Posted in humour, lifestyle, women

What All Parents Need To Know When Shopping This Christmas – Proxy Alcohol Sales

Ever heard of proxy alcohol sales? Neither had I until I wasn’t allowed to buy beer when accompanied by my 21 year old son who didn’t have his ID on him. Needless to say I was indignant and my dander was well and truly up. It was the first time I broadcast my own age (51) so loudly and proudly in a public place – a supermarket chain. I thought it ridiculous, I was incredulous. They would not let me buy alcohol because he might drink some of it. They clearly did not know my inability to share nicely.

I should add that this shop is one I frequent on a daily basis, my son also buys his own booze there as well. One lady went to get the manager and the security guard hung around in a way that suggested he thought I might grab the beer and run; again another wrong assumption, this time about my physical prowess. Two checkout staff told the manager that they know us and have seen my son’s ID on many occasion (not too many I hope). The manager said that he had not. I asked if I left now and came back on my own would I be served, I was told that was a grey area. Hmmm, very grey, now they know I have a ‘child’ and I buy beer how long would I be banned from buying alcohol for?

Watching my son’s face go from white to pink to red I resigned myself to the fact I was fighting a losing battle and we left. Once outside we had the ingenious idea of going home and getting his ID, after all we only lived a five minute walk away. I’m not sure why nobody thought of that in the first place. I tantrumed my way home, at the same time seeking reassurance that I hadn’t been too rude or unfriendly about it all. We returned to the shop within approximately fifteen minutes and made our way back to the kiosk where we had originally not been served. The security guard, the woman who first asked for the ID and another assistant were there. I announced that we now had the ID and would like to proceed with the purchase. I was told by the assistant (not the original one) that he would have served me. He served me. And, not one of them asked to SEE the ID!

I felt a letter brewing in the recesses of my mind, worthy of the Facebook page, ‘Angry People In Local Newspapers’; that was until I did my research on the subject of proxy alcohol sales. And here is what you need to know when out shopping, especially this festive season, where a few more of your favourite tipples might find there way into your trolley:

  • EVERY supermarket has the right to refuse the sale of alcohol if you have your/any children with you.
  • If you are taking over 18’s with you ensure they have their ID with them.
  • Under 18’s is where the area gets really grey. You will probably be fine with babies and toddlers, but I strongly recommend you do not let them hold your wine for you. Pretending to swig from the bottle would probably not work in your favour either.
  • If you have children that LOOK around nine years plus prepare not to leave with any booze.
  • Do not interact with any young people loitering outside the shop if you are going in to buy booze. Security and staff are primed to watch out for this ‘sociable’ behaviour and assume you have agreed to buy it for them.


Happy shopping and a very Merry Christmas to one and all (apart from one person, or maybe a couple of peeps, OK three or four)

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Posted in History, humour

The Lost Pubs Of West Malling

In Search of The Lost Pubs of West Malling

…Where do I start…?

In a still thriving hostelry of West Malling, through my own nosiness and passion for all things historic, I managed to bag myself a  seat on a bandwagon, or should I say a stage coach. My mission, should I choose to accept it, a blog on the lost pubs of West Malling.  


…Challenge accepted…


With a head full of romantic notions of travellers resting their weary heads in one of our  many coaching Inns; armed with a fistful of dates, names and locations; I transported myself back in time and worked my way through the information I already had. Once I’d located many of the lost pubs on google maps and found some old photos I set about working out how to bring the text alive. The only way to do that of course was to journey through the Town and locate these places for myself. I was eager to see if there was a glimmer of evidence of the particular function, the buildings that were still standing, had performed.


…A pub crawl with a difference…


On the wettest day we’ve had for a long time I trudged about the area, I had made myself a walking route to minimise over exertion, and with thoughts of preparing a walking map for visitors to the area. On foot the furthest starting point was St. Leonard Street, here would be the road that holds a story (or two) , one of the best pub stories I’ve found thus far. From 1755 – 1787 The Five Bells had been continuously licensed and then nothing until 1872- 1940 when it became the The Startled Saint.


