Sunday, 23 April 2017

Sunday Summary | Sing us a song, you're the piano man ...

Dear FOQ

Hope you all had an egg-cellent Easter (wow, that pun never gets old, does it, noooo)!

{Hello from your Quirky Bun-ette}
This fortnight, I have mostly been ...

Reading ๐Ÿ“š

Yes, I finally finished 1984. It actually picked up a little towards the end but should I worry that it was the torture scenes that piqued my interest more than the Party's manifesto?

Bodes well for 8th June, any road.

I then shimmied on to the far more gentle (and long overdue):

which was followed by:

A cheery title, but a very readable YA novel about a young woman working through anxiety after the death of her little sister. (Thanks, Evie!)

I'm now embarking on:

Watching ๐Ÿ“บ๐Ÿ‘€

Whoa, what is all this Changing and Rearranging?

Why, yes, friends, I'm now binge-watching The Big Bang Theory (picking up where I left off last time I binge-watched TBBT) and reminding myself why I had/OK, have such a crush on Jim Parsons. I just ... he's just ... I'll leave it there.

Ma QB and I also half-watched The Book Thief over a particularly dramatic hand of UNO at Easter (which I won, people. I won)

Aaaand ... I've just seen that the whole series of Party of Five has rocked up on Netflix.

Welcome back, the Nineties. We missed you. Sorta.

Oh and I also rewatched E.T. 

Mini Henry Thomas and teeny Drew Barrymore break my schmaltzy little heart.

Catching up with the Foyles Goyls ... ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿ™‹

(Clare, Eloise, Evie and Katerina)

... at Le Pain Quotidien at the Royal Festival Hall (IKR? More change. As good as an 'oliday. Apparently.)

{FitBit Frieeeeends!}
These women are awesome. Funny, intelligent, daft as heck.

I'm very lucky to have 'em.

Meeting for an Early Supper (one of those, y'all) ๐Ÿ•

... with this beauty:

{๐Ÿ’“ | Photos by Nats}
at Prezzo (garlicbreadwithmozzarellaandcaramelisedonionsohhhhhyes) where I also saw former workmate Natasha and current workmate Katie.

(Not to mention that Natalie is also a former workmate; just needed an ex-Templar friend to rock up and I would have had a full house of People I've Worked with in Publishing since 2000.)

Bidding a fond farewell ... ๐Ÿ˜ข๐ŸŽน

... to the family piano which is moving on to a new home.

I won't bang on about this at length because, well, I'm ridiculously sentimental, but I have now managed to salve the pain by virtue of staring lovingly at photographs of Other Pianos on eBay and Pinterest, and consoling myself with the fact that for the princely sum of £0.99 plus delivery and tuning costs, probably, I could reinstate a piano into my life in the future.

If I ever get to own a house.

Plus also the ol' girl is really heckin' heavy and ain't nobody in their right minds lifting her up all those stairs into my flat. I have to be realistic.


After much swearing and many bum notes, I finally managed to eke out a reasonable (if ever so naive) rendition of Right Here Waiting (Richard Marx) – as ever there are a couple of duff notes and some crazy tempo changes (I'm no Alicia Keys/Derek Paravicini/Delta Goodrem) but I duz wot I can. This is largely played by ear as well, so ... yeah.

All the feels.

You have to take it on trust that this is me: I have epic piano-related performance anxiety that dates back to that time I tried to play Memory (I think? I've blanked out the specifics) during a piano recital at secondary school, and two girls in my year sat there giggling the whole time ... oh and there was also that time I tried to play Fur Elise (or, Furry Leaves) during another piano recital without my music teacher there for moral support and I muffed it up completely and then there was that other time I tried to play Send in the Clowns and, well, failed on all the monumental levels because It's a Very Hard Song to Play.

{This sticker has been on the piano since about 1990 ...}

Hence, the fingers-only perspective: Don't loooooook at me, I'm shyyyyyyy!

Doin' the Easter Hop ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿ‘ฃ

And by that I mean embarking on the annual Gangs' Easter Walk with the Family Friends. 'Twas a lovely route past bluebells and through private land (must be a familial trait ...) around pastoral Brasted/Knockholt, beginning at the church of St Martin's, Brasted, and ending at the Stanhope Arms next door.

