Friday, 25 October 2013

The Art of Sexual Politics, Em's Pic Of Teddy & Fencing With The Boys

So, I've had my days of the week in a total muddle since Monday. No idea why, I've just been a day ahead of myself all week, which meant when the alarm went off at 6.30 this morning I was convinced it was Saturday and very nearly didn't get up. 

This would have resulted in one very pleased twelve year old who would happily have dozed the entire morning away and then affected fury at my failure to get him to school on time (go figure that one. We are working- at least, some of us are- on developing a sense of Personal Responsibility About  Time Management (which broadly translates as me hauling the covers off and dragging him out of bed by his ankles most days while screaming like a banshee that this is the EIGHTH TIME OF ASKING AND I WON'T ASK AGAIN!!!!!) but I fear it may be a long drawn out process, with the end probably only hoving into sight as he enters his twenties, or I die from exhaustion, whichever comes first).

Mea Culpa on one score though, which was that I completely forgot his hair appointment last night (we had an extra lecture which threw my already wobbly sense of time completely haywire). This is more dire in its consequences than missing a day of school from over sleeping because L, like many of his peers, affects the kind of teenage hair style (and I use the word style in the very loosest sense of the word) that surely is designed with the sole purpose of horrifying his mother (and the use of the word design is pushing it too). 

Long, shapeless and it has to be said usually erring on the side of greasy, tidy is not a word that springs to mind to describe it. And if I don't drag him to the hairdressers forcibly every four weeks it quickly descends into the kind of shambolic mess that makes old ladies run for their lives.

L, of course, is blissfully unconcerned about all of this because he hasn't yet reached the stage of Trying To Attract Girls, something which plays out constantly (and to be honest sometimes irritatingly) at college. I'd forgotten what strutting peacocks some boys are at 18, and so transparent and clumsy with it you wonder how they ever manage to pick up a girly. Older women just smile indulgently and try not to laugh too obviously.

This time spent on the course is Teaching Me Patience, a virtue I am not wholly possessed of (unless it be with Wild Things). So now I, too, try to smile indulgently at the Young and all the complications they make for themselves, instead of growling or rolling my eyes (which is what I'd rather be doing), or indeed giving in to the temptation to slap them hard and shriek "oh for God's sake pull yourself together and go and do something Useful!"

A few years back when J was broken-hearted over some lad who'd played her false (how dare he!) I found myself sagely repeating a line spoken to me in similar circumstances in order to quench her tears (actually, can you quench tears? Is that possible? Perhaps stem is a better word). Sadly, the line was spoke to me rather too many years ago to make the recollection an entirely flattering one, but nevertheless, the words were: "young women are wasted on young men."

All apart from one young man, and I can personally testify to that. I was in  waitrose (which can sometimes feel distressingly like the Centre Of The Universe in Romsey) and he was on the tills. Now he did have neat hair, neat clothes, neat manners (and wasn't gay, quelle surprise). 
I'd come straight from college to get the Regulation Weekend Curry, and we got chatting about how his day had been, and he told me all about his girlfriend and his plans to move in with her but how shocked he was at how expensive bills were (sweet, I nearly patted him on the head), and how he was planning to do an accountancy course but not go to Uni because it was too expensive (you get the picture: he was about 18). "And what have you been doing today?" he asked me politely.
"Oh, I've been at college. I'm doing a course in Ecology," I replied, and then added as an idle after thought "It's a bit of a shock because it's the best part of twenty years since I did my last degree."
To which he said (without a trace of schmoosing I promise you): "Nooooo!? Twenty years? I would never have believed that if you hadn't told me!"
And then I think I frightened him by telling him I felt like either kissing him or adopting him.

Yesterday's post brought the much-awaited GORGEOUS pic of Teddy courtesy of Clever Em at Dartmoor Ramblings. Here it is.... (and if it doesn't appear, which it doesn't seem to be for some of you, have a look at Em's blog this post for a view of it)

Ted's pleased with the picture, not least because he's glad to have a record of what he looked like when he had fur as I took the clippers to him last night and now he is very nearly bald.

And lastly, a piece on this week's practical at college which was Stage Two Of Fence Building. The boys definitely have an advantage when it comes to these practicals which are weighted on the side of the male muscle (sounds a bit rude that, but hopefully you know what I mean). I am all for equality, heaven knows I have studied enough feminist tracts over the years, but there are some areas where men are better suited to the task in hand, just as there are others that suit women more. 
I don't like standing around being useless so I do do stuff, but this invariably means I feel like a cripple two or three days later when the muscles I've used that aren't used to being used wake up screaming (a la today - my shoulders are so tight I couldn't effect a convincing Gallic Shrug if I tried.)

Anyway, we had Good Fun as always and were pretty pleased with the results of our labours: a fairly straight line of fence posts which are now waiting the final installment - the wire attachment - in a couple of weeks (bet you can't wait for that post).

Here are some (very exciting) snaps of what we did. I have warned Sean and Andy that they are on course to become Poster Boys for the blog and  thereby run the risk of attracting a legion of Female Fans. I don't think they believed me, but then they missed all those earlier posts about the TV Boyfriend (and just think about the Wild Excitement that generated). Perhaps I should warn them that us Older Ladies (it's official, now that I have a bunch of eighteen years olds on the course with me I can't pretend I'm young anymore, although I do still run in those impossibly small shorts, mainly because it's too bloomin hot in leggings, and also no one sees me) where was I? Oh yes, they perhaps don't know how excitable we older ladies can be.....

Serious Andy measuring the line

Stuart with the Chainsaw. I do like a man with a chainsaw in his hands- yes, Mrs M?

