September 2015 Archive

The gift of music keeps on giving, time after time - Argus Friday 25th September 2015

Posted Friday 25th September 2015   By Ericka Waller

IS MUSIC the greatest gift you can give your children? Gareth Malone OBE, the celebrated choir master and broadcaster, recently cited Bach as the music that every child should listen to, not the Frozen soundtrack. My classical music loving mum would have loved me to listen to Bach, but I was more of a Boney-M kid. One of my earliest memories is the day my grandad gave me his old portable tape-deck. It was covered in plaster from his work as an Artexer, and it only came with one tape, ABBA. I listened to that tape until my dad pleaded with me to change it, passing me Blondie instead. Before long, I was going through my parent’s vinyl collection, picking and choosing my new favourites. Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, Joan Baez, Rolling Stones, Steely Span. My dad and I would sit up for hours listening to his favourites, him telling me how much the record cost at the time, or what car he was driving. He gave me his life story through music, and in doing so, gave me a soundtrack for my own.

Better to have less money and more mummy - Argus Friday 19th June 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

SO David Cameron’s Childcare Bill offers to double free childcare for three and four-year-olds. Apparently this is a great incentive for parents to go back to work, but is it what’s best for our children? The Bishop of Durham warns that this incentive is too focussed on childcare and not on the child itself. I am a stay-at-home-mum to three daughters, aged three, five and seven. I went back to the office six-months after having my first child, and was about as popular as a fart in a lift as I ‘only’ did four-days a week.

Going vegan has changed my life, surprise surprise - Argus Friday 26th June 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

SO I have this friend, who decided to become a vegan, and did she dull on about it. She was like a club hammer driving in a fence post. She banged on and on about documentaries I simply must watch, which exposed milk for the hormone laden, cow pus it is. As for honey, why would anyone want bee vomit? She was all for me swapping my dog for its intellectually superior farmyard-friend, the pig. She was not only a vegan for ethical reasons; she was also very keen on the health benefits.

Changing times for supervising kids on holiday - Argus Friday 3rd July 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

SO I’m in the Isle of Wight with the kids for a week. The last time I came here I was four-years old. I don’t remember it but apparently I was driven down in the back of my dad’s Talbot Sunbeam with no seatbelt, a broken sunroof and Kevin Wilson blaring out the speakers. My mum’s cigarette smoke wafted out in bursts as she laughed along to the classic “Santa Claus you...where’s my....bike” We spent a week on the beach, scaling Alum Bay Cliffs to reach the various layers of different coloured sand, naked save for our jelly shoes.

Homeless ‘rely’ on kindness of everybody else - Argus Friday 17th July 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

I WAS in a charity shop this week. I didn’t need anything; I was just killing time before going for lunch with my pal. A barefoot woman entered. She stumbled against the shelf, and then insulted it. We shoppers immediately all looked the other way. I concentrated hard on the heart-shaped egg-poacher I’d grabbed in a panic to look busy. She was trying to get the staff’s attention by waving a Carpenters LP about. She had no money, but she wanted some shoes. She was promising the hat display that she would pay for them when she could. She had blisters on the soles of her feet. She couldn’t walk but she was trying (I know I sound a bit like a Phil Collins song, but bear with me). The shop workers thought if they ignored her she might leave, but I thought twice (I thought, “It’s just another day for me in paradise”, this Oxfam).

Alcohol can end up a life-taker, just look at Amy - Argus Monday 27th July 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

SO I went to see Amy – the documentary film about Amy Winehouse – at the Duke of York cinema. It wasn’t fun, like when I went to see Terminator Genisys, though the plot was no less destructive, no less gory. In fact it was so hard to stomach, my poor date had to go and buy a large brandy to settle his nerves. Isn’t it ironic, (don’t you think?). The public perception seems to be that Amy went downhill once she was introduced to heroin and crack cocaine. We all remember that photo of her in those bloodstained ballet pumps, but it was not the drugs that killed her. It was the drink.

We should make women the real big deal in sport - Argus Friday 31st July 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

SO THE National Football League (NFL) has appointed their first female intern coach, Jen Welter. She will be one of at least 320 coaches in the league, but because she is a woman, it has made headlines. The last woman who attempted to forge a career within professional men’s football was Helena Costa. She was appointed manager of Clermont Foot 63, a French club. The shock announcement attracted worldwide headlines. She quit the night before her first day. It turned out there was no real role for her within the club. She had been employed to attract media interest. and give the idea that Clermont was a “forward thinking” team. When she asked to see her coaching schedule, there were no slots with her name on. She had been used to put a small name on a big map.

If you do not like tattoos, do not look at them - Argus Monday 10th August 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

SO I was in a tattoo parlour in Kemp Town waiting to get some work done. There were two other girls in there with me. One was a voluptuous blonde sitting in her bra, chatting away excitedly. Next to her was a slim, quiet brunette, clutching her shirt to her shoulders. She had booked in for a back tattoo and the artist was telling her she would have to remove the shirt first. She looked nervous, and as she shed her top, I saw why. She was covered in scars from self-harm. “Don’t worry” she said “It was just a bout of depression.”

