Friday, 4 September 2015

Sliding Parks

car drives through puddle Friday at last! It's been so long.
In school today we did the second 50 of the "100 words you must know by the end of Year 5" and my favourite was Yak, because everyone forgets the H. I later found out it was Yacht.
For homework I have to build an Anglo-Saxon hovel or Dwelling-Unit or Yurt or Yak or Yacht, one that can withstand a catapult attack at the end of term. This is intriguing: I have some questions.
* What 8th Century slum-builder would factor ballistic boulder-repelling strength into their designs?
* Wattle and daub was big in the Dark Ages. What invading army would employ the might of a trebuchet against a woodsman's cottage when you could destroy it by widdling against the walls?
* The average income of an itinerant pig-herder was 3 1/2 trotters and as many acorns as you could collect before the Squire executes you. What object in your shanty-cabin is worth sending in the cavalry for? Burnt cakes?
* An illiterate peasant might travel as far as 2 miles from his birthplace in his entire life. What international political point is proved by nuking his flea-ridden shack from space?
kampa khazi camping toilet york catering aluminium colander* What will be the missile used against these home-made hovels? I suggest conkers, for by then, they will have dried out.
* If I make mine out of riveted feudal titanium plates, will it win?
Anyway, Ben and Sam and Ben and Alfie and I made an arrangement to meet in Yellow Plum Park at 415. This is a sensible move, for we are all getting older now and more able to roam the streets at will, and possibly more au fait with the workings of the clock, and maybe slightly more aware that the world does not revolve around us alone.
So when Bud picked me up I was dismayed to find we had tasks. Jof had said, get rid of the Scouts stuff out of the garage, for the Scouts have their own garage and we've only got enough spare space in ours for 3 cars and a rhino. So we took to the Scout lockup: 10 large water containers (for raft-building), 2 large Kampa-Khazi plastic toilets (yes), 8 knives, 1 set of oven gloves and a colander you could rinse a horse in.
yellow plum park moorings way recreation facilityIn return, we removed from said lock-up: 3 old plastic toilets that were 'tired' and one giant comedy aluminium teapot that needed a clean. This didn't give us much time to get to the park so we drove there and we met Little Ben and Alfie and Leyton on their way home for they had given up and they said they'd left a teabag in the road and asked if we'd run it over.
I climbed in the park for a bit and waited for Big Ben but he didn't show so we went home where we got a message from him saying I'll be there at 5, just when I was off to swimming. O what a tangled web we get stuck in, when first we practise to make arrangements.
Jof made us pasta with 2 types of Mediterranean bread and the free prawn crackers from the adjacent take-away and I was yawning at only 11pm. Lucky I've got nothing planned for tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Britain's Got Talent (Oh No, it Hasn't)

i'm sorry dave, I'm afraid I can't do that Grandad got back from his latest Mediterranean cruise today and said he had a great time leaping up mountains etc whenever the ship parked somewhere. He had been mildly worried that some of those mad islamic types who still think the gods are real might try to blow up the ship in a desperate cry for attention but it didn't happen.
At school I designed my new book cover (Minecraft Sword Logo) and spent break-times practising a song from the 1960s, as you do. Ben offered me some dance move tuition but it's one step at a time for me, literally. We had to give one fact about ourselves that happened over the school holidays and I said I'd auditioned for BGT but that wasn't Strictly Come Talking true, it wasn't until today.
We did football moves in PE and I was in defence, I managed to snaffle the ball off Sam and helped my team score!
But the Elephant and Castle in the corner of the room was not to be avoided. Once we'd got home I stripped to pants (an Englishman in his own home etc) and we practised our song.
"The Gasman Cometh" is a song by Flanders and Swann and is quite old now, but you can hear all the words and it's quite funny and good if you really ham it up. When the summons for the audition for Britain's got Talent came through 2 days ago, I had the choice of doing something that I already knew and felt comfortable performing (You can't stop the beat), or this Gasman business that Bud said he'd help with. As I already have 3 more auditions where I'll be expected to use the dancing feet one, I chose Gasman which meant we had to do a duet as promised.
braitains got talent preliminary auditionsOver the 2 days we'd added to it with asides and mini-exchanges and jokes and in one case, a scooter. His stage name was Murgatroyd but I got to call him Marmalade, and my stage name was Sir, which is as it should be. So we did run-through after run-through and were confident. First I delivered a happy birthday chocolate box to the landlady of the Phoenix pub while he stood outside on the scooter (the natural order of things) and we walked to the Primary School where the auditions were being held. We were first and gradually the little playground filled up and there were 10 other performers. We chose to go on 5th and the school gym was quite small so it was one at a time. We could hear vague warblings coming out of the doors but not much. It looks like all the others were actually talented and did songs with backing tracks, but we just had loud voices, guts and idiocy. We answered a few questions to camera with a huge boom microphone in our faces and then we did our performance with a few stumbles and mumbles and laughs from the camera crew.
Like a giant water slide, it was terrifying and yet electrifying and over quickly and then we were out in the cold and went home. We do not expect to have to do our duty again but it was a laugh and it's made me feel confident and looking forward to my next audition.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The First 5 Years were the Worst

