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I used to belong to this militant group of  schoolgirls in my early youth.  We were taken away from our families and brainwashed.  We used to march around in military type uniforms and sing patriotic songs.  We used to declare that we would die for the Catholic faith if necessary (Our fathers chained in prisons dark were still in heart and conscience free, how sweet would be their children's fate, if we, like them could die for thee!").    It's hard to believe now, really.  Sounds dreadful, doesn't it?  It was called the Girl Guides.  The Catholic  Guides of Ireland, to be precise.

I learned a couple of useful skills there.  I can tie a mean reef knot.  I know my rosary backwards and forwards. I always feel guilty about being late and failing to be neat enough to pass inspection.  But a free spirit like me couldn't be chained up for long and I escaped when I was around fifteen.  Mind you, it was politics.  Some young one called Treasa (that's the Irish for Teresa, pronounced 'trassa') got promoted to being the Assistant Patrol Leader of the Blackbird Patrol group right over my head.  That upstart had joined a full year after me!  When  I made discreet inquiries, I was given to understand that I was always several points behind  Treasa dearest in inspection and I was nearly always five minutes late.  I couldn't take this blow to my self respect and I walked out.

It's hard to erase several years of brainwashing however, and the guide motto of  'always be prepared' has been instilled into my soul.   I like to be prepared for any eventuality.

I fail miserably there too.  In theory, I always want to have things prepared hours in advance.  But if, for example, I get stuck into a good book or if me and the husband get involved in an intense conversation, I will not leave that situation to go and soak the rice grains.  I'll just mug up and manage when the time comes.  You have to seize the moments of life when they occur instead of acting like an overgrown girl guide.  If I'd been more prepared, I'd probably have a cleaner house.  I probably wouldn't have quite so many kids (!) either, come to think of it.  But then again, I wouldn't have much of a life.  I really enjoy my life, even the difficult parts of it.

I always remember a particular saying of that immortal bodice ripper novelist Shirley Conran. It goes something like this:  "Life is too short to stuff a mushroom."

I believe that with all my heart.

This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  Our members  are, in no particular order,    AkankshaDelirious, Padmini, AshokConrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, and Rummuser. This topic 'Prepare' was chosen by Grannymar.

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