Friday, 27 November 2015

The Victorian Festival of Christmas

serves you rught bottle smasher sillyI totally skived school today! OK, so I had a sign-off or a pass-out or a licence to roam or whatever, I wasn't AWOL. The Victorian Festival of Christmas is an annual event held at Her Britannic Majesty's Royal Naval Dockyards just down the road.
Just in front of the Shipwright's Church on St George's Square is an informative signpost telling you where the harbour was in the 12th century, and surrounding the dockyard itself is a wall telling you about its 18th century origins and the whole place is full of history and absolutely ideal to pretend it's still in the Victorian era, it's almost as if it was built then.
mary poppins chimney sweeps brushes groundlings theatre portsmouth
So my theatre provides peripatetic actors who add to the atmosphere for the oodles of visitors and this time, I'm playing an ambitious orphaned street boy paying my own way by cleaning chimneys freelance, I do a bit of silver polishing on the side, I have a convincing Cockney accent, 3 teeth, ripped clothing wot I nicked off that dead geezer out the back of the knocking shop, and a host of colourful vitamin deficiencies.
Bud took Jof a cup of tea at 0555 and the day started. I was raring to go and we had been warned the traffic would be awful so we left early and I was signed in at 0740, a mere hour and a half before I was due in make-up.
The day did get better. Due to some islamic party-poopers over the Channel, there were a few more heavily-armed paratroopers than usual. Friday could easily be viewed as the practise day for the main event tomorrow and Sunday, it was fairly quiet. We set up shop in Snowy Alley and Child A was already being a pain in the butt, with the mischievous attitude of the untethered Year 3.
school project floating boat ship
We performed our set piece and dances and games and chats and in a rare half-hour break, we wandered up to HMS Victory (as you do) and I suggested we all sing 'My Bonnie lies over the Ocean' while two of our dancing girls did their turn. We got a big round of applause from our grateful public. Later, Child A was being such a wotsit in the thingy that I stormed offstage crying.
 That's exactly when the BBC camera crew filmed the Chimney Sweep Federation doing the 'Step in Time' dance, in traditional formation with a glaring gap where I should have been standing. Thus I failed to get on TV this week, bummer.
Anyway, I ate lots of toast and swept out a lot of chimneys and didn't get my pockets picked and I liked the Fagins and the Pearly Queens and Queen Victoria and the Judge and the prostitutes in the bawdy-house and the beggars and street vendors and piccolo players and you should all go tomorrow, it's ace.
At home I had very tired feet and deserved a bath. OK, so we had to remove the Good Ship Mungo from the bath before I could get in, it's my entry for the class naval architecture topic competition. Yes, it has a flag of convenience with little toilet logo.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Resurfacing my Brain

man arrested in complex maple syrup robbery funny newspaper headlineSchool was actually normal. I took an IT test, had some lessons, designed a house in French (because theirs are so much better) and in G-Mail class, Child A and Child B had a massive argument and Child B was sent out, but not before he'd kicked the bin and chucked a laptop and gone pink and generally drawn attention to himself.
Almost straight after school I have Extra-Swimming. Thus I hoovered up an avocado, a yogurt and some prawns with calamari (an obvious choice) in time to get there early. But they were resurfacing the road and we had to divert slightly, making us lose our advantage. Where I say slightly, the diversion was longer than the original journey.
colas ltd roadworks eastney road portsmouthI had a new teacher and he rapidly identified me as a star and I was demo-diver again and I did my underwater handstands because you just have to, and overall, it was Leg Day.
My homework is to make a boat capable of floating on Canoe Lake. Jof started hers with an old ice cream tub but Bud pooh-poohed her efforts and decided to make a rival vessel out of a 5-litre water bottle, a bamboo pole and some random bits of metal out of the recycling bin at his work.
Thus for a while we had competing shipbuilders in the dining room (I found this very funny) while I helped make Jof's one. Every seaworthy (or otherwise) tub from everyone in our class will launch next month, I hope mine doesn't get sunk by swans. Perhaps we need someone called Helen (to launch the 1000 ships).
I have a busy day tomorrow. Jof will get tea delivered at 0600, and she's allergic to anything before 9.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dress Rehearsal (no, you don't have to wear a dress)

