Monday, 15 August 2016

Sunday Summary Monday Missive | I am frightened by the crowd ... for we are getting much too loud.

Dear FOQ

First of all ... happy ... whatever day this blog ends up being posted. Monday. Happy Monday. This is your pink and feathery Monday Missive.

Incidentally, well done to both Charlie and Ma QB who identified the song in the last post's subject line as this one:

Mime much, Manfred Mann? ;-)


This fortnight, I have mostly been ...



Gilmore girls

Incidentally, many thanks due to AJ for flagging up this treat, coming to Netflix for four special episodes only:

I do believe this warrants a gif much like this:

Fixing Dad

This documentary, about two brothers deciding to help 'fix' their father and his ill health, was screened on the BBC a couple of weeks ago, and, my hip-and-with-it status being notoriously fictional, I've only just got round to it, which is shameful, since a family friend was one of the camera operators!

It was a little bit weep-worthy to say the least.


Lil' bit obsessed still. Not gonna lie.

I'm currently boosting Pennsatucky up the list of favourite characters. She's messed up but she's surfing that wave of character complexity like a boss. Her unlikely friendship with Big Boo is gorgeous.

Muriel's Wedding

OK so it looks dated but its 90s-ness is endearing. And this is still a fabulous scene:

The English Patient

The Olympics

Hot diggity dog.

I don't think we could possibly expect the excitement of Rio 2016 to top the euphoria over the home-games four years ago. We've had an election and a referendum since then, and I for one was feeling pretty darn antsy and uncomfortable about the whole Being British thing.

But I'll admit a lot of pride has risen back to the surface during the last week or so.

Over two days we rose from 9th in the medal table to third. And now we're freakin' second! Woohoo! Way to go, Team GB! Considering how tiddly we are as a country (and also how much of Europe is probably still looking at Great Britain thinking, who even are you?) that's not bad. Not bad at all. Phenomenal, actually.

These Games came at the right time to restore a tiny smidge of goodwill to this little island.

And of course, this being the Summary, I can't let the Olympics pass without including some sort of tribute by way of visual stimuli:

Oh and also ... this:

(Man alive, my eyes have been well and truly obliterated this past fortnight.)


... with Ma QB.


That rhymes.

We two human beans took ourselves off to the Actual Cinema on Tuesday for this Spielberg Spectacular.

I, being of a Certain Age (old; I'm old) have fond, if sketchy, memories of the last film adaptation which looked a little bit like this:

The new film, with CGI and live-action combined, looks very much like this:

and y'know what? We flipping loved it. It was wonderfully true to the feel of the book, right down to the fact it was set in a vaguely composite decade between the Seventies and the Eighties, so no allowances in the story line needed to be made for modern life (although perhaps the reference to Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the end may need some explaining to younger viewers ...).

Ruby Barnhill is a perfick Sophie; very bolshy but also very endearing and ... is it wrong that a computer-generated giant (albeit with hints of Mark Rylance's face), with huge, satellite-dish ears, made me tear up more than once??

And there were some proper belly-laugh moments. Because Ma and I, we're just silly kids at heart really. Who doesn't love a good whizz-pop joke?

And finally ...

Jesus Christ Superstar at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.

It was fantastic.

OK, yes, that's not what one would call an insightful review but hey, I'm spreading myself thin here; bear with.

I'm sure the staging is particularly effective for evening performances when the sun is going down, but we were just as lucky weather-wise; it was hot and intermittently sunny, which felt right for a Holy Land setting (give or take a few very English leaves breaking free, and the occasional unwelcome pigeon overhead).

{The set}

{The speshulist members of the audience}

Given I've only 'seen' two stagings of JCS previously (not including the film), and one of those stagings I was in at university (the other was the amazing ESOS production lovely Fi was in two years ago), I had little to compare this production to.

But what I liked about it (and there are many things) was its contemporary approach, from the simple costumes to the modern-dance choreography which had a real 'fanatical' edge to it, to the hipster-bearded disciples to Pilate the Rock Star who played guitar while he sang 'Pilate's Dream'.