The Startled Saint was a local pub for airman that were stationed at nearby RAF West Malling during and after the second World War. One of its most famous dwellers was Wing Commander Guy Gibson, stationed with 29 squadron in 1941. His first mission, to lead the entire squadron here, which then was at the edge of the airfield. He even took his trusted Black Lab Pup who joined them drinking from pint pots until he had a minor discretion involving too much beer and the nice clean carpets, and was henceforth banned from the pub. The dog, not Wing Commander Gibson. In 1943 Gibson led 617 Squadron on the Dams raid for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. I defy you now to traverse St. Leonard Street and not whistle the Dambuster tune.

…Where have they all gone…?


I was disappointed on my route as I found so little evidence of any of the Lost Pubs. Winding my way through the graveyard of St. Mary’s Church I looked for two headstones, marking the final resting place  of West Malling landlords, but alas, too much moss on the oldest ones to read anything. Onto Churchfields in search of the Churchfield Beerhouse, this had bounced between shop and Public House over the decades, first licensed in 1880, but may have been a beerhouse since 1864. I was told it would be easy to spot a house that had previously been a shop, but no such luck.


…West Malling High Street…


From the High Street, along King Street/Back Street, a detour of Ryarsh Lane, and back onto High Street and Town Hill, there had been no shortage of pubs in West Malling. Sadly, so little evidence that the 19th Century provided an abundance of watering holes, in excess of 21 at one point. One of the best things about the walk was seeing so many little details of the town that would normally pass me by. Also noticing how incredibly ugly the building that houses our local Tesco stands, a blot on our otherwise beautiful landscape. Here stood the Fire Station and The George Hotel, torn down in the 1971 and replaced by this dreadful eyesore, a time when conservation fell by the wayside. The George had stood proud and been continuously licensed since 1753.


The George Hotel, circa 1905


The Crown (formerly The Red Lion) filled the spaces between numbers 61-65 High Street, there are records of sureties given to the landlord of The Crown dated 1598. Although there are no signs of pub life the interiors of number 63 and 65 are well worth a look inside. 63, The Old Clock Shop dates back as far as the 14th & 15th Centuries, upstairs of The Hungry Guest will delight as they recently acquired planning position to expose the glorious vaulted ceilings.


Some of the private houses have held onto the names that the former beerhouses displayed. The Rose is now Rose Cottage, no. 60 Town Hill. The Cricketer’s Arms, Ryarsh Lane, last on the left boasts a blue plaque and is named Cricketer’s Cottage, tiny reminders of our town’s history.


…The icing on the cake…


Locally known as ‘The First and Last’, The Brewery Tap was first licensed in 1870, probably as a retail outlet for The Abbey Brewery. If you walk down Swan Street towards The Abbey you will see Abbey Brewery Court on your left. Joy upon joy you will recognise it as the brewery it once was (with a few changes it’s still clear).


 THEN         &                    NOW


…The Coach House…


There is still evidence in West Malling of what once would have been the storage for Coaches and tackle, the horsedrawn vehicles that transported all those weary travellers in search of food, drink and a bed for the night. The Coach House. A sign rests  proudly on the door marking the spot of the only Coach House left standing in West Malling. Today it is a place for people, rather than coaches, somewhere to stay while you explore all the rich history and pubs that the Market Town still has to offer.



The Coach House 2017


…The Walking Route…


With the constraint of a word count, and holding your interest,  I haven’t been able to write about  all of the lost pubs. Below is my walking route, also a few pubs that are a bit further out for you to explore. It hasn’t been possible to pinpoint exactly where they all were, but there are a few clues, you just need  passion, determination, a raincoat and a comfortable pair of walking  shoes.


  1. The Sportsman Sportsman Cottages. First left off the roundabout on the  Bypass towards Kings Hill.
  2. The Five Bells/The Startled Saint – 120 Teston Road/ St. Leonard Street.
  3. Churchfield Beerhouse – End of Churchfields.
  4. The Nags Head – Corner of High Street & West Street. Behind the bus stop.
  5. The George Hotel – Where Tesco is standing.
  6. The Crown – 61-65 High Street.
  7. The Royal Oak – Next to The Joiners.
  8. The King’s Arms. Back Street.
  9. The Restaurant/The Pineapple/The Dried Haddock. Around the area of the Library.
  10. The Rose & Crown – 36 High Street.
  11. The Cricketer’s Arms – Ryarsh lane. Last house on the left.
  12. The Rose – Rose Cottage, no.60 Town Hill..
  13. The Swan Tap – Back of The Swan.
  14. The Railway Bell – Next to The Swan.
  15. The Brewery Tap – Swan Street (near to Abbey brewery.
  16. The Fir Tree – Somewhere in the woods…would have been the woods. Between Canon Court & New Barns.




