Sunday, 31 July 2011

Unknown at this point

very tall helianthus annuus sunflowers in flowerbedSo. Here's the question. If going down the pub with your friends makes you happy, how come Bud is all quiet and pensive this morning? The PuddleDaddies went to EIGHT pubs last night, you'd think they'd all be über-happy.
Here's me with my sunflowers. The tallest one is approximately 10 foot 5 inches, it's a bit difficult measuring them.
Yes. That strange item in the flowerbed with me is a small wooden cable drum. He brought it home for the bonfire (you must always burn at least 1 strange thing) that Follower Martin will be attending soon. I enjoy rolling it up and down the garden.
Then, just as we were tooling up to go shopping, Erin rang to invite me out for lunch. This was a far better offer than shopping, hoovering and watching the test match so I leapt at the chance. ErinsMum was driving because ErinsDad was still a bit blank and green after last night's beery goings-on and I got in the back seat with my girl, who was a bit bossy today (I, of course, am never bossy at all.....). Then we travelled up past Boarhunt to the Forest of Bere (wrong kind of Bere) to the adventure playground and 100 acre wood. We climbed and played and had a picnic, I had an ice cream shaped like a man called, er, 'Daddycream', or was that just my imagination. I had an excellent time, thanks to Erin for a great day. I'm already planning a return trip.
balancing beam - log obstacle in hundred acre woodtreehouse in forest of bere adventure playgroundwest walk adventure playground rope bridge style chainrope climbing frame in forest of bere adventure playground

Saturday, 30 July 2011

I just wanted to ask you a question.....

Portsmouth gymnastic centre, lessons for all agesThat's what the tall man in the 3-piece suit said at the door at 1030 this morning. I'm open to interrogation but then Bud arrived and noticed the man was fondling a bible. He said "Oh, you're joking, you must have worked out by now that it's all make-believe!" and that got rid of him. Now we've got the rest of the day free for some Brown Magic (I'm still only young), Pagan Fire rituals and Slug'n'Snail Jihad.
Walked to Tunnel park where I said I was hungry (what do you mean, 2 kiwi fruits for breakfast isn't enough?) and fortuitously we were right outside the legendary Bransbury Park butchers, purveyors of fine meaty comestibles and Pompey team gossip. And in there, for less than a quid, I obtained a juicy slice of pork pie so big, it had an egg in it! Tumtum satiated.
It did mean we were too late to take the bus, though, so had to drive to the gym.
In the afternoon we all went down to swingpark to play golf. Bud left immediately to go to the pub with the PuddleDaddies but we stayed on and golfed extensively with 2 other little boys at the cost of only 2 of the 3 golf bats, how come they always break?

Friday, 29 July 2011

The game's afoot! So leg it.....

The Archbishop of Canterbury & the Royal Commission for Political Correctness announced today that the climate in the UK should no longer be referred to as English Weather. Rather than offend a sizeable proportion of the UK population, it will now be referred to as:- Muslim Weather. (partly Sunni, but mostly Shi'ite)
Today was day 2 at the excellent "Fit For Sport" at the Mountbatten Centre. I recommend it to Puddlers and others, and I asked when I could go back. I was the youngest kid by lots but got a certificate and a T-shirt for being so groovy (I mean it, it wasn't for winning anything). Today we played football on the pitches by the sea, made paper airplanes, I got "Dumbo" read to me, and I went swimming for ages which is pretty well all I want to do at the moment. Plus I reckon that Steph would be my girlfriend if I was 20 years older. Here's me sitting on one of the Robot Wars Bots, it's very scary with a mallet, chopper/grabber and loads of spikes and red eyes. I had to make absolutely sure it wasn't plugged in before I was prepared to go anywhere near it, in case I pressed a button by mistake and it activated and went on a killing and chopping rampage. ("Would you know this death robot if it attacked you again? Would you be able to pick it out of a robo-lineup?")
As I left the building, the summer hols started for real. The game's afoot.....

