who we are. There was no way we could follow Beijing with more of the same but better, so I think it was the right decision to make it all much more personal. “This is us, this is where we came from, this is what we’ve done.” Earliest industrialisation, the NHS, Peter Pan, whatever. With a little bit of JK to remind everybody that we may be small and in some ways past our prime, but we can still do world-beating.

When they started doing the whole “iconic British” thing we were waiting for Doctor Who, and we were very pleased that we actually got the Tardis noise in there briefly. Thank you Danny for that!

I’m not particularly into David Beckham, but the guy seems genuine and I was pleased he got the job of transporting the flame down the river. He looked so proud, and rightly so.

What a great cheer when our team came into the arena! I know the BBC will do an excellent job of showing the actual events impartially (we’re very used to cheering on anyone charismatic at the front while our guy limps in tenth off-camera), but I was very pleased that they gave our team more screen time than the others in the opening ceremony, and that they got “Heroes” as their music.

And Doreen Lawrence! I very nearly cried at that moment. That was such a good thing to do; that lady truly deserves the honour.

The fireworks were good, too. Someone on Twitter said they could see them from twenty miles away.

Finally, one of the things I’d been worried about was that we would have all sorts of embarrassing has-beens singing their so-called greatest hits because someone in charge didn’t realise what year we were in. Right up to the end I thought we’d managed to avoid that but unfortunately we then got an absolute stinker, which came close to ruining the whole thing for me. I fucking loathe that song, always have done, and OK he might be rich and famous and it must be heartbreaking but surely someone could tell him that sadly for him, he just can’t sing any more?

So, once I’ve posted this I’m going to listen to a bit of Green Day to stop that awful song going round and round my brain, then I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll see if I can find some gymnastics to watch.

Overall, though, congratulations to Danny Boyle. The boy done good.





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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
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Had occasion to visit a building containing a Court today (nothing nasty!). As we walked into the unmanned Reception area we had plenty of time to run through the building waving machine guns read the notice saying "This building's current security status is: Heightened Response" before a very laid-back looking guy wandered in from the car park to deal with us. Thinking about it, he could have been the one with the machine gun - we totally took it for granted that because he acted as if he belonged there, he actually did. Hmm. While he waved his little security scanner thingy over OH, I read the notice that said "No Mobile Phones allowed in this building." Then he ran his little scanner over me and asked to look in my bag. So I opened it and said "Er, phone, camera, keys..." at which he said "No cameras allowed, you'll have to... oh, that's a phone, that's all right." (Huh? It actually is (was) a phone, but it doesn't have a SIM card and it does have... a 5 mega-pixel camera. But that's OK, apparently.)

So we walked with our three cameras and two functioning phones past the notice that said No Mobile Phones and headed up the stairs, where we were passed by a lawyer-sounding person talking on a mobile phone.

After the business was finished, we went for a quick lunch, during which I read an article in the paper about protecting the interests of the Olympic sponsors. This apparently includes prohibiting the sale of chips from all Olympic venues apart from MacDonalds, making sure pub blackboards advertising live coverage don't mention any brands of beer, and banning use of such esoteric and specialised terms as "Summer", "Games", and "2012". Not much need for the first, admittedly, but even so.

ETA: OH said afterwards that he didn't think the little scanner jobby was actually working - he'd forgotten to take his keys out of his pocket and it didn't beep at all!
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
Reposted from [livejournal.com profile] talkingtothesky (with permission):

"If you see a post on tumblr that says something along the lines of 'What do you mean, you haven't read J.K.Rowling's 800-word Harry Potter prologue?' and the link is hidden, DON'T CLICK. I ended up with a fake 'Yorkshire Police have locked your computer for illegal activity' virus which made my computer (temporarily, thank god, since I managed to restart in safe mode and system restore) unusable and tried to get me to pay £100. The post I clicked already had 700 notes, so it looked legit, and I was halfway into reading the first two sentences when everything locked down. As evidenced by the 700 notes, it's apparently not affecting everyone, but if there is some way viruses are using that site to target computers, I'd say it's best to steer clear for now, just in case."

OMG

Jul. 11th, 2012 02:37 pm
dorsetgirl: (Default)
Just had the most horrendous thunderclap, literally out of a clear blue sky. I actually did jump. And it went on for about 4-5 times as long as a normal one, too. No rain as yet, in fact the sun is still shining, but we are forecast to get rain and thunder this afternoon. Just, give us a warning next time, yes?
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
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My children are all off-timetable this week, in fact the whole school is. Year 7 and 8 are on trips, Year 9 and 10 are doing various projects and stuff, Year 11 and 13 have left after their exams and Year 12 are getting ready for university applications.

