Thursday, 29 September 2016

Sharp Sickles

through the arch shaped window failHUGE maths test in school today. It was a 40-question behemoth over 30 minutes which is, like, 7 questions a minute and at the end my brain was like wet socks.
Against all expectations, I have chosen to go to the Halloween disco (normally discos are too hot and noisy for me). Every kid likes it at age 6 when you can put on some skeleton or witch outfit straight out of the supermarket and roam the mean streets collecting bucketfuls of sweeties for looking cute.
cosplay terminator kids sizedie hard halloween fancy dress shirtAnd already the shops have that special seasonal section full of green-haired Frankensteins and zombies and skelibobs which are just stretchy black onesies with plastic don't-glow-in-the-dark bones glued onto the front. But when you get to my advanced age, they look totally tacky and frankly embarrassing. As next year I'll be at secondary school, it'll be completely beneath me so this is the last chance: and I've gone for a new look from another of my favourite films. A couple of years ago I went as the Terminator and didn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear as I filled my choccy bucket, this time I'll have to say Give me my detonators or Yippee-ki-yay Feather Duster or something. Anyway, my original gun from 2014 is knackered, half of the bits have fallen off and the rat-tat-tat noise has been reduced to a gentle grinding by depleted batteries. Any idea how difficult it is to buy a decent MP5 in this market? Nobody's seen Nick the Greek since he flogged those 2 old shooters last year ...
And I practised my speech for church. This biblical excerpt is from Revelations where the author has clearly been under pressure to perform, possibly pressure of wine, mushrooms, and not getting enough fresh air. He goes on about sharp sickles a lot, and gets his angels all mixed up, poor chap.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Bog-Snorkelling with Bucephalus

malaysian product name lost in translationWe all have our artistic talents. Sham can draw parks. Ben C is a cartoonist. I can draw tree trunks. One of these might be useful in a future career. In ICT we did Scratch where you program a sprite and I made mine a monkey and it sang happy birthday and 2 parents appeared and gave it some bananas and a present which opened and revealed another 50 bananas which I had to design myself.
You know where old men in stripy trousers and bushy eyebrows stand there and read from the telephone directory for 17 hours to defeat a motion in the House of Commons, curse of the TV schedulers of 'Today in Parliament'? This is called filibustering and is designed to bore everyone to death by burbling pointless rubbish for so long, the summer holidays come around and everybody has to go home and the important law that Eye-brow Man didn't like runs out of time to get signed off.
climbing swings uprightsWell, this afternoon I described at great length the Minecraft Mob I wish to create: a Vampire Archer. These are Boss Mobs that spawn in the Nether Fortress Wart Room and they have a diamond sword and attack strength of 4-6 and 20 health points and shoot fireballs from their sleeves if you get too close, it doesn't matter if you don't think that's particularly Vampyric, and if you kill one they drop a piece of rotted meat and in 10% of cases will also drop a Nether Vampire Tooth just like the Wither Skeletons that drop a Wither Skeleton Skull 10% of the time and you can build a Wither if you get enough Skulls and if you get 8 Vampire Teeth you can craft a Nether Nexus but that means you have to kill at least 80 Vampire Archers on average so that you don't get the Nexus if you're only a Noob with a stone axe or something because the Nexus is really OP and Boss and they wouldn't want that, would they....
Perhaps I have a hidden talent to complete a 3-day filibuster without using a phone book.
Anyway we did Wednesday Park and one of the Green Guys (not nauseous aliens, they go to a school where the uniform is green) climbed the swings so we called him Tinkerbell but we still did ball-tag and swing-kick.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Gutter Sniper

shoe send shoes lost in translation failThe House Captaincies were handed out today (or perhaps, taken by those deemed most deserving) which has certainly shown up a few strong characters in our year group.
pioneer .22 chinese built air rifleI am due to join the Scouts soon and just when I was burning dollies at the stake last weekend, the Scouts were on a biennial MacroKamp which I just missed so won't get to go on for another 2 years. But I do have rifle shooting to look forward to, provided I get my name on the list. Knowing this, I gave Jof an in-depth training lesson on all my Nerf sniper rifles and Bazookoids and Nerflet Launchers and so forth.
Then Bud got his old gun out of the loft. This Chinese-built Pioneer rifle is about 32 years old. Purchased while at boarding school, the house-master confiscated it immediately at the breakfast table when it arrived by parcel post, can't think why as he was working in the Combined Cadet Force armoury at the time. So maybe we'll take it along to the Scout shooting session if I get in.
pompey pals battalion memorial portsmouth football clubIn an unconnected event, I visited the football ground where a memorial to the Pompey Pals has been put up. During those heady days when we thought the First World War would be over by Christmas, lots of groups of friends and colleagues joined up from community centres like the football ground, major factories etc.
That is why the middle bit was torn out of so many communities when the war turned into a terrifying mudbath of doom, where none of the rifles were air-powered and everyone had a nightmare. This memorial will receive a Scout visit shortly, for Remembrance Day.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Roadside Milestones

