Equality is snow joke

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A small group turned up at Sheffield Town Hall today for Women’s Day of Action Rally, organised by SheFest. Speakers included Natalie Bennett, former leader of the Green Party, Labour MP Louise Haigh and Annalisa from Our Mel, a Sheffield festival celebrating black culture.

Despite the snow, we were there. As SheFest said 2017 was a year of female activism and the activism and fight for equality needs to continue. I decided last year that it was time to do more, to learn more, to turn up (even if it’s snowing), to speak the truth, to not just stand there, complicit, when others discriminate against each other.

I didn’t know where to start, but Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark is a good book to help you to see that it only takes a few people who want change, to start a movement. There may not have been many people who attended the rally today, but next time, I intend to bring a friend, I intend to share the messages from the speakers, I intend to be part of the few who turn up, who listen, who share – sometimes that’s all we can do.

I didn’t take many pics because it was snowing/raining but I have a few, including one of Louise Haigh talking and Natalie Bennett supporting her. Here are two women who have campaigned against each other, but have come together to support this cause, as Louise said: “It’s so important that women support women.”

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Annalisa from Our Mel

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MP Louise Haigh and Natalie Bennett

 

On my reading list

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Hello friends, I’ve done a blog about the books I read in 2017, so I thought I would do one about the books I plan to read (and actually have already read) in 2018. Some of these were presents, some I picked up from a secondhand book shop in Scarborough over Christmas and the others have been recommended by friends.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

I’ve just finished Conversations With Friends (loved it, the breakdown of relationships, an honest depiction of loneliness, smart and creative characters – they felt so real to me.) I’ve started The Girl with All the Gifts (so far, very much enjoying it, it’s had my heart racing when I felt I should be reading something a little slower paced before bed!)

This is my reading list in full (I’m also desperate to read Patti Smith – Devotion, but I’m going to read all of these first….)

M. R Carey – The Girl with All the Gifts

Sally Rooney – Conversations with Friends

Yuval Noah Harari – Sapiens

Alan Bradley – The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Will Storr – The Heretics

Lori Aurelia Williams – When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune

Patricia Lockwood – Priestdaddy

Roxane Gay – Hunger

Gabriel Tallent – My Absolute Darling

 

A good list, no?

A walk around the wooden pole

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I grew up in Derbyshire, our nearest town was Chesterfield (made famous last year for it’s pretty wonky Diana well-dressing.) I should say that until last year – the year I turned 30 – I thought that every town did well dressings, I didn’t know that it was a Derbyshire tradition. Well dressings are pictures made from petals and other naturally sourced items (like pebbles, sticks and egg shells) which are placed near wells and other water sources. Apparently well dressings originate from a pagan custom of offering thanks to gods for a reliable water supply. (Thanks Wiki.)

No-one thinks that the town they grew up in is weird, until they leave it and realise that what you considered to be normal will raise eyebrows elsewhere. On Sunday, we went for a walk with friends to a National Trust ‘site’ near Hathersage called Wooden Pole. Google it, nothing comes up, it’s just a wooden pole.

Baffling.

It is very beautiful round there, I took my camera and got a few snaps of the icy ground. I particularly like the last picture, because it could be summer, it could be winter, it could be a different planet, a whole new world.

 

Books I read at the end of 2017

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Around May 2017, I realised I’d only read books written by women. I looked at the bookshelves at home and noticed that the majority (probably 90%) of the books there had been written by men. So I made a mid-year resolution to only read books written by women for the rest of the year. It wasn’t hard and once I started opening my eyes to book recommendations, they seemed to be everywhere: Twitter, Instagram, in the office. Every single one of the books below is a great read. Some are feminist texts, some describe with the most accuracy I have ever read how it feels to be a young woman, some relay harrowing (real life and fiction) tales of how women are treated by men… The latter seems to have been a theme in 2017. If you only read two books from this list (although I would 100% recommend them all) I would suggest Hope in the Dark and The Rise, The Fall… This is the full list from the last quarter of the year’s reading…

The Rise, The Fall and The Rise by Brix Smith Start

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Peterson

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Asking for It by Louise O’Neill

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose

The Millstone by Margaret Drabble.

Light

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It’s dark outside, but inside, it’s warm, cosy and the room smells like ‘fluffy towels’ (ahem, this is an actual scent of Yankee Candle that I received for Christmas this year, but it is a really lovely and fresh!)

I’m obsessed with candles and every night we have our ritual to set up the room for the evening: close all the curtains, light every available candle, turn on the fairy lights, maybe the oil burner too if there’s no scented candle… There’s nowhere I would rather be.

Mam Tor on New Year’s Day

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This New Year’s Eve, we had a quiet night in to restore our batteries which meant that we could get up early and go walking in the Peak District. So we climbed Mam Tor for some of the best views in Derbyshire – what a brilliant way to see in the new year. It was a beautiful morning but unbelievably windy, a dog walker fell over and my friend told me that her dog almost blew away the day before (!)

Living in Sheffield, we are incredibly close to the Peak District, something that I really take for granted until I visit other cities, we’re very lucky. I grew up in Derbyshire, being ‘dragged’ on walks every weekend with my parents and sister. We used to pretend to hate it, but I look back on those Saturdays very fondly.

I have another loose new year’s resolution: to get out in to the Peak District more and make the most of what’s on our doorstep!

Festivities

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I didn’t take that many pictures this Christmas, in an attempt to be more present (especially at present opening time!) But this year I got a filter for my lens which makes lights ‘twinkly,’ that’s the technical term, and I wanted to take a couple for my blog. My tree model here is my beautiful nephew Louis and the tree belongs to my parents. They always get a big beautiful tree and it’s decorated with things that I’ve made, decorations they have picked up on their travels (including the one which Louis is looking at.)

But Christmas is over now and it’s going to feel sad and bare once the decorations have come down (mine are up until 6th January, I can’t lose them just yet!)

I’m going to make much more of an effort to take photographs on a regular basis and blog weekly here on tashbright.com. This is a very loose new year’s resolution, so let’s see how it goes…