Thomas Bardwell

I shall begin with Thomas Bardwell.

He was a great friend of mine, this Thomas Bardwell.

I met him during my second year at Kings College in London. He was hurrying along a low stone wall covered in ivy. He was also covered in ivy.

It was rather odd, naturally, so I stopped for a moment (you see I was on my way back to my own dorm, as it happened so I was in no rush to be anywhere by any particular time and thus could afford to loiter about for a moment or two to observe the occurrences in the college, always a peculiar thing or two going on, I can assure you) and stuffed my hands in my pockets. It was then that he noticed me, and to my surprise, he beckoned to me to follow him, and started walking even faster than before. I followed him with interest.

Thomas Bardwell was infamous at the university. Everybody who was anybody knew about him. He was well established and was known to have a vast fortune waiting for him the minute his father topped it, so to speak. It wasn’t all very fascinating to somebody such as I, who plodded through life coming across so many advantaged folk that they slid right off the count of my ten forlorn fingers. He was a tall lad, and so this cut a very fine figure among the ladies, as one could very well imagine. He was not very handsome, not more than most, however he held himself in such a fashion that people found themselves coerced, subconsciously, to submit their respect and reverence to him. It was astonishing, really. I pride myself on being the sort of fellow who has a keen eye for traits and personalities, and I am exorbitantly stubborn. I will not respect a man based on how he holds himself and yet, whenever I happen to come across Mr Bardwell I find myself tipping my hat at him and nodding, as though he were royalty, or some high duke.

He was neither of those things, however. He was born to an affluent family who, it was disdainfully rumoured, had made their money solely through trade (as though that were something to frown upon). His father had retired at the ripe age of fifty three with enough funds to allow his four children to live comfortably for the rest of their days.

I met Thomas on the day, as it happens, that he met with his fate. Neither of us knew that he was to meet with his fate, of course. One never knows when one is about to meet their fate. There is no premonition, no deep breath, no warning sign, as it were. He was, as I mentioned previously, covered in ivy. People turned to stare as he dashed past them, trails of ivy sailing behind his shock of chestnut hair. He scattered dark green leaves as he ran, and I found myself following suit, our polished shoes clacking on the cobbles.

He swerved into an alleyway and I swerved also at the last minute, scraping my shoulder against the sharp corner of the stone wall. I clutched at the area of sharp pain, but Thomas was getting further and further away so I swallowed my pain and sped on after him. Something inside me told me not to call out to him, I am not sure why.

 

Why do women show more skin than men?

Why do women show more skin than men?

Why is it acceptable for a woman to wear shorts as short as her knickers, but for men it is deemed ‘unattractive’ and ‘ugly’.

Why are women’s clothes designed to be more flamboyant and revealing, but if a man wears clothes like that, where his neckline is halfway down his chest, he is ‘stereotypically gay’?

Advocates for feminism claim that women are allowed to wear and do as they please, and should not be ‘victim blamed’ when they are raped.

The same logic applies to children; dressing children in skimpy clothes is a controversial matter. Some say children should wear things like that because it is freedom of choice and all that, while others say that is just inviting paedophiles. Nobody is blaming a child if he/she is sexually abused, but they are saying dressing a child like that encourages paedophilia and parents should refrain from ‘sexualising’ their children at such a young age.

Yes, women will be raped whether or not they dress modestly, but the majority of men see the way a woman dresses as a provocative ‘invitation’. And it is ignorant to assume women (and of course, men) will not be sexualised. We are all human, and the majority of us will find certain people sexually attractive, it is human nature.

So, now that we have established that is in human nature to sexualise people, doesn’t it seem obvious that if we do not want to be sexualised, we should not wear clothes that highlight our ‘sexiness’? And if we are sexualised because we are wearing clothes that make us look sexy, should we get upset about it and have a rant and say ‘men are pigs’?