The pub (in spite of our reservations as they changed their menu two days before our lunch thus omitting what would have been my choice) served up an epic lunch and put our rowdy group in the Barn (i.e. away from everyone else which is probably for the best!).

The walk was only just over five miles long, but there were some heavy-duty hills involved. Our calves reminded us of this on Saturday.

{St Martin's, Brasted.}

{Church and blossom.}

{The Stanhope Hotel, now the Stanhope Arms.}

{That's either Chevening, Sundridge, Brasted or Knockholt in the distance.}

{The frontrunners walkers.}
{I have no idea what the point of this photo is but there
may have been blossom on yonder trees, and I like blossom.}

{Convex bunny selfie. Natch.}

{Heading to the finish line and the obligatory wine ...}

{Party barn!}

{Fairy lights wrapped around rafters are ALWAYS a good idea.}

Rocking out with ...

... these epic beauties:

{Stealthyselfie | Photo by Jos}

{Beyoncรฉ's Maternity Covers, right here. | Photo by Jos}

for a night of courgette soup, karaoke and cocktails; why yes, I introduced Jos and Fern (and Jos' friend Ali) to the Lady in Red cocktail (I think we have a winner, people).


Now, as I'm in the throes of Embracing Change (not too much, mind; let's not go crazy now) I would like to introduce a new segment to the blog, known as:

Sunday Summary Showcase ⭐

This is your opportunity, as my lovely – and naturally, talented – readers, to send in a clip, image or excerpt of something you've created (written, painted, drawn, crafted) and/or performed, whatever you fancy (as long as it's not offensive; the Establishment – that is to say, me – reserves the right not to feature anything that may court huge controversy. Or anything that includes a Cyclops, because they freak me out; as do any critters with fewer or more than two eyes. You have been warned. No conceptual drawings of three-eyed kittens, I beg of you).

Your showcase piece should be something quite short and sweet (video clips should be no longer than five minutes, ideally, and can be an MP4 or a link to a YouTube video that you have personally originated and uploaded and which can be embedded into this blog) and if you've written an article or a short story, or a poem, just one side of A4 (max.) please.

If you are submitting something visual, please scan and email the file to the address below, and ensure the file is no larger than 1MB (or the computer cannae handle it, Captain. Well, of course it can, but it will just take longer to upload).

I hereby throw open the floor.

Please send your submissions to: and await certain* stardom. The first showcase (providing anyone submits anything) will be in the next Summary, which I'm hoping to post on Sunday 6th May.

* certain = well, a moment of acclaim on this forum. I'm no Simon Cowell. My trousers don't ride that high for starters.

With thanks to Pete J for the idea.

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight ๐Ÿ“Œ

{True dat.}

Fortnightly Web Finds ๐Ÿ•ธ๐Ÿ”Ž

• Interesting read, this: How to leave work on time when you're rubbish at it {the leaving, not the work, I assume}| Harriet Minter on The Pool

Artist creates sinister 'Stephen King'-style book covers for classic love ballads | The Butcher Billy on Instagram | via Nerdist and Goodreads

{via here}

{via here}

• Pentatonix covers Bohemian Rhapsody. And it's epic. | via Glenda | on YouTube

That's all for now; stay warm. Can't believe I'm saying that in mid-to-late-April but there it is.

qb xx

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Sunday Summary | Must be the reason why I'm king of my castle

Dear FOQ

Anyone else slightly stunned by the raging ball o' fire up there in the sky? ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ˜Ž
It's a bit nice, innit. I even went Out in the Sun today; sat in the park for about forty-five minutes with a couple of essentials:

until environmental conditions prevailed (winds got up, coffee kicked in), then sat in the 'garden' (aka the strip of quite well maintained grass separating QB Heights from its communal car park), watching the blossom fall and catching up with two months of Guardian Weekend backlog.

{'Spod in the Sun' Selfie | wearing new sunnies
that make me look like an insect ๐Ÿ}
Which is nice.


This fortnight, I have mostly been ...

Reading ๐Ÿ“–


My own history will have been rewritten to omit me and my boring reading history by the time I finish this book.

However ... one or two passages have jumped out and screamed, "WOKE!" in my face like some sort of Zeitgeisty Youth with a slippery grip on the grammaz:

Watching ๐Ÿ‘€

Oh, Netflix, you clearly noted I was reaching the end of the Gilmore girls and their amazing all-encompassing self-involvement at the expense of all others (the original working title, probably) and kindly planted series 2 of Miranda firmly in my sights.

