Sunday, 16 July 2017

Sunday Summary | 16 [39] today and up for fun ...

Dear FOQ

How are we all? Fabulous? Good? Average? Muddling along?

This fortnight, I have mostly been ...

Reading 📕

Watching 📺

• The Handmaid's Tale

which I may have omitted from last fortnight's post. W'evs.

Episode 7 was a huge disappointment; while it answered a lot of questions about what had happened to June's husband, Luke, after June was taken to Gilead, so, so much of it was filmed in low light that it was near-impossible to see what was happening and, er, care.


• Before I Fall

... I'd got this confused with If I Stay. Rookie error but if these YA films/adaptations will be titled identically and focus on ridiculously beautiful-yet-surprisingly deep teenagers in car accidents how the heck do we discern? Observe:


You see my dilemma? OK, they're probably not that alike but it was Saturday night, and Netflix, and I'd had wine, and ...

Before I Fall did have the added bonus of wonderful Jennifer Beals, though, so that was nice.

• Me Before You

I watched this with some reluctance after reading the book back in October, because, adaptations almost always come with fifty shades of disappointment but I was pleasantly surprised by how well this one translated.

I'll admit I found Emilia Clarke as Lou too hammy to begin with what with her over-emphatic brow and girly voice, but she'd calmed down by the end of the film and it was completely legitimate that she and Will (hello Sam Claflin and his killer dimples) should fall for each other. I do wish they'd explained why she'd stayed in her hometown though; they left that unanswered question hanging somewhat when it had been explained at length in the book.

Oh, and Norgstar, you'll appreciate this: it took me half an hour to place 'Nathan' (on the right there)

as Brax from Home and Away:

but I got there! #onlyfiveaussieactorsintheworld

Listening 👂🎶

... to a lot of Max Richter's compositions again. I rediscovered Max Richter on Spotify after remembering that it was his music on Stereomood that got the novel up and running in the first place during a particularly productive NaNoWriMo month some years ago. (Update: it was four years ago. Gads. I should really put my foot on the ol' novel accelerator.)

But, sweet mother of chocolate, I could write a novel the length of War and Peace just listening to his works. Genius. (The novel won't be that long. Trust me. I'm already trying to work out how much of the lingering first chapter I actually need.)

Writing ✍

Did I mention the whole writing-again phenomenon (doo doooo do-doo doo)? Heck, I'll just mention it again.

Holi-staying* in Style 🌴😎

Bear with me for this little rundown; it ain't so little.

QB's Holi-stay (*because we're British; we don't take vacations, we take holidays and thus, our punny derivatives on such expressions really ought to reflect this) began on Friday evening:

... OK, sorry, no, it truly began at lunchtime on Friday with all the pizza:

{See this? This is my sweet 'n' sour pizza. You can't have none.}
and continued in the evening when I rocked on down to the Hometown to take in Rock Choir supporting Complete Madness (yes, that's a tribute band; they're quite good but when you've seen the real thing you maintain a certain level of snobbery about the whole thing).

Sadly, despite this being Ma QB's rock choir, Ma QB had absented herself due to feeling poorly. However, the choir (even without Ma QB to bolster the sound) did sound good, there were some great new numbers and few solos so the choir sang mostly together, which is when they are strongest.

And here's most of Shut up and Dance with a random cameo by family friend Graham, and me talking in the background and not quite sure where to point the phone.

Having reserved around six picnic chairs for people in a small plot surrounded by thousands of other folk, we were later joined by Lynn, Jan, Eve, Sarah and Dave (Barn Dance aficionados) in time for Complete Madness, and so we couldn't really depart early as vaguely planned.

Complete Madness was testament to the fact there is only one way to dance to ska and that's to jiggle yer wobbly bits. (Also, once you've heard one ska/two-tone/Madness track you really have heard them all although I have a fondness, as many do, for It Must Be Love.)


Superb family BBQ shenanigans at Casa de Cousin Julie, with the Harwood/Warrior side of the clan while cousin Mark and his family were over from New Zealand (they'd very kindly brought some pretty favourable weather with them).

Having trawled through my collection of photos it would transpire it's been ten years since the last get-together that I remember, when the youngsters were still in single figures and not the scarily grown-up-and-tres-sophisticated teenagers they are now! Weep weep!


Chilled on Sunday.


