Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sunday Summary

This week, I have mostly been...


{Love these quick-read classics!}

Still Alice was a great if upsetting read, by the way -- if anyone wants to borrow my copy, do holler.


Walking shenans just got REAL: yes, my walk quota is gradually rising in indirect proportion to the amount of time I've got left 'til the London 2 Brighton Challenge (<< do please check - and kindly follow - the gratuitous sponsorship link, friends).

As a result this weekend saw me clock up not one but two walks. They don't call me Hardcore Harwood for nothing. Actually, they don't call me that at all.

On Saturday I forewent one Voicerox concert, one Palm Sunday drama rehearsal and two party invitations (not to mention a partridge in a pear tree) to chalk up this walk:

There was a fair amount of hedgerow-jumping required (where'd all the pavements go, darn-nabbit?!), so the iPod came off pretty soon after I joined Rocky Lane.

However I am getting much better at Mindful Marching, surviving three hours' walking without NOW! Dance 2002 to see me through. (Admission: I did get so starved for music at one point, though, that I sang to the sheep. But that's between you, me and the flock, 'kay?)

{My heartfelt rendition of Gorecki by Lamb
did not go down well}
Fun factoid: See that area on the map, to the right, leading upwards and round and down again? That's mostly Chipstead. You may remember Chipstead from this post back in February.

I'm pleased to report that this time round, and for the most part, Chipstead did not faze me. I was even able to admire that in fact it was rather pretty.

{The Granary | It's not leaning, I just
take wonky photos}
That said, whoever built a trail through a golf course, or more likely a golf course across a viable walking trail, needs to be blindfolded and made to walk the same trail across a muddy field, and see what a discombobulation it is. Even in daytime the route's a blighter. I had to be directed back on track by a friendly golfer, so off-kilter were my wanderings at one point. Just wrong.

But after that all was well. I crossed a patchwork blanket of fields, and marched onwards and homewards

{The arty edgy underpass beneath the M25. Scenic, oui?}

even meandering the grounds of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School. Not entirely sure I was meant to be on campus but there we go.

Clocked up 12.18 miles in 3.43 hours. Not bad-going. But wait, there's more!

In a fit of post-payday euphoria I invested in... wait for it... A LAMINATOR.

{Laminatin' my training programme...}
And when I set out on my trogs (yes, trogs, plural) I was able to take with me a fully laminated, and therefore waterproof, list of directions, attached to me via a lanyard and yes I really am the biggest walk geek that ever lived.

{Oh. Dear. Just... OK, move on.

Today I headed back up Reigate Hill for a two-and-a-half-hour slog to Mordor

SORRY, misread the map again!...

It is of course Mogador, and over Walton Heath (another golf course, yay!), then back along the North Downs and Pilgrims' Way...s to home Reigate Station.

Lots of wind. And mud. And sun. And rain.

{Why the long face...?}
Fer cryin' out loud, weather, would you pick a nice consistent system and stick with it for more than an hour, please?!

First this...

{It were right grim on t'moors...}
then this...

{I spy... a tiny sparkle of sunlight}
And for a good while (yay) this:

Cue: Happy (if ever so slightly 'touched' qb...

{Again with the #spesh}

Today's scores on the doors: a moderate 7.24 miles in 2 and a half hours. Not bad given the aforementioned rain. Mud. Wind. All of that.


Well, it's still House, natch, but I've just finished the episode in which this happens:

Makes me happy. That and that irrepressible spark between House and Cuddy.

Pinterest Pin of the Week (with added segue)

The segue being of course that I have decreed that April shall be Awesome, and once again I'll be clogging up the blog and my already brimming Pinterest boards with positive affirmations to keep us all feeling buoyant, empowered and, of course, awesome.

Weekly Weblinks

Literary Linkage

But it's written by Sarah Polley. I'll allow it. | {via NYPL, via AV Club}

Non-literary Linkage

And finally...

...Oh, go on, have another piggiwig!

Stay awesome, you lovely lot.

qb xx

Monday, 23 March 2015

Sunday Summary Monday Missive *now with Tuesday Tack-Ons!*

This week, I have mostly been...


Still Alice could have so easily been a TV movie in book form, or a Jodi Picoult-style medical dilemma novel (and no disrespect intended because I do enjoy those novels!), but it's so intelligently crafted that the reader can witness Alice's swift decline from Alzheimer's both from her perspective and from those of her husband and children, and it's heartbreaking. And I can't imagine anyone else but Julianne Moore playing Alice so I'm even more curious to see the film now.


Yesterday I was invited to be the last of four folk within our church (three if you discount the Bishop which I'm not sure I'm allowed to...) to give a speech to the congregation on My Life, My Faith and Me

Far be it from me to pass up an opportunity to talk about myself for ten minutes (...since I pretty much do it in writing on here every week...) I had stepped up and written the account, had it vicar-approved, and was prepped and ready.

And... it was up there with The Most Nerve-Strangling Things I Have Ever Done.

Flying solo to NYC was a breeze compared to the prospect of speaking about my faith journey with 160ish congregants. Singing two duetty lines of a Girls Aloud song in last year's Voicerox concert was a piece of Battenberg compared to this. I'd had anxiety dreams and everything.

Well, I was going to be up there admitting that I had a ridiculous amount of imaginary friends as a child (true) and that I'd dyed my hair pink

in a moment of depression-driven insanity (also true). It was probably understandable that the situation might elicit anxiety of sorts.

But it went well, and everyone was lovely and positive and the anxiety dream (in which I was standing in front of a field of folk, flapping about with papers for hours and never finding the ones I needed...) was ill-founded.

I'm among good peoples.

