I swear that I will do my best to fulfill my duty to God, serve the Queen, help other people, and keep the Guide Law.
I still remember the words of the pledge I made in a village hall 30 years ago, my hand held high in a three-finger salute, my eyes moist at its solemnity (I was ten).
This was the beginning of a few happy years with the Guides. Wednesday evenings were spent climbing trees or making eggy bread.
I was a pretty poor Guide — at camp I was so scared of spiders invading tents that my mum would whisk me home before dropping me back off in the morning. I was denied my camp skills badge by the swines because of this.
Clare Foges questions why Girlguiding is introducing adult concepts to an audience of children, after the organisation tweeted to raise awareness of the asexual community
They were fun, though. One time, a man from St John Ambulance brought his dummy Rita along to show us CPR. We laughed so hard at the emergency French kiss he gave Rita when he performed mouth-tomouth.
Afterwards, a fellow Guide whispered that the first-aider was a ‘pervert’. I nodded grimly, not knowing what she meant.
Such innocence! Guides was a safe place where we didn’t have to worry about adult things. That was a gift — so I’m sad that this might be changing.
Last week, Girlguiding tweeted: ‘This week is Ace Week — a time to raise awareness and understanding of the asexual community. So here’s a shout out to all of our asexual volunteers and members.’
This is what comes to my mind as I read it: Why?
Why does Girlguiding have the need to jump on the latest woke bandwagon Why is it necessary to present adult concepts to children? Why do Guide leaders’ sex lives — or lack of them — matter to a bunch of ten-year-old girls?
In response to the ensuing mini furore, Girlguiding’s chief executive Angela Salt said it was part of a ‘diversity and inclusion strategic plan to make Girlguiding a place where everyone feels welcomed’. Forgive me, while I look at Heaven.
Few would argue with the need to make girls feel welcome whatever their race or religion, but you don’t need to be Mary Whitehouse to believe that issues to do with sexuality or asexuality should have nothing to do with a children’s organisation.
Prepubescent girls might wonder whether their seemingly normal lack of desire may indicate that they are also asexual.
Clare (pictured) said Girlguiding must resist the urge to capitulate to wokedom and instead give children time to lark about and be silly
Girlguiding has tried to get into the waking waters before. It stated that boys who identify themselves as female but are still physically male should be allowed to go on trips and share sleeping and washing facilities.
It also made its badges ‘more relevant to girls’ lives’. So instead of boring old bird- watching they can now get badges such as ‘my rights’.
When I was young, the line between childhood/adulthood was clearly drawn. The more it is blurred, the more young people’s health and happiness suffers.
While it is important for them to be educated, it is important, too, that there are bastions of innocence, ‘safe spaces’ (to use the modern lingo) in which they don’t need to worry about their looks, their sexuality, their gender, their identity.
Girlguiding should resist the temptation of giving in to wokedom and instead allow them to have fun and be silly. The innocence of childhood is a gift that is only given once — we must fight hard to protect it.
Now I’ve turned 40, menobores terrify me
Clare said that it’s brave for people like Jo Whiley (pictured) to talk about how difficult the menopause was for them
I turned 40 in this year. I’ve been trying to be positive about ageing — it’s better than the alternative, after all — but the focus on the perils of the menopause scares me witless. Though it’s brave of people such as Davina McCall and Jo Whiley to speak out about how difficult it has been, it’s also terrifying.
I can see brain fog and hot flushes along the track. Last week, Kirstie Allsopp tweeted: ‘I’ve yet to find any positive in ageing… I refuse to pretend to younger people that this is fun.’ Eek!
It’s enough to make me want a duvet for the next 40+ years. Although I am happy that menopause is not taboo, I would love to hear more about the silver linings. A greater ability to speak one’s mind, perhaps? You don’t have to worry about what others think. Freedom from the rollercoaster ride of the monthly cycle Or being offered a bus seat more often. Until that time, I’m putting my faith in Brigitte Bardot’s motto: ‘It’s sad to grow old but nice to ripen.’
They’re called beauty therapists for a reason
The decision by the late Dame Diana Rigg to leave her nail technician £5,000 in her will has raised some eyebrows, but it makes perfect sense to me.
Nail salons are now the new confessional. While once you might have confided in your parish priest, or your hairdresser, now it’s the lady applying your fortnightly coat of Coral Sunset.
Dame Diana believed that beautiful nails mattered and I can understand why. Pretty hands can make me feel like I’m in control.
A small survey of my friends confirms the power of the manicure: one says she cannot bear to look at her ‘man hands’ without polish on, another describes her semi-permanent red talons as ‘armour’.
Happiness comes from within, goes the old saying, but as superficial as it may sound, there’s a certain kind of happiness that starts from the outside, too — care of a fresh coat of nail varnish.
I’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for macron!
Clare Foges said Emmanuel Macron (pictured) is attractive because of his evident respect and love for his wife Brigitte
My keen interest in covering the climate-change conference has nothing to do with the future. It has nothing — I repeat, nothing — to do with a desire to catch glimpses of Emmanuel Macron.
Can I be the only one who starts hearing the chords of Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus on seeing the French president? He is my secret crush: intelligent, powerful, and good-looking in that Gallic gaptoothed way.
Macron’s love and respect for Brigitte, his wife, is what makes him so attractive. He gazes at her with adoration and consults her on important matters. He is a gentleman and few people can resist that.
I know that, in the context of our current spat with the French about fishing, this may amount to treason, but — sacre bleu! — I can’t help it.
Clare stated she’d like to know the next steps in Heinz’s tinned product range.
- Food snobs have scoffed at the new offering from Heinz — Christmas dinner in a tin, including roasties, chunks of turkey and pigs in blankets in a gravy and cranberry sauce.
It looks like something you might find splattered on the pavement during the festive season, but it would be delicious with a glass or two of fizz.
As the laziest cook, I am keen to know what’s next in the range. Easter roast lamb in the can Valentine’s dinner in a tin?
Alas, I can’t get hold of this Christmas miracle —those clever people at baked beans central have only done a limited run of 500 tins, ensuring that it will soon be selling on eBay for the price of a one-bedroom flat in Doncaster.
Well, another year of Pret Christmas sandwiches it is then.