Tag Archives: article

Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.

1. This Thursday, I got to meet a very old friend whom I had never met in person before. We’ve been friends for over 15 years online, but as she lives in Alaska and I in the UK, trying to meet up has not been realistically. By chance, however, she was around locally just for one day – and I got to go and actually meet up! Fabulous.

2. I have finished the first draft of my article on toilet habits in the Regency Period. Not something I’d ever researched before, but it was strangely fascinating. And once again reminded me that I’m glad to live in a world of flushing toilets.

3. The sekrit project I mentioned last week is going from strength to strength and should hopefully be officially launched this week. Look out for a Huff Post story about it, as well as me going on about it all over Facebook and Twitter…

4. I ordered various things online recently, and they have been drifting through the post. Even when it’s something like a feather duster, or a maths book, it’s somehow still quite exciting to get parcels through the door! (And yes, I had ordered both of those things. Welcome to my world!)

5. Having damaged my back rather nastily a week ago, it’s feeling much better now. I had a few days of swearing and taking painkillers in large doses, and it has slowly been recovering so that now it’s not too bad as long as I don’t make any sudden twisty motions. (Or knit. Annoyingly, there is apparently a ‘knitting’ muscle in one’s back.)

6. I’ve been trying to lose weight for a while, and it’s finally beginning to pay off. I noticed in a recent photograph of myself that I didn’t look quite so enormous. As I’m unable to exercise, it’s really quite a challenge, so I’m quite proud of having managed to lose a bit.

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Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.

1.  Article on the Regency written and submitted – for a sneak peek, click here.

2. A couple of people I’ve proof-read for are happy to give me a reference if anyone contacts them, which may  be very useful.

3. I’m so delighted for the USA that the judgement on equal marriage has gone through. I know there are plenty of other battles to fight, both here, there and elsewhere, but a step in the right direction is worth celebrating.

4. This being so, perhaps I should also celebrate the fact that my son’s school are finally beginning to acknowledge that it’s inappropriate to park their minibus in the disabled parking spot. A new teacher demanded I move from it (I am a blue badge holder, for the record!) so that they could park the bus there, but after a somewhat heated debate, I did get an apology.

5. And talking of my son, he’s taking part in a football tournament today, about which he is very excited. Some very kind friends have also volunteered to take him and bring him home, which means that when I’ve finished writing this, I’m off for a sleep!

6. I’m beginning to get plans for the summer holidays sorted. There will hopefully be a lot of things going on, including seeing lovely friends and family and spending time in my favourite place, Cornwall.

Friday Fiction (Article Snippet)

Again, this  is my most current article for Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine. I’m writing about ‘Cranks, Quacks and Miracles’ – alternative health treatments in the Regency.

Jane Austen shows a number of hypochondriacs in her stories (Mr Woodhouse in Emma, with his gruel and his soft-boiled eggs, and Mary Musgrove in Persuasion with her tendency towards ill health whenever she felt herself neglected come to mind) but it is in her unfinished novel Sanditon that she particularly concentrates on medicine – looking at both conventional and experimental (to put it mildly!) treatments. Indeed, Jane Austen specifically uses the phrase “quack medicine” in describing the Parker sisters, saying that they had “an unfortunate turn for medicine, especially quack medicine”. Mr Parker, their brother, is first introduced to the heroine, Charlotte Heywood, when he sustains a carriage accident, trying to find a doctor for the village of Sanditon. (As an aside, I was fascinated when I first read the book that he had seen a notice in the ‘Kentish Gazette’ – a local newspaper I grew up reading, and which is still in print.) His sisters’ alleged poor health had encouraged him to look for the doctor, though it turns out, when Diana Parker writes to her brother, that she has for the moment eschewed conventional medicine, saying:

“[P]ray never run into peril again in looking for an apothecary on our account… We have entirely done with the whole medical tribe. We have consulted physician after physician in vain, till we are quite convinced that they can do nothing for us and that we must trust to our own knowledge of our own wretched constitutions for any relief.”

Of course, this is a decision not dissimilar to ones made by many people today, who find themselves dissatisfied with the results of conventional medicine – though perhaps, given the limits of medical knowledge in the Regency, Miss Parker had more reason for her suspicions!

Friday Fiction (Article Snippet)

So, I have recently been writing about mistresses in the Regency Period for Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine, and I thought I’d share a little bit of it with you for  today’s Friday Fiction. (I continue apparently not to know what ‘fiction’ means.) Here am I wombling on about the difference between mistresses and prostitutes

In the Regency Period (and indeed in other eras) there was a definite difference between a ‘mistress’ and a ‘prostitute’. A mistress belonged to, or was ‘kept’ by, one specific man, whereas a prostitute would have sex with any man for money. Mistresses might be taken up by one man after another, and perhaps have the role of courtesan in between gentleman lovers; however, a mistress was by definition not a prostitute. Whilst it was expected that she would have sex with her lover whenever he required it, she would also be likely to have a social or emotional relationship with the man as well. For the mistress, it was not necessarily a bad choice, though it could have problematic outcomes not only for the lady herself but for her family. For a start, it would be considerably more difficult to marry after having been a mistress: if Darcy hadn’t forced Wickham to marry Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, it is very unlikely that anyone else would have married her – and the ill reputation would also have fallen upon her sisters.  It also left a woman reliant on the gentleman in question: in Sense and Sensibility, we are shown the downward spiral of Eliza Brandon’s life after her first affair.

Friday Fiction (Disability)

So, I wrote my first piece for the Huffington Post blog today, so I think that really has to be today’s FF.

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Hello, I’m Penelope Friday. I am a disabled mother: I’ve had a diagnosis of moderate to severe ME/CFS for 22 years, and a diagnosis of fibromyalgia for 1 day (yes, really. No thank you, in the nicest possible way, I don’t want to know what you advise for either of them). I have a very wonderful son of nine, but when he was a pre-schooler, I had a horrendous amount of trouble getting him to pre-school. I have been reminded of this recently because my car – fairly vital when you can barely walk – has unfortunately gone the way of all things mechanical. And I’m back to relying on… well, that little (or, in my case, big) bit of help from my friends.

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Friday Fiction (Parenting)

Disclaimer: I wrote this a while back so my suggestions may be out of date 🙂

 

Penelope Friday offers parents five easy ways to help the environment without losing their minds!

1. Change Your Ideas On Nappies.

Okay, in a perfect world we’d all be putting our babes in reusable nappies (and doing even more loads of washing than we already are), but realistically for most of us, that’s just not going to happen. Instead of thinking, “I can’t do that, so I can’t do anything,” think again. It’s worth checking for local reusable nappy laundering services: if you’re worried about the cost, rest assured that compared to the cost of buying disposables week after week after emergency-trip-out-at-midnight-because-the-baby’s-just-pooed-in-his-last-nappy… well, put it this way, the price begins to look quite reasonable. AND the companies come to you – think ‘Tesco Direct’, the nappy version.

Unfortunately, it’s also true that not every area has a local nappy laundering company. After days of scouring the internet for any information on it, I discovered that my fine plans for reusable nappies were in tatters. No one (and frankly, I can’t entirely blame them) was willing to take away smelly nappies and replace them with beautiful, freshly laundered ones. Failing this, there’s still another option that is at least green around the edges – biodegradable disposable nappies. Not, I grant you, as great for the environment as reusable, but a darn sight more practical. ‘Nature’ nappies are not only mostly biodegradable, but also (and this is important) widely available in shops like Boots and Mothercare – places you’ll be visiting anyway. What’s more, they are not (as you are no doubt suspecting) extortionately expensive. They’re a similar price to name brand nappies, and work just as well.

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