Saturday, 25 August 2007

Grumpy Old Woman


I'M getting old. I don't mean in that 'oh dear, I've got a faint laughter line' kind of old but in that 'everything was better when I was a child' grumpy old woman kind of old.
I can no longer watch television without becoming incandescent with rage about something or other - not just the big things like terrorism, crime, the National Health Service and education, but little things which ought to pass me by, leaving my serenity untouched. These 'little things' usually involve some health and safety nonsense, or some food advice from the Government, or some official over-reaction or under-reaction to an issue.
It was never like it in my day. There was so much commonsense sloshing about that you didn't need a law to tell you that poking yourself in the eyes with a red-hot poker was going to make you blind. Where has all that commonsense gone? I'll tell you where it's gone - it's been mopped up into legislation and Government papers, smeared around quangos and committees so many times that it's been contaminated by jobsworth bureaucracy before being regurgitated out into so many laws, rules and warnings that no one knows whether they are coming or going and no one any longer trusts their own instincts.
Oh dear, you see what I mean by being a grumpy old woman?
I concede that not everything was better in my "simple" childhood. I don't look fondly back over an epidemic of polio, for example. But things were simpler and there didn't seem to be half so much to worry about.
Here's few things to think about, if you can be bothered!
Compensation culture: If you did something stupid, it was your own fault and you suffered the consequences. If you slipped up at work because you weren't looking where you were going, you were a dozy cow not an accident victim who could sue.
No go areas: If I drop a crisp packet next a police car in my little village, I will quite rightly be given an on-the-spot fine. If, however, I am a drug dealer I can stand on a corner of some city estate and peddle my wares to vulnerable youngsters without so much as an accusing look from the boys in blue.
Health and safety: I presume there were some health and safety laws, mostly pertaining to heavy industry, when I was a child but I don't ever recall a ban on playing that notoriously life-threatening game, conkers. I want to live in a world where - like a story I was dealing with on my newspaper last week - in the 60s a man could get the nickname Houdini because his party piece at one local event was diving into a swimming pool onto which petrol had been poured and set alight! Now, that's my kind of a guy.
Ritalin: Attention Deficit Disorder didn't exist, or if it did, it had a different name - Badly Behaved Child Who Needs a Clip Round The Ear Disorder.
Kumquats: Kum what? Bananas and oranges found their way to our shores but not the endless variety of foreign food we get in every supermarket now. This, on the whole, is a good thing but it has stopped us from eating food when it is supposed to be eaten i.e. when it's in season.
Endless varieties of takeaway food: The nearest I ever got to a takeaway meal was picking whortleberries (little wild blueberries) on Exmoor. Oh, and fish and chips on the way home from Newton Abbot races.
Mobile phones: Another goodish invention but taken to extremes by teenagers. I don't think they'll be happy until they have one mobile phone welded to their ear for talking into and another welded to their hand for ease of texting.
I could go on and on and, as the dearly beloved will tell you, often do, but I'm going to stop now for something else I never had when I was a child - a cup of coffee made in a cafetiere. Crikey.


PS: The article I wrote for TopBlog magazine is the featured post of the week. The subject I was given to write about was 'differences'. Anyone who is the slightest bit interested can read it here It's only there until Monday, I think, so you'd better be quick!

30 comments:

laurie said...

confession: i have thought this way for a long time. i think it means we're sentimental.

lady thinker said...

Hail sister well met - agree with every word. We must be of an age ...
Sorry laure - I think you surely meant sensible instead of sentimental?! 8-)

Old Knudsen said...

Everything just seemed more sensible back then and not so ridiculous,over done and rehashed.

Gorilla Bananas said...

That's a good list, Mrs Table, but I'm surprised you've said nothing about pop music. Why is it we never see pop singers who make complete asses of themselves on stage, like Gary Glitter?

fatmammycat said...

Get your trainers on...

Akelamalu said...

OH I SO AGREE!

I love the show Grumpy Old Women too - I can so identify with them all!!!

Akelamalu said...

PS loved your article for Topblog!

laurie said...

hiya! i have an award for you. stop over at the dog blog to pick it up. congratulations!