If a woman is wearing a see through dress with barely anything underneath, she is demonstrating her right to do so, but also showing that her nudity is bare and public for everybody to see and enjoy and look at. Some say that is perfectly fine, and she is an independent lady and should do what makes her comfortable.

That is all very well in the grand scheme of things, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, it is clear that her clothing is showing that the body parts she has on display are just that; on display. There for whoever pleases to look at. And when they do look (well, why wouldn’t they?) should a woman be angry about it?

I don’t think so. I think she made it very clear by wearing that skimpy, see through dress, that she was okay with people staring at her nipples.

There is a big difference between appraising somebody because they are beautiful, and appraising them because their bodies are on show.

This whole topic has a lot of sub-themes and arguments, of course. And I am of the disposition that people should have the right and freedom to do  and wear as they please, but, to me, there has to be a certain level of propriety, that’s all. And this applies to both women and men.

It is within my rights of freedom to walk out and not see somebody’s butt cheeks.

What do you think about it all?

Drayton Manor

Today is promising to be a great sunny day just like yesterday, when I left my assignment to go on a trip with Year 1 to Drayton Manor. The heat was incredible yesterday. The kids peeled off their layers one by one and guess who was stuck with all the jumpers, ey? That’s right. It was moi. It wasn’t too bad, though, I enjoy kids, they do have some insightful information.

One six year old told the man who manned the ride that she was half Egyptian (she goes around telling everybody that, I don’t know why, and her voice is so loud that she demands to be heard. She doesn’t half make us laugh, though) and then he started speaking to her in broken Arabic! They got on like a house on fire, which was hilarious.

A Teaching Assistant and I escaped for a moment to go on one of the crazy adult rides, while the kids were having lunch. I reckoned we deserved it. We wanted to go on Apocalypse but the teacher i charge of Year 1 was really strict and made us all stay together even though each teacher was responsible for four kids so it would have been alright if we separated.

She made us go to the zoo where we wasted two hours, and got really angry when the other two teachers and their charges wandered off to go on the rides again. School politics.

Needless to say we were disappointed, and the whole point of Drayton Manor is the RIDES, of course! Well, I hope next time we go with somebody who will let us have some free reign and allow the kids to have fun.

Also, perhaps I should have been more assertive and taken charge, especially when I noticed my kiddos acting up out of boredom.

I did suggest that we split up but she said no, and obviously I did not want to risk any damage, so I stayed silent after that.

Anyway. It was a good day, the kids were tired out and fell asleep on the coach home and it was difficult to wake some of them up, but we managed it in the end. One of the kids grabbed my hand with her sticky little paw and exclaimed, ‘Miss, this is the BEST TRIP EVER!’ and I thought, well, kids don’t let things bother them half as much as adults do!

Anyway, my sister in law and I were thinking we would drive our mums and siblings (excluding the older boys such as my husband and brother) to Drayton Manor one fine day in June. We reckoned we would make the mums let the kids have a day off school but the mums seemed dubious about that. If we go on a regular holiday day it would be too packed! And I would definitely go on Apocalypse and G Force and all those crazy scary roller coaster rides that I could only stare at longingly yesterday. Yaaaas!

When I got home it was around 6:30PM and I worked solidly until 11:57PM when I submitted with only three minutes to spare! Whew. That cut it close.

Now I have to keep my nose to the grindstone because I have a day school tomorrow, a submission on Monday and plenty of exam prep! I am pleased, though, the summer is looking enticing. I will be away from D a lot, which is sad and I don’t want to think about that too much, but my father and I are going to Morocco to see his mother (who I don’t know very well because I’ve only seen her about eight or nine times in my whole life!) and I am looking forward to that. I shall get quite brown, which is a lovely change, and shall get to know my father’s side of the family a bit better.

Adieu, and I hope you have a great weekend!

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Sisters

‘I really like your watch Len can you give it to me?’

‘Um, no, it’s mine.’

‘You’re so selfish! I hate you.’

