Friday, 4 July 2014

Running away from the mums' race

It's school sports day season. That anxiety filled time for every headteacher (pray it doesn't rain), every sport hating child and every slow running parent.  

I'm the latter and I'm afraid of the mums' race.

To make it worse, I'm a slow runner with a bit of a competitive streak.This competitive streak doesn't come out very often but recently reared its ugly head at a wedding.

The ladies were asked to discard their stilettos and run towards the camera. I guess the aim was to bring some 'movement' to the picture and get the already-slightly-drunk ladies laughing. It was hot and whilst most of them were wondering if we'd ever get the spindly heels back on to our (already swollen) feet, I seemed to be taking the running request a bit too seriously. The picture is below and I don't think I need to tell you which one is me.

Anyway, back to the sports day.

Last year Dad went, son won one race, Dad exited before the parent's race took place. Dads can get away with that but I'm unable to leave anywhere quietly. So this year I'm going and I decided to test the importance of participating in the Mums' race, by asking my six year old.
It went like this:    

Me: Do you think I should go in the Mums' race on sportsday?
Son: Mummy (giggles) you are a really BAD runner
Me: Yes I know that (!), but would you rather me sit on the side while all the other mummies run, or take part for fun?
Son: Please don't go in the running race Mum.
So I simultaneously jumped for joy and died just a little bit inside. Yes a get-out clause, but damn my child is ALREADY ashamed of me. It's not really the speed he's embarrassed about, it's definitely more the way I run. I play rugby and he doesn't laugh at the scrum cap or the comedy tackling, yet he always laughs at the idea of me trying to run for the line with a ball (so does my coach).

So what to do? Well I can't think of a good enough excuse not to participate (embarrassing my son doesn't count, that's a requirement). So I now need to decide whether I run as fast as I possibly can and risk looking like I'm trying too hard; OR I quash my competitive spirit and just do a slow jog - which is about the same speed as my sprint, but more casual looking.

My only saving grace is that the fastest mum has the same name as me, so if they publish the results,  I'm a winner anyway :)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Bring in the meningitis b vaccine

More than a year ago a vaccine against meningitis B was licensed for use in the UK. Licensed but not brought in – unless you can afford hundreds of pounds to pay for it privately.
The vaccination committee that advises the government has been considering whether (or not) this jab should be part of the immunisation schedule. That would mean it’s given to every baby, as part of your routine jabs, for free on the NHS.
Adding another vaccine to the schedule isn’t an easy decision to make. Spending millions and millions of pounds in a time of cuts isn’t easy either. But protecting every baby in the UK against a disease that kills – on average - two children every week, seems like a no brainer.

Because if a disease is preventable, surely we’d want to prevent it?

Meningitis is the disease parents fear most because it’s so hard to diagnose and can take a child’s (or adult’s) life in just a few hours. There are many causes of meningitis and in the last 20 years vaccines have reduced cases dramatically. But in the UK meningitis still kills more under 5s than any other infectious disease.
As a mum, I want to protect my children in any way I can.

I don’t want to feel that fear and dread every time my child hides away from bright lights, complains of a stiff neck, or worse still, has a rash that looks out of the ordinary.
I don’t want to be that parent telling the tragic tale of how my child was taken from me in hours.
I don’t want to live in fear of a disease that I know can be prevented.
That’s why I’m joining Meningitis Now’s campaign to bring in the meningitis B vaccine. A campaign that’s going direct to the top. The decision is with the Health Secretary now.

Jeremy Hunt, it’s over to you.
Join the campaign by sharing this post or writing your own. Talk about it on Facebook or send this tweet to the man himself.
"@Jeremy_Hunt Bring in the Meningitis B vaccine on the NHS. Don't put cost before children's lives. "

More information  the Meningitis Now campaign


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Darcy through Elizabeth's eyes

What do you look for in a portrayal of Mr Darcy?

For me, it's the casting of Elizabeth, because we only ever see him through her eyes.

Christmas 2013 finally gave us the opportunity to see Darcy and Eliza in a new light, almost 20 years after Colin Firth and that lake. Firth's very still, somber version was brought to emotional life by Jennifer Ehle's brilliantly boisterous Lizzy, a hero for tomboys everywhere. Without her performance, and a wet shirt, I think we'd have forgetten him within a week. Look at Knightley and McFadyen......

In Death Comes to Pemberley, Anna Maxwell Martin gave me the grown-up Lizzy (and Darcy) I've always craved.

And we even saw Lizzy and Darcy GETTING IT ON.

I sat stunned as I realised we were heading for a love scene, in Austen! After the initial shock I started cheering and dancing around the room. I still can't quite believe it happened.

I don't care much for a whodunnit, but I do care about Lizzy and Darcy.  I feared the worst, a Bridget Jones the third, stuck in a pre-Darcy time warp and failing to move the character on. But she was everything I expected. Bold, beautiful and still slightly frayed around the edges (and muddy around the hem). Pemberley hasn't changed her.

I fell in love all over again. Anna Maxwell Martin showed me an Elizabeth I wanted to be and Matthew Rhys played a tormented and torn Darcy, always battling between his head and his heart. Filled with pain, seething and grumpy - just how I like him.

Colin who?