Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sunday Summary | Here I lie // in a lost and lonely part of town

Dear FOQ

Hope you've all managed to have a bit of a rest this weekend. Last night I went to bed before ten like a geriatric after the day's choir-related hi-jinks. And had a lie-in. Forget Dopey. Sleepy is now my default dwarf setting.

But, wait, isn't next weekend ...

Hurrah! More sleep! More pointless flat reorganisation and pseudo-'sorting' whilst justifying adding more items to the endless IKEA wishlist.

Bring it on, I say.

This fortnight, I have mostly been expending all my energy by ...

Reading ๐Ÿ“š

Watching ๐Ÿ‘€

{These two, though. ๐Ÿ’•}

Oh and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's back on Netflix for a long-awaited third series, yay!!!!

Beginning Ma and QB's Month of Musicals* ⭐๐ŸŽถ

... with Stepping Out at the Vaudeville, Up London Tahhhhn Way (along with "Aunty" June)

*although, strictly speaking, Stepping Out wasn't technically a musical!

We didn't get to see Tamzin Outhwaite: she's still orff with a poorly foot so, more Ouch/wait than Outhwaite ...

which is a shame because the current 'Mavis' had very limited stage presence. Considering that will always be the Liza Minnelli role it needed charisma. Y'I know, Liza's a tough act to follow:

 but a little sparkle would have been nice.

That aside ... it was a proper feel-good play with some actual LOL ๐Ÿคฃ moments; and in spite of the fact Amanda Holden a) needs a good feed and b) was borrowing the best nuances of her performance from Julie "The Legend" Walters, she was actually quite enjoyable to watch.

Star of the show for us though, and by a long shot, was Tracy-Ann Oberman as Maxine (the brassy one in leopard print) who completely owned the stage.

'Mavis' should have taken a few pointers from her ...

And I was about ready to propose to Geoffrey of the Petering-Off Sentences by the end. Just wonderful.

Next week, Ma and I are off to see RENT so we can find out how to measure, measure a year.
How about looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove? 
How about loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove?
How about looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove? 
Measure in love.
Well, that's decided, then.

Singing with my Voicerox Lovelies ๐ŸŽต๐Ÿ˜˜

No big concert again this year but this end-of-term free recital of sorts was pretty epic size-wise, with standing room only at the back of the church. Testament, I think, to our pool of fans and our reputation as a pretty schhhhhweet and talented choir. *rubs knuckles on lapel*

In all seriousness, though, it went dang well and the audience were giving us huge cheers from the opening number (Can You Feel it/Killer) so we'd pretty much whipped them into a frenzy by the time the encore (Tragedy) came around. And after 18 years, my 20-year-old self finally got to put into practice the Steps moves housemate Chris was schooling me on in the doorway of our student house before my birthday party. (Cheers, Chris, you taught me well, ya long-haired hippie boy.)

To recap on our setlist (and I have almost definitely got this list out of order especially as I haven't included the solos but I'll take that risk):
Can You Feel It/Killer mashup/medley
Blackberry Way
What a Wonderful World
I Only Have Eyes for You {A Cappella}
Club Tropicana
Tragedy (when the feeling's gone and you can't go on)
Never Can Say Goodbye/The Love I Lost/Let's Go Round Again medley
Take it to the Limit
and Sensational
{Photo by Ma QB from Miles Back in the Pews}
Check out my friend Lindsey and me conspiring to pitch a particularly tricky line in Club Tropicana ... And wait, isn't that you, Sandra, throwing some shapes at the front of the audience? ๐Ÿ˜€ So lovely to see you, Gill and Liz!