Thursday, 28 July 2011

It's been a good year for the Rosies

I'm a pasta fan. Does this mean I'm a Pastafarian? No, because Pastafarianism is a splendid religion that reveres the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Like other religions, it was created from myth by one visionary who was joined by a bunch of people that united in a common cause.
pastafarianism image, flying spaghetti monster appendageThe FSM:
  1. Likes Pirates. So do I
  2. Was a little tipsy when it created the world - that's why things go a little wrong sometimes
  3. Created the world so a species clever enough to create tomato sauce would evolve thereupon
  4. Is made of spaghetti meatballs. My favourite dish
  5. Was invoked to take the mick out of American Fundamentalists. Everyone should do this.
When I grow old enough to lead a cult of my own, I shall take a lasagne-style leaf out of the book of Pastafarianism rather than the belladonna-style leaf of the Heaven's Gate UFO cult.
=====================================
sports hall, mountbatten centre portsmouthArrived at the Mountbatten centre 20 minutes early so investigated the swish new building. They've got an olympic sized pool and secondary splashpool where I may be starting lessons soon, an enormous sports hall with those giant curtains you drag across, spray tan suite, bar with terrace overlooking the running track and the whole upper deck is a fitness centre. We quietly tailgated a man who had the right badge access and saw all the running/rowing/bike machines, I even had a go on the punchbag.athletics, running track with shot putt, long jump

The dropping off point was the bar, but it was closed. Then he was off and the day started for real. We played a game where you kick the ball and have to get it near the wall without bouncing back for miles, I got it to touch twice so won a pen, with which I drew a trophy. There was giant Jenga, giant Connect4 and the reigning champion from Robot Wars in the foyer advertising a televised Wars in October. We played ping-pong, I'm quite bad for one who owns so many balls. Because I can't swim I got to go on the bouncy castle twice. We went down to the park where I went on everything available and met Alanna from my class. When he came to pick me up I hid behind the giant curtain but it doesn't quite reach the floor so he found me.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Psilocybernautica and the end of humanity

keep off the grass, council waste of money
Last day of school, first year completed and the dawn of the massive summer holidays, stretching out in front of me like the Aeon brick road. LittleMax's current favourite word is "Actually" which is a coincidence, as it was also my favourite word on my 5th birthday.
the classroom door opens for the last time. End of termI left 'Moles' class door for the last time at 1520. I carried with me the accumulated junk of a loud, painty and sticky first year: everything from my unfinished artwork to the name tag off my drawer. No doubt I shall be issued a replacement in the colours of my new form next year. They say education kills by degrees but I'm all for academia, as long as I can have a whopping great wodge of holiday in between terms.
unknown buried sewage, water or utility pipeeating an apple on the bouncy seats in the parkOn the way back LittleMax and Erin invited me to the park so we went down (in Mufti) to meet practically the entire school who had all had the same idea. What a happy ice cream van.
masterclass in greetings cards and pre-school artworkWe climbed and swung and stole food out of the bags and generally did all the stuff you do. The JoniBobs arrived after their mass dental visit and we discovered a pipe of unknown origin running under the park. We set about excavating the mysterious tube that ran towards the drain cover.
Eventually we left just before Jof arrived but she found Elizabeth and brought her round to make greetings cards.
I made the first entry in my holiday diary and discovered I like lamb'n'mint kebabs. This is a bit of a turn-around for me (usually I'm a pasta man), maybe I'm a Korma chameleon after all.
Incidentally, I have today declared that (although I enjoyed everything about school) the one favourite event from the last academic year that stands out for me is: the Germinator. Not a glorified plant pot, it was a UV light or similar that when shone on your hands, showed all the germs where you hadn't washed your hands properly.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Right brain, Left brain. Yes brain, no brain.

sesame street with sexual graphic violence and language
Grüße an mein Deustch Lesern.
Today I'm walking on the sunny side of the street although that'll mean I have to turn left at the traffic lights which could be difficult.
OK, so it's a cloudy day which threatens to douse the laundry at any time, but it's sunny in my heart. I took my toy cannon to school today (souvenir of the cannon museum/Royal Armouries Fort Nelson) and broke it by throwing it around. I am determined to try out all my toys in this way to see if it keeps happening.
marzipan chocolate cupcakes for teacher
After making a quadruple-decker bus out of lego, it was time to join Jof in the kitchen to make chocolate cakes for the end-of-term present for my teacher. Apparently we should have done this at Christmas as well, must be why I got a C-minus average for report. But surely, she's getting married this summer, so she won't thank me if her wedding dress doesn't fit. Just saying. Jof has been stoving over a hot slave all afternoon getting all these clever marzipan-choc shapes into little cupcakecups and the washing up had to be done 4 times. It's my last day at school tomorrow. Lucky Ben has already finished.....

