About Alison

A feisty mother earth type, who has an opinion about everything I would like to think I use my "chopsy" attitude to throw some light and perhaps a new slant on current social and cultural issues.

Since I moved to the country for a quiet life I have been lucky enough to create a more healthy more relaxed environment for myself. I love country life, Family, Friends, Horses and Dogs. I also love, photography, writing/chatting and connecting with others.

Please have a look at a collection of my photos blog,


or join in on my chats here or on my otherblog


which follows my efforts to learn to ride and care for horses in my 50s! or just follow me on Twitter and I will follow you back (if you are a real person) on @alisonbarton1. Enjoy and talk to me.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

No budgie smugglers for the men then?

How far have we women come on the journey towards full emancipation and standing on a “level playing field”. Well I suppose it all depends on what playing field you are standing on. If its Beach volley ball there seems to be a very obvious difference between the sexes that at first glance may seem petty and inconsequential. But like all these “small” issues, they have deep rooted negative insidious connotations for women, all women. Not just those interested in beach volley ball or sport generally.

Simultaneously because the matter seems mere “window dressing” anyone tempted to castigate the dress code, of the players and compare the glaring differences from a “sexist” point of view, runs the risk of being labelled, “hysterical” or extreme. Its just Beach volley ball for goodness sake?
Well call me what you like but let me ask just a few questions,(I'll make a stab at the answers too)
1Why do the ladies shorts need to be so brief,
Answer, perhaps because its “beach” volley ball stupid and they are playing on a beach. So it’s like they are wearing a bikini as if they have just started playing a game after a sunbathe
(Oh I see).

2. Its not long since Beach volley ball has been an approved Olympic sport so perhaps it looks startlingly modern and with it, but now it’s a serious sport right?
Answer, yeah right!

3. So there has to be a unified look a team strip and they came up with this for the all the ladies of the world? Are the ladies happy to wear such revealing and potentially easily wardrobe malfunctioning kit?
Answer, Of course they are just happy to be playing for their country and they look really happy don’t they?

4. Yes, but what responsibility do they have to make it more professionally appreciated for their skill and inspire other young women to take this up as a serious sport?
Answer, they are doing a great job, they get loads of attention,
 Serving in Beach Volleyball at Beijing 2008
5. You hardly see photos of the men’s team do you?
Answer No that’s true.

6.Don’t they want to look cool and get photographed and appeal to the masses to generate interest in the sport.
Answer,Well the girls seem to be doing that all on their own.

7. So no Budgie smugglers for the men then?

Answer, No way! what would that look like, ridiculous!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Equality in a Talent Show World!

Does success  mean stepping on others

I often have anxieties about whether society at large is manipulated intentionally by popular culture, to benefit a master plan. I find Feminism is under strain (yet again) and whilst I emphasise I am not an avid reader of feminist literature or ideals. I have my own base level of comprehension which is open for discussion of course.

It seems that not only is feminism becoming untrendy by young girls who feel they can make it on their own thank you very much, but equality per se is under attack.

The world goes round on an ability to feed and clothe itself, the majority look for their basic needs to be met whilst the greedy minority are encouraged to gain fortunes in enterprises because they act as the catalyst for the provision of the many. So the Tycoons are forgiven their opulent lifestyle because they provide the infrastructure for the ordinary guy to earn a crust.

To balance this of course we have seen any number of “protectionists” schemes introduced to ensure the “little guy” isn’t exploited. Fair Trade, minimum wage, hours of work directive,  health & Safety, human rights and so on. We are a caring world are we not? Through history there has always had to be a less important group of humans who need the work no other group should be asked to do. This has been a transient group as they form, through struggle into a force to be reckoned with.

Or can we be happy as one of the herd ?
So where has all this emancipation got us? The status quo seems alive and kicking doesn’t it?  Someone in a sweat shop somewhere has to make “stuff” cheap enough for us to buy it and make enough millionaires to keep the wheels of industry turning. If not why hasn’t exploitation been routed out?

Perhaps we have to accept in a small part of our guilt ridden brain, that we are natural oppressors and we are happy to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others, in order to be happy?

Look at the way we eat up all these talent shows, where the need to survive is ever present. The contestants (modern day gladiators) are encouraged to be prepared to step over others to get ahead.  Equality suggests a level playing field, when in reality we have to compete in a hierarchal pyramid, who wants to be at the bottom?


