Thursday, 22 February 2007


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The other night I watched on TV a drama based on the book The Bad Mother's Handbook.
The number one bestseller - now a prime-time TV special starring Catherine Tate

The Bad Mother's Handbook is the story of a year in the lives of Charlotte, Karen and Nan, none of whom can quite believe how things have turned out. Why is it all so difficult? Why do the most ridiculous mistakes have the most disastrous consequences? When are you too old to throw up in a flowerbed after too much vodka? When are you too young to be a mother? Both hilarious and wise, it is a clear-eyed look at motherhood - and childhood - in its many guises, from the moment the condom breaks to the moment you file for divorce or, more optimistically, from the moment you hear your baby's first cry to the moment you realize that there are as many sorts of mother as there are children, and that love sometimes is the most important thing of all.
I did buy the book when it came out but never finished it. Catherine Tate in the role of Karen tells her daughter Charlotte that The Bad Mother's Handbook is about loving your child so much, so unconditionally that you feel that you will never be a good enough mother. I thought that Catherine Tate was brilliant, of course funny but so believable .
I feel that we mothers are being sold out and we are no longer truly appreciated.
If we stay at home with our children we are often seen as not making a significant contribution to society and are made to believe that we are living off someone else , we are made to feel a failure and selfish.
If we go to work we are seen as bad mothers, thinking only of money and of course we are again thought of as selfish.
So how do we win?
Karen in the story was a single mum bringing up her daughter Charlotte and taking care of her aging mum and working part time as a teachers aid, obviously a hardworking mother but all the demands on her made her feel as if she were failure and it made her feel as if she had missed out on a life.
I read the book Bad Blood by Lorna Sage, I was saddened at a life that ended too early but I was impressed that when she was 17 she got pregnant, finished her a levels, had her baby and still went to university and became a respected academic. She had her daughter Sharon in 1959. I was so impressed with this book that I gave it to my daughters to read and I have always told them that an unexpected pregnancy is nothing to be regretted and should not stop them doing anything in their lives that they really want to do.
Lives take many turns and every journey is different, I didn't start my degree until I was 31.
I think that we as mothers need to teach our children that they can do whatever they want to do and not let the expectations of society influence them. This goes for boys as well as girls.
For example, over the years I have read about many individuals living a 'religious' life and the main theme seems to be to live a life of service to others and seek for rewards in heaven. O.K if that's what you believe and it makes you happy good BUT don't let that be all there is. Live the journey now and enjoy it for yourself. We only have one life just like this, so do what you have to do to make yourself happy not just everyone else.
We care too much about the approval of others. I am sure everyone's closets would rattle if you probed a little deeper.
Let your life be yours.

Saturday, 17 February 2007


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I have read all of the works of John Wyndham but my favourite has to be The Chrysalids and I have read it many times and I have wondered a number of times what it would be like to write a sequel to it in the way that sequels were written by another author i.e Rececca
like the book Rebecca's Tale.
The Chrysalids is written about life in a post apocalyptic world.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The story begins in post-apocalypse rural Labrador, Canada several thousand years in the future. Labrador has become a warmer and more hospitable place than it is at present. The inhabitants of Labrador have vague memories of "The Old People", a technologically advanced civilization which existed long before them and which they believe was destroyed when God sent "Tribulation" to the world to punish their forebearers' sins. The society that has survived in Labrador is loosely reminiscent of the American frontier of about the 18th century The inhabitants practice a form of fundamentalist Christianity with post-apocalyptic prohibitions. They believe that in order to follow God's word and prevent another Tribulation, they need to preserve absolute normality among the surviving humans, plants and animals. Genetic invariance has been elevated to the highest religious principle, and humans with even minor mutations are considered "Blasphemies" and the handiwork of the Devil. Individuals not conforming to a strict physical norm are either killed or sterilized and banished to the Fringes, a forbidden area still rife with animal and plant mutations.

Most of the action takes place in the inland rural settlement of Waknuk. Ten year old David Strorm, the son of Waknuk's zealous religious patriarch, has inexplicably vivid dreams of brightly lit cities and horseless carts that are at odds with his pre-industrial experience. Despite David's rigorous religious training, he befriends Sophie, a girl carefully concealing the fact that she has six toes on each foot. With the nonchalance of childhood David keeps her secret. The subsequent discovery of Sophie's mutation and her family's attempted flight causes David to wonder at the brutal persecution of human "Blasphemies" and the ritual culling of animal and plant "Deviations". David and a few others of his generation harbor their own invisible mutation: they have strong telepathic abilities. David begins to question why all who are different must be banished or killed. As they mature, David and his fellow telepaths realize that their unusual mutation would be considered a "blasphemy" and they carefully conceal their abilities. That their mutation cannot be directly detected allows their unusual abilities to remain undiscovered for a time. Eventually the group is exposed and David, his half-cousin Rosalind and younger sister Petra flee to the Fringes. Through the unusually strong telepathic abilities of Petra they make contact with a more advanced society in distant "Sealand". David, Rosalind and Petra elude their would-be captors and are rescued by the Sealand mission to discover the source of Petra's telepathic transmissions.

Though the nature of "Tribulation" is not explicitly stated, it is implied that it was a nuclear holocaust, both by the mutations, and by the stories of sailors who report blackened, glassy wastes to the south where the remains of faintly glowing cities can be seen. Sailors venturing too close to these ruins experience symptoms similar to radiation sickness. A woman from Sealand, a character with evident knowledge of the Old People's technology, mentions "the power of gods in the hands of children".

From the number of times I have read the book, I have only really thought of the Chrysalids in relation to the present and the future, never really as a statement on our past.