And on that note I hope you will allow me a moment of mawkishness: I've realised recently that I have managed through some great fortune to surround myself with some truly fantastic people, and I'm honoured to call them (well, you, my readers, really!) my friends. Only among you lot can I happily don a wig and pout for a post-modern ironic selfie, or rock out in a habit, or strum a uke (badly), or dance like I have rickets, or sing misguided Dido songs. 

Or let fly some totally mostly innocent innuendo about Disney films, or Tom Thomas the chopper pilot in Fireman Sam

{Don't ask.}

You lot are awesome.

This week, I have also mostly been...


This weekend's uber-walk target was 4 hours and I'm glad to report that yesterday I had great company (Fiona again) and that in spite of going a little way off route and hauling ourselves up a stonking big hill somewhere in those woods in the top-left of this map

we did not get lost. Repeat, we did not get lost.

Admittedly it's quite hard (not impossible, mind...) to get lost around here: some sort of genetic homing instinct kicks in (internal GPS, if you will).

The weather was kind, (the majority of) the route was pretty...

{Spot the windmill...}
{"The long and winding rooooooad..."}

and I had the chance to try out my new (and utterly hardcore) Eurohike Pathfinder 35l rucksack

{This bag means business}
I'm telling y'all, it's about half my height so if I need an ad hoc sleeping bag en route I only need use that...

And it was properly lovely to have a cheery walking chum to chat to. Sadly we didn't get the chance to celebrate with a carvery roast, so I hunkered down at home with a ready meal and passed out in front of the sardonic onscreen medic of the moment:

Hence the brazen absence of a Summary last night, and a pathetic attempt at apology by meerkat video:

But the stats justify the fatigue, my friends: 11.65 miles in 4hr 18.

Pinterest Pin of the Week

Weekly Weblinks

Literary Linkage
And on that note...


qb xx

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Sunday Summary

Happy Mother's Day!

This week, I have mostly been...


My Goodreads review is here but to summarise: Meh.

Now reading

and about to start simu-reading


Today's Big 'Un took me on a neat if perilous little loop around the wilds of Woodhatch and Reigate, onto the little highways and byways alongside which no pavements are destined to run. (RIP the poor deer whose remains I spied in a gulley on Slipshatch Road at one point. Grim... Not that a deer sees the benefit of a footpath but nevertheless)

I'll say this for local drivers: sometimes they do bomb it down those lanes like they just don't care. But more often than not they'll slow and acknowledge you for stepping aside and for being a responsible walker (and walking facing traffic). And that gives me the warm fuzzies inside.

I took off my iPod the minute the pavement dropped away and as a result had a very quiet but mindful little yomp on the outskirts of the pretty little villages of Betchworth

{Betchworth Bridge}
and Buckland

(at which point I nearly fist-pumped the air when the pavement reappeared).

Clocked up 12.24 miles in 3 and a half hours. Not bad given all the hedgerow-hopping. And yes, that comedy wrong turn deviation I made before I'd even got out of Redhill.


House. Binge-watching would be a more accurate description (Netflix, you feeder, you). I began drafting this post from the tail-end of Series 5. I'm now three and a half eps into Series 6 and obsessed with the re-emergence of "Huddy" (that marvellous House-and-Cuddy sexual chemistry come to fruition).

How will it all pan out?!

Best I finish watching that episode, eh, just to put my mind at rest?

I've also been trying to get into Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the new comedy (also on Netflix, darn it) about a girl released from an apocalypse cult who re-establishes herself in NY (yay to the NY backdrop) -- still trying to fully warm to it as it seems a leetle over-acted at times, but there are some great cameos and some great lines so maybe I'll persist.

Hanging out with Natalie

Yea verily, on Friday evening I got to spend some long-overdue, much-needed qualidee time with my beautiful bestest friend (who bears more than a passing resemblance to a younger Julianne Moore). We shopped for photo props (and twirling batons, and aviator glasses -- thank you, Nats, I love 'em!), made cocktails:

"Here's your Cosmo, miss..."
sang highlights from the Queer as Folk soundtrack very loudly to the amusement (very possibly) of my neighbours, made more cocktails (enter the Sexy Solero: Malibu and mango juice), cooked cremated pasta-with-tomato-and-mozzarella, subsequently set off the smoke alarm, put the world to rights in between the frivolity, and took a shedload of selfies (some with wigs and glasses to set off our inherent fabulosity, natch):

{"Livin' with my bitches #live"}
With requisite postmodern irony (because we're both in our thirties...) this tune became our theme de la nuit (on Spotify because there's a very rude word that pops up in the video!).

The shenans of the evening led to a great need for a Saturday-morning fry-up, and a local caff obliged.

{...need... coffee... and... carbs... now...}
Excellent start to the weekend? We nailed it.

Pinterest Pin of the Week 

...because I can't stay away from the boards at the moment:

via Pinterest | Ruche on Tumblr

Reminding you lovely people that, yes...

Want to write the Sunday Summary for me one week? Don't be shy. These size-five shoes are not so hard to fill. Drop me a comment on the quirky brunette's Facebook page if you're keen.

Weekly Weblinks

Literary Linkage
The Great Gatsby West and East Egg necklaces | via Pulptastic
| via here

Non-literary Linkage

Only a couple this week...
| Rob Gonsalves
  • Flippin' brilliant: The Archers, as depicted by Playmobil, ergo, The Plarchers | {on Twitter} Thanks to Ma QB for this one!
| Ambridge Synthetics on Twitter
Right, well, bits of me are protesting at sitting at this desk when they could be sprawled over a POÄNG armchair and footstool and rejuvenated with a ready-meal dinner and wine, so I'll 'op to it. The body wants what it wants.

Have splendid weeks, people.


qb xx