Sunday Salon: All culture is here (except the bits that are elsewhere)

The Sunday SalonIt’s been a bit busy of late. This weekend I’ve finally had a chance to relax after the crazy that was last weekend. We crammed a lot of stuff into too short a time, and my energy levels are showing it. So shockingly (or not) I still haven’t written any of those long-promised book reviews. I have, however, done lots of fun cultural stuff I thought I might share.

We kicked off with a gig here in Bristol. Local rock band Reef were playing what I thought was a reunion tour, but it turns out they’ve been back together since 2010 and I just hadn’t noticed before. Still, it was a great night. Tim and I relived the Reef gig we went to together about 12 years ago and wandered home late on a balmy spring evening. Spring is teasing us with its gradual arrival this year but I think it might just have got here now.

Next up we headed to London. We spent an afternoon at the Science Museum, mostly in the Cosmonauts exhibition (which ended last Sunday) but we also caught a couple of photography shows there. All were excellent, but especially Cosmonauts, which follows the Russian space story.

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Sunday Salon: Eclipse and other fun times

The Sunday SalonWe seem to have packed in a fair bit of the fun stuff over the last few days, which means I’ve done almost no reading. I should probably feel worse about that, but frankly I woke up far too early today to feel bad!

On Friday Tim and I watched the solar eclipse from Castle Park in central Bristol. A fairly large crowd had gathered, with people from Bristol Astronomical Society and @Bristol bringing along lots of fun telescopes and pinhole cameras to view the Sun through and BBC Sky at Night had brought a bunch of eclipse-viewing glasses. It was pretty cloudy but we could see the eclipse really well and it was great to share the experience with a big crowd. I’d made a homemade pinhole for my own camera and got some half-decent photos.

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Sunday Salon: Guess it’s autumn now

The Sunday Salon

I have so many things to write about today! This should probably be four different blog posts but I am too busy/rubbish for that, so here we go.

First up, Tim went on a work trip away for two weeks, which is the longest we’ve been apart in years. Rubbish. But he’s home again now and he brought me back some very lovely book-related gifts. And an opossum finger puppet. Because, well, why not? And yes, there is a Kindle in that little pile of goodies. I haven’t really used it much yet so we’ll come back to that another time.

Presents from that Tim

Yesterday was the launch of the Books Are My Bag campaign, which aims to encourage people to go to their local bookshop. Tim and I joined in the fun by going to each of our favourite Bristol bookshops. For Tim, that would be Excelsior! Comics, for me it’s Foyles. Interestingly, the comic shop wasn’t decked out with orange bunting and Books Are My Bag posters, which made me wonder whether this is a general comic bookshop thing, that they don’t consider themselves, or don’t think other people consider them, to be bookshops? I’m a customer of both but perhaps I’m unusual in that?

Anyway, Foyles was indeed decked out with Books Are My Bag bunting and posters aplenty. And the campaign gave me a great excuse to buy a couple of books I’ve wanted for ages, plus I got a free tote bag and entry into a prize draw to win cool book stuff. I do hope the campaign drew in some new or more occasional customers and not just regulars like me.

Books are my bag

Today we went to the zoo. The temperature seems to have dropped quite a bit this week, which is fine by me (I’m not the best with hot weather) and can actually make the zoo more fun too. For one thing there’s fewer people there. But also, for every animal that curls up and hides from the cold…

Keep warm

…there’s another that loves the cooler weather and is suddenly way more active.

At play

And I do love me a penguin.

How have your weeks been? Did you join the bookshop party for Books Are My Bag yesterday?

The Sunday Salon: All systems go

The Sunday Salon

After last weekend‘s perfect mix of activity and downtime, it feels like life has switched up a gear. Evenings and weekends are full of plans, with many more things needing to be slotted in – when will I find time to read?

One thing I did this week was finally get my latest film processed. I took most of it on our holiday in Wales and I’m pleased with how some of the shots came out, though the scans don’t do them justice. We must find a way to display more photos in our house!

Look up

I haven’t been feeling 100% (it happens) so I have been tempted on getting home from work to just stare at the TV rather than read. Which makes sense when my brain is frazzled but the rest of the time I think reading actually makes me feel a lot better than even my favourite TV shows could. What about you – do you read when you feel unwell?

I also went to the zoo with Tim and a couple of friends. We go to the zoo a lot and always have a good time. Bristol Zoo is very good about breeding and conservation programmes and doesn’t have many large animals so I don’t feel animal lover guilt and can just enjoy the cute animals.

Baby turtles

Something new every time

We like to go to the zoo. Specifically, Bristol Zoo, which just happens to be our local one. Handy that. It’s a particularly good one in terms of conservation and breeding programmes and all that. The enclosures are big enough and full of enough foliage and whatnot that the animals can pretty effectively hide from view, which some of them do more often than not (no aye ayes for us on the last 2 or 3 visits) but somehow we still managed to take almost 1000 photos there at the weekend. Yup. 1000. Of which I have so far identified about 20 good ones.

While we like to think we know our zoo pretty well and can find our way around and show visitors hidden treats, there is always something new to see/do/learn. This time we saw lion cubs, learned about gorillas and fed lorikeets. Which was all very cool.

The lorikeets know that visitors are bringing them food so they land all over you, eager to be closest when you reveal the pot of nectar. It’s a bizarre feeling, birds’ feet on your bare arm. The keeper shooed off the bird that landed on my Mum’s head. Sadly I didn’t get a photo of that because we foolishly all fed the birds at the same time. So my photos are of complete strangers feeding the lorikeets.

They are very pretty and reasonably gentle if slightly frantic birds. My best photos of the day were taken in the Bug House but I figured they might freak some of my readers out, seeing as it freaked me out a little editing them. Zooming in on a locust’s head to check if the eye or the mouth is in focus – it’s making the hairs rise on the back of my neck just thinking about it!

I’m gradually adding the selected photographic highlights to my Flickr photostream so if you’re interested and ready to be slightly unnerved by/speed quickly past the insect macros, take a peek.