Friday 1 July 2016

My Month in Numbers 2016: June

June. What a wash out.

While there were definitely some good things happening ... there was plenty of rain, grey clouds, and ... everything else too.

If you're like me (and, granted, you won't all be) I won't deliberately try to cheer you up today. Some of us don't want to be cheered up right? Things are difficult and real right now and the last thing I want is to pretend nothing has happened and just get back to posting about pets (come to think of it ... I never do that. Mainly because I don't have pets).

But I might just divert you for 5 minutes if that's OK? Normal despairing-of-the-world can resume later. How about, for now, you join me on a look back at June 2016  ... in numbers ...

How's this for a statistic? 
I spotted this ray of sunshine in York the other weekend. Something to take into consideration if you haven't already booked your 2017 holidays.

Maybe I'm drawn to eschatological signs like this because back in 2001 I called my English degree dissertation - on post-apocalyptic fiction - 'It's Not the End of the World'. Who knew that 15 years later the ability to analyse end times would come in useful again?

I'm 1 of the 48% who voted 'Remain':
I'm not going to talk about it all now. But neither am I going to 'be quiet now and just move on' as many Leavers seem to want us to do. Living in a democracy means that when I don't agree with what's happening I still get to talk about it.

While we're on the subject of the Greeks (they invented democracy right?) ...

We went to see Dan Cruickshank's talk on The History of Architecture in 100 Buildings:
Rubbish photo - better story
If you don't know Dan Cruickshank he's a historian who's worked a lot for the BBC and writes books, his latest of which was the subject of the talk he delivered at Middlesbrough Theatre this month. He discussed the meaning behind all kinds of buildings throughout history, starting with some very early examples from Syria and Greece, covering why they were made, how structural developments were made and what value civililisations have put on them.  

Then .. at the Q&A at the end, after other people had asked various questions, a boy in the front row asked him a very long and convoluted question about the Greeks and how they must have liked architecture because - and non one was quite expecting this particular reason - because in the Percy Jackson books/films the Gods of Olympus live in the Empire State Building so it must be significant to them. 

Cruickshank was very sweet and, recognising there was no simple answer to this, said 'I'm going to come and have a chat with you'  then let us all go home so we didn't have to sit through the kid's entire thesis and came and sat on the front of the stage near him so they could talk. Probably not the end he had planned for his serious talk .. but handled very nicely. It's things like that that leave an impression on people, isn't it, I'm sure many people - not just that boy - will remember his kindness. 

In other cultural news ...

We used our £10 National Art Pass card 3 times, visiting 3 museums/galleries in York, saving £10.50 so far ...

Back in April, I saw Laura Howard (@bugsandfishes on Twitter) tweet about a special offer where you could buy a 3 month National Art Pass card for just £10, which would allow you to get into all kinds of galleries and museums for free (the offer's ended now but there's a regular year-long price too). So James and I both bought one which meant getting into the 650 year old Merchant Adventurers' Hall for free ...
Where, amongst other treasures, I enjoyed this touching detail of how a wealthy woman left money in her will which she wanted spending on teaching '6 poor girls to read, knit and sew':
After that, seeing as how we had the card ... we hopped across town to The Yorkshire Museum (saving another £7.50):
Which is where James learned that he's slightly taller than the backside of a moa (a big extinct bird). 
And they say no knowledge is ever wasted ... 

Our 3rd saving came by visiting the York Art Gallery but, seeing as how I've already written a full review of the place already I won't go into that.  I will however share with you something else that happened in the Yorkshire Musuem ...

James's 1st brush with a bear this month: 
I know, it was a bowler hat last month and now it's a Topper ... I think he might be gradually working his way up to crown. 

And  I say it was his 1st brush with a bear because ... he had another ...

James's 2nd brush with a bear: 
This time it was at the Animal Inside Out exhibition  at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle where, alongside bears, there are 100+ other preserved animals on show. I took lots of photos ... but you're probably having your lunch right now aren't you ... so I won't share any more just yet.

Yet it is a fascinating show about anatomy and wonder ... if you can stomach it. And, to be fair, if I can, you probably can.

The best/worst part was when a tiny girl wandered up to the glass case we were looking in - pointed to a preserved human leg - and asked in her toddler English "Wha tha?".

"You don't want to know " I replied under my breath.

Now before I move off the topic of his heroism (posing with dead bears and all ...) let me tell you about ...

James's hole in 1!
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story ... or so they say.  During a visit to a suppliers who happened to be hosting a sport-themed sales promo one of the reps tweeted a photo of James clutching a golf club and his prize for getting a hole-in-one: a bottle Prosecco. So far, so impressive, except ... rather than making a single clean shot James claims it actually took him about 18 attempts to get the ball in the bucket! Apparently they gave him the prize as it was the closest anyone had got all day! But hey ... free wine!

