We are sure our readers will have noticed the way traditional, some might even say old fashioned, female and male roles are being challenged in the media, and especially on TV. Sports fans will have noticed an increase in the coverage of female football and cricket teams, as well as more female TV commentators and pundits.
Many of the most well-known news readers and political analysts on television are now women, not to mention the domination of female weather forecasters, most notably. Carole Kirkwood, whose predictions of our national obsession have turned out to be every bit as accurate as those of John Kettley and Michael Fish.
The world of sheds
Despite the growing trend for “she sheds” – the good old garden shed has been a traditional bastion of masculinity- providing long suffering husbands and partners with a refuge in which to escape soaps, grandchildren and housework.
Sheds and cabins come in all shapes and sizes but, if your plot doesn’t allow you the space you need, then consider getting in on the allotment scene – not only does it provide the welcome ”me time” but returning with a freshly picked salad or crop of fruit is sure to get a hero’s welcome.
Every year, in August, the Cuprinol sponsored Shed of the Year competition puts sheds under the spotlight as the Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year Competition hits TV screens.
It’s a sort of light hearted, miniature Grand Designs. It’s a great show and a fantastic source of ideas for your shed.
According to the Telegraph “Allotments were introduced by philanthropic Victorians to provide a healthy diet and lifestyle for factory workers. These days, when their appeal has crossed the class divide, they offer the same benefits.
To nurture a tiny seed until it becomes a plump pumpkin or parsnip fulfils a basic human instinct; digging the first new potato is better for body and soul than turning into one on a couch in front of the TV or laptop”
The popularity of allotments tends to increase during times of economic downturn and decrease in times of prosperity. During WW2, even some of London’s parks were cultivated to provide food. At the end of WW2, there were well over a million allotments across the UK. Now only 250,000 survive, and despite a huge waiting list, many councils are putting land previously uses as allotments to other uses.
Often caricatured as a male only domain there is little doubt that fresh home-grown produce is enjoyed by everyone!
There is now a popular Radio Four programme called Women Talking About Cars. Victoria Coren – Mitchell presents the series in which famous women look at their lives from the perspective of the cars they have owned.
However, gazing longingly at classic cars, showing off detailed knowledge of long gone models, remains a predominantly male pastime. The UK has a vast range of historical car collections. From the Haynes collection in Yeoville, an hour’s drive away from Barton’s new Seascapes Park in Somerset, to the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire.
Or try the quirky Lakeland Motor Museum in the Lake District with its fascinating collection of over 30,000 exhibits that trace the development of road transport throughout the twentieth century – cycles, motorbikes, motor cars and automobilia.
Of course, there is the famous Beaulieu Motor Collection on the South Coast. From the earliest motor carriages to classic family saloons, the world-famous National Motor Museum has one of the finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world. From legendary F1 cars and land speed record breakers for the speed freaks, to incredible examples of pioneering motoring for the history-buffs. It’s a great family day out – especially for “boys” of all ages
A taste for beer and especially real and craft ales is another predominantly male interest. Typically, much smaller than global corporate beer brands, craft breweries are invariably independently owned. Generally focused on quality, flavour, brewing technique and regional variations, craft breweries are popping up all over the UK.
The country is literally awash with craft breweries and a trip to a brewery large or small can be a great experience and a good day out, “with the lads”.
The Theakston Brewery Visitor Centre is situated at the brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire. A brewery tour is a great day out, providing a true insight into one of the Country’s best-known family breweries.
Batemans Visitors Centre really is a place where they celebrate the past and present of Batemans and welcome guests from near and far. There’s a fascinating brewery tour, an enticing calendar of events throughout the seasons, old brewing and Batemans family artefacts, the biggest collection of bottled beers in the country and good food and drink to enjoy. This historic Brewery offers a glimpse into the world of Batemans.
The Centre is housed in our beautiful 18th century windmill overlooking the River Steeping, making it one of Lincolnshire’s most picturesque tourist attractions.
Perhaps the most male dominated sport of all is fishing. Of course, it rather depends on what you mean by fishing – if it’s big sea fishing or the genteel sport of fly fishing then there are devotees amongst many famous women including Margot Robbie, Martha Stewart and of course several Royals. However, the business of coarse fishing in rivers, canals and reservoirs (where permitted) remains an activity whose appeal escapes the majority of female kind.
There are many holiday and residential parks across the UK with well stocked lakes in their grounds – offering good fishing and regular competitions.
Close to our Glenholt Park in Plymouth is the river Plym. The Plym promises adept anglers flounder and mullet and it is also known for prolific school bass fishing.
And finally, to cooking
The home kitchen may be a traditional female domain but as anyone who knows their onions will tell you, all the best chefs are men, although that may be an opinion best expressed in male company!
However, in this new age of blurred boundaries and changing roles we would like to do our bit for progress by encouraging men to take time to master a minor culinary masterpiece with to impress the women of the house. There are dozens of books that aim to build the confidence of reluctant chefs – try A Man, A Pan, A Plan, by Paul Kita or Cooking for Blokes Paperback by Dr Duncan Anderson and Marian Walls. Or simply get on catch-up TV see what Jamie Olive or the Hairy Bikers have to suggest.