Friday, 31 August 2012

Practically a Triathlon winner

dog eats standing up in own box
Oldies! Next episode in the saga about obstinate old people stubbornly not facing reality!
Grandma and Granddad have accepted they need to move into assisted living accommodation and have requested brochures. It's only taken 3 years.
Joy O joy - the last day of the month, and a Friday to boot!
So why, O why, I hear you cry, are my spirits raised so high?
Nanna made me a special advent-style calendar for August where every day was represented by a small paper envelope with varying amounts of moolah. My task was to open one envelope per day and record the pecuniary bonus contained therein. At the end of the week I had to add up the total of sovereigns of the realm. And this morning the final envelope spilled its golden guts and I had to add up the weekly loot totals to get myself a grand final coinage total for the month.
On the spot Bud taught me a fiscal columns and numbers method of adding them up and I was carrying the 1s in no time. £24. 48p! I now have to ring her up and quote my nuggety total - if I get it right, I collect the cashpot, kerching kerching, think of how many Lego Ninjagos I could get.....
Anyway, I was so excited I missed my step on the stairs and bumped down 3 of them on my little bottom. This is only the second time ever I've done that.
Today at daycare I shall swim twice! Well, the second is my normal swimming lesson... all I have to do is run somewhere and it's gotta count as a triathlon, right? So in the morning we strolled to Victoria Park where we did a treasure hunt with tasks and quizzes and hiding in bushes. I had to find 5 pinecones and 5 different kinds of leaf and so forth and my team won. On the way back we stopped off at Guildhall Square where the giant TV had the Paralympics and there was a roped-off area where we could try out the 3-wheeler disabled wheelchairs that they use in races. I was fast but couldn't steer properly. One of the teacher-helpers is called Russell but we call him Brussels Sprout, he doesn't mind, honestly.
At proper swimming - I moved up a level to Yellow Hat! This means I will be in the next group up from those measly beginners. I was feeling extremely victorious and Bud was too after convincing his parents to move and Jof was as well after finding out that John Lewis had a wool sale (even if it was for the same wool she had already bought at full price) so we celebrated by buying a lottery ticket.
Life is a blast, I recommend it to anybody.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Living like a Pharoah

canadian college world record fruit salad
no room at the inn russian vodka drinkerSo Canada has today claimed the world record for the largest fruit salad, I suppose if you don't want to take over the world then it's a good place to start. The University responsible will have to eat a lot of fruit before it all goes off so look for a run on toilet rolls Hoho, and a spike in global wood pulp prices in the next few days.
trying to lift up a girl in a coma A day off with Jof, my last before the hurly-burly of school restarts. So we pretty well failed to get going, easy to do that. By the time we were ready to get the bus to the promised Pirate Mini-golf at Clarence Pier, we realised the combination of buses required would have got us back too late and we might as well wait for the car. competitive mothers with childrenJof made a Lego garden and I did naked Lego as only a 6 year-old can.
Late in the afternoon we made contact with the Pops and agreed to meet in the park. On the way out we met Bud coming home with components for Box #8 (see "Joy of Cardboard" page on the right hand side of this blog) and we ate Fab ice lollies and played chase and ball and attack and wheelbarrow races and more attack.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Digging in shifting sand

howling baby in swaddling clothes on sofa, lol cat cannot escapeOff to daycare again for almost the last time, packed my swimming kit.
In the morning we walked to Gunwharf and played bowling. I won my little group competition with 110 and I got one of those big red Xs.
Later I played in the swimming pool as planned and got the scratchy chest skin you get from the surfboard-type floats.
When I got home I was so tired and headachey I could only manage half a dinner and I was in bed for twenty past 7. It makes up for still burbling at 10pm last night, a day off tomorrow so may just be extremely lazy.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The MAD bus ticket

