But Jack Keeps Burning Pancakes

The adage featured for today’s FANDANGO’S FEBRUARY EXPRESSIONS is:

A woman’s place is in the home

jasWell, I don’t agree that all women should be consigned to the kitchen and their own role in life should be serving a purely domestic function to care for their family. But, I am kind of chilled on this subject to be honest. I happen to be a woman who loves working at home. I also love working outside of the home. It would make me go loopy to be stuck indoors all the time.

I happen to have a gorgeous boyfriend who likes to try cooking. He has attempted numerous times to make me pancakes for breakfast. I don’t want to discourage him, but he won’t be applying for Masterchef any time soon. Jack does not make me think that he would view it as my role to feed him every day. I wouldn’t object if he did. However, cleaning and laundry have never been his strong points.

The only negative experience I have ever had about male and female roles, was when one of my colleagues refused to perform cleaning duties (we were all assigned a day on the rota) because he said “it is not a man’s job to clean”. Can you imagine how that went down at work!

pads.jpgI was born in the eighties. This was a decade famous for shoulder pads, electro-pop and feminism amongst other things.

I have seen women wanting to break through the glass ceiling, and want equal pay, rights and respect to men. I don’t consider myself a feminist as such. But I do enjoy the relative freedoms I have here in the west, compared to the limitations imposed on women in some other lands. My father, the men in my family, my male friends and volunteer colleagues have never made me feel inferior because I am a female. Neither have they had an old-fashioned mentality about what is a women’s role in life.

But throughout my life I have seen various faces of feminism and sexism. It’s clear that some people have their own thoughts on roles and rights etc. I have managed to avoid that for most of my life. Apart from one boss who was outrageously inappropriate in the way he treated me (he thought it was ok to make personal comments about my appearance and dress, to touch my thighs, arms, face, try to kiss me, and expose himself), I have managed to avoid a lot of strange antiquated outlooks.

peaceI like to see men and women of all cultures dignified and respected. I have seen both men and women behave well and display beautiful qualities, I have seen both men and women exhibit the worst of human behavior. I do not feel either men or women can claim a monopoly on treating others appropriately all the time. Individuals should take responsibility for their own attitudes, speech and behaviour.

There has been a shift in expectations for women during my lifetime. Sometimes, I have not quite known what my role is, what opportunities might be open to me, how to gain the most satisfaction and fulfillment. I must admit, as roles have changed, perhaps people forgot to send me the memo on what on earth I was supposed to aim for. I am not sure what my expectations should be anymore.

ideal.jpgI grew up thinking that one day I would end up married and my role would involve a lot of housework as well as other work outside the home.. I just thought it would happen almost effortlessly. In my mind, I thought he would be a farmer, and I would be a farmer’s wife. I still don’t get why the world doesn’t work that way anymore.

Now, as I grew older, I realize that just being married is not necessarily a good thing. You could be miserable. It means a lot to me, that as a woman in the western world I have choice over who I wed. I have turned down two  marriage proposals for good reasons. I also ended a courtship with a fine young man (my best friend and I courted for years, but I ended it when I was around twenty-four/five) because I realized that I was miserable with him.

ideals.jpgHowever, I am in no way against marriage. Quite the opposite. I have no objection to the traditional stereotypes – I have been a housekeeper for many clients, why wouldn’t I do all those tasks for the man I love?

In fact, when I was in Australia, I said to my gorgeous friend that if he ever decided to settle down with someone, he should make sure she knows how to look after his beautiful house properly. He looked baffled when I said that. He basically said he wouldn’t expect any woman to do that, but he would hire a cleaner.

That baffled me. Is it because I grew up expected to perform household chores throughout my childhood, that I see it as part of the responsibility of life that you clean and tidy your own home? Unless you are physically unable to? I would take delight in making his home a haven for him. I don’t get prickly the subject domestic tasks, probably because I enjoy them so much and find them satisfying.

Well, the fact that people hire a cleaner rather than doing their own housework has kept me with an easy way to earn my bread and butter. Did you know I earn a minimum of £15 per hour housekeeping in London? One client pays me £20 per hour. I can earn much more gardening or painting/decorating.

ideals1.pngI know there are a lot of men out there who I would run a million miles away from! I would never choose them as my head. But I have no problem with taking on the larger part of domestic tasks if I was married. I guess everyone is different. 

