Saturday, 28 January 2017


Watching on television news of our Prime Minister's meeting with the American President, I took the liberty of noticing - or, rather, assuming - that she had been 'styled'.  She was wearing a   suit of a glorious vivid red and her hair had been cut to a smooth cap over her head where I had been accustomed to seeing her with a good but rather wayward, windswept cut: rather like the rest of us in fact.

A discussion, or dissertation more likely, arose between two early middle aged women I know.  The gist of which was that in 2017 not much has changed in the infantilising, patronising and diminishing way in which women are still treated at work and, indeed, everywhere else in the world.  It sprang from observing that Mrs May's appearance ahould  have no place in talking about her work and what she hoped to achieve. It was noted that she had been called 'headmistressy' as had Lady Thatcher in her time.  No-one had ever called Mr. Cameron or George Bush 'headmastery'. (Mr Obama wasn't) One of the women, a distinguished and senior person in her profession, admitted that she had felt herself forced to project more 'girly' and younger than she actually was in order to hold the attention of  bosses who, otherwise, were incapable of taking her reports, requests and presentations seriously. This stance was taken after years of struggling to hold on to a more realistic projection of who she was and she was sickened to find the strategy worked. The second woman had been promoted in a situation where she was already far up the ladder of success but then had to fight to be given the same job-title as a male colleague in the same situation. Assessing the clothes of  notable women is another irritating example of irrelevance but, perhaps, more readily noticable to those of us no longer having to deal with this outrageous situation, at least in the workplace. Although I am still prepared to go on about being called Liz by people on the telephone I have never met and don't intend to meet. I can see that in kindergarten it would not have done to call me Miss Mountford but that was many decades ago and should be binned, by now, with all the annoying rest of that insulting behaviour. I digress,  Tell me, honestly, did you ever hear a discussion about Churchill's ties or Eisenhowers shirts? No, neither did I.  I have occasionally heard criticism of shabby or inappropriate attire in a male public figure.  For instance, there is a television authority on politics who, it seems, was told to get a better hair cut and wear a tie while at work and, I must say, I was distracted, myself, from the portent of what he was saying by the shaggy dog nature of his appearance. However, the joke is, that at this point in my diatribe I have  noticed, in a light-bulb moment, that at last there is parity.  Which of us has not had a go at the hair of Mr. Trump?  Prynhawn da

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Topsy Turvy

As it happens the title of the blog ought, temporarily, to be changed, anyway for this post. It will have to be called  "75 going on 4" since it pertains to a new element that has entered in to the relationship between me and my young.  Now, as you will have noticed, I rarely divulge bits of uniquely personal stuff but this time has to be the exception.  Because of the nature of my physical being at the moment the member of the young lot who doesn't normally live in London has come to do some Mother-caring.  All well and good, on paper.  In the execution of it some hilarious turns around have cropped up.

Liz is supposed to go easy on sugar and other murderous representations of  the sweet and delicious Himself has taken on the role of superviser - or vigilante - in this respect. Occasionally, I am allowed a miniscule portion of that which I crave, so there came a moment when such a dispensation, in the form of pudding following dinner,  was in the offing. At a point where I had nearly finished the main course, himself made to go to the kitchen.  "Pudding?" I enquired with impressive nonchalance.  He looked at my not quite finished plate and said "When you have eaten that all up." You can imagine the hilarity with which that was greeted.  It would be close on fifty years since I said just that to him  I have run out of parallels to compare it with. The pot  calling the kettle black. The worm turning.What comes around turns around and so on and so on. (I suspect I have misquoted the latter option.  Please correct me if so).  It reminded me of a time when the same protaganist was examining the newly bought anorak of his continental- european Godmother. (One has to be so careful with regard to the use of 'Europe', don't you find?)  He was six. In some urgency he pointed out that the garment had no hood which, of course, his did.  She extracted a hood  by opening a tiny zip (zipper for over the Pond) and showing it to him.  "Yes it has", she explained.  "A very teen ('thin' if English is your first language) hood".  "A tin hood wouldnt be any use" ionsisted the youngster.  "Hmm", replied she." There was a time when I taught you English."  For various boring physical reasons it is useful if I am helped in to anything with sleeves, particularly if it is heavy, like a faux-fur lined winter jacket.  I am told to stand still, that I was impeding progress.  Either the phrase was imprinted in his psyche and recalled at the distance of decades or it was 'perchance', operating via the mystery of the collective unconscious. I am waiting, with some trepidation, to hear him withold my treats because I didnt eat up all my greens
Bore da.

