Be bold for change and help accelerate gender parity.
It was with great sadness that I learned this morning of the death of Lauren Bacall. I grew up listening to my mother talk about her films, her love for Bogart, her voice and just how wonderful she was.
During a weekend stay in London many years ago, we were walking back from a restaurant to our hotel, when we saw her walking towards us. We were in Park Lane and it was quite late. She was all alone, hands thrust into the deep pockets of her raincoat, just walking down the road in the rain.
‘Look’ I said in a louder than expected whisper to my husband, ‘it’s Lauren Bacall.’
She turned toward us and said in that amazing voice of hers, ‘Yes it is, but keep it under your hat.’
My story is rather bleak as that is how most things have seemed to me this week, though I have tried for a hopeful ending.
Thanks go as usual to Rochelle for continuing to host Friday Fictioneers. I must admit to slight envy when I read in her post that she will be meeting up with some Fictioneers this weekend, it must be so good to meet up in person with the people whose stories we read each week. I can dream…
Thanks also to Kent Bonham for the intriguing photograph this week.
Word Count 100
Maggie walked carefully down the dimly lit back street. Her small bag contained the items she was told she would need, afterwards. The house in the back street was her only option, no-one must ever find out about ‘It.’
The bright room smelled strongly of antiseptic; the strange array of equipment on the starched white cloth, looked alien and frightening. Though her body had healed after the violent assault, the nightmare continued. Tom still could not bring himself to touch her and now, this.
She endured the pain and, with her body cleansed, at last felt ready to move on.
A recent survey by YouGov for the Sunday Times, found that British women are less likely to ask for either a pay rise or a promotion, than men.
I’m sorry, but this isn’t news to me and the findings don’t surprise me in the slightest.
Although women can manage the household budget and make most of the larger financial decisions at home, they are totally embarrassed about managing their own worth in the workplace. One friend once confided that if she was worth a pay rise, then her boss would make sure she got one. I wasn’t sure if she was scared of being told ‘No’ or not confident enough to ask.
Most men don’t seem to have the same reluctance, they also have more confidence to stand up for themselves and on average get paid more than women doing the same job – (on a personal note, this has always seemed an appalling situation to me, employers should set a rate for the job irrespective of the gender of the person doing it.)
In these uncertain times, hanging on to a job, any job, it a top priority for men and women alike. Unfortunately, most of the low paid, part-time jobs are done by women and when cuts have to be made, this is where the axe usually falls.
I haven’t any solutions and perhaps it is just that women are more interested in the broader picture of life, than the narrow view provided by work; whatever the reason women do need to find more confidence in the workplace.
See the full YouGov survey results here
It’s time for Friday Fictioneers again. Many thanks to Rochelle for captaining our ship and keeping us on course, and to Janet Webb for providing the watery theme for the 100 word challenge this week. My story follows the photograph.
A Different Life
Word Count: 100
Noor clawed the baked earth around her failing crop; her baby son slept on her back, too weak to cry. Solomon set off weeks ago to look for work, the water he left them was all gone. It was thirty miles to the aid station, Noor knew if her son was to live, she had to make the journey again.
Nora stood looking out, praying for a break in the weather. It had rained constantly for six days. The garden was a sodden mess, no place for the bouncy castle or Disney Princess tent. She considered cancelling the birthday party.
As soon as I read the topic for the challenge this week, I thought of my grandmother and a piece of work she created when she was 76, after signing up for a night school course to ‘learn something a bit different”. Her eyesight was getting worse and she was suffering with arthritis in her hands, but once she had started the embrodiery course she was determined to see it through. The result of her labours was framed and put on show in the town hall, causing her much embarrassment.
She had knitted, sewed and crocheted all her life; in the early days of her marriage it was through necessity, but in later life she enjoyed giving small gifts to friends and family. Her’s is an incredible story of love and separation, of loss, betrayal and fortitude and perhaps one day I will write about her. In the meantime, although I appreciate it is not to everyone’s taste, I hope you enjoy her “Bird of Paradise”. I inherited it on her death and it is one of my most treasured possessions.
and a close up of the detail of the bird’s head
Yes, I’m a woman.
I push doors that clearly say PULL.
I laugh harder when I try to explain why I’m laughing
I walk into a room and forget why I was there.
I count on my fingers in math.
I hide the pain from my loved ones
I say it is a long story, when it really isn’t, just to get out of having to tell it.
I cry a lot more than you think I do.