spirits and liquors in the back to school section failToday my re-education resumed following a 6-week break. To get back in the swing of it, Jof practically took me there before going to work and I had only 1 road to cross on my own before the one with the Leaping Lollipop Lady.
Well, it was certainly all-change in the exalted Upper School. We have a new head teacher and 3 new other teachers and our break-times are different and so is everything else.
Both Ben and Erin are School Councillors so will have to attend lots of boring conferences in hotels in Bruges etc and we all had a get-to-know-you session but I know most of the people in my class anyway.
The new head did a long assembly and read to us from a book about a girl who has an increasingly full bag of worries that follow her everywhere - even the toilet - until she learns to split up those naughty worries and terminate them one by one once they are divided and more conquerable.
mr esposito miss higgins meon junior schoolWe all had to think of our own worries and you could just feel that "will De Gea ever get sold" and "what if I never find out the Wi-Fi password" were bubbling under but we were all sensible with things like what if nobody talks to me.
I designed a Trojan shield with flaming sword and crossed fire-lightning and we'll be doing Vikings as well soon. I got my new teacher's name wrong by adding a W where it wasn't wanted and everyone laughed. But others were mixing it up with Burrito and Mosquito, the perils of being a teacher with an even mildly interesting name. When Grandma was a teacher, someone wrote on the desk "Mrs M has purple hair" so I don't think anyone gets away with it.
park playground apparatus We made mini-bunting triangles with our photos and vital statistics in and added our faces to vehicles of our own design for reading-level purposes. All these are welcome distractions from the earworm I am currently infected by, the song I shall perform tomorrow for my first audition.
On the way home we met an errant dog who had escaped from the park. We tried to grab it but it joyfully ran around in open traffic causing no accidents and it re-entered the park by Beaver Gate of its own accord.
We did do Wednesday Park but I didn't know anyone there apart from Charley's Aunt and Olivia whose 5th birthday was the first invite I got from a schoolmate.
We practised the song a bit but it's difficult getting the scooter in the front room.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Commonses and Summonses

Well I tried to have a last nothing-day to end the holidays. This inset day coincided with Jof's day off and so I was expecting Minecraft and sofas and possibly ice cream. But then she suggested lunch at the Harvester and that's quite a good idea, it's a known quantity with oodles of cheap food that I know I like, all just a short bike ride away.
milton common southsea reclaimed land nature reserveWe were just having a play fight when I got her in the head with the zip on my coat and she didn't like it and I said it would be nicer if I lived with Bud because then everything would be fun and that made her go quiet again, but I was just joshing, honest. On the way home I did race off somewhat onto the common with its many similar-looking twisty paths that double back on themselves and we sort of lost each other because I wasn't keeping an eye on her. After about half an hour of criss-crossing the expanse looking for her, Bud came round a corner and we managed to find Jof and she was pleased to see me, that's what oxytocin does to the maternal brain, powerful stuff.
Then Bud said your TV audition has come through, we've got 2 days to come up with an act, plus you're back to school tomorrow and we have to get ready for gymnastics now, no pressure. On the way home we saw Lucy B and Stanley and Abby and it'll be nice to see my friends again.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Aftermath: a Hollow Victory

