Can someone please explain to this poor brow-beaten chap about the phenomenon that is called “multi-tasking”? Because I, being a simple male, do not quite understand why all women claim this to be some sort of god-given benefit. Take our house for example. First thing in the morning we take it in turns to make a cup of tea but this is how it works.
Me: Go downstairs, put kettle on, get cups from cupboard, put in tea bags, get milk from fridge. Wait for kettle to boil, pour in water, stir and take two cups back upstairs.
Wendy: Go downstairs, switch on kettle. Feed dogs, check emails, let dogs out, reply to emails. Switch on kettle again as water has now gone cold. Have a bath, let dogs in, do last nights washing up, hoover the house, do some ironing, clean the windows, switch on kettle again, phone the hair-dressers, take the kids to school*, decorate the sitting room, switch kettle on again. Bring cup of tea upstairs to meet me coming halfway down, dehydrated and gasping for a brew. The excuse for why it takes 30 minutes to make a cup of tea is called multi-tasking, doing lots of jobs at once, despite them all collectively taking much longer than they would do individually. Let me think about it again…nope, I still can’t understand the concept. Maybe I should read that highly sexist book, what is it called? Men are from Mars, Women are from somewhere much much further away than that, but that’s alright because it allows them time to put on their make-up in the rear-view mirror on the way here!
Last month we moved into a small cottage near the river in Bewdley so we could stay near to family for a month or two. I will admit that living in a small town has its plus points; 20 pubs within walking distance for one thing, along with a couple of nice bistros and numerous take-away restaurants. Bewdley also boasts a network of scenic walks which are ideal to exercise our two energetic dogs, either along the river or up toward the Wyre forest. What I do take exception to though is having to carry plastic ‘pooh’ bags everywhere they go. Yes I agree that if your dog fowls the pavement, road or even gravel path, then it should be removed and disposed of sensibly. But what is sensible about collecting animal matter in a plastic bag and putting it in a dustbin? I thought that UK had gone ecco-mental in the last few years? So surely dog pooh is bio-degradable if pushed into the grass or left in a field rather than being sent in plastic bags to the country’s already over-burdened waste sites? If I were a younger man with more time and inclination on my hands, I would be out there right now inventing the bio-pooh bag, made of paper! I would probably get a big fat government hand-out for my services too. Are there no entrepreneurs left in this country? Or are they all to busy being social servants or vehicular-controlling-enforcement-operatives or whatever a bl**dy traffic warden is called these days!
We did catch a piece of nostalgia recently though, on the Severn Valley steam Railway from Bewdley through to Bridgnorth. It is over 20 years since I last went on it and I would Highley (local joke) recommend it as a pleasant day out. The dogs enjoyed it too, spending most of the way looking out of the widow for squirrels, but I was a bit indignant about having to pay £2 each for them to travel. It is not as though they used the facilities and even if they did, we would have been bound to collect in our polite little plastic sacks!
For family reasons I have travelled most days last month to Moseley hospital on the outskirts of Birmingham. Now, despite a few comments I sometimes flippantly submit in this column, I am not racist and am quite acceptable of the fact that Britain is a multicultural society. The fact that last months UK census form was printed in 56 languages gives me no unrest whatsoever. I also understand that Birmingham has become one of Britain’s first cities to have an ethnic majority population; that was always inevitable. My problem is, although south Birmingham houses a mixture of races, predominantly white I would say from a passing observation, I watched a primary school sending its children home one mid afternoon. Out of 100 children, there were no white kids at all, not even one. This fact worries me because I deduce from it that all the white kids must go to a different school and that, for want of another word, is segregation. Now maybe I am misinformed but I can only say what I saw. Perhaps the ethnic kids go home earlier than the others, or later, whatever, I don’t know? All I know is if this sort of ghetto culture is being allowed or, dare I say, actively encouraged in our cities at a junior level then we are taking one step too many towards an irreversible racial problem. A problem that will surely lead on to apartheid and ultimately to civil war? I can offer no sensible solution to this issue but I am just a little too worried that nobody else is brave enough to face up to it or tackle it with the courage and intelligence it immediately requires. The word multicultural means just that, we all live together. This is not South Africa and we should remain proud of that fact.
Yet another new catchword has sprung from the Government and its spin doctors this week, Social Mobility. The “who you know” culture must go, says that bloke who seems to hold an important job in government without being elected. Mr Clegg also states that “getting on in life because you know people” is wrong! Excuse me? So the recluse who never goes out, never speaks to anyone and has absolutely no friends is best placed for the job. Whatever job that may be? Apparently he, or she, should be allowed more social mobility. I have never heard of such tosh. People who get on in life are generally gregarious and have an ability, either natural or trained, to get on with other people. The education they acquire revolves around personal interaction and social skills as well as academic knowledge. That is how the world works, get over it. Unless, of course, you are a government official whose party got little or no votes but you managed to get into office by sucking up to the team that beat you?
*ok we don’t have any kids in the house, so maybe she is taking the pooh bags to the skip!