Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Realistic Parent of Teens' Summer Bucket List.

The long school summer holidays stretch invitingly ahead with acres of empty days crying out to be filled with family fun. This year though, instead of putting together a bucket list which invariably gets torn into pieces and chucked in the bin after three days of resistant apathy, I've finally succumbed to the reality of what teens really want from a summer bucket list ...

 Summer Bucket List for Teens

1: Spend as much time as possible lying in bed in a darkened room

2: Cultivate three new life forms on abandoned plates and mugs under the bed.

3: Exist solely on a diet of Cocoa Pops and Haribo.

4: Resist all attempts at communication but if absolutely unavoidable employ only grunts, sighs and the occasional huff.

5: Write long-winded, badly spelt, badly punctuated statuses on social media about how bored you are despite being an A* English student offered 302 exciting things to do before breakfast every day.

6: Never knowingly look happy or appreciative.

7: Perfect the dismissive shrug.

8: Tantrum like a two year old if anyone dare suggest you tidy your room.

9: Spend a continuous 24 hours gorging on cat videos on YouTube.

10: Stagger back in stunned horror if asked to join in with family activities.

11: Inadvertently learn Japanese because of the number of dubbed animes you've watched.

12: Communicate with the outside world purely by the use of emojis.

13: Create dirty washing mountain ranges across the panorama of your bedroom and claim they are art homework.

14: Don't sleep for a week.

15: Develop the skin pallor of Gollum.

16: Send incomprehensible Snapchat videos to indicate to friends you are still alive.

17: Lollop.

18: When running into a family member around the house look at them as if you have no idea who they are.

19: Practise looking down your nose while simultaneously shrugging, sighing and stomping off .

20: Keep the whereabouts of your school PE Kit a mystery until 10.20pm the night before the summer holidays end.

This could be the most attainable bucket list ever :/



Tuesday, 5 July 2016

It's Not EU. It's You ... A Letter of Resignation

In the aftermath of the EU Referendum there's been an unseemly rush of political resignations, the England manager threw himself on his sword (though he probably missed), even Chris Evans got the hint. So in these most tumultuous of political times, I say if you can't beat them, join them. This is my letter of resignation

Dear Sir/ Madam

It is with regret that I tender my resignation as Chief Optimist, part-time Idealist and fully fledged member of Hope.

Despite being a member of this country for 51 years, the recent change in the country's working conditions and the abrupt closure of our Tolerance and Economic Sense departments have made my current position untenable

The welcoming of  Lord Don't Have A Clue What to Do Next and Master Acceptable Casual Racism to the board has unfortunately compromised relations with our fellow countries. In addition, the hiring of a new CEO without consultation and full and frank discussion with both the directors or shareholders smacks worryingly of a takeover bid. 

Though obviously I wish Rupert Murdoch every success in his new role.*

I will, of course, work the required notice period of  Three Rolls of the Eyes and an I Told You So.

Yours. Very Sincerely,

A Quirky Kook


*I don't. I just need a reference.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Eton Mess, A European Union Dessert


Take two old Etonians. Remove the heart from one and the backbone of the other.

Add a handful of Farage, pre-marinated in lager and false bonhomie.

Mix together with a Murdoch controlled media

Add chopped up sound-bites

Stir up fear and loathing

Sprinkle with casual racism.

Serve accompanied by lies and broken promises.

Sorry, there's no cream. Some fat cat whipped it.

I have despaired many, MANY times since the early hours of Friday morning when the EU referendum result was declared after the roller coaster horror of the vote count throughout the night.
As the Leave results began rolling in bigger, so much bigger, than expected it was clear the Referendum had become not about Europe, or our union with it. It wasn't really about sovereignty (whatever that is), or the economy, or even the future of the NHS either.

It was all about anger, hate and fear.

Anger, hate and fear whipped up and fanned by both the Leave and the Remain camps.

It has been the dirtiest of campaigns, a schoolyard fight between public schoolboys each of them claiming his is bigger than theirs. A campaign of bluster and fluff and insincerity. And there's been tragedy too; the murder of Jo Cox will always be inextricably linked to the referendum whether it was a cause or not.

