It’s not really sexist … is it?


Some of you may know that I’m a bit of a knitter. It’s just a hobby and I’m not the greatest by any scale. It’s just something I like to do and (when it all goes right) I find it quite relaxing. I first learned the basic knit stitch from my grandmother when I was around 8 years old, back in the early 1960’s. My mother taught me to purl, cast on, cast off, increase and decrease. The rest is self taught from books originally, now I use the internet to learn anything new.

Early last year, a friend said I ought to join a knitting group or club. I do subscribe to a couple knitting related websites and I am an active member of a knitting help forum, but I had never really though of joining an ‘real’ group. My friend said it would help increase the awareness of male knitters. It has never bothered me that I am a male in what is now a mainly female area. Nevertheless, I had a look around and found that there were 4 groups within 7 miles of where I live. I looked at the website of one of the groups, which was basically a single screen with the address, time and day of the meetings. It was in a church hall, every third Thursday of the month from 18:45 to 21:00 and the banner at the top of the website said

Come on in and say hello. First meeting is free!

What did I have to lose? Well, it all went on quite pleasantly really. There seemed to be more chatting than knitting, but they seemed quite pleased to have me join them. Until the end, that is. I started to collect the coffee cups and was told to just put them on the serving hatch and L*** and J**** would wash them. They couldn’t have me doing the chores on my first night. So that’s what I did. I had just put the last 2 plates on the hatch when I heard to two ladies discussing someone. This is what I remember of the discussion.

Person 1:     “He’s either gay, or has got a failed marriage!”
Person 2:    “Failed marriage. What do you mean?”
Person 1:     “His marriage is over and he’s on the pull.”
Person 2:    “Oh dear.”
Person 1:     “My money is on the second choice!”

Now, I know it may seem a bit arrogant to think that they were talking about me, but neither said goodbye when I left and I just had that feeling. (Firstly, I’m not gay and it is not something that bothers me in the slightest and secondly, my marriage is quite solid.)

I never went back.

The second experience, was another local group which was a bit nearer. I just had a telephone number and against my better judgement I gave the number a call. A woman answered and I said that I was calling about the knitting group. She asked me if I was calling for my wife! When I said that it was me that was looking to join a group the phone went quite for a few moments and then came the reply “We don’t have any men in the group.” I asked why they didn’t allow men, which is what it sounded like, she replied that the group was “ … a bit ‘pink’ and we tend to drink Prosecco and talk a lot about ‘women’s problems’ and things …”

After that, I gave up and didn’t even try the other three groups.

Small steps …


This is going to be a little bit techy/geeky, so feel free to move on.

For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to learn a computer programming language. I have had a free programming environment (Visual Studio Community 2017) on all my computers for many years but simply have not had the inspiration to get on and learn something. The bad weather on Thursday suddenly gave me that inspiration. I found an online tutorial called Home and Learn, that went through the basics in Visual Basic.net, but at a pace that wasn’t either too slow or too fast. Many of these tutorials show you how to create the ubiquitous “Hello World” programme. As much of a novice that I am, I think I was past that phase.

So by the end of the day, I had completed a few exercises and had started on a project to build a basic calculator. AndVB Calculator I mean a basic calculator. A calculator that only had a single function … addition. Nothing else … just adding up numbers. By Friday evening, after a few false starts I had successfully built this very simple calculator application. I was feeling very pleased with myself. This self-smugness left me feeling that I could do more. Knowing what I had learnt I felt that it would be not such a difficult task to add another function, such as subtraction. The main issue I had was how to use the coding that I had spent so much time on without losing the initial work. What I needed was a ‘Save as …’ option. But could I find one? It seems that there is no ‘Save as …’ in this version of Visual Studio. I searched the internet but was coming up with various ways that didn’t seem to work for me. I then realised what I needed to do. All that was required was to copy the original project to it’s own backup folder, in another area and then I was free to use the original.

VB Calculator Ver 2Well I won’t bore you with any more details, but after even more false starts than before and a lot of brain-racking I managed to get the subtraction function to work and the calculator now has both an addition and a subtraction button. Can you imagine how much the smugness factor has risen by! I even managed to find out how to make the buttons look like raised buttons instead of the default flat style that seems to be the fashion these days. The next challenge is to add a multiplication and a division button. I’m even thinking ahead for things like a percentage button, but I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself.

At the end of the day though, this not going to get me anywhere. It’s just another hobby that I can enjoy and get satisfaction from.