Where to start?  Suffice to say, I left the house at mid-day for an hour or so today and returned to find a note from the postman saying he was unable to deliver the parcel I was expecting.  Nothing changed then.  Of all the days, of all the hours, it had to be when I was out but then I knew that he was waiting round the corner to see when I left so I was ahead of him …
I was unsure what I was going to write about this week; another dirge of a week spent showing complete strangers round my home whilst, also, helping my friend, Emily, man our pop-up vintage shop.  Both amount to observations in human nature the conclusion being that most want something for nothing!  The pop-up shop is an eclectic mix of clothes from various eras, for various age groups and in varying sizes.  There are amazing bargains to be had on rails full of colour and character but, then, few today have the courage to stray from the norm.  In Rome, the opposite is true.  Now, take our little shop to Monti where vintage is gold; where even Sarah Jessica Parker has learned of Becca’s favourite haunts …     
Needing change for the bus – awakening an understanding of Michael Jackson’s penchant for the surgical mask when venturing out amongst the general public – following another soul-destroying few hours in the pop-up shop, I picked up Tuesday’s Scottish Daily Mail never realizing that it would provide me with so much material for derision and disbelief.  A tabloid newspaper, it certainly is, but I hold my hand up and admit that, on the rare occasions of my purchase, I struggle to put it down.  I have notes here to prove it!
The front page struck home immediately warning of Scotland’s NHS 24 plans to dispense with doctors!  Well, not quite but heralding the prospect of patients being diagnosed and issued with prescriptions over the phone devoid of any face-to-face contact with a member of the medical profession.  Forget easing the pressure on the NHS, that’s one way of curtailing the masses!  In all seriousness, it is already well-nigh impossible to see one’s GP within statutory working hours – unless one has the foresight to predict one’s malaise about a month in advance – and the prospect of attempting to break through the Gestapo, formerly known as receptionists, is sufficient reason to take out life-membership in anger management classes.  So, this is merely one step further in the preparation for robots.  Meantime, what of those humans who have studied for years and taken the Hippocratic Oath?  Don’t tempt me!  Growing up, there was an out-of-hours on-call rota for local GPs and one phoned his/her home, reassured by the prospect of a familiar voice; familiar face.  Then again, that was in the days when being a doctor was a vocation rooted in a desire to help the sick; to care.  The human touch.  No WD-40 required!
The number of headings to incite in this particular addition was staggering, not least that of Gender equality … for nude paintings!  For those familiar with Friends (and who alive is not?!), in the words of Janice. ‘Oh, my God!’  Well, if there is such a celestial being, rest assured he/she/it is laughing his head off – sorry but there is only so much gender fluidity I can incorporate!
Back to the Renaissance Nude, an exhibition due to open at the Royal Academy in March 2019 and the decision of the gallery director, Tim Marlow, to introduce a gender quota. Following ‘a period of soul-searching in the arts and entertainment industry about the treatment and portrayal of women’, this will probably mark the first time the exhibits are chosen not merely on merit but on the sex of those depicted.  The resulting numbers reflect a near parity between male and female.  Moreover, Mr Marlow said the Academy had also strived to achieve a gender balance among the scholars working on the exhibition.  Now, this is just getting silly!  Apparently feminist campaigners have criticized galleries for the ‘lack of women artists in major collections compared to the high proportion of nude women appearing in the works displayed.’  Seriously?  Do these people know there is a big wide world out there rife with real, life-threatening problems?  Get a grip!  Thank God for the likes of Maureen Lipman, an intelligent woman with a sense of perspective, who is quoted as saying ‘the MeToo movement has gone too far and risks ‘wiping out men’.’  Admittedly, some would not be missed but …
Continuing a theme, albeit on the flip side, this next one takes the biscuit!  Kelloggs new slogan for Coco Pops was ‘Approved by Mums’.  Note the use of the word ‘was’.  Amidst a barrage of complaints from men claiming said slogan was discriminatory and marginalized the obviously sensitive male species, Matt O’Connor, founder of Fathers4Justice, took the helm and contacted Kelloggs.  Coco Pops are now ‘Approved by Parents’.  Thank goodness for that.  God forbid that a male ego the size of a pea be slighted!  Somehow, I doubt there would have been any such reaction had the slogan been ‘Approved by Fathers’.  Yes, us women may have considered it a little weird but hardly life-changing or worth more than a second’s pondering.  Thing is, it is mothers who are traditionally – and biologically – the nurturers; the homemakers.  For the first nine months of their being, our children grow inside us; are literally part of us and there can be nothing comparable to the lifelong natural bond between mother and child borne as a result.  Why challenge that?  Until men can physically carry a baby for nine months and give birth, they are fighting with their hands behind their backs!  Nobody is disputing the importance of a father but he is not a mother.  The roles are different.  Admittedly, women have infiltrated the workplace, originally the domain of the father, and all lines are now blurred but this striving for equality of the sexes across the board is damaging in the extreme.  Look around.  It is a wasteland.  Society has completely broken down and without structure there is mayhem.  What I call the chip syndrome is out of control.  We are not all equal; never have been and never will be.  Get over it, move on and focus on what is important.  My God, when robots have taken over en route to the inevitable demise of mankind, those who craved equality in all things will long for that bit of colour injected into an otherwise grey world by those who refused to give up their palette.  
‘Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back.  Maybe you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.’
Carrie, Sex and the City.
Never.  Embrace the past for, without it, we might all be the same – God forbid!
This is Trish, signing off.