Monday, 2 May 2016

Sunday Summary Bank Holiday Monday Missive | Mister, your eyes are full of hesitation* ...

... (*or, "vegetation"?)

Usual prize (chocolate -- and yes, cousin Jo, I still owe you yours) up for grabs if you can identify this week's lyric in the subject line.


Dear FOQ

This post is written, very delicately, and really rather late in the day, on the laptop forever now known as LAZARUS.

Not only has it survived The Windows 10 Update Fail of 2015, but has also survived QB's Density in Not Realising that the AC adapter was plugged into a ropey extension sockety thing. (If you missed that mini-drama on Facebook, you, er, well, didn't really miss that much.)

So here we are. Here I am. Typing. On my laptop. Which I stroked rather tenderly and affectionately the moment my desktop reappeared. Ahem.


Well, strike me roan, knock me down with a feather, slap me round the face with a wet kipper (OK, don't do that, that's just rude), but it's been really quite a full-on couple of weeks. So please indulge me as I relate the details of those two weeks ... to you.

This past fortnight, I have mostly been ...



Absolutely Fabulous

Oh and have you seen the trailer for the new film?!

By rights, Eddie and Pats should actually look like this by now:

{Well, Patsy's hair is almost there but that's it ...}

Curse their eternal youth. Love these ladies.

{Edina, doing her best Charlie impersonation...}
This was duly chased up (once I'd exhausted the whole series except, oddly, the episode where Saffy is engaged to one of the Fiennes' -- Joseph? -- which was missing from Netflix) with:


Such fun!

Oh and, I almost forgot ...

Fifty Shades of Grey.

{You watched what?!}
I did watch this (and did sleep through bits of this). And I watched it with Norgstar, in case you wondered if I'd taken absolute leave of my senses.

We'd had wine.

It was a Saturday night.

There were profiteroles involved.

Put all judgment aside if you know what's good for ya.

... It's actually so bad it's almost ... no, I wouldn't say good but it's entertaining. And Jamie Dornan should probably work on taming that Irish accent.

{Spector primes his next victim ... #badcrossoverreference
Not that we don't love an Irish accent but it's not Christian Grey's, so it doesn't quite belong there.

Catching up ...

... with my bestie, this beautiful lady:

(after much time and a nice little bus ride):
{Waitin' for the bus, checkin' out the Tunbridge Wells
architecture, like a dweeb...}

After a stop-off a chez Nats to feed the small humans (who are getting alarmingly not-smaller every time I see them, weep weep) and to feed the much bigger human (me) with wine:

{Photo by Nats}

we headed back into toon for a delicious dinner and much-needed catch-up at ASK.

{Isn't she gawgeous?}
{Photobombing the obligatory food shot ...}
{and ... that would be my colossal pork belly on a bed of all the potatoes
in Kent. Velly nice it was too.}
It was long overdue, but thankfully, Nats and I have more quality time booked in very soon. WOOHA!

Shimmying on down ...

... to darkeste (well, actually remarkably sunny, thanks for asking) Wilt-Shire to catch up with my fabulous friendaroonie Norgstar (who you may remember from previous posts such as QB and Norgstar Rock Out in Hope Cove -- and if not, why not? She's a LEGEND):

We had a splendiferous weekend that involved taking the bus to Bath for a good ol' mooch around.

Cue many, many photos with one or two comedy captions as per usual.

Take cover, babies.

{Bus buddies | #spesh}
{A skilled U-turn by the ferrymaster there ... | @ Pulteney Bridge}
{Yarn bombing, ninja-level | Old Bond Street}
{Norgs, colour co-ordinating with the street-art}

We also managed quite a substantial shop-around*, truth be told ...

... so it was only right and proper-like that we stopped for sustenance (and a chat with our elderly future selves) in Patisserie Valerie ("why don't you come and feed me, Valerieeee...?").

Below, my friends, is a Croque Madame.

