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5 More Things about Teenagers

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I blogged ages ago about teenagers. I still have three of them and I have more things to add to my previous list. This list, specifically about A Levels, is about my two teenage boys, 18 and 19. So, technically adults. But still teens.

1. You can’t revise for them. You can cajole and bribe and make nice things to eat. But they have to want to do it for themselves, not for you.

2. After they have sat an exam, they will not want to talk about it when they get home. You might get an ‘it was s’alright’. Or an ‘everyone said it was hard’. But that’s about it.

3. They won’t automatically assume they are going to university just because their parents went. Their parents were the lucky ones, with free fees and maintenance grants. They don’t want to load themselves with massive loans unless they are absolutely sure they want to go. You can’t make them go.

4. You can’t make them do anything. They have to want to do it, life, themselves. They have to make their own decisions.

5. You have to let them go. (But they will be back. I’ll make them.)

Letter to Amy, 19th February 1900

Horekelly
February 19th

Dearest Tommie

I hope you won’t mind a short letter this week, but I have sent a long one to Arthur which he will bring down. I did not find out till last night that my mail must go at 3 today, and this morning I had to write to the Captain and the doctor and finish my letter to Arthur. And then in the midst of it George came up to say that a photographer from Colombo had come to take views of the mills and that he must ask him to breakfast. He was a very nice man, but of course he came up and talked and we have taken longer over breakfast and now the morning has gone before I can look round.

I have been writing to the Captain and doing up my photo for him. I have had to send it to London as the tiresome people did not send it in time for me to send it on board the Rome here. I have had a very nice letter from him. I had sent him some cake to the ship. Poor man, he seems very cut up at his son’s death.

The little doctor has sent me a copy of the photo he took of Admiral Keppel. He took it on my last day, and the old man is smiling at me. It is very good of him. I am so glad it turned out all right. He was rather doubtful as the light was bad. I will send you some of my photos next mail.

My mosquito bites are getting better, but my feet and legs are still quite a mass of wounds. It makes George’s flesh creep to look at them. However, I suppose I ought not to grumble if I don’t suffer from anything worse than that.

I am so glad you have got a servant at last. However small, she is better than none, and what I can remember of her, rather a nice child. I hope Mother won’t ‘cope’ with her too much. I wish I could have the mater out here for a month of two. How she would suffer at not being able to go into the kitchen (I have never been in mine yet, I’m afraid) and at having to eat curries most of which you can’t help having misgivings about. My tummy has been very good so far, I am thankful to say. I was only ill one night at Veyangoda when I had a mango for dinner which George was rather afraid was not ripe enough. I eat a lot of plantains (bananas). We don’t get much else in the way of fruit here. How I wish I could send you on some. They are about 4 or 5 a penny, beautiful fat ones.

I must finish up now as the ‘Tappel’ (post) boy will be waiting.

Please thank Mother ever so much for her letter. I am so glad she is better. George weighed me at the mill on Sat, and he and I are exactly the same, 9 stone 9. Not much for him, is it?

Love and kisses to all

From Mab

Letter from George

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Veyangoda
Jan 24/00

My dear Amy

I have owed you a letter for a long time past, and now I have left it so late that I have only time for a few lines. I have received my marching orders to proceed to a mud hut in the jungle abut 240 miles from Colombo. Fortunately the place we are going to is a healthy one on the whole and we shall have the additional arrangement of a two storied bungalow which is a great thing in any tropical place healthy or otherwise. The journey is by coach or water but our launch is just now out of order so we can’t go by the latter this time, so Mab will have the new sensation of an 8 or 9 hour journey by coach broken by an hour and a half at a place for breakfast. I am afraid she will find it more tiring than a train but it will be quite new to her and more exciting. She had her first experience of a tropical thunderstorm tonight. There was one quite startling clap which made us jump out of our skins. It is unusual this time of year but the rain was welcome as we were getting dried up.

