Duped By the Weatherman

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There are two words that are guaranteed to make any teacher in the UK excitedly poke their head up from their piles of marking: Snow Day.

The weather here is predominantly dull for about nine months of the year. We are susceptible to lots of rain, flooding and occasional storms, but heavy snow is rare in the Midlands, usually appearing for a few days, or at the very most, a week. You’d think that it would make little difference to people’s daily lives, but the beauty of living in the UK during sudden snow storms and blizzards is that we are totally unequipped to deal with them, and so the country comes to a complete standstill. Roads become innacessible, schools and businesses close and thousands of people get the day off work, much to the annoyance of the parents of our students – many who see us as being glorified babysitters. My school has an efficient heirarchical system in which phone calls are made when closures happen to ensure that staff are notified that they can put their jammies back on and go back to bed. My friend and I have a ritual when we get ‘the call’ – one of us will send the other simple text message: ‘Pub. 11.00am. Lunch’ and we have done this on every snow day we have had for the last ten years.

Therefore, you can imagine the excitement that appeared when the weather report predicted the sudden arrival of six inches of snow. The report happened on Sunday, with the weatherman eagerly explaining that the snowfall was expected at 7.00pm on Tuesday night and was supposed to  continue until Wednesday evening, and consequently for the last few days I have heard many discussions about potential plans for the day and ‘snow dances’ that need to be done in advance.

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Tuesday arrived and I was constantly looking up at the sky. There were clouds, it was certainly cold enough… It was looking good! At 6.00pm it happened – I looked out of the window and big flakes of snow were falling and the car already had a nice little snowy blanket on the roof. I did my happy dance around the living room (to which The Bloke rolled his eyes) and then carried on with the rest of my evening.

This morning I awoke and excitedly jumped up like a little child on Christmas Day to look outside…

Nothing. Zilch. Nowt. Not a speck of snow anywhere. Instead, it was dark and raining heavily.

Gutted. Screw you Mr Weatherman

What about you guys? Have you been let down by the weather?

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She-Ra, A Feminist Icon?

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Within my first few weeks of arriving at university it was decided that we would go out in fancy dress, just for the fun of it. There was only one choice for me – She-Ra, Princess of Power. I bought and fashioned a cheap white dress, found a gold belt, created arm sleeves from the legs of gold shiny leggings and then made a red cloak from fabric bought from the local market. I found a tiara from a fancy dress shop, but it pinched my face so tightly that my forehead almost covered my eyes and I decided to leave it out. It gave me as much satisfaction at 20 years old as it would have done thirteen years before – for those few hours I brought back some brilliant memories from my childhood. Granted, I may have been a beer drinking, chain smoking version of my idol, but I’m sure even She – Ra indulged in a pint from time to time.

Like lots of children born in the 80’s, I looked up to her – she was the ultimate  icon for my seven year old self. She was a fighter – a member of the rebellion who sought to overthrow the evil Hordak and his army in Etheria, and she did it with style. She could heal the sick, communicate with animals and kick ass, and she managed to do it all with perfect hair and make-up in tact whilst brandishing a magical sword and flying atop her magical unicorn, Swift Wind.

Unlike many cartoons of the same era, She-Ra was female focused (you only have to examine The Smurfs to see what I’m talking about here). Instead of the being the ‘token’ woman in the show, she was the leader of a whole army of strong, equally leggy and fabulous woman. An earlier, more flamboyant Spice Girls, if you will, without the autotune.

She maintained her femininity while being as strong, if not stronger than her male counterparts. Instead of being the ‘damsel in distress,’ She-Ra frequently rescued her male friends – in particular the moustache sporting Bow, who was clearly still in the closet. She was smart and independent, held her own with any male character and did so without wearing pants.

She-Ra might have lived in the Princess of Power Palace, but she certainly didn’t sit in it’s walls and wait for a handsome prince to rescue her. (However, as a side note, the gas and electricity bills can’t have been cheap, although I doubt that Whispering Woods and the surrounding areas had a council tax band rating. Her Sword of Protection also allowed her to keep in contact with her brother, He-Man, thus saving on an enormous phone bill, so there were at least some benefits).

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There were also a few perks that clearly came with the job. Her transformation, complete with more lights, fireworks and wind machines than a Beyonce concert, left her with brushable hair extensions, a gold tiara and bright red lipstick. For free. I was also jealous of her ability to communicate with animals. Although I can usually guess how my cats are feeling by the ‘stop poking me and go away’ expressions on their faces, it would be quite amusing to find out exactly what they’re thinking.

At the end of each episode there would be the message, or the moral of the story, that told us why it was important to love each other, look after each other and respect the environment around us. I don’t see that very much in cartoons anymore. Certainly not in ones where women kick ass in hot pants…

Suck on that, Dora.

A Glorious Weekend

image This weekend has been fabulous. The weather has been fantastic, I’ve had some lovely moments and I can’t believe it is over already! On Friday night I finished work and simply slept. I was shattered, and I’m desperately looking forward to next week being over so I can start my summer.

Saturday was spent shopping for a new dress. I found a beautiful black Warehouse dress that hides all my lumps and bumps, saw the Food Festival, and treated myself to a mango and passion fruit smoothie from Costa.

Today (Sunday), began by watching ‘Now You See Me,’ at the cinema. It was great, although it had one of those unfortunate plot twists that prevents you from watching the film again. Continue reading