Did you see it? My masterpiece, a marzipan, chocolate and icing hot dog.mini hot dog made out of marzipan, chocolate and icing

Monday, 25 July 2011

Sumer is icumen in (I hope)

strange warning sign - do not stand on the turtle
Awakened rudely this morning by Jof, far too early and then she expected me to do everything for myself. She's put her back out (probably all that boogie-ing at the BBQ yesterday) so she hobbled me down to school very slowly and then retired to the sofa to watch cricket instead of going to work.
twirling bolas around my head3 schooldays left until the summer hols! I shall have completed my first complete academic year (only 16 left to go), I'm practically an adult.
I have been given a specific task to be completed during the holidays: a diary, in which I must record everything I do in my own handwriting. Fortunately, I have extensive experience at keeping a blog, so I'm bound to win the class prize for best diary.
getting tied up in knotsIt was a warm afternoon so after an ice cream we did a bonus park. It was very busy with plenty of kids from my school but just not my peer group. By the time Zena and Flynn left I didn't really know anyone so we retired to the middle of the park to whirl Boberts' ball-on-a-wire and try to hit each other like horse-riding gauchos with their bolas. I spent quite a lot of time getting tangled. I mostly shot it backwards and my performance improved greatly when I simply turned around when firing. Then it was blackberry picking and seed collecting until hometime.

I had third helpings of shepherds pie.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Maxs' silly day

Leapt out of bed at 1030 and invaded Jofs' bed to describe my dreams at length. Mostly they seem to involve discovering treasure chests down tunnels.barbecue gathering, eat alfresco
on the top deck of the home-made wooden hovercraft
After an extremely lazy day of lounging around and playing with Pops, we took her round to the JoniBobs where there was to be a Puddle BBQ event. Outside we met Elizabeth who has just bought a house in the same road: do you think we should buy a house there too? We got on with it while the parents chatted, the hovercraft was popular although there were a couple of casualties. These were cured with nobbly-bobbly ice creams and high levels of mothering. We tried to fit in the upper storey all at once which is why Pops got a damaged hand and Erin fell down the ladder. Ben and Bobert have started a dangerous fad of leaping directly from the roof onto the gravel path which I suspect will end in tears soon enough. We brandished swords at each other and used the small stools as howitzers and ack-ack coastal defence against the many invading aircraft we imagined. If only we'd used them to shoot down the wasps that plagued the picnic.
feeding pesto fusilli pasta to your friendfuture mass murderer, cold eyed killer
Nobody got naked this time but we all had lots of food and trashed the house. Went to bed far too late and far too tired but there's only 3 days of school left.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Confused? You will be

swinging hanging basket in the parkAs usual for a Saturday we started in relaxed fashion and wandered down to swingpark where we met Rosie and on towards tunnelpark via the bottlebank and charity shop. I only have 1 bath fizzer left so shopping has taken on a renewed sense of urgency. In the end I bought a small car for 20p. We slid it up and down the slide a few times and then it gave up the ghost, shattering completely. Despondent, we headed home so as not to be late for the gym, like last week.
my own personal minibusIn our street was a Pops in the back of a minibus. This was quite surprising: I know she has a large family but this is ridiculous. It turned out to be a bus they'd hired for Millies' birthday party: clues to the location were in the back of the bus - parasols and a small boat. Sure enough, as we walked to the bus stop, they drove past waving with all Millies' friends in the back of the bus. Bud reckons the destination was the Witterings but Pops mentioned a funpark so I bid Hayling seafront.
We got to gym 40 minutes early: he just can't get it right.
After gym where I steadfastly failed to win any prizes yet again, we headed into town and scored heavily with 2 boxes of bath fizzers in the 4th shop we visited. I am an expert on fizzers and these are old favourites - blue eggs and fruity stars. Jof points out the expiry date on the fizzers was 2 years ago. Fizzers have an expiry date??
flipping burgers on the barbecue
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jof had been shopping and wondered why we hadn't done all our jobs in preparation for Erins' arrival. When they got here we played skittles, took turns on the jumping rocket, played spies and generally got in the way. Once we'd stuffed ourselves at the barbecue we watched the DVD "Up" and some of Wallace and Gromit but then they had to go at 9pm. In a couple of weeks' time it'll be the first anniversary of the Great Puddle Barbecue when we all got together to wish each other luck in our new schools, not expecting to see each other again. However, due to a combination of our geographical proximity and our parents' shared love of beer, it hasn't quite worked out that way.
I had my bath fizzer night and was in bed for 10ish.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Fancy, loose and 3 foot 3