We have many happy marriages and thriving families within our family. Mostly they work together to look after their homes, but it is not unusual for the women in our family to be doing most of the cooking and cleaning and laundry. That does not mean their husbands are lazing about on the sofa watching sport! Far from it! The men in our family are usually out working – most of them perform practical work in farming, construction or as cleaners. Loving and supportive couples who make marriage look awesome.

chilsAnyway…to me…work should be satisfying. I enjoy cooking, cleaning and ironing. I really do. Hey, the afternoons I spend cooking and filling up my freezer with meals to eat when I am too busy to cook, I put my favourite music on and have a glass of wine. They are afternoons I look forward to. I enjoy housework much more than being being shouted at by angry patients. But everyone is different. Every couple is different. They can arrange between them who is best suited to looking after domestic tasks and earning money to cover household expenses. At the end of the day, they are a team.

Housework needs to be done. Better to enjoy it than begrudge it. I am aware of feminism. I am aware of sexism. I am aware of mosongony and harassment. I am aware of all sorts of mistreatment. I do realize others have suffered a lot. I have managed to avoid idiots and I am glad of it. But for many others…it has been a very hard life.


This was my response to today’s FANDANGO’S FEBRUARY EXPRESSIONS:



A Breath Of Fresh Air

wodslI have the afternoon off work! Yayyyy! I am going to go out for a walk and fill my lungs with some fresh air. Well, that is a relative term for London air!

This is my post for this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions! I am sure you know it, but these delightful questions come from the wonderful Melanie, creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. Take a peek at Melanie’s original post below and see all of the other bloggers sharing some of their world this week:



When was the last time you tried something new?

IMG_20200205_161039If we are talking about food, I am always on the lookout for fresh flavours for my tastebuds to trial. I have been vegetarian since I was six years old. For many years I had a fairly boring diet, and finding new flavours became very important to me. I tried the new Greggs vegan steak bake recently. I think I prefer their vegan sausage roll. Oh and then there is The Cornish Pasty Company – they have some lovely vegan options that are quite exciting There is a limit to how much pastry I can face in a normal week, but I will look out for them when I am on my travels around London.

I have a number of “foodie” friends and they often give me something they have recently discovered to try for myself. A friend of mine bought me a jar of passionfruit curd. I have always loved lemon curd. Who would have thought passionfruit curd would be so delicious!

leosI recently tried a vegan burger from Leon. It was yummy! Because it has been January / Veganuary, there have been lots of new vegan products to try. I have enjoyed most of them. I love their lentil masala, and their cheesy jackfruit bites. I also liked their vegan hot chocolate which I had made with coconut milk. One or two of the savoury vegan products I tried tasted too much of coconut for my liking, but everything else was lovely.

IMG_20200205_161241Jack bought me a jar of sea salted caramel spread just before he went away. I have tried caramel spreads aplenty, but this one tastes just perfect!

I have been working in a medical field again these past few months (after over a twelve month gap away from anything medical). I really do like the team I work with. They are wonderful, everyone of them. But during my normal shifts (I have done a lot of overtime to help them out recently) the colleague who I work with most is always getting me to try something new to me. She is a lovely person and I like the way she teaches me. It does feel like every shift I work with her I try to do something new to me.

I must admit my friends and I are like hungry vultures! We talk about new food, new cafes and restaurants a lot! I guess I try new recipes on a regular basis, new cafes and restaurants. My friends sometimes take me to places that are new to me. I like discovering new music. There is a fair amount of NEW that I encounter in my life and enjoy.

If you were forced to eliminate every physical possession from your life with the exception of what could fit into a single backpack, what would you put in it?

Well, I have an emergency backpack under my bed with some useful things inside it already:

  • Photocopies of important documents like a passport, birth certificate, driver’s license
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food. (Every year we check the food in our grab-bags is still in date)
  • First aid kit
  • Wind-up torch
  • Wind-up radio (not to listen to my favourite tines)
  • Some cash
  • A list of important contact details and phone-numbers
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Several pairs of clean underwear
  • A little purse with a fold away toothbrush and toothpaste and soap in it
  • A tiny fold up microfiber towel that opens up to be the size of a bath-sheet

Backpack, Bag, Woman, Girl, FemaleIf I was told I had the time to add a few things, I guess I would probably stop to add some of the contents of my handbag and some other useful things. I have a bunch of keys which has front door keys for all of my close family member’s homes. I would pop that in the back-pack, My little basic phone, it’s charger, and my debit card would go in. My London A-Z maps book.