tallest lego skyscraperFirst things first, we dismantled the Lego tower as it had a reinforced castle about 7 feet off the ground that could have drawn blood had it landed on my head. It was free-standing but definitely a bit teetery, wouldn't have survived a direct hit from a sword or other standard toy. Then we used the resulting reclaimed material to make a blue fighter jet with guns.
moscow state circus tent and southsea promenadeFor want of something better to do we bought a Magic All-Day bus ticket and pootled off to the swingpark in front of Pirate Petes' which was just where I was yesterday. It was full of pre-schoolers and toddlers, what right do these people have getting in my way?
massive sea wall and cannon fortificationsIt's quite a good park with 2 compound climbing frames, 3 slides, half a pirate ship and a keen and constant wind as it's right on the seafront. The Moscow State Circus is in town but I don't want to go because "Clowns freak me out", a quote and attitude I have lifted from Jof.
Walked along to find out exactly when Portsmouth Cathedral is opening its tower up for public access and found the Long Curtain waterfall again.
blocking pipes with rocksThe moat in front of the old firing wall where Admiral Lord Nelson stepped off Blighty's turf for the last time is tidal so we thought we'd mess up the system by damming the waterfall. I managed to block the second of the 3 pipes.
Finally we found a bus going in the right direction and stopped off for Lunch 2, then back on yet another bus which wended its weary way through the back streets of Pompey, getting me to Gymnastics 6 minutes late. Nobody won any badges. After a quick go in swingpark #3 for the day, we finally reaquired our house.

Monday, 27 August 2012

A tragedy in green

Up late, for it is a bank holiday. As it was supposed to be raining all day, our plan was to make a Lego tower of astonishing proportions, something that's just begging to be done, when you have as much curiously shaped Lego as I do. under 5s area birthday parties
But then Jof said the neighbour is cutting the hedge between our gardens, why don't you go and show willing and help him out, after all, it is our hedge that's totally swamping their garden. This is when we found that the neighbour (who claims to be a non-gardener) had pruned it using the simple, effective and yet terminally destructive method of cutting all the plants at wall level (about 3 feet off the ground) and then pulling bits out from the trellis that's holding it all up. This means that everything above an altitude of 3 feet (all of it) is now dead.
This includes all the: grapes, hops, virginia creeper, jasmine, orange blossom, canary creeper, elderberries and buddleia, all of which were either fruiting or flowering.
moscow state circusSo now we have a compost heap that we may have to rename Kilimanjaro, a lot more light coming into the garden, we'll have to have a bonfire (hooray) for the twigs alone, but a strangely quiet and pensive Bud, who has spent actual years creating an impenetrable hedge.
vast lego structure building skyscraperLater we did some Lego tower, his job is sturdiness and height, my job is to decorate the tower with all the Lego humanoids, jet engines, propellers and flags I can find.
But as it was supposed to be raining, I called Pirate Petes' so off we went. There was nobody there I knew so changed that by getting to know some people of similar height and devising a jumping game in which the floor was hot lava, a perennial favourite.
Then Bud went off past the kite festival looking for number rocks and I stayed as long as possible (you're supposed to only stay for 1 hour). I had chicken lumps and chips in the Wimpy. When we got home he was already there, completing my Lego tower. The final measurement was 261cm = 8 foot 7 inches, even taller than Mr Tall. It misses the ceiling by half an inch, as you can see by the shadow. The floor is still a snowdrift of Lego bits, even with a skyscraper with 49 distinct floors, a castle and an aerial.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Kiwis are invading

stamshaw to tipner council estateAs part of my ongoing quest to become Master of Parks, we visited Stamshaw park which is by the bottom of the M275 motorway. There's a lot of hillocks, tumuli and barrows left over from the building of the motorway, a small skate park and a medium swingpark.
bridge to whale island hms excellentThe swingpark has a large compound climbing frame, a rope pyramid that spins round and a swinging basket. As soon as we got there it started  to fill up with the feral youths of the nearby estate, I thought you had to be 18 to get a tattoo. Next door there's a splendid adventure playground but it was closed: fortunately I have actually been in it because we went there last week from daycare.
portsmouth m275 and hms excellentBecause you can see Whale Island (Naval base and home to HMS Excellent, the Navy firefighting college and previous arms fairs) we walked to it and got onto the bridge. It's got a great view of the international ferry port and the Naval dockyard, and as it was low low tide we crossed the seafloor by the old causeway and almost got onto Whale Island itself.
kiwi fruit vine growing in englandWe threw rocks into the mud, because it's very gloopy and splattery and with a really good shot you can surprise the seagulls by splurging them with whiffy sediment.
On the way back we noticed a big yet eerily familiar climbing plant on the fence of Stamshaw sailing club. Can you see the Kiwi fruit dangling?
Later Jof took me to the miniature trains in Bransbury park because I haven't been for ages. It was quite quiet because most people were on the seafront for the Kite Festival, Moscow State Circus and all the bouncy castles etc the seafront tends to attract. On the way back we stopped off at normal swingpark and Bud met us and spun me senseless on the swinging basket, as you do. A small girl (approx 6 yrs) saw him doing his chinups on the monkey bars and asked him to get her friend down from the flagpole. This girl (approx 7 years) had climbed to the top of the pole and then frozen in terror. We asked her if she wanted to get down, she said no, she'd rather stay up there. So we left her to it. Half an hour later, as we left, she was still up there and had gathered quite a crowd of onlookers, encouraging her to jump, fall, or otherwise make the morning papers. Bud scaled the pole, released her from her precarious yet apparently permanent home and plucked her from the pole to much amusement from the gallows crowd. Hooray for stupid people, for we are many. It's been nearly a year since we last rescued someone.....

