Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Gallery .... November

I'm joining in with The Gallery this week and the prompt is November ...

Shh, don't tell a soul but I love November. I complain about the cold, the rain, the winds and the occasional frosts loudly and often. It wouldn't really do to do otherwise. Yet, secretly, I love the crisp mornings and the sharp bite to the air as we kick our way to school through heaps of gold, russet and red leaves.

But what I love most of all about November is the skies and most particularly, the sunsets. That annoying person stopping dead in the middle of the street, road, path or pavement and aiming a camera up above everyone's heads? That'll be me, that will .... sorry about that*

This is my entry to The Gallery.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

*Not sorry at all.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Ultimate "F" Word

Tomorrow, it's my birthday ...Hurrah

My 49th birthday .... Boo

There is only one way that things can go from here and that's hurtling, at breakneck speed, to the big Five O. And fifty really is the ultimate "F" word.

I did think about writing a list of Fifty Things To Do Before Fifty but frankly I couldn't think of that many, so I've compiled a bucket list with a twist .. ten things I want to do and ten things I'll never do before I'm fifty effing years effing old. 

And I've included ten things I've done already too, just to make me feel that the last five decades haven't been a complete waste of time.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Return of The Prom ...

I thought I'd got through it. Got through it all... the spats, the surprises, the sulks, the spending and the endless shopping. Oh God, the endless shopping ....

Yet I survived it, and with no casualties (unless you count the accidental totalling of a 17 year old boy with a homemade strawberry wine punch. And my purse).

Or at least I THOUGHT I'd survived.

But like the sequel to a horror movie, The Prom is back. And this time, it's serious.

Really it is, because this Prom is the Year 13 Prom.

No, I didn't know there was such a thing either.

The TeenTwins broke the news there was a Year 13 Prom, gently, a while ago. Dropping it softly into a conversation, in passing; a vague threat that might never happen. It's not really a proper Prom, they said. Not like the OTHER Prom, they said. This Prom would be much more relaxed, they said. Informal, they said. They could even wear jeans, they said.

They said it would all be alright. Don't worry about it, they said.

And I believed them.

......Then TeenTwin2 hoved into view with a purposeful look on her face and a sheaf of dress pictures in her hand. Not jeans, dresses.. with sequins.

And every other word they've uttered for the past week has been Prom. Tickets for The Prom, the theme of The Prom, a dress for The Prom, a date for The Prom. The Prom, Prom, Prom ... And the bloody thing isn't even until MAY!

The next six months are just. Going. To. Fly. By.

Silent Sunday ...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Gallery ... A Younger Me

I'm joining in with The Gallery this week and the prompt is A Younger Me .....

A couple of weeks ago as part of the TeenTwins current tour of universities-to-apply-to, I took them to the student open day at my old college which led, inevitably, to a virulent bout of nostalgia for my own student days 30 years ago and a quick wallow through the photo album.

So for A Younger Me I present, um, me during my own college years, 1983 to 1987

1983                                                                                                                          1987       

I was supposed to be studying English Literature, but I did manage to pick up a few extra life skills..

.. Like you do

(It's all in the wrist action, in case you were wondering.)

AND I even got the degree at the end of it all too...

... which was in English Literature and not for drinking at all.* Hoorah.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

This is my entry for The Gallery, please check out everyone else's Younger Me by clicking the link above

*I would have got a First if it was in drinking *nods*

Friday, 8 November 2013

Listography - My Top 5 Life Lessons

The wonderful Kate Takes 5 has brought back to life Listography which is one of my all-time favourite linkys. Kate's new Listography entry is the top 5 lessons she has learned from life. 
These are mine ....

1. DO IT...

...Whatever it is. If you're too shy or too frightened, get over it and get on with it. Try to enjoy it. If you don't, don't do it again. Never miss an opportunity or an experience that you're afraid to miss because of fear, you will regret it.

Because then you will spend the rest of your life boring people in pubs, parks and on buses with the time you nearly went skydiving/ naked fountain dancing/ got married/ had a baby/ wrote a best-selling novel/ on Strictly Come Dancing/ became prime minister (delete as appropriate). And nobody wants to be that person.

So do it*

*Whilst abiding by all health and safety guidelines, your resident country's current legal requirements and acceptable moral conduct etc ....... (a lot more flexible than you think depending on where you are obvs *looks hard at some countries*)


... And I'm not talking Ribena, which doesn't. It's an old saying I remember my grandma, my mother and her sister deploying at pursed lips moments of resignation about one disgraced family member or another.

I believe (and hope) it to mean: If you make an error, a mistake, a bad judgement in your life, marry a salesmen or embarrass yourself in some other way, people who love you will, eventually, forgive and (almost) forget because they love you.

(Though they will be bringing it up (whatever it was) at every family gathering for the Rest Of Your Life. Obvs.)