The eldest spent yesterday learning about writing his Personal Statement for his UCAS stuff, and starting on his first draft. I dunno if it’s even a word, but tersity, he haz it, so this is going to be something of a painful process. Today he’s being introduced to the applications website and getting some information on finance. I’m just trying not to think about the terrifying amounts of money involved, and remembering what Martin Lewis said about it not being parents’ responsibility to provide all, or even any of, the money.

Middle one had exercises in teamwork yesterday; like the rest of the family he doesn’t see the point in working with a team when you can nearly always do everything much quicker and better on your own, but I was able to give him some examples of a management course I went on once, and of the one effective team I’ve ever been part of, to show him that it can actually be useful to have others around providing they have complementary skills. My aim was to send him off in a more positive mood and to get him to think about what skills he could bring to a team, rather than moaning about having to be in a team at all. I think it worked - he had a good time, it seems, and enjoyed the various projects. Today, those of his year group who have parents in useful jobs are shadowing said parents for the day. I wrote a coldly angry letter to the school on this subject, pointing out that this was perpetuating privilege and basically discriminating against anyone whose parents aren’t in fancy jobs that will allow them to have their kids in for the day. I never got a reply, but two days later the organiser sent out a note asking if anyone could offer a placement for the day to a second student as well as their own precious. Nothing doing there, apparently, so middle son is spending the day on some “GCSE Maths Preparation”, whatever the hell that is. I suspect a cover teacher and a load of trivial worksheets.

Youngest is away in Normandy! It always amazes me how big a hole is left in the house by just one person being away, especially as we hardly ever see this one nowadays; he spends a lot of time upstairs doing incredibly complicated redstone stuff in Minecraft. Anyway, he went off at 6 o’clock yesterday morning, slightly nervous and still not knowing who he was going to be sharing a room with. Looking at the itinerary, it seems to be a World War Two gig (reading up on the places he’s going to I was astonished to read that the Germans had batteries in France that could, and did, actually hit England; I had no idea) but I always think the main point of these trips is to accustom the kids to being away without their families. It’s something that practically by definition, you can’t do for your own kids, so it’s good that schools do these things. He’ll be home tomorrow evening.

Tomorrow, oldest son starts his three days’ work shadowing. He’s been very fortunate to get something fixed up that should appeal quite strongly to his aptitudes and interests. It’s perfectly possible, if a little long-winded, for him to get there by public transport, but it will probably be easier if I give him a lift. So that’s my project for this afternoon - find out where the place is. And this evening’s project will be a brief canter through the practicalities and etiquette of office life. He says he knows all about office life (I don’t know how), but I bet it hasn’t occurred to him that a small company probably won’t have a canteen and that the nearest food is quite likely a twenty minute walk away. I just hope they have a sandwich lady. (Um, sexism alert? Dunno - I've never seen a sandwich man, is all I can say.)





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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
I don’t often do recs, but I think I’ve got to on this: if you want a well-written Harry Potter gen story that respects canon and goes one better, clear the decks for about eight to ten hours, and read Dumbledore’s Army and the Year of Darkness, which tells us what Neville Longbottom and the DA were doing while Harry, Ron and Hermione were spending a year camping.

This was apparently the writer’s first story ever, which I honestly find extremely difficult to believe - the prose is clear and clean and assured, the plotting and attention to detail are astonishing, and I lost count of the times I found myself laughing or gasping and saying “Oh, that’s why...” before catching myself and realising that it wasn’t why at all, it was just a fic-writer’s guess as to why. It also had me in tears on many, many occasions.

This story explains so many things - even maybe things you hadn’t quite realised needed explaining - and dovetails so seamlessly with canon that from where I’m sitting right now, having spent much of Friday and today reading this story, it almost feels like this is canon, and JK’s own story is a light gilding on top. (As I’ve been re-reading the books anyway, and am currently halfway through Half-Blood Prince, it will be very interesting to see how I feel about that view once I get back into JK’s own work.)

Having several years ago written - on a much smaller scale - a story which needed to fit with and explain canon in a similar way to this fic, I understand to a certain degree what’s involved in such an undertaking, and I can’t begin to guess at how much planning and analysis the writer has put into making everything in this story work so brilliantly.