I was hoping for a do-nothing day and tried for a naked day but they insisted I wear pants, at least. Then we sort-of agreed to go swimming and the Pyramids were chosen and we climbed the battlements to see the scar left on the face of the Earth by the dearly departed Victorious Festival.
sound stage and litter following victorious festival portsmouth
This lengthy music-and-beerfest suffered much the same fate as the America's Cup in that the notoriously generous Pompey weather was generous once more, showering all and sundry with copious amounts of monsoons, free of charge.
This meant that Castle Field and the Common have been churned and spludged by cars and lorries and it may take years to recover. The sprinkling of discarded festival food containers lent it a surreal air and we watched a fork-lift putting pallets of unused bottles back onto the lorry, and wrecking what was left of the field.
In the Pyramids, I met Bill and Harry and Thomas and Angeline and Lennon and Flynn and Finn and played with them all. At one point Bud and I were up the waterslide ladder and Jof waved to us. Then we were up the other waterslide ladder and she waved to us. I then suggested she go off and do her own thing rather than follow us around and she did not take this well and walked home, and was quiet for the rest of the day and I got sent to my room, I shall never understand adults.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Last Blackberry

langstone harbour and hayling islandI was first up because I know that if I'm quiet, I can get some time on the tablet before they're awake enough to stop me.
Hours later Jof said let's go for a bike ride, just to surgically remove me from screens. The Victorious Festival is on so the seafront might be a little busy so we struck north instead and met Elizabeth who had been forced out of the house for much the same reason.
Then I went blackberry hunting on Ben's bumpy paths and they were either red, tiny, or out of reach. I got one. Ben and I usually like to dig away at the sea defences so I found a new excavation tool and left it hidden for our next visit.
Incidentally, I think Nike's new slogan should be Live Long and Perspire.
I was due to watch Alien but Jof said she didn't want me to, so I just played X-Box for ages. So we went for 80s classic "Ghost" with much drivel and comedy and heaven-lights and hell-demons and we fast-forwarded through the erotic clay-potting scene but you have to appreciate I'm way past all of this stuff with the nips and the bots because I'm looking at the acting. Then I went to bed but I did rather like the nips and the bots.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Come with me if you want to live