tractor digger used to bury dismembered corpsesWell, today I had a bright idea. We have a suggestions box with padlock and everything so it's completely anonymous. So I wrote a note fingering three Year 6 students for a crime against a friend's foam ball, which the aforementioned named students had completely pulverized in a fit of bullying.
The fact that I wrote my class name and initials on the note and 2 of my best friends are school councillors and can open the suggestions box may mean it's not quite as anonymous as I think. Let's hope I learn soon about the risks of being caught dobbing people in.
Pops turned 10 today. Some day I hope to, too.
I did attend Wednesday Park and played Swing-Kick-Ball with the usual 4 suspects but I had to go early because of my dress rehearsal at the theatre. But just as we were going, the JBs arrived.
groundlings theatre portsmouthThus we stayed on a little bit while we waited for the oven to heat up and we played more ball-tag and ring'o'roses and when we left it was dark anyway. But I did my new trick which is honking the Imperial March from Star Wars which made them all laugh, although I did sound a bit like my robotic alter ego "Norbertron".
full moon cloud coverIt was very busy at the theatre with thieves and vagabonds and cutpurses and orphans and prostitutes and body-snatchers, and that was just the locals in the moonlit car park. I had my genuine Mary Poppins chimney-sweep's brush, Victorian wind-up LED lantern, a sackful of thermal undergarments as worn by all authentic street urchins, and a positive attitude.
We worked on the scripts and the games and the dances and we've got call times for hair, make-up and costumes, rest periods and performances and a parade and they're going to be very long days.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Pulparindo Gigante!

blueberry muffin mis-spell errorI got 4 house points at school today for such diverse actions as holding open a door and answering someone else's questions in Guided Reading.
Last night during my Scouts meeting I was gyrating uncontrollably, as you do, when I stabbed myself in the head with my own fingernail, causing profuse bleeding as from a trepanning session with favourite Wessex Druid 'Eorl'. This head wound is visible today.
At gymnastics I did so many forward collapses and trampoline-rolls I hurt my heel landing. Plus, you know those buttons on the sofa? Well, I just kept landing right on one of those on the padded mat, however I tried to aim my body.
Meanwhile, Jof went to 'Toning the Other Cheek' beauty salon and had her hair 'Flattened'. I told her it wasn't good and she re-inflated it with the blow-drier at the swimming pool.
mexican tamarind fruit bar con fruta naturalThe Pulparindo Gigante is a Tamarind pulp candy bar with added iodized salt brought to our shores from Mexico. Made from fresh tamarinds, it has only 103 calories but I can't see it catching on as a playground snack in this country, although the surprise extra ingredient (ground chilli) might encourage ... extra activity.
Its name isn't quite as good as some other foreign sweet wrappers in my collection (eg Bugg, Plopp, Kack and Snöre) but if you're going to have a Pulparindo, make it a Gigante, that's what I say.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Homeless Dragons

water pistol with penis squirter button product design failToday I got a certificate at school for getting 100% in my Gmail assessment. This does not in itself make me a nerd but the potential is there.
The afternoon was a panic about Scouts. We'd somewhat forgotten about the homework which was to collect warm clothing and food parcels for the homeless, which my Cub Pack were donating via the Salvation Army at their secret location right next to where I was born this time.
So we nipped along to a charity shop and bought some huge warm clothes. While we waited for the previous customer to pay, we heard her story about how her kid (approximately 6 years old) woke her up this morning at ten to 6 by licking her face. Now, I do not do this, because I know that if they're still asleep, I can get Minecraft.
rowans hospice charity shop fratton roadAnyway, the clothes we got were very warm indeed and would fit anybody who is XXXL. ASDA is just over the road so I bought 5 tins of meaty soup for only £3 and when Jof got home she added a sack of assorted toiletries so not bad in total.
But by then I'd found a new Minecraft game on a new server. In this one, you lob hand grenades at people and try to kill them while summoning your own dragon and fly around dropping bombs. I join in with gusto and strange ululations but rarely actually score any points.
In Scouts we learned about just how many charities there are out there vying for our custom and we have some new Cubs.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Irritable Boy Syndrome

