Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Let all the children boogie

Circus Gorrage
Curious George is a monkey with a secret past. Originally an anonymous standard monkey, this innocent animal was bitten by a radioactive human and/or exposed to deadly theta radiation from a local freak supernova. The poor creature developed supersimian intelligence and is now a fugitive from justice, living secretly amongst the very humans that created this diabolic chimaera.
My grandparents remember this character with fondness because Bud misread the title as "Circus Gorrage". It's a mistake any half-deranged 3 year-old could make.
Today we're looking after Ben. First we did basejumping while ululating the famous war cry "Poo Poo bumhead".
jumping off the cupboard
jumping on the bed But then it was time to go out. We sang gibberish all the way but stopped off at the supermarket to buy more batteries for the megatorches and dutifully recycled all the dead ones.
wartime bunker tunnelWhen we got to the chalkpit we were all alone, nobody else was there apart from 1 dogwalker who left anyway. We found the hole in the hedge and climbed the 40ft or so up the treacherous steep smooth slippery chalk slope with its areas of loose material and got to the WW2 radio station bunker. It's a good job we'd put new batteries in the torches, it's 80ft behind the cliff face so pitch black in the far rooms with the staircase and drifts of party debris, tin cans, bottles etc.
portsmouth harbour from portsdown hillOnce we'd explored it all (there's not really very much of it) we slid back down the hill on our botties and elected to climb the hill and see the view from on top. It was a tough climb but we made it and saw many prickle bushes, much rabbit poo, some good views, some workmen installing a new aerial on one of the secret military bases at the top (they have some much better tunnels and bunkers but you can't get in unless you're a spook) and quite a lot of blackberries.
Once we'd circumnavigated the whole cliff, we got back down the precipice on the other side and visited the swamp directly under the cliff. We threw lots of rocks (either flints or bits of chalk) but didn't start any rock avalanches so we survived.
chalkpit quarry cliff faceOnce we'd tired of that, we found another way past the fence and slid up and down a different chalk slope, one that I visited about 3 years ago. I overshot a bit and had to get rescued out of some bushes. We were all very chalky.
When we got back to the car, it was a shame that the fine citizens of the sprawling Paulsgrove council estate had not in fact stolen, joyridden and torched it so we drove away and used roads we'd never been on before to reach the Royal Armouries Fort Nelson (Cannon Museum).
barking dog oriental cannonIt's got a flash new entrance/visitors centre so we went in the new gate and explored. The cannons and stuff are all the same but the layout is a bit different, more space to spread them all out.
turkish siege cannonWe climbed on all the groovy guns (ignoring all the Don't Climb On The Guns signs) and explored the tunnels and magazines and gun emplacements and the highly aromatic Victorian outside toilets. gun emplacementblank firing howitzer at royal armouries
Having a bit of time to waste we nipped into the shop where we got 4 plastic parachutists of various sizes and 2 large ice creams which we ate while Bud had a coffee. I suppose one day we should go back and pay for the ice creams. brick-lined tunnel to the caponier and rampartsHe was being mysterious again and led us outside to sit on the ramparts to finish our ice creams. Suddenly two chaps in the parade ground fired the big howitzer! It was very loud and made our chests thump. Then he did it again! It's all good fun. I suppose what's the point of being a cannon museum if you don't show off your guns.
Then we played on a dead tank for a bit and headed home.
 We arrived at 4pm exactly which was our meeting time at swingpark so we stayed for a bit of play and a cuppa before heading over the road. We met the JoniBobs and played on the bike and scooter and threw the parachutists in the air. Within 3 seconds, all of them were hopelessly tangled. Within a few minutes, the first casualties were reported and by the end I think the number of survivors was zero. I have scratched legs and tired feet.

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