Throwback Thursday

I’ve been listening to my ‘Flashback Playlist’, full of songs from my uni days, and they all bring back memories of specific places and people!

Here are a choice selection:

Kaskade – Move For Me

Such a chilled out dance song, I first discovered Kaskade through Deadmau5’s I Remember, one of my favourite songs of all time. I had to get his CD, Strobelite Seduction, imported from America. He doesn’t seem to have much of a following over here, but the CD is amazing, stripped-back, simple-sounding stuff with some stunning vocals. Lovely to drive to on a sunny day.

FrankMusik – In Step

I love FrankMusik, and I downloaded his latest, mainly self-funded if not totally, album, By Nicole, which is such a huge development step from the almost old-school disco beats on Complete Me. I told you I don’t know what I’m talking about with music, but I read the reviews on the Guardian and they use about a million different words to describe a boring-ass Timberland song, so there you go. In Step is such a great song, quite fast paced, and has great vocals from Vincent.

Keane – Spiralling

Oh my god, one of my favourite songs ever! I never, ever liked Keane before – thought them boring mum music, too slow, nothing interesting. And then, bam! These electronics and synths hit me in the face, and I think I listened to this song three hundred times in about a week in first year of uni. The DJ in the Indie Room at Tru Nightclub used to laugh at me every time I requested it and would play Electric Feel by MGMT. But this song is absolutely perfect – it actually makes you feel like you’re spinning around.

The Veronicas – Untouched

These twins, with their creepy heads-not-really-attached-to-their-bodies album cover (or so I think anyway) managed to make a song without much real sense in half of their verses unbelievably catchy. I think the intent with the lyrics is to capture some of that wordlessness or senselessness when you are obsessed with someone, so much so you can clearly barely articulate proper words. But the guitars, which are almost just noise, but not quite, and the wonderful strings give this a dark undertone, and make it into a dirty dancefloor song that sooo never got the attention it deserved, and I love it! It’s almost my ideal pop song – breathy female vocalists, check; rambling incoherent lyrics, check; fuzzy unclear guitars, check; random string section, check!

Post-Destination Nurburgring Playlist #1

Well, we have returned from Germany, and Dickie has been put to bed in the garage after a good holiday. He did get some thrashing – and I think terrified my mother on occasion. But just because I’m back home doesn’t mean the playlists need to stop! The Seat has an iPod connector, so I can make my playlists and listen to them on the long drive to work.

Bombay Bicycle Club – Feel

I only just discovered this song by chance, listening to Fearne Cotton on Radio 1 today! Sometimes Capital just gets too repetitive for me, and I switched to Radio 1, mainly because I wanted to hear the Lana del Rey song, West Coast, which is my ultimate favourite song at the moment. However, this is such a lush summer tune! And youtube says it’s been out for a month?! It reminds me of hot sticky summers, where the air’s too thick to even think about moving, and everyone dances sluggishly in slow motion in sweaty steamy nightclubs.

Nero – Satisfy

I went to see Nero with Amy a couple of years ago in Leeds, and they were out of this world. I love Crush on You – it’s so violent and screechy and captures the entire rapture and passion of a really adolescent sort of crush. But I love their slower stuff, like My Eyes. This new song, Satisfy, is made of inky black nights and heady moments, and I love it: a sort of urban electronica, which I just made up, as I know nothing about music; I think I mean that it makes me think of nightclubs, which we don’t have out here in the sticks, and walking along streets in high heels and on a high from an amazing night, or maybe going into an amazing night.

Calvin Harris – Summer

This had radio play I think just before I left for Germany, but hadn’t been released in time to make it onto the Destination Nurburgring playlist. I love a good bit of Calvin Harris, from way back in his Acceptable in the 80s days. But his more recent stuff is good as well – I love Flashback, You Used to Hold Me, and I’m Not Alone. This is exactly what it says on the tin: a wicked summer tune, and ideal for driving around Hull in the sweaty heat like today.

Iggy Azalea – New Bitch

I’ve been waiting for the Iggy Azalea album to drop for ages! I love Bounce with its Indian vibes. I’m not really into rap as such, but there is something about Iggy that I love. I especially love the Clueless video for Fancy. The New Classic is a good album for summer – I can imagine lazily dancing to it whilst drinking a few beers around the barbecue. The pre-hook and hook, to use the lingo I see on the internet all the time (do rappers not have ‘choruses’?) of this song are delicious. It was a toss up between this and Fuck Love, which I love, if just for the line ‘That love shit/I don’t do it’.