And the vocals.

Oh, the wonderful, wonderful "strike me roan, is he singing falsetto?" vocals.

The "OK, we're only in the first half but Mary Magdalene is already making me cry" vocals.

The "man alive, that man has range and did he just sing the lowest note ever known??!" vocals.

We saw Declan Bennett as Jesus; and I may or may not have seen him in Once as well – he has beautiful range and a real vulnerability to his voice. He absolutely roared out his anguish over 'Gethsemane/I Only Want to Say ...' after kicking off the song also playing guitar, then rocked out big-style.

And Tyrone Huntley as Judas. Who demonstrates some serious vocal mastery. He's definitely one to watch. And to listen to.  As is the wonderful 'voice that hits yer boots' Cavin Cornwall as High Priest Caiaphas who, with his priests, somehow made being barbaric and bloodthirsty ... a little bit sexy* (and if you see them dance as they sing, you'll understand why).

(*That sounded less inappropriate in my head.)

The relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus is never explored as much as it should be, in JCS; but blow me down, when Anoushka Lucas, as Mary. sings the iconic 'I Don't Know How to Love Him' you listen (except if you're a rude woman three rows back in the audience in which case you hand out and eat doughnuts).

And if you're me you sit there in the open air on a summer afternoon and work that Ugly Cry Face. Ah, the perils of an outdoor, daytime performance, eh?

{Hears: "Doooon't you think it's rather fuuuuuuuunny?
I should beeee in this posiiiiiiiition?" Has this reaction.}

... Neither Ma nor I will, however, ever understand how people can justify talking during a production like this. I'm shooting This Face at you, woman behind us

who, just after 'Jesus' had bared his soul and ripped his shirts from his tortured self after 'Gethsemane', thought it appropriate to comment, "He's quite fit, isn't he?"

Well, yes. He is. (And he brings vulnerability and nuance to his performance; no objectification here.)

But in the middle of a mindful silence is not the time to mention it.


In the midst of all this cultural stimulation, I have also been (equally cultural in ...)

Heading to IKEA

with AJ and Julie.

And eating meatballs/veggie balls/Daim cake/apple cake (all of those, between us, somehow).

Getting much too much home bar inspo ...

{Can you spot the girls??}

... and not enough shelving units, because the ones I wanted were out of stock ...

{Reaches Aisle 46, Location 38.
Finds it empty.
Like my soul.
And as a side note, thank you, Giphy, for supplying this magnificent retro Stockard Channing gif
under 'roll eyes'. Day = made}

But checking out the quirky coloured wall display on the way out of the shop:

Trippy, man.


... with Boomerang, an Instagram add-on. Such fun!

So perhaps I need to look for more stimulating subjects than trains, or my feet:

Or my feet on a train.

But I'm getting a little bit addicted to finding Boomerang opportunities. Witness:

Look at that chicken dancing. She's dancing! Hours of amusement.

Doing the Coffee and Catchup Thing

... with Lady Charlie. Because, it's Charlie and I needed a catchup. Back to 51 Degrees North we went for a lovely chinwag, and were joined also by Al. Always good to see you two Lovelies.

... But wot, no #blogfodder? Fail.

We need to meet up again so I can get me some snaps.


Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight
One verbal ♦ one visual

Fortnightly Web Finds



{via here}
  • Bored or frustrated by your commute home? Start a sing-a-long! Thanks to Charlie for this!

  • And finally, albeit belatedly ... thank you to Evie for sharing this rather spectacularific gif:

Dog Enjoying A Water Slide

Keep cool, dudes and dudesses.

qb xx

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sunday Summary | She's out of reach and out of sight ...

Dear FOQ

Hope we're all well!

Me, I've been caramelising (cremating) onions. Later I'll do some ironing, maybe watch a film, with that fabled gin cocktail (thanks for the suggestions, Jill!) in one hand. Probably.

Life doesn't get any more riveting than this.

... Or does it?

This fortnight, I have mostly been ...