Gary. Gary. And thrice, Gary.

*swoons a bit*

And yes, I binge-watched the whole season in a day and a half (it was only six episodes long but that's really not the point).

But, Gary.

A word, however, on Gg, because, oui, I have watched every single episode now 

and I feel a bit bereft (although I'm about to rewatch the four recent specials so I can go all gooey over slightly-more-mature Luke 

and Kirk, and Jess, who
really grew into himself). 

The original series ended the way it was supposed to.

So ... why spoil it with the end of the four-parter?! Anyway.

I did however appreciate the moment where Rory tells Logan she needs to get changed for Lane's baby shower in the back of the car Dirty Dancing-style. Very self-referential, of course, because:


(I'm a very sad geeky individual, did I mention that?)

Now, if the 'flix would only reinstate the entire series of Buffy I might be a truly happy customer ...

Going for a what-I-call Casu-walk (see what I did there? I punned.) ๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿฐ

... to Rahgate to check out the castle grounds last weekend, because, y'know, having lived in the area for more than fourteen years, I had never found the castle grounds.

{... or is it a beautiful butterfly?}
I found 'em.

{That's not them: that's the United Reform Church looking
very stately against the sky}

{Magnolia blooming ๐Ÿ’œ}

{Steps up to the grounds}

{Peripheral pathway, or one of many}

{Now we're getting somewhere!}


{Reigate from on hei-gate}

{The history bit}

Very pleasant it was too.

Next step: to walk the caves! There are organised tours during the summer – I think it's time I made like The Jam and went Underground ... Who's with me?

And do we need wellies?

Caramelising Onions ๐Ÿ˜‹

Ohhhhhhhhhhh yes.

The holy grail of food you never knew how much you loved until you devoted almost an hour to pan-frying stubborn slices of red onion in sugar and balsamic vinegar (because you were slack with the slicing and stingy with the oil).

{Disclaimer: these aren't mine | via here}

I did it.

Oh yes. (From this recipe, fyi – thanks for sending me this one, Natalie!)

And no, I did not slice the onions nearly fine enough first time round because, knives:

but, second time's the charm:

{These are mine. Ohhhh yeah.}

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight ๐Ÿ“Œ

Fortnightly Web Finds ๐Ÿ•ธ๐Ÿ”Ž

Serious (albeit with a side-serving of silly) ๐Ÿ˜‰

How we made Comic Sans | on | (With the stolen souls of puppies, was it?)

{ARGH! My eeeeeeyeballs! They BURN! | Photo: Cern, via here}
• All hail this dude. I feel a full chorus of a certain Mariah Carey song may be due here:

And then a heeeeero comes along ...

50 Reasons Why Everyone Should Want More Walkable Streets | (well, not everyone; don't feel like we're imposing this on you or anything) (although it would be nice if the pavements in our towns and cities didn't suddenly taper off into nothing ...) | on

Silly ๐Ÿคก

• I'm not for cats (snooty, fluffy balls of clichรฉ – give me a ๐Ÿซany day) but it's hard not to be tickled by this: Man recreates classic film scenes with his cats. LOL | I particularly like Ghost. The tiny pot! | via The Dodo

{@Moviecats | via here and here}

Lionel Richie-themed street embroidery in pictures (Lionel Stitchie, by artist Molly Evans Fox) | and why not? | on

{by Molly Evans Fox | via here}

• 19 Slightly Odd Things Every Fitbit Owner has Done at Some Point | So true on probably about 18 points here! | on BuzzFeed | via Glenda T


• The following link is NSFW*. NSFChildren or for anyone who finds foul-mouthed chefs offensive: John Legend (that silken-voiced little gem of a man) sings The Insults of Gordon Ramsay | on YouTube | via the DailyQuicky:

*Not Suitable for Work

and finally ...

• Mario Wienerdude has done it again with another brilliant Musicless Music Video | Rolling Stones | on YouTube

That's sadly all I've got time for (she says in the manner of a hackneyed telly presenter) but I cannot bid you adieu (so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbyeeee) without giving a big-up to my Jack Fairwomen (Wetherspoons Women of Quality // Babes who Breakfast): Jess, Mimi (honorary Voicerox Lovely), Jenny and Charlie. Always a pleasure to break bread scoff pancakes and bacon with you all.

qb xx