Lisa Ives

(aka Meanderings)

November 2017

Posted in humour, women, Women's Health

My First Mammogram – Fear Not Ladies

If they were giving out prizes for the most inappropriately dressed person at a mammogram appointment I’d win hands down. I did give my clothing some thought in the morning, quite a lot of thought actually, just reached the wrong conclusions. I only ever wear dresses, or tunics with leggings, the thought of stripping to the waist and standing in my leggings was a frightful image. I don’t wear skirts either, I had donated all my skirts to the charity shop when I moved house, the lack of hanging space precluded me from keeping them just so that I could admire their beauty from time to time. They’re bound to put me in a gown I decided, and wore a dress.

On arriving at the hospital car park, where the van awaited my arrival (Yeah I know, a Van in a car park. If my appointment letter hadn’t included my NHS number I might have thought it all a little bit fishy) I spotted the fire escape style stairs leading up to the entrance. Today I was wearing my 3 inch heeled ankle boots that I wear very little as I can only manage the short walk from the house to the car and from the car to the pub. If I wasn’t nervous enough the thought of ascending those stairs could quite possibly have made me let out a little bit of wee (if I hadn’t already been to the loo twenty times before I left home). I hobbled up the stairs, I felt like I was boarding a plane, waved back at my lift and said all that was missing was a pair of oversized Jackie Onassis style sunglasses.

On entering I was greeted by one smiley face, the receptionist, and three terrified looking faces. Apparently we all were first timers. I was asked to go into a cubicle and remove my bra and replace my top.

“Oh, I can’t do that, I’m wearing a dress made of very thin material and no-one wants to see the outline of my boobs hanging down to my knees”, I responded.

Everyone laughed (nervously/hysterically/politely?) I worked out that I could do that if I just popped my jacket on after to protect my modesty.  By the time I wrestled my large padded bra into my tiny, but very pretty, handbag there was only one lady waiting to go in. We had a natter, both first timers, check, both nervous, check, both women who have to endure all this horrid poking about at various points in our lives, check. The other lady went in and I was left alone adjusting my jacket to cover my scared boobs, the jacket wouldn’t meet without a bra on, not a good look. Two other ladies entered and before you could say Bob’s Your Uncle ‘my’ lady came out. We all eagerly searched her face for clues, asked her how it was….no reply…. I then said, “Isn’t this the point you’re supposed to let us know it’s not really that bad?”. Nothing. Nadda. Nowt.

I will now quote, word for word, what I said on entering the room:

“It says outside to mention if you have any shoulder problems. I have shoulder problems”. I was asked to do a little pose that meant all was good and we could go ahead.

“Right, er, OK then. Er, look. Er. I haven’t shaved under my arms. I did think about it, but, you know, it’s Autumn and I quite like the extra warmth under there. And. Oh God. I’m wearing tights and no knickers! This dress is quite thin and I didn’t want any visible panty lines clutching at rolls of fat. I know, I really didn’t think this whole appointment through”.

When the mammographer stopped laughing  I removed my dress and had to stand there in 3 inch high ankle boots, tights with no knickers and nothing else. I share this embarrassment with you as you need to know, that no matter how ridiculous you might feel you’ll never, ever feel as ridiculous as I did. There were four images taken. When the machine came down for the first one I thought that my boobs would be squished so hard that my nipples would explode like over ripe zits. But no, it wasn’t like that at all. When the first image had been taken I asked if that was it. A few yoga poses later and it was all over. Nothing like I expected, hardly any discomfort and certainly no pain. I joyously shared this information with the other ladies outside, their faces softened and smiles filled the room (as well as lots of laughter, because I told a good tale). I left feeling I should be employed by the NHS as a warm up artist.

Ladies, don’t let the fear of the unknown, or concerns about what feel like embarrassing and intrusive procedures ever stop you from having the checks that could potentially save your lives. They say that to overcome nerves in an interview you should picture the interviewer/s naked…when you attend your first mammogram remember my story, and how I made a complete tit (no pun intended) of myself.