 

‘Ellie, honestly, you can borrow it sometimes maybe, but you can’t have it.’

‘Borrow it?! Huh. Like you’re ever here for me to borrow it.’

It’s true, I’m not, mostly because I always have to study/work, so I don’t see my real family much, even though they live like five minutes away. Is that horrible? I don’t know. I feel guilty now.

‘Ok’

‘You never let me borrow anything.’

‘Huh?! That’s not true, you wear all my clothes and ruin them with stains. Don’t even go there.’

‘You’re wearing my shoes right now, so you should give me your watch.’

‘YOU’RE WEARING MY SHOES TOO!!?!?!?’

-pause-

‘AND my jeans, Ellie, and that long T-shirt? Mine.’

‘So? I still want your watch.’

Actual real conversation I had with my sister this weekend.

 

Society is a Fraud

Another repost. 🙂

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This is not a post that says ‘WHAT IS WRONG WITH HUMANITY?!” because we all want to say it anyway, so why repeat ourselves?

Perhaps this is the first time I have properly come across such a thing, but I was flabbergasted. I was so naively shocked. Perhaps because I have heard so many advocates for feminism, and read so many articles written by passionate feminists, that I thought the majority of society was now feminist. Mainstream media is feminist! We have Buzzfeed to thank for that.

So when I googled ‘Amy Schumer’ out of interest because of a movie trailer I saw and liked, and saw that the first thing that came up after an official wikipedia page was Amy Schumer shows off tummy in grungy grey outfit in New York City‘  I thought, nah, this can’t be right.

So I clicked on it and was directed to a page like none I have ever seen in my LIFE before.

I honestly thought it was a parody, because of how ridiculous it was.

It HAD to be a joke.

This is literally how it goes:

Amy went out for a walk.

Amy looked amazing yesterday, but today her tiny tummy which isn’t as flat as most Hollywood women’s are, dared to stick out.

We will subtly acknowledge how disgusting that is, but in a very roundabout way.

Also might mention her ‘weight problems’ because why not highlight the fact that this article is really about how FAT Amy is.

My goodness, she is a body positive woman, isn’t she.

Poor thing.

Oh, Amy is feeling hot so she took off her cardie.

Amy’s shoes appear to be comfortable.

Some crappy things that white males have said about her.

Some comments underneath by angered anonymous people sitting comfortably behind screens, their bellies hanging over the keyboard: ‘i don’t care how much you weigh but get pants that fit.’ and ‘Are you serious? Put it away. not cute.‘ and ‘People seriously want to bed her cause she’s famous? Gross.’

Because, of course, those are the only kinds of people articles such as these would attract.

This was from the Daily Mail. A paper that is supposed to be reputable.

Overall vibe of the article: ‘My goodness! Doesn’t Amy look drab! Grey days for Amy! Yesterday she was on fire at the awards show but today… poor Amy.’

Looking at the photo, squinting, trying my best to see where exactly she looked ‘drab’. What, so a woman has to look like she is going to a party everyday?

Here’s the thing though. I went hunting for ‘showbiz’ articles about men. You see, if they did the same thing to men; dissected their outfits down to their homey-day smelly socks, if they talked about their weight and their ‘shameful!’ bit of tummy peeking out, I would have got on with my life dismissing it all as a profoundly odd aspect of tv-showbiz news.

But there was not a single article discussing a male actor’s ‘body positivity’ or his ‘extra bit of tummy hanging out — ooh, not pretty’ or ‘his trainers are a decent buy for this power walk’.

Not a single one.

Welcome, folks, to the twenty first century. Enjoy your stay. Make sure, if you’re famous and a woman, that you don’t dare have a human tummy and NEVER go out without makeup. It would be a travesty if you did.

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Rainless.

Once upon a time everything was fine.

People did what they had to do, wrote their assignments on time, and submitted excellent essays brimming with poignant points with legitimate quotations and impeccable referencing. They researched on time, and read all the books they needed to well in advance.

