Thursday, 29 January 2015

Spot the Teenager: 13 Signs of Impending Doom

Unlike Harry Enfield's Kevin, real life teenagers don't just turn into inarticulate zombies overnight. They have to work at it.

They begin with their baby steps and work up to becoming fully fledged teenagers. They have to spend time perfecting the slack-jawed stare of scorn, practising temperamental flouncing and mastering a grunt that can only be understood by their peers. Obviously.

This is a cut out and keep* guide to the early symptoms signs of impending doom teenager-ness giving you a heads up so you won't be shaken to your very foundations when IT finally happens to your own little darling.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The REAL 36 Questions To Ask Before Falling In Love..

In 1997 social psychologist Arthur Aron came up with 36 questions that are said to lead to total strangers falling in love with each other. Last week a New York Times writer claimed in her article To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This that, having carried out Aron's experiment she had, indeed, fallen in love.

But I've seen the 36 questions in, um, question. They include such incisive gems as: 'Would you like to be famous and in what way?' 'Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die' 'What does friendship mean to you' and 'How do you feel about your relationship with your mother.'

There's no way on this planet, or any other, that I would base the choosing of a life partner on whether or not they want to go on X Factor or the wrenching guilt they feel because their mum still washes their smalls.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Gallery .... Trees

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

Ok, so, here goes. Hi, My name is Jodie and I have a thing about trees. 

No, really, I do. For the past year, I and a few like-minded tree-loving enthusiasts have been part of our own Trees group on Facebook publishing photos of, well, trees for the each other's appreciation and edification. And I've enjoyed it enormously. No, I have.

I've made some new, if virtual, friends and can now tell an elm from a lime, probably. I've also amassed an enormous collection of photos of trees, all kinds of trees .... 

A single tree ....

Several trees ....

Lots of trees...

Trees from below , with leaves

 And without ...

Trees from far away...

And trees close up...

In close up AND silhouette

Broken trees...

Bendy trees..

Twisted trees..

Trees that can make you dizzy..

And trees that hold doors to other worlds.


Awesome trees ....

Really awesome trees...

Really, really awesome trees....

Really, really, really awesome trees...

No. Really. Awesome. Trees ...

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Please check out everyone else's entry to The Gallery

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Always Something There To Remind Me .....

The TeenTwins are readying themselves for the return to university after the Christmas break. This apparently means catching up on the sleep that they'll miss while embracing the new term which, on current evidence, is all of it.

The few short hours that they actually are awake they go shopping, purportedly for essential items for university. In TeenTwin1's case this means buying up the entire contents of Primark because there isn't one in her university town. And although TeenTwin2 goes to university in a town that does have a quite a large Primark, she's been busy buying up what little TeenTwin1 has left behind because, well, why not.

At least when they do go back, I know there will always be something there to remind me of them ... because I was picking up hair clips and false nails from odd corners of the house for weeks last time they left.

There are some things I won't miss though.

I won't miss the constant whirring of the electricity meter as the national grid endeavours to keep up with their constant demands as they leech it's supply for their laptops, phone chargers, televisions, hair dryers, curlers, straighteners and the kettle producing a never ending stream of tea, none of it for me.

I won't miss the bathroom being transformed into a steamy, sub-tropical wonderland with damp towel stepping stones floating on a floor awash with bubbles or a surprisingly hirsute bath lurking in the corner sparkling with glitter from yet another Lush bath bomb.

I won't miss having to hide the wine.

Or the gin.

I won't miss having to get up a 4am to let someone in who has forgotten their key again. 

I won't miss the lengthy and continually recurring arguments about who has the most studying to do, how long an essay should be and whose course books are the most expensive course books in the whole entire world.

I won't miss the constant selfie taking. *Cough*

If you can't beat them, join them.

I won't miss the eye-rolling they don't think I see when I try to give them advice.

And I won't miss waiting on them hand and foot, day and night, because of their entirely mistaken impression that they're the guests in a hotel with 24 hour room service and no bills.

Oh. And the totally random obsession with pugs.

But I will miss them. Just as much as I missed them the first time they left for university last September.

*Searches for hair clips*

Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Teen in Hot Water .... Or How to Treat a Burn

One of the most fundamental roles of any parent is as protector; keeping one's child safe and away from harm. It's not a role that diminishes or ends as they grow older either, though where once you could set up fire guards and stair gates, you learn to settle for yelling: "DON'T DO/ TOUCH/ EAT THAT!" at appropriate, and sometimes inappropriate, moments.

