It’s All About The Pollock

So, it was all down to a Pollock.  And then it was over. Amazing really that a few fishermen could hold the country to ransom.  One does wonder looking at those poor lorries stuck in Dover   what the future might have held for us with no deal.  I guess Boris realised he would have been hung drawn and quartered if he didn’t succeed with a deal.  What amazes me is the sheer arrogance  that we British   —   scrub that we  —   that some Brits  haven’t quite grasped yet that we are no longer an Empire. And indeed ‘going it alone’ isn’t an option. 

But then there are the Marcus Rashford’s.  I have  just watched a BBC news documentary on Marcus Rashford’s child poverty campaign and it reinforced my belief  that we parents have a  huge responsibility on ensuring that our children have decent values.  Certainly, Marcus’s mother did a good job. There he is, successful, rich and yet compassionate and remembering from where he came.  I am in awe.

Marcus Rashford says 'time is now' to end child food poverty

It  made me reflect on my own parenting and while I have many faults I  think I have  succeeded in rearing 3 thoughtful caring boys.  My  parents worked tirelessly  for their community. My mother was forever visiting and caring for those less fortunate and my father never refused a request for help sometimes to his detriment. We  bought up our  children in the same vein.

Admittedly things went a bit awry in the teenage years. I remember being  in   disbelief when other parents remarked on how well behaved the boys were. Excuse me? Are you talking about my children? The ones that squabble, fight and compete incessantly with each other. That’s not fair, why don’t I get some of that ‘niceness’.  It would seem as if they couldn’t wait to get home so they could explode and scream at  mom!. Of course, it wasn’t a conscious process at all and wasn’t intended to hurt  me. Children act out at home because they know that they can get away with it. Home is their safe place. A place where they  feel secure and can show their ugliest behaviour…because they know we will  still love them and that they will still get their needs met even if they act out.

 I guess it is the same for us adults. We have arguments with our partners and say things which we wouldn’t dare to say outside – yes we save our worst behaviour for the ones we love most.

It got me thinking about whether  babies are born with a natural empathy for others, whether some have a more inert  tendency towards empathy than others.  Did in fact Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot have empathy at birth? Recent research reports that  even very young babies have the capacity for empathy and  experiments have shown that   hearing other babies cry  can trigger of this empathy. That said  while children’s empathy seems inborn,  this gift that is ours as parents and as  a society  can be lost  depending on how we react to these earliest overtures.

And apropos of absolutely nothing I think I am becoming more bonkers – becoming I hear you say. The lady who talks to spoons! Well if you had been in bed with me last night you might be thinking that I am definitely sinking. I am a dreamer, and not just any dreamer but a  dreamer par excellence. My nights are full of adventure and intrigue  – what I get up to in my dreams is quite beyond comprehension. And when I wake  in the morning I am  astonished at what I must have been going through while asleep. No wonder I am exhausted. But last night was a first.  I started dreaming before I got to sleep. Yes really.   I pinched myself to see if I was awake and yes I was and yes I had been dreaming. I guess the dreams just  got impatient and couldn’t wait until I was asleep to start their fun. I guess I have mum to thank for this. Yes I inherited her great skin but I also inherited her nuttiness.

Abigail's Dream Adventures Episode 1 - YouTube

Just as well that I have fun at night because there is certainly no fun happening anywhere else in my life.  It is all getting a bit weary  here in London.

“Let’s be careful out there”

2020 – It’s a bit JOMO

So its official Christmas is cancelled. Good job I didn’t order a turkey!

I certainly haven’t missed the pre-Christmas build up. Every year about this time I have FOMO –  “fear of missing out,”  which apparently is  a real phenomenon . The magazines are full of what to wear to all the glittering parties one apparently gets invited to plus an abundance of features about party etiquette and the best way to recover from a hangover. And some of my more sociable friends have their invites in full display on their mantelpieces. I am left though with mixed feelings. It’s a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s complex. I fret that I am not getting  lots of invites and yet I hate parties, so I am relieved that I don’t have to attend. But of course, one would like to be invited

Left Your Christmas Party to the Last Minute? These Amazing Venues Have You  Covered | Hire Space

When I  had a rather high-powered job in television I had lots of mantelpiece invitations especially at Christmas.  Juggling the invitations was a huge headache.  But I had a very  sobering experience.  My popularity rapidly declined when, Murdoch took over the company , and I, at 6 months pregnant got made redundant.  Invitations diminished  rapidly  and my so-called best mates disappeared.  No more invitations on the mantelpiece