They did not stress eat chocolate until they were too sick to move, their sticky fingers flying over the keyboard at a thousand miles a second, and they certainly did not forget to brush their teeth two days in a row and wear a STAINED dress to work.

They also studied very hard for their exam not one week in advance, but five. They were nice to their husbands and made an effort to not look like a plastic bag with greasy hair, and they were not anxious and did not have separation anxiety when their husband told them he was staying in the next city for a month because this travel is getting too hard.

They did not silently cry in secret and fume over not going with said husband.

They did not miss the gym for three weeks despite paying £25, and they also understood everything perfectly and didn’t speak rubbish.

They were good and clean and tidy and healthy and mentally well equipped to handle life.

They were not named Lenora Sparrow, but some other name that was nice and sensible and did not reek of late submission and missed personal deadlines and/or goals.

That reminds me, I need to call my dad and discuss flights, write that amazon review I promised to write and read a tonne of things, also clean this place and myself up and lesson plan for this afternoon as well as finish 1200 words by tonight and make sure my car has petrol in it for tomorrow.

 

Love Letters #7

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Dear Mama,

We don’t always get along. Sometimes I am very rude to you. Like yesterday, when I walked in from work, exhausted and thirsty, and you said ‘where have you been, missy!’ and I got irritated and said, ‘Where do you think I’ve been?! You know I go to work. See, you always ask me this because you never remember because you don’t care about me.’

That was cruel of me. I know you care about me. I know you are tired and overworked, and nobody helps you at home. Ellie stays in her room all the time, and moans about doing a pile of dishes. She never cleans anything, and you go to work and come home and cook and clean after four kids aged between 21 and 10. And not one of them lifts a finger for you, except maybe sometimes. Very rarely, though. And you call them until your voice is hoarse and that is so wrong. If i had the time, Mama, I would help you. I would clean up for you and cook dinners for you and make sure the boys behave.

I know I should make time, but it’s so hard. There is not a moment where I am not teaching or studying for the imminent exam. But when it is over, I will help you. I will take you places so you can relax.

I want you to know that I am sorry. I am sorry for all the pain I have ever caused you, and I know I have caused you a lot of it, and much of it you haven’t forgiven. I don’t want to bring it up again with you because you will make me relive it again and again. You have this habit, you see, of going into all the grainy details. Details which are painful for me. And it was all five years ago. And I am so sorry but I can’t say it without feeling so awful and painful and scared. So I just try to silently show you by doing the best I can for you.

I say, jokingly, that your mother was a mumsy mother, unlike you. But you don’t have to be ‘mumsy’ to be a good mother. It’s not the hugs and the cuddles we want. We see your love in the way you make our breakfasts before school, and the way you listen to all our woes, even though you have plenty of your own to worry about, and which you never speak of. We see it in the encouragement you give us, in the way you push us to be better people. In the way you have sacrificed everything, even your sight, for us. You were so unhappy for so many years and it was all for us.

Us ungrateful, wretched children, most of whom do nothing to help and don’t appreciate anything. But they will. Oh, they will, when you aren’t around them anymore. I hope they do and I hope they feel pain because you don’t deserve to be treated the way they treat you. You are their mother and you deserve to be respected highly, for all you have done and continue to do for those lazy, selfish louts.

I don’t always agree with the things you do, but you made me who I am today. You helped me become more confident in myself, and love myself for who I am. You told me I was beautiful when my bald patch shone bright like a star on top of my head. You made me read from the age of three, and if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have found my true calling.

You are not soppy at all, and saying these things to you would result in a ‘Ohh, shurrup’ in that no nonsense way of yours. We aren’t a touchy feely family at all. Mostly because you aren’t, but that is okay. It is just the way it is. I just want you to know you are appreciated, and you are a great mother, just like your mother before you, who you never stop remembering to us.

And I wish nothing but the best for you, Mama. I will take care of you, even if you bat me away and tell me to stop mothering you. Who will take care of you, if not your own children?