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Stimulus package with add-on plugins! Again!

reduced price lego ninjagosFollowing my Lego Bionicle victory in June where I scored 6 Bionicles in one go out of a charity shop for just £2, I will always be on the cheeky lookout for another bargain.
Bud and I took a bus to Southsea to spend my £21 that I had gained from Nanna and the little prizes for good schoolwork etc. My target was Knight + Lee who have a decent Lego selection. Sure enough, there was the new Hero Stormer XL and a very interesting reduced shelf where a load of Lego Ninjagos were half-price (Ben, take note ie £10 notes).
Thus I was able to squeeze 1 giant Hero and 3 Ninjagos out of my £21, a victory to be proud of in its own right. The 7 pence change shall go back into my savings pig for next time.
Then we popped into Jofs' work to see her boss who had trapped her thumb in the door and had to go to hospital when it got infected. My winning smile made them all feel better. The town is full of Russian sailors - a ship must be in, and they're wandering the streets in full officers or ratings uniform, spending their tourist roubles.
boy with lego collectionHe is never able to leave town without checking out the charity shops and lucky for me too, as in shop #3 we found "Whole box of Lego £25" in the window. Now, £25 is a lot, and I won't be getting anything for ages now, even food. I shall have to glean sunflower seeds and redcurrants from the garden, and hunt my own snails and cook them on the bonfire. But boyoboy, was there Lego. It took us 2 sacks to get it home on the bus and true to idiotic form, he buried me in Lego in the same way as Heroes were covered in gold in the olden days (or was it just Asterix?). Jof reckoned that some harassed mother had just swept the floor and bunged it all in a bag and I tend to agree. For within the awesome selection of Lego we also found: beads, wood screws, seashells, bits of glass, stones, labels, a French comemmorative coin and 1 Duplo Lego blok. There was also a smattering of Lego Hero helmets and hosepipes. But I'm not complaining. You see the full giant Lego box in the background? On Bionicle Day I had to have a box upgrade. Guess what we're heading down to Wilko to buy next? Jof and I used the magic all-day bus ticket while he went on his bike, due to meet at the shop. Unfortunately he has an inherent and unfair advantage in that he is a man so he had arrived, hugged Pops, bought the box, had a look round the charity shop opposite, waited around aimlessly looking for us for a few minutes, given up and gone home before Jof had brushed her hair. I declared I was hungry so hit the upmarket Marks and Spencer cafe for a ham'n'cheese toastie, then I got back to sorting through my mountain of Lego booty. My new Lego box is 80 litres - big enough for me to get in comfortably.
Bath fizzer night: Whitesnake, then Gotye and swimming with whales + sharks videos before bed.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Counting my dinosaurs (before they're hatched)

city skyline camera and bird
At last, the final day at the daycare centre (for this week)(for this holiday period). The summer holidays have been splendid so far but I miss the reassuring school-based structure to my week and my regular playdates of naughtiness with the Puddlers. In fact,
To be deprived of depravity
Leaves a cavity of longevity and gravity.
With no remedy to my malady,
the quality of my jollity
and the brevity of my levity
Show my mediocrity with alacrity.
Now, at many previous Puddleparties, us little people have invented and enjoyed the Nudie Room. Prince Harry had a Nudie Room at a recent party and everyone had heart attacks. Leave him alone!
This afternoon all of us had a trip down to the Boathouse Cinema which sounded promising (Toy Story 5?) but turned out to be the educational 25-minute filmlets at the naval base. We saw 2, there were a lot of naval battles and army exploits and jet fighters which all blurred into one long narrative about helicopters and ships and rocket bombs and nuclear explosions and stuff. Jolly good fun, just you wait until I next play Bathtime Naval Engagement!
Blind Uncle Len has left me some money into a hidden long-term savings account that will help me buy a house when I'm old enough. Good old BUL. Perhaps if I learn to read and write properly then I won't end up as a roadsweeper in my own detached residence.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

