How I Plan To Kill My Husband ~ a talk here in Ramsgate

If November nights are long, dark and lonely you could come and listen to me talk about
How I Plan To Kill My Husband.
A plot I am working on, ssshhh don’t tell him.
I don’t expect it to take long, perhaps ten or fifteen minutes (that goes for the plan as well as my little speech).
It will be at the Open Evening of Thanet Speaker’s Club on Thursday 13th November
arrive early 7.40ish because we start at 8pm prompt and generally finish at 10pm ish.

There will be other entertaining and interesting speakers and a chance to get up and have a go yourself – for 2 minutes.

As for the other important details.
It is FREE for guests
and it takes place at the Royal Temple Yacht Club

Children as young as 7 and 8 (UK Year 3 and older) should not be getting changed for PE together in schools

If 12 and 13 year olds in secondary school were asked to strip down to their underwear together in a mixed class of girls and boys there would be be plenty of complaints. If you think that increased privacy should always be in place for pubescent children then it follows that children from the age of 8, year 3 (at the latest), should be split into single sex groups when changing for PE, games and swimming.

What age do children begin puberty?
About 12 is the average age for girls to begin their periods and boys develop later than girls. These are just generalisations and menstruation is not at the start of puberty.
About 10% of girls will have started their periods before the end of year 6 (end of junior school) and some will start in year 5. These girls are not odd, these ages are within the normal pattern of development.

Half of all girls begin puberty before the age of 10
Breast development and pubic hair signal the onset of puberty a long time before the first period.
Puberty in girls usually begins between the ages of 8 to 12 years (only a year later for boys) and large scale research in the US suggests that 6 or 7 could be considered to be “normal.”

In a year 3 Class 2 or 3 girls may begin puberty out of 15 girls.
About 1 in 6 white girls and 2 in 5 black girls had breast development by their 8th birthday according to published research

Other research concurs, around the age of 8 is a normal age for puberty to start in caucasian children

What this all means is that statistically around half of girls in school will begin puberty before the final year of junior school. It seems most schools (but not all) do split children in year 6 for changing purposes but many, many schools do not split younger children.

I suspect this may not be an issue for boys? Almost all women will recall changing for sport being an unpleasant and embarrassing experience when going through puberty (even when they are only with girls). Why make it so much worse for the youngest girls, who are the first in their class to experience these changes, by making them strip off in front of boys too.

It is significant that Steingraber says, “early puberty alters a girl’s social interactions in ways that produce trauma and erode self-esteem.”

Is there such a thing as a male or female brain?

I was interested to watch Horizon on this subject last night, I highly recommend you see it. It is repeated on TV tonight or you can see it here:

It is a subject that has always fascinated me for many reasons, here’s the shortlist:

  1. As a young child in the 1970s I was repeatedly told that as a girl I would be a wife and look after children and the home, I couldn’t be an X,Y or Z (all the things that I actually wanted to do). I never wanted to play at being mum or play with dolls.  Big disappointment to get a doll as a present.
  2. In reality having children and being a housewife didn’t appeal to me as a child, as a teenager or when I was in my 20s (doesn’t appeal much now either but don’t tell Mr TP or my 3 children).
  3. I was always good at maths, not just good but outstanding, top of the class.
  4. I could always map read and do all those sort of things…

The case Prof Alice Roberts presented was compelling both she and Prof Gina Rippon showed us that the differences between male and female brains are very small such that the difference within the two groups, male and female, are greater than the differences between the groups.  Prof Rippon said that it is not possible to determine whether a brain is male or female.   We are equally as good (or bad) at map reading, maths  and 3D problem solving.

Without doubt there are significant differences in behaviour and aptitude between men and women but are these differences a result of socialisation – i.e.our life experiences, or inherently part of our nature?  In other words, as I am the mathematical map reader and Mr TP is the tidy-up fanatic are we a family of  deviants?

Prof Roberts points to the toys children are given and the way they are encouraged to play as toddlers.   Without doubt the gender stereotyping and difference between entertainment aimed at aims and at boys is greater now than when I was a child because we simply had fewer toys, less choice, there were no electronic games. There was little children’s TV, no DVDs, so we watched whatever was on without any notion of programmes aimed at just girls or just boys.   Despite advances in equality legislation in my lifetime the pressure for girls to conform to a gender type is now greater than ever.