Basically a Croque Monsieur ... but with an egg.

Very, er, gender-specific, for a brunch dish. (Very nice, though. Very nice indeed.)

{Note to Norgstar: I love eggs. Just keep 'em coming.}

This eggcellent lunch (for Norgstar also had eggs, scrambled, with smoked salmon and huge wedges of lemon as requested) strengthened us enough to continue our considerable wanderings.

{Bath Abbey}

Funny story about this next photo.

Quirk Family Legend Has It that a twelve-year-old two-year-old QB once disgraced herself and the family by having an epic screaming abdab outside Bath Abbey (all the way from one courtyard round to the other).

Now, no photographic evidence exists to corroborate this, and of course Ye Olde Facebook didnae exist so I can't even ask Ma QB to post a screenshot of her Timehop from 35ish years ago for proof (!) so I can only attest that this never happened.

Me? Have a screaming abdab tantrum? Perish the thought.

(OK, maybe I did. But knowing me I was probably just hungry.)

Nevertheless, I thought it necessary to re-enact that moment specially.

The looks I got from tourists, I tell thee. #spesh

{Photo by Norgstar}
{The eponymous baths of Bath ...}
{Norgstar in her natural habitat:
the Charidee Shop #luvabargain}

{Uber-hip-looking Ustinov Theatre}

After several misadventures with GPS/Google Maps failing us epically, we finally found our way to my natural habitat, the Book Shop -- notably Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights, which I'd, er, well, yeah, read about in The Simple Things magazine just a month or so ago.

And it was magical.

{Pages of Tintin line the stairwell walls ...}
{The bibliophile's salon}

{Collective nouns line the toilet walls
and before you wonder why I was
taking photos of the toilet walls, first
ask Norgs to show you
her toilet selfie ...}
{The ceiling of the basement room, festooned in literary tote bags}
{Norgs enjoying a hearty tome there}
There's a very good chance I bought a book in here and that it was a Bronte. Cannot now find it but I suspect it's been consigned to the To-Read list for the next two years.

Oh but also ... look what turned up on my newsfeed just a couple of days later!

This very shop!

After we'd extricated ourselves from the shelves, we meandered back to the bus station by way of the town centre again, passing a few notable sights en route.

{I want to ride my flowery bicycle ...}

Oh and lest I forget ... * we went to Primark. 

I found myself inexplicably drawn to the Homeware section.

Meet the new member of the flam-ily. As yet unnamed but I feel she deserves a showgirl name. Suggestions welcome.


On Sunday, we rose bright and early to carpe the proverbial diem ...

Oh, who am I kidding?

We were both still absolutely wiped from stomping the hallowed pavements of Bath so it took us a little while to Get Up and Go on Sunday morning. But when we did, we got up and went, by car, a short way down t' road to beautiful, beautiful, historic Bradford on Avon.

Or, as we like to call it, Boa. We like Boa. Boa be pretty.

And it were Proper Boa, I tell thee. ... All right, I'll stop there. The Bo Selecta references just age me.

Kindly enjoy some photographs of pretty people (Norgstar) and places (Boa).

{Looking all touristy on the bridge}
{Inside St Lawrence's, one of the last
remaining unaltered Anglo-Saxon churches}

{Holy Trinity, BOA, currently being renovated}
After having a wander through the tiny but beautifully preserved church of St Lawrence (via a very sweet if expensive artisan fair in St Mary's Church Hall where we discovered this woman's beautiful jewellery) we ambled up the hill to seek out the amazing view over Bradford.

Some of the little nooks and crannies on the way up were distinctly Mediterranean in feel; others were unabashedly English.

{The door to the Secret Garden ... ?}




{On the right, the Chapel of St Mary Tory | on the left, whoa. View!}
{Click the photo to see the panorama in full splendour}

{Why, it's positively tropical up here!}
{Inside St Mary Tory | This photo does no
justice to how flamin' beautiful the stained-glass
window is ...}


{Photo by Norgstar}

Ah, now, let me tell you a little story about this garden ...

