Saturday 26 February 2022

Aha, now I get why Putin is evil

 There's an awful lot to dislike about Vladimir Putin tis true, but I kind of admired his unashamed machismo, confidence and mysterious KGB past.  The pure evil of his character didn't hit me until this week.  Not his violent invasion of an independent democratic country, as bad as that is, but his appeal to the men of the Ukrainian army to join him and not to use their children, wives, elders as human shields.   In that moment, finally, I could see him as he actually is.   

The term male chauvinist is so overused, it no longer sounds derogatory, and Putin is so much more than that.  He has positioned himself as a fighting man talking to fighting men, warrior to warrior as in, we the gun carrying men, are the ones who are really in charge, the ones who will make the decisions.  He doesn't appeal to the elected Ukrainian government or to it's male and female leaders.  Nor to the women who are fighting alongside the men in the streets of Kyiv. In his short appeal to Ukrainian men, he lists women as wives and they come after children as if it were a list of chattels. He is not addressing Ukrainian women at all.  His message sent a chill through me, this is who he really is, this is a glimpse of how he would rule Ukraine.  Not with a Council of representatives from each gender, biological or other, or every faith and ethnic background, but with macho white men willing to carry out every atrocity asked of them.  He eschews democracy.

For me this was a lightbulb moment and a time to do a bit of serious research and by serious research, I mean watching experts on the Russian threat giving detailed analysis of the history of the region and the current situation.  I now feel like a fool and more than a tad ashamed of my ignorance.  I spent at least 6 months of the lockdown watching everything Russian I could find, historic and present day in the form of Russian films and 'Bald and Bankrupt', an English vlogger on Youtube who travels all around Russia and areas that were formerly part of the Soviet Union.  And they are bleak, neglected and poverty stricken.  It is clear that Russia does not use it's vast wealth to improve the lives of its' citizens.  Clearly there is little to no investment in housing, roads, infrastructure and amenities that are enjoyed by all the European countries that surround it. They look as though they are trapped in a time warp.

For me it is becoming more clear why Ukrainians today are willing to fight and die on their streets rather than surrender to the tyrannical rule of Vladimir Putin.  Forget 'Godwin's Law'*, there is a direct comparison to Hitler.  He has carried a grudge against the West for his entire life.  He wants to right the wrongs of previous Soviet leaders who broke up 'his' territory, his Russian Empire.  And let's not forget the role of money.  He probably is the richest man in the world, who knows, but imagine how rich he would be once he owns everything?  Sure the sanctions will hit him but the prize is worth it and besides he has been preparing for this war for over 20 years.  His people and his country have been deprived for years, paying one presumes, for an almighty war machine.  The rich USA has 8,000 tanks for example, 'third world' Russia has 22,000.  Just as an aside, a lot of the money stolen from the Russian people is invested in the London property market, so there you go.

Right now I feel ashamed at the response from the USA, the UK and NATO.  Why would they not allow Ukraine to join NATO?  Is it because they knew Ukraine would be first?  Maybe membership of NATO would have prevented this invasion?  It is good that the allies are offering support in the way of sanctions and humanitarian and military (equipment) aid, but it changes nothing.  Here's a crazy idea. What if NATO sent actual troops in to help the Ukrainians fighting on the ground?  And Putin has chosen the arena, ground fighting on the streets, not as yet weapons of mass destruction.  Is he mad enough to go there?  Some might say, yep, he crossed that line eons ago.  But right now he has chosen hand to hand combat, thousands of trained Russian soldiers against a mostly civilian population.  The men and women of Ukraine stand alone against the might of Russia while the rest of the world watches.  Couldn't NATO at least protect them from incoming bombs by declaring Ukraine a no fly zone?

We have never seen this kind of horror so clearly and so graphically as we do now.  Wars filled up the column inches of the broadsheets and occasionally the front pages of the tabloids, but this one, with social media, is happening in real time right in front of us.  We oldies are thinking, jeez, this could have happened to us if 'the Few' and Dad's Army hadn't guarded us against the Nazis.  And of course it did happen to other European countries which is why we fought so hard to hold onto all the freedoms we hold so dear.

Now I feel really scared.  Hitler did not stop at invading Poland.  Putin has stashed enough arms and ammunition to take over the world.  That's what mad men do as history and James Bond have shown us.  The world is now at a pivotal moment, not too dissimilar to the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Joe Biden is in a horrendous position, and thank heavens for all his political experience, because he is now playing a game of nuclear chess.  Putin is feeling emboldened because his troops are now marching in Kyiv.  My greatest hope is that Putin's soldiers start asking themselves, what am I doing, these are my friends, my relatives.  It's happened before, it can happen again. 