If truth be told standing around, sharing trivia chit chat with strangers (which I can’t hear anyway unless I get rather too close for comfort –  the perils of being hard of hearing ) is not a fun way to spend an evening especially if you are not obliged to for work.  For us audio challenged people  we  smile a lot, nod enthusiastically and hope that our  ‘wows’ and ‘really’ and ‘how interesting’ are  appropriate.  Of course, there is always the chance that someone might ask me what I think and then I panic and  use the  bathroom as a  refuge.   “So sorry,” I say hastily “Do you know where the bathroom is.”  Then  sit on the toilet wondering why I am here and how soon can I leave

Back in the day when I had a training company and networking was vital I remember one particularly awful experience.  My business partner and I had been at a pharmacy and optician network event (I know very exciting)  which was being held in an Indian restaurant. Now restaurants at the best of time have poor acoustics, and to make it worse the majority of  attendees were  South Asian who generally tend to speak quite softly.   I spent the entire evening nodding and smiling and not  hearing a word that anybody said. It was quite surreal just watching  all these mouths opening and shutting and yet not being able decipher any intelligible sound. On the drive home my business partner said, “You were talking to a lot of people – did you make lots of contacts.” I rather sheepishly admitted that I hadn’t heard a word anybody said.   “For God’s sake,” she said exasperatedly, “get a bloody hearing aid.”

She is not alone, my children are fed up with repeating everything 3 times,  Tod was forever pleading with me to get a hearing aid, “look at how frustrating it is talking to my mother,” he said, and the neighbours have complained about the volume of my television.   So why don’t I get one? Vanity. Accepting that something is not working. The inevitability of aging.  It’s bad enough that my knees are creaking, I can’t remember stuff and my hair is rapidly turning grey and now I have to admit that I can’t hear as well

As always I have digressed.  So this Christmas and New Year for me anyway is a bit more JOMO than FOMO. In fact most of the past 9 months has been more JOMO.  While many of my friends are missing their social life I have quite enjoyed this oasis of peace and lack of pressure. And  FOMO so I am told, diminishes with age.  Well I am certainly  becoming more comfortable with myself and I do wonder if perhaps I am a bit of a closet introvert. Maybe I have become a little too comfortable with my own company which just might not be good for my mental health.

NOTE TO SELF: Get the vaccine and get out a bit more in 2021   

“Let’s be careful out there”

It is all down to the nativity play

So that’s why I haven’t made it big in the world it is all down to not being picked for a  lead role or in fact any role in the school nativity play.  How I longed to be in  that play. I didn’t care if I wasn’t Mary any role would have been ok even a sheep or lamb.   But as  I, personally apparently according to my fellow pupils,  and enforced by anti-sematic teachers (it was the 50’s) killed Jesus it was not to be.  And certainly, my mother would not have allowed it either.  

A  nationwide Virgin Media study of 2,000 British adults found that those adults who played the part of the ox now earn a cool £43,000 a year on average, more than TWICE as much as those who played a lamb or sheep, who made on average £20,000. Ok so maybe not a lamb or sheep.

‘Marys’ are also the most likely to be truly content in their adult life, while ‘Josephs’ came in second place, with those who played the role likely to end up with a job in finance or banking.

And apparently the angels  are most likely to end up in a modest role within the healthcare industry, earning an average of 25k, while children who played the Wise men probably  end up working in construction. So, parents now you know. Get in there and make sure your child is chosen for the Ox role or Mary or Joseph but definitely not the angel as those poor buggers are really not appreciated.

This is who you are in life, based on who you were in your Nativity play

I remember  aged around 8, my mother told me that as we were Jewish we didn’t celebrate Christmas. I think up until then she had played lip service  present  wise, to  Christmas. I was mortified.   Not only did I  have to deal with the truth that Father Christmas wasn’t real and didn’t come down our chimneys and eat the cookies, but that the whole festival was a no-go area to us. I know we had Chanukah, but it felt like a poor relative to Christmas

So on Christmas day mum would cook something like kippers which we hated  just reinforce the no Christmas stuff and we would be schlepped into the local hospital to serve tea and be jolly for those less fortunate .Of course in retrospect I know this planted in me a  life long charitable instinct but at 8 –  well it was tough.

The thing is I secretly loved Christmas, the lights, the euphoric feeling that people appeared to have and the Carols. Oh, the Carols. So beautiful. I knew all the words and would hum them under my breath  just omitting  the word ‘Jesus’ which I knew had I uttered  awful things would have befallen me

PLAY: Can you name these Christmas carols from just one line? - North Wales  Live

I was the only Jewish child in the school so you can imagine just how easy that was!   And thus, was  more knowledgeable than any of my fellow classmates in the new testament.   Why? Because I was excused participation I would sit at the back of the class, supposedly getting on with other work but listening intently in a way that I never listened in  other  classes. There is something about being forbidden that makes one  want to do the opposite. And when the teacher would ask the class a question my hand would be hitching to go up with the answer. I think it just might have been the only class I would have been top in.

