Sunday, 19 July 2015

Sunday Summary

This week, I have mostly been...

...on my Week Off. With no access to the Bookseller bulletins and hence no link-collecting, the Literary Linkage (and actually the Non-literary Linkage) will be somewhat truncated.

You're secretly relieved, aren't you.

{"Woohoo! A week without mention of that new Harper Lee novel!"}

Reading (and finishing)



It's speckled with great characterisation and some very shrewd observations. (Not to mention a nod to a collection of old Rupert annuals.)

But ultimately, it is so darn domestic it lost my interest quite early on. Starter for Ten worked because it had that University Challenge hook. One Day (while it had a hugely disappointing ending) had that set-on-one-day-a-year hook (15th July, a notable date...).

The family goes on big holiday in an attempt to bond hook of Us just seemed to have been an excuse for David Nicholls to gallivant round Europe on a tour of art galleries. It was all too transparent.

I'm sure Mr Nicholls is a very nice man; this is just not the most illuminating book I've ever read.

I've since moved on to this gem of 1930s childhood:


Watching

So much. So much. (Albeit usually while doing something else such as eating, badge-making, ironing, or hair-straightening, or make-up, or finally scrapbooking my NY trip!)

And mostly lavish, summery films (to counteract the generally disappointing weather this week):
  • Priceless
{via here and Yahoo! images}
  • Stealing Beauty
{via here}
  • Cracks
{via here}
  • The Book Thief
{via here}

Also: Clangers, and Breaking Bad*

*Confession: I still can't get into it. I don't know what it is but I can't... nope.

Sorry, fans. Don't hate me.

Give me another ten years and maybe I'll come around.

Heading down to Brighton...

...with little friend Clare for a slightly wet and windy yet fun and food-filled day by the seaside.

After enjoying an epic raspberry Danish from the stall outside the station, I introduced Ms Clare to the delights of Snooper's Paradise where we rummaged through old postcards and photos of strangers in wonderful old garb, then as is my custom down Brighton-way these days (see: any post on here written between 2012 and today...), popped into the photo booth and pulled a few peculiar faces. As yer do.

{Keeping it classy. Always}

We wandered through the Lanes, stopping at That Little Tea Shop in the Lanes (its actual name, innit?) for some rather gritty but delicious and very hot coffee.

{Photo via here}


This was our aperitif -- we then meandered down onto the Pier, battling the elements all the way:

{Wind-hair, setting trends everywhere...}

and had a cosy fish-and-chip lunch at the Palm Court Restaurant. Ms Clare had fishcakes and I had calamari with sweet chilli sauce and a separate plate of obligatory chips.


We let our food go down long enough to work up the energy and courage to load a Pier-issue "Fun Card" with enough credit (albeit with the need of a top-up) to ride on the Waltzers (on which I screamed like a banshee and was convinced I wouldn't make it off in one piece -- spoiler alert: I did), followed by the comparatively tame Galaxia on which I got an attack of the giggles with all the bouncing up and down that the ride entails, and the Twister, on which I pretty much crushed poor tiny Clare into oblivion. That'll learn me for not sitting in the Larger Person Sits Here position.

Soundtrack of that ride:

Me: *CRASH* ARGH! SORRY! I'M SO SORRY! *CRASH* I'M SO SORRY! *CRASH* ARGH! I'M SO SORRY!

(I really am sorry, Clare!)

Sadly, the miserable, wet, windy weather meant that the majority of the really big scary rides and roller-coasters were shut. Sad face. However we'll just have to go back down on a calmer, brighter day, get ourselves an 'unlimited rides' wristband (buyable online for a fiver less than on the day, if the website is working...! Cheeky...) and scare ourselves silly. Right? (Or, go down to the newly-reopened Dreamland!)

We left the Pier, and headed down to the beach for a paddle. An actual paddle. We even had a leap over a few choice waves. And y'know what? The water was lovely (if a little choppy).

{Obligatory toes-in-the-water shot}
{Might as well... JUMP! | Photo by Clare}
And the sky was so overcast I managed to get enough decent video footage from which to make this trippy little gif:


of which I am quite proud.

Oh and Clare got me hooked on taking panorama shots:

{Click photo to view at a larger size}

After we'd dried off the feet, we clambered back up into town for a final spree in Scoop and Crumb (my favourite tea-time go-to) for one billion calories of happiness by way of black forest cake and ice cream (two scoops to compensate for the fact they'd run out of whipped cream).

{Photo by Clare}

My arteries are still twitching.

Getting Older

...Maybe I'm still single. Maybe I'm still childless. Maybe I'm still living in rented accommodation.

But in spite of these things that are still true one year on from my last birthday (!), I'm grateful; and I need you, my lovely readers, to know for what. For you all. My family, my friends. You're marvellous.

---

On Wednesday (15th July, made famous by David Nicholls and St Swithin), I spent my 37th birthday (there, I'm owning it: 37 years ancient) taking it easy. Ish.

Ma, Pa and I drove down to Rye, for a meander round one of the historic Cinque Ports, which also included a climb up the clock tower of St Mary's Church. If you ever get the chance to do this, do! The views are fantastic and the climb is wonderfully perilous in places (well, there are ladders and very narrow passageways, any road), past the very workings of the bells themselves:

{"Sanctuaryyyyy..."}
and up onto the tower roof.

{Oh look, a panorama | Click to view larger}
{Dungeness is just about visible on the horizon...}

{Wait, what, another panorama? | Click to 'ave it large}


{This one was taken on a Canon SLR with expired film, hence
the crazy tones}

Down a little way from the church is this treasure-trove:


and it really is tiny, they're not kidding; no room for more than two patrons at a time, but what a delight!

