Wednesday, 10 April 2013

My experience of "Thatcherism"

As this is my blog, I feel the need to post my musings on this latest development in the history of what was once this great nation.

In 1979, when I was 7 years old, Margaret Thatcher was elected as prime minister.  I was pleased.  My knowledge of politics as a 7 year old was zero, but I remember us holding a vote in our class on who we wanted to win.  Obviously, it had to be her as she was a girl!  All girls together, so to speak.  This will have been the only time I have ever voted Tory.  About 18 months later, my mum became pregnant.  With the same short-sightedness I was keen for her to have a girl.  I was overjoyed when she did indeed give me a sister and felt it was some sort of victory over my brother (who had of course wanted a boy).  Both preferences turned out to be less than the best choices.  In the short term, having a sister meant I had to share my bedroom.  In the long term, Thatcher screwed up the country.  In hindsight, I think the latter choice was by far the worse of the two.

Many people have been talking about the apocalyptic wasteland that was apparently inherited by Thatcher's government and how the measures she took were apparently vital.  Admittedly, I was too young to really recall any of that.  I remember a really long hot summer in 1976, but I don't think that that was very much influenced by the political climate of the time.  I am willing to admit that some of the decisions made  may have seemed right at the time, but it seems to me that the long term consequences have far outweighed the short term measures that were taken.  Obviously there were some winners, but the ultimate losers were all of us as we learned how to be more self-seeking and that caring for others was the preserve of the weak.

Sadly, Thatcher did not turn out to be a trail-blazer for women.  It seemed to me in the 80s, which I do clearly remember, that the only way for a woman to succeed was to be a man.  Look at the shoulder pads and power dressing that became the norm.  It seems to me that using Thatcher's achievement as the ultimate example of womanhood is like using the terrorists of 9/11 as the ultimate examples of Islam.  They certainly made an impact, but neither of these things should be repeated.

I clearly remember in the 80s the very real and tangible fear of nuclear war.  I remember us going to war over an island full of penguins and sheep.  I remember us sucking up to America at every available opportunity.  I remember a lot of bombings in Northern Ireland.  The miners.  Student loans ( I was the first year for both GCSEs and student loans). And I also remember how being "upwardly mobile" was the goal:  the shallow, selfish pursuit of status and money that became the ultimate achievement for us all.  Yes, some people bought their council houses, but no more were built.  We were all expected to own our own homes, drive our own cars, keep up with the Jones's with our tangible shiny wealth and new technology.  My family could not compete.  I did not have new, fashionable clothes.  We did not get new technology until long after everyone else.  Most of the time we didn't have a car as my dad left with that when I was around 11 and my mum never learned to drive.  I opened my bank account at the NatWest and never got further than the first piggy.  My best friend (whose surname was actually Jones) collected all five. 

Now this is not a whine about "oh poor me" because actually I had a great childhood, but once I became aware of what I did not have, it became a bumpy ride.  All of this attitude towards the haves and have nots, the increasing gap between rich and poor, was created by her government and her policies.

And let's not forget Section 28, which restricted my ability as a teacher to talk to the students in my charge in case I "promoted a pretend family relationship" until 2003!  I remember the AIDS crisis and all the propaganda surrounding that, where her government did nothing to dispel the "gay plague" myth.

I do not believe that the values that she espoused were the best for this country and I believe that they have paved the way for the social inequality and financial crisis that we are now experiencing.  The National Curriculum began the devaluing of our education system, so that no-one trusts teachers as the professionals that they are.  Many of our national institutions and provisions were sold off:  it was like a massive bargain basement where everything had to go.  The traffic congestion on our roads; the housing crisis; the fact we have no industry; the worship of money and the banks; the fact that we are all now in competition with each other - no longer a community all in it together, but a bunch of separate individuals slogging our lonely way through life.  All of these things are directly attributable to that woman and her policies.

