When we’ve been to France we’ve brought back a lot of wine. Sometimes we’ve found a great cave to buy from, other times local supermarkets have proven to have some good and great stuff. This summer we’ll bring back more because for the price we pay per bottle we get much better wine than we do here. And because we drink wine, we end up with a lot of corks. We’ve discarded them up to now but my husband has hit on the great idea of saving them and making something useful and beautiful out of them. Given it’s a bank holiday this weekend, we’ll have one more cork than usual.
I think Marjorie gave us some of advice Marie Kondo is currently spreading around the world back in the 1930s. She tells us clutter is at outdated as modesty and that no one can live with musty heirlooms without becoming a bit musty herself. She advised that perhaps you didn’t need to spend a lot of money to improve your living quarters and that the best thing to do before opening your wallet was to clear out the clutter, give away the junk you don’t like and scrub the place clean. One of her cases like a ‘clean, scrubbed look’, a look to which I am becoming increasingly partial.
Our rooms are all painted the same colour and all our floors are wooden, which I love because they get dusty, you can see the dust and you can get rid of it. I tidied my bookshelves last night and the reorganisation resulted in more books going off to places new, discarding a few that were past any more rereads and more of a clean, scrubbed look overall. Marjorie cautioned us to keep our homes places to which we’d want to return, lest we succumb to having to decide Will I Or Won’t I, a problem which she says every woman has to settle for herself.
She’d agree with a lot of the current craze for minimalism and keeping only the things you love and which spark joy, even if she probably never considered that idea. She’d probably be more brusque and less sympathetic about why you’d want to keep something that looks like junk, but I think a ‘clean, scrubbed look’ is something many can relate to wanting.
A colleague alerted me to this treasure trove yesterday in work. Apparently the Irish Film Institute has decided it would be a great thing indeed if we all had access to the television advertisements of yore. I spent far too much time trying to suppress laughter and getting wrapped up in nostalgia.
I loath advertisements on television now, and switch channels quickly or avoid them entirely. I wonder if I’ll even remember any of today’s advertisements if they end up like the ones from the old days.
I spent far too much time on social media yesterday, to the neglect of my duties in the home, following the proceedings of the Citizens’ Assembly as it debated whether I should continue to remain equal to a zygote. I had a sneaky feeling that I’d probably underestimated the ability of normal people to deal with what’s actually not a very complicated issue at all, namely whether we trust women and, if we don’t, why don’t we?
My mood lifted throughout the day and finally, on a windy beach not far from my house, my dodgy 4G worked and I read the amazing news on twitter than I am, in fact, part of The Middle Ground. I am not a radical, I am not part of fringe elements, I am not a weird outlier. There are many other people who think like me, who trust women and who think the current legal and constitutional situation is untenable.
I bet if more people informed themselves, they’d realise they too are The Middle Ground. They’d probably realise their wife shouldn’t be exactly equal to a foetus and have her maternity care stymied by a mad law from 1983. They’d probably realise their daughter is happy with the number of children she has and doesn’t want any more, and shouldn’t be forced to scrape money and time together to have control over her reproductive choices. They’d probably realise their friend shouldn’t have to suffer the additional agony created by the eighth if a scan during pregnancy shows up something awful.
They’d probably realise they really don’t need to know why me or anyone else continues or ends a pregnancy. They’d probably realise that life is indeed messy, complicated and sometimes unfair. They’d probably think they don’t like it when women make certain choices, but that’s really none of their business because no one is telling them what to do and they’re really quite fair minded in many ways.
If you’re not sure whether you’re also The Middle Ground, have a read of the Citizens’ Assembly website. Read up on how the eighth amendment affects maternity care. Have a look at why those who don’t think choices should be available if you’re unable to travel think the way they do. Inform yourself. I was once The Extreme. Now I’m The Middle Ground, which trusts women and wants the best for them and knows that limiting their rights is in no way the best for anyone.
The decision to relocate a national maternity hospital to another, more medically appropriate site, seems logical and positive. Until you realise just what this will involve. The state is, in effect, giving a €300 million asset to a private organisation that’s loyal to another state and has proven itself to be completely and utterly amoral, to have failed women and children, to have manipulated the needy through indoctrination and has managed to convince generations of people that if it wasn’t for it, we somehow wouldn’t have all the normal services of most western democracies.
This is supposed to be a national maternity hospital. If we’re allowing this decision to move towards completion, we are getting a national maternity hospital in name only. I don’t believe any promises made by any religious order or Minister any more, because the best way to predict what will happen in the future is to look at the past. And in the past, both religious orders and Ministers have lied, or told mistruths, or have used whatever weasel words they need to for social or political expediency.
Religious bodies have used the state’s education system to convince generations upon generations that it is completely normal and positive for essential services to be controlled and delivered by, but not paid for, private foreign entities. We have given them billions. They have abused our people, they have stolen babies and enslaved women, they have indoctrinated children, they have covered up child rape, they have created trusts to hide and retain assets and they have shown us not one example of why they should be handed ever greater sums of state money.
It is not normal for a state to hand over millions to private foreign entities that have an appalling track record. It is not normal for us to be expected to accept this is normal. It is not normal for women who are supposed to be getting care in a national maternity hospital to have to ask about the religious limits that they might be subjected to.
A body which styles itself the Sisters of Charity should not and cannot be handed our national maternity hospital.
I made a big pavlova for dessert over the weekend. It’s my failsafe, tried and tested dessert but the only problem is the leftover egg yolks that invariably end up going off in a jar in my fridge because I didn’t fancy carbonara within a day or two. This week I’m off work and, therefore, feeling, as Marjorie might have put it, a little domestic. I bought some lemons today and whipped up a big jar of lemon curd. It’s a delicious balance of sweet and sharp and the colour glows nicely. Yummy.
I use a similar recipe to this, but I always use whatever egg yolks I have and throw in one whole eggs. I learned the hard way this is not something to make in a rush. The slower you go, the better.
Having had some time to declutter and reorganise some more, I’ve found some of the things I need to help me along with our zero waste holiday plans. I knew we had more vacuum bags than I had folded away and lo and behold some turned up when I sorted a random box of crap and more turned up when I did a job on our attic space and realised I was ready to let go of more things belonging to another phase of my life which would spark more joy if used by others than if stored for months ‘just in case’.
Packing everything in vacuum bags rather than in suitcases was probably our best packing decision last year. The bags took up no room and kept everything clean and dry en route, then took up no space and-or were pressed into use as laundry bags. We didn’t have to worry about how to squeeze suitcases into the tiny mobile home and our packing to come home was easy as we could squash everything around all the boxes of wine we picked up.
I also found our bedlinen that works fine for a more rustic holiday and which can do double duty wrapping things on the journey home. I might invest in a travel kettle this year because last year we wasted a lot of money and disposable cups on very mediocre tea and coffee. As we bring a picnic bag on board with us, packing two cups and some snacks makes financial and environmental sense.
I also found many summer tops I had totally forgotten about, plus a kaftan that I was sure I’d donated. I’m currently using some of the tops for the gym and I’ll see how I feel about them for summer. An old pair of jeans turned up too, I had been looking for them as they’ll make great shorts once I cut the legs off. The legs parts can be used for cleaning.