Mab doesn’t seem to feel the heat very much though the days have been somewhat close of late. We have games of tennis and badminton nearly every evening. There is no court at Horekelly but I must set to work and make one when we get there. The house there as I said is a two storied one, two rooms below with a verandah in front and two rooms above with a verandah also. The verandahs are of course wide ones and the upper one will be a useful sitting ‘room’ if I may so call it. One of the lower rooms is now used as an office but I hope to build another office and then we can use both rooms. The house faces the canal which runs past the mill. It is a fairly deep cutting and the banks are lined with trees and other vegetation. It is rather pretty.

The soil is all sand and opposite the house on the other side of the canal – and the road which runs by the side of the canal – is a large coconut estate, one of the oldest in the district with tall trees, so tall that you can’t see the trunks unless you look up and that has a monotonous effect as there is no colour of course on the coconut palms except at the top. There are coconuts near the house but they are all young ones. Then there is a bridge built of iron. There is a waterway all the way to Colombo partly canal and partly natural streams or lagoons and the same beyond Horekelly for miles up the coast.

Thursday
The mail goes out this morning. It is settled that we leave Veyangoda next Wednesday, stay in Colombo probably at the Grand Oriental Hotel for two days and go down to Horekelly on Friday. I believe Mab gave you our future address.

℅ Orient Co Ltd
Horekelly Mills
Madampe
Ceylon

We shall not be very badly off there as we shall see one or two Europeans now and then which is more than we do here and of course a member of the Colombo staff will be up once a month and stay at the bungalow. There is also a doctor fairly close, in fact very close as distance goes in Ceylon, only about 1 1/2 or 2 miles I think.

Goodbye now. Many thanks for your letters which are always welcome.

With best love

Yours affectionately

G. T. Gillespy

Mabel is Married.

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Tuesday 2.30 (late December 1899)

My dearest Tommie*

I thought you would like to know how I am getting on as a “married woman”. It is a bit weird, as Hubert would say, but it is wonderful how soon one gets used to it. George is awfully good, in fact, I think too good to last. He is most tremendously shy. It is a good thing though as it makes it much nicer for me. I was so relieved when I found he had a dressing room. He bunks straight into it for dressing and undressing and shuts the door tight, which is decidedly convenient of him.

I sometimes try to think that he is you, when he is fast asleep with his arm round me just as you used to put yours, then I get hold of a pyjama sleeve and remember where I am. He is such a dear boy and has certainly improved in a great many ways. He spoils me tremendously, but apart from that he is much more thoughtful and considerate, especially in little things, and I intend to keep him up to it.

I am most awfully well and have a huge appetite now. I am always hungry for my meals and thoroughly enjoy them. I am very glad I brought that warm velvet blouse as it is most useful for putting on in the evenings. It is warm enough for a print blouse in the daytime, but the velvet is quite cosy after 6 o’clock.

7 o’clock
We have just been for a long walk and now George is having a bath before dinner. It is quite cold and I am writing this sitting in front of the fire, a wood one which makes me think of Fairbank. I am so longing for letters but of course the mail is late this week. I do so wonder how you are getting on and if you have got a decent servant – how I do hope you have. I keep picturing you all slaving away and having such bad times.

Be sure to tell me everything when you write and if anybody has colds or anything.

Goodbye dear. I must leave off as it is dinner time.

Much love from Mab.

*Tommie is Mabel’s sister, Amy

Letter from Mabel, 21st December 1899

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SS Rome
Thursday, December 21st

My dearest Mother

Not much longer to wait now, but the days do crawl. I can’t a bit realise that I am going to see George in three days. I suppose it will dawn on me soon and I shall be wildly excited by the time Sunday comes. I had a letter from George at Aden and also one from Maggie. She is coming to Colombo on the Friday to do some shopping and then she and Mr Bois and George and I will all go up by the 7 o’clock train on Xmas morning and we shall arrive at their house in nice time for dinner. It seems rather a shame to cut up their Xmas day, but she is awfully kind and does not seem to mind.

Mr Haines bought me such lovely feathers at Aden with his share of the prize money. Wasn’t it nice of him? There are four bunches, one of white, three of natural. The only drawback is that they are all quite straight and flat. I don’t know whether I shall be able to get them curled at Colombo. The Captain says they are worth the money he gave for them. I am going to send some home to Amy when I am sending a parcel. They might come in for something or other.

