Tuesday, 24 November 2015

30 Things I've Learned Since I Was 50 ...

It's nearly a whole year since I was dragged kicking, screaming and drinking gin into my fifth decade but after the initial, frankly terrifying, trauma of getting there, being 50 hasn't been the long dark tea-time of the soul that I was expecting.

True, I might as well dance through the precinct every Wednesday afternoon in nought but tassels and a tutu for I have become one of the invisible women. That age group of women whose opinion and ideas excite no-one and mean nothing except, perhaps, to supermarket retailers. Still, could be worse I suppose. I could be Angela Merkel. Or Kris Jenner.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Street Photography

I'm always fond of a good Instagram hashtag and one of my favourites is #streetphotography, though the definition of what constitutes street photography can be confusing. Especially to some of the 'young ladies' who post on the Instagram hashtag apparently. 

So if street photography isn't just photos of streets (though it can be) or naked ladies (which it is some of the time on Instagram *rolls eyes*); what is it?

Street photography is capturing a scene as you go about the, preferably but not necessarily, urban world around you. It's not reportage (there's no story or meaning to it), it's not documentary (for much the same reasons). It's not landscape, it's not a portrait, it's just a scene that catches the eye .....

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Dictionary of Teen: - On Fleek

There are many baffling moments in the parenting of teens without them developing entire new words to baffle you with as well, but they do it all the same. This is another in an occasional series of  The Dictionary of Teen ... 

On Fleek: 

Meaning the same as on point but used particularly in reference to successfully groomed eyebrows and evenly applied eyeliner...

Friday, 6 November 2015

Why Whitby?

Why do you always go to Whitby, they ask. Well, my mother asks. Every single time we go. And we go a lot. We went  again at half term, as it happens.

I first went, for the day, when I was 18 years old with a friend as a celebration after we'd finished our A level exams many, many years ago. While there we did all the Whitby things: bought lucky ducks, went up the 199 steps to the Abbey, and visited the Romany fortune teller in the harbour.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

For National Poetry Day... A Poem

A Poem

I can't be doing with people
Who want to bugger about.
I can't be doing with people
Who feel the need to shout.
I can't be doing with people
Who are pointlessly rude
And I can't be doing with people
Who are ugly in the nude.

National Poetry Day logo

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Rebel, Rebel ..

A school should be an establishment of learning, not of correction. A place to inspire and lead, not cudgel and cow but someone, somewhere seems to be forgetting that.

I've ranted about the Teen's Academy's newly designed uniform skirts before. Skirts that have been designed and introduced purely in an attempt to stop girls from rolling their skirts up to shorten them.
Shall I just repeat that: They've taken special measures to make sure that the girls wear uniform skirts that aren't either 'ill-fitting or too short' (ill fitting meaning too tight obviously), just in case girls expose too much thigh.

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Cat That Wasn't Our Cat...

Murphy Cat
Our cat Murphy 1995 -2015 

In January this year, Murphy the family cat passed away. He was 20 years old and I'd lived with him longer than both husband and children. He was family and when he died we mourned him as a family member, lost and irreplaceable. The TeenTwins commemorated Murphy's life with black cat tattoos and for months afterward every so often I would think I'd caught a glimpse of padding across the floor out of the corner of my eye.

And then one day, five months later, I didn't just see him in the corner of my eye. He was there, as calm as you like and solidly real, on the kitchen step, sat, expectant.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Poppies: Wave at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park Poppies The Wave

Unfortunately I didn't get to London to see the sensational Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red by artist Paul Cummins last year. The installation, designed to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, flooded the Tower of London's moat with bright red ceramic poppies,one for each of the 888,246 British and colonial lives lost in the war.

Silent Sunday


Sunday, 27 September 2015

What To Expect From Your Student's First Term at University ...

So you've finally packed your 18 year old bundle of joy off for their first year at university and maybe it feels like the final step on what has been a hard road so far...

