A holiday, a wedding and some pretty unpleasant opinions!

Well we’ve recently come back from a lovely week away on one of the Greek Islands.  I’m feeling happy, refreshed and relaxed!  I would love to say that we had a cultured week, but the truth is all we did was sunbathe (sort of – I kept bump out of the sun), read LOADS, swam and ate too much.  In all honesty I struggle to move around that much as things stand (worrying as I’m only at 6 months…) so in temperatures of 30-35 degrees celsius there was no chance of having an adventurous holiday.

The break couldn’t have come at a better time.  Work is still horrendous and I was at breaking point by the time I left (on my last day I worked 7am – 11:30pm with hardly any break, not ideal when I’ve got a medical note saying I should only work 9-5!).  Thankfully, although I’m very anxious about returning to work tomorrow, I feel rested and know I only need to get through another 41 working days before maternity leave.

Before we left we had our first NCT class.  The NCT (National Childbirth Trust) is a charity which, amongst many other things, run courses for expectant parents.  We were both a little apprehensive about going because there are a number of horror stories about the hippy nature of these classes (e.g. being asked to each draw flowers opening up, supposedly representing the woman giving birth; being asked to bring in a load of objects from home and set up your own “nest” for the session).  Thankfully it wasn’t too cray-cray.  There were a few odd moments (the communal pelvic floor exercise session; the men being asked to pretend to be various hormones involved in labour), but on the whole it was helpful and the other people in the class seemed relatively normal.  They were all around the same age as us and many of them were professionals (not meaning to sound snobby, but they may understand the whole baby/career pressures thing a bit more), so I really hope that we get to become friends with some of them.  As I’ve said before though, it’s quite hard to start friendships when you’re in your 30s!

On our return from holiday, we immediately headed down south to a friend’s wedding in Cambridge.  It was a stunning location for a wedding! I didn’t take any photos myself, but here are a few taken from the world wide web.

St John's 2St John's 3St Johns

Rather bizarrely, there was a total ban on putting any photos from the wedding up on any form of social media.  I’m not a huge one for posting every single aspect of my life on social media, so I can understand why some people may not want their wedding photos going up, but the militancy with which we were banned from uploading anything to do with the wedding day was a little strange (e.g. even putting up pictures of friends/other halves without the bride and groom in).   That said, I don’t know if there is a story behind it so it shouldn’t be for me to comment on their rules.

Overall we had a lovely day and I even managed to stay on my swollen feet until late evening!  Go me!

Unfortunately, we did have a bit of an altercation with the husband of one of BT’s friends, which left us both feeling quite upset.  Even now I am fuming!

This guy was your classic British self-entitled “toff”.  He’s been in boarding school since he was 7 years old, then went to University and is now an officer in the Army.  At first we thought he seemed really pleasant, albeit extremely posh! Sadly, as more drinks were consumed he came out with some pretty unpleasant comments.

Firstly, although I wasn’t around to hear this at the time, he was being extremely vulgar about the bride and about the fact she had clearly had a boob job (which yes, it looked like she probably had, but then that’s her choice to make and she shouldn’t be letched over by some gross guy on her wedding day).

Next, later that evening, the fact that I haven’t taken BT’s surname came up and we mentioned that, while we thought we would probably give our baby BT’s surname, we hadn’t completely decided whether to give the baby BT’s name or mine.  The guy then hit the roof at this and started making comments to BT about how he needed to “get control” and “you’re a f*cking [name of BT’s job] for goodness sake, she and the child should be taking your name” (for the record he never even asked if I had a job…he probably assumed I either stayed at home or have some job that is far too lowly for him.  Perhaps he thinks my sole job should be to carry BT’s heir?).  His wife then said how she had actually wanted to give their child her surname, to which he got really angry.  Later, when BT was privately asking her about it and saying that it’s something they should be able to agree on as a couple and if she felt strongly about it she should try and speak to her husband, but she just told him she had to be really careful what she says around her husband!  It just seems so sad.

Finally, and we still don’t understand how he ever thought we would possibly share his opinion, the guy started ranting about how “the problem with Britain is we let anyone in.  We need to start sending them back.  We are just too accepting of all these different races and religions and we’ve lost who we have become.  Fundamentally we are a Christian country but we’re not allowed to be that any more”.  [Cue: faces of total horror from both BT and I].  He then carried on by saying how his parents lived in Saudi Arabia and they had a much better handle on things over there! He was saying about how, over there, Saudi is seen as the holy land and they just don’t allow anything to happen there: if they want to drink, gamble, use hookers they go to a different country to keep Saudi pure.  Ignoring the massive argument about how people should maintain their values wherever they are, because it should be a part of them permanently, not going on a “f*ck it all” holiday somewhere else and to treat that place how you would never allow your home to be treated and where your sins are apparently ignored, everything he said was so deeply disturbing.  Saudi has a horrendous human rights record.  Granted the UK really doesn’t shower itself in glory when you dig beneath the surface, at least we don’t carry out executions (recently Saudi reportedly carried out 47 executions in one day alone), or cut people’s hands off if they’re accused of stealing, or forbid women from doing, well, ANYTHING.  In the UK I can freely criticise politicians or religious leaders.  In Saudi I would almost certainly be arrested and tortured for doing that.  To suggest that the UK should become LESS tolerant than we currently are (which in my opinion is still too intolerant) and try to be more like Saudi absolutely turns my stomach.

I was honestly lost for words when he was saying all this.  I have seen plenty of vile comments online, but when you’re actually confronted with these opinions it takes a while to process whether the person is ACTUALLY saying what you think they just said.  I stuttered something about how “I think we should change the subject as we don’t agree with you at all” (being conscious that, while most people around us with certainly be on our side, we were in the middle of someone else’s wedding and they did not deserve a fight breaking out on their wedding day!).  BT on the other hand was much more vocal about how disgusting this guy’s opinions were! The guy actually seemed quite taken aback that we really didn’t share his opinions and that he was being questioned.  Perhaps nobody has ever pulled him up on it before? After making our excuses we managed to avoid him for the rest of the evening.

It just makes me so sad for many reasons.  What hope do we have if supposedly educated people of our generation hold these views? What does it say that someone thinks they can express those views and that everyone around them will agree? He must come from an environment where his views are seen as acceptable, and probably encouraged.  We also got the impression that his wife didn’t agree with many things he said, but was too afraid of upsetting him.  It made me realise just how lucky I am that I can say anything to BT and, while we may disagree on many things, fundamentally we hold the same views on the world.

I am trying to focus on the positive, in that every person we spoke to (only about 6/7 people) was equally as horrified as us.  With everything that has happened in Britain in the last month, I need some hope that we’re not setting off down a very dark path.


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