A Mother's Love

Carrot Cake

For breakfast, he ordered a slab of carrot cake, coated in thick, creamy icing, and a small mug filled to the brim with a fresh, well made latte. He ate it with a plastic fork, off a ceramic plate, and glanced around at the slowly filling cafe.

‘Hello.’

‘Hi, hi. Yes, hi, Arianna.’

‘Peter?’

‘Pete, but yes, hi.’

‘Pete. You look different.’

His hair was bleached in places from the sun, and the tops of his cheeks and his nose were red, browning. He seemed thinner. His face was sharper, his arms almost scrawny. He wore a bright green polo shirt, and on his wrist was a ring of pasty white against the browny red of his forearms, where he must have worn a watch. Why did he take it off, then?

She sat down in front of him, her clothes pristine, sharp edged, and her hair cut short and straight, not a wisp out of place, despite it being loose around her face.

Her face was clear, symmetrical. She was neither pretty nor ugly, nor was she plain. She just was.

‘Arianna. You don’t.’

Neither of them smiled.

‘Right.’ Arianna pulled a small black folder from her neat bag. It looked as though it fit inside perfectly, neither too big nor too small. He eyed the folder and the bag, then scratched his neck irritably.

‘Let’s get cracking.’ Pete said, and he shoved the last mouthful of oozing carrot cake into his wide mouth, his cold, blue eyes on the folder that Arianna was now sifting through. He swigged at his latte, and then pushed his plate and cup away, folding his arms on the table and leaning forward as though he were at a social gathering, and about to enjoy himself.

Arianna glanced up at him, then quickly down when she realised he was looking at her.

‘Right,’ she said again, ‘right.’

‘Right.’

Arianna pulled out some documents. She leant over, her straight brown hair falling over her face, and pulled a pen out of her bag, which nestled by her gleaming high heels.

‘You will need to sign here,’ she pointed with the end of the pen, ‘and here.’

‘Right, yep.’ Pete pulled the papers towards him, and as he did the bottom part of the paper rubbed against a glop of carrot cake icing on the table, smearing the underside of the crisp paper.

‘Right.’ Arianna said, noticing, and she made the slightest of grimaces. Pete did not notice, as he signed his life away.

‘Right,’ and he slid the papers over to Arianna again, leaving a trail of smeared cream across the table as he did so.

‘Ok.’

‘You okay?’ Pete took another swig of his latte, eyebrows raised in question over the rim of his mug.

‘Yes, I’m fine.’

‘Going to Spain?’

‘No.’

‘Oh.’ he paused, then raised his eyebrows again at her, when she didn’t fill the silence between them.

‘It fell through.’

‘Why?’

‘Company decided to send someone else.’

‘Well. Too bad. I’m great. Had a court hearing last week, for punching a man in the face.’

‘Oh.’

‘Yeah. Punched him because he was abusing his girlfriend.’

‘Okay.’

‘He deserved it. Right twit. I don’t regret it. And I was feeling terrible because I’d lost mine.  And there he was shouting at his, while he still had her. Fuckin’ prick. Mind you, I wasn’t that great to you myself, was I… so.. What’s wrong?’

‘Nothing.’

‘You’re peaky as fuck.’

‘I fainted. At work.’

Pete sat back, and swallowed.

‘Good.’

‘That’s not nice.’

‘You deserve it.’

‘Okay.’

‘Yeah, you deserve it.’ Pete pursed his thin lips, nodding a little, and his eyes were full of anger when he looked at her.

Arianna stood up.

‘Okay, then.’

‘Call me soon.’ Pete looked up at her, and despite his cold, cold face full of hostility, she could see the desperation in his ocean blue eyes.

‘Yup.’ Arianna walked away quickly, her sharp, pointy heels clicking on the wooden floors of the cafe, the sound swallowed into the loud babble of voices that took over the cafe as she got further away from him.

