curiosity about the ways of the world

Category: In praise of women

Putting HER story up in lights

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;
It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
Robert Louis Stevenson: The Lamplighter

My daily walk was later than usual. After five o’clock in January the skies are dark and pavements less inviting.  This is Leerie Lamplighter time in Edinburgh and I was remembering…  Continue reading

Island on the Edge

It’s such a gloriously improbable tale. A young woman on the last day of her holiday on Skye spots an old croft house for sale in an estate agents window. What happens next is the stuff of dreams at the end of a hard working week. Continue reading

My Irish Baby Box is forty years old

When I was expecting my first baby a parcel arrived from my Aunty Rene in Ireland. Inside there was a handmade book with advice on how to stay well during pregnancy and many practical instructions for making everything we would need in the first few months of parenthood. Forty years later it occurs to me this was my ‘baby box’. Continue reading

For the sake of dignity and democracy in Zimbabwe

“Ordinary women cannot afford sanitary wear. We are using old pieces of cloth or newspapers. Consequently we’re suffering the loss of our dignity and serious infections, in some cases leading to infertility. Many women are facing violence from their husbands who believe these infections to be sexually transmitted.” Thabitha Khumalo, 2006.

Today, when I signed three petitions in support of democracy and human rights for the people of Zimbabwe, I was thinking of the truly remarkable woman I met two years ago. Thabitha Khumalo was in the UK to raise money and support for a campaign to secure safe supplies of sanitary towels for women in Zimbabwe. The economy was so bad – inflation was then a mere 1000% – manufacturers of sanitary products had left the country. An appeal for help produced a generous lorry load of sanitary towels from South Africa but Robert Mugabe refused to let them into the country. Continue reading

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