I'd be here 'til next Summary name-checking all my Lovelies who were up on the stage with me yesterday as well as all of those who came to see us Do Our Thang so I shan't but I will give special name checks to the five epic soloists: Alun, Becky, David, Diane and Pete; also to Jess for sustained fabulosity; to my fellow First Sopranos in our A Cappella number: Sue, Julia, Emma and Sally (and Emily in absentia); and to the Bill's brigade: Alun again (because Alun always warrants all the mentions ๐Ÿ˜Š),

Al (who is an unofficial VR Lovely), Charlie and Jenny; to Ma and Pa QB, and Distinguished Friend of QB, Jan, for braving railways (and having to cadge a taxi when Someone Under a Train meant no service from Redhill at the crucial time) to come and see us.

{QB and chandelier and hedgerow fizz: a study | Photo by Jan}

Oh, and our audience raised over £800 for the community centre and the Rainbow Trust charity. Whoa. Not bad. Not bad at all.

And here for your delectation is our a cappella rendition of I Only Have Eyes for You: video by Jess' son Jacob, with massive thanks:

I'm so proud of this bunch of people.

I'm hoping to add more photos and video to this 'ere segment at a later date: watch this space!


Well, technically only today this week. But last weekend I made aubergine parmigiana with the cheese that Sis and Ceri had actually made at home so that was fun!

Tonight: lasagne a la Miguel Barclay, with a more realistic quantity of bรฉchamel sauce added in. Srsly, Migz, 1tsp of flour and 1tsp of butter plus 150ml milk?? No, luv.

{The orange tinge to the cheese comes from the cheddar being
oak-smoked. The mature cheddar I was going to use had gone
all green and gnarly so I had to break into the tasty emergency cheese.
Needless to say it resulted in a happy paprika-tinged accident. NOM.}

Scoffed whilst watching One Fine Day.


Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight ๐Ÿ“Œ

Fortnightly Web Finds ๐Ÿ•ธ๐Ÿ”Ž


• How real books have trumped ebooks | on Guardian | via Caroline R

Uhm, excuse me for a second while I break out my ...


• The books no one wants any more | How is The Fault in Our Stars in this list?! OK, it's depressing as heck but it's a good book! | on Guardian | via Goodreads on FB


When power ballads lie to you | The first one won me over, natch | on The Daily Quicky

Classical art gets a FaceApp makeover | Snorfle | on The Daily Quicky

{Photo by @Ollyog}

10+ of the worst Design Fails [WARNING: SOME OF THESE ARE A BIT RUDE-LIKE!] | No I do not own a pair of flamingo leggings (#6). Fun fact (thanks, Emily!): the manufacturer later changed the design of the leggings. The change to the design was not a huge improvement ... Symmetry is not your friend. | on BoredPanda | via Edd

{Maze design failure aside: will you look at all that Comic Sans?!?!?!?

• This Gilmore Girls LEGO set could become a reality | Teenytinylegokirk and teenytinylegoluke? YES PLEASE! | on Nerdist

{Attention to detail, though; where's Luke's megamullet?? | via here}
• This Ghostbusters Playmobil collection is already a reality! | And ... in spite of Hadley Freeman's enthusiasm for the film I've still never seen it; I should probably rectify that, right? | here


To paraphrase Robbie Williams, because, why wouldn't you?

You've been sensational; you've really done your bit.
It's been emotional; you know I love that shhhh ... enanigans

Until next time, FOQ!

qb xx

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Sunday Summary | Here you go, way too fast // Don't slow down, you're gonna crash

Dear FOQ

How are we all? Good? Good.

This fortnight, I have mostly been ...

Reading ๐Ÿ“š

So good. So good. My only criticism: too many coincidences and one very predictable outcome, but enough surprises and atmosphere to prevent that from mattering.

I then devoured this in about a day:

Lovely story as it is, I'm about 30 years too old to appreciate this book. Neigh mind, eh?

On a Morpurgo tip, I'm now working through:

I am under no obligation to read Grown-up Books All the Time.

Watching ๐Ÿ“บ

Oh and this:

{What We Do in the Shadows}

which came as recommended by Cousin Jo (along with some other treats that I shall be working through in the foreseeable future).

