Monthly Archives: October 2017

Not all men, but all women

I’m compelled to write this following the recent Harvey Weinstein allegations.

Admittedly we haven’t heard this much on this occasion (or at least I haven’t), but a phrase that is often repeated when a sexual predator is found out is “not all men.” The not so subtle subtext to that is that hey, come on, we’re not all like that, most men are ‘good guys’, so women you’ll just have to learn which ones to ignore.

But I’m going to call that out as bullshit.

It’s bullshit because it puts the onus on women to learn / cope with / avoid the ‘bad guys’ and it doesn’t challenge or try to stop the men’s behaviour.

It’s bullshit because even without blatant sexual assaults there is a lot of behaviour by many men that women find threatening, uncomfortable, invasive and just downright icky. The ‘not all men’ mantra stops men from challenging or questioning their own behaviour.

But it’s mainly bullshit because while it is true that not all men are sexual predators it is true that all (or nearly all) women have a story that is about, at best, inappropriate sexual behaviour by a man towards them, but very often is about downright sexual abuse.

If you don’t believe this, then check out the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter (and I think you’ll posts with it on Facebook) too.

And men, you don’t have to have a wife / daughter / mother to be appalled at this – be appalled because it is wrong.

– – –

Just over 12 months ago I wrote a similar post to this after Trump’s admission about “grabbing”. It’s amazing that it needs writing again.

Last year’s post (which you can read here: Men – it’s time to get angry) was inspired by a Twitter conversation asking women for their first sexual assault – not the only one, because the female author of the tweet knew that most women had suffered multiple assaults. You can still see the thread here: https://twitter.com/kellyoxford/status/784541062119456769.

In last year’s post I talked about four things that men (actually anyone, but I was directing it at men) can do:

  1. Stop
  2. Step up
  3. Step in
  4. Support

Unfortunately it’s still appropriate and I suspect that there will be many more of these stories to come out in the future.

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Sleep and happiness

The two best diet aides are sleep and happiness. 

Sleep is an obvious one. When I’m tired I crave extra energy, extra food and often extra sugar. Extreme tiredness morphs into extreme hunger before I even know what I’m doing. Chocolate equals energy. 

When I swim I need food to fight the cold, to keep me warm. When I don’t swim then I need food to keep my soul warm. Happiness needs to be nourished. 

I can cope better with sadness if I’m well fed – or badly fed, just as long as I’m not hungry and sad at the same time. That’s a tough combination that multiplies both feelings. 

And of course the two are often linked. Sadness can lead to an inability to sleep or at least to sleep well. While adding weight (or not losing it) leads to a feeling of worthlessness, which is rarely followed by happiness. 

So it looks like I can’t wait until I’m skinny to be satisfied and happy with myself…

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Lac Leman

Lac Leman (or lake Geneva as we know it in English) is a real bucket list swim for marathon swimmers. At 70km long it is a similar distance to a two-way English Channel swim and has been swum by only a very select group of swimmers.

That’s why, this summer, I was delighted…


… to be invited to visit some friends who live near the lake.

I didn’t bloody swim it, of course I didn’t – I’m nowhere near a good enough swimmer to do that. I did have a nice dip this morning though.


As for the weekend, I had a lovely time. A really relaxing weekend with friends, mountains, a lake, wine and LOTS of cheese.

Maybe one day I’ll be back with more serious swimming intentions…

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Sleeping Rough in Nottingham

Last night I slept rough in Nottingham. I bedded down in my sleeping bag in the cold, dark night and did my best to sleep while exposed to the elements. 

I was lucky though, it was just a one off for me as a way to raise money for charity

The fact is that many people have to do this as a way of life and that’s a disgrace in modern Britain. One of the stats we learnt is that rough sleeping increased by 132% since 2010. While 3 years ago there were 13 officially counted rough sleepers in Nottingham. Over the last 2 weeks that number has been counted as 85!!

My experience of rough sleeping was with about 100 others as part of the CEOsleepout at Notts County’s ground. We all met up at about 8pm and mingled as we were told some of the stats I mentioned above. Then at about 11pm we made our way outside and put our bedding down at the edge of the pitch. 


Nervous laughter, chatting and a lot of time spent on smartphones was the way nearly everyone spent the first hour, but gradually people settled down and started to sleep. 

In the end I coped fine with the experience. I struggled to sleep at first, but clearly slept well as when I woke up at 6am I was the only person left pitchside bar one other person in the corner of the pitch. I’d slept through everyone else waking up, getting up and clearing away all their sleeping kit before making their way inside. So I quickly joined them for a well deserved cup of tea. 

However I was able to sleep so well because I knew it was only for one night. It was dry, I was safe and I knew that I was going home afterwards. I was able to dry my sleeping kit off as soon as I got home and start my day no worse for my little ‘adventure’. 

Yet there are many people that don’t have those luxuries. They have to bed down in kit still damp from the before, often in places that put them at risk from the elements and possibly worse. And they have to do that night after night. It was to draw attention to those people and to raise money for the charities that support them that we did it – so if you can please spare some pennies by going to my JustGiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Patrick-Smith-sleepout

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