... People are all kinds of amazing and do amazing things all the time regardless of stature, status, sense and style. Or age because kids can do pretty amazing things too, sometimes when you least expect it and often when you most need it. A quick tissue-sodden viewing of the Pride of Britain awards will show you that.

When my father-in-law had a heart attack while grouting our family bathroom, it was my then three-year-old son toddling down the stairs to say Grandpa was poorly and his arms all flopping that raised the alarm.

Me? I was stood around wondering what the distant thump had been. *Tuts at self.* Obviously I panicked leapt into life-saving action immediately.

The Boy might not have won any awards but he is mine and his (now recovered and healthy) Grandpa's pride.


In one of the first ever Psychology lectures I attended at college the tutor said one of the main things we had to remember was: "There is no such thing as a normal person."

It was, I'll admit it, a bit of a relief.

People who say they are "normal," usually while sneering that someone else is not, seem quite proud to claim that they're normal. They're not normal though, they're the norm; one of a majority, an average person, a singular part of a faceless mass with no distinguishing features, foibles, traumas or talents united together by the need not to stand out.

And if that's normal, I don't want to be :)


I don't know why it does or how it does. But it just does. Fact.

These are my Top 5 Life Lessons, Read, learn and inwardly digest (particularly the wine) for a happier, if slightly hungover, life.

This is my Listography entry, please check out everyone else's at Kate Takes 5

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Illuminating York ... A Photo Blog (Mostly)

As part of the Illuminating York Festival, the National Rail Museum held an event called Locos in a Different Light. The NRM are also currently hosting The Great Gathering where the six remaining A4 locos in the world have been brought together to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Mallard's steam record.This is what it looked like

Sir Nigel Gresley, Locos in a Different Light

Locos in a Different Light, York

Locos in a Different Light, York
Locos in a Different Light, York

Locos in a Different Light, York

Locos in a Different Light, York

Locos in a Different Light, York

Locos in a Different Light, York

Locos in a Different Light, York

Locos in a Different Light, York

... and it was the oddest, most impressive disco in the world complete with a playlist of train noises, at volume. There were far too many middle aged men with extendable tripods to be entirely comfortable, though I refrained from hitting anyone with an excitable seven year old *restrained face*

And this is what two seventeen year olds and a twelve year old look like after a couple of hours of cleverly lit up trains....

Locos in a Different Light, York

 ...Just in case you were wondering.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Past, Future. Tense.

The first half term of the TeenTwins' new school year has been all about making decisions about what happens next and for the girls that means university (we hope) so they've been kept busy choosing subjects and courses, writing personal statements and filling in their UCAS forms.

I, meanwhile, have stood on the sidelines simultaneously cheering them on while dreading the day of their departure and offering (mostly ignored) advice from my own experience. It's an awkward position to be in because as a parent you want the best for your child and it's hard to believe that that best is sending them off to what I remember as several years of drinking myself silly interspersed with awful moments of sobering clarity, usually in the midst of an exam.

Nevertheless I did emerge at the end of my frolic through the higher echelons of education with a degree, even if it was in English Literature, and the ability to drink an entire rugby squad under the table; a talent that held me in good stead for my subsequent career in newspapers.

I had, also, some of the best, funnest and funniest times as a student and made some awesome friends .... many who can still be reduced to paroxysms of glee by the mere mention of a Water Buffalo *sighs nostalgically*.....who are still awesome and still friends.

So while I fear the TeenTwins' departure and tear up at the mere mention of UCAS forms (though that's mostly at having to pay a £23 fee per twin), I am excited for them, and envy them too.

As part of the application process they've been visiting universities they're interested in and this week it was student open day at York St John University. My alma mater back in the days when, a scion of Leeds University, it was known as the College of Ripon and York St John and where I started student life an actual, whole 30 years ago.

The TeenTwins, in a blatantly obvious sucking-up move, booked to attend the student open day and graciously allowed me to accompany them on their exploration of my once-upon-a-time world.

And while over the past 30 years, the college has changed, expanded and modernised, it still had enough recognisable parts to give me an instant sense of coming home.

What was entirely unexpected was that TeenTwin1 would feel the same. because she loved it. Really.


Despite my running commentary about what had and hadn't changed over the last three decades, my ooh's, my aah's, my oh's, my no's and my what's, where, why's.

Despite my inconsolability that you can no longer live in a room above the Quad and my frank astonishment that English Literature is no longer taught under the shadow of the Minster in Gray's Court.

Oh, and the excited squealing. Despite all that, she still loved it.

TeenTwin2. Not so, but then her choice of university is based entirely on how fascinating she finds the local accent. If she didn't want to study English Language, I'd be worried ...

But I'm not going to be influencing their choice of universities. No, not me. *shakes head* That decision must be entirely their own *nods*

Though obviously I'd really like it if one of them chose to go to York St John's,

*Crosses fingers*'s YEARS since I've been to an Archies Day in the Student Union.

Mothers are invited? Right?


1987 in the Quad and an interview suit in which to face the big wide world


  Different clothes. Same old...

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