Posted in humour, television

Reality TV – Mixing It Up A Bit

My television has been permanently stuck on channel 5 since I moved house and lost the remote control. I turn it on, get cosy, then remember I have no remote, so channel 5 it is. Channel 5 has been an eye opener for me, and I’ve now become a reality TV addict (I also know a lot about the law when it comes to evictions, bailiffs and the like). As a result of watching CBB, CBB’s Bit On The Side and Make or Break (to name but a few) I’ve been working on my own ideas for reality tv shows.

*Googles pitching programming ideas to channel 5*

My first idea is more pay back rather than a serious pitch. I’d like to see all of the producers, writers, directors, team etc.. of Big Brother locked up in the BB house for four weeks. There should be a padded cell, this would be for timeout mainly, but on the first night the person whose idea to create the program should be locked in there and not allowed out until they have successfully completed a task. The task being to give the correct answer to one simple question. “What is the name of the dog that fathered the Queen’s Corgis?” The alcohol for the duration of the series would be stored in the padded cell. The rest of the contestants will be able to monitor the cell 24 hours a day. Let the games begin.

My next idea is a serious contender, it’s an adaption of an unsuccessful show that only lasted for one season. The Job Interview aired on Channel 4 in 2016, real life interviews with real candidates competing for real jobs. I think I know where it went wrong and how it could be improved upon (if anyone is thinking of stealing my ideas remember this post will have a publication date! You have been warned).

The Job Interview made the mistake of being too serious, it also scared the pants off anyone who may have been looking for a job. The new trend seemed to involve lots of psychometric tests that when under pressure you’re bound to fluff up. So I have an idea to alleviate that kind of pressure, but also get a very good insight into the candidate’s ‘real’ personality. It would be something like First Dates meets The Job Interview with the volume of alcohol as supplied to contestants on Big Brother.

I was advised, when attending an informal meeting, to follow the lead of the person I was trying to impress when it came to the number of drinks consumed. He was a piss head! Result! Assuming that advice is a ‘thing’ it would be obligatory for the lead interviewer to set the pace and drink a bucket load of booze. A second interviewer would be there to take notes, they’d have to drink a little alcohol as well so the interviewee was not  put off imbibing. This could be a real hit! It certainly adheres to the formula for good car crash TV.

At the risk of just chucking booze into the formula for all my reality TV program ideas, I could envisage all of the above programmes meet The Jeremy Kyle Show. Could you imagine that, alcohol on The Jeremy kyle Show. BUT I’m working on something a little more sophisticated for Jezzer, I’m thinking of something along the lines of Jezzer does Come Dine With me… “And the Father is…..those scallops done ok for you my lovely?”

Posted in humour, social media

keyboard Warriors – Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

I’m not a religious person, but after four years living in Northern Ireland, and my Mother’s newfound obligation to attend church weekly, I have an insight into how being a Christian is supposed to work. I also remember those religious school assemblies, and attended lunchtime Scripture Union as I didn’t have any friends (and we got to sing cute songs about flags flying high from the castle of our hearts).

I enjoyed bible stories, they were great stories, always with a great punchline that was intended to guide us on the right path in life. I do honestly believe that they formed a large part of my moral education. The four main phrases engraved on my brain (and if I was so inclined would possibly choose to have tattooed along my arms) are:

  • Judge not lest ye be judged (that’s my favourite).
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (rarely works this one).
  • Cast your bread upon the water and it will return as a sandwich (hope it’s not a Subway sandwich, I don’t know what that is that they try to pass off as bread).
  • How you live your life on earth determines the size of your crib in Heaven (paraphrased poorly perhaps).

I am sharing this with you to let you know, based on the way I was brought up, how shocked I am when I read some of the things that anonymity allows people to write on social media. And I truly wonder what kind of world we are living in, and the kind of world we would be living in if these people behaved like this in everyday life.

Today I read about the Clooney foundation funding the education of around 3000 Syrian refugees. The headline made it sound like George Clooney and his wife were doing this personally. Those who didn’t make the effort to read the full article then jumped on the bandwagon and the venom began to spew.