Miss Understood said...

I remember when having fun was playing marbles, or jacks...not standing in front of a 60inch widescreen telly playing a virtual game of tennis.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

Laurie: Sensible and sentimental!

Thinker: "Of an age" - too old for chasing lads, too young for incontinence pads!

Mr K: I don't like anything ridiculous, overdone or rehashed - not even my food!

GB: That nice Gary Glitter, that level-headed Adam Ant, that staid Keith Moon .... know the ones you mean!

Fatmammycat: They're on and I'm raring to go!

Akelamalu: Love that show too - find myself nodding the whole way through! Thanks too for comment about TopBlog.

Laurie: Thanks for award - am cogitating who to pass it on to!

Miss U: Thanks for the memory - playing jacks. Remember "round the world", "no bounce" etc etc? I wonder if you can still buy them.

Maria said...

Oh, good hell...I loved this post. I am thrilled to have found you.

I was just thinking the same thing the other day as I ran through the drive thru at McDonalds to get my child her breakfast (BAD MOTHER! BAD MOTHER!)They handed me my coffee and not only was it labeled HOT! VERY HOT! DRINK AND HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE!, but they had a little card with it warning me as well. As if I were so daft that I had to be warned that coffee was hot!

And unwrapping Liv's (said child) new box of pencils for school, I noticed that it said DO NOT INGEST OR ATTEMPT TO PIERCE A BODY PART on the label.

Holy smoke....

Thanks for visiting my blog....btw. So very nice to meet you.

herschelian said...

You and I are so much on the same wavelength over this, I fear I have become a female Victor Meldrew with a Sarf Efrikan accent.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I'm visiting from laurie's blog and I couldn't agree with you more. I think the further we get away from personal responsibility and accountability the worse it's going to get. But then I'm old...

CrankyProf said...

Oh, honey. You can;t see it, but I am waving my cane and nodding in complete agreement.

The Little Cheese said...

Bloody right!

My dear father told me about his run in with compensation culture the other day. His church car park attracts yooves during the week-ends who drink and bonk. One of them broke her leg after falling over a dodgy manhole cover. Admittedly the church hadn't sorted it. But that is the SAME manhole cover that they RIPPED UP! And the only reason this yoof fell is because she slipped in her own vomit.

I have started a campaign to get the church to sue them, the little blighters.

Harumph! Yours angrily,

The Little Cheese

debio said...

With you every step of the way, amkt.

Quite the worse thing to happen to the UK in modern history is the welfare state - no responsibility but a plethora of rights!

Oh God - am I a Grumpy Old Woman too?

Flowerpot said...

yes I think the same way - love from another grumpy old woman!

Teuchter said...

>I can no longer watch television without becoming incandescent with rage about something or other<

Ooops. I do that too - and I now find myself shouting at the radio too, particlularly Nicky Campbell on R5 in the mornings since he won't ever shut up and let the interviewee answer the questions he's just asked them.
I think it's time to retune that radio to something less enraging.

As for protecting people from their own stupidity? It's evolution in action and they should be left to take themselves out of the gene pool.

Harrrumph indeed :)

Rol Hirst said...

Whortleberries... are they the same as bilberries?

Mobile phones are the devil's slippers.

Rainbow said...

Oh god, how true. We lie in bed of a morning listening to the news on the radio and ranting. Particularly love the points about conkers and Ritalin. Never mind, though, the older you get the more you can get away with it!

belle said...

Well this confirms it. I am definitely a fully paid up memeber of the Grumpy Old Woman club. Just one point I'd take issue with, but that's because I live with a 13 year old with severe ADHD, Ritalin: I love Ritalin, love it love it love it. But I still clip him round the ear. Regularly. I find it's best to.

Mary Alice said...

Well, I must be a full fledge grumpy old woman myself. So many seem to be unable to DO anything for themselves anymore, everyone complains and waits for someone else (such as the government) to do it for them. No personal responsibility and worse yet, no pride.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Ahhh, breath of fresh air. I spend my life worrying about things because I'm told I should.
But the conkers thing, Pah! even i can see thru that one.