First of all your child had to choose a university to apply to and spent literally minutes completely ignoring glossy prospectuses. And there were visits to arrange to universities, chosen purely on the length of the student union bar and whether the accommodation had an en-suite. And going to university open days: hours and hours of schlepping around campus after campus when you'd much rather be checking out the local shopping centre. Purely for research purposes, obviously.

And then there were the exams and all that accompany them: the nerves, the worry, the sleepless nights, tears and heavy drinking.

Silent Sunday

Emley Moor Mast


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Five Lies Teenagers Tell Every Day.

Teenagers lie.

A lot.

At least according to this article in the Daily Fail they do. Around 60%, the article claims, of 13 to 17 year olds tell up to five lies a day.

The article goes on to say that scientists have discovered that teenagers are, in fact, the very best liars around ...


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

School versus Skirt..

Schools go to extraordinary lengths to enforce uniform policies. In the news only this week a pupil was sent home for having trousers the wrong shade of black  while in Ireland, Breda Academy's strict new uniform policy has caused such uproar among parents, 250 of them joined a Facebook protest page within hours.

The Teen's school adopted an equally strict uniform policy when it changed to an Academy several years ago but still, it appears, it's not been strict enough because this year the uniform (for girls at least) was changed yet again.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Play and Learn; Slimy Factory. Science4you Review

When The Boy walks out of the school door on the last day of summer term, he resolves to do nothing educational at all during the summer holidays if he can absolutely avoid it. It's not that he dislikes learning, but he's nine years old and summer means playing, not learning.

Or so he thought.

Slimy Factory Science4youThis summer we were lucky enough to be asked to review the Slimy Factory from Science4you, the toy company that combines fun with learning in a range of scientific and educational toys.

The Slimy Factory kit, designed for children in Key Stage 2, is aimed at developing new skills and abilities as well as encouraging experimentation. For The Boy though, first and foremost, it was fun.

The Science4you Slimy Factory creates all kinds of ooze and slime, monsters, medusa and worms as well as silly, sticky balls.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Save a Little, Save a Lot...

When Yorkshire Water carried out a survey of 11,000 of their customers and discovered that 98% of them were keen on saving water and 96.5% were actively making efforts to save water, they decided to give everyone in god's own county a helping hand.

So as part of their ongoing commitment to water conservation, Yorkshire Water have launched the Save a Little, Save a Lot campaign focusing on simple water saving tips that can be fitted into everyday life, AND they're giving away free Water Saving Packs so every Yorkshire household can do their bit to help the environment. Not only that, for every Water Saving Pack ordered, Yorkshire Water is donating 10p to WaterAid to make the world a better place too.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

For Yorkshire Day ...

For those of us lucky enough to live in God's own county, every day is Yorkshire Day. We only celebrate in public once a year (on August 1st) because we don't like to brag. Well, not too much.

Yorkshire has much to recommend it: You're never too far from a decent pint or a half decent poet; Our puddings, pies and property prices are better than yours; It's the birthplace of legends (see Sean Bean and Brian Blessed), and it's not Lancashire. Hurrah.

But most of all Yorkshire has all the best scenery ....

Monday, 13 July 2015

And Then I Saw Craig Charles ...

Having recently lost my Comic Con virginity in a quest to meet Red Dwarf's second technician Rimmer and series III mechanoid Kryten, when I heard Craig Charles aka Lister was going to be at Wakefield's Unity Works with his Funk & Soul Review nothing, but nothing, was going to keep me away...

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

I Met Chris Barrie!

I am not a person who frequents Comic Cons as a rule and, if it wasn't for Daughter,1 geek extraordinaire, I wouldn't even know what a Comic Con was to be honest.

It is, if you are unsure, a convention where like-minded people gather together to explore their own peculiar fascinations in all that is, well, unconventional. There is much dressing up, geekery and nerdishness and even more science fiction, fantasy, super, and not so super, heroes.

I wouldn't, usually, be seen dead at a real-live comic con, but Wakefield's first ever such event held the tantalising possibility of mingling with one of my own heroes, the extraordinarily talented actor and impressionist Chris Barrie.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Gallery ... Buildings

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

By lucky hap not many weeks ago I visited London where there is lots and lots and lots of buildings.

