Streets are empty. Quiet in many cities. Did somebody die? Has the Apocalypse struck? Did aliens land? No the World Cup of soccer/football is upon us again. To explain to the aliens: Football is a game whereby two groups of 11 men during about 90 minutes try to put a football in each others goals. Whole nations weep or go mad of happiness depending if their countries’ team scored the most goals. As a child and young woman my life was blighted by football. All my three brothers and my dad played. Which took care of Wednesdays and the weekend. Then when they came home they hogged our only television and watched the game as well. So I soon developed a great dislike for the sport. I vowed never to marry a football fan and to steer my sons ,if I had any, away from the sport. I succeeded in both much to the disgust of my brothers who found it tantamount to child abuse.
My husband does watch the World cup now and then and is always amazed at my knowledge of the game. Well what did you expect?

Strangely enough it is played in Russia a country not exactly known for its football prowess nor for its sportsmanship. They have state sponsored doping going on. Wonder how much money changed hands? Tomorrow my English husband who is a Belgian national now will have a difficult time as the Belgians will play the English. Whoever wins he can party for both sides. A tiny annoyance this year that at the endless rehashing of the games afterwards by well known sports figures they now also have a woman on board to show everyone that they support the feminist cause and do not discriminate. So sad! I love to watch the faces of the male panel members when she gives her very short opinion of the game. A little bit like : How cute, aren’t we modern men to allow a woman to have an opinion of our sport? I know women football does exist, but as long as the money is not being spend there as in men’s football it will stay a bit on the side line. Look at tennis. Women still get a smaller trophy and have been granted the same prize money only 10 years ago. And that for a sport that has been played by both sexes from the very beginning.



On my way back from a very nice 60th birthday celebration I heard an interview with a few people about the subject of fathers getting the same paternity leave as the mothers and that the length should not be 4 days but as long as a year! The interviewees were some young woman and an older guy who both thought it a splendid idea. You could tell by what they were saying they had never worked in a small company or owned one. As usual they give Sweden where the maternity arrangements are very royal as an example. Parents there can share the leave and get about 80% of the 3 months maternity leave per person paid for every child. The great difference is of course that the State pays and not the company. They have one of the highest tax rates in the world. 
In the Netherlands and Belgium and I think most countries the parents have to take a parenting break paid for by themselves. I took one myself lasting 6 years until my youngest went to school. As my husband and I had talked about what would happen about childcare before we even had kids I never felt hard done by. Maybe because I could quite easily join the workforce again. Be it part time. And I was an older mother as the doctors used to call me and quite happy to enjoy being with my babies without other demands on my time. Boredom was kept at bay by doing evening classes. The rest of my part time was filled with tennis and DIY. What was not to like about it? My husband was happy to be able to follow is career path knowing at home all was well in hand. Though I think I had the best of both worlds and as a result a great bond with my sons. But I can understand if you want to keep working and have children, man or woman, you will have to let your child be brought up by other people. Be they family or institutions. Lets look at the Swedes again. They seem mainly nice and balanced people albeit missing the gene for humor. We always come to the same conclusion. Do what is best for the parents and the children. As long as you as a couple decide these things before you have the little darlings and even then you may change your mind. They are rather adorable when small. The confirmation that mine was a good choice for me is that my eldest son always said he could not wait to become a house husband as that seemed like a great way to live. I see that as a compliment.



Have just finished a good old fashioned historical novel called “The summer Queen” about the first part of Eleanor of Aquitaine’s life. She has always intrigued me as in those days most women died young of disease or childbirth but she lived until the ripe age of 82 and gave birth to 7 children all of whom became kings and queens in their own right. She was tough and smart. And she did not get old sitting in the comfort of home but travelled extensively even to the Middle East on a crusade. One of the toughest trials for men in those days.

Also finished an intriguing novel “The Party” superbly written and hard to stop reading when you started it. I cannot find too many of those anymore.

I can recommend Strike the televised version of J.K.Rowling’s books about a private detective written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Even though I have read all three books, the series is played so well by such sympathetic actors it is a joy to watch. Is there anything better than lounging in the sunshine reading piles of books?




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