We all felt very sad on Monday when all our various soldier boys left us. We had quite an affecting parting. Mr Renny got quite chokey. He and I have been such chums. There is hardly anybody nice of the male sex left except Mr Haines. The first officer Mr Bruce is an awfully nice man, and the doctor and purser are both jolly fellows, quite youthful specimens. I don’t know any of the other officers except the fifth. He looks after the library and we have great fun with him.

There are two very nice Australian girls, Miss Way and Miss Stirling. The latter is most comic and we never know what she is going to say next. We played cricket yesterday and the day before, mixed teams, and it is rather good fun. I have proved the champion bat, much to my amazement. I made 24 on Monday and got too excited for words.

Maggie said in her letter that she thought we should be married on Wednesday the 27th. It does seem close now and I can’t quite believe it. I have a dreadful sinking sort of feeling every now and then when I begin to think how far I am away although generally I only feel as if I were just staying away for a time. I think when I get on shore I shall begin to take it in more. Life on board is so messed up somehow that one’s thoughts won’t flow properly. And we are all so terribly lazy, it is quite dreadful.

I shall be very glad to get on shore and have a more comfortable bed. Mine is like lying on wood, it is so hard ad lumpy. My bones quite ached at first. Both the bed and the pillows are stuffed with horse hair, so you can imagine what it is like.

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Tuesday, December 26th

Well, Mother dear, here I am safe and sound and in a state of excitement too great for words. It is so lovely seeing George again and he has not altered a bit, just a scrap thinner, that is all. We had a most awful time landing on Monday night. We did not get in till past nine and it was simply pouring with rain, thundering and lightening as well. George and Mr Bois came to fetch me. It was too wet for Maggie especially as it was so late. We managed to get my big trunk all right but I had to go down in the pelting rain to pick it out. We finally got on shore about eleven o’clock and got to the Bois house at 11.30. I had put on my clean blue print and it was absolutely filthy when I arrived. We came up here by the seven o’clock yesterday morning and got here about 5 o’clock. It is three quarters of an hour’s drive from the station. This is a jolly house and all the furniture and everything is perfect.

We are going to be married tomorrow at one o’clock, quite quietly I am thankful to say. Then we are going to stay up here for about a fortnight. George has taken a little house a few miles away. It is called ‘Elephant’s Nook’, why I can’t imagine. We went over to see it this morning and it is a dear little place, quite hidden away. George’s ‘boy’ has come up to this house and will take charge and look after everything, so I shall not have anything at all to do with the housekeeping, unless he suggests anything I don’t like. He was there this morning and filled me with awe and admiration. I know I shall be dreadfully frightened of him.

I have just been unpacking and looking at my clothes and they all look satisfactory, so be sure you let Kate know as it will ease her mind. My hats are also all right, the feathers hardly a scrap out of curl. I am wearing my check coat and skirt here as it is quite cool enough for it. I am going off in my white alpaca tomorrow.

It was quite affecting saying goodbye to the Captain and everybody on Monday. I had the chief and fourth officers and Purser to see me off, nearly all the passengers had gone. Mr Bois had a special launch so we did not go with the others, and we were so late because of my box. I was the only one who got any heavy luggage. It was so delicious! Mr Bois passed the box with the silver teapot inside it through customs as a Christmas pudding, wasn’t it cute? He did not know what was in it so said the first thing that came into his head.

Well, I must say goodbye now. Thank you and everybody for the calendars and cards. We were very delighted to have them. We drank to ‘absent friends’ last night at dinner. All the children sat up for it. Gwinnie is such a duck, tell Lottie she is simply sweet. I will write next mail and tell you everything. I feel too topsy turvy today to think much. Maggie has got another wedding cake. We could not possibly get more.

Goodbye, kisses and love to everybody, from Mab.

The ‘No More Page 3′ campaign.

sophieduffy:

Boobs are indeed not news.

Originally posted on Speak your opinions:

no more page 3

I have not seen so much confusion surrounding a campaign than that surrounding the ‘No More Page 3′ one. Although young, at the age of 18, as a supporter of this campaign I have grown to notice the many false assumptions people are getting about what we are saying. Firstly, I aim to tell you some of the things that the campaign is NOT:

1. It is not forcing a ban/forcing anybody to sign.
The campaign is asking the editor of The Sun to make a voluntary change and is asking members of the public to voluntarily sign. If you do decide to sign the petition, you are simply declaring that you, personally, do not like to see the page 3 photos.