Unlike my own upbringing in our house we celebrated everything. Christmas, Chanukah, Easter, Passover, Jewish New Year, Christian New year, Harvest Festival  Sukkot, Thanksgiving, Halloween, all the birthdays and anything else that might be going. It was a busy household.

Hannukah Starts Tonight So Here's 18 Differences Between Chanukah &  Christmas | The Jewish Press - JewishPress.com | Jeff Dunetz | 26 Kislev  5779 – December 4, 2018 | JewishPress.com

Tod was a big Christmas fan and presents were very important to him. I would start thinking  and searching for  Tod’s present in the summer. And I never seemed to get it right – that said his present for me were always quite fabulous.  And when the boys got older and would be out late on Christmas eve Tod would be sitting impatiently by the tree shouting for the them to get up as it was present giving time. It’s not the same without him.

This year, and now that most of the children have flown the nest and Tod is no longer here and we have Covid I will be paying lip service to Christmas Day. It will  will be late afternoon ‘Linner’ in the Gazebo by the open fire, with the boys and just one partner as the other two are with their parents. We will have a roast lamb, a vegi option and panettoni bread and butter pudding.  And lots of nice things to drink. Actually, it all sounds rather nice just hope that rain doesn’t stop play!     

“Let’s be careful out there”

There’s nowt so queer as folk

I’m having that after glow birthday feeling – yesterday my Gazebo was well and truly road tested as close friends came and went to spend time with me. I think this is probably my best buy of 2020. It has enabled me to spend time with friends and family in a COVID safe way. Yes it was bitterly cold but the sun shone and when it went down we had a huge pit fire which kept us warm well into the night.

There is something about fire that brings people together in a very special way. It’s the flickering light, crackling sounds, warmth, and distinctive smell. It has an interesting magical way in which it draws people closer together. If we go way back in time and look at how the cave people lived we can see that when all they had was each other, in the darkness of a cave, the light from a fire would be an elation, it would enable them to communicate with each other, share how their days had been and most importantly ward away any unwanted beings. Luckily we don’t have to ward away enemies, well not yet, but last night I could see how it promoted sharing and story telling. It is almost as if the fire was saying “yes it is OK for you to open up, to reminisce and share feelings. ”

I realised too just how important it is for my children and close friends to see me relaxed and happy. How hard it must have been for them over the past few years watching my sadness. I guess one can become a little self obsessed with grief that one forgets that others have to co exist with you. It was a wake up call for me when one of my children said, “it is so nice to see you smiling and looking happy mum.”

NOTE TO SELF: Must try harder

In the spirit of it only being yesterday that it was ‘my special day’ I indulged and stayed in bed with coffee and my IPAD. I watched an intriguing Louis Theroux documentary on Scientology and suddenly remembered my own brush with this odd religion. I think I was probably about 16 and I was in Brighton accompanying a girl friend who had gone there for an abortion. I had to kill time while she was in the clinic so I wandered around the town and was accosted by some young people who persuaded me to take a scientific test that would help change my life. Well I had nothing else to do that day.

So they plugged me into an E-Meter  which is a shortened term for electropsychometer. It’s a kind of lie detector – it measures the galvanic skin response of a person. Scientologists believe it can “see thoughts”. And from what I can gather its supposed to tell the auditor whether or not the person has been “relieved from spiritual impediment of past experiences”

All I can remember is that they told me that unless I joined up I was in danger of ending my life by committing suicide because ….. well you probably get the gist. So far I have escaped the Moonies and the Scientologists but there is still lots of scary stuff out there.

It is an interesting and somewhat alarming documentary. But then I am never surprised by the antics of my fellow humans. Here we are just out of lock-down, the numbers have decreased, vaccines are on the way, so there is light at the end of the tunnel and yet – this was 09.30 at Harrods on December 6 – not a mask in sight. I rest my case

Image

Moving on – if you too have had your fill of stuff like “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” here are some alternative films you might find interesting. You can always check the trailers out first on You Tube.

After Springly Akeelah & the Bee, Virunga, Knock Down The House, Capernaum, Shoplifters, The Other Side of Hope, Babel and more mainstream The Joy Luck Club. I loved the book.

Look forward to your feedback.

“Let’s be careful out there”