There's The Shard, famously Western Europe's tallest building, though just a short walk away is the  reconstruction of Shakespeare's, arguably more famous and inspiring, Globe Theatre.

The Shard London

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Gallery ... Macro

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

I adore macro shots, it's one of the major requirements I look for when I buy a new camera. I particularly like taking macro shots in the garden where you can capture the floral glory without also getting a shot of the encroaching mass of weeds that make up most of the garden. It is a mere detail that I would have plenty of time to tame the weeds, if only I wasn't so busy taking photos *sigh*...


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Oh Lord. A Mother's Song ..Janis Joplin Reworked

(To be sung to the tune of  Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin ... with apologies to Janis.)

Oh lord, won't you find me a less troublesome teen
My friends all have teens that seem much more serene
Worked hard all my lifetime to give her her dreams
Oh lord, won't you find me a less troublesome teen.

Silent Sunday ...

St Paul's Cathedral


Friday, 22 May 2015

Adventures Underground with Alice ...

Alice's-Adventures-Underground-Les-Enfants-TerriblesThis week, First Born Child and I ventured out of Yorkshire in search of Wonderland and we found it, bizarrely enough, in Waterloo Station.

Or, more precisely, in the vaults beneath Waterloo Station where the cast and crew of  Les Enfants Terribles are currently orchestrating adventures through Alice's Wonderland in honour of the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland's publication

For 90 minutes, Child, aged 19, and I, a mere 50, were immersed in Lewis Carroll's nonsensical Wonderland world. Both of us felt six years old for the entire time we were there.

The aching feet and grumpy tiredness of a whole day of travelling and sightseeing was dispelled as we hurtled down the rabbit hole, explored shrouded turning corridors or tiptoed up twisting stairs and thumped back down them again. We burst into rooms and hurried out of rooms and scurried into rooms like children playing games.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Bluebells and Other Bells ...


I set out to take photographs of the bluebells in the local churchyard this week and completely accidentally pissed off the bell ringer at the same time ... 

Man, appearing as if from nowhere: Did you hear the bells?

Me, sat in a patch of bluebells with a camera: Bells?

Man, with annoyance: The bells! The bells!

Me, looking surreptitiously at Man's back for a hump because, well, Disney: 'Bells?

Man, with exasperation: The BELLS!... I've been ringing them for the last two hours.

Me: Ah, no sorry. I've not been here very long.

Man: TWO HOURS OF .....   He then gave an extremely lengthy, time-consuming, complicated list of exotic sounding bell ringing terms, complete with accompanying actions.

At least, I hope they were bell-ringing terms.

Me, apologetically, politely, if not entirely sincerely: Oh, I am sorry I missed that.

Man, suddenly hopeful: Would you like to come and see the bells? You can see them now if you want. I can take you to see them. I'll show you them. They're very interesting.

But frankly there is only so many bells a girl can take in one day so, rather feebly, I made my excuses and left. Quickly.


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

To Vote or Not to Vote? That Shouldn't be the Question....

In 2010's general election only 65.1% of voters exercised their right to vote, and that didn't work out well for anyone. We ended up with a Tory government united in a strange marriage with the Lib Dems, and that didn't work out well for Nick Clegg.

I was, once, one of those people who didn't vote. I was even quite proud of it and Russell Brand, before his recent Labour conversion, would have been proud of me too.

The Gallery: One Day in May, the Tour de Yorkshire in Wakefield ...

I'm joining in with The Gallery this week and the theme is One Day in May...

Last year the Tour de France arrived in Yorkshire for it's Grand Depart and was an unqualified roaring success. Such a grand time was had by all that Yorkshire, recognising a good excuse for a party when it sees one, decided to host it's own version this year and call it the Tour de Yorkshire.

On Sunday the Tour de Yorkshire hit Wakefield. I know next to nothing about cycling but I also recognise a good excuse for a party and, as it turned out, Sir Bradley Wiggins..

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