santa delivering presents by motorbike
Heading towards the weekend!  
spot the dalekAs we left school we railroaded the parents again so I was able to do a return trip to LittleMaxs' place, with sausage casserole on offer. LittleMax will be told it's soup because he'll only eat soup at the moment, but I am allowed to know the truth, the light hath been revealed to me.
paintings of butterflies and £50 notes
Once I'd returned, Jof and I got on with some painting: I did £50 notes while she taught me to do butterflies. Meanwhile Bud harvested beans and peas and cut down the bean plants that have grown so much they'd overwhelmed the poor tomato bed. Later we delivered a bag of fresh beans to PopsMum and the neighbours: Erin is in line for some later.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Hi-de-Hi! Ho-de-Ho!

keyway non-stick wooden handle frying pan lw528saLast night, after I had finally drifted off, my servants booked our Sommerpause (summer holiday), although I don't yet know about it. We have signed up for the Happy Camper Regiment and will obey without question the orders of the Redcoats to enjoy some quality Lebensraum and gather round the Kamp Kommandants' feuer to sing songs of the VaterPlaneten. I may get to join the Krocodile Youth Klub unless it's been replaced by a more modern "Goat Gang", "Team Tiger" or "Bandicoot Band". I'm looking forward to bingo, the sandcastle contest, beauty pageant, aquapark, ersatz childrens' character parade and the glamorous granny competition.
sitting on footballsCan you guess where it is yet?
 Today was my final Thursday football before the summer hols so we made sure we got there early, and all of a sudden I was friends with Ben and the JoniBobs again. The council funding is drying up so I've only got one term left, then we shall have to find something else to do as a group. Here we are brushing up on our ball-sitting skills: first capture your ball and then subdue it with your bum.
indoor picnic - fish and chips dinnerAs promised we visited the blue fish'n'chip shop with its corpulent staff and ordered - sausages. The original plan was to take our food to the rabbit viewing area but of course, as soon as the football finished, it started raining so all er, hail, Chief Manservant Bud who had my raincoat in his magic flight bag. JoniBobsMum was kind enough to offer her dining table so we all had a massive picnic at their place. In fact I think everyone had sausages apart from Jof as the 1 fishy representative and BensMum who dipped her chips in a cup of tepid curry sauce like the classy bird she is, mmm. It was reminiscent of the chicken curries with those re-inflated giant raisins I remember so well from one of my previous lives as a public schoolboy in the 1970's. We ate well and left the Puddleparents drinking tea in a bombsite of discarded chip wrappers and dead ketchup squeezers. We got all the toys out and did our usual stuff but none of us got naked this time (apart from Ben who was playing exchange-the-sticker with us all whilst seated upon the throne).

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Wearing nothing but a smile (and a trumpet)

Today my class walked down to the Butterfly museum to investigate the life cycle of insects (recent coursework). I saw every stage from eggs to dead butterflies including one emerging from the pupa! We were also on a promise to see the miniature village, which we managed, but the rain came before we could eat our packed lunches in the Rose Garden so we trudged the considerable distance back to school to eat in the assembly hall. What a con!
Todays' Wednesday park looks rained off, anyway, I'm still on self-imposed exile. Tomorrows' Thursday football, however, is the last before the school hols so I'll go if it's not pouring. If I complete a session without moaning I'm on a promise for some fish and chips afterwards.
mouth organist and the little drummer boyErinsmum was busy this afternoon so on a whim we offered to take her main pet off her hands while the pet inspector came round to their house to see if they could adopt any more. So Erin and I got the instruments out as usual, I blew my own trumpet while she busied herself with my organ.
blowing my own trumpetShe also found my excellent dinos and we had a roar. She told Bud that I'm her boyfriend and we "Kutch" at school sometimes: this is a bike shed-related activity and no adults will understand this neologism in an obscure mountain language so we're safe there for a while.
dinosaur battle At supper tonight we ate blueberries by placing them loose on the tablemats and sucking them up directly. I was the best at it so they said I was a clever little sucker.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Nothing to declare