I care about people who don’t care about me.
I cry at sad movies, but will watch them again and again
I listen to you, even when you don’t listen to me.
And a hug will always help
There has been a great deal of wedding coverage in the press recently; a certain William and Catherine made headlines round the world, last week it was the turn of Zara and Mike. I oohed and aahed over the wedding dresses like most females I know and made comments on design, fabric, fit etc.
Then, yesterday I saw the story of the bride who had worn a 127 year old wedding dress for her wedding. The dress was bought in 1884 for her great-great-grandmother and has been worn by several generations of her family down the years.
The bride looks stunning, the dress amazing. The family should congratulate themselves for keeping this heirloom safe all this time. I feel privileged to have seen it.
(click on the photo to read the full article)
I have always been a fan of actress Pauline Quirke and so was delighted to see her new look in the paper the other day. Losing weight is not easy. I have tried various diets at different times of my life and, like everyone else who has ever dieted, find that some work, some don’t. I have never been a fan of the cabbage soup diet – very anti social, or the banana diet, very binding. Likewise shakes and snacks, they don’t do it for me either. Pauline followed the LighterLife plan and lost 6 stone in weight, the results speak for themselves. I think she looks amazing.
The Dukan Diet has also been in the press lately and it does looks interesting; and although health experts say we should eat from each food group each day in moderation, I don’t think foregoing carbs for a few days can do much harm. As you get older any excess weight becomes difficult to shift, so while I’m not sure about following the programme long-term, for a kick-start it should be ideal.
I was intrigued by the names of baby Beckham. Harper, although very different I can at least understand, but Seven……. It has been explained in different ways but seemingly the baby was born just after 7 in the 7th month of the year and David played at number 7 …… if this catches on then my eldest son will have to change his name to Four, following the same reasoning as above.
Lastly Twitter – a while ago I wrote a post about Twitter and whether to tweet or not. Since then I have to say I have become quite hooked. I exchange tweets with some great people and have found that if you strip away the celebrity chit-chat, underneath there is a seriously free marketing and PR tool. I have watched as businesses have attracted more and more followers by selective tweeting about what they, grow, sell, produce, make, let, buy etc. And it has also become a sort of advice directory, just post a tweet asking for help or advice on almost anything and before you know it, replies come flooding in. Charities seem to have benefited too and there are people on twitter who work tirelessly to retweet appeals for help with raising money or to publicise new campaigns.
Amongst other things it has renewed my faith in human nature. People still want to help people.
Yesterday, my youngest son and his wife arrived with new daughter sleeping pecefully, and announced that they had come to take Grannie and Grandad to the park! So, I have a name at last! I was allowed to push the new pram carrying my youngest granddaughter and, like a learner driver I set off with great caution.
It was a lovely day; the sky a light, blue, without a cloud, the air crisp and clear with the promise of spring just around the corner.
We walked on; dad and grandad taking the lead, with mum and grannie bringing up the rear with the pram. I watched my son and his father walking ahead, almost shoulder to shoulder and remembered how many times we had walked this route in the past, to shout encouragement at football matches and tennis games, now we were walking with his baby daughter, well wrapped up and asleep in her new pram.
On we walked. Through the park, down by the river, along the bank then up and and across the little renovated metal bridge to the tea rooms on the other side. Lots of folk had taken advantage of the weather and were out with their dogs and bikes and children, all drawn like magnets to the tea rooms for refreshment and, in my case, a sit down!
After tea and a large slice of Victoria Sponge, (fortification for the walk home you understand) we set off back. The baby had woken and was due to be fed. So we quickened our pace. It was at this point that I somehow managed to pull a muscle in my calf. My son relieved me of pram duty and I sat for a while on a low wall, massaging my leg. The baby was very annoyed with us by this stage, so the little family walked ahead, leaving grannie and grandad to follow behind.
Lying in the bath this morning, trying to ease the pulled muscle in my leg, I became aware of a drum-drum-drum noise coming from somewhere nearby. It was similar to the noise a car makes going over ridges in the road and I wondered if perhaps our “dawn chorus” of feathered friends, at odds with losing an hour of sleep, were doing some sort of tap dance on the roof in protest! Slowly I realised it was coming from the shower room next door. My husband was cleaning the tiles after his shower and the noise was made by the squidgy blade cleaner, running over the grouting as it moved from tile to tile!
I lay back and smiled, he really has been listening.
But I wonder how long it will last.