Thursday, 14 February 2019

I'd Do Anything for Love, But I Won't Put Up With That ....

People go to absurd lengths to prove their love for one another, none more absurd than shackling themselves to each other until death (or divorce) parts them. Nevertheless today there'll be engagements forged in the heated rosy glow of heart-shaped helium balloons, glittered bunting and all that passes for romance these days under the marketing auspices of St Valentine.

But before the newly betrothed embark on the exhausting and excruciatingly expensive path to the altar (or register office/ beach/ mountain/ canoe etc), I would advise the most important consideration is not what you might do for love, but what you won't.

It's all well and good making besotted promises to love and honour, but if three months later you're both in counselling because the toilet seat is never down, the toothpaste cap never on, and the butter is more out of the fridge than in, you've really only got yourselves to blame.

A marriage is mostly compromise, a sustained battle of taking turns to give in, and an exercise in tolerance. Loving someone is easy. Living with someone, all the time and forever? Not so much.

It's 14 years too late to re-write our wedding vows but IF I were going to do it all again (and never say never), I wouldn't be making promises, more a list of terms and conditions ....

'I (me) take thee (he) to be my wedded other half. To have and to hold from this day forward until you've left the butter out of the fridge for the 497th day in a row,* ripped open 767 cereal packets upside down, and complained about the way I cook eggs, again. Or made tea with off -the-boil water. Or not put the lid back on properly.  For better or far worse, when I have to spend hours listening to you noodling away on the guitar.  For bitching, for pretending I haven't heard the same story 632 times before. In sickness, in health and in hangover,. To love and to sometimes curse you without really meaning it. Till death (or Dave Grohl ) do us part, and thereto I pledge thee my occasional, inexplicable wrath.'

Mr and Mrs love wedding marriage

*Leaving the butter out of the fridge is the top reason why people file for divorce for unreasonable behaviour. Probably**

**Not actual fact.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Gin with Everything, the Unexpected Backlash ... .

I like gin as much as the next person, particularly if that next person is Dorothy Parker, but there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough,

Gin has been much my favourite spirit since the seventies when it was liberated from the parents' G-Plan drinks cabinet to be drunk with neat orange squash. I've toyed with other spirits, got into quite a deep relationship with vodka in the eighties, and in recent years flirted, unsuccessfully, with brandy and whisky, but gin has always been there for me.

Yes, I have a gin themed glass.
Imagine then my enthusiasm when gin suddenly became on trend, it was just like when everyone suddenly realised Tom Jones was cool. Something I've believed fervently since 'Delilah' was in the charts (I was four, but precocious).

At first, the resurgence of gin as fashionable had much to recommend it. Cocktails became almost acceptable again and who can complain about that. Though I do miss the little paper umbrellas, I mean who NEEDS half a cucumber and a piece of twig in their drink? Still, fashion.

Pubs started re-branding as gin palaces which, on the face of it, seemed like a fine idea but in reality was, um,  disappointing. Where you might be expecting Hogarthian levels of gin debauchery and a couple of  wenches touting flagons around, the modern day gin palaces turned out to be just like the pub they used to be but with extra gin, improbably flavoured gin, glasses as big as your head, and a gin menu as elaborately up itself as possible. I drew the line at visiting gin-themed pubs (for want of a better phrase) when I went to one and it was showing rugby league on several huge screen TVs. Really? *Tuts*

And I've discovered some gins I like. My own gin recommendations are, I imagine, relatively restrained for the modern gin drinker but mostly because I like my gin to taste like, well, gin. Also I'm from Yorkshire and no way on this earth am I paying over 30 quid for a gin with extra added rhubarb when Aldi do a perfectly drinkable gin that tastes like gin for a tenner, we have more rhubarb than we know what to do with on the allotment and also, I don't like rhubarb.

Other than that I like Tanqueray, Bombay London Dry Gin, Plymouth gin and, unexpectedly, Mason's Tea Edition Dry Yorkshire Gin because tea is the second best drink in the world and together, well. But honestly if it's gin, I'll generally drink it, even if it has been flavoured with rhubarb, because gin is a good drink.

What gin is not is a lifestyle. It's not cheesecake, a truffle, a cake, an ice-cream, a lip balm, a perfume, a bath bomb, a shampoo, a box of chocolates, a room spray, a candle, inspirational or aspirational wall art, or a t-shirt slogan.

Yet these days you can't move for optimistically called 'gin related gifts for the gin lover in your life' and I'm here to tell you if you do have a gin lover in your life she, or he, is more likely to thank you for  a bottle of gin than they are for any number of candles that smell like gin. True fact.

Gin has become the unicorn and llama of the drinking classes and I, for one, have had enough. The backlash starts here, I don't need a gin themed glass to drink in a gin scented bath breathing in a gin scented candle.

I just need a gin. In a tall glass with tonic and a slice or lime, no ice. Thank you very much.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Hello 2019 ...

... And hello to you too. I've had quite a (very) lengthy break from blogging while real life got in the way but I'm back. Hurrah.

