Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sunday Summary

This week, I have mostly been...


Counting sheep

...52 sheep out of a possible grand total of 70 Shaun the Sheep statues dotted around Bristol (the other 50 were in London. We disregarded those). This was all part of the Shaun in the City endeavour, raising money for children in hospitals.

{Screengrab from the official Shaun the Sheep sheep spotter app}

I like Bristol. I like it a lot. I like it even though I tripped over a wonky paving slab and took off a layer of skin from both elbows and a knee. Like a small child. #faceplant

{A fairly accurate representation}

Bristol is a wonderful dichotomy (yes, one of those) of old and new, with boats, bridges and bombed-out buildings, and creative, arty, scientific places. And sheep. So much of sheep.

Behold: more photos of architecture. You know I loves me some arkitetcher.

{St Peter's Church}
{Bristol Cathedral}
{Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, from the top of the hill}
{Cascade Steps}

{Pero's Bridge details}
{Solar Energy Tree, Millennium Square}
{Planetarium, Millennium Square}

{Obligatory panorama #1, with most of the SS Great Britain in shot... | Click to view in greater splendour...}
{Pop of colour | St Michael's Hill}
{The Llandoger Trow, deliciously historical and literary according to the internet}

On the second (full) day we managed to find time to wander round the gorgeous Botanic Gardens and see lotus flowers in bloom in the tropical greenhouses:

{Spot the flahs}
{A tasteful array of cacti... aye...}

as well as crossing the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

{Click to expand for that full Clifton Suspension Experience...}

That evening before heading harbourside we saw fit to celebrate our achievements thus far in true QB and Ma QB style in Queen Square:

{Keeping it classy all the way... #wineincostacupsbaby}
And we shall probably never know the origins (or indeed level of mental balance) of the man in football gear asking for his photo to be taken with the Shaun in that park, or more crucially the man trying to shooting a hollyhock through some strange projectile device. #onlyinbristol

In spite of hills and frustrating motorist-centric pedestrian crossings (!) Briz is very walkable (unless you do want to go to the outer reaches to tick off those last 18 Shauns, in which case you do either need an extra day or wheels or something).

Ma (Maaaa...) QB and I earned our trophies and our libations big-time, and didn't get back to the hotel room until at least 9.30pm two nights running, such was our quest to tick off as many inner-city Shauns as we could. So worth it.

{QB with Bumble | designed by Marie Simpson}

Trails like this are a great way to see a new city (even when you end up on the harbourside at dusk and the map doesn't quite show that you can't just keep following the river all the way back over).

{Finally, the SS Great Britain in full, well done, QB...}
Someone else has taken much better photos of all the Bristol Shauns here  -- but then they probably weren't being hurried out of the way by a family with 7 children, all of whom had to clamour onto the Shaun right that moment in spite of instructions not to and urged on by an ineffectual parent: "Tarquin... I don't think you're supposed to..." (cue the taking of 25 identical photos of child atop Shaun) and fight over who got to sit beneath Shaun's undercarriage... ahem... ;-)

In all fairness, most other Shaun trailblazers were very polite and patient (and helpful!), and some of the kids with their cuddly Shauns in tow were just too cool for skool.

Listening David Levithan, Louise O'Neill and Lisa Williamson in conversation with Marie Claire's Corinne Redfern about their respective books and the issues of identity they raise.

{from left, O'Neill, Williamson, Levithan and Redfern}

On Thursday night, having barely recovered from all that sheep-walking, I met friend Clare at Waterstone's Piccadilly (sorry, Jill and Jo!) for a very interesting discussion on Another Day, Only Ever Yours and The Art of Being Normal 


Another Day, I think I've mentioned previously is the companion title to Every Day in which A is an identity without a body, and floats between different people's lives, falling in love with Rhiannon along the way (Rhiannon tells her point of view in Another Day); Only Ever Yours is a dark, dystopian homage to The Handmaid's Tale, about a post-apocalyptic world in which women are either phased out (female foetuses are automatically destroyed in utero -- horrible thought) or forced into one of three subservient roles; and The Art of Being Normal is the tale of a transgender teenager.

I took down a few key quotes from the talk but most don't make a lot of sense out of context so I will share my favourite David Levithan quote. of the night, which was:
[Your] teen years are your origin story
insofar as your teens are when you have the most autonomy and drive to craft your own identity, and also this is the time that has the most impact on your adult life. All three authors reflected that their own teen years were mirrored in their works here, both literally and figuratively.

