Tit-ter Ye Not Page 3 Haters – No Nudes Ain’t Necessarily Good News

Much has been written today about whether The Sun newspaper has finally put the vest back on its dubious tribute to the female form and scrapped its page 3 glamour photography.  Feminists have been celebrating.  Glamour girls have been decrying this slur on their profession.  

Source:  beforethedot.co.uk

On the face of it, the removal of the embarrassment of having to explain to junior why Titania has been photographed in just her pants, and the risk of shocking the more puritanical amongst us on the train in the morning by forgetting to turn straight from the front page to page 5, can only be a good thing.  I make no comment here about the quality of the paper’s journalism, nor its prurient enjoyment of all things knobs, knockers and salaciousness because, sadly, most of the British Press is happily cantering that well worn path these days.  The Daily Mail is rapidly becoming the Daily Kardashian and its website’s side column is a paeon to a bunch of American celebrities that I have neither heard, nor care about.

Isn’t the truth here simply that Page 3 has lost its ability to shock?  That the amount of exposure breasts get is so great that interest in them has faded to a certain extent.  Are we more, thanks to the Kardashian clan, more interested in bottoms now?  Is The Sun about to launch “Arse of the Day” instead? Here’s the lovely Stephanie aged 23 from Staines showing us how to park a bike?  Mind you, I can think of a much better use for a column named thus – particularly in the run up to the General Election.

In a more disturbing vein,  the increased availability and consumption of pornography thanks to the internet is a more probably cause of Page 3’s possible demise.  There are thousands of sites offering far more disturbing and exploitative pictures of women, all easily accessible via mobile technology.  I am not suggesting that those who enjoy glamour photography are teetering on the edge of subterranean perversion.  I am suggesting that there seems to have been a sea-change in our views about sex and nudity which seems to be removing us farther and farther from the bedrock of culture and morality we used to have.

In comparison to some of the material which passes as daily newspaper fodder, the page 3 photograph has almost an innocence about it.  And that, as a mother to a 7 year old daughter, does concern me.    

Caring For Poorly Little Ones – This Nurse is Terse and Worse….

We have not got back into the New Year groove.

No sign of the smooth running routine we usually carry out on autopilot, hindered only by my odd menopausal brain farts where my memory is blanker than Perez Hilton’s fan book.

Caitlin & Ieuan Hobbis
Cuteness abounds – but not at 3 am

And, of course, we have “the bug” – a random collection of germs, possibly viral, probably bacterial and symptoms that would challenge Florence Nightingale who Caitlin is currently learning about in school.

Almost every night at 3 am since the new term started, I have been woken by shouting and muttering (Ieuan), wailing due to a bad dream (Caitlin), sore ears, sore tums, and a gushing toilet flush which the Husband has finally agreed to mend after approximately a month of asking nicely (obviously this has been interpreted as nagging).

There are bottles of Calpol and Nurofen littering most surfaces.

We have no less than 3 digital thermometers – none of which I can hear due to my reluctance to wear my hearing aids.

In fact, I now have more plastic syringes than cutlery.

Ieuan has been running a fever and Caitlin after we applied Hello Kitty eyeshadow yesterday to which she had an allergic reaction, now looks like she’s about to attend a Venetian masked ball.

When I haul myself yet again into the early morning darkness, I know I should be as I imagine Florence Nightingale would have been – crisply efficient and able to administer comfort and loving calmness.

In reality,  I find myself a charmless harridan in a blue dressing-gown on the lookout for acting up and attention-seeking.

For the first few times I am able to smooth brows and rearrange bedding, to offer water and, if needed, brandish the plastic syringe.

By the fifth or sixth disturbance, I am like a mad, sleep-deprived woman who would probably tell you my bank details and sort code if you asked and likely to tell the children to “just ruddy well go back to sleep”.

In the morning ‘mummy guilt’ strikes and I wish I could have been more Florence.

The Husband does not do illness.

