Sunday, 25 September 2011

The invasion of Europe (day of sand)

sandcastle with moat, motte and baileyJof had promised me a ride on the hovercraft a few weeks ago but the weather was so bad it was all cancelled. Today she came good on her promise and we began the invasion of Europe by taking Ryde. As soon as we'd got off the amphibious landing vessel I led the way to my favourite sandy beach and we broke ground on a fortified position from which to direct my land forces.
deep hole excavation on a sandy beachJof and I collaborated on a kidney-shaped river and dam while Bud did a motte and bailey and some outlying fortresses. But gradually the hole he was digging to produce sand for the earthworks got so deep it became interesting and I did a little trench warfare. At one point I could stand up in it with only my hat visible to the confused Chinese visitors nearby. I changed into some shorts so I could get seawater for the moat and then we noticed the tide had gone out. It went out a very long way indeed and so he took off his socks and shoes, rolled up his jeans and joined me on the exposed sandflats.
foxhole big enough for a boyEvery time we saw a new sand island and crossed it, the sea receded a little more and created a new island. In the end we were further out than the end of the train pier and were half a mile out to sea. We met many dead crabs, seaweed, gulls, shrimpy things, and currents emptying the sand bars. We waved hello to the many hovercraft as they passed us by.
Eventually we thought we'd better get back so returned to find Jof had erected some protective castles around the hole of destiny to stop kiddies falling down it and ending up in Australia.
sandflats at Ryde Isle of Wight at low tideWe found a tap and washed ourselves down, I had a complete change of clothes (apart from one item - I had to go commando again) and I ran up and down getting dry right in front of the bearded people with their special brew having a rest on a bench.
Then we headed into the buzzing metropolis that is downtown Ryde and found a place called Long John Eater at the bottom of Union Street who specialize in deep fat fryers. I had fried chicken nuggets and they had fried fish various and fried peas, we all had deep fried chips.

This was just the excuse I needed to go to the sandpark with the groovy sand excavator so I used my bucket and spades to move even more sand around. Then there was just time for a Minghella's luxury chocco ice cream before the hoverpeople let us have the last 3 seats and we retreated back to civilization.
We had got away with a 2-hour parking ticket on a six-hour jaunt: also we'd left the car window open but still nobody had stolen and torched it. What do we have to do?
Straight into the shower upon getting home, we were all very sandy indeed and sand is still coming out of my ear even now.

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