The whole school is going to put on an art exhibition. Every pupil will be forced into sorry will joyously make a painting or other artwork and some will make 2. These will all need to be displayed somewhere, and providing every child can persuade at least 1 parent, guardian, carer, second cousin, pet Pangolin or random person abducted from the street to attend, there could be nearly a thousand people, which rules out the school assembly hall.
piano on car crash funnySo we all had a voting session and a votive offering and at the moment, the Orangery at the Pyramids is the hot (and slightly chlorine-y) favourite.
Apropos of nothing, I have reached a milestone that is as intangible as a well-endowed Ender-Dragon. If you use Google Earth, you can zoom in to any part of the planet and examine it down to a resolution of just a couple of feet, so you can see the flagstone patterns on the seafront, and the colours of people's beach towels. Dotted around are little icons that represent a titled photograph uploaded by some helpful soul, so you can see decent pictures which may enable you to tell Grandad to meet you by the giant stone cannonballs outside the John Russell Fox pub in Andover High Street, which we did a few years ago. Or if you look up a local business on Google, it may come up with a description, address and opening times, and a photo uploaded by the owner or anyone else.
I now have over 500 of these photos on Google Earth and Maps. You don't get paid, no prizes are issued, you don't uplevel to 'Expert' or evolve into a higher being. I wouldn't have minded a golden halo around my profile picture. But it's nice anyway.
After school I took Sham again and we babbled nonsensically for 90 minutes and built several more sections of MineCastle, although at one point we did accidentally incinerate 37 chickens, easy mistake to make.
For Scouts I was one of only 7 kids to do the £3 challenge (provide a balanced 2-course meal for under £3 for the homeless shelter) and I did an additional voluntary speech with questions from the floor about my exploits at Centre Parcs, which met with lots of ooohs and aaahs especially about going to bed at midnight on Saturday night.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Egghead (Back, Sack and Attack)

1st clanfield scout hut hyden lodge Woke a little before 8, on the floor, surrounded by boys. No, not an excerpt from the secret diary of a hen nighter, but a perfectly normal Cub Scout sleepover.
So yesterday we'd voted not to burn the teddy bears and dollies on the Pyre of Justice, they'd all been saved and adopted by little sisters and similar creatures. We also didn't burn the totally usable chair, the Clanfield Scout group will either sell it for Scout funds or just give it to a charity shop. But we burned everything else, and I got to set the fire, being the oldest and most sensible and experienced in the combustive arts.
And we played a game where you get in your sleeping bag and hold it right up to your neck and jump around attacking each other, like a fight breaking out in a sack race. This was going really well until someone trod on my sack just as I was jumping and, well, you can't stop yourself falling with your arms inside a sleeping bag so down I went, head-butting the parquet floor with venom and purpose.
This gave me a BIG old egg on my forehead which was black and purple, honest, and enabled me to get up close and personal with an icepack for some time.
peel park recreation area petersfield road clanfieldToday we had another fire because of why not and lots of games and gingerbread man-making and a challenge to get one of our bazookas across a ravine of hot lava using a frame and ropes, sort of a junior Field Gun event.
I was the last Cub to leave at 3-ish and we walked through the village to Peel Park which is a huge swingpark we saw from the road on the way in and home to Clanfield Football Club and a skatepark.
I did have tired feet and dirty legs but I summoned up enough energy to play on the quite decent swingpark and then I drove home and had a really big shower (hooray) before homework (boo).
Jof is going on a diet so clearly the best program to binge-watch is the Great British Bake-off and I was happy to join her in salivating over cakes and pies and Swan-in-Beer pastries and whatever.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Be Prepared (You never know when there'll be an Execution)