He is of the staunch ‘no pain, no gain’ crew who, deciding they won’t be ill, just aren’t.

He also says that the kids play me royally which doesn’t help when I’m trying to assess what kind of mother I’m supposed to be and how deep the well of sympathy should be.

For those parents dealing daily with serious childhood illnesses, I can only stand and marvel in admiration at their fortitude. I wish I had more of their strength and courage.

Everything seems clearer in the morning, doesn’t it?

I’m just not crafty

I fear I am letting the side down drastically.  Caitlin’s favourite pastime is anything that can be described as ‘crafts’. Unfortunately,  the only craft I am really familiar with is the cheese manufacturer. 

Caitlin colouring at Cardiff Bay
Caitlin colouring at Cardiff Bay

When I was in school in the 70’s, benefiting (I use the term loosely) from a move towards equality for boys and girls in Arts and Crafts, I endured woodwork lessons and metalwork lessons.  All I can remember is the smell of each workshop and the amusement on my parents face when I presented them with a piece of wood with a dent in the middle and a piece of metal with a bend in it.  Both ashtrays for my pipe-smoking father.

I was unable to draw anything which wasn’t square or, on a good day, cubed.  My pottery was always too dry and fell apart.  We still have an evil, open mouthed clay gremlin I made, glazed in a haphazard manner in a strange purple.  He lives on my parents windowsill by the front door to ward off cold callers.

Caitlin will sit and draw for hours on end.  Card is cut into random shapes.  Glue is applied to pom-poms and glittery pipe-cleaners.  Posters, door plaques, beads and endless pictures of butterflies adorn the house.  Ieuan is still in his angry artistic phase and has moved from doing violent scribbles with such vehemence that the paper shreds to marginally less angry pictures of Spiderman and Ironman who both wear the expression of someone who has spent 45 minutes on the phone to the Tax Office and has just been cut off.

It’s strange really because I used to spend hours telling stories to my niece Emily, now 20 and a budding film-maker.  It’s almost a kind of performance anxiety.  The fear of not being good enough.  The fear of having lost my imagination which,  as my comprehensive medical files will probably attest, is just not the case.

Caitlin will sigh and say “Mum, I WISH you’d do some crafts with me” and I shuffle along behind her to the big table and we sit whilst she takes charge and creates whilst I just observe. 

This state of affairs is, of course, not helped by the army of ghostly mummy bloggers who hover constantly over my shoulder whispering “we’ve just built a fully working model of the Forth Road Bridge out of matchsticks and now we are going to reconstruct Big Ben and the House of Parliament out of sponge mix and a light buttercream icing”. 

These women are all Cath Kidston-ed within an inch of their life and have houses so clean that Barry from Cillit Bang is offering them a speed rush on the kitchen table.    I, on the other hand, would frighten Juan Sheet from Plenty and attract nothing more than a very stern glare from his grandmother.

Still,  craft duffer I may be, but I show willing.  I know where our local Hobbycraft is and I also know that hours of amusement can be had by covering your palms with PVA glue and peeling it off like alien skin.  (This was how I spent most of my primary school craft sessions).  I’m hoping this will be enough.

It’s January – Rage, Rage Against The Dying Of The Fairy Lights

Are you missing Christmas as much as I am? It is dark, dank and rain-spattered outside. January is here with all its gloom and unspoken chastisement for finishing a huge box of Thorntons and being compelled to finish all the mince pies currently reaching their suspiciously short ‘use by’ date.

The Hobbis Family Christmas Tree 2014 - Christmas Decorations - motherdistracted.co.uk
Christmas 2014 – where did it go?

The school run (I walk, the kids run) is an opportunity to study the various shades of grey the sky can muster up and to marvel at the chocolate brown muddiness of the local brook, swollen with heavy rainfall.

Is there anything sadder than passing houses which were previously aglow with fairy lights and are now shrouded in darkness?

