Tuesday, 30 June 2015

My Month in Numbers 2015: June

Hello hello.

It's that time of the month again, no, the other one; the time where we gather to us all those numbers who've had an impact on how we spent the last 30 days. [If you're intrigued enough to learn more then do visit here].

But, before we begin ... have you heard of Leon Day?

And no,it's not a long forgotten X-Factor winner or that boy who joined your class in the middle of the year when you were 7 and then never came back the following term and whose name you can never recall when looking back at your class photo of that year.

No, apparently - and I only learned this on the day itself, 25th June, this year - is the name given to the mid-point in the calendar when Christmas starts to get nearer; Leon is 'Noel' spelled backwards.

And yes, Christmas is always getting nearer [scarily so in fact] but Leon Day marks the mid point of the year when there are fewer days of 2015 left until the whole gift-giving, cheese-eating, sherry-drinking shindig kicks off again. And, if you're reading this on June 30th then that means you've got 177 days to get your list-making, sellotape-tearing, mince-pie-lifting muscles ready.

I've already made a start ...

171 days before December 1st = when I began working on Christmas themed projects for Papercraft Inspirations magazine.
I'm not complaining about the work ... but it takes a conscious shift in attitude and craftiness to face the mistletoe and holly in June! Oh by gosh by golly.

But enough festive talk for now, let's enjoy the summer first shall we?

100% illuminated = the full moon on 2nd June which conveniently lined itself up with our front window:
I'm not a regular lunar observer [insert your own 'lunatic' joke here] but how could I miss this perfectly positioned one peeking over my hills? You probably can't tell from this photo but the light is was emitting somehow made everything in between me and it look flat - giving the whole town the feel of a stage set or painted backdrop.

And while we're on the topic of wonderful staging ...

7 + 1006 = the number of episodes in BBC's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell adaptation which ended on Sunday and the number of pages in the novel ... which I finally finished! 
Even though I knew how it all panned out I was very often breathless watching the series. I loved it. Wholeheartedly, unreservedly, ohmygoodnessbuymetheDVDnow-ly. But, having read the book, I have no idea if it made sense to anyone who hadn't! 

If, after watching it, you do feel like tackling everyone of those 1006 pages what I can say is the adaptation doesn't cover everything that happens [how could it without being a year long?] but ... the majority of the scenes it does cover are very true to the text; impressively, how-did-they-get-into-my-head-that-looks-exactly-how-I-pictured-it true in fact. Enjoy!

And while we're on the subject of brilliant TV ...

  • after 5 glorious years [since 2010]
  • after 6 gripping seasons 
  • and after 78 near-perfection episodes... this month we reached the last ever episode of Justified.
There were moments during those final 45 minutes where I'm pretty certain I stopped breathing. 

I'd hate to spoil the end for anyone not yet caught up but let me just say ... if - over the previous 3510 minutes - you've invested a good deal of your time and emotional energy into the relationship between Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder ... then the final ever 6 words of dialogue will definitely have an impact! 

[So much so my sister and I considered - for about 30 seconds any way - having them tattooed on our arms! I've just watched that scene again - there's a clip on Youtube - and I still got goosebumps!] 

Speaking of goosebumps ...

AA11 = the seat number I've grabbed for when I go to see Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Barbican.  

Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet no less.

I know!

I can feel my blood pressure rising just typing that phrase ... and there's several weeks to pass before I actually go ... and there's no question that I'll be mentioning this to you again before then [and after then. and then ongoing for the rest of my life. In short, I'm going to be insufferable.] and so ... I won't go on I'll just throw in one more related number before I go and apply a cold flannel to face.

£10 = the price of the Hamlet tickets. 
The regular tickets sold out long ago but I was deliriously surprised a fortnight ago to win a place in a draw I'd entered to be able to buy 2 x £10 tickets. 

Sounds like a bargain doesn't it?

Ah my friend ... but that's because you haven't yet worked out what a return train ticket plus 3 nights stay in a London hotel for 2 costs these days ... 