Dear diary. Today I exceeded my 12k step target by trogging from the doctors' surgery (whole vial of blood, gone, but apparently I am in tiptop health so that's nice) then on to the dentist:

for a minor ticking-off over slackitude with the flossing sticks, and then finally on to Rahgate for the most amazing massage and facial treatment (known as the Cloud 9, should you ever wish to request it) at Luminis.


My Fitbit, that judgmental piece o' tech, buzzed loudly at me from the dressing-table around 9.30 to remind me what a lazy slacker I was; and after that it was nigh-on impossible to get back to bed so much of Tuesday was dedicated to the dissemination and dethroning of Pinterest (see below) oh but also the novel writing, oh yeah, babies, I am a writer because I do the writing and the putting down of the words from my brain and yes I occasionally get distracted by firming up details and taking too seriously the marriage of reality and fiction such as, for instance, if a person were to walk from a fictional rendering of Kingsbridge, Devon, to a fictional coastal village that may or may not be based on Hope Cove (it is) how long would it take, and is it a practical undertaking? (Just under two hours and ... oh, come on, QB, of course it's near-impractical on those narrow country lanes but this is fiction; make it so.) 

I does the writing ergo I is writer.


After a lovely breakfast at local hipster haunt West Central with friend R, I headed on down to Brighton for a Mosey, a Wander and a Pootle around the Laines (street art and epic window displays being the primary focus, it transpired):

{Sass & Belle: emporium of llamas, flamingos, pineapples and nautical goodies}
and then on to the Pier for the obligatory fish scampi and chips:

{Don't worry. These weren't my chips. As if I'd be so clumsy ...}

before watching (though regrettably not boarding) the rides (too many bags on my person to leave unaccompanied; besides it's no fun to scream "I'm going to diiiiiiiie" on your own – Clare L, I totally need you there for that!).

By some miracle I managed not to spend all my money in Snooper's Paradise (none, in fact but had I not been there alone they would have relieved me of at least £3 for the vintage photobooth); instead I bought enamel kitchenware (!) in Bert's Homestore, and then in Utility (which is working up the ranks to be among my top three shops in Brighton); and of course I had to pop in on Mr Magpie to stock up on my print block letters. Numerals, this time, actually; 7 and 8. Also came away with a hyphen and an apostrophe as an added gift from the shop owner. I do love complementary punctuation.

The 'day' trip ended as is my wont with a very brief paddle in the sea (it was a lil' choppy but I am nothing if not a hardy Harwood).

{Resting Beach Face}

I had an actual

and did not haul my slack derriere out of bed until gone ten.

I did however manage to get dressed, and head to the church for Lunchtime Music, and it was definitely worth leaving the flat for.

Pianist Yoko Ono

{Completely not this woman}
[I'd get bored of the Beatles jokes too, I'm sure]

played a recital comprising Brahms, Debussy, Chopin, lesser-known Polish composer Paderewski, and Haydn, and it was pure unadulterated escapism. (Even with the sirens blaring down the road.)

Here's an older video of Yoko warming up and playing before a concert in Eastbourne:



Gotta get down on Friday:

Everybody's looking forward to the weekend:



The plan was to head up town for the annual pub crawl with my old workmates but the Ruddy Blasted Fecking Overtime Ban Doth Decree that No Trains Shall Run Directly to Cla'am; nay verily thou must change at East Croydon (aka one of Dante's original Circles of Hell) ... That kyboshed that plan. I just cannot even with the stress and the changing and the onward journeys.

(Sorry, former workmates; I'm such a bailer.)

However, I made up for my Day of Doing Little in the evening by beginning the birthday celebrations with drinks (many drinks, all the drinks ...) starting at the Home Cottage and ending up in another pub at the other end of town (which seems like a good idea when you're getting there, and proves more of a challenge getting home).

In residence were bestie Natalie, Jos, Steve and Paul, and many shenanigans were indulged involving a jukebox and a lot of hiphop, some epic moves, some Patti Smith, maybe some Wrecking Ball as well ... and apple sourz.


Good times, though, many, many good times. And so many dubious photographs that I can't just reproduce them in the usual linear fashion; nay, kindly watch the following strange little video montage. (Also, I literally cannot caption all of the photos. Some make nooooo sense.)

With thanks to Natalie and Jos for the majority of these photos. I could discern who took which ones individually but ... you want this post this Sunday not in a month's time, amiright?


{Megan F, you've inspired this little insert!}
OK, I'll stop that now.

Yesterday done be my birthday.
I done get old again.