What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary on the vampires of Wellington, NZ written by Jemaine "Flight of the Conchords" Clement and Taika Waititi (who has one of the Best Faces on Film). Incidentally ... The Empirical Laws of Vampiring According to Buffy lead me to expect all vampires to evaporate to dust upon staking but I blame Joss Whedon for that little fallacy.

Spending quality time ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ‘ฃ

... with Cousin Jo in hearty Hertfordshire last weekend. We Harwoods know how to weekend, that's fo' sho'. (Especially with that Bank Holiday Bonus Day thrown in for good measure.)

I arrived in Herts on Friday night (after a joyous journey by train and tube – ugh, tubes + uber-big rucksacks = smelly mess = nobody likes you)

to a warm welcome involving fish and chips and a couple of drams in one of the village's many pubs where there was even a live band covering some epic hits of the 80s and 90s; then, on Saturday after a monumentally good sleep and marvellous, relaxed mid-morning basking in the sun (you remember sun, and warmth, right? Those things we got last month?) and drinking excellent stove-top coffee (how else does one roll on a weekend?) Jo and I headed out on our promised Yomp.

Said Yomp took us through two nature reserves and alongside canals, then – after a perfectly timed pitstop at a pub for a beverage and an array of bar snacks – up through the fields and far away past all manner of truly scrumptious houses and properties.

Side note: it appears I have a Thing for red brick.

We covered roughly 10 miles (according to my MapMyWalk; Jo's, which was probably more accurate and matched to stride, had us in at just under 10. So I'm rounding up.).

{Rye House Gatehouse} 

{The brick markings on the ground
show where the individual rooms once were}

{Check out that chim-er-ney.}

{St Andrew's Church, Stanstead Abbotts.}

{Harwoods doing Harwood Things}

The evening involved homemade lasagne and lemon meringue pie, the latter of which has been added to my ever-increasing list of Life Goals; followed by a heady trip down the parallel rabbit holes known as Spotify and YouTube, which threw up some true delights and long-forgotten treasures, of which I shall share four for your delectation:

On Sunday we drove back to the 'Hill and finished off a splendiferous weekend with a hefty and marvellous lunch at Home Cottage. Because, when in the 'Hill, there's no place like Home.

Hanging out in imitable style ๐Ÿธ

... with this one:

{Gif by Nats}

We were both keeping it quite low-key for various reasons, but we still managed to snaffle a few silly selfies.

{Photos by Nats | Gif makin' by me}

I also did some cooking and plied my guest with Lady in Red cocktails (which went down a treat: we have us a new convert, Jos; I see a Babycham-fuelled night in/out up ahead ...):
{Photo by Nats}

but not so many we weren't up and at 'em early on Saturday to do some quality retail therapy before Natalie had to head off home

 and I headed off to celebrate Sis' birthday, belatedly, with All the Food, Prosecco and Silent Rugby (BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SIS!).

Oh, and Nats and I both trialled my new massage cushion:

and I found out what I'd look like with googly eyes. ๐Ÿ‘€

Kinda the same.


Curtains up, folks, it's time for ... ๐ŸŒŸ

This week, I'm very honoured to debut ...

... Mr and Mrs Nobody.

That's right.

Not. One. Submission. To. The. Showcase.

Oh, except for this lovely colourful photograph taken by Ma QB:

... Next fortnight, perhaps?

Send your submissions to me, qb, at

C'mon. Don't be shy.

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight ๐Ÿ“Œ

Fortnightly Web Finds ๐Ÿ•ธ๐Ÿ”Ž

(Not many, you'll be pleased to read ...)

• Actor, scientist and all-round pinnacle of awesome Mayim Bialik (y'know, TV's Blossom or, more recently, The Big Bang Theory's Amy) on being a scientist with a strong faith | on YouTube | via Jill W

LOADS of pics and gifs of googly eyes on All the Things | because, why wouldn't you? | BoredPanda | via Veronica Dearly on FB

Aaaaand, that's it.

Have fandabbydosy fortnights, everyone. I'm off to rid my head of the "Moby. Moby. Moby. Michael Stipe." song.

qb xx