Wednesday, 22 June 2011

An eventful train journey

Travelling on the train into Kings Cross to supervise my latest project, my fellow travellers and I were subjected to the very loud rantings of a middle-aged woman who was being verbally offensive and aggressive to other passengers. There is something quite frightening about being trapped in an enclosed space with someone who is quite clearly angry and, in this case although it was only 10.30am, drunk. Several young girls moved away down the carriage to escape and when asked to "please be quiet" by another older passenger she just upped the volume and ranted on mostly at an elderly gentleman who had the misfortune to be sitting opposite her. He surprised everyone by calmly engaging her in general conversation about the weather [always the first conversational topic in Britain] and then asking her where she was travelling to etc etc. She was as surprised as the rest of us and it put her off her stroke and in fact calmed her down much to everyone's relief.

The gentleman and I changed trains at the same station and we both walked through to an adjoining platform to board a tube train to continue our journeys. I congratulated him on his sensitive handling of the situation and he was just saying that it was still quite a relief to change trains when "the ranter" appeared by his side just as the tube train pulled into the station platform. The poor man just couldn't face any more and we both got on and off the tube train quickly leaving her inside no doubt about to destroy the peace for another carriage full.

Were her actions caused by a mental illness, her drinking or a bit of both?

Why are people so quick to anger these days? Road rage is frequently reported and only last week at Royal Ascot, no less, there was a fist fight reported. Whatever has happened to "turning the other cheek" or "live and let live"?

Monday, 6 June 2011

What's the attraction?

I wonder whether it is because I don't drink alcohol [the acidity in wine didn't agree with me and spirits tasted like bad cough medicine]that I have no comprehension of why young women and some not-so-young women, who should know better, think it is great to get absolutely plastered.

In today's lunch time edition of a TV chat show called "Loose Women" they were discussing the level of social drinking among young women. They were talking in part about the more recent practice of "Hen Nights" or "Hen Weekends Away" as the prospective bride's answer to the bridegroom's "Stag Night/Weekend".

I have always fought for equality - for a woman's right to achieve the career heights her abilities deserve, for the right to marry or not, for the right to have children or not. But to drink yourself senseless, vomit in the street, and behave appallingly just to match the blokes??? To me this is just another example of the dumbing down of society generally. Why aspire to be equal to men - why not aspire to be better?

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Joys of Reading

I was commenting on my other blog "Life after Sixty" on my concerns over the reports of the drop in reading skills of today's schoolchildren.

A thought to all you Wise Old Birds out there - if, like me, you remember teaching your children basic reading [at least] before they even went to Infant School then perhaps we could still do it.

There are Volunteer Schemes run by many schools to find people who will work with individual children who are having problems learning to read. I know when The Daughter had a top Advertising Agency job her Company donated her time for a hour once a week to volunteer at a local primary school for this very purpose.

We all have busy lives whether still in full-time work or not, but this is such an important issue. I intend making enquiries of local schools to see if I can help - will you?