Saturday, 29 June 2013

Crawling, The Pub Version.

Once upon a time, I was a feature writer on the local newspaper where I grew up and still live. This week my old newspaper published a feature on the city's infamous Westgate Run pub crawl. Which was nice.

But back in my day we just didn't write about it. We went out, did it AND claimed the expenses *nostalgic sigh* 

Reprinted in full from 1995: The Westgate Run and apologies to any blog reader who doesn't live in Wakefield *bows* ... 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Happy Blog Birthday To Me ...

Champagne and gin for all! Today, this day, is The Quirky Kook's second blog birthday. Hurrah!

And, like any other two year old, it's a bit messy, unpredictable, prone to tantrums and badly in need of a sponge down with a damp cloth (or perhaps that's just the laptop screen). *Tuts* Nevertheless one cannot let a two year milestone pass without reflecting on what might have been ...

Basically I might never have discovered Twitter.

*Appalled face*

But I did discover Twitter and with it, on it and through it blogs, bloggers and blogging. And yes, I know I was late to the party but for that I blame my incoherent snobbishness with words. I mean "blog" ? .. *rolls eyes* What kind of word is that?

Nevertheless word rage aside, I discovered that people (I prefer not to think of them as bloggers for obvious reasons) wrote about anything and everything they chose to. Sometimes beautifully, sometimes not. Sometimes with rib-cracking humour. Sometimes with gut-wrenching, tear pricking honesty. 

I've been a newspaper, magazine and web journalist, writer, copywriter and general pen dogsbody for nigh on 30 years. But writing for pleasure? Without any financial inducement? *quizzical look*

What a bloody weird idea.

But, wait, I can write about what I want to write about... ooooh. *wide eyed look*

Enthralled with this whole new world I blogged my first ever blog.

And then I couldn't stop blogging.

Over the past two years,  I've learnt there's a whole lot more to blogging than I ever expected. Apart from popular blogging communities like BritmumsMumsnetNetmums and Tots100, there's a genuine camaraderie between bloggers who bind together like the ingredients of a cake when one of their own needs their help or simply a hug. It is an inspiring community of people (men and women) that I hope I'm a small part of.

I've also learnt that Spam is not simply a canned meat made infamous by Monty Python and that I'm unwilling to sell my soul (even if it is for fifty quid) to give a certain supermarket any kind of endorsement. Which was unexpected frankly, I AM a trained journalist after all and, of course, every little helps.

So here we are, two years later. I can almost tell people I'm a blogger with a blog that I'm blogging on without cringing.

But not often.... Damn that word.

*Raises glass*

*Slides off chair*

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Gallery .... Green

I'm joining in with The Gallery and this week the theme is 'Green'...

Green, if you were interested in colour psychology, is said to be the colour of calm, tranquility and balance. The colour of nature and growth.

And frankly one has to roll one's eyes at colour psychology and say: 'Well, obviously. *Tuts*

This is my entry for The Gallery, please check out everyone else's entries here

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

In Praise of Parks

"A park is" says that font of all knowledge (apocryphal or otherwise) Wikipedia, "an area of open space provided for recreational use."

Roundhay Park is one of the biggest city parks in Europe with over 700 acres of open space, lakes, woodlands and gardens. It's recreational uses are many and varied, from concert venue to fairground to sports arena to pursuits it's best not to mention*

The Man grew up near the park so if we find ourselves on the north east edge of his home town of Leeds with time to spare we invariably find ourselves there. Today due to a confusion of dates, times, dentists and appointments combined with the highly dubious practice of clinging on to the family dentist regardless of location *rolls eyes* was just such a day

A major attraction for children in a park is of course a playground. This one (above) sits at the top of the hill from a car park and we were still unbuckling our seatbelts while the children were belting up the hill to get there ..

The Tween reached the playground and instantly, utterly and totally regressed. Her shrieks were of joy and not of the door-slamming, foot-stomping variety that we have become so unwillingly used to in recent months.

She even forgot her current incarnation of lip-curling, huffing-puffing pre-teen-with-a-grudge-against-the-world long enough for her to remember that she can climb a tree

Spot The Tween. 
But children can't be enjoying themselves ALL the time, not when they were supposed to be at the dentist. After twenty minutes of shrieking, happy or not, it was time to get on so we walked back to the car the long way. The long, long way.

 And we saw ...

 .. some ducks. A swan...

And a squirrel. Cue more shrieking and one probably deaf squirrel..

Yeah, I'm sorry about that *cough* but you know SQUIRREL!

We also found what looked like a bandstand

..with an odd seating arrangement. For the band who doesn't like being watched obviously.

Then we crossed over the road to the formal gardens, the long, long, LONG way back to the car.

And we saw some more ducks** building a nest. Which was nice, even if we were slightly puzzled by what they were building it in. Er...

And then it was time to go home

Though not everyone was happy about it

And now we're going to get our dental appointments wrong EVERY SINGLE TIME.

*Happy (if slightly stained) smile*

** Unidentified aquatic birds.

Monday, 24 June 2013


The Boy has always been a weapon of gardening destruction. A fully made up member of the 'Trampling A Flowerbed In Search Of Ball/ Bee/ Imagined Star Wars Character (delete as most believable at the time) Club.'

