Thursday, 24 November 2016

Parenting A Teenager, The Survival Guide.

It's an experience, parenting a teenager.

The kind of experience they try to sell at Halloween with a hefty price tag that involves screaming, shrieking, and a lot of horror.  But unlike Halloween, it goes on ...and on.... and on.... for years.

As a parent you should prepare yourself the very best you can to survive your little darling's most 'challenging' years, and I don't just mean by bracing yourself and hoping for the best. When I say prepare, I mean prepare. Like Ironman.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Days Out in Yorkshire with Yorkshire Water: Haworth Moor


The Bronte sisters and I have been longtime companions, my favourite book is Wuthering Heights and has been since I first read it aged 16 over 35 years ago. My degree thesis at uni was titled "Gender Roles in the Novels of the Bronte Sisters," and my eldest daughter boasts two of their names as her own. Not a third though because that might be considered overkill.
So when Yorkshire Water invited us to explore some of the 72,000 acres of land the company owns across Yorkshire as part of the new Enjoying the Land campaign, it seemed entirely appropriate to take up their challenge by walking the same paths that the Brontes walked across Haworth Moor.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Parenting Firsts: The Ones They Don't Warn You About.

The first few years of a child's life are marked in a series of milestone firsts ... the first tooth, first word, first steps, first day at school. But parenting firsts don't stop there, as your child grows into a teenager and, lo, in adulthood there will be many more firsts.

Those firsts they don't warn you about in the parenting manuals....

Monday, 12 September 2016

Days Out in Yorkshire: Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales.


Thousands of visitors have trodden the country paths linking Bolton Abbey station with Bolton Abbey itself since the railway first reached Wharfdale in 1888, and it seems an awful lot of sheep have been using them too. And not in a good way.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Days Out in Yorkshire: Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.


Regular readers will know that a couple of members of the Quirky Kook family are huge fans of heritage steam railways and consequently days out are mostly geared around or towards sating their desire to hear whistles toot, wheels clack and the chuff, chuff, chuff of the engine. 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Realistic Parent of Teens' Summer Bucket List.

The long school summer holidays stretch invitingly ahead with acres of empty days crying out to be filled with family fun. This year though, instead of putting together a bucket list which invariably gets torn into pieces and chucked in the bin after three days of resistant apathy, I've finally succumbed to the reality of what teens really want from a summer bucket list ...

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

It's Not EU. It's You ... A Letter of Resignation

In the aftermath of the EU Referendum there's been an unseemly rush of political resignations, the England manager threw himself on his sword (though he probably missed), even Chris Evans got the hint. So in these most tumultuous of political times, I say if you can't beat them, join them. This is my letter of resignation

Dear Sir/ Madam

It is with regret that I tender my resignation as Chief Optimist, part-time Idealist and fully fledged member of Hope.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Eton Mess, A European Union Dessert


Take two old Etonians. Remove the heart from one and the backbone of the other.

Add a handful of Farage, pre-marinated in lager and false bonhomie.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Martin Parr, The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories at The Hepworth, Wakefield

Recently I've developed a passion for street photography taking shots of people about their everyday business and documenting the odd, the strange, the unusual or just the beautiful sights to be seen while I'm out and about. Sneakily I've been using my phone camera because well, it would just be too embarrassing to point a camera at someone in the street, wouldn't it?

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Students First? ....

"The whole point of schools is that children come first and everything we do must reflect this single goal,"  
Academy principal/ Chief Executive

That quote is taken from the Teen's Academy website. The Teen's Academy also emblazons the tagline 'Student's First' on all its literature and its website. Trouble is, it seems those students are very much the last to come first in the current educational climate.

The Teen's school is one of the largest in England and became an Academy in 2009 while the Twins were there. It was one of the first in the country to attain Academy status, and since then has expanded into a Family of Schools featuring a chain of different schools all over the country with the former headteacher, as the chief executive, in control overall.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

A Night Out with The Flying Scotsman

The arrival of The Flying Scotsman back on the tracks after a decade long restoration project caused much excitement at Quirky Kook Towers. 