shortcomings of a church serviceWho knows what I shall see in my lifetime. The surface of Titan from my own spacebuggy? Sea levels covering London? The cost of a family saloon breaking the £1 million barrier? Skillchips? (buy grade 8 piano and 2 languages, get double your memory free!) And what of the things I shall never see? The unfettered joys of a British Rail sandwich? Golliwogs? The majestic flares of the Piper Alpha platform? A gallon of 2 Star? The second coming? Marathon bars? A new Hamlet advert?
You can't have everything. But you can have a distinct improvement on reading ability.
I have the opportunity (it knocks) to perform my own act in front of the whole school, if I can perfect it within the next week. Erin, for example, is going to sing a Cheryl Cole song.
I'm ... enthusiastic on the mouth organ, but can't really carry a tune. Ditto with the Hawaiian ukelele.
I can ... jump around manically to the excellent "Red Light Love" by Those Darlins or the theme to the Magnificent 7, but it's not a dance style that's likely to sweep the nation.
I can't ... ride a unicycle, juggle, tame a lion, levitate, throw daggers around a spreadeagled Erin or paint an upside-down picture of the Queen while saying "Can you see what it is yet?".
It's difficult being 5. If it doesn't work out in the next 6 months I'll give it up.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Does not compute

duck head, japanese cuisine
I'm told it's July. So why am I wearing a raincoat? Is it karma? El Nino? El Nina? Payback for crimes committed in one of my 162 previous lives? So many possibilities, I should probably sacrifice a blueberry and a lego soldier to myself just in case.....
No chance of parks or bikes today - but that coincided with my first real homework. Bud tortured me by sitting down with me for nearly an hour and he didn't help a bit. I had to do it all myself. But now it seems I can read and answer questions and write the answers down properly (even if I did have to copy the word Wednesday). And Oh yes, we spent a lot of time laughing and I enjoyed every minute.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

It's wet outside. So let's go swimming

free pass to the leisure centre Jof had abused her position at the bank and obtained a tax-free perk through bribery, phone hacking, extortion or other unsavoury business practices. This benefited us to the tune of 1 free family pass to the Pyramids so we invited Pops along for the ride.
heavy rucksackIn there we met Ruby and her friends but we were too young and uncool to play with them. There was also a Harry from my class and football. Pops has been learning to swim so didn't want her water wings but I did. In fact I jiggled and jerked and shimmied my way around all 3 of the pools independently. I especially liked going in the deep end when the wave alert klaxon sounded, going under the waterfall at the bottom of the dragon waterslide and the water volcanoes in the deep pool which tickle your feet.
romantic meal for twoThen Ben arrived although this was coincidence, not a contrived meeting this time. I swallowed too much water and had to vomit in the changing rooms: later Bud and I did both the green and blue waterslides but Pops didn't want to.
Once we'd got changed Pops used the industrial strength hairdryer which was very loud. There's a new soft play area which looks interesting: the staff said it's £2.90 per child for an hour and a half so half the price of Krazy Kaves: we will be going back there very soon.
At home we got food (Doigts marin avec Pommes de terre Gaufré, legumes de l'Administration) and blue/strawberries with choc ice cream. Pops ate more than I did. Then we collaborated on a large train track until Popsmum came to reclaim her lost daughter at 7pm. Pops kissed me lots on the way out, I tried to resist but she was very determined.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Offence of the Realm

English defence league rally, portsmouthRain! There were brief interludes of drizzle as well. Waited ages for a bus to the gym and got there late.

I was the fastest in the running part. Afterwards we went into town where there was a rally by the English Defence League with members travelling from all over the country to gather in Guildhall square, wave flags and have a good old shout and a singsong about how they want everyone with brown faces to go home.