Pete watched her go, picking absently at the crumbs on his plate. She exited the cafe, then stood outside for a second. He frowned as she put her face up to the sky, her shoulders rising deeply then falling, before walking across the road. She didn’t glance back once.

His shaky fingers, the nail beds black and grimy, pulled a cigarette and a lighter from his pockets, and he stood up to walk jerkily outside the cafe, where he lit up and took a deep drag, closing his eyes against the bright sun of summer on his face.

 

 

What Happened on Saturday?

Here is a repost of one of the first blog posts I ever wrote on this site. Mainly because I am busy studying and thought it would be good to recycle. 

 

This isn’t an exclusive insight into Saturday the 21st of December, but a summary of lots of Saturdays, and the significance of Saturdays, and what Saturday has come to mean.

Everybody has a different image in their minds when they hear the word ‘Saturday’.

For me, Saturdays are laced with yet other obligations I must adhere to. I have archery classes on a Saturday, and while this may not be an obligation as SUCH, it is nevertheless something I know will deter me from having a classic weekend lie in!

Saturday the 21st, 2013, was an interesting day. I was kept busy enough not to notice that I had a sore throat settling in until right after dinner, when swallowing my peppermint tea became rather a chore. Hmm, thought I, I do hope I am not coming down with anything!

My hopes were slammed to the curb however, when I woke up this morning feeling absolutely despicable.

When I used to live abroad, Saturdays were the first days of the week, meaning that my school week began on a Saturday, and ended on a Wednesday. Needless to say our Saturdays were like Mondays, and our Wednesdays were like Fridays!

During those schooldays I made up a song-y sort of limerick that went along the lines of,

“Saturday, chatterday, butterscotch and batter day”

and I can’t remember the rest but it was quite catchy and I used to sing it every Saturday whilst I was getting ready for school. Saturdays are rather measly, in general. Everybody is out on a Saturday so your usual haunts are no longer your own personal haunts but the haunts of the world, which diminishes their sense of ‘haunt’, as it were.

Personally I prefer Fridays. They consist of a day’s worth of hard work, and end in an evening of rest and relaxation, which, unlike on a Saturday, feel DESERVED because one had worked their ass off for it! Added to that feeling is the sense of freedom which comes with knowing that you can stay up as long as you wish doing whatever you like, because there is nothing to prepare for the next day, and no specific time in which you have to be awake!

Also, I shall take this opportunity to say that the dates and the days of December 2013 correspond to the dates and the days of September of the same year! To make this statement clearer, I shall give you an example. In September, this year, the 21st occured on a Saturday, and the 22nd occurred on a Sunday, which is the same as the 21st of this month (December), which occurred on a Saturday, and the 22nd (today) which happens to fall on a Sunday! I just thought this was an interesting little bitsy fact worthy of note.

What comes to your mind when you think of ‘Saturday’?

Time Soars

Just finished reading the Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon for my next assignment. When I logged onto the university website I realised it was due in five days, and my 4k word assignment in seven.

Where did time go? WHERE?

The book was mighty eye opening, and I didn’t understand why they didn’t go home even though they were lonely and unhappy. I mean, sure the money was an issue, but even those who raised it didn’t go home.

That is curious, see? It’s the idea of an illusion that they are still chasing, even after ten years (in the case of Moses). And I was suddenly gripped with the fear that what if I end up like that, always chasing my dreams but never quite getting there.

Well, the first step would be, of course, to ace this assignment, and then ace my exam.

‘Tis a sweltering day, folks, and the masses have left their humble abodes to parade about the city slowly peeling off their layers to reveal the pasty skin they have kept under wraps for the majority of this confusing season. But the temperatures have soared, and roofed places are stuffy, so sitting in this glass library which is acting like a green house is punishment enough.

Although I have to say I am enjoying dissecting Lonely Londoners.

Adieu, and happy Saturday, and Happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating today. We had ours back in March 🙂