Speaking Up

Hello. Welcome one, welcome all. I am a bit low key this week. The weather has been wet – well it is Autumn and Plymouth is going for the old “horizontal rain in the biting wind” approach which could be a Tony Bennett standard but isn’t. Did anyone else wake up last Monday and suddenly it was Autumn. I had been threatening to put all summer dresses away for a couple of weeks now and never got round to it, didn’t listen to any weather (I never bother unless it’s Schffanaker – just a personal thing) so, on Monday I was frantically scrabbling around trying to find something warmer to wear an then trying to iron it on the kitchen worktop without destroying both the jumper and half the kitchen. Did I ever tell you about HOH’s colleague who, in a hurry for work, sort of ironed her nurses uniform while she was wearing it and ended up in A and E with the resulting burns? Equally distressing for HOH was that I told him that I could understand why she had done it and could, in fact, see myself doing it. You are in a hurry, you put the uniform on, it’s creased, you think a little low heat ironing can’t do any harm. Apparently, it can. He still bangs on about that time I set fire to the jumper I was wearing because I was talking and cooking at the same time. It was quite dramatic, like one of those 1970s fire safety videos. Who knew it would go up like that? Anyway, I’ve never done it since so there’s no need to keep going on about it.

He is in the front room at the moment watching one of those Sunday night drama things – something about fascists. I took my leave when the announcer at the beginning took what seemed like fifteen minutes to read out all the warnings about how upsetting it would be. Nope.

We went to the Bond. It seems unpatriotic not to go. It’s fine. I suppose. It’s not for me. There seemed to be lots of people, dying horrible deaths but shouting a lot about it before they went. I prefer Daniel Craig in Knives Out. Been reading a bit as well. I saw a really snobby review of Richard Osman’s latest Murder Club book. “He’s not a writer” and all that. well, he clearly IS a writer because he has written a couple of books that lots of people have enjoyed reading. It’s not Proust (whatever that is) but I really liked it. I’m not sure I would be that struck on Proust I’ll be honest with you. I’ve not got the wherewithal for it at the moment. I have also put a photo up of my next book to read – mainly because I wanted to say ” How ADORABLE was Ed Balls as a child”? I like Ed Balls. they say he has a fine mind but, equally important, he seems a good husband and dad. A good man.

Which brings me to the polar opposite which has troubled us all this week. the murderer of Sarah Everard. Where to begin. Maybe, with one of the most important things, the heartbreaking thought that her mother hugs her dressing gown because she can still smell her on it. I know we were all fighting back tears when we heard that – because we somehow felt it too. That visceral grief. The horrible photo of a compliant Sarah allowing her killer to handcuff her because she thought he was on legitimate duty. First thoughts and prayers are with her family and also the family of the murderer who, through no fault of their own have lost everything. Those children, losing school, friends, lives as they will have been moved on. I’m not naming him. I’m sick of his face.

I don’t know about you but I have heard many conversations this week with sentences including “Well Bless Her – she was a bit naive” No, no she wasn’t. And even if she was. – wrong emphasis. Also “Not all police are like that.” Well obviously, but how do we get to “not any police like that.” Your call. As a tiny thing to change. Maybe we could stop allowing police with misconduct charges to stop leaving with full pensions. All they do is retire early. If you know that is waiting for you – what’s the incentive to do the right thing?

But obviously, it’s bigger than that. Don’t tell women to effectively resist arrest by running away, insist on using the police radio or “flagging down a bus”. (People of colour will be watching this with interest). Work to change the narrative. Make misogynist Whatsapp groups something to be ashamed of. Listen carefully to what women are saying and act as if their voices have merit. You don’t have to believe everything you are told. Just treat it as if it might be true.

Karen Ingala Smith’s website which includes “Counting Dead Women.” says that over 110 women have been killed by men this year – not including those who have taken their own lives after domestic violence. Are we aware of that? If you have a minute go over and have a look at their stories. Their stories could be our stories but also, we need to work towards supporting those who mourn now. Making room for those who need help and, at the very least speaking up to challenge the idea that our safety on the streets or in our own homes depends on our level of street smarts or our ability to be a bit less naive. I’m not very good at confrontation and sometimes, in my conversations, I can feel that an opinion forcefully expressed is, therefore, a right opinion but that’s not good enough. We need to speak up on behalf of the voiceless. In our everyday conversations, challenge the norms that say sometimes women’s behaviour brings this on. If things are to change, despite it probably being unforgivably slow, it’s time to say stuff.

‚ÄúSpeak up for the people who have no voice… Speak out for justice!”







  1. October 4, 2021 / 8:17 am

    (1)Cold weather /hot stuff. Yes, very chilly, I kept my socks on in bed. Family legend: My mother once stood in front of the mirror to brush her hair before going to bed. Except the mirror was over the mantelpiece and there was an open fire. Her floaty thin nightie caught alight. Fortunately my dad wrapped her in the hearth rug and extinguished the flames. No serious burns. She was pregnant at the time (with me) I’m passionate about fireguards now.
    (2) book reviews. I enjoyed RO#1, yet to read #2. Looking forward to Ed Balls biog too. All you need to know about Proust is that he ate madeleines and lined his study with cork.
    (3) the whole Sarah Everard story leaves me heartsick. I don’t want to return to the world of the avuncular Dixon of Dock Green sort of copper, but back in the 1950s (honest) people did at least feel safe with a PC. My thoughts and prayers are with those families destroyed by this murder.
    We need more good male role models… Waterstones has a whole load of ‘books for little girls about great women’ and that’s good and fine. But where are the ones for my grandson, about great men? NOT necessarily scientists and inventors – but GOOD guys. People like Marcus Rashford, Krish Kandiah, Steve Chalke… Men who live what they believe and genuinely changed lives for the better.

    • lesleyps91
      October 4, 2021 / 8:16 pm

      Absolutely agree. Now isn’t just the time to teach children about great women but great men as well. (Like your choices by the way)

  2. Kirsten
    October 4, 2021 / 8:36 am

    I, too, have ironed a jumper with me inside it. Stopped very quickly indeed… More haste, less speed, as people say.

    Another met policeman is in the news for rape today. The thought I am thinking are so tangled that I can’t arrange them into any sensible word order. A sort of almost physical groaning is the closest I can get to.

    • lesleyps91
      October 4, 2021 / 8:20 pm

      In more worrying news for my husband, I have bought a handheld steamer for when I don’t have time to get the iron out. Apparently, you are supposed to steam things on the hanger but we shall see!

  3. October 5, 2021 / 7:17 pm

    Oh please dont steam yourself, it could be very unpleasant.
    Disbelief when hearing the advice….run away or ask to use his radio…… How likely is it that either of those could actually happen if you were up against a bent policeman?? I’m feeling very depressed about our world at the moment.

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