Friday, 25 November 2011

Casual bus racism

I was on the bus to the coast earlier this week when a man got on and sat behind J and I. He was in his 60s and seemed enamoured with J, chatting to me about him and saying what a gorgeous baby he is.

'Have lots more,' he said, and I nodded and smiled, thinking that it was nice this man thought that kids were such a blessing.

But... then he finished his sentence. I was so shocked that I don't remember his exact words, but it was something along the lines of 'before the bla.cks have loads of babies and take over the country'.


I was so horrified I didn't know what to say. On the spur of the minute I couldn't even think what to say to even hint just how inappropriate I found his comments. How (ironically) English - that I didn't feel able to just say... well, anything at all.


It's only the second time I've experienced something like that. The first time I was in a taxi, discussing chip shops with the driver. He recommended one to me, and after telling me how good the chips were, added conspiratorially 'and it's white, you know'.

It took me a good minute or two to figure out what the hell he actually meant.

And it actually put me off going there. Because what if someone somewhere thinks that that's why I go there??


I'd love to know if these attitudes are prevalent but usually hidden round here, or rare and that's why these two happenings stick out in my memory. But at the end of the day, I'm white. If people are racist I'm not going to experience that from other white people, am I?

But I have a friend with a mixed-race baby, and I'm sad for her. Because sooner or later they will experience racism. I hope it's later, but... you never know when these things are going to happen, do you?


I'm curious. Those of you that live in Newcastle, how much racism do you see in your day to day lives? If you've lived elsewhere do you think the north east is better or worse than other areas of the UK? And what the hell could I have said on these two occasions to make these guys think twice before sharing these opinions in public again without making the rest of my journey too horrendous? Should I just have put up with horrendous? Does having J with me make any different to what I'm honour bound to do? (I guess over the years it will make it more important to speak up... I don't want to teach him that racism is OK or that it's OK to let it go unchallenged.)

Really interested to hear your thoughts.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Home for Christmas

Out today! Home for Christmas by the very lovely Cally Taylor. I loved her first book, Heaven can Wait, and can't wait to read this one... although it may be a while before I finish it!!

Cally asked to hear what we want for Christmas.

Well, nearly two years ago now, I lost a baby. And it was horrible. And that year, Christmas was awful.

Last year, Christmas was better. But still hard.

But this year! Well, apparently I've never announced it here - although I hope most of you already know because you follow the newcastle daily photo blog - but I had a baby at the end of June! A little boy that for the purposes of this blog will be known as J. He's the most amazing baby in the entire world (possibly a slight exaggeration but hey I'm his mum, I'm supposed to believe that!) and I love him to pieces.

Current weaning advice in the UK is to wait until six months. J hits that milestone almost exactly on Christmas. We are so looking forward to giving him his first taste of real food on Christmas Day :) We're planning on doing Baby Led Weaning (no mush, no fuss, just letting baby get on with eating normal food from day one!) and although it's going to be messy, we're really excited :)

Did I hear you ask for a picture? Oh go on then. Here he is dressed up for Hallowe'en:

So, anyway. Tell me your Christmas wishes in the comments, and then go off and order Cally's book :) Or would you like to know what it's about first? Here you go! -

"Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she's finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox - a charming but rundown independent cinema - and has a boyfriend who's so debonair and charming she can't believe her luck! There's just one problem - none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn't look like Aiden's going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear 'I love you' for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands - and instantly wishes she hadn't. Just when it seems like her luck can't get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he's determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?"