The only jarring note is the clearly American tinge to the writing. Don’t get me wrong, grammar and punctuation are excellent, and there are thankfully few of the more blatantly American uses of various past tenses. But there are small oddities and giveaways all the way through; I could live with them in narrative, even if they did jolt me out of the story occasionally, but I found the constant little spikes of awareness rather more irritating in dialogue, because for me they undermined the solid work the writer has done on characterisation. I think a good firm Brit-picking could have raised this from excellent to perfect.

In conclusion - read it! But be warned, it’s 247,000 words altogether, and the violence and gore of the final battle are significantly more graphic than in the books.




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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
I wish "control F" worked for finding my glasses. That is all.
dorsetgirl: (Default)
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Oldest son is going to Manchester tomorrow for a University Open Day. This involves half the family getting up at 4:15 am. It's now 11:40pm and he's still washing his hair.

It turns out that the Olympic torch is passing within a few yards of Manchester Piccadilly station at precisely the time he's planning to be heading back there for the train home. And he doesn't think he has anything to worry about from pickpockets.

The ticket cost us £80, discounted to £53 with his newly-acquired (for £28) student railcard. Just in case he does lose it, I've transferred £150 into his brand-new current account so that in extremis he can buy new tickets for himself and his mate to get back home. Providing he does as I've suggested and puts his debit card in a different pocket from his wallet and train ticket. But he knows it'll be all right, and that Mum's just being Mum and can safely be ignored. Aargh.

I'm going to be a complete zombie tomorrow at this rate, and I shall have to go out and pick him up from Ebbsfleet (45 minutes away) at about 10 tomorrow night; I'm sorely tempted to just go to bed now and leave him to get on with it, but then he'll just get immersed in something and go to bed at 3 o'clock. I was tired anyway tonight and had planned to go to bed at about ten, but that was the time he finally conceded that he ought to start getting himself together.

On the brighter side, I was tickled pink to realise, on looking at the map of Manchester city centre, that he would be walking underneath the Mancunian Way. He's even agreed to get a couple of photos!

Anyway, I must go and harass him to go to sleep else it will be hardly worth him going - he'll be too tired to take anything in.
dorsetgirl: (GD_Together)
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We still can’t get BBC2 on digital, and all our channels are way down in the 800s (we’ll deal with that after the next re-tune date), but it paid its way for the first time on Saturday when I looked at the Radio Times and realised (a) New!Series!Primeval! (b) at 6pm and (c) it was now 6:45 pm.

“Ooh, +1,” I thought, happily, “Never been able to do that before” and rushed back to the kitchen to encourage dinner along its way.

Miraculously the chicken was cooked in time, the garlic bread didn’t burn and I had enough red peppers to serve as they were so I didn’t have to start chopping and cooking anything for the veg bit.

So we watched Primeval in all its formulaic clunky ITV glory, and thoroughly enjoyed it, although it has to be said there was rather more happy dissing of the plot than we generally get in Doctor Who.

Mildly Spoilery Thoughts in no particular order )
dorsetgirl: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] dickgloucester at If you only do one thing today...
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] inamac at If you only do one thing today...
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_ at If you only do one thing today...
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] seph_hazard at If you only do one thing today...
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] ozisim at If you only do one thing today...
...make sure that ALL Geeks can get married if they want to!

As a straight person, all of this doesn't impact me, which I sort of feel gives me some kind of moral obligation to stand up and say, "I have the choice to marry. And I see no valid reason why certain other people shouldn't."

My personal view on all this, to be perfectly honest, is that I can't see why anyone would want to get married. All that ownership stuff, all that history of married women not being allowed to have their own tax returns, etc, etc. (Look at the date on that link! I was well into adulthood - thirty-three in fact - before things changed in England & Wales, and it was a major factor in my not marrying in my twenties). Still, that's just me.

The main sticking point to allowing same-sex marriages seems to be that the Church of England is saying "Marriage is for having children" and "Marriage is defined as being one man and one woman". Or words to that effect - forgive me if I can't be arsed to look up the exact quotes right now. Clearly the Church of England never allow anyone who doesn't meet the first criterion to marry in their hallowed buildings, so I quite agree they shouldn't be forced to allow those who don't meet the second.