In the end it looks like for all the cock-waving, no-one has anything worth showing anyway. Less than two hours after the Leave camp won, Farage was on live TV backtracking on a 'promise' that £350 million saved by UK leaving Europe would go straight to the NHS.

And that immigration thing? Oh, they wouldn't really be able to control that either.

But there really were people who voted firmly believing a vote for the Leave campaign was a vote to close the borders and pull down the shutters to immigrants, to refugees, to Muslims and to just about anybody who isn't white English for the past five generations. If the vote achieved anything it was to make those people believe it's perfectly acceptable to be racist.

David Cameron has thrown himself on his sword (not pork) with indecent haste having steered the country out of a union with Europe as well as prompting Scotland to begin the process of conscious uncoupling with the not-so United Kingdom. "It's not us," they said, "It's you."

"It's you, not us" said the Labour party turning on Jeremy Corbyn instead of the Tories who orchestrated the entire debacle, because what you really need when the political classes are being exposed as careerists, liars, frauds, and incompetents is to get rid of the one person trying to forge a new, less grandstanding, less self-centred, kind of politics. The kind of politics which might make things a little better for real people, not Murdoch and his cardboard cut-out cronies but still, what do I know, I'm not a Labour MP.

At least, not yet.

And the 'winners'? Well, Nigel Farage gleefully went and roundly insulted the European parliament in person, Boris played cricket, and everyone else wondered what the fuck to do next.

They're still wondering.

Meanwhile, hate crime and racist attacks have gone up, we're the laughing stock of Europe, for not just our politics but also our football, and nobody is really in control of anything or likely to be for quite some time.

Well played, England, well played

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The York Cat Story

Despite living in York for several years as a student in my early 20s, it wasn't until my eldest daughter went to study at the same university I'd been to, that I discovered the story of the York Cats and the York Cat Trail.

The Cat Trail is a walk through the streets of the city centre spotting the Cats of York, the many cat sculptures hidden and not hidden at all in and on various buildings, roofs and windows.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Martin Parr, The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories at The Hepworth, Wakefield

Recently I've developed a passion for street photography taking shots of people about their everyday business and documenting the odd, the strange, the unusual or just the beautiful sights to be seen while I'm out and about. Sneakily I've been using my phone camera because well, it would just be too embarrassing to point a camera at someone in the street, wouldn't it?

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Students First? ....

"The whole point of schools is that children come first and everything we do must reflect this single goal,"  
Academy principal/ Chief Executive

That quote is taken from the Teen's Academy website. The Teen's Academy also emblazons the tagline 'Student's First' on all its literature and its website. Trouble is, it seems those students are very much the last to come first in the current educational climate.

The Teen's school is one of the largest in England and became an Academy in 2009 while the Twins were there. It was one of the first in the country to attain Academy status, and since then has expanded into a Family of Schools featuring a chain of different schools all over the country with the former headteacher, as the chief executive, in control overall.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Adventures on the North Yorkshire Moors - The Story of Beggar's Bridge, Glaisdale.

We spent some of the Easter holidays adventuring on the North Yorkshire Moors in pursuit of The Flying Scotsman, and while we were there we got to explore some of the picturesque villages dotted across the moors too.

We discovered Beggar's Bridge in Glaisdale which as well as being exceptionally pretty has, according to local legend, a thoroughly romantic history.

The story goes that during the late 16th century the poor son of a local sheep farmer called Tom Ferries fell in love with  Agnes Richardson, the daughter of one of Glaisdale's wealthy landowners who refused the pair consent to marry until Tom had made his own fortune.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

A Night Out with The Flying Scotsman

The arrival of The Flying Scotsman back on the tracks after a decade long restoration project caused much excitement at Quirky Kook Towers. 

The Boy has been fascinated with the locomotive since he first saw it during it's restoration at the National Railway Museum as a small boy and it's been a constant presence in his steam engine obsessed life ever since. We last caught up with it's progress when we visited the NRM to see it getting it's final touches before going on the rails last month.

So when we discovered The Flying Scotsman was about to end a week-long stint working on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on the same day as we set off for a half term holiday in nearby Whitby, we had to track it down.

Silent Sunday



Silent Sunday with MummyConstant
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