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A smile costs nothing

15 Mar

Children are so perspicacious.

Walking along the street this morning, my five year old and I passed four policemen. As we walked by she smiled and said ‘hello’. The response. Blank looks and lowered heads to avoid her eye line.

So my daughter asks: “Mummy why is it that firemen always smile and wave at us, but policemen never say hello or smile and are so grumpy?”

Good question.

My children love the fire station, they always get waves and smiles and are even occasionally invited in to sit in the fire engine, try on a helmet or watch a fireman slide down the pole. They think firemen are great and always pass the entrance hoping there will be someone there they can make contact with by wave or whatever. Conversely they are already disappointed with the police.. the smiles are rarer than hen’s teeth and they only get personal contact at open days and fetes etc, where they are mobbed.

It’s common knowledge the police have a generic image problem. So smiling, being friendly and showing willing that you are a part of a community would surely be a good thing. Community policing is hard enough but a smile to a five year old not only costs nothing, has no dangerous side effects, but also puts police in the “friendly, there to help” category of a child’s mind – rather than some aloof untouchable.

I fail to see how this could be a bad thing and think it could go some way to improve the police image for the future. There are already plenty of ‘kids’ who see them as ‘the enemy’. It may seem simplistic and clearly it’s not the only solution, but smiling more will never build barriers, however, it just may help break some down.

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Build-er relationships

12 Feb

Preparing to do a spot of ‘refurb’ in the flat recently, I got a couple of builders and decorators in to do some quotes. All well and good.

On arriving to quote, they are as nice as pie, “yes Mrs G”, “no Mrs G” and “of course we can do that too Mrs G”.

It’s like a first date, where both parties are trying to make a good impression and woo each other:

‘I’m not a control freak, actually I’m a nice lady that you want to work for’ is my fake persona – aka I’m not a bunny boiler, whilst theirs is that they give two hoots what you want and are not going to bodge anything but will do your work with love, care and attention – aka I’ll still love you in the morning darlin’.

But of course the moment of truth comes and I pick one – they are puppy-dog enthusiastic – aka second/third base and on their way to a ‘shag’, while the others I have to let down. I do it nicely with a “thanks but no thanks” – aka it’s not you it’s me, while their response is “yeah, whatever” – aka I never fancied you much anyway..

And don’t get me started on the delivery men. No subtle or amusant message there, just “screw you lady – I hate you and my life so take your own flooring in, *itch.”

A cheeky little plucker

1 Nov

No, the title’s not a pun about chickens or a random tie into the game season, it is me, ‘coming out’ about my unfortunate addiction: plucking.

Like any addiction, it started innocuously enough, the odd rogue eyebrow hair – hardly Denis Healey but rogue none-the-less. A quick pluck with a pair of tweezers and boom! eyebrow control once more.

Now the mention of control obviously rings alarm bells. I’m no psychiatrist but aren’t all proper addictive behaviours: bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, drugs, self harming etc –  either fundamentally or in part about control or loss of it.

I realised tonight, as I undergo my now daily plucking session before bed in the quiet of my own bathroom – the only time in fact I ever really get in the bathroom alone these days – that this five minutes of plucking has become my sanctity – my refuge – and my ‘me’ time. I need it, I crave it, I’d panic if I couldn’t find my tweezers, yikes –  It’s true, I am addicted to plucking.

I love nothing more than getting a sneaky hair by the tweezer tips and plucking it out, full follicle and all. The excitement and rush – it’s a mood changer, enhancer, whatever you like to dubb it. But woe betide the breaker – that horrible moment when, despite a good grip with the tweezers the hair snaps at the root, leaving a tiny stubb, too small to grab again, too long to create a smoothe finish.

Maybe I should try going cold turkey to get over my obsession – or perhaps, with Christmas coming up, I could just pluck the turkey instead. (boom boom)

My ‘Oldness’

13 Sep

Rolling over in bed last night I got a bit of my insides caught in my ribs.

This has never happened to me before. Unsure of how to remedy the situation, I carefully rolled back to my original position, untucked my inner wobbly bits and rolled again more carefully without snagging my innerds on my ribs.

I can only assume that I caught my  ‘oldness’ – as I’ve dubbed it – unawares and that as I age, the bits inside me will start sagging as much as the drooping exteriors. Clearly they’ve already started.

Writing a la Sex in the City ain’t all it’s cracked up to be

13 Mar

Much of my twenties was misspent watching crummy rom-coms, Friends and Sex in the City – I now find myself the freelance journalist I aspired to be back then wishing I could be like SJP.

Funny how when you get what you want in life it’s never quite what you’d hoped it would be. That’s not to say I don’t like doing what I’m doing. No, it’s safe to say I love the work bit- dabbling in hotels, restaurants, food, mumsy stuff, flitting from subject to subject as the commissions take me – that’s great.

What I object to is being sold the SJP myth that you can write on your bed. I’ve tried sitting lengthways, cross-legged, lying down, on the edge, in the middle – you name it I’ve done it – it’s all impossible. You really can’t do it.

Well that’s not strictly true, you can, but if you’re the wrong side of 35 then within a minute your back starts giving you jip, your coxix goes numb and your neck gets stiff from being forced into the wrong kind of work position.

I can only imagine what those corporate work-station assessors would do if they saw me now – I can hear the tut tut tutting already. But then maybe I’m just being silly – it is a lap-top afterall…

Death changes everything – or does it?

27 Feb

As usual, I’m way behind with my reading – piles of things I want to or feel I should read are littered around the flat but, as I battle my way through days with the two babies, I very rarely get the chance to read a nib, let alone a full blown article.

So I finally got round to reading – in The Week, so at least a week delayed anyway – the back-story of Mohammed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit and vegetable seller who set himself alight and was the spark who lit the tinder keg of the Middle East. I must point out that although I love both international and domestic politics, I’m by no means an expert – I leave that to politics teacher-hubby, but I wanted to share a more personal take on this.

When my dad died almost exactly a year ago, it was sudden and totally unexpected. For my mum, sister and I the world stopped and has never been the same again since. It was a cataclismic event that has changed our lives irrevocably.

Yet, nothing else changed. Not a jot. The very next day life went on exactly the same, the neighbour who’d been with my mum as the police and ambulance arrived went off to work, did a normal day’s work and returned at her usual time. My sister got two weeks compassionate leave and was back at work. When she returned her timetable was still exactly the same – so every thursday afternoon she was in the same lesson, in the same place, remembering that one, two, three weeks ago it was there that she had learned that our dad had died. 

It may seem a petty point, and possibly a ridiculous one given the horrific bloodshed now occuring in the Middle East, let alone the uncertain, possibly dire outcome of all this mess. But on a personal level I find myself wondering if Mohammed’s family take comfort in the fact that for once the world really has stopped because their loved one died. The world will never be the same because of his death.

I find it hard to believe that the world can carry on regardless after the death of my dad, we all felt something shattering should’ve happened to mark this momentus and awful event, yet nothing did.

That fact is, it’s one of the hardest things to deal with and Mohammed’s family are ‘lucky’ to have had his death marked by such momentus world events. Let us hope they have a happy ending too.

twitter – the beauty of being a s’leb

10 Nov

The great Giles Coren – has 70 odd followers and is followed by 35,000 +. He talks about  ” shitting followers like a typhus victim in a laxative factory” and gets away with it. I mention baby josh has a squitty tummy and snot coming out the wrong end and people are up in arms – not funny apparently and way too much information.

Oh well, we live and learn.

Moral of the story: get critical mass of people who find you funny before talking about bottom stuff