Basically, I believe that religion should be a private thing, and no-one should be allowed to impose their religious views, habits, or rules on anyone else. It follows that no church or other religious organisation should be allowed to impose their views on the laws of the land. In my view they should definitely retain the right to say who marries within their particular cult or sect, but they should not have any say in who is allowed to marry at all.

(I presume that any new legislation on the matter would specify that both parties to the marriage must be human and of a certain age and mental competence. That being so, I think we can discount the scare-mongering that says legalising gay marriage will lead to bestiality and whatever.)

Anyways, if you're interested, or just neutral, you might want to follow some of the links below. There isn't much time left to show the politicians that society is no longer unthinkingly homophobic, and that societal norms should not be driven by people whose first concern is keeping a god happy rather than developing tolerance towards people who aren't wired the way they are.


The Re-Post:

Three things to do before you go to bed tonight (if you haven't already)

1/ Go here and sign the C4EM's petition for marriage equality. This is the simplest and probably most visible way to show your support. It currently has 60,000 signatures -- the petition against (by C4M) has over 500,000!!!

2/ Go here and fill out the government's consultation. It might take a little bit longer, but you can bet that for every pro-person who doesn't find the time, there will be dozens of 'anti' people who will.

3/ Email your MP. There's a handy template there for you to use so you don't even have to think of what to say. Also, you can go here to see where your MP stands on the issue. A hugely important thing to do because the majority of MPs will be voting with their conscience rather than following the party line, so make sure you let yours know your feelings.

4/ Okay, so I lied. There's actually a fourth thing. And that is simply spread the word. The consultation ends today - it's our last chance to get as many people mobilised as possible. So tweet it, Facebook, blog it, beat your friends and family around the head with it until they give in!!! And if you want to repost to your own journal (and please feel free to edit), here's an ever-so helpful button





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dorsetgirl: (Default)
OH has been panicking for a few weeks about the fact that we will lose the rest of the analogue signal tomorrow (we lost BBC2 last week). I don't often get a chance to watch so I'm really not that bothered, and we've had some nasty arguments about how much it's worth spending on a new tv. He, obviously enough, wants a BIG one, with HD, Sky, 3D, you name it. All I want is wireless headphones (for him, so we don't have to listen to his choice of boring programmes) and to watch the occasional programme of my choice, at the volume of my choice.

Anyway, on Sunday I suggested that a cheap short-term fix would be to buy a FreeView digibox. So he duly went off to Maplins and came home with one, which had cost about £30. We watched BBC1 and BBC2 on a slightly iffy picture for about half an hour, at which point the picture disintegrated completely and the signal then failed. We couldn't get anything else for the rest of the evening, and I found a website that said that at this stage we can only get BBC1 and BBC2 on digital, and we'll get the rest tomorrow. Fair enough.

This morning OH asked me to phone the digital helpline and ask them what was going on. I argued that we might as well wait till switchover tomorrow, but he insisted. (As I'm at home I tend to get given these jobs while he's out Earning The Money). So I switched it all on again prior to making the phone call, and they're all there! BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channels 4 & 5; I even looked in the Radio Times for other channel numbers and - for the first time in my life - watched Dave and the BBC News channel. All of this on the day before these things are supposed to be available. *iz confuzed*

Of course, they'll probably all disappear tomorrow, never to be heard of again. We shall see.
dorsetgirl: (DG1)
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I am so pleased that the Australian coroner has finally ruled - after thirty years - that a dingo really did take baby Azaria Chamberlain. Her mother, Lindy, was only one in a long line of women jailed for murdering a baby when there was no proof that the baby had even been murdered, never mind that she herself had done it.

My middle son asked why this happens and I could only answer that I simply don't know. Gut feeling says it has a lot to do with male power, and men hating women, but I think it's actually more subtle than that. This is what I think may be behind it:

(1) Barristers, judges, etc, are still of a generation that was sent away to boarding school at a very tender age. Generally it's the father who makes the final decision on this, but the mother goes along with it and so I think these people got it in their minds at the age of seven that their mother didn't want them around, that she must secretly hate them.

(2) Nowadays, to many people who don't have their own children, mothers and babies are so remote from their own daily experience that they are by definition so odd as to be practically alien. I well remember in my twenties failing so completely to understand the mindset that could want to have a baby, that when a secretary brought her baby in to show around the office, I never spoke to her again. I didn't hate her or anything; my reasoning was "I cannot begin to understand anyone wanting a baby. Therefore I cannot begin to understand anyone who is happy to have a baby. Therefore I cannot begin to understand this woman. Therefore I cannot begin to think what I might say to her."