J'aime des jolies filles (but I couldn't eat a whole one)

dog eats parents tragedy
Steamed, parboiled and flashfried our way to daycare in a blur of efficiency this morning, down back streets and switchbacks. Maybe he could be a taxi driver if he loses his job in the upcoming layoffs, only problem is he speaks English which isn't traditional for cabbies.

Today at daycare with me were: Poppy C, Ingrid who used to go to my school but now goes to school with Ben, Jack who kicked footballs so high they got stuck in the roof joists twice and another Year 2 from my school whose name temporarily escapes me. I got hit 3 times by high-velocity footballs.

I made tanks and cross-channel ferries and drew a boat with a crane. When he came to pick me up I was angry because I thought I deserved to be there longer - there's successful childminding for you.
We crossed paths with Sausage who is the son of Mash at Buds' work, going in to do the swimming I shall do tomorrow.
In other news, Buds' bunch of flowers reached Grandma today which made her happy. But this was only made possible because he forgot to send her anything for her actual birthday a few days ago. It's OK, he's a bad parent as well as a bad son. Sometimes he makes me laugh so much I get hiccups and Jof tells both of us off.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Can't fight this Fräulein (REO Geschwindigkeitwagon)

wine selection for relieved parentsGave Jof a lift in to work this morning while eating a banana - there's multi-tasking for you.
escaped monkeys trousers down So yesterday an animal studies lab technician in the USA was found drunk and trouserless in the company of his escaped monkeys. Is this animal husbandry?
Anyway, he was fired and now I suspect he wants to be abducted by aliens, just not the sort that do dodgy lab experiments, mmm.

Today the treasure hunt beckoned......I made a mask and played the very complicated mask game in which you try to steal a bunch of keys (you had to be there).
boy with homemade mask and hedge trimmerWe all made little cars out of eggs and rolled them down increasingly precipitous slopes to see whose eggcar could survive the longest without splitting asunder. Mine did not win even though I tried to cushion the cargo against shock and vibration using partially deflated balloons.
I played for an hour with a giant pickup truck that has retractable eyes and rattlesnake teeth. I made it eat 5 whales for every meal until I was told that I had single-handedly caused the extinction of several endangered cetaceans. I played lego with a darkish chap (not Jeeves) and made submarines, but was not able to build them beneath the plane of the floorboards so they had to be super-sub-marines, or just marines (or boats).
Back at home I was forced into doing more tiger project homework, however much I procrastinated. I shall have to develop new tricks and mind games, these parents are getting smart. Anyway, so why did he give me this particular prop before recording the masterpiece that is my mask?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Gringo Bingo and croquet (mallets aforethought)

the nightmare vuvuzela banned from football stadium
Sentenced to hang, I feel not a pang
Of guilt, despair or remorse
For the blackguard that staggered as out my shots rang
Was the one that had stolen my horse
© Mungleton 2012 here we go again

So back at holiday camp today there was a choice of activities. I made a kite and claim it to have achieved the greatest altitude of any of the kites made that day. It also has guns.
Then mostly I played football. So when he picked me up, I was hot and pink again and will never discover the final result (it was 19-12 at the time).
Then it was gymnastics, I still haven't got badge #6 but then nobody got anything, perhaps it's the hot weather. While eating the last of my strawberry whips from tuck at the daycare, he drove me to Anchorage Park.....park. I have been there before but not for ages and it's obviously been improved. There's still the kiddie end and a few climbers, a plunger-seat and seesaw, but now there's actual large swings, a hanging tyre, a zipline and some balancing beams and a rock'n'log assault course! That classes the facilities as good and medium to large, given the basketball court and 5 football pitches.
In the end we had to go home for supper and decided to give Rosie the rabbit its final feeding. I took 2 giant spinach leaves round (nearly as big as me, I looked like a Nubian Fanbearer, don't talk to me about eunuchs) but the Popses had returned from their hols so we didn't need to really. They're all very tanned and Pops gave me a game and a sweetie dispenser and Bud got a little bottle of Sangria with castanets and a pink hat. Mrs Pops has totally lost her voice so we laughed at that but she has gained a big square diamond in an engagement ring so not all bad.