“…a great way to reduce your tax liability…”
“…great PR for them….”

So, in real life, there I am helping someone across the road, or carrying someone’s shopping for them (nothing as exciting or high profile as the Clooney foundation) and I get yelled at:

“Look at her, she’s only doing it to get that staircase fitted in her mansion in Heaven…”

“Blimey, doesn’t she think she’s had enough sandwiches the fat cow!”

Celebrity bashing appears to be a popular pastime on social media. People who live and love to hate those more successful, better looking and wealthier than themselves. Celebrity Big Brother started last night, a programme I’ve only really caught glimpses of over the years. I was home alone and still haven’t located the remote control after my house move, so I left it on Channel 5 (Not sure at what point it got stuck on Channel 5, probably another occasion I felt like watching something intellectually unchallenging). Today social media was alive and kicking with insults, condemnation and personal attacks on the “call themselves f****in celebs”; words like ‘trashy’, ‘evil’, ‘bitch’ all crawled out of the woodwork.

So, as a voyeur, in a new social setting, the pub for example, amongst people you have never met, and do not know, is this how people are judged? Can you imagine, if every day these keyboard warriors were let loose on the general public. Judging, condemning, insulting, racist, homophobic, critical, unkind, body shaming, parent shaming, prejudiced, bigoted COWARDS.

Wow! I’m glad I got THAT off my chest. My big, wobbly, saggy chest, the result of 50 years on this planet, yoyo dieting, and 12 months of breastfeeding. Fortunately I haven’t exposed any part of my boobs on social media so don’t really need to defend them quite so vehemently. I will leave you with this thought; Judge not Lest Ye Be Judged, should be everyone’s mantra. It could change the world. #judgenotlestyebejudged

Posted in comedy, Dating & Relationships, humour, women

I Love Big Knickers because…

I Love Big Knickers Because….

Oh come on, who doesn’t? I love them because they are comfortable. The ones you can pull all the way up to your boobs. No, not the incredibly uncomfortable spandex ones that just push the fat up underneath your armpits so you have an extra pair of boobs. The nice, soft, cotton ones that don’t roll down beneath your tummy apron; that constant reminder that you were probably the last person to have an operation before they invented keyhole surgery.

Visible panty line is a thing of the past when you’ve got your big knickers on, no tight hems highlighting all your lumps and bumps, digging in half way through your love handles accentuating your Michelin man physique. No silly triangles riding up your front and back bottom all day, flossing your lady’s chamber with every step you take. I lose concentration quite easily at my age, if I’m not in my biggest knickers I will be adjusting them every five minutes whatever company I’m in.

My favourite days of the week are the ones just after I’ve done my laundry. I don’t have a whole week’s worth of the best big knickers, just four pairs, four days of bliss. I’ll approach that clothes airer with a spring in my step as I take the biggest pair and smile, safe in the knowledge everything will be in the right place that day.

My only real disappointment with my big knickers is that they started life as white knickers. I’m too lazy to separate my whites and coloureds, well I don’t really have many white clothes. So I have big grey knickers. Totes embarrassing on the two occasions I found myself in A&E and had to strip off; coupled with the fact I was also wearing my white/grey bra!

I’ve heard women saying that they feel sexy if they’re wearing lacy, ill fitting, pants and matching bra. I wouldn’t feel sexy on a date if I was constantly shuffling from one bum cheek to another, trying to free the G String from its strangle hold on my trapped pubes. Far from it.  I certainly wouldn’t feel sexy undressing to reveal my tummy apron in its black lace hammock, or my boobs spilling out over the top of my push up bra (picture melons housed in two eye patches sewn together, on second thoughts…don’t!)

OK, being honest here… in my younger days, before babies, the menopause, an under-active thyroid and a penchant for beer and cheese… I did browse, and purchase, some delicate little frillies. They were reserved for the bedroom though, so I didn’t need to suffer the torment of having to dress to suit my underwear. But, one of the MANY things I love about being fifty is not giving a damn (or pretending not to give a damn). Forget learning to feel comfortable in your own skin, I want, and do, feel comfortable in my clothes, especially my big knickers!

Posted in comedy, social media

The Treadmill That Is Social Media – Can’t live With It, Can’t Live Without It.