His main concern afterwards was not that they'd 'embroidered the truth' but that they might invite him on corporate golfing days! When it comes to sport ... he makes me look veritably Olympian.  

On the other hand, if library visiting was a sport I'd be on top form this month.

I read 2 library books - from 2 different libraries - and attended an author event at a 3rd:

  • The first book I read was Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant which I really enjoyed. Part mythical fairytale part musing on againg and memory.
  • Next was Chris Kraus's I Love Dick which is not quite what the title suggests ... but you can imagine how cautious I was about getting the book down 3 flights of stairs and through the self-service machine without bumping into anyone I knew!
  • And lastly I read a memoir of avghost-writing career Ghosting by Jennie Erdal which wasn't from a library, I found that gem in The Minster Gate Book Shop - a 5 floor secondhand  book shop in York. As usual you can find links to all the books I've read on my Pinterest board.
As for the author event, that took place in a library I'd never been to before, involving a journey on 2 buses and memorising the names of the roads/bus stops before mine so I knew where to get off! I'm tempted to write more about this journey in a post of its own, so I'll leave you with photos of the novels by the authors in question, who were very generous in discussing their process and careers.
In unconnected news ...

I re-embraced the 1990s by using those twisty spongy rollers (is there a proper name for them?) for the first time in 20 years! 
The results have been varied - today for example I've had to put it in a pony tail as it turned out soooooo big and fluffy. I'd forgotten the 90s was the decade before frizz products were invented ... and with styles like these we needed them!! 

The first attempt wasn't too bad ... I just pulled on my (fake) leather jacket and pretended I was 14 again:
To complete the look I should have dug out my ripped jeans and my Walkman.

Speaking of my 'look' ...

I paid just £11.48 for these 2 monochrome pieces in charity shops:
The dress was £4.49 while the skirt was £6.99.

I've been completely and utterly re-inspired to seek out charity shop outfits lately and these are just 2 of 6 items I bought during June which in total cost just £32.45! (More on those at some time or other I'm sure.)

On the first day that  I wore the skirt it paid for itself with a compliment ... as she was letting us through the entrance turnstile at the Life Centre in Newcastle one of their staff members leaned in and said "I really like your skirt". How nice was that?

Just the kind of morale boost you need before going to look at the preserved internal organs of a gorilla and the blood vessels in a shark's liver.

Oh and, before you ask if everything I bought this month had to be black and white ... then maybe this will answer your question:
After 16 years of valiant service we finally had to retire our old car and welcome a new set of wheels into our lives. 
The fact that the new car - both inside and out - also obligingly matches my recent outfits is purely coincidental ... 

... probably.


So, that was my June. If you've got a post of your own to share then don't forget to leave me the link when you leave me a comment.

If you've been meaning to join in on social media then check out this photo by @ikibana_banana on Instagram as Miriam came up with her own clever way to share her May numbers via her IG feed!

And if you fancy joining in casually then simply share a story/photo with a numbery element to it,  use #monthinnumbers and '@' me @withjuliekirk and I'll hop over to see.


Well then, it's just me and you now July. What've you got for me?

Not hiding a warm summer and a stable government/opposition up your sleeve by any chance are you?

Julie x


  1. Always an enjoyable round up to read, this one finds me wishing you all the best with your new car. Maybe there'll be some miles in the numbers next month?

  2. That's a very smart-looking vehicle! And you look great in your outfits. I've just purchased an oversized shirt-like garment of the too-short-to be-a-dress variety and will try wearing it with leggings (first time ever) and if I look half as good as you I'll be delighted. Your bear tales made me smile - James looks great in that hat! Lovely read and a welcome rest from thinking so much about the Brexit though it does need lots of think it about. With you on Remain.

  3. My month in numbers are here - sorry I have been missing in action for a while -

  4. You cannot go wrong with black and white, unless it is your mode of thinking. Great post - off to check out a couple of links.

  5. As I'm sure I tell you every time - I so love your posts and especially your month of numbers! I loved the pic you showed of the voting ballot [or whatever it's called over there] and also loved your finds in the charity shops, both are really pretty. :)

    Sorry I'm so slow in commenting, sometimes I am but not usually this late, however my best friend died on the day that you posted this and to say this month has been an upside down, turn me inside out month would certainly be accurate - enough so that I got very little done, nor did I care to. I'm working on trying to get my life back to normal now. : )


Thanks for leaving me a comment, asking me a question, sharing your own story or just randomly saying hello.