The leaders of the village attempt to keep control of the people and affects of the radiation under control through strict rules. BUT in the book David(the main character) discusses with his uncle about right and wrong and how can they possibly know that the strict rules they have are correct. Only 'perfect' children are allowed to survive, I am not sure if they are killed or just left in the fringe lands but children who develop problems later are banished to the fringes. Who made the rules? The people left after the Tribulation? Were they right? Where did their yard stick to judge people come from?

They have a second book with their Bible which was written by their first leader, it describes how long an arm and a leg etc can be, or how many hands or fingers a human can have. Any thing that differs is a blasphemy which happens often with their houses being built from the remains of the 'old people'.

Without the fundamentalism,really how different is our society.
Who wrote our 'religious' books?
Where did the laws of our country come from?
Who decided what was right and wrong for us?
I believe that everyone is on a spectrum as far as mental health is concerned, one day you could not feel good but another you feel better whilst on other days you feel brilliant. But why should any end of the spectrum be right or wrong?
Years ago epileptics were seen as afflicted by the devil.
During my nursing career the format for caring for the mentally ill in the UK and the learning disabled has changed, they are no longer locked away in institutions. But I know some countries still do banish them and lock them away.
Why should any form of religion seek to establish the laws of a country?

Whilst the leaders in The Chrysalids are seeking to protect themselves from the mistakes that the 'old people' made they are in fact, if you look at the history of our society, doing the same.

Friday, 16 February 2007


I believe that dreams are nothing more that the manifestations of all the things that we see and hear and come across in our waking lives. But gee mine are so weird!
Just before I was so rudely awoken this morning I was dreaming a dream....................
I was in New York giving out cups of tea to ladies of the night from the back of a lorry, one of the girls was so impressed with my UK accent that she insisted on taking a photograph of me. She apologised for her job and I replied, 'I have been a waitress and a wife in my life, that's not much different to your job'! Yep, lack of sleep kicking in there.
A psychologist would have a great time with my dreams, I then dreamt that a mobius strip came floating through the air at me and I walked through it(but nothing changed and I was still in the same place) and it reduced in size and became a Celtic gold ring and it floated on to my finger.
I am so glad that I didn't live during some other era of time or I would either have been burned at the stake as a witch or started a new religion with dreams like that!
I have been reading through the Bible since Christmas( a lot of skimming I'm afraid) and I am surprised how many of the Old Testament communications have actually been 'dreams' rather than 'meetings' with any kind of heavenly beings! I started to go to church when I was about 9 or 10 years old and I suppose a lot of ideas I have regarding the Bible come from that time and so I think that a lot of my naive impressions stem from a child's understanding.

This is where I live!

Two shops hit by armed robberies

A bookmakers and a travel agency have been targeted in two armed robberies within hours of each other.South Wales Police sealed off a shopping centre in Lakeside, Cardiff, after two men, believed to be armed with a firearm, held up the Betfred shop at 1100GMT.Police are keeping an "open mind" about if it is linked to an armed robbery at Thomson's Travel, Pontyclun at 1400.No-one was injured and it is thought no shots were fired in either incident.The men who held up the Cardiff betting shop are believed to have fled with a quantity of cash and escaped in a getaway car driven by a third man.

Because I can't walk very far due to arthritis , I tend to shop in areas where I can park the car and walk straight in to the shop. I live in the dodgy end of Cardiff but these shops are not very far from where I live and I go to a post office, a chemist and a cake shop here as they are on the way back to my house from town. The shops are in one of the nicer areas of Cardiff and the thought of guns being used so close to where I live is just difficult to comprehend. Even though I joke about where I live as being dodgy , I think it is a positive haven compared to other places I read about in the news.

I was just amazed to read about this in the news yesterday.
Thousands to police smoking ban
By Nick Triggle
Health reporter, BBC News

Thousands of council staff are being trained to police the smoking ban in bars, restaurants and shops in England.
Ministers have given councils £29.5m to pay for staff, who will be able to give on-the-spot £50 fines to individuals and take court action against premises. They will have the power to enter premises undercover, allowing them to sit among drinkers, and will even be able to photograph and film people. Smokers' groups and industry officials said the plans were a "waste of money". The smoking ban is due to come into force on 1 July. It covers virtually all enclosed public places including offices, factories, pubs and bars. But neither outdoor space nor private homes will be affected.

I cannot believe that so much money is to be spent 'policing' this. I think it is totally unnecessary to spend any money 'policing' it.
No I am not a smoker but if I went to a bar or a pub or a restaurant and they were smoking and the proprietor refused to stop the people smoking then I wouldn't go again, as simple as that.
I can only imagine that smoking still exists in the smallest of offices and factories and so I can't see that as being too big an issue. If it were then contained to 'policing' the areas where complaints are made, surely that wouldn't cost £29.5m? I am sure that everyone can guess where I would spend the money? Better preventative health care sounds good to me!
And.......... can you imagine being one of the people who would have to do the 'policing' in the
pubs and bars. It doesn't sound a very safe job trying to stop people smoking if they have had a few drinks.
Councils have complained that they do not have enough money to pay for social care but does the government give them extra money for this?

Wednesday, 14 February 2007


You are witnessing the birth of a new blog!
I shall keep A Blog on the Spectrum to talk about Autism and Beauty and family life and I shall use this new blog to talk about my views on the world around me and my thoughts and opinions(I know, scary stuff!). But for a while now I have felt guilty about writing about my views and opinions on things in general and mixing it up with the stuff about Autism and the family because the original purpose of the blog was to comment on Autism and living with it.
So here we are!
Here I get to talk about politics, philosophy, religion(sorry guys!) and general world goings on.
I have reared my girls well, they are like me and have an opinion on everything, especially my 21 year old!