So in the manner of the elderly, I finally dragged my aged carcass out of bed just after nine, washed off last night's makeup in the shower, then decided it was a good idea to accept a video call from Ma and Pa QB whilst draped only in a towel and looking haggard as. Still. It being a celebration of my day of birth during which I was in a fairly primitive state, I'm pretty sure they've seen worse. It was lovely, anyway, to be sung to.

It was another fairly low-key day marked with the superbitude of a lunch spent with some more of my Lovelies: Charlie, Al, Jess, Jacob and Mimi, Alun and Chris at Côte in Rahgate.

I was, may I say, spoiled absolutely rotten, from the amazing gifts from my girlies to the complementary Kir Royale and the crêpes (with birthday candle!) from the staff. Way to make a girl feel special and not in the usual way!

{Photo by Charlie}

{Photo by the suspect oddity on the right there}

{Birthday crêpes!}

{Me posse}

Oh and yes. You may notice that my hair has turned a particular shade of

But fear ye not. Regardless of what product I rinse through my barnet (totally not to hide the grey or anything) I will always be at heart a Quirky Brunette.

A relief to Charlie, I know, who bought me amongst other delectable things The. Most. Amazing little makeup bag emblazoned with the very words (aka my Title): Quirky Brunette. 💗

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight 📌😠

Pinterest, you are on the naughty step with me and no mistake.

Points of grievance:
📌  I've now discovered (with all the free time that a holi-stay allows) I can no longer share pins with my Pinning friends on the browser version of the app.
📌  I can no longer organise my boards alphabetically (although to be fair I could only do so through an unofficial Chrome extension but if Pinterest officially offered this useful function instead of the utterly redundant Try Aidan Turner's Face option then I wouldn't have had to resort to such behaviour).
📌  And in trying to migrate my pins (and there were about 4,000 before I started streamlining; I'm now down to the mid-hundreds) from the Liked Pins board I Did Not Ask For (because, yep, I want the Like button back) in order to clear up any duplication, it transpires that the Big Brother of Pinterest puts a limit on the number of pins you can delete or move in one go because apparently, my friends, that's a spammy thing to do.
📌  Plus, they are so above themselves now that they're a commercial success (😡) that they do not feel it necessary to respond to users' tweets or comments on their Facebook page about the app's diminishing and infuriating functionality. Nor do they canvass the opinions of their casual users when introducing all these new functions that only seem to benefit commercial partners, not the crafters and creatives (and the fans of Aidan Turner's Face) that made the site the success it is in the first place.

So by way of rebellion ... no Pins this fortnight because I'm too annoyed with them to romanticise the whole Pinning experience.

That'll learn them.

This rant was brought to you by #firstworldproblems

Fortnightly Web Finds 🕸🔎


• Why do we still insist on calling women "Miss" or "Mrs"? | on The Pool | Apparently "Ms" has negative connotations. I just like that it sounds like a bee buzzing. Mzzzzz. [FYR: not my real reason for taking Ms in case you're all thinking I'm off my gourd.]

Overcoming envy | also on The Pool | Yeah, let's see how this goes, shall we...?

• For all the bad news we're fed, good news is magical. Family saved from drowning by human chain | on Sky News | via ... oh pants, just deleted the source link, but it might have been Cheryl Strayed of 'Wild' fame ...

• Love these children, singing 'How Far I'll Go' from Moana (one of them is wondrous Glenda's niece):


Baby flamingo tries to be an adult; it's too much! Too much of cute! | on Bored Panda | with thanks to Jim of Jo-and-Jim for the heads-up on this!

• Southern (o hai my NEMESIS) have Done Something Right by putting fifteen-year-old work experience student Eddie in charge of Twitter | via Lad Bible | Almost** makes me wish I'd been working so I'd have cause to Tweet this wonderful young man. Although I'd probably have to ask him something about trains to test his mettle, not dogs in jeans. (**I said 'almost' ...)

• Meanwhile, also on Twitter, chanteuse and very darkly hilarious Alison Moyet tries to find the component of offence in all jokes tweeted to her to prove a point. She's very sweary at times but this made me laugh solidly for quite a while:

• Google Translate Sings ... Mary Poppins | on YouTube | via Matt H | The original concept; no Anne Hathaway this time:


Well, that's all for now, folks.

Ma QB and I are off down to the seaside:

{So much more than just a power station, Charlie!}
for a couple of days (so expect some more deliciously bleak shots of lighthouses, shingle and Derek Jarman's cottage).

Until then ...

Stay gold.

qb xx

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