I don’t know how much space I would have left, but maybe I should grab my sleeping bag? I would make sure I was wearing my walking boots and my fleece and waterproof. I might add a notebook and a couple of pens or a pencil. I have a very small pocket Bible too. I would make sure I had written down all the important phone numbers of my close family and friends and I was not just relying on my phone to be able to contact my loved ones.

Nobody really can know for sure when they are going to have to grab whatever is in reach and run run run!

What simple fact do you wish more people understood?

Simple fact? I feel a bit cautious with this question. Everything that has popped into my head seems a bit patronising! But meeting volunteers who work part-time and keep their life simple was a huge breath of fresh air to me as a teenager. I met them at just the right time. Before I complicated my life with debt.

desI guess I am baffled by how many people spend their time/life to reaching the goals this system thrusts in front of them. Students study at university, often accruing thousands of pounds of student debt. They have no choice but to then take on a full-time job (some of which are soul-destroying) to start repaying the debt. The first big pat on the back they receive from this system is when they are told they can have a mortgage to buy a box to live in and call their own. That means they are now trapped for many years to come working full time to repay the mortgage.

So far I have managed to avoid all of that. I have avoided debt, I have lived in beautiful homes, none of which were my own, mostly rent free (in exchange for being “security” when the owners were abroad).

basicAs a volunteer I have been provided with basic accommodation (sometimes I was in my sleeping bag on the floor wedged in between a bunch of other volunteers, but mostly we had a bed to sleep in). I have learnt many many new skills in a wide variety of fields, travelled all over the UK and several other lands, worked with many people of other cultures and languages and made wonderful friends for life.

Although I have not been paid wages for all the work I have done as a volunteer, it has been incredibly enriching and simply a wonderfully exciting life! The thought of being tied to full time paid work to pay for a box is suffocating to me.

Buildings, Skyscraper, Sky, CloudsThe way this system works is frankly baffling to me. I have fought against it’s mindset since I was a child because I saw it as unhealthy. I have been inspired by people who have managed to avoid becoming a slave to this system. One of the stories I have heard many times, I included in a post. I think it highlights the trap of being sucked into a system that defines success in a way that does not make sense: There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Fish

So, I guess I do wonder why many people fall into the trap of pursuing the goals and dreams that this system suggests. Why people celebrate having a stressful full-time job that robs you of really getting out there and living and enjoying creation and the rest of the human race? Why people celebrate being given a mortgage that will enslave them for many years? The attitude many have towards debt is quite alarming to me.

What food item do you go through fastest in your house?

Hummus, Chickpeas, Paste, Basil, FoliageI eat a lot of salad. Every day I have a large portion of fresh salad vegetables.

I go through a lot of hummus each week. (I make my own.) I experiment with flavours. Coriander, basil, or sun-dried tomatoes, beetroot, caramelized onions, spices. I am always looking for new ideas to give a different flavour to hummus.

I have been vegetarian for years but I am not very good with dairy anymore, so hummus has become one of my staples.


Please feel free to share something that really makes you happy!

mesaI love seeing messages from people I love. Sometimes text messages, but because those close to me know I don’t use my mobile phone much, most of my loved ones send me emails.

I love emails from friends and family. Most of them are volunteers and work on projects both in this country and all over the world. When I come home from a long day of work and look at my inbox, there are messages and photos from my loved ones near and far. My heart lifts to see them and it brings me enormous pleasure to read their words and see what they are experiencing in their little corner of this amazing planet.

I love my friends!

When The Rain Is Blowing In Your Face

Adult, Blur, Bokeh, City, Evening, LightBee, the creator of The Bee Writes…, is hosting a music festival, which I have to say, is pretty darn tootin cool! Don’t you think! By the looks of things her themes for this month long festival are going to rival Glastonbury!

Today’s theme is:

A love song for, about or with weather in it

This is Bee’s post for today’s LOVE IS IN DA BLOG Music Festival, where you can find a line up of songs from other blogger’s on today’s theme:


So this absolutely beautiful song from the marvellous Adele mentions rain, wind and storms – so I think it fits today’s theme a treat! I have often found myself singing this song about my feelings for Goldfinch. He is so so so far away! The distance is crushing. I am always trying to think of ways to make sure he still feels my love from the opposite side of the planet!