At this moment I am rooting and praying for President Zelensky, what a hero and an inspiration, so polemically different to every other politician we have ever seen.  I hope he gets all the miracles he needs to get through this, I just wish the world would do more to save these innocent people, what is the use of a powerful international force if it is kept only as a threat.   If I were Biden, I would bring the full force of NATO against the invading Russian army.  Stop them before it goes too far, because too far is what Putin is aiming for.  Putin wants all the territories of the former Russian Empire under his control and he has embarked on a mission to get them back.  I don't think he will stop at Ukraine, do you?

*if you mention Hitler or the Nazi's, you've lost the argument.

Friday 11 February 2022


 I got chatted up today and I was tickled pink, it's been donkeys years since that happened.  Now I am used to strangers talking to me when I am out and about, although to be fair it is mostly me who instigates it, I am a cheery soul.  But today was totally different.  I thought it nice and friendly when a young man I stood next to at a pedestrian crossing  asked if I was having a nice day, and indeed I was.  He then remarked how beautiful I was, beautiful eyes, beautiful hair.  At this point I became totally discombobulated, as in Ooo ooo, he's chatting me up, I was caught between 'this is totally inappropriate' and giggly schoolgirl mode.  Good heavens said I, I'm old enough to be your grandmother, should have said mother, because he was about mid 30's just to give it context, but nevertheless the compliments continued.  I will spare you the details of how wonderful I am, but I will keep them to myself and cherish them forever more.  Take note male readers, don't hold back on the compliments, we gals treasure them as much as diamonds.  But  I had to bring it to an end by pointing out I was over 60, whereby he departed gracefully and I walked away grinning from ear to ear.  

Naturally I couldn't wait to tell everyone I know (about 3 people) I got chatted up!  Of course I got the asylum missing a lunatic jibes etc, but the best reply goes to SAS (Smart Arsed Son) who said I should have got the number of his dealer.  Hmm.  I was most delighted at his [chatter upper]compliments for my hair.  It is very long, very thick and very blue.  Today, any thoughts I had of having it cut into a more age appropriate and much easier to manage, style, went right out the window.  I have spent a lifetime and a lot of money on stylish, high maintenance hairstyles, mostly bobs, and do I want to go back to blow drying every day, hell no.  Even if I don't wash it for a week, I can still put it up into all sorts of stylish 'dos' that I am learning from the internet.  Having never really had very long hair before, I'm experiencing all the joys that the 6 year old me missed out on.  Both my mother and my father sheared me of my locks as a child, mostly because I wouldn't let them near me with a brush, comb or shampoo and I kept getting fleas, so I don't hold it against them.

But this major event in my life, the other one was the discovery that you can add spinach to a smoothie and not taste it!  Who knew? set me thinking on the onset of the menopause, middle age and old age.  And for the purpose of this blog, and by popular demand I will turn now to the menopause, for me, now just a distant, but I have to say, enlightening memory.   Never mind the extremes of emotions, the spontaneous crying, the hot flushes and the God help me I am going to murder you rages, I like to focus on the pluses, and jeez, they are major.  You get your brain back!  Take a minute, let it sink in, remember that bright young science/arts geek you once were before a whiff of testosterone turned you into a wanton strumpet.  I have the unique experience of reading a social worker's opinion on my 14 year old self; 'Linda could achieve anything she wants, unfortunately she has discovered boys'.  Honest, but ouch.  I remember at the time being in love with a boy who loved my best friend who was in love with my brother.  Yes, I was at the tail end of this little love cycle, unloved by anyone but the fat kid with a dodgy eye.  I will never forget, and even now it brings a lump to my throat, how the love of my life danced with my best friend to 'Hey girl don't bother me' and glared at me with loathing!  Ok, I used artistic licence there with loathing, it was more of a 'ffs will you piss off' glare, he might just as well have said, I have the better girl in my arms and it broke my innocent young heart.  How could this be, thought I, he liked playing wrestling games with me too?  Little did I know, that men like playing wrestling games with lots of girls, doh!  And it was on my birthday!  Yep, you can reach for the tissues now, the only consolation I have is that he had a big nose (even though it was adoreable).  

