21 January 2018

This is what defeat looks like, thankfully. The river showed me my place and when I arrived back home after a mere half hour, my knees were buckling under me and my conscience kicked in.

On a good day, I can cycle on and on until that castle ruin on the other side is a long way behind me. (In my fitandhealthy life, I cycled all the way to almost Switzerland.)
But it has been a while.

So yes, I am miserably unwell but what else is new. Keeping fingers crossed that it's just a bug or a virus simmering below the surface. Even cancelled the all important meeting with the big boss on Friday. Exhaustion is my middle name. Consequently, this post is all over the place.

But otherwise life is good enough, seriously. We got the first (hopefully of many) bunch of daffs.

The dawn chorus is swelling, mostly blackbirds. The ladybirds that have been hibernating inside the house are getting restless. They make these tiny sliding noises when they crash against the window panes. Don't worry, they are tough.

I have been reading, as always, and this here stuck in my head:

I’d like to teach my daughter to protect herself. I’d like to teach her not to be thankful for the leering eyes of a man on the street, or the groping hands of a man at a bar. I’ll teach her that she is the ruler of her body, and I’d like to imagine a world where she can go to the grocery store at night and not walk fast to her car with her keys poised like a weapon.
Because I tried, I swear I tried. I wanted her world to be so much safer.  I wanted her to grow up feeling free and welcome and fearless almost everywhere. I want all women to feel free and fearless and I think every single person I know wants the same and yet, I have failed. For a while I thought if I encourage her sense of fearlessness that surely will do the trick. But before I knew it, she learned that "N O spells no" in kindergarten - and we pretended it's a funny game, enrolled her in self-defense training not once but thrice and arranged for safe passwords, secret codes and pretend phone calls while walking home from the night bus. Mothers should not have to buy pepper spray for their daughters or warn them about the safe way to dress because men cannot help it or whatever shitty backlash comes next.

Meanwhile, listen to the fabulous NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is pregnant with her first child and will show the world that work and motherhood are not incompatible.


  1. Oh, our hopes and dreams for our daughters - and now I have a granddaughter. Thankfully her mother is a bolshy, independent, free-thinking woman and her father one of the world’s good men, so she should be fine. But it still saddens me that we even need to think like this, and that men have to be told they the world doesn’t belong to them by right.

  2. I hope there will be another day soon when you can cycle easy and farther than the castle.
    Keys poise like a weapon. Sadly I always walk like that at night.
    Catapult is very interesting, the author lives here in my city. Glad to know about her.
    Oh yes, also, I would vote for Jacinda Ardern if I lived there. God, we need more women like that.

  3. men CAN help it. they've just been told all their lives, for thousands of years, they don't have to. and so some men don't. and unfortunately, until all men do, we must protect our daughters and ourselves. and out the bad men immediately.
    I hope for better days for you.

  4. It is sad how we have to live in a time when we wish fervently to expect the best in the nature of our fellow beings while in the same breath have to secretly plan to expect the worst. I want the world to be a different place. I hope you are feeling better and long beautiful bike rides are in your future.

  5. Just found your blog today. It looks like one I will enjoy reading. So many blogs, so many books, so many CDs, so much on PBS and Netflix, so little time. And then there's our piano. Saw an "Independent Lens" film recently that was made by a woman with chronic fatigue syndrome. The doctors didn't listen to her either. Such a frustrating world.

  6. Daffodils have a special meaning for me. Soon I'll see them here, too. Thank you for sharing yours and your signs of spring. It is getting lighter each day, although we still have some cold weather ahead. A Red-shafted Flicker just landed at my suet feeder. They are beautiful.


    Despite all odds, we women are learning to do what we can do whether men learn or not.

  7. I hear you about our daughters. Why should they perpetually be less safe in the world? And yet we dare not raise them to be unaware. Sorry to hear things are challenging right now. It’s good that you ride, even if not as far.

  8. Surely fear, like pain, is a symptom, unpleasant but indicative of the need to act accordingly. Confronting fear may be appropriate where the odds are calculable, overcomable and the outcome is potentially beneficial (fear of exams, embarrassment, flying, swimming, etc). But there are times when evasion makes good sense: lava flow from a volcano and an unexpected encounter with a couple of male teenagers drugged up to the eyebrows and who have long forgotten the distinction between right and wrong. To imagine or hope for a world without fear is a chimera; this is the dark side of freedom since freedom costs; the price of freedom is eternal vigilance and this doesn't just apply to warfare. Only martyrs may see triumph in mutilation or an early death. Best surely to preach a well-developed sense of reality and this may start with a deconstruction of the word cowardice. It is not necessarily a bad thing. All of us are vulnerable.

    I have a mini-scenario which warms me. Donald Trump is invited - as US presidents often are - to make the first pitch of the 2018 baseball season. The ball not only misses the catcher by a country mile but hits one of his press aides, a man whom Trump had intended to fire that morning but who was temporarily saved by DT's need to tweet. Knowing he was, in any case, about to be canned, the aide sues. Trump bribes someone to lie on his behalf during the civil action and the lie and the bribe are revealed on TV. The Russians provide incontrovertible proof (they're good at incontrovertible proof) that Trump intended to do this and that. And the cameras begin to roll on the end of Western civilisation as we know it.

    Me? I'd travel East, willingly admit to cowardice and look for manual work. This scenario does - I freely confess - make more sense to men rather than women. Especially men of the jock persuasion. It's the ignobility that is so telling.

  9. Here in the States, women are expected to go back to work after 6 weeks...

  10. ...and am is right,"we women are learning to do what we can do whether men learn or not."

  11. I am sorry that you are sick. The world is sick in other ways. Rock on Jacinda.