boat made out of plastic ice cream tubI got hours of Minecraftery in before Jof made me do maths homework. I objected loudly and it was a battle, that'll teach her to make me do stuff. Plus she got some of the maths questions wrong so that made me feel better.
AND she wanted me to start on my latest homework (making a boat) so I grudgingly painted an old ice cream tub and that was it. All I really wanted was biscuits and Trading Places and Finding Nemo and bacon and Minecraft videos.
In the end she sent me to my room. Her work boss suggested a punchbag, apparently her kid went though a similar phase and it was a way to release some of the anger to which I'm currently a martyr. So what I did is come back repeatedly (interrupting Apollo 13) and ask what I could do and that's why I was let back on Minecraft.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Scout Swimathon 2015

milton st james church portsmouthHooray for the weekend! I Minecrafted and then we offloaded some old fancy dress costumes at the charity shop and went to church.
Now, a rock god like me doesn't have to go to church but my Scout group usually have stalls including the roll-the-coin game. I took a bagful of coins but they didn't have that game this year so I threw balls through the chorister's mouth to win a bag of sweeties, as you do. Santa's grotto was in the vestry but I really don't do that anymore. I met several faces I knew and a woman with a very impressive beard.
But I had to go to acting and the theatre was abuzz with people decorating the set for the pantomime and we practised the Festival of christmas lines and songs and Bertie was in a bad mood so didn't pay attention. Fancy that, a 9 year-old being sullen, moody and intransigent. Didn't know it could happen.
They wanted me to get a lantern for the parade so Bud bought me a big wind-up one like my wind-up torch so you never have to buy batteries. I bet mine is bigger than everybody else's.
After a few hours of Minecraft, he made me go to the new Giant Tesco which has opened up on a former area of ex-railway disused land also formerly vital to the future expansion plans of the football club before they totally ran out of money and died.
It's a very big Tesco indeed and they'd given all the locals some money-off vouchers and we met Poppy C and Eddie W and Poppy H so they'd all had the same idea. But I couldn't find any Pokemon cards which is no loss as Jof had told me I couldn't have them anyway.
Then Jof came home tired and we put her on the sofa and slipped away into the night (at a mere 4 degrees C) to the Scout Swimming Gala. I did this last year and swam against Johnny and Robert and planned a victorious comeback. We had to park on the verge because it was so busy. You're not allowed any photos of the event because of little people in swimsuits so here's one from before it started. We do widths, the older kids do lengths of the further section. All the parents have to sit on the viewing seats on the right and you can only really communicate by shouting down from where I'm standing. The pool is very big and I like the roof which is curvy. I came second in my backstroke race by a Gnat's nether-whisker and progressed to the finals, as did J and B. I saw many many known faces at the event and wandered around being the life and soul, every time I walked past the JBs I got a horizontal hand-slap (like a high five but lower) which was nice.
portsmouth northsea simming pool mountbatten centre hilsea
But tragedy struck in the form of some really crap people in my relay race. I was awesome and epic, James T was pretty good but the middle 2 were totally pants so we came 4th. But at least we weren't like some teams who were still swimming minutes later.
When it came to my backstroke final my feet slipped on take-off and I came in 6th (last) but I don't care and it's all about the joining in and it was a splendid evening all round and we ran through the car park (3 degrees C) to the car. At home I had a bath, because I wanted to feel warm. Because it'll freeze shortly, we brought the cacti in from the garage and I gained extra chocolate time by watching 'True Lies' again, I've seen it 28 times so it's lost its edge but who cares when you go to bed at 1130 with a head full of Kit Kats.