2. It is not against breasts at all.
The campaign purely feels that this page is completely out of context in a family newspaper and believes that it…

View original 1,026 more words

Letters from Mabel

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29th November 1899

SS Rome

Dearest Mother

I am going to write a line in the chance of getting it posted. We are not going till early tomorrow morning, it does seem a shame to waste so much time.

After you had gone, I saw about my hat box and then went and unpacked a bit and then we had lunch at 1.30. It was rather awful at lunch but I sat at a table with two other ladies and got on all right.

I have just been having a little chat with the Captain and he tells me I am to sit on his right hand at dinner. Very nice but rather awful. I hope I shall get on all right.

I have had a little talk with a girl who is travelling alone. She is going to Colombo to change for India. I think she may be nice.

There don’t seem many people on board, but I suppose they are busy in their cabins at present. I think I am going to be all right and happy. I shall be glad when we start.

Goodbye, Mother dear, and everybody. Try and think it won’t be long before I am back again.

With heaps of love to all

From Mab.

The cabin does seem poky. I have to sit on the bed to open my box.

Letters from the Edge

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In December 1899 my great-grandmother, Mabel Gibson, left England on the SS City of Rome bound for Sri Lanka to marry her fiancé, George Gillespy.

I have a box file full of letters that Mabel wrote to her mother whilst on board the steamer and over the next two years that she spent in Colombo with her new husband.

The letters were all kept, with their stamped envelopes, by my great-great-grandmother and have somehow ended up with me. I have spent the evening beginning to go through the letters – trying to decode the handwriting that has a distinct family feel to it and wondering what I will do with this treasure trove. Two years in the life of a young woman at the turn of the twentieth century.

I’m going to embark on this journey with her and see where it takes me. I know it will involve punkawallahs, scorpions and homesickness. But I can only wonder at how different life was then for a young married woman far from home. And at the privilege it is to have her precious words.

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If you don’t do politics, what do you do?

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Today is the European Elections. I’m not a member of any political party but I have voted in every election since I was franchised – unfortunately my vote wasn’t enough to bring down Thatcher but it was counted.

If you are undecided which way to vote I am not going to convince you of the best party (though I do urge you not to vote for Farage and the UKIP nutters).

What I will say, is you must vote – despite what people like Russell Brand say. If you don’t vote, how will your voice be heard? You might think, oh it’s just one more vote, what will that matter? You won’t know unless you vote.

We are really lucky to live in a democracy where we have a Secret Ballot Act and where citizens over the age of 18, male and female, are enfranchised. It certainly isn’t perfect but that is because MPs don’t reflect the people they represent – there are still far too many white, middle-class, middle-aged men. Their concerns will inevitably be different concerns to those outside that group. Like women. And black people. And students. And what about a black, female student? How is she supposed to feel when she wonders if she should vote in what might be her first election?

Just over 100 years ago Emily Wilding Davison, a suffragette, was killed by the King’s horse at Epsom. We should remember that many people like her died for the right to vote. So if you are able, then go and vote. It takes five minutes.

Leslie Knope would say 'Go vote! (As would Amy Poehler)

Leslie Knope would say ‘Go vote! (As would Amy Poehler)

Here’s an interesting article written by Toni Pearce, NUS president

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/02/russell-brand-wrong-if-you-dont-vote-you-just-wont-matter

Sleep like a teen

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-23811690

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-27357031

Teenagers like to sleep. A lot. And they need to sleep a lot. They have different circadian rhythms which is why it is so hard to drag them out of bed before noon and why they are up into the small hours.

Headteacher Guy Holloway, of Hampton House School in East Molesey, has taken the brave decision to change the school hours for sixth formers from 1.30 pm to 7.00 pm. This would suit all three of my teenagers so much – two lads doing A levels and a girl doing GCSEs…

But then how would they deal with exams at 9.00 am? It’s an interesting one.

An advantage of home schooling maybe.

What do we reckon?

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