He's heard of flowers, it's just that they have no relevance to his life.

But thanks to BritMums and we were sent a beginner's gardening set for The Boy to try to unlock his inner Monty Don and, whether it be having his very own watering can or a matching trowel and fork which all cleverly colour co-ordinate with his wellies (How did they know?) ....

But suddenly the garden is all about HIS flowers *tuts*

I fear my garden is no longer my own ...

Except for when I sneak another Star Wars into the DVD player.

This post is an entry for the BritMums and MoneySupermarket.Com #KidsGrowWild Challenge

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Minor Skirmishes in the Wars of Independence

I'm trying to work out when the 17 year old TeenTwin's:  "Moomar, CAN WE... go to a festival/ get a piercing/ go on a sleepover" (delete as appropriate)  turned into: "Moomar, WE ARE ... going to a festival, getting a piercing and going on a sleepover." etc ...

Maybe there WAS a day, now lost in the hazy mists of wine, when I encouraged the TeenTwins to grab their own destiny. To announce their intentions, rather than to ask the world for permission, but I suspect I should have added: "Except me" After all, I'm their Moom....  Mum ... they should always ask me, and not tell, if they want to go somewhere or do something, right?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Down The Garden Path ....2

Since the last trip Down The Garden Path two weeks ago, the apple tree has lost it's pretty blossom. Boo. 

But started growing apples. Hurrah.

And hurrah indeed because The Boy has an apple habit that is frankly financially draining .. though come apple harvest time he'll probably have given up eating them altogether. *Sigh*

With Wimbledon just a few days away, we SHOULD be stuffing ourselves silly with the fruits of the strawberry patch, but we're STILL waiting for the strawberries to ripen... far, only one lone brave strawberry has made an effort *tuts*

*Taps foot impatiently*

At least the redcurrants are ripening...

Though not the blackcurrants

Or what I think are the blackcurrants, because they too remain stubbornly green.

...just like the raspberries.

At least the peas are making a proper effort

Well done, those peas.

The sweetcorn too is thriving.

Now all I have to do is to convince the family to eat the damn stuff when it grows

Meanwhile The Boy and The Tween are hard at work on the early stages of a Worm Hotel

(patent pending).

And  the bees are just hard at work being bees


*hides in shed*


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two ....

The theatrical TeenTwin2 is appearing in her school's production of "Oliver" in a couple of weeks time and, of course, the rest of the family want to go and cheer her on. Not literally obviously, I believe that is frowned on in The Theatre.

And the production IS in a proper theatre. Not for The Academy a school hall or gym (of which they have plenty), but in the city's own theatre, a listed heritage building designed by Frank Matcham and built in 1894. It is a lovely theatre, it must be said, and staging the production there WILL add to the excitement, the glamour and the thrill of performing for every member of the cast.

Less thrilling is the ticket price the assembled parents of the cast have to pay to see their budding thespians walk the theatre stage.

Now, I don't know who is responsible for the ticket pricing structure, the school or the theatre or a combination of them both and decided after a meeting in a den. But I do know that there is someone, somewhere who deserves to be centre-stage singing: "You've got to pick a pocket or two...." And it isn't a 17 year old Fagin.

Last night I paid £80, give or take a couple of pence, for six tickets, four of which were at concessionary prices. I bought them on-line which was a good job because I was huffing, puffing and using highly theatrical language of my own while filling in the card details and that might not have gone down too well in the box office. 

Shall I say that again? Eighty. English. Pounds. EIGHTY effing QUID. For a school production; our sole interest in which is watching TeenTwin2 play a strumpet and to be honest, I can watch her do that at home for free. *Rolls eyes*

There are, in the interests of fairness, cheaper tickets available. For example if one was happy with a bench and an oxygen mask, you could sit in the Gods for £8 but I suffer from vertigo and the expensive peculiarity of wanting to see the stage.

The theatre has 499 seats and not all, I'll wager, get filled on a regular basis for touring productions, but the school production features if not a cast of thousands, a fair number of schoolchildren all with parents, siblings and grandparents eager to watch their young ones and the tickets are (if the online seat booking site is to be believed) selling like hot cakes. Very expensive hotcakes, with jam on.

I feel co-erced into paying what I consider to be unrealistic ticket prices for a school production but I have paid it, though certainly not gladly. I suspect there will be other parents who won't be able to do the same having been simply priced out of enjoying their child's theatrical debut. 

That makes me sad, but frankly not as sad as paying EIGHTY effing QUID ....

And breathe .....

 Who will buy our tickets .....the cast of Oliver promoting the show in our local shopping centre.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Gallery .... Two

I'm joining in with The Gallery and this week the theme is Two ....

I was the mother of one for a whole 16 minutes before I became the mother of two.

Twins means thinking in twos. All. The. Time.

You need two of everything including two pairs of hands and a second set of eyes in your head. Twins mean answering the same questions two different ways at two different times. Twins mean repeating everything twice and listening in stereo. Twins mean doing something for one and doing it straight after for the second without thinking twice. Twins mean having two of everything. Doing two of everything. And buying two of everything.

These are my twins. My Two. Two hundred per cent worth it.

Please check out everyone else's entries to The Gallery at Sticky Fingers

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