Some poor souls haven’t even taken their Christmas trees down – generally, the people who put their trees up as soon as the last firework has gone off at 1 am on November 6th and annoyed all the neighbourhood dogs.

I am really missing the Christmas tree and the twinkly glow of the fairy lights, the heavenly sound of Carols from Kings and candlelight in every room downstairs.

It’s no wonder we’re all watching Broadchurch to cheer ourselves up a bit and considering blowing the budget on a trip to Barbados.

Incidentally, why do holiday companies this year think it’s hilarious to make their slogans sound like swearing?  Will your holiday be totally ‘beachin’?’ Is your holiday ‘booking’ fabulous?

Because we all love to sit in Thomas Cooks swearing like troopers, don’t we?  Is that the level of sophistication the Brit abroad is considered to have?  On second thoughts, it’s probably best if we don’t answer that one. I’m not even sure if you can still sit in Thomas Cooks.

Some of us have become “Dry Athletes“, some are eschewing sugar and some are relying on hypnosis to make eating chocolate seem as appealing as a week trying to sort out Tesco’s accounting problems.

We can take comfort in the fact that there are a group of highly dysfunctional people, troubled and entertaining to various degrees who think nothing of baring their innermost souls for all to comment and tsk tsk about.

No, I’m not talking about Prime Minister’s Question Time but that paeon to quality television that is Celebrity Big Brother.

In the name of psychological research (cough), I may have to watch the launch night programme I accidentally recorded whilst drinking my Baileys before it goes “off”.

I’m not sure what the cure for missing Christmas is but I suspect it’s the return of the sun.

Happy New Year! These are the resolutions you REALLY need to make

Over the last 48 hours, we’ve all read ACRES of poems, pithy thoughts and witticisms, resolutions, revolutions, advice about ablutions, diets, regimes and the rantings of Piers Morgan.

Caitlin wearing a Pizza Express paper hat

Just wear the bloody paper hat!

Hopefully you have managed to distil from this copious verbiage those philosophies and ideals which will carry you safely through this new year and out the other side.  

Fuelled by Thorntons Continental and red wine, I thought I’d share some bon mots with you, honed from my odd 50 years (and some of those years have been extremely odd) so that you may gain some clarity about the swirling cloud of Facebook cats and celebrity idiocy that by now will be reaching toxic levels.

1. Don’t hang around with people you don’t like.  

There are approximately 7 billion people on the planet.  Surely you can find someone else to go for a drink at the weekend?   

This includes those people who specialise in back-handed compliments or who can’t resist dragging up that thing you did in school which was hilarious in the 70’s but means absolutely nothing to anyone now – but them and you.

2.  Try something different occasionally. 

Obviously I’m thinking of gentle activities here like crochet or anything that doesn’t involve lifting.  Or much movement.  

3.  Smile.  

Apparently it’s a fact that if you smile, your whole physiology changes and you feel better. Gritting your teeth is a short route to the dentist.  Or in my case, the jaw clinic at our local hospital.

4.  Tell people you love them. 

Life’s too short and all that.  I like to tell the husband this occasionally, not least for the look of shock he usually wears, swiftly followed by “what are you after?”.

5.  Treat yourself.  

For God’s sake, if you can afford that bag and you want it, buy it.  Is it really worth 48 hours of arguing with yourself as to why you should / shouldn’t when you know you’ll buy it in the end anyway?  

If you feel really guilty about making yourself happy, make a donation to your favourite charity to balance up your karma.

The rest?  Guess what?  You already know what to do.  

The question is will you choose to do it? 

Will you choose to exercise, eat right, not get bladdered every night, be a decent person? 

Unless you have the moral compass of the Marquis de Sade you really don’t need ANYBODY to tell you what to do. 

So my last piece of sterling advice (at least today) is simply this.  

When the cracker of life is pulled and the novelty that falls out is either complete rubbish or in someone else’s half of the cracker, just put the bloody paper hat on and smile.  

There’s always another year.  Hopefully.