Sunday, 13 May 2012

That’s it I’m getting up

What keeps you awake at night? Have you got any magic formula for preparing for and succeeding in achieving a good night’s sleep?

It sounds crazy I know because I feel tired quite a lot and get fatigued easily,(ME/CFS) but I don’t sleep well. Now last night I had a few drinks (wine) but not a lot and early with my evening meal. But I will accept it is better if I don’t have any alcohol at all, but, its my one weakness!(and it was Saturday night and the BGT final was on  and now I am running out of excuses).

The ironic thing about this morning, it’s usually about 4am, what about you? I was awake for a while, you know that sort of wide awake that no closing your eyes and snuggling under the duvet will coax you back into dreamy sleep, awake.  When that unruly mind of mine, starting darting all over the place, shooting from one thought to another like a squash ball slamming up against the walls of the court during a fast and furious game. One of the thoughts that got hold was writing a blog about not sleeping, oh for goodness sake how daft is that?

I thought about the medical causes, physical and psychological. Obviously pain can keep you awake but I was comfortable, worries or grief can make it hard to relax and sad or unpleasant thoughts can make it impossible to settle. No I checked my thoughts like a guy with a hundred pockets in his suit looking for his keys, no, no worries. Lucky me I thought (apart from not being able to sleep, I countered).

Think of lying by the sea in a hammock,couldn't sleep here either!
Of course there is that period when you try to stay, sleepy and get back to sleep before you give up and actually admit, Ok I am wide awake! That’s the danger time for me because not only do I have to combat wild thoughts flying into my head, I have the representation of a snorting Rhinoceros lying next to me. Once I start to “hear” his snores and become aware of their never ceasing rhythm I am “doomed”,(Mr Mainwaring, Dad’s Army fans!). I won’t get side tracked about his snoring and what I do to stop him, (I might be leaving myself open to legal action if I divulge too much anyway Ha!).

So then I accept, yes I am awake, wide awake the only one awake in the house, alone but not alone.

What do I want a cup of tea, which for two reasons will probably not help my sleep at all? I do have a cup of tea though because its something to do and its warm and comforting and I sit in my armchair chatting to myself(in my head) I try not to disrupt the whole household(that sounded grand), I don’t want to disturb the sleeping  mound of snores upstairs.

I sit with my tea and think again of that thought, alone but not alone. It’s a comfort. I don’t know what the answer is and I would love to hear your ideas but. I sort of accept that there are times I just can’t sleep and I know that there are a lot of us out there making tea at four o’clock in the morning and I raise my cup and say Hi. If it helps you are not alone either.

Alison x

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Raising Awareness:Means Being Aware

At last technology is starting to work in the favour of good people trying to protect children. We are starting to get the message out  regarding the epidemic proportions of child abuse be it at home or abroad, the information about figures and the damage is being communicated with a click or a tweet. People are having to be disillusioned that it’s not some anonymous “boggy man” or woman? Who hides in wait in an alley way or in a car, in “dodgy dark places? It happens to children in all communities across social strata and religions and that most abusers are known to the children. That the abuser is trusted with the care of the child and that the majority of cases of abuse start before children are 4 years old. Before they have the benefit of asking for help.

So now technology is being used for good?  We good people are passing on this important and to some startling information, with just a “click.”

 This is a good step in the right direction, but it doesn’t stop with a “click”. We have to read this information and pause and consider what this means to us in our daily life. What responsibility does this now leave us with. Is it starting to feel a bit heavy now, this knowledge, this knowledge that has to stay with you and change how you think, it can’t be dispersed with a “click”.

We now have to look around and think about all the children that live in our house, apartment block or street. Visit our parks and hang around the shops. These are the children this is about. Not some poor little unseen child in another block another street another country. They live next door to someone you know, even if it’s not the other side of the wall. It may be that house up the lane, or on top of the hill.