So, I'm not sad that she's dead, but neither am I rejoicing.  I am glad that she can no longer be wheeled out like a trophy at politically opportune moments.  I am glad that she is outlived by that "terrorist" Nelson Mandela.  But mostly I feel that the battle has not been won.  The agenda she put into place through the twelve years of her reign - and let's face it, it was a reign - the legacy she has bequeathed us is still here.  It is all around us and pervades our whole society from top to bottom.  Until we have thoroughly purged ourselves from the insidious evil that she has inflicted on us, there is no time to be happy.  Yes, Britain is broken, but let's not forget who stamped on it and cracked it to allow the breaking to take place.  We need to get back to a time when it is us and us, not us and them.

In 1991, when Thatcher was eventually forced out, I received a knock on my door of the room of my student residence.  Stefania, my neighbour, was there and she told me that Margaret Thatcher had gone.  Now that was a day for rejoicing.  But, let us NEVER forget what she did to us all, because she could.  She is gone, but she must not be forgotten.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Long time no blog.

It's been a very long time since I last made any attempt to catalogue any of my life and I'm not going to attempt to get it all up to speed as it really would take too damn long.

2011 seems to be the year of new directions and realisations for me. This is good as 2010 was a year of loss and it is important to be able to take stock and move forward when things don't go as you expect or hope.

I believe that I am learning what is of value and what is truly important in life. At least, I hope I am, although I expect there is a long way to go.

I have found that I am very much evaluating my friendships and trying to come to terms with what is really valuable. Life is too short to waste energy on arseholes and vampires and I am getting better at spotting and removing such people from my life. In some cases I think downsizing is the key rather than complete exorcism. The important thing is to protect yourself. Bad shit can just sneek into your psyche subtley, often without you even noticing it is there. And then it all collapses like a house of cards.

Jesus was right when he said to build your house upon the rock. The only way to really do that is to have proper self-respect and a desire for contentment. I have decided that happiness is as over-rated as it ever was, being a fleeting thing that pursuit of will only result in unhappiness ultimately. Wanting anything is an unhealthy thing if it becomes the all-consuming thing in your life. My rock is my husband, as well as myself. It is good to have someone outside of yourself to reflect things back. I am very fortunate that I have found someone to do that.

I don't believe that I am perfect, I know I make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are huge. But it is how you move on from those mistakes that makes you a good person. I have never set out to hurt anyone and if people get hurt then I think I am big enough to want to try to correct that. I know I have foot-in-mouth disease, but sometimes I think people need to hear the truth.

Life isn't about what one has, or even to some extent what one does, it is about being. So I suppose to remember what to be is the key. I can be many things.

It's strange when people who are harmful want into your life. Why would I need that, or even want it? It's good to be a giver, but you have to learn who deserves to receive!

Life does not stand still so we can't either. Nothing stays the same and goodness has to be worked at and held onto or it will pass too. It is true that you don't know what you've got until it's gone. We need to value the here and now as that is all we ever have.

So, there you have it July 2011. What is next? (Apart from August, obviously.)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

April Musings

Okay, so I've been feeling for a while that it's time to post another blog, but ho hum, what to put, eh?
Am sort of feeling happy and confident after a long hard drag into, what I believe may be, spring. The sun is out and it is relatively warm, which leads me to consider such exciting things as if I do some washing and hang it out, might it ACTUALLY get dry?!

So anyway, I'm in the shop, it's a quiet day. I've done a tongue piercing, but on my step-daughter, so no money there - in fact we've had to pay for ice cream, as well as the actual piercing itself, so it's certainly not quids in! Waiting for a former piercee to come in to have her tongue bar changed down, hopefully it will be do-able today as it was too swollen when I saw her on Sat. Ah, the joys of tongue piercing. You wouldn't catch me having it done!

