Sunday Salon: Keeping busy

The Sunday Salon

I feel like I have done a lot of stuff in the last fortnight, possibly because today has been busy and isn’t over yet! But looking through my recent photos I actually do have some things to tell you all about.

Last Saturday I met up with my dear and lovely friend H in London and we went to the Natural History Museum, then to a super tasty meal at organic vegetarian Italian restaurant Amico Bio. However, I almost didn’t get to enjoy the meal because I managed to catch a touch of sunstroke despite it being only 15 °C with skies looking like this:

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Last Sunday H and her husband introduced me to world of British basketball, which is not something I ever expected to be saying, but it was actually a lot of fun. It was the BBL Play-offs Final so there was a lot of spectacle and fun around the match itself. If all basketball is like that I am a total convert.

Warm-up

I had Monday off work so I treated myself to a trip to the British Library before heading back to Bristol. I went to the temporary crime fiction exhibition, which was fun but a bit small, and then spent hours browsing the Treasures of the British Library. That is one amazing room – First Folio Shakespeare, 1000-year-old manuscript of Beowulf, the Lindisfarne Gospels, two original copies of the Magna Carta, plus a bunch of gorgeous illuminated books from all over the world and author manuscripts from some of the greats from centuries ago up to the present day. Truly amazing. And free!

This weekend I’ve spent mostly cleaning and doing chores (including unloading three bookcases, moving them an inch to the left, and then reloading them – that was fun) but I also had a nice visit from my Mum. She came to run the Bristol 10k this morning, so earlier than I would usually be awake on a Sunday, I was out in the sunshine cheering on all the runners and trying to spot my Mum.

Run run run

That picture doesn’t make clear how lovely and warm and sunny it is here today. Mum and I certainly made the most of my having a garden this weekend (though after last week I made sure I was wearing a hat and suncream).

And tomorrow’s a bank holiday! Is it a holiday weekend where you are? What are you up to (holiday or not)? Happy Sunday!

Sunday Salon: Here and there

The Sunday Salon

We keep on doing lots of stuff with our weekends. Mostly of the fun variety, which is good, but it isn’t half cutting into my reading time!

Last weekend we went to visit my family. As my Nan has been ill we dropped by to see her and my Grandad, which was lovely as she is now doing well. We saw my Mum’s new house that she moved into a few weeks ago. I got to spend time with my little brother who I hardly ever see. I showed Tim a few more sights from my younger days. And we enjoyed being in the countryside. Even if it was raining almost constantly.

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Before we came home, my Dad had the brilliant idea to take me and Tim fossil hunting. That was so much fun! We were on the Severn Estuary and it was hideously muddy but we found loads of real actual fossils, which was amazing. And the dog had a whale of a time.

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This weekend I went to London to see my friend H while our menfolk did their man thing at Farnborough Airshow. I finally got to go to Persephone Books, which is just as wonderful as I had imagined. Huge thanks to H for taking me there and buying me one of their beautiful books. We also talked endlessly and painted our nails and had a generally brilliant time.

Persephone Books

It’s all been great. But I’m still a teeny bit glad that we don’t have much planned for the next few weekends. What have you been up to lately?

Sunday Salon: Holidaying

The Sunday Salon

It’s been a busy busy week. Amazing how much more you can do when you don’t go to work! Okay, so I’m on holiday for a week and a half, which we are filling with three short breaks in a row. We seem to have managed once again to coincide our plans with glorious sunshine, which is not strictly good for me but I love how happy it makes everyone.

Part 1: London
In London, we went to museums with Tim’s parents, watched fox cubs playing from a friend’s balcony and sat reading in royal parks.

Urban fox

Part 2: Bristol
Then we came back to Bristol and enjoyed our city at a slower pace, took in a film at the excellent Watershed and went on a day trip to see the amazing sand sculptures in Weston-super-Mare.

Grumpy

Part 3: Melton Mowbray
Finally, we hopped on a train to Leicestershire to chill with friends in the countryside, which is where we are now.

Red

I am relaxed, I have done lots of reading (you can read my reviews of Enduring Love and Mr Fox, posted earlier this week) and I didn’t have to dip into my savings. Who needs fancy foreign holidays? (I’m not saying I never want one again. Just to be clear, I still want to see the world. But this has been a good holiday. That is all.)

Hello Japan! January mini-challenge: Something New

Hello Japan! mini-challenge

On Tanabata’s book blog, In Spring it is the Dawn, she challenges her readers every month to do something Japanese. Each mini-challenge has guidelines and January’s was “try something Japanese that you haven’t tried before”, which I did. And it was most certainly an experience.

For my birthday earlier this month I booked a karaoke booth at a local Japanese restaurant. I love Japanese food, I love karaoke, as do several of my friends – what could possibly go wrong? The only real question was why I had never done this before.

There were some setbacks. A few karaoke-friendly friends couldn’t make it so I ended up with a group heavy on the “I’ll come but I probably won’t sing” side. On arrival, as we squeezed ourselves into a tiny room that could only possibly have seated the advertised occupancy of 20 if they were all model-thin, was boiling hot and had the music volume so loud we couldn’t hear each other across the table, I began to worry this wouldn’t be all it was cracked up to be. The hostess didn’t explain the computer properly and we appeared to have a songlist composed solely of Madonna, Britney, Mariah and Japanese acts we’d never heard of.

Thankfully, while I knocked back my first flask of warm sake and caught up with my friends over the as-always immensely tasty food there, some of my more computer-savvy friends worked out not only how to adjust the volume to an acceptable level but also that there was a huge long list of songs to choose from hidden in a sub-sub-menu. And we were off!

And it was a brilliant night. Sure the computer crashed a few times, wiping our carefully crafted playlist. We suspected that the karaoke tracks and videos were largely cheap knock-offs, with hilariously wrong lyrics and videos either from some tourist agency or a sort-of Japanese Pop Idol show. But everyone had a good time, everyone sang (sometimes all at once with harmonies and everything) and I laughed so much I cried.

I loved that we had to take our shoes off and that we sat at a table at floor level, something I’d only seen in films before. I loved that the most resistant of my friends let inhibitions go and belted out tunes wholeheartedly. If they had let us we could have carried on all through the night and they would have made a fortune out of our sake and Asahi consumption, but sadly they closed at 10.30pm.

It was a great way to spend an evening with friends and I shall definitely accept any opportunity to try it again.

(By the way, this is my 100th post! Very exciting. I was hoping to post about my newly redecorated library on this auspicious occasion but progress has slowed on that front, mostly because I’ve been too exhausted to help Tim out with the legwork. We will finish it…one day.)

Long hot summer…on and off

Well I think the rain is confirming that summer is now over. It’s been a busy one and as a result I haven’t blogged or read as much as I had hoped to. I have, however, had a lot of fun, some of which was caught on film – or rather, camera sensor. Here are some photographic highlights.

Chilling with good friends,

a trip to Cornwall,

impressive acrobatics at Bristol Harbourside Festival,
Flight

an astronomy fair during a trip to Devon

and some more meanders around Bristol with good friends.
Sparkly summertime

Edit: I just noticed that this is my 50th post, which doesn’t seem that many at all, but it’s still a milestone so yay! 50 posts!