(3) As a teenage girl doing my 'O' Levels and 'A' Levels, the subconscious message was extremely strong: bright girls do their homework, get their exams, go to University; they totally do not get pregnant. The rather judgmental - but still subconscious - corollary therefore being: only stupid people have babies.

Thus it seems to me the stage is set for an educated person, especially a man, who was sent away to school, to have it somewhere in the back of their mind that, "Mothers are aliens who are stupid and hate their babies. Therefore if something happens to the baby, it's obvious the mother did it."

I honestly can't think of any other reason why so many people are so ready to assume - and find proven - that people like Lindy Chamberlain, Angela Weston, Sally Clark etc, murdered their own babies, without a shred of hard forensic evidence that they even were murdered.

These women were presumed guilty and had to fight the system for years to prove their innocence.






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OTP Squee

Jun. 9th, 2012 11:18 pm
dorsetgirl: (Stay)
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[livejournal.com profile] taintedsal at [livejournal.com profile] lifein1973 has been at the Crucible tonight to see John Simm in Betrayal and she reports that Philip Glenister is there - bless! There may be pics tomorrow of them both at the stage door on their way for a drink together. *hopes*
dorsetgirl: (sunset)
Up early hoping to see the Transit of Venus. Sunrise here is in about fifteen minutes; cloud cover currently quite thick.

The only place in our house to see the sunrise is my bedroom, currently containing OH who (a) doesn't want to be woken for the event and (b) was a 100% shitbag yesterday and we're not actually speaking. (As of about 10pm when I tried to negotiate a parley he said the problem was I'd lost my temper. Er, he was the one shouting about moving out if he didn't get his way, and I was the one in floods. I really, seriously, did not lose my temper and can't begin to imagine how he could think I did. Of course, I did express an opinion which was all my own, which I suppose would do it.)

Anyway, I'm just stewing myself a cup of tea then I'm going to wake up oldest son and middle to join the hopeful waiting. I haven't seen the sun for the past two or three days, so not actually that hopeful. The last occasion, eight years ago, was brilliant - clear skies all the way through from early to the end at 12:20 ish - but the kids don't actually remember it, so I hope they can see it today.

*crosses fingers*

ETA: I saw it! The clouds lifted and we got about twenty-five minutes of brilliantly clear viewing.

At about 5am it really didn't look as if we'd see anything, but the view from my house is quite restricted anyway because of houses and trees, so I thought I'd drive out to a local viewing point. It's only ten minutes away on the south side of the valley and as a bonus is right next to the road so I just went as I was, no need for coats and boots etc. The kids decided to stay in bed so I went alone; when I got there I saw five cars parked already, and there were about ten people and seven telescopes. My main reason for going, apart from having a better chance of seeing the transit, was simply to share the experience. As a "mum at home" I lead a very solitary life; most of the time it suits me quite well, but I do feel the need quite badly sometimes to actually get out and connect with people.

When I arrived you could definitely see where the sun was, but I think we were all sort of resigned to not seeing anything. Anyway, at about 5:25 the clouds started to thin, and then at about 5:30 the sun came fully out and we saw it! Transit of Venus, next opportunity 2117, performing at a hill near my house.

I couldn't get my telescope to focus properly for some reason, although it was brilliant last time. It didn't help that the sun was so low so I was having to prop up my bit of paper rather than having it laid flat. It didn't matter in the end, because the owners of the telescopes were letting people look, and I got some great views. Some of the people there I think must have travelled for over an hour to get there, and they were exchanging texts with other members of their club who had chosen to go to Broadstairs instead, where it was apparently raining, so we were very lucky. I'm very pleased I went; I feel I've actually done something today.

I'm now back home and the kids are still in bed. OH phoned earlier to ask what time I'd be home as he was going to work, so I'm sitting here in peace and quiet and feeling like it must be lunch time. Time for toast, I think, then I'll send the photos I took of the telescope people to their club email address.




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dorsetgirl: (sunset)
My middle son has his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze practice expedition this weekend. When the older one did his expedition two years ago, I heard back from one of the dads that there really weren't enough checkpoints for safety because they didn't have enough volunteers. So when I got an email from the school asking urgently for more volunteers to run checkpoints, I straight away said yes, we would each do one day, and I assumed the only problem would be stopping OH taking over in his "I'm the man, this is a man's job" kind of way.