fishermen and ziplines on bournemouth pierI was very surprised to find myself awake at seven something, and although I tried to get back to sleep, I failed and met Bud downstairs at 0733, on a Saturday.
While this is an unlikely scenario following Friday-Night-is-Beer-Night, there was a real reason. Once we'd had breakfast and taken Jof her first cup of tea of the day, we left the house at ten past 9 and drove west (well, once we'd got off the island).
Bournemouth was our target. Neither of us have ever been there, and as we haven't yet reached retirement age, the visit must have been for the Bournemouth Film and Comic Convention, held in the Bournemouth International Centre, or BIC for short.
public park and stream bournemouth balloonPaying vast amounts for the car park, we had half an hour to kill before our tickets were valid so we hit the beach. It is sandy and very long indeed, going on for miles in each direction. You can see the Needles (westernmost pointy point of the Isle of Wight, the other end of which we can see from our own beach), and Sandbanks, which is a small exclusive nature reserve for very rich people: it's about 3 inches above sea level and will totally wash away as soon as the climate change-related sea level rises start.
bournemouth film and comic con game of thronesThe Pier is long and swish and charges £1.60 for the likes of us. Knowing we'd be back later, we paid the extortionate fee and promenaded gaily, looking at the fisherpersons and the beautiful bay with its bathing beauties and a massive Zipline from a monstrous gantry at the end of the pier to a fenced-off landing pad on the beach. To Zip us both back to shore would have cost about £25 so we walked instead. You can just see the Ziplines by the lamp-post above my head.
bournemouth comic film con stallsBimbling up the long and pleasant park either side of a stream, we saw a hot air balloon and lots of palm trees and yuccas and so forth, ice cream kiosks and a miniature golf course. Vowing to return, we walked to the BIC and joined the back of a very long queue.
It was full of Cosplayers from all manner of films and TV shows and Comics and the Lara Crofts were curvy and there were a lot of guns and outsize weapons and some Predators and lots of Fantastic Fours and bursting bodices and tight botties and coloured hair and people where I could not tell whether they were boys or girls.
kyle reese signed photo shoot bournemouth film and comic conInside it was VERY busy and you sort of get pushed along by the crowd and we searched out our target (Terminator and Aliens star Michael Biehn) and got a queue ticket and wandered off to get pushed around by the crowd.
There were 2 massive rooms of stalls and signing areas and some Doctor Who actors were doing a seminar and you couldn't move for Stormtroopers and the sandwiches were £4 each and there were a lot of official helpers. At least 2 stalls were selling swords but we've got 2 real ones.
I scored some excellent Lego minifigures and he got an articulating Predator (to go with our minigun-toting Terminator) and we spent ages trundling around looking for an Alien (Ripley-style) but the only ones were either dreadful rip-off kiddie night-lights or 2-foot tall ones that were, like, £120 so we missed out there.
bournemouth pier and beach hot air balloonBut we waited dutifully for Michael Biehn although we called him Kyle Reese and when we got to the front he was nice but I got a bit shy. I said my favourite film was Predator and he wrote come with me if you want to live on the signed picture, I chose the one of him in the stolen car. He seemed to find it difficult to write and said he hadn't ever signed a photo for a Professor before. He pointed out that I was not in costume and I said I used to have the full-on Terminator one but I can't fit in it any more and we all agreed I'll have to get a costume sorted for the next one.
sixty million postcards exeter st bournemouth @60mpcNext to him was Christopher Judge from Stargate but he wasn't dressed as a Jafar, and on the other side was a woman called Jennifer from CSI and nobody wanted her autograph. I liked the look of Robert Englund, though, his Freddy Krueger costume looked ace.
I told Kyle Reese that I wanted to be an actor and he said funny you should say that, so does my son, so we met him too, but he was 12.
bournemouth international centre bic event hostingAnyway, we escaped the melee and went to the Slug and Lettuce for lunch, and planned our next Lego project, which is the jungle scene in Predator where he's all muddy and the predator-alien can't see him on that frequency. On the way back we went up in the hot air balloon, because neither of us have used that mode of transport before. It goes up to 120 metres and waves about in the wind. Everybody looks very small from up there and they warn you not to drop things on people but we thought we could poo on a seagull to get our own back.
Next to us was some brat who wouldn't shut the flapping lip, kept quacking and jumping around, some kids, eh. It was all very funny and you could see for miles. The viewing platform is totally caged in, it's round a hexagonal hole where the tethering cable goes and when we came down the wind blew us around and the line got snagged and we crashed amusingly.
lego and minecraft minifigures predator michael biehn signed photoThat's when it started to rain, and it didn't stop for the rest of the day. So we didn't go back on the pier and we took one more circuit of the Cosplay-fest but didn't see anybody we knew although it was fun identifying who they were Cosplaying. You know in comics and action shows where the ladies often have splendid boobies and giant weapons and exposed midriffs and helpfully positioned but very limited armour? Well, so do their Cosplayers. It was all very interesting.
Anyway, I didn't get my ice cream on the pier (so I've got 2 spare tickets for the pier, valid for a couple of months), we didn't play golf but I have come away with a Lego Dobby, Harry Potter, Iron Man, Loki and Avengers Spaceship, a Minecraft Zombie and Skeleton, a signed photo of a film star made out to me, and a new appreciation for scantily clad warrior babes.
As soon as we got home, Jof went to bed for a nap. These days off are tough ...
I'd agreed that my next film-a-thon is the Alien series, but I just couldn't be bothered tonight and played Minecraft for ages and had a bath fizzer, retro, man.