Using the Fence Rammer (which is an ugly name and we've always called them Drivalls, only I initially typed drivel which means something else altogether so fence rammer will have to do) 

The Gang. All Hard At Work

My Poster Boys busy measuring something

Just to prove we were working

Sean Splitting a Chestnut Log

That doesn't look remotely dangerous does it

The Master Craftsman at work

Perfect Fit! This is the key that helps lodge the fence post in the ground (you don't use it for every post, only the big ones at the end of the line)

Can you tell which nail was mine?? (hint: it's not the neat one Andy is hammering in!)

Thank God for that- it fits!

Two men admiring their handiwork

Yes, well done boys. Even more admiring.....

Better just check it is actually level...Phew.

Making the hole for the straining post

We have a significant Wood Gnome problem at college

If it won't fit, bash it with the wood gnome's hat, Sean style!

And if that doesn't work, get Stuart to cut the end off it with his chainsaw

And if it still doesn't work, get Andy to hit it with a large lump of metal

Hooray! It works! Perfect Fit Number 2!

Matthew and Dave were so impressed they came to have a look, and Des nearly fell down the hole in shock at our excellent workmanship

Harvey was so impressed he took a picture for posterity

So there you have it- how to put a line of fence posts in in, ooh, quite a few easy steps (which looking back at the pics didn't actually show any hole digging, so you'll have to just imagine that bit at the start).

Wishing you all a Good Evening. Denise you have been Very Quiet this week- is all well? I shall bombard you with emails if I don't hear from you!

CT :-)


  1. You're going to be so fit by the time you finish the course! Picture of Teddy is coming up as a corrupt file with a little broken piece of paper picture. Don't know if it's my laptop but all your other pictures are fine. I'm not actually sure I could draw what's there as neatly as it is! x

    1. Hmmm, that's odd- it looks OK when it comes up on mine. All the family LOVE the pic Em. Looking forward to putting it on the wall this weekend x

    2. I'd love to see it on the wall if you happen to take a snap???? He's still not showing up on my second look. Very strange indeed!

    3. Will do.

      Very odd about it not showing up. I'll try it on our ipad and see if that works :-)

  2. Here I am!!! And may I be the first to place an admiring excited older lady vote for Sean's Very Fine Pair Of Legs In Manly Shorts?!

    Working as I do in a school, I too have a bit of a wry smile at the sixth form boys strutting their stuff for the sixth form girlies. Especially when they are wearing spindly trousers and those penguin toe shoes which seem very de rigeur at the mo. I think, what on earth are you wearing, and who told you that was a good idea? And then I think that someone probably thought the same about me in the '70s when I wore my favourite bright yellow flares! And so the circle of fashion stupidity rumbles on.

    P.S Can't you take Teddie's clippers to L's hair? Just a thought...

    1. Sean will be thrilled and I shall bring his attention to your excited older lady vote for his fine legs forthwith (which translated means the week after next as we're all on Reading Week now, which translated stands for half term).

      Excellent idea about the clippers. F went through a similarly untidy phase and is now as smart and shiny as a button (and what self respecting 14 year old boy would not want to be compared to a shiny button?).

      VERY glad you are alright old bean. I missed you.... XX

  3. That looks an impressive stretch of fencing. It's a shame that Teddy's picture hasn't come up. I saw it on Em's post this morning and it seems to capture Teddy perfectly. I think I should try shopping in Waitrose more often , thinks always are happening to you there!
    Sarah x

    1. She's done a great job. Not sure why it isn't coming up here....

      Yes, Waitrose is THE place to go. I once got asked out by a complete stranger there, which would have been impressive but for the fact he turned out to be weirder than my swimming pool lurker :-(

  4. I'm not built for any hole digging and fence building tasks at all, hubby does all the hard work for me in the garden. Oh just wait until The Hair becomes important...hours of his life will be wasted perfecting the look!

    1. It seems so diametrically opposed to where we are now Suze that it's hard to imagine a time when L will take some pride in his appearance. But you are right - it will come, sure as eggs is eggs :-)

  5. Sympathies to twelve year old. I get that treatment every morning too... :(

    1. Oh lordy Jess, does that mean he will NEVER get himself out of bed, and we'll transfer getting up duties smoothly from mother to girlfriend to wife?? :-)

  6. Em's drawing of Teddy is just superb - saw it on her blog as others have mentioned I can't access your photo.

    The fence seems to progressing well :)

    Son (now 26)!!! still has hair cut by his father with hair clippers!! Only way - he would never go to hairdresser!

    Must try and revisit our nearest Waitrose more :)

    1. Boys and their hair!

      I think Waitrose owes me at least a bottle of fizz for all the plugs it gets on this blog :-)

  7. The pic of the drawing of Teddy comes up for me. He looks very handsome and Em has done a fabulous job!

    Great to read about your fencing task. I too did a bit of that back in the summer. However the bunch I helped out were significantly older than 18... and they still did a Stirling job. Showed me how to do all the stuff you have illustrated, and were very patient. But like you - my muscles suffered!

    I think the wood gnome looks a very happy chap! I also wonder when these hardy men will succumb to workman's trousers instead of shorts!

    1. Andy is great, we have a good laugh together. Can I take your endorsement as his first official poster boy vote??

      And I think Sean will wear his shorts all through winter as he doesn't like being warm :-)

  8. Em's drawing of Teddy is wonderful. She really has caught that alert, everything-is-interesting expression he has in your photos. Crikey to all that fencing - it looks as though you will all be super fit on this course.
    And I've picked up flu in Waitrose - twice!! But I must be loyal because I still shop there every week.

    1. She caught him perfectly, clever lady that she is.

      My shoulders are recovering from fencing now, and what on earth were you doing in Waitrose that resulted in flu contamination?! :-)


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