But let me return to the big issue, getting your brain back.  Some may call it losing your mojo which at first glance may appear to be a disadvantage, but all the benefits soon become apparent.  No more phoning dealers at 3.00am when you want the part to go on and on and on.  Very quickly you will notice the rise in your bank balance and the lowering of your blood pressure, stress levels and yes, chaos in your life.  You will quickly see the love of your life, or the infatuation of your life not as Romeo, Heathcliff or Gerard Butler but as flesh and blood males in cardies and slippers.  For myself,  I was never much enamoured by Romeo, he seemed like a bit of a wuss, but Heathcliff was the man I wanted when my oestrogen levels were high.  As a young woman, I wanted to procreate with someone dark, moody, and yes, mad, bad and dangerous to know. Damn you Emily Bronte for awakening all my teenage hormones to the delights of six packs and male passion, credit also to the Diet coke 11.30 ad.  And thanks to, to Lady Caroline Lamb, for summing up a penchant for bad boys so succinctly.  

I'm trying here to sell loss of mojo as a good thing, and doing very badly.  Ha ha, must have been my delightful encounter today, but goodness me, the thought of going on a date or having any kind of encounter with a hmm, gentleman, (a must), has made me come over all unnecessary, as my old pal, Big Lynn, used to say. A charming expression, I hope you will agree.  And, as my old dad used to say, mostly after half a bottle of Teachers, 'never on my nelly duff'.  I never really understood the meaning, but it was usually accompanied by lively arm movements and a deep sigh, so I got the drift. 

Well never on my nelly duff (can someone please tell me what that means, (my dad was a Dundonian) did I think I would ever get chatted up again at this grand old age.  That part of my life was firmly locked away when I got my brain back.  Men, hmmm. who'd have them!  But I like their company and that 'guy' perspective, screams the inner me.  Is going on a date with a guy my age, or a tad younger such a bad thing?  At least they would remember Tony Blair, Princess Diana, the Beatles and Johnny Rotten.  Besides, since getting my brain back, I can quickly distinguish between the gold diggers (I wish lol), those looking for a carer and the downright unpleasant.  Not that I have looked, ha ha, the idea, in my school marmish head is 'totally inappropriate'!  

Such is life, when we are at our best our reproductive organs and hormones make really dodgy choices that are beyond the control of what little is left of the brain we once had.  Never mind the future millionaires and academics, they are looking for the Yorkie bar eaters and silver backs.  The nearer the knuckles are to the ground the more desireable they become.  Meanwhile the clever fuckers are discovering the joys of rotting fruit and making plans on how to improve their lives without doing any actual work.  It has always been the dinosaur slayers over the cave drawers and thus, here we are.  So listen bitches (have drunk gin) never mind his biceps and triceps, what has he got in his bank account and is it going up?  If you want an Adonis, get a ring on your finger and you will have years to torture him under the guise you are only doing it for his benefit.  As an addendum, was going to write an advice book but was afraid it might come across a tad bitter.  

I digress as usual.  Today's encounter has lifted my spirits in a whole new way.  Sadly, the darkness, and the G&T have now kicked in.  What if his intention was to abduct me?  Highly unlikely, we were in a public place in the centre of the town.  Was he harassing me?  No, absolutely not.  He was a gentleman, polite and respectful throughout, I did not for one moment feel threatened.  I felt a bit sad actually that men can no longer approach women or vice versa or whatever which way without fear of causing offence.  Why is being friendly so often misinterpreted as aggressive or threatening.   As someone who used to describe myself (annoying post grad mature student) as 'Marxist/feminist', I was very naive.  I now cringe and steer away from those those who label themselves as feminists now.  I hate the #metoo movement and I hate the woke culture that is sucking all the fun, humour, banter and male v female jousting that is part of our genes, our heritage and our culture.   

For myself, I really didn't want to again start the paragraph with 'I' again, err, I have always loved being a girl.  Just want to get that out there.  And those who want to be girls.  I'm like yay, come join us -let's talk makeup.  I wasn't always so in touch with my feminine side, actually, I was a tomboy little girl who just wanted to beat all the boys up, but I never wanted to be one of them!  I was a bit of a sociopath aged 5, world domination was what I was going for.  Naturally, I never felt inferior, because, basically, boys were so easy to boss about.  Punch the right one in the eye and you have domination. The others will fold.  That was why adolescence came as such a shock to me, some of them fight back.  It set all my plans back by decades.   

Now I have nothing to label myself with.  Left, hmm, not so sure, will never get over Corbyn, he is right up with my boy with a big nose, but see nothing for real socialists within the forseeable future, unless of course, JC starts a new party.  But even then, I am uncomfortable with the nanny state attitude of the Left and that is what I think scared scared all those Centre people at the last election.  We demand our right to eat copious amounts of sugar and invest in pyramid schemes and yet to be established shipping firms.  Ears ears' shout the Eton front bench and 'ere ere' shout the right wing football thugs who now believe their interests are aligned with the Tories. I'm one of those who shout 'education, education, education' but how tf do find your way through such density?  