Then we went home and I made Pizzas from scratch, as you do.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Sequins and pearls (and lots of pretty girls)

believe in santa fail
skin grafs for stupid woman sues owner of dallas cowboys direct sunlightYou remember the American woman who sued McDougalls because she burnt her mouth on her coffee? That led to the warning sign "Warning! Hot drink may be hot!" being printed on every cup. Now another one is suing the Dallas Cowboys because she burnt her bum sitting on a black marble bench in 101° direct sunlight.
Shall we see "Warning! Heavy object. Hot object when it's hot. Smooth object!" stickers being attached to all the benches, kerbstones, and letterboxes? Shall we legally require all hedgehogs to carry a "Warning! Sharp object!" dog tag? Or, shall we just give every newborn a little card in the Welcome to Earth pack that says "Warning! If you are a plonker you will get hurt!" so we don't have to label anything else?

First day at the activity centre, and hey presto they've changed the schedule so I missed swimming. There will be questions in the house.
However ex-Puddler Poppy C is here all week with me so at least there's 1 known face, and there was a Louie from JBs' school and another perennial ex-Puddler Kiera.
storm red ninja and batman with strength and intelligence scoresFirst we did Krazy Kaves, then football. Then dodgeball (it's better if you just dodge and don't try to shoot at the teachers, because they're better catchers) and drawing. I managed to complete a flag (last time Ben finished it for me) and then it was my favourite current project. I planned on doing 12 Top Trumps cards but spent too much time talking so only did 3. But it doesn't matter, you can see where it's going. So, if you get dealt Storm, you've pretty well had it, for he is both a weakling and a dunderhead, with only 9% strenth and an intelegents of a mere 2. Bat Man represents the middle ground with 10% strenth and an improved intelegents of 3%. But the Red Ninger is the pick of the bunch with a planet-busting strenth of 90% - but his fatal weakness is that he's a total Norbert with an intelegents of only 1%.
On getting home I could barely even switch on the TV, I was so bushed.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Looking at the peaches

climbing frame seesaw and gingko treeA couple of days ago I cycled back from Portchester Castle and we spied an unknown park on the way. So today we visited it: Watersedge Park between Paulsgrove and Portchester. It's small, jammed right up against the motorway and the railway, has 1 frame, a decent seesaw, a sports + social clubhouse and a Gingko tree. Right in the corner there's a load of blackberry bushes you can make dens behind (you can practically touch the trains as they go past) but the fruit yield was poor.
The day was promising to be as hot as yesterday. Jof said she didn't like going to Eastney nudist beach because it was full of old pervs, which I believe to be some kind of real ale. Perhaps that is why Bud fits in so well. Anyway, she said I could go to a more mainstream beach where the bikinis gather, rather than where the wrinklies and runklies, the dinglies and the danglies gather.
southsea canoe lake splashpark, miniature village lumps fort portsmouthThus Canoe Lake splashpark with added beach was chosen.
I was a good boy and was allowed on the 'Caterpillar' (large soft play inflatable thing you fight with, £2 for 5 mins) but elected to not spend the £2 in return for £1 into my piggy bank. I'm onto a winner here. All I've got to do is demand to go on every ride I see and then voluntarily sacrifice the experience to get half the cost back into my toyshop savings, like some kind of government tax-back salary sacrifice benefit thingy. Then I got an ice cream anyway.

baby walk-along toy carIn the evening Jof went for a run and met LittleMax, who had just been abandoned by the friends he was playing with. Jof brought him home and we immediately set about getting out all the weapons and musical instruments etc that we'd just tidied away. Then we fed the rabbit (OK, Bud fed the rabbit, we trampolined and ran up and down scaring said herbivorous quadruped) and returned to mine for Lego. It's been ages since I saw him so we were very loud.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Hot hot hot!