Once there was a book shop in a little side road in Boa.
Its name was Ex Libris, and from the front it was small and unassuming.
But once inside ... the front of the shop was stocked with new titles; and, should you follow the passageway up through to the back of the shop, out to the yard, turn left and climb the steps,
you might have come across ... the second-hand books shed.
Which smelled of age. And books. And aged books.

{Photo by Norgstar}

We spent quite some time in there.

And needless to say, it being a bookshop an' all I did not come away empty-handed. I believe the age of the place got to me, and I came away with:

The Age of Reason | Jean-Paul Sartre (Penguin edition, for the quirky cover)
The Age of Innocence | Edith Wharton

I cannot be stopped.

After our book-buying misadventures, Norgstar and I took our sandwich/sushi lunch down by the river; then wandered further along (past this whimsical little waterside temple):

to the also-very-ancient-and-historical Tithe Barn.

I'm being glib.

It was truly gorgeous.

I should however make a confession.

My name is QB, and I am dangerously transfixed by old architecture.

If buildings and rafters are not your bag, I should scroll down now. That said, it may already be too late for you. In which case, sorry. 

Not sorry.



Back in the centre of town, we took stock of the time of day, said, "So what if we've just had lunch? Let's have tea, since we're here 'n' all ..." and shimmied on into this beauteous little place:

where the (gas) fire was roaring, and the waitresses were dressed in Victorian garb. At which point, I'm liberally thieving another photo from Norgstar's side of our shared album:

{Photo by Norgstar}

{That would be my roulade and coffee ...}

{... and that would be Lady Norgstar with her
Victoria Sponge}
 Replete, we staggered out of the tea rooms, and headed back home.

Norgstar -- 'twas a truly gorgeous weekend. Thank you, our Kes. Oh and the house looks gorgeous. Other people who aren't Norgstar: check out her home renovation blog here!


in a uke stylee!

No photos exist this time round (apart from this one -- I was greeted at the door of QB Heights: Senior Division on Monday by Ma in these spectacular spectacles):

but, Ma QB and I returned to Uke Jam last Monday, and had a truly daft time -- think the highlight was trying to combine playing A Little Respect by Erasure with singing proper harmonies. ...

{Thatchagimmeno thatchagimmeno thatchagimmeno thatchagimmeno...}
We may need to work on this a bit between sessions. I will say, though, that for all my self-teaching efforts last year (when I had the time and impetus), the learning process is accelerated greatly by playing alongside other people.


to Juno Dawson speaking at my local library to launch Surrey Libraries' Shelf Help scheme.

{via Surrey Libraries on Twitter}
I last saw Dawson speak in Waterstone's Piccadilly alongside David Levithan (Aug 2014), and a lot has changed since then -- Dawson (then James) has since come out as transgender and is now Juno. I did feel sorry for her in that her public 'coming out' seemed coincidental to another notorious 'coming out' (some relation of the -- grunt of derision -- Kardashians whose pre-transition misdemeanours were conveniently overlooked in the wake of the shock of how aesthetically pleasing she was); but Dawson's journey had already begun two years prior to the public announcement.

So there, Caitlyn Jenner.



No one was better placed than Dawson to speak about the benefits of reading both fiction and non-fiction to teenagers undergoing mental health issues; Dawson has suffered anxiety since her teen years, and has also gone through a huge mental tsunami through accepting herself first as gay, and then as transgender. That said, she was careful not to focus solely on herself but to talk generally, and very poignantly, about the need for books to be available to answer the questions that teenagers might not want to seek out publicly.

Dawson acknowledged, and this was my favourite quote of the night, that 'we are all on a spectrum of wellbeing' throughout our lives; and mental health -- and issues -- should not be romanticised in literature for teenagers, but should be spoken about frankly and openly with no taboo, as any health issue should be.