Regular checks of mobiles to see online updates - Argus Friday 14th August

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

UNSURPRISINGLY, a recent study has found that children feel “ignored” and that “they are not being given enough attention” by gadget-obsessed parents. Interesting, mobile phones did not come out till I was 20, yet as a child I too felt ignored by my mum and that I was not being given enough attention. I still do feel this way about my mother in fact. Let’s not blame technology as the only reason we grow up feeling slightly hard done by. My mum did not have a mobile phone but she had a horse called Mary-Pops who seemed to be everything I was not, and all that she was looking for. Mary was not at all technical. She was not even very good at jumping.

Happy to see the world in pictures through the internet - Argus Friday 21st August 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

A FRIEND of mine is off travelling. This saddens me, and I doubt we will be able to be friends when he gets back. He will start all of his sentences with “When you’ve been travelling” and “What I learned when I was travelling”. Why do people who take a year off to muck about doing naff-all think they are more enlightened than those of us who stay put and get a proper job? There is nothing more boring than hearing about people’s travelling adventures, unless they are telling them whilst simultaneously presenting a slide-show of photos. My husband’s uncle actually bored his mother-in-law to death with 300 three-hundred photos of his fishing trip in Crete. She physically lost the will to live and died in the chair. He said it was how she wanted to go but I am not so sure.

Shoreham Airshow Disaster - Argus Friday 26th August 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

ON SATURDAY at 1.18pm I was walking past the Saltdean Lido as the Hawker Hunter flew over. My husband recognised the plane from his RAF days and remarked on its heritage. We stopped to watch it swoop and invert before it headed west towards Shoreham. I thought his obsession with the crash that happened minutes later was because he had known the plane. As the day progressed, my husband kept frantically checking for updates, his mood becoming ever more sombre. I was running round after the kids on the beach, distracted. I didn’t know the aircraft had crashed on the A27. I didn’t know anyone was hurt.

We should think twice before we post photos online - Argus Friday 28th August 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

IT SEEMS to me that when life is looked at through a lens, it is no longer real life. People seem to forget that they are filming actual events and actual people. Twenty-thousand people turned their cameras on to capture the Hawker Hunter’s acrobatic display, but very few stopped filming when it became obvious the plane was in trouble. Photos of burning cars and mangled motorbikes, items that would change people’s lives as they recognised them as belonging to their loved ones, were spewed across social media within seconds, well before anyone could have been forewarned at what they were about to see.

A guide to being British - Argus Friday 11th September 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

SO IT looks like Cameron has bowed to peer pressure and is going to allow a tiny handful of refugees in. How very kind of him. Pathetic as the number will be, it will no doubt still annoy the 'Who do these immigrants think they are, using our NHS, taking our jobs' brigade (which remind me of the wonderful gag 'Bloody Foreigners, coming over here, demanding to know what love is). So to make sure they fit in as seamlessly as possible, I have put together the ultimate guide to becoming British in a jiffer.

To sing or not to sing - Argus Friday 18th September 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

SO THE press made a royal song and dance over Jeremy Corbyn not singing the national anthem. I can sympathise with him. When I go to church, people turn and sniff at me as if I’ve trodden in dog poo for not knowing the 4th verse of ‘Jerusalem’, or any verses for that matter. They punish me with their pious frowns and icy glares. I turn my book upside down and imagine them at the gates to heaven. “Hello God. I’ve been a judgmental, embittered misery for years, but I know all the words to ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ can I come in please?” Corbyn didn’t sing like no one was watching, he did not sing and everyone was watching, and then he went on to ask some excellent questions in PMQ’s.

My post baby body is going south

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

So I turned 34 on Tuesday. I was not at all bothered about turning 30, and never thought my age would upset me, but for some reason I went to bed on Tuesday night in my new flannelette pyjamas and researched tummy tucks before finally falling asleep with a right sulk on. Maybe it was the hideously bright lighting in the TK MAXX changing room, where I’d taken myself birthday shopping. The running leggings I was trying on got stuck halfway up my thighs. I started sweating under the overly bright spotlights that focused on areas that never see any sunlight. I was getting myself into all sorts of unflattering poses wrestling the luminescent lycra back down over my knees. My panic had made me clumsy and I fell against the door, sobbing in desperation to get away from the mirror of truth. But it was too late. I could not unsee it.

Don't grow up too fast my girl

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

So Thing-one started Juniors this week. Last term her and her mates were the top dogs in the playground, now they are the youngest again. As the eldest class in the infants, she was an ‘influence’ on the others. The younger kids looked up to her. If they were impressed by her and wanted to copy, they would do nothing more daring than skip about with a bit of tin-foil from their sandwich trying to find the perfect place to make a fairy-pond. But now she is in the older half of the school, ‘the dark side’. I don’t know if they still believe in fairies over there. I have a sinking feeling they believe in clothes and hair and Bratz dolls instead.

Entertaing my kids on long car journeys

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

Kicking off a journey with my children is painful. The second I mention the word ‘car’ they all run in different directions to collect thousands of small toys they simply must bring along, then there is the argument about who gets to sit where. It never ends well and I drive off with three snivelling children and a headache. Once we are on our way, things pick up. I put on some music and we have a good old sing-along. I don’t do One Direction or The Wiggles in my motor. Driver’s rules; I pick the music, the route and the temperature, and I will only turn round in my seat three times to retrieve something someone dropped. After that it stays there.