Thursday, 12 January 2017


Every time I hear or read a grammatical or syntax mistake my pedantic inner ear behaves as if a whole orchestra had played a wrong note.  It can't be helped.  That's how things are.  I know people who have such a sensitive sense of smell that they have, if it's possible, to move to a different table in a restaurant when a heavily perfumed diner turns up.  Their hearing is so acute they can hear a pin drop  I have known musicians who, seeing me look around to track a noise will say "No: it's coming from over there." exactly opposite to where I was looking.  Anyway, I have allowed myself to believe that my reaction to atonality is just such a legitimate physical attribute.

The other day I was reading in the paper about an aristocrat who had taken a rather unusual step to ensure the continuation of his line "It seemed like a good idea to 'name-of-wife' and I."  Now this gentleman - literally - must have gone most likely to Eton or similar and even to a good enough university.  How is it possible he can make such an ill-informed mistake?  If you take out the wife you would be left with "It seemed a good idea to I.." well, I don't think so. I do know that it is a mistake which crops up all the time and clashes with my well-being all the time.  If in doubt, all one has to do is to remove the second or more person and see how it would sound, then, as in anecdote  above,  With nothing more pressing to do I am tempted to red line and count the number of singular nouns married to plural verbs in the daily papers.  "The group do..." where my inner ear would want "The group does..."    Why, in the name of Current World Chaos should we give a d..n? Because it seems to me symptomatic of a dangerous failure of boundaries and a loss of formality, or formulation, of  an organised way of being in the world: sloppy lanquage equals sloppy morals, behaviour, standards and so on and so on. (What do you think?  I do wonder how much value this preoccupation adds to my life, but at its nicest it is fun and at its most pedantic it gives me something else concrete to fret about).
On the more delightful side of life, I had a very nice experience during a visit to my G.P. (General Practioner or 'everyday' Doctor if you are over the Pond). He asked about my appetite.which has diminished somewhat.  "Oh dear" said he, " we shall have to keep an eye on you to see you do not lose too much weight."  How many decades have I, and so many other women, waited and longed for just such an admonition. Bore da

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Transition - again

Mylittle furry friend has something wrong with his left eye.  Such is the scale of eye problems in his breed that we have had to wait weeks for a specialist to see him.  In the meantime, he has to have drops in the eye three timesx a day.  Exactly: you try it and still remain persona grata in his life. I fear that the drops have been accomplished more in the breach than the observance but we must hope his beard will equally benefit from whatever the  drops contain, having received rather more of them than has his infected eye.  It occurs to me to wonder how I should have responded if one of my young had announced one morning that they intended to be a cat opthamologist. It's the kind of profession one needs for a party game: "Guess what I do".

Since I am as yet symptom free my cat can be the invalid in the family.  I do wonder if he is aware that all is not well with him but he comports himself with his usual gentle good humour.  I am particularly pleased with this current cold snap because he comes to sleep curled up in my curl up which is companionable and reassuring, as you can imagine. It is a strange land, this land of transition.  It is something I may well have put to you before.  In the past I have noticed it as a condition that crops up when one has left home but is not yet at the new destination.  Generally, it is not a comfortable sensation.  This time feels different.  It is not uncomfortable but even has its moments of humour when it comes to me that it will not be my concern if the President Elect of the USA, when established, continues to turn logic on its head and overturns the goodwill of any state that continues to work and/ or hope for peace among all people.  I was, as you may have sensed, going to say "all men", but don't want to risk offending those who have discarded "he" and "she" in favour of well, what exactly?  Not that I am against the principle of gender equality, very far from it.  It's just that some of the ways and words in use to overcome the sole use of the masculine are so silly as to defeat their purpose. There: Ive said it. That's another condition (plus?) of my being in transition.  I find myself saying just what I mean.  A dear friend asked me to tell her if there was anything at all I wanted from her. "To see more of you" I told her. A forewardness I would not have considered for one moment ante deluvium or whatever the latin would be for before the knowledge that the end was nigh-ish.  Prynhawn da