Chris Brown – Loyal

And I’ll definitely be the last person to admit to being a Chris Brown fan! Especially now that he seems to wind up landing himself in prison or whatever for another load of stupid things. I liked the music for this, and hadn’t really given much thought to the song itself. The video is majorly cringey, however I love the lyrics cropping up in modern rap at the moment, all revolving around my current interest in gardening and vegetables, funnily enough: carats, carrots and vegetarians! Word play!! It does annoy me, the amount of swearing and cussing and casual sexism/racism/everythingism in modern hip-hop/rnb/whatever, but they do make damn good songs.

Ed Sheeran – SING

When I first heard this song, I immediately thought Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You. Judging by the comments on Youtube, I was not alone! But this song is such a good tune. Pharrell is all over it and it just sounds so good. I was never a big Ed Sheeran fan; I could listen to him, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to download his songs or get his album. But if this is the direction that his album will be taking, I may be very tempted!

Just a sample of what I listen to on the way to work… sometimes it’s this, and sometimes it’s very, very different…

Day 6 – The Last Day :((

And so, our holiday has come to its end! It is Easter Monday and it’s time to go home. This is the saddest day. Bearing in mind I am writing this retrospectively about a month later, it is a bit random. We drove down to the track and it was a good deal quieter. Ma and I went to the Rewe in the hope it might be open, but only the bakery was open. No instant choccocinos for me! 😥 Good job I have the Dolce Gusto waiting for me at home.

Gonna miss this view from our hotel!

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And a gorgeous view of Nurburg castle! This time we didn’t try to go round the castle on Easter Monday, having learnt from past experience that is shut on Mondays!

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Dad had 4 laps left on his card, and he was adamant he’d take Andy the M3 guy out, so what then ensued was a lot of elaborate stalking around the car park, arriving too late as he was being ensnared by his various other stalkers. It made me laugh to see this one woman in particular, who made a beeline for whoever had the flashest, noisiest or clunkiest vehicle, and would hang over that poor unwitting victim until she gained a lap. I think Dad secretly was a bit downcast that she hadn’t wanted a go in his car, but if he’d been in the blue car with the stickers, she’d have been all over him like a rash, and I think I would have had something to say to her then, namely, get off my Father! We eventually executed a James-Bond-style manoeuvre to get Andy in the black car, and off they went, for what Dad later called the worst lap of the entire weekend, as he was stuck being a Porsche that was so far up its own arse, it wouldn’t let him pass.

Then it was time for home! We went back to the hotel, Dad loaded the car onto the trailer, I scribbled on Edgar’s whiteboard a goodbye note, and we went back to the track to pick up the rest of the convoy… who failed to understand the meaning of ‘convoy’, and so we had a tense few minutes waiting up in Nurburg while Father was increasingly losing his temper and I had to go off on a mission to retrieve them. And then we were off! The epic voyage home!

We went to Venlo for our Maccy D’s, and then on to the ferry port. I had to do some seriously dodgy reversing in the ferry, and the guy was laughing at me – whether it was because I was reversing badly or because I was a girl driving a Subaru. We did get some seriously appreciative looks from some seriously dodgy looking dudes on the motorway, and even more appreciative when they spied we were two birds! And ‘some seriously’ seems to be a key phrase. I did try to do my role proper as the rear of the convoy, letting the two trailers in front out.

On the boat, I was tired and hungry and seasick, and generally had a rubbish time. I think we all were a bit drained from our holiday, and on a general downer that it was over. Then it was time for bed, to hopefully not fall out in the middle of the night. I can’t believe it’s over!

Day 5, Part II – Sunday

Apologies for the severe delay! I have been absolutely inundated with uni work: I had my postgraduate conference this week in which I had to present a paper, and then I have a series of deadlines coming up which all require serious attention, which I’m sure I’m not going to deliver until three days prior to handing-in day.