I don’t just feel like I’m running on a treadmill that won’t turn off, or trying to juggle too many balls in the air; I feel like I’m trying to do both.

As someone who uses social media to try and get work, and promote myself, I don’t feel like I can try the, ‘My Week Without Social Media’ experiment. Besides, everyone is doing it and it gets boring to read after a while. We all know that hyperventilation kicks in after an hour, and then by day three they discover how rich their lives have become as they reintegrate back into normal life. I reckon it’s like dieting, once they start back into it they spend more hours on the computer than before they deprived themselves. Gain a week, lose a month.

You think you’re getting a handle on managing your excessive number of social media accounts, then they start making extra demands of your time. Come on, do the quiz that your mate only got nine out of ten correct answers, it’s the hardest quiz, like ever. Then you don’t publish your results because you only got three correct, you have a degree and they don’t know the difference between, ‘your’, ‘you’re’, ‘there’ and ‘their’. You do realise you can do it a second time and publish your revised answers don’t you? But just get one wrong to make it look believable.

Of course I’m intrigued to see which famous celebrity I look like, who wouldn’t be. I’ve never published any of those results either. I scrub up well on a Saturday night but I’m not so delusional that I think I look like Mila Kunis, besides I’m blonde and fifty, and haven’t had plastic surgery recently. I do enjoy the ‘who were you in a past life?’ Usually turns out to be someone who was still alive in my lifetime, so not sure how that works. And what about the career I should have had if I hadn’t been a stay at home mum? Yes! That is exactly what I would have been, an astronaut, suits claustrophobics down to the ground that one.

I care very much about all the hideous diseases and cruelty in the world, I really do, but I’m pretty sure typing ‘Amen’ or sharing posts that give me nightmares for weeks, will not make a significant difference, no matter how much you tell me I’m a total, uncaring, unfeeling cow if I don’t. And you’re right, I had no idea who Prince’s dad was. I still don’t. I don’t have time to click through 20 pages that take ninety seconds to load in the dramatic build up to the answer. Google it. That’s what I do now, I just google it.

My favourite headlines usually include, ‘…and you wouldn’t believe what happened next’. I know what happens next, another site with ninety second loading pages. What about all those photos? We seem to have a new generation of Doctors who can diagnose illnesses, and save lives, just from a brief look at a photo… ‘you won’t believe what they saw…’ You’re right, I don’t believe it. What disturbs me the most about ‘sharing’, is the number of people that are happy to click share without doing any research. Some poor bloke is sitting at home enjoying his first cup of tea of the day when the police kick his front door in. Why? Because he pissed someone off recently and they posted his pic telling everyone he beat an old lady over the head with a bicycle pump. ‘Plz sher so we can catch this scum!’

Scroll on by you might say…don’t log in you might say…. But if I didn’t how would I ever see those wonderful quick and tasty recipes for midweek meals? I wouldn’t know what is good or bad for me in my daily diet. I certainly would have no idea what Prosecco is, or that everyone would like to have it on tap in a variety of gadgets (We seem to have bred a society of alcoholics). Most importantly, I wouldn’t know how many hours my son has slept by stalking his green light status, or how many of my friends are online and ignoring my messages!


Posted in opinion

Repopulating The Faroe Islands – The Right Or Wrong Way To Do It?

The Faroe islands are an archipelago between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic, about halfway between Norway and Iceland. With a rapidly dwindling population desperate measures have been taking place to prevent its long term, inevitable, extinction. To ensure the sustainability of residents, wives are being sought from further afield, the Philippines and Thailand being the favourite choices. This is as a result of the female to male ratio, with approximately 2,000 fewer women to men. The majority, but not exclusively, of these women are located via a variety of online sources.

Where I can see the necessity for this surge in International marriages, and the desire to secure the beauty and future of these Islands; it does not sit comfortably with me the countries from which these wives are being selected. ‘International’ is not exclusive to developing countries, so why are they targeted as a first port of call?

Unlike human trafficking these arrangements are considered to be consensual and arranged via legal, International, marriage agencies. But surely we have to consider the motivation behind that consent where a woman would leave the warm climate and culture of her homeland to relocate to an island with a vast chasm of language and cultural differences; a six month long winter, with a good summer day only reaching a maximum of  16°C.

