Gender Neutral, One Last Request & Saving The Planet – Week 6 : 2018

February 12, 2018

Breaking down stereotypes is important. As a bloke of numerous years then my daughters will confirm that I have ‘baggage’. Step forward Lieutenant Colonel Lucy Giles. She is the first female college commander (?) at Sandhurst. In a week when we were celebrating British women getting the vote then the BBC were talking to prominent women who have broken through ‘glass ceilings’. All good.

She came across as very personable and has seen service around various conflict zones. Through talent and a re-calibration of the way the Armed Forces respects and nurtures female talent then she has ended up in this senior role. The interview on The One Show went according to plan and eventually the presenter called an end to it and thanked her. She graciously responded but asked one favour. Of course? Can I just say hello to my two children who are watching the programme…

Talking of TV then I am not a great watcher of ‘who dunnits’. So when Anna watches the next murder frenzy being poured over by energetic yet dysfunctional detectives, often driving classic old British cars, I glaze over. I see other things in the episode.

Endeavour had the young detective attending a scene in heavy rain. The rain was falling like stair rods from a powerful hosepipe. It wasn’t British rain and the light was wrong – the sky darkens with rain. Not here: I was expecting someone to appear in sunglasses behind the collected plod under umbrellas looking at a prostrate form with a bolt protruding from his ear.

Added to this was the problem with the 1960’s classic cars. ‘Working’ cars are often dirty and, especially with busy policemen, neglected. These particular cars had small rivulets of water standing on their gleaming paintwork. The rivulets arise from the fact that the owners spend most of their waking hours rubbing Autoglym polish into the paintwork. Anyway, surprisingly, my first wife did not appreciate my informed commentary and I was invited to leave the room.

Going bald means more trips to the hairdresser. This is because what you have left doesn’t sit well on your head and you start to look like an elderly Geography teacher unless you keep it trimmed. As a man who has a ‘lot off’ then talking to Clare, my hairdresser, is not difficult but I tend to ask questions that interest me! We got onto who owns the Salon and the how the owners treat her. I heard of unpaid leave for a funeral, crumbling infrastructure, excess hours and the like.

All these things were batted away by the owners who by all accounts were professionals who had other responsible jobs and worked in large well resourced organisations. Regrettably Clare’s only ever raised these issues when they were passing through and she was brandishing scissors over a mane. So we discussed how she should properly corner them and discuss these issues in a heartfelt, list structured, practised but non-threatening way. I think it was a useful consultation but the haircut price remained the same!

Got to admit Elon Musk is an impressive nutter. Lord knows it is spectacular amount of dosh to burn on a trip up around the planet. It helps to be worth $21 billion but I was impressed with the sports car image. Sadly it wasn’t a Morgan.

The weekend saw me out of my depth. I attended a University of York Lifelong Learning course called “A Writer’s Workout: Part Two”. I think I can put pen to paper but compared to the other course members I felt like I was not in their league. Regular writing exercises punctuated the day. The lecturer picked on people to read out their work. One involved writing a postcard to your mother or father (and there is an issue at home). There were no other instructions or advice.

I composed something brief, uninspired and poor and it was handed to another course member to write back. Their postcard, handed to me, read:

“Dear Arthur, The police were around again today. Keep your head below the parapet, son. If anyone asks why you aren’t in the army, tell them you’ve got a bad heart – it doesn’t show. This lot will be over by Christmas and then it won’t matter. All the best, son – Dad”

How brilliant and creative. Another exercise was where we threw a dice with pictures on them and from here you constructed a character. My die were a parachute, a smiley face and a bee. I wrote some rubbish about a conman on the run. One lady took her die and pictures then wrote about a Santa Claus in a Garden Centre! Again, remember she had 60 seconds to think up this situation.

At 4pm I crept out of the classroom feeling wiser but feeling that I’d got away, by a hair’s breadth, from being humiliated.

(The doing away with ‘Men’ and ‘Female’ specific toilets in the University to gender neutral was a surprising development. My Favourite Eldest corrected my exasperated recidivist tendencies and confirmed that this is a good thing).

I’m sure you’ll share my disappointment at failing to procure Britney Spears tickets for her gig in Scarborough. I could have bought some but at £137 each I was not tempted. We saw her Piece Of Me show in Las Vegas in 2016. It’s fabulous and I hope the weather behaves for the Yorkshire fans who’ll turn up.

Recycling is a very good idea. City of York Council’s advice is that only plastic bottles can be recycled and placed in your recycling containers. The rest can be taken to various recycling locations around the city. The following guide is for York. Of interest is the triangle and number stamped on the bottom of most plastic containers – this secret unlocks the mystery of what you can do with your waste:

No, please don’t thank me…

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