I condemned the Labour Left there which was probably unkind, as they are the decent people I feel most aligned to.  It is kind of ridiculous that there are areas of this planet where they still suffer the kinds of deprivation experienced by our ancestors in the middle ages.  How can anyone be comfortable feeding all their greed, be it diamonds, yachts or designer clothing, yet walk past those who's lives would change overnight for the price they pay for one designer dress.  I've been watching Project Runway.... again.  

The world is topsy turvey, as always, but maybe that's a good thing.  Maybe we have all seen enough sci movies, to see the multiple ways in which it could all go drastically wrong.  I'm an old stoner so won't be rushing to a beach to embrace and say farewell to my loved ones as a giant wave engulfs us, I think, having seen, vicariously, the dramatic images of those forever captured in time in Pompeii, my inclination would be to strike a pose, as in Madonna, circa Vogue 1980's.  

I would have loved to have had a one hour session with Freud, preferably when he was extolling the virtues of cocaine.  I can picture me laid back on his chaise longue, asking 'why is it I love men yet also want to murder them'?  I used to pretend my idea of re-laying the patio were all fictional plots (I'm a writer doncha know) but I would love to get together with Picasso for an 'icepick in the back of the head after saying 'while you're up love, get me......'.  I think it would encapsulate his art and my underlying psychopathy.

I jest of course.  I never thought of murder, except for that one night when I looked longingly at my then new fish filleting knife.  Honest to god, it was the kind of knife that would have been beloved of the Silence of the Lambs killer or indeed, Jack the Ripper.  I had all sorts of reasons to carry out the heinous act, not least that he added ham to scrambled eggs the next morning.  Who does that?  But still I am joking, I phoned the 'Samaritans' that night, 'do you want to kill yourself they asked', because that's their job, 'no, said I, I want to kill him!'.  I don't think I did really, but I was extremely cross.  More than cross, he was the most annoying person I have ever met!  If I had lived in the US I would have shot him down, and probably be out by now.  

Still jesting.  I have no regrets for all those years we spent knocking seven bells out of each other.  I do regret that I was so easily taken in by the extremist feminist view that convinced me I was a victim.  I was never a victim, and I think it is wrong to indoctrinate women with the idea that they are victims, or somehow at a disadvantage.  This new generation of feminists are persuading women that they are weaker and they need help, an advantage over their male counterparts.  I hate that attitude.  Surely if you win, you want it to be on an equal playing field? It's not really a win if it isn't.  

It feels weird to say this but I hate #metoo, I had all those do good organisations that dedicated to persuading niche groups of men, women or any gender that they are victims.  Wtf?  As an (amateur) historian, I would ask, why would any group (gender) present themselves as weaker than their enemy, their opponent.  Who would stand up and say 'I am weaker than you, so give me concessions'.  The 5 year old me would say, get the f outta here, let's fight.  Whilst I hate #metoo, I think I hate 'woke' culture even more.  Bizarrely I find myself siding with otherwise insane, right wing loons, who are saying enough already, on pc language and the woke stuff at least. Lets enjoy being women, men or whatever we choose to be and call a halt to all this 'don't gender assign me' shit.  I think of them as the puritans from days gone by, that is, their purpose is to suck all the joy out of life.  

And no, I have not gone down the insane route of my friend Sonia Poulton.  I don't know where the hell she is coming from in her desire to fight for freedom.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for freedom fighting, but demanding the right to prolong a pandemic and ignore science is a step too far on the loony side for me.  I picture offering the people of 1917/18 a vaccine against a pandemic that was killing them in thousands turning down a vaccine that would safeguard themselves and their families.  Methinks, 'are you f*cking insane' would be their first response.

Apologies, I talk too much, my kindest wishes to all who still look in, I am always chuffed to pieces that people take time out of the day to have a read, even if they love me or hate me.  Matters not, I will keep writing, even if I get down to 1, it's kind of like having someone to chat to.  Take care, and keep safe, xxx

Tuesday 1 February 2022


 Well a very belated Happy New Year to all those who still look in.  I did write a New Year blog but I didn't publish, I don't know why.  I think it is probably because I am so easily distracted these days, not in a bad way I hasten to add, having the attention span of goldfish is in its own way, quite pleasurable.  I can get halfway through a film before realising I have seen it before but carrying on because I can't remember the ending.