One young woman, Adelaimar C. Arias-Jose, from the Philippines writes :

“It pains me to admit but poverty is a big problem for a lot of people in the Philippines. Young women here are willing to be a girlfriend, partner or wife of a retired foreigner because they will have food and a roof over their head”.

Clearly poverty is an overriding factor for these women, that is one of their motivations. In a similar way that prostitution and stripping can be seen to have an economic motivation, and yet we find people that will tell us that it is their choice, that have freely made these decisions to follow these paths in life. Yes, they are free to choose to seek a better life for themselves and their families by uprooting and giving up all that they know and hold dear to themselves. But it makes me sad to think that this has become a necessity for survival, on both sides, the Faroe islands and the immigrants to those Isles.

In an ideal world I’d like to think that the husbands will be warm and loving, and the wives will be happy and settled. But we know that won’t always be the case. The government are very active on the Faroe Islands in enabling integration, with free language classes and support for the newcomers. They appreciate how valuable they are to the labour market, but the language barrier means they are only able to take on lower level work. Hopefully over time integration will be easier as the barriers are overcome and the next generation of children will rise through the ranks ensuring the Asian population is no longer the lower working class of the islands.


Posted in Dating & Relationships, humour, women

Sex & The Hormone Gremlins – Would You Really Rather Have A Cup Of Tea?

I remember as  a kid telling my mum I’d never stop reading The Beano.

“I always said that when I was your age”, she replied, “but you will”.

Of course she was right. Soon Jackie had replaced Bunty and your reading matter becomes a journey into middle age. You have a  dalliance with Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, where you learn that ‘little black dress’ will be a permanent feature in your wardrobe until the day you die; and then on to the slippery slope of Take A Break & Woman’s Own. I’m not sure at what age you settle on People’s Friend and Reader’s Digest as I’m not quite there yet.

It’s the same with sex. You hear and read about women of a certain age expressing, “I’d rather have a cup of tea”. And you laugh. Looking coquettishly up at your partner you say, “That will never happen to me”. But it does. Those evil little hormones don’t only take over your body, they also take over your mind and libido.

Intimate relations follow a similar path to changing your comics. Your sexual Beano phase, the one you think you will never give up, is when you are young and horny. Ripping each others clothes off at every opportunity, spending so much time in bed (or anywhere no-one is watching) you consider giving up work, living in a campervan, freeing yourself from all adult responsibility, just so you can satisfy this massive surge of sex hormones that are screaming, “Do it! Do it!”, at you.

Your Jackie phase, the one where you have started to reluctantly give up on your Beano, becomes the reality check. OK, you do have to get up for work in the morning. You will lose your job if you pull another sickie. It is ok to have an early night and just cuddle. You have to convince yourself of this as there is always that niggling feeling at the back of your mind where you wonder if you’re having enough sex, and the same amount of sex as other people. So you graduate to the  Marie Claire & Cosmopolitan phase. This is when you ask yourself:

Does he love me enough?

Can I still turn my man on?

Am I an oddity just because sometimes I do really need to eat?

There is an interim phase of Practical Parenting & Bringing Up Baby. This is the ‘Sex, what sex?’ phase of your life. Feel free to leave a comment if you have experience of this phase, as a single parent I wouldn’t even dare to make something up to fill this paragraph.

The Take A Break & Woman’s Own phase seem to span the biggest portion of a woman’s life. Let’s fast forward to being 50+. By this time there are no rules. It’s every woman and man for themselves. The rule book, along with the matching undies and razor, has long since been discarded. I am Wo Man, hear me roar! And roar I will. You have finally reached a point in your life when you know what you want, but you don’t want it anymore. The hormone gremlins are casting their final spell on you (see A Day In The Life Of Mr And Mrs Flush – Surviving The Men-O-Pause) According to The Office Of National Statistics, in 2013 the number of divorces was highest amongst women and men aged between 40-44. Just Saying.

Somewhere along the line we left the roll over and fart joy of sex behind us and opted out altogether. Maybe it’s not the hormones after all, maybe it’s the men. We’re not the only ones that start sporting Amazonian style armpits and pubes. Things creep in slowly. One day you ask yourself, “when did he stop cleaning his teeth before bed?”

