Wednesday 24 August 2011


Some years ago I wrote a piece about the many people I had observed buying magazines, not necessarily for the articles themselves as such, but for the competition prizes offered therein.

This fascinated me at the time. I knew of at least one woman who would buy up to thirty magazines a month and then laboriously fill in, cut out and send off all the entry forms.  At this time she told me that she had already won sunglasses; beauty kits; two handbags; a scarf; beach towels; costume jewellery and a suitcase.

Now years later, I was waiting for a friend in the coffee shop attached to Exclusive Books and to pass the time, (I was early and she is always at least fifteen minutes late), I selected a few magazines from a shelf nearby, out of interest. I am still not a buyer of magazines, so I was curious to see how they had changed.

Well, they are certainly glossier on the whole but those obviously for women up to the age of forty, contained the usual fashion (most of it hideous), make-up ideas; diet tips; exercise advice; and all they could regurgitate about pregnancy; childbirth; breast feeding and child rearing; recipes and healthy lunch box ideas, etc., as well as many “success” stories. These covered the range of illnesses overcome; huge financial obstacles and lack of any form of support and how they had managed to turn their lives around and do good / make vast sums of money / renovate houses /  start their own successful businesses / travel to distant shores / put themselves through University / and finally to proclaim themselves unsung heroes or heroines, or have someone else do it for them. This is not to belittle their individual achievements, which are undeniably great in many cases but to wonder if these people had really managed all this as easily as some had reported, almost single-handed, and if they had given adequate credit where credit is due?

Then of course, there seemed to be sections devoted to the antics and activities of film and stage stars, very few of whom would make good role models. So all in all, these magazines were a supposedly eclectic mix of nothing much to attract my fancy or attention, until I found the “WIN” pages!

My, how those have changed! No longer did I find the “small” offerings of the past. Now each magazine tried to out do the next – 
WIN A TRIP to Disneyland for the whole family!
Win a computer / I-pad / state of the art music centre

Where have our values gone, now that simply filling in a form or questionnaire can put one in line to receive one of these huge gifts? What sort of world are we actually living in, if this is what one has to offer in order to entice people to buy a glossy magazine?  It very much seems like the beginning of yet another decline and fall of civilization! I do suppose it is really to try and keep in line with the fast pace of life and today’s tear away, disposable, here today and gone tomorrow type of life style. 

I prefer a slightly slower, calmer pace, at my age and if I were to enter a competition, I would be very pleased to win anything at all, as long as it was tasteful and had its uses! What do you think?


Thursday 4 August 2011

Things that go bump and Crash in the night

Things that go bump and Crash in the night
   Musings from Life by Rosemary Kahn

It was well after midnight. I know, because that is when I turned off my bedside light. Reading in bed is such a pleasure, especially in winter!

I must have been asleep for about an hour, when a loud crash woke me. I lay quietly listening in the dark for any other noises. There was a rasping and scraping sound and then silence. I did a mental check - all the downstairs doors were locked on the inside; the security gates were locked; my car was locked and in its garage. I crept out of bed. It is always quite light in my bedroom, inspite of the curtains being closed. The apartment block to the right of my building has had very bright spot lights installed and my neighbour had left his garden spotlight on as well. This lit up my own garden and I was able to see down to the gate, which was locked. There was no movement anywhere. I stood and watched for several minutes. 

Should I risk going downstairs, or should I go back to bed? Where exactly had the crash come from anyway? It had sounded very close by. Perhaps it was just a ferral cat, of which there are a number in the vicinity, on the prowl. It might have knocked over a pot plant on one of our patios. With a sigh, I decided to go back to bed. I felt safe enough upstairs and all was quite again and I refuse to live in fear. After all, we have electrically operated security gates and seven rows of electrically wired fencing all round the property. We also have a security guard cycle patrol on duty 24/7. I climbed into bed and my last conscious thought was,  
"What a way to live!"


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