Anyway, Easter Sunday feels like a million years ago! In my last post, I had just been taken on my fastest passenger lap around the Ring in a seriously sexy BMW M3 and Dad was plotting how to afford one of his own. When we got home I searched through all the hundreds of photos online hoping to find one of me in either of them but to no avail – though I found a couple of Dad looking like all his Christmases had come at once! I haven’t checked any of the websites for a long while now so there maybe could be one lurking somewhere…

So Dad and I staggered about in a daydream for a while, and told anyone who would listen how amazing those two BMWs were. I think single-handedly we assembled a fan club.

There was a do with a Skyline coming off the track. I was standing minding my own business when everybody suddenly vacated the car park and congregated around the exit from the circuit. Drawn by the crowd I went for a nosy, and saw a blue Skyline with smoke pouring out of its bonnet, the windscreen splattered with extinguisher foam. This was a highly exciting spectacle, clearly, for all present, and Father got his elbows out and wrangled his way under the bonnet. He ain’t happy unless he’s mechanicking, and he ain’t happy mechanicking unless it’s on somebody else’s car.

I took a photo, but couldn’t get close enough to really capture the moment!

A Skyline Aflame

Then, in a highly impromptu move, I was coerced into getting into Russell’s Evo… Dad came to strap me in and he had his serious face on, which I can only presume meant he was worrying that we might crash and his only child might die. I joked to Russell that Dad hadn’t given him “the talk” and he said he’d already done that! Which I hope was a joke… The Evo is so stripped out it’s basically a machine: there were so many dials and little boxes with various numbers, most of which I think are there for show, rather than doing anything… 😛 Other people had complained about the smell of the car, but having started out doing track days in Johnny the Peugeot, which stank and about gassed you, it didn’t bother me in the slightest. I don’t like wearing helmets, though I appreciate they’re there for your safety, but I always feel a bit claustrophobic, and even with the open-faced ones. It also wasn’t my own helmet, which is always a bit awkward…

Anyway, Russell decided he was going to chase this Skyline, and he was faster, but the Skyline was up for a bit of a play, and was all over the place, shutting the door every time it opened a bit. Cue me sort of being thrown about and squealing – when I wasn’t laughing like a madwoman. It was probably the most fun I’ve had on a passenger lap in a good while – except maybe when Russell dropped into the Carousel midway round and it spat us out early from the end and I thought I was going to die.

Post-Evo Lap Triumph!

 

This is a photo my mum took, and I think the expression on my face – relief, mainly – says it all! …I look a bit flushed though…hmm……

It was almost closing time when we got back, and so I jumped out of the Evo and jumped in Dickie, and I did a lap, adrenaline sort of coursing through my hands, trying to not be influenced too much by the laps I’d been on previously. And I was so pleased to do my best lap yet! I still messed up the kink, where Dad says I take completely the wrong line, but overall I was a lot faster. Obviously I entered the Carousel at the beginning. I actually think, from being terrified of it last year, the Carousel is my favourite part of the circuit. I like the fast early straight as well, as it’s early enough on for me to have not made too many mistakes so I can feel at least midway confident, and get a bit of speed on. Dad was impressed, and he recorded it, and said it was 11 minutes. So I am probably the only person who can say she shaved four whole minutes off her lap time at the Ring!

We went to Pinocchio’s again for tea. Look at the grosse bier!!

Dad Massive Pinocchios Beer

 

I am pleased to say that I finished my massive beer when even some of the lads didn’t! You can also see a bit of the random table decorations that they have in Pinocchio’s – great swarves of chiffony fabric randomly strewn across the table top – that Mum hates, and went on about for ages afterwards. Clearly it’s a fashion in Italian-Germany!

And we’re nearly at the end of the holiday… :(( sad times!

“I must be driving James Bond’s car…”

No, not an Aston Martin!

Rather, in the past couple of days while I’ve been driving around to and from uni and work in my little bright yellow Seat Ibiza, I seem to have had so many near misses (that weren’t my fault!!) that have led me to believe that my car has an invisibility switch that I’ve somehow pressed and I can’t find it to turn it off!

The Seat

 

Invisibility mode engaged!

Near Miss #1

My grandfather – my own grandad! – nearly wiped me out pulling into our track – our track!! – cutting the corner, when he randomly decided to go to work at ten to eight, when Mum and Dad were still in bed and I was running a bit late for work.

Apparently, Mum later told me, he didn’t even know it was me! Who else in a bright yellow car is driving down our track – a private road!! – at ten to eight on a weekday morning?!