Sweet Irene said...

I am so glad that I found a grumpy old woman blogger, because I am well on my way of becoming one myself, although there are days when I am not quite disenchanted yet. I do see some glorious dawn at the horizon yet. I have been reading your older posts and enjoying them a lot. I also found some good bloggers in your links to other bloggers. Thanks for that. I'll be seeing you here regularly. Ciao...

IngeniousRose said...

Last night I had to watch the final of Big Brother. I tutted, sighed, and shook my head in disgust through the entire program. I felt old yet responsible and mature, and it felt good!

Pesk said...

Don't get me started. On the news at the moment is the gasping horror that in two generations our ten year old kids will weigh 75 stone, or somesuch. No feckin wonder what with every playground being a nest of paedos and drug dealers (according to the oh so responsible media). Doesn't half annoy me. Here's the thing - make your kids exercise some, and feed them carrots instead of burgers. Bloody idiots.

Around My Kitchen Table said...

Maria: Fancy something that's made with boiling water being hot! Thanks for comment.

Herschelian: I'm DEFINITELY a female Victor!

Rotten Corresponent: As my mother is always telling me, you don't get older without getting wiser!

Cranky Prof: I guess the clue that you might agree was in your name!

Little Cheese: That's a brilliant story - you should try to flog it the nationals, except your father's church would probably excommunicate him!

Debio: And these toe rags all know their rights but ignore their responsibilities.

Flowerpot: Great minds thinks alike!

Teuchter: The radio comes under my ranting radar too. I sometimes have to turn to Classic FM to calm me down!

Rol: I think whortleberries are little bluebereries, which might be a bilberry - haven't a clue!

Rainbow: Ah yes, definitely a case of: "When I am old woman I shall wear purple." Do you know that poem? Written for women like us!

Belle: That's a sensible decision - solve the problem from two angles!

Mary Alice: I so agree about the pride. Some people will do anything for their 15 minutes of fame. Have they no shame?

Pigs: We were always playing conkers when we were children and I never remember getting hurt despite playing against four vicious brothers!

Sweet Irene: Thanks for the comment. Despite my blog, I am quite an optimistic person and love life! I know, you'd never believe it!

Ingenious Rose: I've never got into Big Brother as one of the few times I switched to it, they were all in bed asleep! I sat open-mouthed, thinking: "And they call this entertainment?!"

Pesk: Everything seems so obvious to we people with some commonsense!

The British Bird. said...

I agree, im a grumpy getting older woman, my Mother already IS one. Shes just got a blog but I told her she hasnt got her comment thing turned on yet.
Some little pissant marketing guru, I guess it could be a woman too, sits in his or her little cubby dreaming up things they think we want and how to sell it to us. I dont ever remember wanting a cumquat as a child nor would I even have known what that was. It sounds sort of disgusting to me.

I hope my Mother gets her blog sorted she would enjoy your site.
Reply as per your comment...

Yes flower, I grew up on good old stick to your ribs type reciepes, unfortunately on all those that are my favorites, one can hear ones ateries hardening.
so, in moderation. good luck with the cutting back, unfortunately winter is coming here and thats not a good time to diet as you need the warmth.

I read the other day, that Cornwall is mostly made up of people from London and from North Yorkshire and also that the real cornish people have left... to add insult to injury summer consists of hordes of SUVs towing boats and labrador's up little side streets. Has it changed that much? I remember as a child being fascnined by those lovely, kind and soft, funny speaking cornish people. I had gone horse riding with my best friend, and was so sore afterwards, the ferryman actually had to pick me up and lift me off the boat when we reached Padstowe
I was sixteen at the time and still remember his salty odor, which wasnt unpleasant and his deep laugh.

It would be an aweful shame if they have all been driven out.

best regards,
bird.

Cate said...

Hi, I stumbled across your blog from somewhere in cyber space. It made me laugh. Yes, warning labels were meant for the weak of mind. Don't people naturally know that Ajax is not meant to be used as coffe creamer? Thanks for the laughs. Your style is just wonderful.

River said...

that's 477kg! No wonder today's houses are built so big....(*~*)