Columns

Friday
Nov152013

Bike riding and how it changed my life and saved me thousands

“I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet.” ― Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony was a feminist and American civil rights leader born in 1820. She fought tirelessly for women’s suffrage and died in 1906, 14 years before US women were given the right to vote. Read up on her, she was incredible, passionate, and ferocious and we have much to thank her for.

This is my favourite of her quotes;

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel… the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

Cycling played a massive part in early feminism. It was because of bikes that women could travel on their own to meetings, rallies and committees. Of course, as always is the way when women attempt to emancipate, the ‘men in charge’ tried to stop women with apocalyptic rhetoric warnings if women rode bikes they would mash their reproductive organs, become manly and develop ‘bicycle face’. Seriously.

I’m a deeply passionate commuter cyclist. Not everyone can ride everywhere but more people can ride more places more often that’s for sure. Particularly women. The three things that dissuade women from riding the most are fear, fashion and family. All of which can be overcome.

CLICK TO READ MORE 

Friday
Nov152013

Best Interview Tips EVER

My best friend is going for an interview for a job he desperately wants. I really want him to get it because from what I can see from the job description he is their man and would be an excellent fit. It’s the perfect job!

I’m no help. Because I am my own business I don’t interview people nor do I go to interviews. I just work with and for grouse people.

So I started asking around for their best interview tips. I was delighted by how happy and generous people were with them. And fascinated by what they were.

Here they are…

Heidi: Lean forward, look interested, nod a lot.

CLICK TO READ MORE

Thursday
Nov142013

50 Shades Of Mango

OH MY GOD!

Did you hear that?

It’s mango season o’clock!

I know. Shake out the sarong, grab those cheap and cheerful sunglasses and slap on your holiday hat! Golden fever has arrived! Hallelujah!

Bright, sunny, yellowy, silky, luscious goodness. It’s enough to make an atheist like me feel as if there really is a god. Intelligent design? Mangos are exotic pleasure incarnate. When I see a mango, I have an overwhelming urge to tear off my clothes and run around in the nude. Frequently I ovulate. And occasionally I lactate. (Sorry I should have put a trigger warning before that.)

We’ve worked hard all year and now it’s time to MANGO UP. We’ve endured the dull grapes, predictable apples, tedious bananas, pedestrian oranges, obvious pears and frumpy apricots and disappointment in a bowl known as fruit salad. And you know what that means? Now it’s time for the king of fruits! So get your mango on bitches! 

Chilled mango daiquiris, comforting mango lassies, tangy mango sorbets and the mouth explosion, the piece de resistance, MangoChicken! A tastegasm, artwork and cultural revolution all in one! No! I’m not exaggerating. That’s why they call this place The Lucky Country. Mangos.

Perhaps your moment of mango communion is simpler than a recipe. More pure. More honest. More intimate. 

Selecting your perfect mango, you cast your eyes across the plump, juicy shameless harlots. You slip your hand into the box ofmangos, slide your finger beneath the weighty pregnant fruit, gently molesting the ripe lush flesh encased in a confident yet vulnerable skin.

You trail your fingernail across, feeling the flesh quiver in expectation beneath. You exhale with relief; your heart beats with desire. You’ve found her. She’s your’s. She belongs to you.

You choose your perfect mango knife. Your mouth waters. Your nostrils flare hungrily sniffing the air for that intoxicating sweet smell of the sea, the summer and all that is right and good. 

Your knife of choice is fine, commanding and perfectly weighted. You position your mango on the chopping board holding it with your strong confident hand. You pierce the skin of this flirting, wanton tease and you almost climax as she yields to you as you slide through the flesh gently but firmly skimming the seed. The cheek is helpless to your desire and succumbs like the fruity wench it is. You continue your reign of seduction and slice through the other cheek. You gently draw your implement across the shameless deliciousness despite her protests. You take your time to make a perfect thatch pattern across her. Not too deep that you break the skin but deliberate enough for the mango to know who’s boss.

Then comes the moment. You raise the fragrant mango to your hungry mouth, caress it, tease it you’re your lips, penetrate it with your tongue and when you can’t contain yourself any longer you submit to your lust. You moan, you groan, you growl it out. You growl out the mango as you devour something more than a fruit. Mango is a tantric taste nirvana.

You do know the collective noun for mangos is orgy. As in an orgy of mangos. Google it (no don’t).

What makes mangos and the few other fruits that are still seasonal (like cherries, mandarins,  and peaches) so special is their brief season and it’s collision with the weather, the celebration, yearly markers. You just can’t get mango on any street corner whenever it takes your fancy. When I travelled to Afghanistan I saw oranges everywhere. And no offence to this noble and loyal fruit I thought ‘If I can get oranges in Kabul in the middle of winter I don’t want ‘em’. Familiarity breeds contempt. Oranges are dead to me now.

These days everything is so available. Convenience 24/7. Sometimes it feels, particularly with food that used to be seasonal as if their specialness is gone. As much as we love having special things, what makes them special is not being about to have them all the time.

I love mango season and everything it signifies. It is one of the few fruits we can only get at a certain time of year for a limited period. It says work is over, holidays are here, summer reigns. Yay party!

But you know what? I fucking hate mangos. They’re slimy, sticky and they taste weird. And they’ve got these gross hairs, like anchovies. Blergh. Give me a carrot any day. 

Sure mangos look like a sculpture you want to make love to and smell like a place you never want to leave but they’re sickly sweet, taste as if they’re on the turn and make me feel funny in the pants.  

And they are a nightmare to eat. You only choices are changing your clothes after you eat one or growling one out in the bath.

Sure, mangos, I get it. I get you. But I just don’t like it. But I love what you bring.  Summer. But don’t you think you should tone it down a bit?

Fuck you mango. You slut.

 

Friday
Nov012013

Worry warts, tightarses and control freaks 

I have a confession to make. I’m going to write about my only regret. It’s deep, it’s embarrassing and it’s contradictory to everything I stand for. I have spent my life deprogramming myself to rid this nagging energy sucker, fun buster and life spoiler from my psyche.

Let me give you a little context first. I come from a long line of poor people and I grew up poor. Recreation and pleasure were not things that were encouraged or valued. We did them, sure. Occasionally and not with the joie de vivre that we could have. And should have. We should have switched off and let our hair down. Not felt guilty.

Thursday
Oct242013

Should Kids Get Pocket Money? 

I loved money as a kid. Loved saving it, smelling it, looking at it, fingering it, counting it, piling it up, piggy banks, charity tins shaken at traffic lights, plastic guide dog money boxes with slots in their head near the supermarket check out, the wooden and velvet collection plate at mass, the collection bags for school bank books, purses that snapped shut and wallets full of fragrant flat folded notes. Mmmm, I can smell it now....

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 34 Next 5 Entries »