Sunday, 18 October 2015

Conkering conquers!


I switched the telly on briefly this morning whilst I ate my cornflakes. Some Sunday-morning-dry-as-toast politics show was playing and a man was droning on about Isis. He was talking about human rights abuses and mentioned the terrible way that "gays" are treated in the middle East. I suspect, by his appearance, that he was going on to make some sort of right wing statement (Tories politicians have a definite look) but in itself the sentiment shouldn't have made me bristle. I switched over to an ancient episode of Murder She Wrote but continued to wonder why what he'd said had irritated me so much. I realised, of course, that it was his use of the word "gays" as a collective noun, where I would only ever use it as an adjective. It's the same reason why I object to people talking about the "Jews", or "blacks," except in this world people wouldn't talk about "blacks" because the black lobby has comprehensively ruled the collective noun inappropriate.

Why don't I like the use of gay as a noun? Because it implies that being gay is the only thing which defines me. Because it makes me "other" or different to the rest of society. By using the word as a collective noun, you're sending out the message that all gay people are the same, or somehow think or respond to things collectively. Being gay is just one part of my personality so I'm therefore a gay person - just as I might be described as a white person, or, as was written in this week's Jewish Chronicle "a Jewish person!"

We've been in Cheshire all day today at Sam and Julius' house, hearing all about their wedding and Route 66 adventure, which, from the photos we saw today, looks epic, magical, crazy, emotional and frankly, unforgettable...

The house was full. It's Nathan's mother's birthday this coming week, and it was Nathan's Great Niece's 3rd birthday, I think, yesterday. And yes, I did say "great" niece. At the age of 41 Nathan is a great uncle and his sister, Sam, is a Grannie. Or a Glammie. All of this meant that there were all sorts of different branches of the extended family present, including Julius' gang, and Nathan's niece's partner's parents. There was lots of party food including cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks, which, let's face it, is a heavenly treat.

The highlight of the day was the conker championship we had in the back garden. Nathan's mother had gone out and collected hundreds of conkers which she presented to us with lengths of string. Nathan's nephew, Lewis was put in charge of drilling holes in them, and we all spent much time experimenting with the best ways of threading them. Turns out I'm pretty rubbish at conkers! I've got a very good aim usually, but I found it very difficult to hit my opponent's conker with any degree of accuracy, which meant the conker would ricochet onto my wrist and cause me to bruise, and, on one occasion, actually bleed! Horrifying!

The most successful individual conker belonged to Sam and managed about seven wins before being obliterated. By the end of the championship there were little bits of mashed-up conker all over the patio. The local squirrels will be in rapture! That is, of course, if squirrels actually eat conkers. I have in the back of my mind somewhere that they don't. Are conkers poisonous to squirrels?

We did an impromptu photo shoot with Sam in the cow-filled fields behind her house. We were taking pictures of her in Nathan's glorious double-knitted shawl which he is about to release as a pattern under the name "Genesis." Sam is a natural model and I think we've got some fabulous shots of her with wonderful traffic light-coloured autumn leaves in the background.

It's 11.15pm now and we're still on the M6 heading home. It's going to be a late one!

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