Monday, 11 December 2017

Sunday Summary Monday Missive | Come together, right now ...

Dear FOQ

Thanks once again for your patience in my absence.

For this, I shall reward you with many, many playlists and photographs.

So worth waiting for, I tell you.

This fortnight, I have mostly been ...

Reading ๐Ÿ“•

Watching ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ“€

I know, I know. I hate myself. But it's the perfect brain-marshmallow after a long day of work, I assure thee.

This indignity is further compounded by the fact I discovered that All 4 has every episode of

{Dawson's Creek, y'all}
to stream. Yay, more angsty, overly verbose 'teenagers'!

So glad I'm old now. So, so glad.

Also ...

Yaaaas ... some funny moments but, at the risk of sounding mildly ageist, I think the gap between Edge of Reason and Bridget Jones' Baby was far, far too long. The actors all just look a little ... ๐Ÿ‘ต fatigued, that's the word.


Except this one, who seems to be working the fine wine analogy.

Oh and also watching ...

Let the Right One In.

Nordic vampire gore.

With much sner.


Listening ๐Ÿ‘‚๐ŸŽต

to this rather hipster-tastic playlist on Spotify:

as well as finishing the latest 30 Days of Music Challenge (thanks, Jo!):

then creating and curating this seasonal gem for which I make no apologies, not even for the inclusion of Mariah, twice (soz, Charlie):

Thanks also to Jo and Jim for reminding me that this song exists:

Anyone fancy duetting and supplying the Tommy from Space vocals if I rock a gravelly Cerys?


Singing ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐ŸŽถ







It all began (cue whooshy mists of time SFX) on the Friday night before last (wow, how long have I been absent, exactly?) when I shimmied on down to see Ms Jos for belated birthday antics* (and for an added bonus, got to see Steve, Keira, Paul, Glenda and Kate and later Mike aka Mr Glenda) for a bit of a singsong, and some curious song choices for which I would like to apologise to everyone within earshot.

{Either Glenda and I are working out a new dance move ... or
moving in for a hug. I can't remember which. Photo by Jos}

{D'aw! Photo by Jos}

{Laydeez! Photo by Jos}

{Photo by Jos}

{Rockin' out, albeit with a peculiar stance. Photo by Jos}

This was followed up the very next day with Voicerox Choir's annual Christmas performance (for free): Five Gold Sings

(see what we did there?) then even more singing that night round Jess' gaff with "we woz 'ere" shout-outs due to Jess herself, Charlie, Al, Alun, Jenny and Steve (Bisto) as well as Jess' fabulous three, J, A and M. 

Sadly I seem to have come away with no photographs of the night we're calling Kebabaoke but I did end up with some, er, quality video footage of Alun and Steve

rockin' Shania ...

But treat of the night was Ms Charliekins singing Total Eclipse of the Heart in a Cockerney accent. So, To'al Eclipse of the 'Aaaart.


The following week, having recovered from all of these off-piste hijinks** and then having popped down to the local shopping centre to support a few friends singing with their Rock Choir chapter (hi, Sandra, Gill, Rosemary!) on Saturday

* and ** Yes, I'm trying to find suitable synonyms for 'shenanigans'. It's hard, I tell thee.

... we only flipping went and recorded at


last Sunday!!!!!


The reality of it is only still setting in (and yes, I do keep mentioning Abbey Road arbitrarily in conversation because I can: "What are you eating, QB?" "Oh, probably leftovers from my lunch at ABBEY ROAD!")

but having heard the tracks, well, it actually happened, and it was an amazing experience.

For copyright/performance rights reasons I can't include the recordings on this 'ere blog but I'm more than happy to play them to you in person at any available opportunity.

And if you happened to be in the Venture Inn in Reigate last Tuesday evening, well, you got an unprecedented flashmob of a performance. You lucky things.

Anyway, here be a whole stream of photos from assorted sources. You're welcome.

{Abbey Road Trip! Aaaaah! | Photo by Jess}
With huge thanks to our Alun for driving us there and back, and with thanks to my fellow travellers, Jess (who brought doughnuts; doughnuts for the WIN), Jenny and Charlie (and Alun), for just letting me prattle with excitement as we drove past a) the end of my sister's old road; b) my old offices in Shepherd's Bush; c) the pub in SB where I had my leaving do and d) a lorry containing ...

I kid thee not.


We laid down (I believe that to be the lingo) three tracks in the course of the day: a medley of Build Me Up, Buttercup/Love Really Hurts Without You/You're More than a Number in my Little Red Book; a medley of Who choonz: Pinball Wizard (#there has to be a twist; a pinball wizard's got suuuuch a suhhhhhpple wriiiiiist#) and See Me, Feel Me; then Elvis' If I Can Dream.

It's a weird experience hearing the choir and our tracks through hawge earphones but I reckon it made us raise our game. Big-time.

{Pose much? | Photo by Jenny. I think.}

{Lynsey and me, keeping it real | Photo by ... er, Wendy?}

{U won't belieeeeve wot Banananananananarama look like now ... | Photo by ... er ... sorry. I've forgotten.
But via Charlie or Jess. I think.}

{Lynsey and me, ever so excited}
Big shout-out due of course to Lynsey who has been my bestest 'pew buddy' for the last few years at rehearsal and my stage buddy as well. And apols to Lynsey for leading her astray with the wrong lyrics ... and probably the wrong notes, truth be told.