So, I'm in a bit of a weird reflective place again. Must be my age, I think. Was thinking about my ex yesterday as it was his 40th birthday and 5 years ago we were on holiday in Cornwall and all having a lovely time. Just after which it all blew up, due to his inability to keep control of his penis. However, it does make you think about how much things change in 5 years and how much our present is affected by our past. It was getting involved with him that caused me to move to Glastonbury and to leave my daughter behind with her dad, a wrong that has yet to be righted, although that shouldn't be long now. Still, it's all a learning curve and I think that I actually learnt my lesson, at least I hope so. So really there are no hard feelings, although he does have a smug face on his facebook profile - but that will be because he has a smug face! Still, he probably won't speak to me as last time he saw me he ran away!

Anyway, April is usually a good month for me. The sun is at its zenith in my astrological chart on 19th and that is usually a very good, or at least a very influential, day for me. And "Doctor Who" is back on, even without David Tennant it's well worth a watch. Should eventually get my biomech wasp tattoo finished too, as we are planning on taking it to the Newport Tattoo Convention at the beginning of May.

So anyway, life's rich tapestry. The good, the bad, it's all the path to death isn't it? Suppose I should try and make it a good one as I won't be back here again. I wonder about the next 5 years...

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Now I am 38...

... Does anyone think it is time for me to grow up? Anyone any idea what that even means? I have some sort of concept that maybe I should stop wearing short skirts and bright colours and swearing? I'm really no good at this whole time concept.
Do we have to stop at some point and review things? Should we have goals and targets? How do we know if we have achieved anything? What is the measure of success, or is there none and we just drift through it all, where nothing really means anything and we miss the things that do as we're too busy with sonething else?
Where's the party? When does it all START? Or do we just get to the end and wish it had started and then it's too late?
Answers on a postcard please - or, alternatively, leave a comment!
I maybe getting older, but I think I'm a long way off wisdom!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Good old 2009!

It's 2010!! Shockingly, 2009 was not awful. I feel compelled to write a tribute to it as I feel that it was an improvement on 2008, in which, to be fair, bugger all happened - well, not to me anyway, so when it came to reviewing the year, there didn't seem to be much point.
2009, on the other hand, stuff happened! Not all good stuff, but stuff nonetheless and it is certainly true to say that we made it through to this end of the year in a better state than we started it. We started with a lot of problems, mostly financial ones related to the awful "building" we were renting. After eventually securing a bank loan and thinking that things would get better, they got worse when the sewer backed up in the shop and the landlord refused to help us get it sorted out. Needless to say, that was the last straw for us and we got out as quickly as we could. Not as quickly as we would have liked.

It took us a month to get moved out into a new flat and nearly another 2 before we could actually get the business moved, which, thanks to our kindly shareholders, we managed to do successfully at the end of April. Unfortunately, this move also heralded the death of my lovely cat Bran who was run over outside the new shop on 28th April. He was nearly 11 years old and I still miss him very much.

The business move went really smoothly and all of our customers seemed to find us with very few difficulties. The tattooing side of the business has gone from strength to strength, whilst the piercing side has struggled due to freebies going on up the road. We have also struggled financially due to the teaching agency not giving me the work they promised me.

Anyway, in June/July I became team leader for AQA and marked 1000 exam papers. This was more fun than it sounds and I am looking forward to possibly marking another paper this summer.

August saw Flint's 41st birthday and as he had failed to celebrate his 40th properly we managed to have a brilliant night out at the Wookey Hole Inn courtesy of the landlord Craig who is one of our customers and gave us a free room for the night!! We all had a lovely meal and a great time was had by all. Magda also turned 16.

In September, I went on a piercing course in Cheltenham, which gave me the opportunity to stay with Matt and Helen and catch up with them as well as the obvious new skills which I learned. Now being able to do microdermals and skin divers, which is great and a lot of fun too!

Magda pulled a blinder in October by stopping a bike with her face and spending rather a lot of time in A&E until they decided that she had no broken bones or concussion and sent her home.
I decided to separate my body piercing business from the tattooing business and Avalon Body Piercing was born on 1st Oct.
I was also involved with Glastonbury Town Players and the Victorian Music Hall production.. This was massively enjoyable and I got to sing two songs on stage - "Don't Dilly Dally" and "Tarara- Boom-De-Ay", which involved much knicker showing, as well as singing a verse of "Oompahpah". I was told that I was the best thing in the show, but this was somewhat dampened by the fact that I apparently made a good Victorian tart...

