Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Scotland the Significant

Hmph. Hmph. Now I do appreciate that I have been genetically programmed to complain about everything England does with regard to Scotland, but I'm irked by the attitude to us that has irked me all my life. Many "British" things count Scotland as one area, with England divided into umpteen areas by county.

The Olympic Torch spent one week in Scotland, out of its 70 day tour. For most of this week it was on a lorry. Fair? Not so for Fife, which it did not pass through, stopping only at the extremities to fulfil the "one hour" promise of it being accessible to 95% of the general population.

Except if you take into consideration that children have to be at their own school, so any school hour appearances of the torch were not possible for children outwith the town in question. So by bypassing our town and neighbouring towns, our children missed out. Some children whose parents have more money, patience and no babies, did travel to see it. How well they succeeded I don't know, other than the sensible sorts that took out a mortgage on a train fare.

Sadly the central belt got cherry picked for inclusion on the route, unlike Orkney and Shetland which were included. Was the flame itself more interested in a pleasant tourist trail? Or perhaps it enjoys sailing?

Marco Pierre White sought couples from around the UK for his Kitchen Wars programme. While he set up his kitchen van in various cities around England, (and Cardiff in Wales) to test out numerous couples, he didn't bother taking his van to Scotland, merely driving his 4x4 to visit just the one restaurant in Perthshire. He did stop for fish and chips, which at least acknowledges that we do them better than anyone else.

Scotland only accounts for a small percentage of the entire UK population, most of whom live in the central belt, with Glasgow and Edinburgh being the third and eighth most populated cities in the UK respectively.

But if you consider that the South East contains two thirds of the population, that only leaves 33% for the entire rest of the UK.

Scotland accounts for 8.4%, Wales for 4.8% and Northern Ireland 3%. So the rest of England - excluding the South East - only accounts for 16.8% of the population.

Taking up nearly a third of the land mass, I think it's time we stopped being treated as a remote outpost.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Formula for defence

Yet again, I read about breastfeeding and how "good" mothers do it. Formula bad, yada yada.

I have breast fed none of my children. The twins appeared to lack the instinct to breastfeed and did not latch on, or ever look for breast milk. They needed formula to thrive.

My baby girl was keen to try, although not at first, but she latched on and had some colostrum. And then her mother (me, using the third person unnecessarily) nearly died and decided that a live mother was more important than breast milk and so had to take medication that wasn't compatible with breastfeeding.

So am I a bad mother? It seems so. I feel entirely persecuted by the insinuation that formula is the lazy option. Reports that examine the relationship between duration of breastfeeding and anything the child does always conclude that breastfed babies do best. The one that's got my back up today concerns academic ability.

I've learned that mothers who breastfeed tend to be in better socio-economic groups, with higher levels of education and (grrrrrr) increased incidences of reading to children and general language skills development.

The insinuation being that the sort of mother who breastfeeds is a better sort of mother and is more likely to interact with and stimulate their children.

The underlying sentiment there is that mothers who do not breastfeed also don't bother reading to their children or generally attempting to educate them in their early years at all. Only the uneducated could fail to breastfeed!

This sentiment I vehemently oppose, mostly on account of being educated, older and damned hands on as a mother, as well as having phenomenally clever twins. One twin is way better than average, the other is constantly praised for his abilities. A doctor commended his vocabulary at the age of two; at the age of six he is far ahead of most peers at mathematics and reading. Books are important in our house, as are maps, languages, counting and measuring and other things that supposedly I shouldn't think of because I didn't breastfeed.

Furthermore, many other educated, older, brilliant mothers I know were unable to breastfeed for whatever reason, and yet still manage to read to their children.

Now breastfeeding may be better for baby, assuming mother eats an exemplary diet and baby thrives, but it is woefully inaccurate to suggest that not breastfeeding means you're a less good mother. Deciding to let your baby thrive is surely the most elemental aspect of mothering?

It would be good to see a study that properly demonstrates breastfeeding v non breastfeeding in like for like families, instead of making insulting guesses at what socio-economic group you belong to based on your ability to produce milk.

I'd like to put forward the hypothesis that clever parents have clever children. No?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Euro 2012 is practically here

Ooh, I do love a good football tournament. Far more exciting than old people not dying and Britain funding athletics by cutting payments to everyone.

Due to the aforementioned, it is time for my patriotism to arise and show my full support for France. And Sweden, but not Ukraine as "we" don't like them just now.

Euro 2012 starts tomorrow. Woop woop. England are in group D with Sweden, France and Ukraine, which is an amazing coincidence that these are the same countries I seem to be supporting.

Group B - Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Portugal - is my favourite and I'm a bit gutted those countries are in the same group so they can't all progress.

Germany are my favourites, obviously, and in the unpleasant situation that England qualify for the quarter finals, it is down to Germany to beat them on penalties because that is always fun.

I usually support the Netherlands because they have the best fans.

Denmark have a special place in my loyalties as I have Danish relatives and because of Schmeichel and the Laudrups.

And I like the Portugese because they're generally good and I like the Portugese people (based on one holiday and their general fitness).

So that's me pledged my allegiance and stamped the kiss of malfortune on the above teams.

One year it would be nice to support MY country. IF we ever qualified.

Incidentally, I do get that it would be courteous to support the home nations, but England produced David Cameron and that is unforgivable.

And R. Ireland isn't a home nation even if that's oft forgotten.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Whatever happened to every day?

A long, long time ago, but I can still remember...

I said that I would write every day. I thought I'd have something to say. I thought that my old followers would still be there.

I didn't think I'd be looking at stats from bots. Bots that live where my old followers live and made me think they're real.

But it matters not who reads it.


Why write a blog if not to be read?

I could consider that I don't have much to say. Babies aren't all that interesting to people uninvolved in said babies.

Or I could admit to myself that I'm just feeling sorry for myself. I always have lots to say. Sometimes it comes out tedious, sometimes it amuses, very occasionally it is interesting.

Shall I pick up for the second half of the year? Can I? Should I?

BTW: American Pie. You knew that.