But accidents happen. They do. One minute everything is everyday and the next, life is a disaster movie complete with slow motion effects.

On Monday night the 13 year old had an accident. She was in the kitchen making a hot water bottle when she doused her right arm with the contents of a freshly boiled kettle. She stood hopping from one foot to another, waving her freshly burned forearm and mouthing incomprehensible squeaks of pain as The Man scooped her up and set to administering cold water.

Having soaked the burn for nearly half an hour in cold water and wrapping her arm in clingfilm, we set off to A&E to get her thoroughly checked out by the professionals. By then it was nearly 11.30 at night.

We didn't get home again until nearly five the next morning, the NHS being an unwieldy beast that moves slowly but does so with care and skill.

And thankfully, the Teen will be fine. The Man's previous first aid training and quick reactions having saved her from much more damage. The Teen's burn is second degree and should heal cleanly and quickly leaving only a three inch scar that will hopefully fade over time.

"If only," said one of the nurses in the Burns Unit around about 4am, "everyone reacted like you, we'd have less work to do."

Less easy to recover from though is the aftermath, the frightening roll call of what if's and what could have beens scrolling through the mind in the small hours of the night. I can only be thankful that in a real live crisis, The Man kept his head and The Teen remained as calm as she did despite the shock she was in.

This week we've all been hugging each other a little harder and a little more often. Oh, and the TeenTwins have nicknamed the Teen Burnie because they're hilarious like that :/

Four days later ...

 How to Treat a Hot Liquid Burn


Immediately apply cold water, cool and running rather than freezing, to the affected area for 20 minutes or so.

If clothes have been covered in the hot liquid, remove them quickly and carefully or cut them away so they don't touch the skin. If fabric is stuck to the wound, don't try to move it at all, leave that to the professionals.

Remove any jewellery from the affected area in case of swelling.

Apply a sterile dressing or wrap in clean, trimmed clingfilm to protect the wound from infection, one of the major dangers of burn injuries.


Don't apply ice or any lotions, oils, creams or butter to the burn.

Don't break blisters or remove skin.

Also don't put babies/ small children under cold running water for a full 20 minutes because there is a danger of hypothermia.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Things I Have Learned in 2014 ...

2014 was a bit of a landmark year at Quirky Kook Towers. The TeenTwins sat and passed their A levels and moved out to separate universities in different towns, Daughter3 graduated (with a proper cap and gown) from Year 8 and moved on to studying for her GCSEs and I? Well, I became 50 years old with only the bare minimum of kicking and screaming. *cough*

So what did I learn during the past 12 months? .....

1: Becoming 50 years old doesn't hurt that much, actually. Or at least it only hurts other people, when you punch them in the face for mentioning it out loud.

2: Being 50 is a continual source of hilarity for one's offspring. Apparently.

3: That universities are not at all like they were in my day. They actually expect students to study.

4: The Japanese for cool.

5: That I have a 'Bit of a Thing' for Neil Patrick Harris

6: ...And Hugh Jackman

7: ...And Harry Styles.

8: And that's perfectly acceptable because I can blame it on being 50 and having a mid-life crisis* Hurrah

9: How many hours can be wasted watching Les Miserables flash-mob videos on YouTube.

10: Never to shut a taxi door when one's finger is still inside it.

11: That an iPhone 5c's 8GB is never enough.

12: The vital importance of white eyeliner.

13: How to replace a toilet seat ....which is no mean achievement considering everyone else in the house can't even replace toilet roll without written instructions.

14: What happened to all the missing socks.

15: The number of separate parts that make up a Raleigh Chopper.

16: Never to give a mobile phone to a 13 year old without turning off data roaming.

17: ... And, coincidentally, how much Vodafone charges plus VAT for each and every MB over the data allowance. *Sighs*

18: How to make guacamole.

19: That I'm not as unshockable as I thought I was...

20: ... Or as cynical as some.

 *Stares hard at world*

What did you learn in 2014?

*I am not having a mid-life crisis

Thursday, 1 January 2015

My Top Ten Favourite Photos of 2014 ...

Happy New Year to everyone, I hope 2015 is a joy for all and to celebrate the passing of 2014 I thought I would share ten of my favourite photographs from the many, many hundreds I took during the past year. Though neither professional or particular skilful, they're the shots that gave me a genuine pleasure to capture. So, in no particular order....

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