November, Tabitha's 13th birthday - where does the time go? Also the month we applied for housing benefit. Actually the first time I ever have! It's amazing we managed without it for so long really, but they have said that they will start paying us in Jan. Until receiving this confirmation though I seemed to spend every bloody week up at the library office and getting increasingly stressed that we would be evicted.

December brought the usual "fun" and "frolics", but with the addition of a "forum meal" in the G&P where I met Tom and Dave who post on the IYCSTH forum and did previously on the now defunct "ThisIs" forum. It was great to meet them and then I went to Vicki's Hollywood party which was also a lot of fun.
And then there was Christmas and New Year at the rooms for one of Carl's dress up nights, with a sci fi theme and much fun was had by all.

So now - 2010. I reckon it will be good. I have registered with a new agency and Flint and I will have been together 4 years on 13th Jan! My hormones have gone a bit mental, but hopefully that is good or indifferent news. Am also starting my body piercing training courses which I expect to do really well.
On the whole though, life's not so bad, We have a warm, dry place to live and a business which is on the up, 4 remaining cats and 2 daughters. I reckon that is a pretty good start.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Death of a forum

Well, in the last few hours of the Somerset forum, I am feeling quite emotional. It feels like being evicted from a home I have loved and having to go out into the uncertainty of a new one (or ones). It's quite shocking really how it has taken over my life in some ways and overlapped into my real life in quite an unexpected way too.
I joined up in July 2008 after J got some ridiculous twaddle about God breaking our window printed and a journalist actually rang up to ask if it was true!! So I only really joined to demonstrate that I wasn't a sinner... So that wasn't entirely successful then!
Soon after joining up, WM decided to ring me and educate me in the ways of Photobucket. This seemed to provoke an insanely jealous response from Rosie. WM then decided that he "knew" me and started some sort of anti-teacher campaign, which was a bit odd and got quite personal. I even got his postings moderated and he still reckoned he was not in the wrong...
Then the whole bizarre story with my cat unfolded, which unfortunately was brought to a premature end by his death. What a superb cat he was. And he linked me to two forum members. We still haven't had a drink for him, guys!
And the rev - what a brilliant bloke! Such a good sense of humour, but well on the case all of the time.
Bumping into RL and her son in Wells was great and Indigo came second in our shop raffle. Shame we only had one prize!
Tom and Dave are the two relative newbies, but I think they will be hard to shake off - look forward to meeting you!
Its weird, but it feels like we have all been through a lot together, like one big forum family. Maybe it was our collective fight against the Nazis? Anyway, you are all great and I will miss the forum as the place we all first met, although I hope that I won't miss you all as we will all be in touch anyway.
RIP thisissomerset forum.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

day off

Wednesdays are my day off, so I can ramble on a bit more here, I suppose. Have been feeling very groggy today as my body kept trying to wake me up at 8am, which I didn't fancy much on my day off (have I mentioned that?!). So, I went back to sleep and had a bizarre random dream. I really can't quite shake it off and get on with the day, although that is partly because I have to try and ring up the bank and I think I'm putting that off, so now, thanks to Tom, I have yet another thing I can do to avoid dealing with my life!!
Drama workshop was quite fun last night. It's good to have fun with that again as my drama ventures were rather spoilt last year by a particular event and I didn't much enjoy panto, for various reasons...
Anyway, I should probably get dressed and get on with that day. I should probably also comment on Tom, who conned me into doing this, but I know a lot less about him than he does about me as I can't really be bothered to conceal my identity properly. I know he lives in Bath and has a great sense of humour and seems to have a love of pussies in all shapes and sizes.
Anyway, here I am and I'm going to see if the Wiifit has paid off and I can now fit into some of the trousers I tried on about a month ago...
If you're reading this - hello and thanks...