And I have always taken a huge amount of joy in learning new things, even if it is the 7th time I am relearning them.  I jest, the major things stick, like one of the more recent.  It dawned on me that it is not necessary to shop for food as if an apocalypse were on its way or have on hand all the ingredients for an impromptu banquet.  Learning to shop and cook for one has been like moving from the dark ages into the renaissance!  What's that you say?  I don't need to buy a 5lb bag of spuds and keep peeling and chopping them for weeks on end til nothing remains but a mangled pile of stalks?  I don't have to torture myself with guilt over vegetables in the fridge I have not turned into soup or healthy fritters.  I do not have to fill up my fridge with ingredients for meals I will likely never make.

I have finally realised that ready meals are not the work of Beelzebub.  They are in fact perfect for one person.  I have come across a few duds, but on the whole I have been pleasantly surprised.  Even the M&S ones are cheaper, if you want a varied diet, than buying the basic ingredients.  Four good meals, comes to less than £20.00.  I have to say I have never eaten so well with such little work involved and little washing up after!  I come from a generation where cooking an evening meal was part of the codes and conventions of life.  Almost a ritual.  Now I feel like an old fogie for taking so long to adapt and dare I say it, enjoy the conveniences that have been available all this time.  For example, why buy a loaf and fillings for a sandwich, when you can just pick up any sandwich you desire ready made?  A whole loaf will go mouldy and the ham will curl up.  I hate waste, and found I was buying lots of food that was not going to be used.  I have no need to pack my freezer with leftover meals I won't touch and will throw out in a year because I have no idea what they are.  

Now I see the light!  My whole approach to food has changed considerably.  I still enjoy my food, perhaps more now that I have accepted I'm no longer responsible for cooking for others.  Having always made a Sunday dinner, that was a hard one, but letting go of the cost, the prep, the cleaning up after, I'm glad I did.  M&S do a fine roast and individual packs of veg, so I can amp up the greens.

And I have rediscovered smoothies.  Something that was a big part of a diet I devised myself where I lost 3 stone in 3 months!  It honestly does work, that is it's doable, because I show the 'cheats'.  Book available on Amazon, lol.  Now I am a creamy gal, lol, that is give me a dessert filled with cream, and I'll put another load of cream on top.  Ergo, I make my smoothies with lashings of Greek yoghurt, ground nuts, and or, oats.  The best fruits I have found are readily prepared and frozen, so no prep needed and no waste.  I look on my smoothies as a replacement meal, they are full of 'goodness' and taste delicious.  I haven't tried a 'savoury' one yet, so if anyone knows of a good (palatable) one, please let me know.  Does spinach really work with apple?  I'm not yet that brave to try.

I don't particularly diet these days, if anything it is a struggle to maintain the weight I am, I am destined to be one of those little old ladies who shrinks because I have lost some height as well!  Again, I'm not not enjoying it, I quite like like being treated as fragile, just wait til I open me gob! ha ha.

Making the transition to eating for one may have a tinge of sadness, but once you get past that bit, it opens up a whole new world of culinary delights.  I think I have always judged ready meals by the standards of the 70's and 80's when curries and rice came in a box (what was the name of that famous brand?).  Of course they are nothing like that now, we have every cuisine, beautifully prepared for us in the chilled section.  

Of course eating like this has given me lots more time than I probably didn't need but enjoyed nevertheless.  And I feel I am eating well, that is, I would be quite happy to be presented with any one of the meals I buy in a B&B with evening meal.  M&S also do divine desserts that I am more than happy to have two nights in a row.  

Well this wasn't mean't to be an advert for M&S, but eating for one probably affects a lot of people, old or young, so I thought I would share my experience.  Not least because I am spending half as much as I did on food, eating a much nicer and more varied diet without ever once having to think if others might not like it.  It's liberating! Finally, I can have roast pork, casseroles galore even liver and bacon if I want (I don't want) or fish and chips all prepared to my liking.  Tis bliss!  So if like myself you have always avoided convenience foods on moral (screwed up catholic or presbyterian 'must work hard' ethics) or fear of calories or unhealthy ingredients, think again.  A recent roast lamb mini meal I had was only 254 calories!  And it was delicious, I added extra vegetables and had a full plate. 

Anyway, a kind hello to all my friends, hope your New Year is going well.  My philosophy these days is pretty much we are heading towards some sort of Doomsday or 'Walking Dead' situation and I am in acceptance mode.  What will be will be.  I have seen enough disaster films to seize a 4x4 and raid a chemist!  When I do pop my clogs I can't wait to tell my dad and my mum, that the US elected Donald Trump and the UK elected Boris Johnson.  They will roar with laughter and astonishment, especially when I tell them yeah it did go as expected, both were disasters, ergo here I am, ha ha.  But I'm not going to get political, I have discovered the art of Zen, I am just a tiny particle of sand and everything is beyond my control.  Take care everyone.