{via Surrey Libraries on Twitter}
Spot the QB in the crowd ...

Oh and as if I needed any more books in my life (hint: I always do) I bought a copy of her new book, Mind Your Head, and I got it signed.

Once a fangirl, always a fangirl.

Celebrating birthdays

First, Sis', with a gorgeous lunch at Epsom eatery The Derby Arms on Saturday alongside Ma, Pa and Sis' mandude Ceri:

{Ma QB and Sis, elegant as ever}

{Pa QB was astounded by the possibilities of these new Mobile
Telephones that all the youth seemed to have these days ...}
And no, unlike this time last year, I did not walk all the way there.

What d'ya take me for, mad? (Don't answer that.)

The food is really, really rather marvellous there. (Prosecco wasn't shabby either. Hic.) Oh and our waiter looked like a brunette 80s-era Kiefer Sutherland and had a French accent. These were not bad things. At all.

I can't tell you what everyone else had (although I think Sis had some sort of brie shenanigans followed by seafood linguine and Ceri had The Biggest Fish in the World bar Jaws) but, cue the food porn:

{Tiger prawns in sweet chilli and ginger sauce ...}
{Sticky Chicken ...}
{Glazed lemon tart with whipped cream |
Ya had me at 'glazed'}

We then shimmied on back to Sis' house for banter, and cake. Because, birthdays = cake, natch. Even though we'd all eaten our body weight at lunch.

Oh, OK, we didn't actually eat the cake.

We just let Sis blow out a candle because, well, birthdays = obligatory candle-blowing-out shot.

Happy Birthday, FF! 

(She doesn't read this blog but hey!)

Then, in the evening, more bubbly abounded at Voicerox Lovely Diane's and her husband's epic Studio 54-themed birthday party.

{#nofilters #yeahright #allthefilters}

{Glitter socks with heels. Totes on trend. Pinterest told me so.}

As you can imagine it was ... uhmazing.

Glitter balls. Bubbly. Spectacular vocal stylings from the birthday girl herself, her daughter plus ukulele (now, that's talent), and the fantastic vocalist Mary Pearce (backing vocalist for all sorts of fabulous people including Ch-ch-ch-ch-chaka Khan.

Chaka Khan.

Chaka Khan.
Chaka Khan

{Diane and Mary Pearce being all fabulous}

And dancing. So much freaking dancing the heels had to come off.

In residence from the Famille des Lovelies: Jos, Fern, Pete (who also did an epic turn on the mic rocking out to Disco 2000), Martin and Ali, Alun, Åse, Debs, Fiona and Bianka! (Sadly no Charlie as she had another shenanigan to attend -- but we missed you, lady.)

I somehow failed to get photos of Debs and Åse, so will try harder next time we have a shindig together!

Beating the Bounds

(Sounds cheeky.)

... K, we're getting there, people.

Today I spent a good four hours beating the bounds (walking the boundary) of our church parish, with a lovely gathering of fellow church buddies.

The weather was a bit dodge when we set out but improved massively as we walked the bounds, which were actually farther afield than any of us probably appreciated.

We clocked up an impressive eight miles -- and this included several children who undertook the whole route and were exceptionally good-spirited throughout.

The route was interspersed with moments of reflection led by our priest, Father Andrew, which made us ever so slightly more mindful about the journey.

{First proper sight of proper bluebells}
{... I also likes me a bridge}

{Buddies Reg and Ellen}

{Reg stylin' it out in front of the
Wray Common windmill}

{This looks familiar ...}

{First flashes of blue sky ...}

{Photos do no justice to the contrast of the pink
and red blooms on these trees ...}

Made it! See? I've been busy, innit?

Pinterest Pin of the Week

{Bring on the summer! And temperatures
that exceed 9 degrees ...}

Weekly Web Finds
{via here}
And finally ... just this (via Tiffany)

...I'm going to flamin-go now.

You're welcome.

qb xx

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