{Jenny and me, ever so excited ... | Photo by Jenny}
And shout-out to me little Jenny, my neighbour for the day, who also mistakenly trusts me to sing the right thing at the right time. Wahahaha. Nope.

{View from the control room! | Photo by MM for Voicerox}

{Get us! | Photo by MM for Voicerox}

{Get us! part II | Photo by MM for Voicerox}

{Why yes, we are famous, tourists; thanks for asking. | Photo by MM for Voicerox}

With enormous thanks due, of course, to our choir director, Mel, for making this happen then spending hours afterwards getting the mixes to sound even more phenomenal alongside the brilliant sound engineering team.

We're all a bit proud, I think.

Weekendin' ๐Ÿš†๐Ÿท๐ŸŽ„

... and walking ... and absolutely calling it legitimate training for the next challenge (next year ... details will follow in a later post) with Cousin Jo, during a raaaather splendid Harwoodian weekend up Herts way.

After a fairly seamless journey via Central London (aka the bowels of hell) and a little jaunt on the Underground (ewww), then a short trip out on a very nice little Greater 'Angular' service I was met by Cousin Jo, and taken home for a treat of pizza and warm Glรผhwein with a touch of amaretto (it's a Christmassy game changer, friends, you heard it here first!) and a good few rounds of the fabled YouTube Game.

The following morning, at a deliciously leisurely hour, Jo and I set out for a particularly nippy walk along the riverside down to Ware



OK, I'm OK now. Sorry. Ware.

{Canal boat life: for when you've adanuff of land-lubbing ...?)

{Yes, that's ice on the water's surface. Brrr. ❆}

In Ware we wandered, heading first for a handy branch of a certain chemists' (i.e. not a shoe shop...) to stock up on blister plasters and finger plasters (we were out of practice, and it's cold ergo splitty fingers) before wandering a little further into the village.

{St Mary's Church, Ware | Huge and stunning building, no?}
 We stopped for lunch at Costa (because, it would seem, Costa is A Harwood Thing); then continued our walk (resuming our Map My Walk workouts, yo) along New River which is neither new nor a river but more of an aqueduct.

{Little figure and little figure dog}

{Waterside Nativity} 
{Chilly Harwood Things}

 The New River still manages to be host to a whole flock of water-fowl, including these beauties:

and these lunatics

{Duck flotilla.}
 who swam past us, reached a certain point ... then swam back. Like some sort of formation team.

We clocked up around 6 and a half miles which isn't bad-going considering how flamin' cold it was and also it was our first yomp in a while.

We chilled out (or thawed out?) for a while at home, feasted on Flemish Stew (delicious, especially with potato wedges and Prosecco)

then Jo and I headed for St James' Church, Stanstead Abbotts, for a night of Winter Poems by Candlelight.

St James' is no longer in use as an operative church but it's a beautiful and impressive place, complete with tall box pews (which we thought meant we'd be sitting with our little Harwoodian legs dangling off the seats); as you can see, it means being comfortably 'boxed in' to a pew with tall 'walls' around it, complete with a little door.

Perfect for two Harwood Things to enjoy our port, mince pies and gingerbread in relative peace!

The evening itself was rather magical; four individuals including one Russian chap read snippets, Bible verses or whole poems all themed around winter and Christmas; and there was a little music by way of ... I want to say it was a guitar or a lyre or something but I didn't actually see what it was so I shall remain ignorant ... which played in between five 'fitts' of poems.

(Jo and I are reserving our judgment on some of the spelling and type-setting. And the omission of the last line of Bleak Midwinter.)

Anyway. It's very surreal to have poems read to you (especially four of them in Russian) by ghost voices (when you can't see over the top of the pew) but it was suitably festive, splendid, and very enjoyable!

We got home to a very lovely warm house, some Prosecco, a festive round of the YouTube game (some of those videos to past Christmas songs are just ... bizarre) and then cracked open the Vanilla Jenever which is basically boozy custard.

It was slightly surreal (again) to wake up the next morning to a decent fall of

{Sarabi cat was having none of it ...}
but nonetheless, in spite of a rather tricky start to the journey home (it took some time just to exit Hertfordshire), Jo's Jim persevered to get us back to Redhill, and in time to enjoy our Sunday roast at Home Cottage. Jo and I partook of some veh. Veh. Vehhhhh nice Aussie Shiraz Viognier (as the sole Aussie waitress went a little cuckoo over her first sight of snow!) with our pork loin mains, and even made room for crumble.

'Twas a marvellous weekend, with many many thanks due to Jo and Jim for excellent company and hospitality and transportation home in spite of the elements.

And life-changing drinks revelations.

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight ๐Ÿ“Œ

Fortnightly Web Finds ๐Ÿ•ธ๐Ÿ”Ž

Serious ๐Ÿ˜

• If One More Person Asks Me Why I’m Single, I’m Going To Scream | All right, Ms Passive Aggressive, calm down, dear | Still a moderately interesting read | on Bolde | via Feminists United on FB

Silly ๐Ÿคก

These 12 Memes Perfectly Illustrate Life as an Introvert

Sweet ๐Ÿฐ

• Tiny fruit bat eats a banana | on YouTube

Right, well, as a man bearing onions once said, That's shallot.

More either in a few days or in a fortnight, depending on energy levels and stuff.

Stay warm! Amaretto and Glรผhwein will help.

Trust me, I'm a doctor.

Well. I could be.

qb xx