Two and a half years after buying their tickets, arty intellectuals Admins 1 and 2 finally got to see Pet Shop Boys from seats perched high on a vertiginous man-made cliff which had acrophobic Admin2 pouring with cold sweat until the lights finally dimmed and the music began.Suburbia opened the set, after two and half hours spent getting through airport-strength security and waiting for the arena to fill. There was a spectacular light show, with lots of computer animations:
The PSB catalogue is so extensive (and such consistently high quality) that our guesses for the opening number were all wrong (we both favoured West End Girls, which was near the end). Happily for Admin1, Being Boring was also played. And there were great versions of It’s a Sin, Heart,Domino Dancing, and a sadly Dusty-less What Have I Done to Deserve This. They missed out Shopping, though 🙂
All in all, a splendid time was had by all…
It was our first trip out of Yorkshire for two and a half years and we found Manchester as rainy as always, and the prices at the AO Arena extraordinarily exorbitant (£5 for a litre of water FFS, and an incredible £35 for a poor quality ‘official merchandise’ T-shirt).
Admin1 is rereading Spook Street by Mick Herron. Admin2 is reading Tragedy on the Branch Line by Edward Marston; a nineteenth-century railway policeman investigates a murder and meets Prime Minister Palmerston.
Congratulations to Gez and Dave on their wedding day. Rings were given, words were said and they emerged into the daylight as a Mr and Mrs. Outside the Civic Hall, crowds demonstrated in their honour.
Admin1 is reading Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard. Admin2 is reading Inspector Chopra and the Million Dollar Motor Car, a special short easy book by Vassem Khan which took about 20 minutes to read but was enjoyable anyway.
We had a family meal all together for the first time in a while, and scored 9 on the GSQ.
Admin1 is reading Unhinged by Jorn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger and Admin2 is reading 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard, a compulsive Irish lockdown mystery.
An equinoctial art show in the locality.
Admin1 is reading All Fall Down by MJ Arlidge — problematic plotting again, with idiot characters pushed around by plot necessities. Wholly implausible, too.
Admin2 is rereading Solar Lottery by Philip K Dick.
We scored a lucky 10 on the GSQ.
Boom boom shake the room! Here’s a close-up of the cake.
She’s The One! She’s Every One!
Admin2 is reading Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson.
We scored 10.5 on the GSQ; thanks to the self-isolating Dave on Zoom.
Admin2’s New Year resolution is to make this blog more artistic (this is a collage of one of last night’s fireworks as we drank our drinks on the traffic island on the warmest New Year midnight of all time combined with a photo by Alessandro Caproni). Admin1’s resolution is to make an analemma. Watch this space a year from now.
December was warm for the time of year and just scraped past 2015 to be the second least sunny December since our records began, but all in all it was a very good year for the solar panels.
Admin1 is reading The Incendium Plot by AD Swanston. Admin2 is reading The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan.
A get-together after all passing the lateral flow tests:
Opening the presents…
…before a fabulous fun-filled feast. Roast pork, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, pigs in blankets, sausage rolls, stuffing, sprouts, peas, carrots, gravy, beer, gin, fizzy pop. a stuffed pepper for the veggie and a so-called Sky at Night pudding which collapsed the universe when we stuck a spoon in. Thank you everybody.
Admin2 is rereading Autumn by Ali Smith (thx Admin1). We are watching Spiral Series 8.
Time for some bright lights after another day steeped in gloom.
Admin1 is reading Bad Day at the Vulture Club by Vaseem Khan, in which we learn perhaps a bit too much about excarnation in the Towers of Silence. This has been an amiable and enjoyable series of books, with touches of Pratchettian humour offsetting corruption and chicanery in modern-day Mumbai.
Admin2 is reading A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry.
So lovely to see Carrie and baby on screen if not in reality. With her inspiring presence we scored 21 out of 30 on the Guardian Saturday Special Bumper Christmas Quiz.
Admin1 is reading The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star by Vaseem Khan. Admin 2 is reading The Mist by Ragnar Jonasson.
A visitation by hideous ghouls which chilled us to the marrow as the door creaked slowly open…
Admin2 is reading Nighthawking by Russ Thomas; a mediocre whodunnit featuring metal detectorists and buried coins and corpses.
October was sunnier than in 2020, 2019 and 2017 but worse than all others. This is because we have given up climbing on the roof to move the panels around to optimise them for winter.
A bit of magic for the family today: a cut-down opera with minimal scenery, accordion instead of orchestra and dress-down costumes, but magnificent singing.