6 inches = how much of my hair I had lopped off:
After having the same style for a few years it was time for a change! And it hurt the lady in the highlight foils, sitting behind me in the salon, more than it hurt me.

Once my 'do' was done she declared: "It's lovely. But having all that lovely thick hair and then cutting it all off?!!!!"

My stylist - who I've trusted with my locks for the last 8-ish years replied breezily: "Oh, it's what we do. She grows it and then we cut it all off again".

Exactly! That's what hair's for isn't it?

The 5 minute rule = a new Facebook hoop for page owners to jump through/ shake their heads, roll their eyes at and continue on as before. 
I tend to get more comments than direct messages to my Facebook page but people do occasionally get in touch privately to ask or share something and that's great. And, where it's appropriate to answer [and, trust me, it's not always appropriate to answer ... the phrase 'feeding the troll' springs to mind] I do so as soon as I'm in the 'dropping by to Facebook' mood. 

I had a couple of messages this month and here - below my photo - is Facebook's assessment of how I did:
I answered 100% of my messages within 1 hour.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty good communication.. Especially as it's a page about paper and crafting and old books and silly stories ... and not a medical emergency helpline!!

So, I might think that's a decent response time and you might be happy with that if it's you I'm replying to ... but how does Facebook feel about it?

If you visited me on my 'With Julie Kirk' page last week you'll have seen my mini rant about this because - in order for my page to bear the banner of 'Very Responsive To Messages' I'll have to buck up my ideas, because here's their criteria:
I need to answer messages, on average, 55 minutes faster than I do now!

Next time you have to wait in A+E for four hours to have your elbow X-rayed, or in a Doctor's surgery, like I did last week, for over 25 minutes after your appointment time has come and gone ...

... then do spare a thought for all those poor people on Facebook who are waiting over 5 minutes for a reply to their messages!  However do they cope?

2 = visits to the ever-splendid Olde Young Teahouse [Middlesbrough]:
Once time was to have lunch with my Mam and another was a Saturday morning pot of tea and a scone with James:
 And 'H' I know you missed my cake-based-statistics last month and I know you're good-old-fashioned-English-tearoom deprived right now ... so this one's just for you ...

A slice of 'Crunchie' cake which I took away with me to have at teatime!

13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley = the book I'm currently reading [and taking notes from in an equally colourful notebook!]
I'm absolutely going to write a book one day. It might not be a novel as such, but whatever it turns out to be, Smiley's book breaks it down making it all seem infinitely doable.

Not easy. Not by any means. But possible. But let me finish reading this book first before I start writing my own!

And finally ...
Let's end on an event this month that combined 4 of my favourite things in the world ...

This was the scene following the end of The History Wardrobe's presentation of 'Fairytale Fashion' - can you spot Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother there?
You'll have heard me mention The History Wardrobe ladies before as I went to their 'women and the Great War' event last summer. If you're anywhere near the North East of England then do check out their other dates and presentations. Personally I've got my eye on 'Gothic for Girls'!

And those 4 favourite things it combined?

  1. Fashion ... naturally. What's not to love about experts talking about fashion history?
  2. Fairytales / folklore / story-telling. I love the fact that starting sometime once upon a time we became a species that creates tales and then shares them down the line for hundred, thousands of years to come. 
  3. History, especially social/women's history. Until they pointed it out in this presentation I don't think I've ever noticed how many fairytales feature sewing and cloth-making - all traditionally female pastimes. Plus any presentation that mentions Versailles is bound to entertain me [I have an inexplicable 'thing' for it!]. And lastly ...
  4. Public libraries!! That lovely old book-lined room in the photo above is Middlesbrough libraries Reference floor; isn't it splendid? and a perfect setting for a night of historical storytelling. 
And finally ... here's a rare treat that the History Wardrobe ladies brought with them to demonstrate the style of dress in certain versions of Cinderella ....