We laugh at the sitcoms when, during intercourse, couples start discussing the shopping list, or on staring vacantly up at the ceiling remember it really does need painting. We laugh because we recognise this scenario. Momentarily we consider spicing up our love lives, planning romantic evenings that’ll get the old juices flowing again. But then that hormone gremlin says, “Nah! Can’t be bothered. I really would rather have a cup of tea”.

Posted in Dating & Relationships, humour, women

The Cat Man & The Mummy’s Boy – Some Men To Avoid

On Saturday I was thrilled to be invited onto a radio station to answer some questions about blind dates; this was as the result of a piece I had published in The Huffington Post. At the age of 50 I feel plenty qualified to talk about dating & relationships. I don’t have any qualifications, just experience. Mostly because I am 50 and live alone. I have come close a few times to getting a cat, but I wouldn’t be able to live with the stereotype. I don’t ever want to be the cat lady spinster who smells of piss, to be honest I never really want to smell of piss.

There are some men to avoid, actually probably a lot of men to avoid. Let’s start with the ones that ‘still’ live at home. Clearly I’m emphasising the word, ‘still’, as there are men who have to move back home after a relationship break up, or may be carers, or have basically had some life event that has forced them into that position. I’m talking about men over 25 who have never left home. Dates with these guys start off OK until you go for dinner with his folks. It goes something like this:

Mum answers the door in her pinny, flour in her hair and smells of roses. Where is that lovely man of yours that you are getting so serious about you agreed to this dinner? Turns out he’s lying on the sofa watching telly. “Another beer dear?” His mum asks as you follow her into the front room. If this happens to you it is the precise moment that you suddenly remember your dog is dying and you only popped in to let them know you will have to take a rain check. If you don’t you will spend the rest of the evening being asked if you cook, sew, iron, bake….while mummy waits on him hand and foot.

The next one to avoid is the man who lives on his own with a cat or cats. The father of my child was this one. I had just been diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of skin cancer (it still hasn’t finished me off yet) and he was kind and attentive. If I hadn’t been so vulnerable I wouldn’t have overlooked the cat, his red velour sweater (which I kept hiding at the bottom of his ironing basket) and his single minded determination to let his body odour flow freely rather than use deodorant. And yet he used to leave the room to fart? I haven’t even got round to the cat yet.

The Cat. The cat called Sarah. I thought it was an odd name for a cat, guessed it might be an ex girlfriend’s name or something, never asked. This cat didn’t seem to like my company very much, I was an interloper. She  was a very sneaky cat, she only scratched me when he wasn’t looking. And she gave me a look, you know, the ‘I’ll get rid of you in the end’ kind of look. Trust me, that was a joint effort and not solely down to the cat. He let her lick the dinner plates clean. When he came in from work he walked past me, straight out to the back door, and sat on the step stroking her. One morning I packed up my things, left him a note and headed off into the sunset. Actually, I phoned him at work, told him I’d left him a note, but didn’t want him to get home and think he’d been burgled.

A week later I discovered I was pregnant. The best thing he gave me in life was my son. I’m glad I left when I did, if I hadn’t I would never have had the courage to leave and do it on my own; and he was not the man to bring up my child with. A story never to be shared out of respect for my son and his father. He won’t mind the other stuff I’ve written. I almost forgot to include the bit about what happened on our first date.

On our first date cat man called for me at home. He walked past me, straight through my flat, and out into the garden. Maybe he thought I had a cat out there. I got into his car which was so old it didn’t have seatbelts, but was by no means classic or vintage (I insisted he upgraded when the time came for him to be transporting my most precious cargo around). We went for a drink in a lovely bar that had plastic garden type furniture. I wasn’t even halfway through my first drink when those lovely plastic chair legs gave way and I ended up on my back with my legs in the air struggling like an upside down tortoise. I was wearing a fairly short skirt as well at the time. And cat man? Cat man looked away, he was embarrassed! So he just remained catatonic while others looked on clearly thinking I was drunk as I managed to roll onto my side, get myself out of the chair and up on my feet.

All these things ladies are warning lights. I’m not sure why we insist on forging ahead through those red lights when we are young. It was something I stopped doing later in life, because when I learned love and respect for myself, nothing but the same in return would do.