Sunday, 29 January 2012

Different shoes

Having raided the social science section at the library, I am reading a book called "Dis/connected. Why our kids are turning their backs one everything we thought we knew" by Nick Barham .

The author travels around talking to teens and trying to find out 'what makes them tick', have a look at the reviews in the link above for more description.

One of the things that I noticed reading it was my reaction to some of the activities described in the book, such as groups of 150 souped up cars gathering in a public car park with music blaring, or large groups of teens hanging around with Death message t-shirts on, drinking Vodka RedBulls.  He talks about how some city centres have become no-go areas at night, and I'm thinking 'too bloody right, I don't want to be beaten up or vomited on thanks!'.

I realised how ingrained my middle-class-ness is by my automatic response, namely that many of the described situations would make me anxious or disapproving.  At some points I felt anger towards the author for generalisations and suggesting that kids behaviour should never be threatening, when clearly sometimes it is. Then again, is that me jumping to my own defense, because does he actually suggest that?   The book doesn't suggest everything these kids do is fine, and that we should all accept their behaviours as unproblematic, but it is trying to explain the reasoning behind it and does a good job of that.

Maybe it's not just that some of us have inbuilt prejudices caused by a) our upbringing and b) the media, though this is undoubtedly the case.  Maybe some of it is fear of people who enjoy themselves in a different way to us, who get a kick out of doing things that are illegal (or borderline legal), who make people like me seem 'boring'.

Recently I seem to keep reminding myself of that phrase about "walking a mile in another man's* shoes", I guess we should all try to do that when we start judging others on their behaviours or attitudes, it's a good start at least.  

*I refuse to change it to "person's" for the sake of political correctness!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Justice, or is it..?

I bought a Telegraph newspaper to read the other day, first time for ages as I normally hear the news on the radio.  I don't know whether it's the paper or me that has changed, but I found myself ranting at it over the headlines and the way the stories (are news items 'stories' or 'fact'!?) were written.

One such item was saying that the public (whoever they are) think that offenders who do community service get an easy ride. The paper did at least stop short of adding "....they should lock them up and throw away the key" - I guess that is more The Sun or Daily Mail style.  

I personally think that for minor offences, community service is a much better method than imprisonment.

1. the person puts something back into their community which they have damaged in whatever way.
2. they don't get locked up with hardened criminals and come out of prison worse than they went in.
3. it could be the step they need out their previous life, who knows.
4. they pay for the offence in work and the 'shame' of everyone knowing why they are there.

taken from the above linked article

Coincidently, I then went on to read an article for my OU course on Restorative Justice.  That is, when instead of going to court, the offender and the victim meet and agree between them (with a facilitator) what steps can be taken to repair the harm or damage the offender has done.  In some countries this method is used for crimes up to and including violent / sexual crimes, whilst in others it is limited to minor offences.

Yes I know that exclusion from society is a standard punishment, but with prisons full to bursting and the costs of keeping prisoners spiralling, I cannot see why 'the public' (many of whom are also 'the taxpayer' who pays for the prisons), can't see that in some cases an alternative method might be preferable.  Part of the idea of Restorative Justice is the shaming of the person's behaviour, within the community, and this is considered more likely to reduce re-offending than a prison sentence.

Maybe I just don't always think the same was as 'the public'...


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

What are the chances?

So, my husband starts the first job of his new forestry career two months after our car crash and moves to Scotland; 16 months later he has another career change and moves home.

And then finds that one of his new colleagues, who is a reserve fireman, was one of the ones that cut me out of the van after the crash 18 months ago.

What are the chances of that?

And yes, I felt rather odd when Mr H told me today.  It brought it all back as if it were yesterday.

On a more positive note, hey maybe I will get to meet one of my hunky fireman rescuers after all!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Water splashing

The term "Aquaerobics" has always prompted the vision of middle-aged, overweight women, floundering around in the pool while Mr H and I pounded in the gym upstairs.  Poor, sad women who couldn't do real exercise, losers huh?

Well not any more.

I don't like the gym any more - it doesn't help that the local one is a miserable little box which is always too crowded (I'm not going to start driving 5 miles to a larger gym when there is one within walking distance).  All it shows on TV is Beyonce strutting her booty, or some X-factor band I've never heard of.  I know a lot of women hate going to the gym because they are body-conscious compared with the seasoned pros that go, but that has never bothered me - I'm happy looking like a woman!  No, I just got bored with  it.

So, having decided that I need more exercise, last night I went to aquaerobics.  It was full of middle-aged, overweight women which probably now includes me, and one man.  So much for no exercise, it was hard work with an enthusiastic instructor urging us to go faster, while not taking into account the water working against us!   I really threw myself into it knowing that I wasn't going to damage my leg or get sweaty, not with water splashing over me from my own and my neighbours flailing arms...

I came out of the pool with that slightly weak feeling of post-exertion, but with a smile on my face.

If that makes me a loser, then so be it!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Strutting my stuff .. or not!

Hmmm, it's now 18 months since That Crash, and maybe some of you are interested in how The Leg is....

So the simple answer is that it is still aching quite a lot, sometimes twinges in my hip, still tender to impact on the outer side.  I don't limp unless it's a particularly bad day, but sometimes I often feel as though I'm walking laboriously - no sexy hip-swinging down the street!

I'm still planning to get out in the dinghy when Spring comes (I have bought a new, less twitchy one!), and probably get back on sailing club safety boat duty. It's time to tell it who's boss while not doing anything stupid.  

The solicitor's file must be getting pretty thick, and she says one of the problems with the assessment is my age....  The problem is that I'm too young!  No-one knows how long it's going to take until I'm doing long distance walking with 15kg packs again, or what the possible side-effects will be as I get older.

I read an article about how humans have a bias towards thinking positively, and life having a 'silver lining'.  Guilty as charged as far as the last 18 months are concerned, as you'll know from my various posts.

Onwards and upwards towards that sexy walk!


The lovely Carol has just started a new art blog - go and take a look.  Now Carol is obviously a far more patient and exacting person than me ;-) but she inspired me to get my sketching things out and have some switch-off time (in place of either sitting in front of a computer or worrying about what I 'should' be doing!).

So I got my pencils and notebook out and here is what I produced.  They are all blind contour drawings ie. drawing something without looking at the paper - an eye-opener when you look at the result!

The headstock of Mr H's L'Arrivee guitar, from the side

Hedgey bear... our favourite is the first one because we like his expression!

Mr H's Ibanez guitar

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Totally incompatible... for 23 years

I am not 'into' horoscopes etc. but any time I have looked at one of those books about which signs I should have relationships with, they always say that Geminis and Virgos are totally incompatible and basically can't live under the same roof.

Oops, I didn't read that before I met Mr H.


I was reminded of the Gemini/Virgo thing yesterday, when I suggested changing the sitting-room around because - well I just like changing things around occasionally.   Mr H said that he doesn't, but just to please me we could try it.  The agreement on my side was that if after a couple of days we agreed that it didn't work, then we could put it back.

So we shifted the CD storage, sofas and coffee tables, and vacuumed all those places that hadn't seen daylight for a couple of years, and although at one point we thought it wouldn't work, in the end it did.  And we managed to fit Mr H's cinema chair into the room as well so that was a bonus.

So I say "Pfft" to incompatibility... yes our views on things differ sometimes but a bit of compromise on both sides can usually smooth out the wrinkles!

Now, I wonder if he'd mind if I moved everything around in the kitchen....?