An original 18th Century skirt! 
When do you ever get to see something this old and ornate that isn't locked away behind museum glass? Such a treat to get up close and personal with it!!! 
It was not the kind of item we think of as a 'skirt' but a decorative front section that would have formed part of a dress when worn with another piece called a 'robe'. Apparently they couldn't buy the whole outfit and the robe part was purchased by someone who intended to cut it up and make dolls clothes with it. 

Horrifying I know. But ... erm ...when it comes to cutting up old things ... I'm in no position to judge; let she who is without crafty-sins throw the first stone! 

And I think we'll end it there!


As ever if you want to join in the number game and share your own, you're welcome to [there's lots of inspiration and tips here if you need them]. Just remember to leave me a comment to say 'hi' while you're dropping off your link. [Otherwise it can feel a little bit like you're one of those people who just sits outside beeping the horn so that I'll come out to your car, rather than you taking a minute to come to my door to greet me!] 

And I'll see you again in July. Or at Christmas ... whichever comes sooner [like I say ... it always seems to be almost Christmas!]

Julie :-)


  1. Goodness, what a fabulous mix of things you have going on in this month's numerical round-up! A very enjoyable read.

  2. Like the new "do". Funny how it's always someone else that is upset. I've never heard of this FB response thing - but really?? Do they think people are on there 24 hours a day and have nothing else going on in their lives. My month was nothing like your delightful sounding one but you can find out about it at http://scrappyknitter.typepad.com/odds_and_ends/2015/06/my-month-in-numbers-june-2015.html It's the first time I've posted a "month in numbers" since last summer - ACK!

    1. Thanks for joining us once again Gail - you know you're welcome any time!

  3. Oh, and here are my numbers: http://suburbansahm.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/month-in-numbers-june.html

    1. Thanks Ruth - I'll pop over to visit you now! :-)

  4. Love your hair – you've inspired me to possibly take the plunge myself. :)

    1. I'd been thinking about it for a while then saw someone in a TV movie with a similar style and it made up my mind!

  5. Argh, Julie! Did you have to mention how many days there are until Christmas?! It's okay, really. Just kidding with you! Love the new "do"; sometimes a cut can just change one's whole outlook. Also, I'm with you on the four fave things, especially the book-lined room! Ah, the library; no place quite like it. Thanks for another fabulous month in numbers. Here's mine: http://haallred.blogspot.com/2015/07/my-june-2015-month-in-numbers.html. P.S. It's good to be back!

  6. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG Hamlet.....Cumberbatch......finest actor of his generation......in Hamlet.....???? OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG........have been unable to read any more of the post as I had to leave a comment immediately........I *will* need a minute-by-minute replay of THE WHOLE THING.....the WHOLE thing you realise???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lucky, lucky, you......back later to savour the rest of your post.....OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.....!!!!!!

  7. P.S. Obviously have to comment on THE hair too....it looks SO NICE!!! (It's the length I'm plucking up the courage to cut mine to!!!).....lovely.....xx

  8. I said I'd be back and here I am! Enjoying the remainder of your post from 'I'm going to see Cumbatch LIVE'....(sorry: in my head my nickname for him never sounds quite so gross! It always comes out almost like 'kumquat' but written down, it looks awful! He's a great actor with a built-in porn star name!!!)....anyway......LOVED the rest of your post too!!! Tea rooms (thank you!!!).....crunchie cake (oh my!).....the whole 'History Wardrobe' part (would LOVE to attend and, yep, the Gothic Girls one sounds quite fascinating!).....and that skirt? My oh my, I wouldn't have been able to keep my eyes (or hands) off of it...(and then my mind goes right back round to kumquats....!!!).....but, THE BEST PART OF ALL????? You publicly declare, "I'm absolutely going to write a book one day"........"eek!" she squeals in joy!!! [Hah! You've made me pine for CAKE and it's not even 9am!]

  9. P.S. Campaigning for full reports of cake-based statistics from the month of July onwards ;) [And still longing for Caramac!]....


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