And since I seem to have a burgeoning collection now of signed David Levithan novels, I added another one -- and a photo -- to the mix. Like the overgrown fangirl I am.

{Totally not awks at all!}
Pinterest Pin of the Week

Weekly Web Finds

Sensible (with a thinly veiled literary slant...)
Silly and Spurious

  • How do different animals react to a magic trick? | via The Poke | The alpacas' expressions are the best {Evie, this is what I was on about!}

And finally...

This did make me chuckle! Thanks, AJ!

Baa-ck next week, if you're lucky!

qb xx

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sunday Summary

This week, I have mostly been...

Resuscitating the PC!


Following a tentative "factory reset" that did a clean sweep of a ropey hard drive, the laptop (now known affectionately as Lapzarus) has risen like a PC-oenix from the ashes of, er, that ol' auto-repair loop and is now flaunting its Windows 7 capabilities like a brand-new machine.

...I really am the dullest of all possible tech dullards, aren't I? (It's a really quiet news week, folks, but next week ought to see an improvement...)

Still, without a PC, there's no SS. And without the SS there's no Sunday Self-Indulgence from me, QB.

And that wouldn't do (!)

(I'm kidding. You'd all manage perfectly well without this little injection of monotony.)

Another word to the wise from one who is far from it: if you ever plan to crash your entire system, it's probably cleverer to save all your system images and backup components to the PC itself, rather than externally. (It is however advisable to keep your life's work -- writing, photos, badge designs... -- on that separate, less volatile hard external drive o' yours...)

So when you do crash the entire system, the PC has half a chance of finding aforementioned recovery components.

I bin skool'd.

Of course I now have to claw back all my music (and there is a hawge amount...) but hey.

I'm rediscovering all those tunes I thought were epic back in 2003 and now sound a bit like Lindsay Lohan's Over. (Which is truly a bit awful, but I must have liked it once...)

And in a fit of proactivity I have finally cancelled that pointless subscription to a pointless support plan that failed to actually support me.

{Why, yes, AJ, that is indeed a grab from Bring it On}

Here's to being £7.99 better off every month...(!)


Um, so, yeah. If someone would like to explain this book to me I'd be most grateful. Charseverso.

I've also now started reading this:

sequel to/companion title to Every Day; and I'm very excited that Miss Clare (of Brighton in the rain fame) and I are going back to our literary mothership, Waterstone's Piccadilly, next Thursday to see Sir DL (along with fellow YA authors Louise O'Neill and Lisa Williamson) in conversation.

Wonder if I can add another autographed edition to my collection?!


I'm also very much looking forward to reading this:

Thank you, Evie!


(although it's also possible to be a-watching) ... to this series of short (30-40-minute) concerts from the 1970s, as recommended by my musical-encyclopaedic colleague, Gary.

It's all rather wondrous, pared-back, acoustic wizardry, with a little bit of banter mid-way.

Cousin Jo, I think you might enjoy these if you haven't already seen them.
*cuts out suddenly towards the end but there's still plenty before to enjoy
**features Both Sides Now. I have so much love for that song

{all via BBC4, on YouTube}


... Smack the Pony on All4 (the channel formerly -- four-merly? -- known as 4OD.

Much of it is still funny now as STP didn't try too hard back in the late 90s/early 00s to be satirical of the time, more of the way people were, and people still are.

Of course there were parodies in each episode of B*Witched, The Corrs, Oasis or Steps, but Those of Us of a Certain Age (i.e. over 25) can appreciate the old-skool take-offs.

... And in case you were wondering whether I actually left the house/office this week, I did. Honest. Here's proof:

Pinterest Pin of the Week

{I love this so much}

Weekly Web Finds


*(this is basically Literary Linkage masquerading as something else, isn't it...)

Silly and Sweet**

(**and spurious)
{via here}
  • Lodnon's best typos | on The Londonist | Thanks to Caroline R! [yes, that's a deliberate one right there...]
{via here}
{Stephen Collins for the Guardian | here}
  • I rediscovered this short but utterly sweet and clever film kicking about in my Evernote archives:

Apologies if I've shared it before but it bears a re-viewing.
  • This gif of Frida Kahlo made me laugh:

And finally, here's a little clue to what I'm up to next week...

Stay gold.

qb xx