hottest chilli in the world more than 1 million scovilles trinidad scorpion morouga
yawning bear in zooOn a day billed as the hottest of the year so far, Jof asked us to clean out the drip trays of the chili plants in the conservatory. These naughty boys are the Trinidadian Scorpion Moruga, currently the hottest chilis in the world at well over 1 million Scovilles.
milton park recreation ground portsmouthI like the way they turn from green via iridescent orange to a deep threatening red, a warning that anyone who eats them would do well to remember this year. They took over the worlds-hottest record from the Bih Jolokia that we grew a few years ago, see me not eating one.
southsea nudists sand and shingle beachToday is the first proper league game for Portsmouth FC (in administration) so as we hit the park for some sultry climbing action we saw hundreds of football fans outside the pub and eating hot dogs on park benches. Even though there were that many fans, it was still hot and humid so once I'd twirled the pole flag for the first time ever, we went home in search of jungle juice.
Once the football had started, the sun was out so we knew what we had to do. Eastney nudist beach beckoned once more.
sump waterfall outside fort cumberland eastney portsmouthThe tide was going out so we found a sandy area for Jof to sit comfortably on (for shingle is not a broiled botties' best friend) and we stripped off and went skinny-dipping like the many people around us. To be fair, most of the beach-goers are elderly crusties or danglies but a few hotties dotted the burning beach in the baking sun.
Once we'd got a bit cold in the sea (this is England we're talking about) we headed for the waterfall at the base of Fort Cumberland where we have spent many happy hours in the past.
having fun on the southsea nudist beachMy first discovery was an old ugly circuit board/control panel with many toggle switches and high-volta
ge 1950s-style wiring at the back. It started our dam off splendidly. Once the cavalry had arrived (large rocks, bits of concrete and yet more rocks) from my pet rock collector, we had built what I declare to be the best damn dam ever, although having a nuclear missile launch control panel as centrepiece did help.
 Home past the diehard nudies after 6pm for an immediate shower (sand gets everywhere) and I answered the door naked when LittleMax's mum came round to talk parties. Party on, dudes.....

Friday, 17 August 2012

Mungletons' Magick Molluscs

dog with its head out of a car window pictureNot many jobs on today so did a bottlebank walk to visit Health Centre park on Price Albert Road. It's a small one with only 1 climbing frame and 1 proper swing, but there's a double height firemans pole and a rock-and-bollard obstacle course.
I met a girl with a black face whose birthday was only 2 days from mine and said dis and dat. She couldn't even remember which school she goes to, these dumb Year 1s.
climbing frame with firemans polesnails eating my plants it's a deal it's a steal it's the snail of the fucking century
Later I reprised yesterdays' job. I had collected and terminated 76 snails, but Jof said there were more to go. So we went a-searchin' again, found and crunched 71 more snails. (WTF snails, why you no dead?) Perhaps our garden shines out some kind of mollusc-attracting leaf-based radiation, a gan-green beacon inviting plant-munchers from miles around. Just think of all that corn-fed protein I could have had for supper.....(it's a deal, it's a steal, it's the snail of the .. century)
domesticated rabbit
We have the honour of feeding Rosie, a rabbit belonging to Pops but cared for by PopsDad as she has lost interest somewhat. It has been a most enjoyable task as I get to bounce on the trampoline while Bud collects windfall apples and mucks out the hutch. This, and some hedge clippings have made it onto our compost heap, for rabbit poo is great stuff for compost heaps. You've gotta get paid somehow.
BTW. Today is my 2 year blog anniversary. Thanks to BensMum for getting me started on this, it'll help me remember my humble beginnings when I'm President of Earth. Plus, it's fun.
Educated Jof on the mind-expanding benefits of Phineas + Ferb.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

What have the Romans ever done for us?

