Sunday, 5 June 2016

Sunday Summary | Sweet like chocolate

Dear FOQ

I'm back!
Did ya miss me?
Silly question.
Of course you did.

This week(end), I'm wishing Ms AJ a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY for yesterday! 28! A growed-y up! Hope you're having a splendiferous time, young lady! In honour, here is a gif of ...


This fortnight, I have mostly been ...


I've been keenly awaiting Paper Butterflies, Lisa Heathfield's follow-up to Seed, and this was pretty stupendous, the kind of book you start reading ahead of all others on your To-Read pile because the temptation is too much, and next thing you know, you've been lying in the bath for over an hour, reading that book until only two or three chapters remain (and you try to finish it the next day over lunch in Costa and have to stop because, oh wait, there's something in your eye ... #allthefeels).


I'll be honest: I preferred Seed

insofar as the premise was stronger, and the novel's world more believable. If extremely unnerving.

Heathfield is a vivid and adept writer, and you will get caught up in her interpretation of the world, but American she ain't, and there are a lot of cultural and linguistic anomalies in her depiction of a pre-teen, then teenage, girl growing up in the American 'burbs. Only the final chapters justify the setting.

That said, the threat posed by June's sadistic stepmother was real although we never quite find out whether her presence was the actual cause of June's mother's death.

I've also been reading ...

Wein excels at writing strong female protagonists even in time periods where strong female protagonists were grossly overlooked. And that is all. If you haven't read Code Name Verity and its sequel, Rose Under Fire, do. That is also all. 


{The Fault in Our Stars}


{Sarah's Key // aka Elle s'appelait Sarah}

(Oh, hormones, bless you for making my viewing habits so delightfully moribund ...)

Oh but also ...

{The Big Bang Theory}
On to season three now:

and Sheldon has just adopted his signature catchword.

It's funny watching the whole series back how some of Sheldon's most endearing quips are introduced much later in the series than I remember.

Helping out

... for a couple of hours on a stall in the local shopping centre, promoting the 150th Anniversary of our lovely church. We had less footfall than we hoped (having been left in limbo in one of the 'corridors' rather than right in the middle of the shopping action – fine, discount sofas, you beat us to the good spot ...) but we gave out quite a lot of leaflets, people did stop and chat, and a few children participated in the 'messy church' colouring and sticking fun.

{Photo by Fr Andrew}
I hope this means we get a decent turnout to the anniversary celebration proper on 18th/19th June!

It's always terribly sad when nobody turns up for your birthday party ...


... my photos.

And happening upon this little treat:

Six-year-old QB sporting a cat on her head. Oh wait, no.

That is my hair, people.

If only GHDs had existed in 1984 ...

Catching up

... with my former work lovelies, Clare, Eloise, Evie and Katerina, for a 1950s/1960s dining experience at Ed's Easy Diner in Soho.

Much milkshake (oh, hello, Oreo) was imbibed, and much talk and catching up of the news was done. It's always excellent to see these women: they're funny, smart and empathic. A proper little support group.

I was back up in London the following week (after I swore to myself back in February that I'd never go back into that soulless chasm of self-absorption where people who walk right at you because they're too busy staring at their phones ... oh, just look up and watch where you're going, you mindless twonk-noggin, oh and everything costs twice as much because London mistakenly thinks it's worth the extra ... ahem) to see Katerina again, and meet her friend Luisa, so we could lay down some proper travel logistics for Greece, which is Happening Very Soon! Woop woop!

Είμαι τόσο ενθουσιασμένος!*

Expect many, many photos and such in the next Summary!


One of the (many) things I love about my new team (and also loved about my old team and basically any team I've ever worked with) is their full and enthusiastic acceptance of baked goods. Especially my neatly-honed lemon drizzle loaf, the recipe for which came via The Simple Things magazine some years back and is now my cakey go-to.

So, on my Extra Bank Holiday-day I set to baking some more of the aforesaid loaf, and experiment with the simplest of recipes in this awesome book Ma QB gave me for Easter – appropriate, I'd say:

I need to hone my biscuit-baking skills, and possibly make more space for the rolling-out, but I did give a game go to making vanilla cookies, in the ever-so-seasonal (!) shapes of stars, bells ... and camels. Yeppity.

{Slightly awkward camel positioning, there ...}

{I have the decorating dexterity of
a three-year-old ...}
But the verdict was good on all fronts, which was reassuring. I'll let them eat cake again, and soon ...

(Slow) Cooking

... because QB cannot live by biscuits alone (OK, I probably could but it'd be a little grim).

Sometimes, on a whim, you throw beef mince (pre-browned, about 250g for one person), onions (also pre-browned), garlic, oregano, basil, a carton and a half of chopped tomatoes, some courgette and celery, and a generous slug of vino rosso, into a slow cooker, leave for many, many hours on high or auto (at least six hours).

You boil spag, grate some cheese atop the whole concoction et voilà!

Spag bol magic happens.



Last Thursday I brazenly wagged choir practice again (naughty, naughty) to drive (OK, be driven) 

{Cheeky back-of-the-car selfie ...}
to the quaint little village of Markbeech for a barn-storming evening, with Ma and Pa QB, and a marvellous assortment of friends (hi, Jan!).

{Photo by Jan with thanks!}
It was quite a what-I-call whimsical evening, in a very remote little hall; the band were good fun, the caller was a good laugh (his stories were, er, let's just say 'tall'), and much, much dancing was done.

Oh and Ma QB, here's how I knew that Irish folk song I was vaguely humming along to – first heard on a fillum of course:

Ah. The dimples of Jeffrey Dean Morgan again. Sigh.

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight

{Jos, this still makes me grin every time I see it!}

Fortnightly Web Finds

and finally ...
  • Our South African friend Suzelle on how to become an avocado aficionado (very useful in our office when the avo delivery is depleted in two days) | on YouTube


This week's Lovely People big-up feels like it needs to be a nice lengthy one, in alphabetical order: AJ, Charlie, Clare, Eloise, Evie, Fern, George, Jos, Katerina and Natalie.

Special mentions also go to cousin Jo who is ensconced in her last weeks of training for the 50k London to Cambridge yomp, to cousin Julie (HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOR WEDNESDAY!), and to Fr Andrew who is also a Friend of Quirky, it transpires!

More in a couple of weeks.

Τα λέμε σύντομα!**

qb xx

* See what Google Translate comes up with!
** Go on, you know you want to!

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