Monday, 4 March 2019

Dressing up. And a bit about feminism ... of sorts!

All the children around here are running around dressed up, mostly as Disney characters. This is what “entroido” - Gallego for carnival, well, sort of - should be all about, little kids having fun! After Tuesday it all stops and the serious business of Lent begins. I wonder if people still give things up for Lent. When I was a child, we always had collecting boxes from the church. I always felt it must have been a bit hard on my parents, trying to get a reasonable amount of small change into four little collecting boxes?

Here’s a little blow for women’s equality. Well, almost, but not quite!

There was a cycling race in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium, racing around the Flemish Ardennes. There was a men’s race and a women’s race, and the men set off ten minutes ahead of the women. Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann of the Bigla Pro team surged into an early lead of almost two minutes in the women’s race and had almost caught up with the men‘s race. So the race organisers flagged her down and made her, and the other women cyclists, wait to prevent the men’s and women’s races getting confused. Of course the rest of the women’s race caught up and had to wait as well. The race stewards gave Ms Hanselmann a head start when the women set off again but her momentum was gone and she was swept up into the peleton. “It was a bit sad for me because I was in a good mood and when the bunch sees you stopping, they just get a new motivation to catch you,” she told Cyclingnews. “We could just see the ambulances of the men’s race. I think we stopped for five or seven minutes and then it just kills your chances.”

What a shame! Maybe it’s time they organised things differently because it sounds as though she was in with a chance of beating some of the men.

 While I am on about women’s stuff, Stella Parton, younger sister of the more famous Dolly, has been criticising her big sister for not speaking out about sexual predators in the country and western scene. Dolly had apparently declared that she had no interest in becoming a cheerleader for the #MeToo movement. It seems that Stella organises seminars and classes for women on feminist lines. Good for her! But surely her big sister is entitled to make up her own mind.

Someone else getting it in the neck is poor Meghan Markle. My tongue is firmly in my cheek when I say “poor Meghan”. She jetted over to Mew York for a baby shower (a strange American invention to make people give pregnant ladies gifts) where rich friends from the world of celebrity of one kind and another - the Clooneys, the Williams sister among others - are said to have showered her with gifts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Those who have shall evidently receive more.

Journalists hasten to assure us that “no public money was spent on Meghan’s party, unless you count the security detail for members of the royal family”. Okay!

But it would appear that the new(ish) princess is being criticised for not being “royal” enough. “Now it seems that a woman praised for modernising the monarchy is perhaps just a bit too modern, a bit too full of herself, a bit too independent,” writes Jane Martinson. Good grief! It’s not as though she is ever likely to be queen!

Jane Mortinson, by the way, was not criticising Meghan, but rather her critics.

Ms Martinson also points out the different treatment of men who marry into the Windsor clan:

“For anyone who believes Meghan’s media treatment is no different to other royals, I give you Mike Tindall. While the former actor has been forced to drop her online blog and acting career, the member of a World Cup-winning rugby team, and another outsider to marry a royal grandchild, has continued with his former career and appeared on TV survival programmes since marrying Zara Phillips. What’s more, his treatment by the press appears overwhelmingly positive despite two lengthy drink-driving bans.”

And finally, just to add to the nonsense, yesterday I came cross pictures of the Dorking Annual wife-carrying race.

For the last ten years or so, men of Dorking in Surrey, and perhaps visitors from other places, have carried their wives, often upside down over their shoulders, over a 380 metre course, complete with hay bale hurdles, a punishing 15-metre climb and a ‘soak zone’, where spectators mercilessly chuck buckets of water over the battle-hardened competitors. The website warns of possible injuries which might result from taking part - the kind of strains that might require lengthy physiotherapy to put them right.

Quite why anyone, men or women, would want to participate in such a “sport” escapes me totally!

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