Near Miss #2

This one isn’t much of an invisibility crisis as just a rant about indicators, really. Driving down Cranbrook Avenue, I was waiting at the mini roundabout on Inglemire Lane, giving way to the right like a good little driver, when a car was coming from straight on. I say a car, I mean a Mitsubishi Warrior, who is clearly exempt from indicating because all and sundry understand that it has every right of way. I spied my opportunity and nipped across – except the Warrior actually meant he was taking his right at the roundabout, and cutting across me. Cue lots of screaming and wild accelerating!

Near Miss #3

The road I drive on, the B1248 from Hull to Malton, is a fast road, and a dangerous road. It can be quite a busy little road, and a lot of people seem to think they can drive as fast as they want and take the corners as wide as they want because they’ve driven that way every day for the past million years. But if they have driven that way for the past million years, then they should recall the amount of accidents caused and lives claimed. And my very own little life was nearly claimed when I was trundling home at a sensible speed, and round a corner up ahead I saw a blur of a red BMW come tear-arsing round the corner. My first thought was “bloody hell how fast is that car going?” and then my second thought was “omigod he’s at my side of the road and not slowing down!” How he missed me I’ll never know; he managed to slide across to his side and get past, and a little retrospectively I gave him an angry pip all the way down to Fimber roundabout.

Near Miss #4

In Scagglethorpe, the lovely little village with the fantastic Anglo-Saxon name, there is a corner in the middle of the village with steep grassy banks, and if you come from Setty way, due to the cars parked at the side of the road, you can’t see if something is coming up the little hill. I peered as far ahead as I could (please recall I am probably not 5 foot 2 on a good day) and pulled out to go round the cars. Just as I was passing the second of about twelve cars (slight over-exaggeration), a car came round the corner. Because I was committed, as my driving instructor always told me, I carried on going (I don’t do reversing!), hoping the car might stop and wait for me. Or at least slow down. But no, he just kept coming, and coming, looking straight through me… and I had to extremely quickly nip into the tiniest gap after the last of the seventeen parked cars to avoid being sat on his bonnet – or maybe worse still, his lap. And when I gave him the appropriate “omigod what were you doing have you no manners chivalry is dead” he completely blanked me. He was wearing severe Deirdre Barlow jam-jar glasses and did look like he had been plucked straight from the 70s, so maybe he couldn’t see me at all… maybe I had momentarily drifted into a time warp… wormhole… Maybe the Seat has time travel controls too!

So after all that ranting… drive safe guys! Is chivalry dead on the roads? Potentially…

Follow that Taxi – Video of the Nurburgring

If you are familiar with the Ring at all, then you’ll know about the Ring Taxis.

These are beefy BMW M5s that lurk around in the car park and then clear everything out of the way on the track. They are ridiculously expensive and you just get the one lap passengering, so if it’s a wet lap or if there’s a caution out, it’s like seeing your Euros go dribbling down the drain.

Sabine was once a Taxi driver, though no longer: they tend to be cynical-looking bored BMW dudes who look a bit dry round the edges.

Because cars in front of them tend to roll over out of the way (me included!), if you follow the Ring Taxi, you get a relatively quick lap, as it’s done all the hard work for you! This appears to be one of my father’s favourite games on track, and he videoed the lap here:

It was going to be I think a Jap-Attack lap, but I think Dad just saw the Taxi and was like, right, we’re off!

Massive Progress! – The Raised Bed Diaries #9

Hello all! I’m sorry my posts have been rather sporadic of late, I’m currently working on presenting a paper for the postgraduate conference at uni and it’s taking up most of my time.

Most of these Diary posts are quite back-dated anyway, but I’m trying my hardest to bring them all up to date.

Because I’ve not had as much time to sit by the cloche and stare at my plants, every time I go to look at them they seem to have erupted. My broccolis, courgettes and even my runner beans are turning into great beasts!

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These are my broccoli plants, and they’re starting to look like small trees! I need to plant them out, but at the rate they are growing, there would be no room for anything else in my beds. I think I may clear away a bit of bare soil and plant them out beside my beds, so that they have the space to grow. Need to keep the rabbits off them though.

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Look at these two bad boys! On the left is one of the smaller courgettes. This one is probably my favourite because its two leaves are almost perfectly symmetrical. On some of the others, the proper courgette leaf is huge.

