Thursday, 24 November 2016

Parenting A Teenager, The Survival Guide.

It's an experience, parenting a teenager.

The kind of experience they try to sell at Halloween with a hefty price tag that involves screaming, shrieking, and a lot of horror.  But unlike Halloween, it goes on ...and on.... and on.... for years.

As a parent you should prepare yourself the very best you can to survive your little darling's most 'challenging' years, and I don't just mean by bracing yourself and hoping for the best. When I say prepare, I mean prepare. Like Ironman.

Develop a hard outer shell, a carapace to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous accusations that will now form part of your daily familial interaction.

'Everyone else has got one'....POW. 'Everyone else is going'....'BOOM. 'You don't understand me'.....KAPOW

And while you're at it, get an extra covering over your heart to harden it for when your teen attempts to manipulate you with kindness and love. Because they will.

They most definitely will.

And they won't mean it.

Be warned, anything starting with an elongated sound (for example 'Muuuuuuum' or 'Daaaaaaad') indicates an attempt at emotional manipulation which will in no doubt either a) cost you money or b) end in trying to locate one's drunk offspring mooching along an A road in three layers of mud at 5am on a Sunday morning.

Exercise the art of selective deafness: There are battles to fight, but they should be chosen wisely. Starting a war for every under-the-breath-utterance muttered stomping up the stairs will deplete your resources and generally result in an undignified fracas based on an eye roll from three days ago.

Because you need to be strong, or at least parts of you do.

A strong stomach is required to brave a teen bedroom; smeared plates festering under the bed, lifeforms evolving in mouldering cups of cold tea, and socks. 

Oh lord, the socks.

Though stronger still should be your bladder, for the bathroom becomes nothing more than an occasionally accessed lush oasis; full of steam, glitter, tidemarks, odd stains. and damp towels splayed across the floor as traps for the unwary, in-a-hurry, desperately leg-twisting, parent.

Bladders aren't the only thing to control, olfactory senses should be shut down for the duration of teenagerhood, because the socks ... oh Lord, the socks..... are not the worst of it.

Any synthetic smell in an aerosol that can be sprayed willy nilly and too much, will be sprayed willy nilly and too much, Investing in a World War II gas mask would be just the thing, if only the over perfumed teen didn't consider it to be taking the piss which would never do

Teens are not famed for their sense of humour which is ironic considering some of the stuff they choose to wear or the time of the year they choose to wear it. A blisteringly hot summer day and they'll be bundled up in a hoody, thick black tights and boots but when it's six foot deep with snow, they'll quite happily leave the house in a t-shirt.

If you wear glasses? Stop wearing them. If you don't need them? Invest in a pair, ones that make your vision super blurry. Maybe add rose-tinted lenses. At least then you can look your Teen in the face without blurting out: 'What have you done to your face/ hair/ eyebrows' in abject horror every time they enter the room.

It's alright though, teens won't be communicating with you in actual, understandable words much anymore. Instead they utilise a range of grunts, sighs, and abbreviations with occasional flurries of a teen patois most of which you'll need to employ the Urban Dictionary to understand.

Develop a poker face.

Always wear your poker face.

And if all else fails, don't despair. Invest in a wind turbine to harness the power of the teenager's sighs and save a small fortune which you can then use to keep your teen in eyeliners, video games, energy drinks and McDonalds.

Teen communicates with world.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Days Out in Yorkshire with Yorkshire Water: Haworth Moor


The Bronte sisters and I have been longtime companions, my favourite book is Wuthering Heights and has been since I first read it aged 16 over 35 years ago. My degree thesis at uni was titled "Gender Roles in the Novels of the Bronte Sisters," and my eldest daughter boasts two of their names as her own. Not a third though because that might be considered overkill.
So when Yorkshire Water invited us to explore some of the 72,000 acres of land the company owns across Yorkshire as part of the new Enjoying the Land campaign, it seemed entirely appropriate to take up their challenge by walking the same paths that the Brontes walked across Haworth Moor.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Parenting Firsts: The Ones They Don't Warn You About.

The first few years of a child's life are marked in a series of milestone firsts ... the first tooth, first word, first steps, first day at school. But parenting firsts don't stop there, as your child grows into a teenager and, lo, in adulthood there will be many more firsts.

Those firsts they don't warn you about in the parenting manuals....

Monday, 12 September 2016

Days Out in Yorkshire: Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales.


Thousands of visitors have trodden the country paths linking Bolton Abbey station with Bolton Abbey itself since the railway first reached Wharfdale in 1888, and it seems an awful lot of sheep have been using them too. And not in a good way.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Days Out in Yorkshire: Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.


Regular readers will know that a couple of members of the Quirky Kook family are huge fans of heritage steam railways and consequently days out are mostly geared around or towards sating their desire to hear whistles toot, wheels clack and the chuff, chuff, chuff of the engine. 

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 ...

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.

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.

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.

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