It's also worth popping into the information centre/shop where there is a handful of vintage penny slot machines to see and use (you need pre-1971 pennies to play).

...The things people did for entertainment before cats and sloths on YouTube, eh?

The town itself is deliciously olde-worlde, with plenty of Tudor-style housing and cobbled streets:


and Lamb House once played host to author Henry James as well as writing brothers E. F. and A. C. Benson (the former wrote Mapp and Lucia):



At about 12.40 as it began to look more overcast (red herring: it then got brighter than it had been all day) we stepped into the wondrous, historic Mermaid Inn for a spot o' lunch.


Pa QB and I opted for steak and frites (with Lyonnaise onions) and Ma QB plumped for the Catch of the Day.

Line of the Day:

Pa QB: "What's the catch of the day?"
Barman: "Fish, sir"

We're easily amused.

Apologies to my vegetarian readers but there now follows a gratuitous lunch shot of my steak and chips:

***FOOD PORN ALERT***

{I like my steak very, very well done...}

(You can come back now.)

We then moseyed for a little while longer, back towards Landgate, and therein found chocolate emporium Knoops (on recommendation from at least two workmates). Ermagerd.

{Photo from here}

It was too warm a day for their legendary hot chocolate, so I bought Ma QB and myself a 70%-cocoa chocolate milkshake to share.

Again, ERMAGERD. It was amazing. And rich. And so amazing. And so very rich.

Replete, we drove along to Camber Sands but alas the ongoing construction of new sea defences meant that, quite frankly, the beach looked like a building site.


Ma QB and I had the obligatory paddle:


but we soon shuffled off for home, for tea and cake, for birthday bubbles:


and the Shaun the Sheep Movie (which is very funny and very clever).


Continuing the Getting-Older Celebrations

On Friday I gathered a bundle of gorgeous friends together (or, I invited them and bless them, they came) for a quiet birthday dinner at the relatively-newly-opened Bill's in Rahgate.

Of course, I was about to face a QB-No-Mates/Carrie Bradshaw scenario sitting in the restaurant alone:

{Photo via here}

...after I accidentally walked in to, and sat down at, the wrong restaurant.

I kid thee not.

The distinct lack of mac-and-cheese on the menu or dried chillis hanging from the ceiling, plus all the Côte iconography (!), was finally a giveaway (!!!!!) and I hurried on out to where I was supposed to be... (Curse you, Rahgate, for having so many fabulous places in which to eat that after a while they all look alike when you're too giddy or blinded by sunlight to discern one from another. Ahem.)


When I finally arrived at the right restaurant they were, thankfully, expecting me (!); I was even greeted with a birthday card on the door (thank you, lovely Jude!) and the sight of my lovely friends rocking tiaras and surrounded by more sparkle than a Voicerox post-concert dressing room.

{Where's ma party peoplez at?!}
{Nice melon... coolers! | Photo from Jos}
{Birthday B | Photo from Jos who, well, basically took
much better photos than me especially after I'd had
two glasses of Hedgerow Fizz...}
After what has not been the happiest of weeks, my little birthday supper was exactly what I needed, so massive thanks to Charlie, Jos, AJ, Fern and Ben and, y'know, all of you who sent messages (written, spoken or sung -- thank you, Nats, Cam and River) and cards, complete with wonderfully embellished envelopes (George) and made me feel all squooshy inside. 

I am a lucky girl.

{Party panorama | Click to view -- you know the drill}
I was spoiled absolutely rotten, and I now have so much excellent spangly home bar equipment I need to invite people round for a cheeky Woo Woo rather than wasting all that Archers and those mini umbrellas and flamingo straws on myself.

Oh, and as a first aside, I'm currently saving up my cocktail umbrellas for either of these projects:

1) Cocktail umbrella wreath

{via here}
or

2) Drunken hair adornment a la Audrey Tautou in Priceless

{via here}

And, as a second aside, speaking of flamingos, it would appear I've been demonstrating something of a love for the crazy pink birds of late.


Flamingos and pink cocktails. What's not to love?! (And I love that my friends glean perfect present choices from my Pinterest Pins! 1920s/Gatsby chic. Flamingos. Cocktails. Bunting. You lot are good.)

So in honour as you'll have spotted I've given my birthday dinner photos a little flamingo flare. You like? Of course you do. There is another flamingo hidden somewhere earlier in this post -- prize of, er, probably a Mars Bar to the first person to spot it...


Singing

Last night was our annual Voicerox Summer Party for choir and family & friends, held in a newly-done-up and friendly pub, with BBQ laid on for a charitable donation, and karaoke. Lots of karaoke.

{Jos and Charlie ready to rock out | Blurred artfully by me... :-/}

Of course, the hitch with inviting family members is that nothing dents your ego more than having two nine-year-olds out-sing you on multiple occasions, but I like to think we growedy-ups held our own.

It was lovely to see our friend Alun out of the sick-house and in social circulation again (there ya go, Alun, your honorable mention!) -- we had to get a performance of Love Shack in there before it all got a bit... rowdy.

Rowdier.


{The 'Family'}

Pinterest Pin of the Week



Weekly Weblinks

Literary Linkage

... I got nothing. Nada. Zip.

Non-literary Linkage
  • Loving this wrestler's parody of All About That Bass | Thanks to Glenda and Charlie for sharing this:


Its all about that cake and chicken!
Posted by Capital Breakfast Manchester on Wednesday, 4 February 2015

  • Photoshop disaster of the day | on The Poke
  • Finally: a self-help book worth reading? | on The Poke

Well, I think that's plenty for one week.

Until the next...

qb xx

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