The last couple of weeks has seen the worst health I've had for a while, hence the very light blogging.
I'm glad to see, however, that Stephen has been keeping us all challenged and entertained with some excellent stuff - getting into the Daley Dozen two days in a row is quite an achievement. Being recognised by one of the UK's top bloggers as having produced one of the best blog postings that day is quite something.
Also, I hope that Jennie's recent spate of postings means she's back to blogging regularly. I've missed her and her posts really cheered me yesterday.
I am also constantly amazed at the many creative ways Andrew Reeves finds to motivate Lib Dem activists and persuade them to help in elections. See how he's trying to attract us to Glasgow North East.
I was feeling miserable enough yesterday without having to read the rather traumatic reading book Anna had been given from school. She was quite upset by it and when I got her to read it to me, I wasn't surprised. In very simple terms, it's the story of a young girl's abuse and murder, accidental or not, at the hands of her stepmother. An escalating series of incidents to which the girl's father turns a blind eye "for his own comfort" culminates in the girl being tied with vines to a tree at the bottom of a ravine for failing to watch a cooking pot. The ravine then fills with water and the little girl drowns.
Anna's well used to my feminist rants about the portrayal of women in children's books, particularly any Disney Princess story you might care to mention. I took her to a fabulous play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe a few years ago which smashed the Disney myth. The heroines decided they didn't need men or marriage to find fulfilment in life or sort their problems out and did it all themselves.
She also knows that I get furious about the portrayal of stepmothers as wicked, child abusing women. You have it in Cinderella and Snow White and all over children's literature. In the world of Disney mothers are generally absent, or dead, and the women who take their place are pure evil. I really hope that there are no girls in her class whose fathers are in a new relationship - that book will probably scare them senseless.
I accept that as she gets older, she's going to have to read much more challenging material, covering difficult concepts. I'm not trying to wrap her in cotton wool - I mean, she read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a book which scared me as an adult when I first read it, well over a year ago. I just felt that this choice from school was a bit beyond the pale for 10 year olds.