On the right is one of my beans! I’ve had a slight mishap with the beans, and one of them hasn’t germinated. A dud! But as you can see this one is majestic. They are all of a similar size, and desperately need repotting into something else. For the moment, they are OK, but they will soon need to be hardened off, and I need to decide what to do with them.

 

Day 5, Part I – Sunday: Dad said I couldn’t have a BMW, until…

After a long absence, here is Part 1 of Easter Sunday! I apologise for the delay, I’ve had so much uni work on so have spent the past few weeks reading up for my conference paper on Tuesday.

This was definitely the best day by far of our whole trip!

I said in my last post that Saturday seemed really boring, because I was writing it retrospectively, and seems to have been completely overshadowed by Sunday.

At our hotel there were a pair of English BMW M3s. We got talking to them on the Sunday, and a little cheekily Dad asked if there was any chance we could have a lap out in one of the cars. They were dead happy to let us come along, so I jumped in the white one and Dad in the grey one.

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A few years ago Ranger took me on a lap out in the yellow Porsche, and that was rapid…

Rangers Porsche

Even though Dad is fast, the Subaru just lacks that bit of grunt that the Porsche has. Up until now, that was the fastest lap I’ve ever been on (and my harness popped open halfway round, so I was clinging on for dear life).

But then it all changed with these BMs!

I’d never been in such a fast car that was so quiet! I knew they were noisy because they woke up the whole of the village we were staying in when they were started up, but once you were inside, it was eerily quiet. We followed the grey one out, and pretty much right away we had to pass it. I think it’s the only time I’ll ever pass Dad on the track, and his face was priceless. I knew straightaway he was after one.

The cars had paddle gearboxes so it just seemed like such a smooth ride: Andy wasn’t fighting with the gears or anything, and just chucked it into corners, and the car just gripped. Trees, Armco, cars were all just flying past in a blur, and yet it was so quiet inside! Though I’m sure it sounded monstrous on the track.

I can’t remember what the lap with Ranger was, but Dad was getting 8:30 laps, and my lap in the white BMW was 7:44, which was the fastest lap I’ve ever been on, and that was in quite heavy traffic in parts.

We swapped round and I got two half-laps in the grey one, coming off at Eddie’s in Adenau to refuel.

Afterwards, we saw Dad’s friend Rob who has the red Subaru Impreza Spec C, and we told him that that was it! Subarus were up for sale, selling all our worldly belongings – we were after one of these BMs!

I’ve split this Sunday post into two parts, as a lot seemed to happen. So keep your eyes peeled!

The Lark Ascending: My Favourite Piece of Classical Music

I am so pleased to discover that my favourite piece of classical music, The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams, was voted #1 in the Classic FM Hall of Fame – and I didn’t even know about it to vote!

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/apr/27/first-world-war-inspired-the-lark-ascending-favourite-classical-music

http://halloffame.classicfm.com/2014/chart/position/1/

From about 11 minutes onwards is my favourite part. The soaring orchestra always bring tears to my eyes!

A lot of people call this a cozy rural piece, but I think for me there are some truly sad moments in it, and yet some beautiful celebratory passages.

Simply the best 15 minutes of your life!

New Addition – The Raised Bed Diaries #8

On Wednesday, Mum and I had a riding lesson, which was fun trying to see how much we’d forgotten while we’d been away. The riding school we go to is just up the road from the Irton Garden Centre, so smelling of horses and sweat, we went for lunch and then a trawl around the shop.

I got a strawberry plant, which I planted out this afternoon in a container.

Strawberry Plant

 

Looks a right beast!

After we’d been in the garden centre, we drove to my Nana’s to pick up my tomatoes. They seem to have shot up as well! Maybe I should leave all my crops alone a bit more often.

I planted some marigolds and poached egg plants (or, as I like to call them, scrambled egg plants!) in the bed a few weeks before we went away, and they’ve just started poking their noses out of the ground as well. Mum says she thinks my mangetout and onions have grown, but I can’t see much difference. Maybe I need to stop looking at them!

I have my asparagus plant to plant out this weekend, and the radishes to plant out as well. I also need to start my second sowing of salad leaves and radishes, if I have enough seeds. Busy, busy!