(and finally, finally finishing)

I've since picked up this beauty:

which I started reading a couple of years ago then stopped, for whatever reason, and am back into again. 

Flappers are my historical spirit birds.


... before I'd even finished the book!

{Well, that's a slightly extreme reaction there, Kev.}

But y'know what? The film, although pared down from the book in many ways, made a heck of a lot more sense than the book. There was too much inconsequential backstory in the book and I lost track of the characters (or, did not give a flying fig about a lot of them).

That said, Kevin Spacey is perhaps too much of a conventional 'dish' to be Quoyle, who in the book is a lumbering giant, self-conscious about his chin. (Although Spacey's eternally endearing anyway.) Also, harlot Cate Blanchett. I tell thee, she's a bit magical.

on iPlayer (catch-up). 

Because I have a real thing for coast and sea rescue documentaries.


... my beautiful best friend with a birthday party, which was over six months in the planning!

Mission ... accomplished!

Last Saturday afternoon, I secret-squirrelled my way over to Natalie's parents' house 

{... by kayak. Yes, I went by kayak. | No, not really, this was just en route.}
{Lela, poised to shout 'Surpriiiiiiise'}
and hid out, along with several others, primed and ready to surprise the gorgeous girl herself in honour of a significant birthday o' hers.

{The gazebos played host to a wonderful gallery of the gorgeous girl}

In attendance were family, friends, family friends, and at least three of us 'Hens' (albeit one via video message) – testament to the fabulous totem of fabulosity more typically known as our Natalie.

'Fraid I didn't actually take that many photos except of the birthday girl herself and a few blurry ones of her gorgeous kids hitting the daylights out of the piñata, but I think that's a good thing. There were actual people to chat to, excellent food and drink, and atmosphere to soak up!

{Birthday girl. And no, that's not her drink. Wine? Pah!}
{The lass and her lovely mum}
{Party people in the house gazebo! | With thanks to Lin and Den for the photo!}

{Spice Girls reunite for one triumphant hug-up | With thanks to Lin and Den for the photo}
{Magnificent birthday cake!}
{Magnificent birthday girl}
{Obligatory late-night selfie}

Massive well-done and thank you to Natalie's parents for a) managing to keep the party secret since January and b) letting me stay over. I managed not to break anything in the process of washing up the next morning, so that's a result in itself. 

(Big, big hello and virtual hug to lovely Lin, formerly secret and now out-and-proud Friend of Quirk/reader of this blog!)

And, very very early early Happy Birthday to Natalie, my Bestest. Let's do this again but with less panache, obvs, when the actual time comes. Loads of love, your Friday Night Facebook Friend.

The following day was no slackfest (OK, it sort of was ... I had to have a nap ...) – as Ma QB and I, with friends in tow, headed over to glorious Hever Castle where we were ... 


Tonbridge Rock Choir perform ... without Ma QB which just felt a little wrong somehow (not that it wasn't lovely to have you in the audience still rocking out, Ma, of course).

The set was great, with a lot more ensemble pieces than before (We Built This City was particularly fab), and the weather behaved itself just in time.

Brightening Brighton

... with the beautiful Foyles Goyls, just yesterday!

Nickname shoutouts to:

Pebble and

with love and selfies from Beano.

I'll leave you to work out who is who.

Most of these photos ended up on the Book of Face yesterday but here are the spruced up edits, for I now have a gorgeous new version of Photoshop Elements on the new computer and it's all clever and stuff.

I headed on down to Brighton early-ish as I wanted to get a little QB shopping done before the girls arrived. It's become a ritual now to head straight to this emporium of ephemera (mostly letter-press letters):

{QB's first port of call}
Yesterday's spoils: a turn-of-the century punctuation mark.

Tell me, retro Beyoncé, which punctuation mark do you think I purchased yesterday?

Well done, dear!

I also fit in a little bit of time to peruse the shop windows along Kensington Gardens ...

