Auntie Doris’s All Things Must Pass #6: Woman’s Realm

imageMy father used to say “a woman’s realm is in the home and not her husband’s counting house” What he meant was that she had to clean and tidy the house for him and do all his washing and ironing and cook his meals, and everything else, whilst he did what he considered to be important work, usually in the office at the Nonconformist Chapel where he was a lay preacher. I’m not sure what that important work was, but it probably didn’t have much to do with counting.

Not that I am saying that it was anything filthy mind. Not like most men and their “counting houses” which are full of ruddy magazines that they think that their wives don’t know about. No, my dad’s idea of important work was writing sermons to terrify people into behaving themselves in order that they would be saved from eternal damnation. His heart was in the right place I suppose, but not when he started taking it upon himself to punish sinners, by pinching their legs.
Anyway, I know that the whole idea of the woman’s realm being in the home is out of fashion, and not exactly textbook feminism. But in my opinion, men are generally such useless lumps that there’s no point in making the home their realm at all, unless you want it to go to rack and ruin.
Back in the day, any woman who wanted to make sure that her home ran smoothly had a ruddy good weekly magazine to help her take care of her realm. Woman’s Realm Magazine. It offered information and advice on everything, from how to make a successful cheese soufflé (as opposed to a failed cheese soufflé) or how to knit flecked wool cable stitch socks for the man in your cellar, (You wouldn’t want him looking at his ruddy magazines with cold feet would you?) through to hints and tips for home décor on a shoestring… Whatever a ruddy shoestring is when its all at home. Did they mean a shoelace? And if so how could you decorate your home on one of them?
The thing was, that when Woman’s realm was on the go, at least women were interested in things like that. Now it only seems that women only want to decorate their houses so that they can get on a property renovation television programme which is probably presented by some ruddy celebrity or other.
And ruddy celebrities are all that most women want to read about in their magazines. Ruddy celebrities injecting themselves with rubber solution glue to get rid of cellulitis or something, or having bad photographs taken of them in unfashionable swimming costumes by the same Pappa Asti photographers who hounded poor Lady Di to an early grave in a French subway station.
Any road, they stopped doing the Women’s Realm Magazine in 2001.
Thank the Good Lord that they still print the People’s Friend Magazine in Dundee. You can still get the odd knitting pattern and recipe in there, amongst the heart-warming fiction stories. Then again, people in Scotland do seem to have to have their heads screwed on a bit better than most of us south of the border. That’s why they don’t elect Tories up there.
I don’t know what my Father would have said now that a woman’s realm seems to be everywhere, including counting houses, chapel pulpits and the houses of ruddy parliament. I don’t think that he would have liked it. But he would have just had to lump it… because all things must pass.

Auntie Doris’s Book Club #10: “Mother Mining” by Janice Wilberg

mother miningAuntie Doris’s Book Club #10: “Mother Mining” by Jan Wilberg

You only have to read one or two of Jan Wilberg’s blog entries on the internet to realise that she is a ruddy good writer and a wise and interesting person to boot. She has her head screwed on the right way does Jan. She is a woman who understands what being a woman is all about. In this book of hers, “Mother Mining” she writes about motherhood from all different angles. And she knows a fair few angles; daughter, mother, adoptive mother, new mother, old mother, grandmother, the ruddy lot. And she thinks about other mothers too; her own mother, the mothers of the lads that she has adopted, her lad’s mother in law, she even thinks about the mothers of people in prison and stuff.

And the book is all short essays and reflections, so its very easy to read. But its very thoughtful an’all. You get a real sense of how Jan thinks about being a woman and motherhood, and you get to share her sense too. And she is a sensible lass; full of common sense, like mothers should be.

Me, I never was a mother, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you different. Of course, I’ve always been good with kiddies. My little sister April May was 21 years younger than me, and I looked after her as if she was my own. And her kiddies too, my nephew Michael and my niece Pamela, I always kept an eye out for them and made sure that I got them something nice to read at Christmas. The gift of good reading is a real gift in my book. How would I be able to read stuff like what Jan writes without it? How can we learn anything if we can’t read? And don’t say the ruddy television because that’s all celebrities and nonsense these days, the sort of stuff that is completely absent from Jan’s book, and its much the better for it.

Its a shame that you can’t get this book on the amazon Kindles, but you can easily get hold of a paperback copy of it. Mine only took a couple of days to arrive, and I’m on the other side!

Get the ruddy thing ordered now. And while you are waiting for it to come you can have a read of her blog, which has loads of interesting articles in it, not just about mothers, but fathers an all, (I wonder if she might to a follow up called Father Farming? As long as she doesn’t do one about ruddy baby farming eh?) and all sorts of little homilies and tales about all aspects of life. Apparently, she has had her stuff printed in the New York Times and other posh places a s well. I Will have to pass on the address of the Peoples Friend to her, I’m sure that they would love her stuff, in the magazine and the Fireside Companion.

Jan’s Blog is called Red’s Wrap