fascist demonstration and riot policeThat would mean that Amrita and Daycee from my class and Zak and Zena would have to go home, which is Wolverhampton, I think. The people with brown faces and their friends had organised a rally of their own to shout back about how they wanted to stay here, thanks. In the middle were lots and lots of police with horses and cars and vans and cameras and big metal sticks to bang the noisy people on the botties. They got bored in the end and the entire massed ranks of shouties (about 50, distinctly outnumbered by the police) wandered off down the street, and we went with them and had a nice chat with the policemen. Then we went shopping: Bud got elephant-shaped balloons for the next pinata, I got a harmonica (I got dem long car journey blues).
sailing club slipway with sticky mud at low tide
In the afternoon Jof wanted a nap and the rain had stopped so I suggested a bike ride, destination unknown. It turned out to be round the park the wrong way and down to Eastney lock again, pretty well the same as Monday. It was low tide so we strolled out into the sea that wasn't there down a long slipway and threw rocks into the gloopy mud, which is always a laugh. Then we continued on towards Bens' bumpy paths and stopped off at EXACTLY the same rock the Puddlers and I played on a mere 3 days ago. The chalk graffiti was still there (MJB, our initials) as were many rocks which we threw into the gloopy mud, how can you not. We did meet a lot of people and each one of them had a dog.
Yes. Bike rides and rock throwing in the pleasant evening sun makes you clear your plate.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Keep on keeping on

CATS!
A saga of country felines owned by Grandma
self-contradictory roadsign, no entry no exitThe most recent cat "YumYum" has been returned to vendor for biting the hand that feeds and poo-ing on the kitchen floor. Now, many owners would have a break from catting after this and the previous two (The Pointless Cats, hid behind the cheese plant on the landing for 3 months) but no, on the way home they stopped off and viewed another (Apollo) which will be joining the hallowed household as soon as its work permit comes through. All that remains now is to choose a new name with an M in it, following on from MiLord, Mitzi, Manqui, etc: I hear it's going to be Milo. I suggested Memorandum because at least you can remember it, or Mylan (after Smilin' Mylan from "The idiots abroad" by the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. That name was on the list for me.
slide of deathSo we knew that tomorrow and the rest of the weekend would be rainy so we took the chance to go out: my choice was a bike ride to the beach stopping off at canoe lake waterpark. After an abortive attempt to slide down the death slide not holding on properly (and a howl behind some bushes), I realised it was splendid and queued up and slid properly 6 times.

rockpools in an enormous concrete blockdelving and excavating detritus from a tidal pool
This turned out to be one of those excellent trips that cost nothing, save the laundry bill afterwards.
The tide was going out and we discovered the enormous concrete blocks going out to sea that delineated the path of a subterranean exit pipe of possibly a sewage outflow or rainwater overflow or whatever. The many young teen boys and their less adventurous girls who were swimming in the sea on the first few of them lent us confidence and we mounted the rock of ages to find... 2 rockpools!
With his help I delved and excavated the first hole and designated Hole #1 as Source: Hole #2 was "washing hole" where I processed the rocks from Hole#1. When Hole #1 was exhausted (took a lot of delving with much aromatic mud, gravel and rocks) I changed ends at half time and refilled Hole #1 with the inhabitants of Hole #2 while my Minion Bud collected larger rocks from the seashore....
Those of you who are 5 (or who have recently been 5) may find this play-format eerily familiar.
Anyway, we had to have extensive showers to clear the mud, as usual. I had sand in my hand and rocks in my socks.
Went to bed 2200 bouncing along with the theme tune to the Magnificent 7. It's groovy.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Station X. The ultra-enigmatic staff of Hut 6

runner bean harvestYesterday I brought home a certificate from the days' activities: a "Best in Group" laminate from the Priory school sports afternoon. There was no javelin, no Greco-Roman wrestling, no 100 yard hurdles, no rugby. Instead it was modern pretend sports such as throw the beanbag, balance the beanbag on your head while walking along and climbing the stair (yes, 1 stair). I won my prize because I was best at dribbling the ball around the cones, an ability gained from the excellent Thursday football training. I live in the catchment area for Priory: so, roll on, enrolment @ Portsmouth Grammar School.
Jof has banned me from Thursday football because of the current tendency towards argument. So on the way home LittleMax and I railroaded the parents into letting him come round to mine "to help cut the ivy". This was one of the registered jobs for today so the deal was done.
spies in our midstHe arrived a short while later (the thermometer in the conservatory registered a conservative 110°F) and we removed our shirts and went straight outside to view said ivy: we ignored it and harvested some beans and peas instead. Then we got on with hula-hooping (unsuccessful) and holler-whooping (successful). LittleMax was terrified by the eagle that sat on Hut 6 (pigeon) and the giant beetles (woodlice).
Then we turned down the chance to hose the garden (with its 39 different species of flowers) and chose instead to go inside, get all the toys out and parade with the musical instruments.
Finally took him home 6-ish.