Not so. "Well, what does it involve? You don't want to be sitting in the middle of nowhere by yourself." I differ. I'd much rather I be sitting in the middle of nowhere by myself than my rather impractical, slightly clumsy, daydreamy middle son sitting in the middle of said nowhere by himself. And besides, what the hell do you think manning a checkpoint involves ffs?

"What time would it be? How many hours?" Well, I didn't bother asking, tbh. It's less than an hour away, and all I have in the calendar is do the washing and go to Waitrose. And if you have anything more important to do this weekend, perhaps you could have mentioned it before now?

"...because it's the Monaco Grand Prix, and I want to watch the qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday". Right. Because that's obviously more important than your son's safety, or supporting the school in providing this very useful and enjoyable activity.

I do know that it's only women who get the automatic personality transplant when a baby is born, but seriously, wtf?





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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
So far it's been a very non-routine day. Normally my kids get the train to school, but I have a policy that anyone taking an external exam has the right to a lift to school, by themselves, if they want it. Which oldest - having an AS Maths exam today - did. Middle and youngest both have school trips today, middle son's coach having to leave school at 8:30 on the dot. That only leaves ten minute's grace from the time he normally gets in, so I thought it best for him to have a lift in as well in case there was any problem with the trains. Luckily OH has very flexible working hours, so it's been in the diary for a week for him to take middle and youngest in while I took oldest.

Unfortunately oldest gets very unsettled by anything non-routine, and with two people going on trips, I swear he could feel the non-routineness of the day from his bed (the one he was still lying in half an hour before his designated leaving time).

Anyway, I finally got the younger two sorted to go. Youngest (blond, pale skin, sun-seeking instincts of a vampire) is on a Geography field trip which will have him in the midday sun for several hours - I wonder if it's only in England that you have to insist on high-factor suncream (forecast 26 degrees) and a waterproof jacket (possibility of heavy showers) for the same trip? (Yes, I do know the difference between Britain and England, but I'm thinking Scotland probably won't have the high temperature and for some reason I imagine Wales to be colder also).

Oldest finally wandered into the bathroom ten minutes before planned leaving time, to wash his hair. In the end we left at 8:25, and I was getting seriously worried about getting him there in time. The journey is nominally twenty minutes, but there are several extremely badly-phased sets of traffic lights which can push it up to thirty-five. Anyway, I got him there for ten to, which was OK. Twenty-five minutes of total silence broken only by his mate phoning to ask anxiously whether he was up yet.

On the way out through the former big-house park that his school shares with two other schools and a college, my car was stared at very beadily indeed by a officious-looking type with a hi-vis jacket and a clipboard. I have no idea what that was about - OK, I could have gone out another way, but I think I had every right to be where I was. I wish now I'd stopped and asked him if he had a problem, but I'd already had entirely too much human interaction for one morning so I just stared back as I drove past.

Then finally, as I queued up for one of the above-mentioned sets of lights, I saw a guy reclining on the grass on the other side of the road, displaying a small placard. He was 25-30, pleasant- and cheerful-looking and he didn't exactly look as if he was hitching a lift, so I looked more closely, and as I came alongside him I saw that his hand-written notice said, "FEMALE ARROGANCE SUCKS". Female arrogance exists?

So I gave him the finger, because he looked reasonable, and he smiled and reciprocated. What was that about? He definitely didn't look angry, or as if he'd been chucked out of his home or anything. Again, I wish now I'd stopped and asked, but talking isn't often my first reaction to something that puzzles me.





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dorsetgirl: (DG1)
Reposted from this page

38 Degrees are asking for £1 of your money today

The 38 Degrees office team has just been told that two big private healthcare companies are plotting to rig the future of our NHS in their favour. On Tuesday Capita and United Healthcare are planning to try and schmooze with leading GPs at a conference in London.

These GPs have been put in charge of deciding who runs services in the new NHS. Right now no one's quite sure how it will work, but the big healthcare companies know this is their chance to grab big chunks of the NHS. They want to take advantage of the confusion to lobby doctors and drown out the voices of ordinary patients.

I've just chipped in along with thousands of other 38 Degrees members to sponsor an alternative event, to represent the voices of ordinary patients. It won't be as lavish as the big corporate events, but I hope it will make a big impression because thousands of ordinary people have come together to pay for it.

Could you chip in £1 to make it happen? Click here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/GP-Event-Donate

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