Said goodbye to Jof as she left for work and got down to some work myself, which was extending the curtain wall around the castle that Sham and I are building. We have a plan, to grow wheat and cows and tomatoes and pigs, trade them for emeralds, and buy lots of OP armour before switching our world over to Survival Mode. I am able to expound on this for hours, going into impressive detail, but as it is meaningless and unimportant to anybody except us, I shan't.
Incredibly, Sham himself came round to join in. I showed him all the hard work I'd done and we agreed on the next stage of our totally imaginary cyber-endeavour, but then he had to go, because I had to go to Acting.
1st clanfield scouts and brownies groupToday our lesson was outside because the theatre itself was being used as a wedding venue. This is so when the married couple hate each other, they can say I was just acting at our wedding, I don't love you really.
We played games and had to make a machine. Because the new boy was called Charlie, we made a chocolate machine out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
And then my personal chauffeur drove me straight to Clanfield. My Scout Group had booked the Scout Hut there for a sleepover: the rest of them hiked over the hill from Butser but I didn't have to, because of Acting, hooray. So I was delivered direct to the Hut, and we unloaded a carful of campfire wood (including an execution chair for the loser) with the help of an army of Cub Scouts, that's what they're for.
1st clanfield scouts and brownies group hut hyden lodgeBut the word HUT is wrong. They used to have a wooden hut, on nearly 2 acres of land donated by the local farmer, but it was burned down by vandals (Not Huns or Visigoths). Scouts are always insured so after a bit of extra fund-raising, they built a new hut which is in fact a mansion. You could play cricket in it. The South Wing has numerous toilets, shower facilities, gym, sauna, cinema, swimming pool complex and large kitchen with additional Chinese Laundry. The Great Hall with Minstrel's Gallery has vast barn-conversion-style windows, with store-rooms, vault, indoor sand school for the horses, staff flats, observatory and workshop.
The outside has a football pitch, HaHa, HoHo, Elizabethan Knot Garden and campfire area over near the container-ship container and is bordered by fields, and there's off-road parking for 9 vehicles with fold-out helipad, all down a dead-end road where everyone owns a Range Rover. We are officially jealous. But when we'd arrived the fun really started. They loved the 4 procession torches but incredibly they may put the ritual execution of the Disaster Dollies to the vote. Apparently our Nazi-style lynching may go down better with the more brutal Scouts, as some of the Cubs are still a little wet behind the brains. Never mind, there will always be Disaster Dollies in the charity shops of this world.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Scrambled Bikes on Toast

adult on a kids slide falling funnySchool. Well, there you are, you can't avoid it. So we did PE today and 2/3 of the class voted for football, even the girls. I voted for Hockey, a single sane voice in a sea of madness, 'twas ever thus.
The official nurse measured me recently as part of the purge of childhood obesity, I think they're looking for sources of animal fats for the poorly funded Government wick-lamps for when the Zombie apocalypse comes and the power goes off. Even though some parents who shall remain nameless tell me I'm plump, I only just scraped into the slim end of normal, so there, actually.
milton common sea defences reclaimed landAnd then my perennially boring life took a turn for the dull again as I packed my own rucksacks with my Scout camping kit for the overnight camp tomorrow. On the one hand, it's amazing just how much clobber you're told you need. But then again, it's amazing how a toilet error or unexpected ditchful of muddy water can just eat away at your clothing supplies. The Scout Group Quartermaster has arranged a healthy supply of fuel units for the campfire.
kids cycling on milton commonMy mate of 7 years 'Ben' invited me up to the common (Ben's Bumpy Paths, a source of blackberries and nettle soup) for some bike action. This event was put in serious jeopardy when during the voted-for football match, he swung his foot at the ball just when someone else did, and he destroyed a drainpipe and kicked the brick wall behind it. Fortunately his foot survived. The diggers have been digging away frantically these last several months improving the sea-wall flood defences. Some of it has now been reopened, and the challenge was on to scramble our bikes up and down the freshly dug mounds.
I arrived top haste by bike and we did a leisurely circuit of the vast neatly-smoothed expanse. Signs every 7 yards told us to keep off the screeded slopes because they were newly planted with seeds of indigenous life-forms, so we mostly did, because the path was so wide and smooth it was a delight to traverse.
milton common seaside footpathOn our way back we saw the heads of our target friends over the causeway and we reacquired them at the second junction. Ben and Charlie-from-up-the-road (that's his name) have BMX bikes so we all swapped around to try each others out. Johnny joined us. The shadows were long but conditions were ideal.
The slopes were good and the others may be a little more in-yer-face BMX cunning stunters with their handbrake turns and jumps but it was totally worth it riding free across the prairie with my mates under the endless sky.