So, to recap, I am, and always have been, a writer and journalist. I'm also a mother of four and large parts of this blog over the years have been dedicated to the trials and tribulations of that particular role in life.

These days though, the twins, erstwhile stars of  The Prom Diaries, are 23 and forging their own successful careers having both graduated from university. Twin 1 even had the audacity to get an MA as well.

Daughter3 is within months of sitting her A levels, and The Boy is no longer small. Tonight we filled in the form selecting the GCSEs he will start studying for in September. In April, he will be thirteen years old.

So in future, I might not be writing about parenting.* Been there, done that. Some of it more than once, but should that stop me blogging? I thought it might but, hell no. I've stuff to say, even if it is into a void....

Meanwhile I've made a calendar for how 2019 feels. You're welcome ......

Calendar 2019

*I might

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Why I'm Voting Labour

Well, why would I not vote for this Labour party?

According to the Labour manifesto, the majority of Labour's policies are policies that I believe in. Their election promises, ones that I want to be kept. I want a political party that works 'For the Many, Not the Few.'

I want to see an end to Tory austerity; to the selling off of the NHS, to the shutting down of local services, the erosion of worker's rights, and what amounts to little more than the persecution of the sick, the poor and the needy in our society.

I don't want 80 ill people dying each week because they've been declared fit for work. I don't want our nurses having to feed their families from food banks. I don't want fracking, and I don't want fox hunting. Then again who would? 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Review: JW Anderson Curates Disobedient Bodies at The Hepworth, Wakefield.

Disobedient Bodies exhibition The Hepworth Wakefield
An iconic 1980's Jean Paul Gaultier cone dress with, in the background, Henry Moore's Reclining Figure (1936) 

It's taken a while for me to get to The Hepworth's latest exhibition, a collaboration with fashion designer Jonathan Anderson that has been running since March, but finally last week the planets aligned just long enough to give me a free afternoon so I went and spent it looking at 'Disobedient Bodies.'

Monday, 6 February 2017

Love Where You Live: Wakefield, A Walk to the City Centre via Instagram

If you love Instagram, and who doesn't, you tend to take a lot of what you hope to be Instagram worthy shots going about your everyday life. Or at least I do, I also take photos of things I would never have considered taking before I discovered Instagram. Hence I have over years managed to amass enough random shots that I can virtually recreate the walk from home to the centre of Wakefield, via the medium of Instagram. And not just down the one route, but down both roads that run parallel with each other and lead to the city centre from home.

Obviously, it would be extraordinarily remiss of me not to share such a journey particularly as it's taken a good three days just to find the photos on my hard drive and so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you my walk into Wakefield, you can hover over photos for a description

All photographs were taken on different times, different days, different seasons, different years, in different weathers, from different directions, and with different angles.

Do not use as a map.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Hepworth Sculpture Prize, A Child's Eye View


The Hepworth, Wakefield, is just a hop, skip, and a ride on the free city bus away from home and it is, and has been since it opened, The Boy and I's go to place if we're at a loose end and want to spend some time together.

The gallery is currently running the first Hepworth Prize for Sculpture, the exhibition is the biggest and most ambitious that  has been mounted in it's five year history and is part of The Hepworth's anniversary celebrations,

Monday, 23 January 2017

Tattoo You: Once More, With Feeling

A couple of years ago my now 21 year old twin daughters got their first tattoos, of the recently deceased family cat (you can read about that here) as it happens.

They were, are, nice tattoos, despite breaking Rule 5 of the Tattoo Rules I drew up when they decided to get them done .....

The Tattoo Rules

Rule 1: No tattoos anywhere that can be seen by other people in everyday, normal life.
Rule 2: No tattoos behind the ears, top of the neck, inner wrist , ring finger, or foot.

Rule 3: No names.

Rule 4: In fact no words at all because spelling.. grammar... bad handwriting. ... SO many things that can go wrong.

Rule 5: No all black tattoos.

Rule 6: Nothing designed by a friend.
Rule 6: Think very, very carefully about what you are choosing to have tattooed into your epidermis for the rest of your life. 

But one tattoo is never enough, apparently. Daughter 1 recently took herself to be inked for a third time and managed to break at least four of the rules all in one go.

Once More, With Feeling Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tattoo

This tattoo can be seen, it's on her ankle, it's black, it's words, and it's in handwriting.

I can't be too dismayed though, because having asked me to write the words down, she took them away and came back with my handwriting forever tattooed in her skin. I think I love it almost as much as I love her.....

....Even if it the words are taken from a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode and not the collected works of Shakespeare. *Sighs*

Maybe next time.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

My Favourite Photos of 2016

My annual photographs seem to come up with much the same subject matter year after year. There'll be shots of the family, but they get increasingly less and less as the children grow older and don't so much pose anymore as run away screaming.

There's usually photos of Whitby, and photos of steam engines, and photos of steam engines in Whitby. There is, very probably, photos of sheep, for no other reason than on days out in the Yorkshire countryside, the least unwelcoming being you'll meet is probably a sheep.*

Nevertheless do not be deterred, here are my favourite photographs of 2016...

Whitby Abbey picture postcard

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