My experience – I have girl- boy twins, now aged 6.  Throughout their short lives they have always wanted to play together, any game, any kind of toys, just together.  All the toys hold equal entertainment for them regardless of being “girls” or “boys” toys. OTHER people have repeated bought gender specific toys, when they were younger this particularly led to tears, they both want to ride the bike or play with the baby in the pram.  As my older son is 12 I am aware that between 6 and 12 the difference in toy marketing continues. Science, science-fiction (Star Wars), construction (lots of lego) and action toys are aimed towards boys whereas the pink isles have much less lego, the emphasis is on dressing up, home making and being artistic.

In recent months my twins have got scooters, lots of girls have scooters, but when my twins go to the scooter/skatepark it is dominated by boys.  The ratio may be 20:1!  Either parents of boys are more likely to think of taking their sons to these places or is it that only boys are asking to go?

Shooting places (lazer, paint ball, soft ball) are all male dominated, again I don’t know why as I think girls are just as likely to enjoy these places (I do).   All of my child go to golf lessons, my eldest is 12.  There is no reason why there would be less girls than boys at these lessons and school holiday golf clubs but they are male dominated, again I estimate at a ratio of 20:1.  My conclusion is that most young girls have a VERY different life compared to boys.

Adult male and female brains are different and two pieces of scientific research suggest there may be a biological link.

Professor Ruben Gurr and Dr Ragini Verman have been involved in mapping the network of connections in the brain that shows dramatic differences between men and women, post puberty.  It is most interesting that in children, however, this difference does not exist.  Our boys and girls do not have different brains so why treat them differently?   Furthermore, the more important question is not answered by this research – why are do our brains develop in different ways in our teenage years? It could be biology, our adolescent hormones,  but it could just as easily be to do with the very different life experiences we have.

Simon Baron-Cohen’s  theory suggests autism is an extreme form of the “male brain” because those with autism are better at spatial problem solving and poor at empathy, i.e. the stereotypical male behaviour but taken to an extreme.  About 1% of the population has autism and of those there are more males than females at a ratio of 2:1.

There was an obvious huge flaw in this as evidence for a biological difference between male and female, perhaps that is due to how it was presented as just a short segment of a longer documentary.  Elevated levels of foetal testosterone and sex steroid hormones are linked to autism or the “male brain.”  Undoubtedly this is interesting stuff about how prenatal hormones affect our abilities in later life but there was no connection between this research and its relevance to the 99% of the population who do not have autism, those who did not have elevated prenatal sex hormones, perhaps that just wasn’t explained in the programme?

If the male brain does not exist (see  by Roberts and Rippon) then the label of autism as the extreme “Male Brain” is in itself a sexist stereotype which if anything just reinforces the myth of the male brain and men having different abilities to women.  I am aware that SB-C is an extremely eminent expert who has studied in this field for decades, I have seen him discussing his research on TV many times so it would have been good to hear more about this.

Whether there are real differences in our brains due to our biology or not I think all of those scientists who presented evidence on the programme would agree that that the differences are small, there is no biological reason to prevent girls studying maths, science and engineering in higher education.  There is no reason for women to under achieve at work and take all the responsibility for home and childcare.








Music Lessons – Guitar, piano or keyboard ~ Ramsgate Broadstairs

Thought I’d plug for some local businesses I know I can confidently recommend – today let me tell you about a music teacher who is very good (experienced) with all ages from young junior school children through to adults.  She teaches in schools, can tutor to exams or just for pleasure:

Hazel 01843 597451 or 07931 056393

Tomorrow I aim to offer you a washing machine/ dishwasher repair man….

Film about people affected by CO poison in New Zealand

And something about the signs to look for.

In the film one of the ladies talks about frequently smelling gas, there must have been a leak.  This was another problem in her home but not specifically about carbon monoxide.  Just a reminder, CO is an invisible, deadly gas, which you cannot smell.

Gas Safety Week 2014 – new short film from the Gas Safe Register

Vegan cakes through the post

Just received some cakes from Vegan Cakes Direct, for the twins’ birthdays.  They smell delicious!  Unfortunately the beautiful top decorations did stick a little to the packaging whilst in transit but not beyond salvation.

I am trying to remember how to insert a photo in this blog – I’m a bit out of practice – you can see a photo here on twitter

The Silent Killer at Home Carbon Monoxide free ebook by D Percy from smashwords

Gas Safety In the Home ebook by D Percy

Gas Safety In the Home ebook by Deborah Percy FREE at

Buy my books

Available at Amazon / Kindle. You can order print copies from this website or Amazon. The Landlord's Guide and Carbon Monoxide are both in print now. Coming soon (in 2014) Do Gas Fires Make you Sick?

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Gas Safety Week sept


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RSS Carbon Monoxide CO blog

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Mrs TP’s latest tweets….

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