{Bert, purveyor of All the Flamingos}
{Anchors a-way hey, yes please! Who doesn't
love a nautical marquee light}
I then headed up to our agreed meeting place, by the clock tower, having been lured en route into sampling some velly, velly nice organic pork pie, and a cheese and onion pasty, which were being sold as part of a craft fair on the church lawn. After treating myself to a pasty for later, I got me a coffee and hung out in the seating area by the clock tower to wait for my girls ... but had to move hurriedly away once a rather nasty fight broke out between two young 'ladies' (I think they may have bunked finishing school, however) who were very possibly fuelled by some illicit substance or other. Egads.

People be trippin'.


I digress.

My girls appeared, siren-like, through the rain, shortly after one, and we, a merry band, wandered down t'road and over to the Pier, where we soon found ourselves trying to win giant Minions (and failing) ...

Eloise found her new calling — as an assassin.

 Evie managed to score herself a little friend (and possibly three wise-cracking orphans) ...

Swept away by the zeitgeist in Brighton, work wives Katerina and Eloise may have been married by Elvis ...

and we tested out a new selfie stick.
My new selfie stick.
Which I bought only for the purposes of this trip, let me clarify.

We ate lunch in the (ridiiiiiculously hot) Palm Court restaurant (where Miss Clarey and I ate last year). 

Much fish was devoured because it'd be wrong not to.
Many photos were taken for that self(ie) same reason.
Some of them, I even knew about at the time ... ahem!

{Lovely lovelies!}

{So pink! So pretty!}

{Don't leave your phone unattended round this lot!!! | Click on the photo to view in full splendour}

Not quite ready to brave the rides after the huge lunch, we wandered back towards town and wandered the Lanes, which were mad-busy (it being a warm Saturday in 'summer' an' all), and ended up in the grounds of the Pavilion (almost holding up a wedding as we did so, as the bridal car could not pass through the gates until Eloise had taken a photo of us all):

Slightly fatigued by our wanderings and a hint of impromptu shop-browsing, we settled for a short while in coffee joint Jolliffes (where the hospitality was ... er, ever so slightly proffered through gritted teeth since the cafe was due to shut, but the coffee itself was pretty good and revived us long enough for More. Flippin' Selfies):

{Random shot of a beautiful bookshop window display}
After coffee, we parted ways – Katerina, Eloise and Evie headed back towards London, and Clare and I headed back to the Pier. We had RIDES to brave, goshdarnit.

{Oh but first, had to take a shot of the Pavilion looking all regal ...}
{... and the Pier looking wonderfully busy still}
{... not to mention the West Pier which always warrants a photo}
The queue for the Booster (this ride, not for the faint-hearted or -stomached)

{via here}

which we were so up for riding, was too long (and no, we didn't chicken out, we just didn't fancy spending our remaining time in a line), so Clare and I hopped on board the Turbo roller-coaster

{via here}

before deciding we absolutely needed a turn on the (far better value for money time-wise) Waltzers. 

{original video footage found here}

Two turns, actually, since we were deprived of decent spins on the first turn.

Pretty sure we dislodged a few vital organs but hey. It was worth it.

We decided to finish off with something genteel.

Something like ...

... the log flume.

Soggy bottoms all round.

But such a good day and so lovely to catch up with the girls.

And the gossip.

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight

One verbal ♦ one visual


Fortnightly Web Finds

  • Could we have a moment for this magnificent Superhumans ident from Channel 4, ahead of the Paralympics?

And while we're at it ...
  • The BBC's Olympic advert is pretty cool too. Love the gymnast sloth.

Oh, hang on, this one's not bad either:

  • The curse of 2016 claims another two legends:

Vivean Gray aka Mrs Mangel (OK, less of a curse since she was an admirable 92 years old)

Not gonna lie, Mrs Mangel's final scene juuuust made me tear up. Oh, nostalgia, for when Neighbours was good watchable.

Ken Barrie, the original voice of Postman Pat

{via here}

And finally ... I'm throwing another guess-the-lyrics quiz into the mix. Guess the song referenced in the title of this post, and win chocolate!

Until next time, stay groovesome.

qb xx