Learning to Survive!


What was good enough for my Aunt was good enough for us girls!

Over twelve years ago one of my granddaughters went to play hockey and netball in Kenya. On her departure she did not feel privileged!  Her ability to complain about her useless school was second to none! She had not appreciated that she was learning to learn and survive!

In Kenya she went to three completely different schools over a period of a few weeks. On her return she was a changed girl. Her admiration for the pupils at a charity school in Nairobi has remained with her. They, the young, taught her so much.  Every child was so grateful to have the chance to go to school.  They wore their school uniform with pride and yet they had nothing and were taught so little. Their hunger for knowledge made a massive impression.

Wearing the hat correctly!
Every Saturday morning in Cyprus we cooked!

My education was pathetic! I went to fifteen different schools! Yes a service brat was I!  My parents considered survival, for me, was to be taught how to curtsy, put my gloves on correctly, lay the table   (remembering the all important butter knife!)  and speak with a plum in my mouth. That was their honest belief on education for young girls.  Being the ‘New Girl’ so often was a bit like surviving in a pool of Crocodiles! I am grateful for all of that. But there are times when I would have loved an academic schooling. Let’s face it the grass is always greener ….I survived!

Does it make sense for Bear Grylls to suggest Eton did not teach him about real life?  Bear Grylls – Eton did not prepare for real life. Where did he gain the confidence to do what he does? Where was he encouraged to aspire to do something with his life? Where did he learn to communicate so well etc etc etc. Yes ‘Life is an Adventure’ so learning comes to all of us at different times and not necessarily all in five years!

On board Sea Diver -Villefranche 1962
Early trials using helium to get to depths of 300+ feet! 1962 Villefranche-sur-mer. What a treat!


“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
Mark Twain


How Divisive is PC?

I was not offended when presented with this of me at a wedding!

So the PC army have decided that we should not use ‘Mankind’ when referring to the human race. Excuse me! ‘Humanity’ the new word. Perhaps we should go for  ‘Alienkind’? Then we are told that Women have demanded the ‘sexist’ DVLA  delete ‘Mrs’ from our driving licenses. Forms are to have ‘Christian Name’ changed to ‘Forename’. A ‘Waitress’ a ‘Server’.  ‘Polio Victim’ to become ‘Polio Survivor’. ‘Breast Cancer’ to ‘Chest Cancer’.

This list is so long it would take weeks to go through them all! Political Correctness has gone mad!

I am happy to be a woman. I love men opening doors and always standing up when I enter a room. To me that is great respect. Certainly not demeaning in any way. Until I was eighteen I had to curtsy to all adults! Did it harm me? Not at all!   The term ‘Server’ sounds so degrading. ‘Waitress’ gives one an image of a lovely smiling lady happy to help. As for ‘Waiter’? Well, I see a handsome man prepared to make my meal a memorable one!  ‘Server’ brings to mind a hatch in the wall from a dingy kitchen to a musty dining room with someone, in hair curlers, passing the food through! Not so PC!

When working, my hackles rose if a letter was addressed to me as Ms.   Anyone addressing me as Miss was always forgiven, because they may not have known I was a happily married Mrs. Now  we have Student Chiefs banning the use of ‘he’ or ‘she’ at the University of Sussex. So is it ‘it’ said ……..?   Never did I feel offended to be called a ‘Right-hand man’. Everyone knew what was meant. In fact it was a complement! ‘Tax man’ – no please don’t call him an ‘Officer’!  I have yet to come across one who is a GENTLE man!

When young I knew several ‘Polio victims’. Some survived and still live with the consequences. I have just called one great friend and asked him if he minded being called a victim? His response was “Why should I?”.

‘Sportsmanship’ is a great word and encompasses everyone who enjoys being competitive in a friendly and yet fair way. The word to replace it ‘Fairnesss’  could be mother sharing out the sweets to triplets.

A modern version of Three Graces at Blenheim. PC or not?

The final read for the week was to change ‘Breast Cancer’ to ‘Chest Cancer’. Just a minute. We have always talked about both sexes having breasts so why change? It defines one certain part of the body. When I have a chest infection it is not in my breast!

And yet the word I detest the most, ‘Stupid’, is used by so many. To hear a child being called ‘Stupid’ and watch all their confidence draining away is heartbreaking. So offensive.

Enjoy your week!



“You’re not allowed to call them dinosaurs any more,” said Yo-less. “It’s speciesist. You have to call them pre-petroleum persons.”

Terry Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb


Draughts-Cleaning- and those Germs!!!

Newspapers this week informed us that Draughts are to be obliterated! Housework has a school timetable and watch out for those germs!

OK let us go back to when my second granddaughter was born twenty six years ago into a spotless and germ-free household. It was almost hermetically sealed. She did not know what a draught was! For the first four years of her life she suffered from severe asthmatic attacks spending time in hospital in oxygen tents.

Perhaps not quite as draughty as this!
Cottages are healthy and fun!

Then her family moved to a cottage fit for demolition. I was fearful for her health.  The first thing that needed doing was to replace all the upstairs ceilings! This opened her bedroom to the holey roof which allowed driving snow to fall on her bed and draughts!  The dust from all the sanding of floorboards and knocking chimneys down laid around for months. As for cleaning? Well during that stage it was non existent.  Surprise surprise no more asthma attacks. Germs?  I am sure there were many but she and her sister lived on to be healthy children for the rest of their schooldays. Dogs and cats joined the household! My greatest despair  on visits to this lovely home is the untidiness!

Thank Goodness no longer used regularly!
Great but those cables tangle!

Now for the timetable to clean the windows, hoover and wash the floor. Surely it is a matter of how dirty they all look? Fortunately this day and age we have a choice of aids! Oh how different it is to wash the floor! As for Vacuum Cleaners. My late husband, when in a wheelchair, persuaded me to have a robot so that he could set it going and claim to have done the vacuuming! ‘Eric’, we called it, was fine but sometimes did get stuck. To be quite honest  his beeping each time he went under a chest of drawers  too low for him became somewhat annoying! As for a polisher? Nothing beats this which came from the US in 1944!

Thank goodness for washers and scrubbers!
My favourite 1944 floor polisher!

Only this morning I cleared my shower head of limescale with the cheapest vinegar you can get. The smell was quite refreshing!

Eric and a cordless vacuum cleaner compete for my attention!

Yes draughts a few, windows open at night  are more important than fretting too much over a hermetically sealed dwelling. Let us live life and ENJOY. That makes sense!



“Housework won’t kill you, but then again, why take the chance?”

Phyllis Diller