These networks we are creating need to be aware that we don’t enable the very people intent on wheedling their way into the lives of children, in order to abuse them.  The difficulty is that good well meaning people, believe it or not look very much like paedophiles. We are human these awful human beings don’t have a tattoo on their forehead or a unique identifying mark. We can’t tell the difference I am afraid. The sexual predator can spot a struggling parent at a 1000 paces and knows exactly how to groom them to gain access to their children. They will be charm personified helpful, manipulative and make them wonder how they ever did without them. The emotional bully or violent abuser can use equally effective coping strategies to cover their tracks. As we carry this new responsibility of looking out for children, everywhere and make it easier for them to seek refuge. Be aware these abusers are already amongst us, they know what we know and they can slip seamlessly into the “protector” role.  Be careful, be aware and be prepared to act.


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Love the one you're with

In the days when my husband was just becoming my boyfriend and I was young and insecure and he was gorgeous and well, shall we say, popular? I hated that song, with that line in it, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

He was in a band and was “on the road” a lot and I think he did actually sing that song. Occasionally I would finish my job for a couple of days and go and meet up with him. I would sit and watch him play and then watch when girls, rushed to “talk” to them after the “show”.  What is it about a man with a guitar in his hand? I remember one time  when  a girl elbowed me in the ribs and said ”hands off love he’s mine”  She stepped onto the stage with the grace of a starving bear, intent on putting her claws into him. What a life he had back then, charmed I’m sure!

That song though, Oh I hated it as if they needed any encouragement at that age! Whether I had anything to worry about or not its 30 years later and he is snoring upstairs, I’d like to say like a baby but he’s like a wart hog! Oh and I love him still ha!

The idea of the song was probably all wrong, an excuse to fill your boots and all that. But as I have grown older, I see it slightly differently and think the core sentiment might be a pretty good one to follow.

With families and friends far flung and time so pressurised perhaps we should see everyone we encounter every day as a precious person. They are to someone if not us. If we treat others like our mother or brother with loving kindness and compassion perhaps someone will do the same for our sister or Nephew.

If we show patients and understanding, perhaps we will help others give it back to us.  But boys,(or girls) if you think this gives you carte blanche to spread the love in “that” way don’t be surprised if your other half shares some strong and painful attention to your nether regions.

Alison x

Friday, 4 May 2012

3 Wives 24 Kids,Hey how long must his “to do list be?”

I was reading an article today about a polygamous marriage, in Utah, Salt Lake city between a man twin sisters and the sisters’ cousin. Three woman one man and 24 children. Well it got me thinking.

 Not so much the rights and wrongs of it, that’s a whole can of worms, but the how’s and whys of it.

I considered my situation, compared and contrasted it, married for a long time, (such a long time,) to one man.  I don’t share him with any other woman, to my knowledge! And I think it’s about all he can cope with. He has his “cave” you know when men disappear into the shed, the attic or the garage, his is the little music studio his cobbled together in the spare room. He spends hours in there, playing his guitar and recording “stuff”. Do polygamous men have a “cave” where they can be alone? Do they need one? Mine needs his and I need him to go in there at regular intervals. Does the other woman or women take the place of the “cave”. Give one wife rest from his nuances (endearing little ways) demands (so utterly predictable) and other signs of presence (odours).

Could it be a simple as that, I don’t mind what he does in the spare room alone because I am at liberty to do what I want, without feeling obliged to stop and  consider him. Can sharing a man actually be a relief? It may have its possibilities.

Mind you I do like to get him out of his “cave” and motivate him towards a “productive “ day every now and then, he is swamped in DIY projects, I occasionally like it if he comes with me places so I don’t have to drive and he can carry heavy things, even once in a while I like some relief, hey don’t get excited. I like some relief from the domestic chores like cooking the odd meal clearing the kitchen, feeding the dogs Oh and vacuuming (I hate vacuuming). How does that work in a polygamous marriage, are the “to do lists” longer for the man/husband or do the women get more help by sharing between themselves?

I was starting to warm to the idea then I thought about the power base, which settles somewhere in all relationships, the swing of give and take, take take and that’s where I could not see how it would work, because women loose a bargaining chip in this set up. Like it or lump it if it’s a good meal, a cuddle or an interested expression when they are telling the same old joke for the umpteenth time, we give and receive. If he can wander around from room to room, where’s the option to withhold in order to manipulate and get our own way when we want. No I don’t like this idea, it’s entirely unhealthy when a girl can’t blackmail her husband into submission. Get that “to do list “ out and add a few things to the bottom, got to keep him busy.

P.S. I do love him really

Alison x