romans introduced edible snailOne of the jobs given to us by Jof was to clear the front garden of snails, the large edible variety that the Romans introduced to this country as a taste of home.
She hates their sliminess and the way they lie in wait to jump up and bite your neck. They also have stripped the dahlias from the plant pots by the front door so we went out there and collected as many as we could find. 76! Then, using only 1 half-brick and a compost heap, we made this noise: crunchcrunchflunchscrape
norman keep ruined castleLike good little domesticated slaves we diligently put out every bit of laundry until the line was full. Then we had an early lunch and cycled down to the train station to catch a train to Portchester. I still don't have to pay for a ticket, and kids' bikes seem to go free. It was a pleasant bike ride to the castle past houses with ©1703 and stuff written over their front doors, one of which was below pavement level.
from basement to roofI liked the castle but headed straight for the internal moat around the keep where someone called Max and his friends were crabbing. I purloined a net from one of them and even caught 1 crab as we all perched precariously on the outflow pipe, it's amazing that none of us fell in. Somebody's dog did, though, and it churned up the water happily.
shipbuilder and portsdown hillAfter a quick walk around the outer walls of this former Roman fortress with medieval additions, we entered the inner courtyard and keep. I found the spiral staircase straight away and that's how we got to the roof but we did explore every other bit as well.
After an energy-building snack we rode off to the swingpark off Castle Lane. It's small and drab and is rubberized not wood-chipped but it does have a couple of chain-based climbing frames. I was demonstrating to someone older than me when he wiggled it, I had a sulk in the corner until he called me a pansy princess and we continued on our journey. The next stopoff for swingpark play was by Hilsea Lido, I made Romanesque sandcastles with 3 co-conspirators while an unknown girl judged our efforts. More riding later and we reached the giant swingpark by St Marys' Church. That's when it started to rain so we did the last bit in time to retrieve the laundry just as it had re-attained its original wetness. Total bike ride today: 8½ miles.
When Jof got home tired from a long day at work I cheered her up by forcing her to play scrabble and looking through all the calendars from Granddads and so forth, for I am not tired.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Auld Lang Sine - the crashing waves

Awoken early due to an appointment with the tide tables. It was quite pleasant outside and there was no sign of the rain we were relying on to a) scare away any fossil-hunting competitors and b) to wash the prehistoric mud off the plentiful fossils we hoped to find sticking out of the recently collapsed cliffs.
Made it onto the road by 0910 and were making sensible time in the drizzle that had started when a Police car, ambulance and fire engine, all wooo-ing and flashing, screamed past in the opposite direction to where we'd just come from: clearly a multiple vehicle accident we'd missed being in by a couple of minutes.
dorset jurassic coast fossil huntingPast Dorchester and on the Bridport road (just where it says "Area prone to fog") we were driving through a torrential monsoon coming out of a cloud we were actually in. Splendid stuff, we thought to ourselves. Sure enough, the beach was deserted. Only a lonely sign berating us for making it even that far and some eerily empty Wellington boots greeted us as we strode across the shingle, an angry sea with crashing waves to our left, and some cliffs of 200 million-year-old mud to our right. The mud was unstable. It was positively hysterical as rivers of mucilaginous goo came down from above, staining the very shingle grey.
collapsed cliffs at seatown dorset jurassic coast
Landslides and mudslips, large and small, happened before our very eyes as we kept as far from them as possible. We found a few bits, in fact the ABC of Jurassic fossils - Ammonites, Belemnites and Crinoids (a whole load of crinoids)  and some pretty pyritic nodules (wooargh, look at the nodules on that) but nowhere near as much as last time. The collapsed cliffs were glutinous, the rain was that special sort that goes in your ears, and we were soaked through to the skin, couldn't even wipe the camera lens clean. It was clear to us that sections of cliff in the 60 x 60 metre region had collapsed onto the beach within the last 1 day, and remembered the local woman who was killed here by a mud-valanche only last week. Rolling rocks bigger than us had made it down to the shoreline. Just above my head you can see one of the two remaining "Danger cliff falls" signs, the others having been lost in landslips.Then I got cold so we went back.
seatown golden cap fossil collectionMr Planner had got me a complete change of clothes ready with towel aforethought. So I stripped off in the car and changed into a new man. Luckily the car windows steamed up so the gaggle of German fifty-something hikers from Seatown Holiday Camp could not guffaw at my vinkle. Then he did the same with some clothes he'd prepared earlier (sadly not including pants) and so Captain Commando and Crown Prince Mungleton sailed on outta there and got back on the Dorchester Road. Straight away we met another multiple fatality that we'd just missed being a part of on the way in, the twisted cars still steaming gently in the same cloud we were still in.
Stopped for lunch at the Bere Regis Happy Chef, a road-restaurant of known quality with its tired salad but welcome warmth. Watched a film about Gnomes in love to a soundtrack by Elton John. Welcomed my special Crash Test Mummy 'Jof' back with extra hugs.