Admin1 is reading Hidden Depths by Anne Cleeves. Admin2 is re-reading Spies by Michael Frayn.
Hordes of people cram into a churchyard to stick their heads in luminous flowers and hear the hum of nature. Light night is a brilliant institution; it’s understandable that it’s always too crowded to be bearable.
Admin1 is reading The Death of Kings by Rennie Airth. Admin2 is reading The Blood-Dimmed Tide, also by Rennie Airth.
Happy Birthday Lee.
Admin2 spotted this animatronic monstrosity outside a closed-down shop while searching for another shop that turned out to be inside yet another shop.
Admin2 is also reading Trace Elements by Donna Leon which is pretty boring so far, being mostly about the weather in Venice. You wouldn’t catch us banging on about the weather all the time…
Well that’s how it was billed, but nearly all the chalk was in one patch (exception for ELMO LOVES YOU next door to us) and Auds and Bobs preferred to draw all over our patio. Admin1 is reading Dark Memories by Liz Mistry, a confusingly overpopulated crime novel set in Bradford which belongs more in the misery-lit genre. Admin2 is reading The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig; a corny Cornish gothic romance overlaid with trendy topical talking points (and impossible to believe that a former advertising strategist dealing with a couple of public-facing characters would not have cleared everything up with an internet search). Yesterday was our warmest day this year: 30.7°C.
We scored 11.5 on the GWQ.
Our trip to (occasionally) sunny Scarborough involved pirate ships:
Donkeys (go, Audrey!):
Many, many seagulls (and distant dolphins leaping above the waves but too far away to photograph):
Scrumptious fish and chips from Winking Willy’s famous emporium with its amusing signage:
And finally, let’s all go down the…
A wonderful 20th wedding anniversary trip was had by all! Well, apart from Dave and Bob, the latter of whom had his bubble burst at primary school and they have to isolate 🙁
We stayed again at the Green Gables hotel (great breakfasts, but it bears more than a passing resemblance to Hilbert’s Hotel), and again failed to photograph its magnificent but elusive cat. Next time…
Beers and a delicious veggie supper at a new pub table in the evning sunshine. Thx Gez and Dave, and props for scoring 13 on the GWQ.
Admin1 is reading The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman — readable, but amusing rather than funny and somewhat twee. Admin2 is reading This Night’s Foul Work by Fred Vargas, which was marvellously convoluted.
Admin1’s second jab today, and a lovely day for it too. Here’s the traditional shot of Scott Hall Road … and here’s some graffiti with the Jab-berwock seen on the way back :
Today we reached 1,000,000 points for our BOINC research into COVID-19, various cancers and Asteroid hunting:
We also have a brand-new weather station to set up over the next few days, and we both celebrated by visiting newly reopened charity shops, and bought some books!
Our first time together in the garden for many months, on the hottest day this year so far: 25.2 °C and our third warmest March day ever. We had spinach quiche (thx Bidi for the recipe), salad, bread rolls, pigs in blankets, nectarine cake and ice cream, and would have had pizza but the breadmaker slushed the dough so we had toppings instead.
A party balloon appeared in the sky to celebrate the occasion.
Admin1 is rereading White Corridor by Christopher Fowler and Admin2 is rereading Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson, her second, or probably rejected first, novel that combines time travel and parallel worlds with domestic abuse and confusions over parentage.
Carrie comes to our quiz night, and she has news for us!
Thanks to her participation we scored 11 on the GWQ.
Admin1 is reading Exit by Belinda Bauer and Admin2 is reading Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, which was an absolute treasure after all the mediocre books that have come our way lately.
Opening his presents on the other side of the window. This would have been a week of family feasts with Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day and the boy’s birthday all in five days but stuff got in the way.
Admin2 is reading The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett, which was loathesome and disgusting. Quite apart from the decomposing corpses in the derelict hospital, just about every other character involved in this atrocity gets stabbed, clubbed, electrocuted, blown up or run over. Simon sounds very sciency about the odours of decay but he can’t tell a corona from a penumbra.
Some very filling pancakes with all the fillings. Remember the days when disinfectant and hand sanitiser did not feature on the dinner table among the condiments?
Admin1 is reading The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch.
Well OK, collared doves, and in a cherry, not pear, tree.
Merry Christmas everybody!
Here’s our frugal dinner for 2 [update: we’ve been eating leftover pork every day and finally finished it on 3rd January 2021]
Admin2 is reading Death Delivered by Jorn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger (thx Admin1). We are watching Lethal White (thx again).