The Boy has been fascinated with the locomotive since he first saw it during it's restoration at the National Railway Museum as a small boy and it's been a constant presence in his steam engine obsessed life ever since. We last caught up with it's progress when we visited the NRM to see it getting it's final touches before going on the rails last month.

So when we discovered The Flying Scotsman was about to end a week-long stint working on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on the same day as we set off for a half term holiday in nearby Whitby, we had to track it down.

Silent Sunday



Silent Sunday with MummyConstant

Monday, 7 March 2016

Introducing the Wakefield Creative Girls Gin Club ...

One of my maxims for life is, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, never to join a club that would have me as a member.

Thankfully, like La Rochefoucauld, I have more than one maxim for life and another is: 'Rules are made to be broken.' So I find myself, now, in the club.

No, not that club *rolls eyes*.

I'm in THE club: The Wakefield Creative Girls Gin Club.

But what is this Wakefield Creative Girls Gin Club? you ask. Well. We're girls (of all ages including ones we won't admit to) from, living in, or working in Wakefield.
We're creative; we're artists, writers, designers, educators, communicators, networkers, musicians, photographers, and promoters. And...

Thursday, 25 February 2016

The Boy and The Flying Scotsman, A Life Story.

We have a thing about steam engines at Quirky Kook Towers. Well, when I say we. I mean The Man and The Boy have a thing about steam engines and the rest of us spend an inordinate amount of time looking at, and riding on, steam engines while wondering where the shops are.

But there are some steam engines that capture the imagination and The Flying Scotsman is one of those engines. Built in 1923, in Yorkshire of course, and proudly shown in the British Empire Exhibition the following year, it was the first engine to reach 100 mph, during a test run in 1934, and earlier, in 1928, it hauled the first ever non-stop run from London to Edinburgh in just eight hours. Arguably it is the most famous locomotive in the world.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

KAWS at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park


It's been grey and gloomy for what seems like months on end but halfway through half term, the skies brightened. So, as is customary in the school holidays when the holidays are spent at home, we went for a walk through the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a mere 30 minute drive away.

Well, I say walk, the ground was still wallowy underfoot so there was quite a lot of slipping, sliding, slurping and glooping too.

We went to see the monumental KAWS sculptures that have recently been erected in the park as part of the New York artist's first major UK exhibition which runs at the YSP until June 12.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

How to Keep a Child Safe Online

Today is Safer Internet Day, a day when the world joins together to celebrate and promote the responsible, positive and safe use of the internet by children and young people. Which is a good thing.

Forget the 30 and 20-somethings glued to their screens in a darkened bedroom dressed in their pants 24 hours a day surrounded by three weeks worth of empty Pot Noodle cartons. They are beyond help. But we can, and we should, make the internet a safer place for the next generation.

And it just so happens I have some handy hints for anyone who is worried about the effect of today's rapidly developing technology on the young minds in their charge. Here is ...

Sunday, 24 January 2016

How To Win At The School Run

Once your child enters the education system you, the parent, will be required to daily deliver and pick up said child to and from it's place of learning.

At first you might even think meeting other parents waiting at the school gate  is a chance to make new friends and enjoy a bit of adult interaction.

You would, of course, be wrong.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Leading by Example, An Experiment (Failed)

We've been troubled by The Teen's absorption in the wonders of the world wide web for a while now.

When she's not on her laptop playing Minecraft with like-minded devotees, she's watching people playing it on YouTube. When she's all Minecrafted out, she relaxes watching vloggers, vlogging or her favourite show, RWBY which is, of course, only available on YouTube. And when finally the laptop is put away, the iPod comes out so she can listen to music. With accompanying videos. On YouTube.

To The Teen this is a varied diet of activities and she is constantly astonished that we might think otherwise. But of course we do.

We worry about it, and we worry about her. We worried when we got a mobile phone bill for over £300, incurred by wilfully ignoring her data allowance. We worried about that quite a bit in fact. 

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