Friday, 31 May 2013

Great rock'n'roll Spindle

Woken up 3 hours early to go to the YMCA. We managed to get all 3 of us ready in time, an achievement in itself, and dropped Jof at work before I arrived at the gym where many of the Puddlers are traditionally childminded. Childmound?
Anyway, Ben joined me and we did "Paintsplat" which means you drop paint from a height and make your own Jackson Pollock, a load of them in fact.
milton park southseaI'd done about 4 hours when I tried to swallow a particularly large mouthful at lunchtime: the bolus got stuck and I find the most efficient way to do this is to evacuate my stomach contents loudly and with much commotion. The care providers are not allowed to keep any child who does this so they summoned Bud from home. He was at B+Q getting spindles, which are those thin carved poles that hold up the banisters. Therefore he did not answer the phone. Therfore the emergency number (Jof mobile) was the next to be tinkled and Jof had to taxi up to me, collect me and deliver me to the house where he was waiting for us.
Of course I was instantly better and wanted to go to the park with Pops. She was out, so we went anyway and I met football Harry and played with Ollie.
Then it sort of tailed off and I wanted to do a big bike ride but we didn't
know where and then we had to argue on the phone with B+Q for hours about how they could sell you a bath for lots of money but not give you a plughole or legs to hold it up. The builders have started to put tiles down but you can't make a bathroom without a sink, toilet, plughole, and all the other bits that haven't turned up yet.
Swimming was on so we caught a bus (£5) and met Bensmum there as she picked Ben up. We all got a bit lost and it was confusing but I swam well and Taaams (Thomas, but done in the accent of the big dark-faced momma in Tom and Jerry) challenged me to football in the fiery crucible that is the tennis courts outside YMCA and it was great until I was on the long winding bus home in the sun and the walk from the bus stop directly into the sun and I had about 2 mouthfuls of supper and went to bed.
In all, it was a day with rock'n'roll possibilities, but it turned out to be a disappointing swindle.
4/10, could do better.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Grandad turns 84

replastering ceilingThe infestation of builders continues. I caught him painting in my room before he'd even said good morning and Jof left early. There was much noise of destruction as the bad bit of ceiling was hacked away and we ran out of Dulux "Roasted Red" before the walls were finished. The builders said that's a lovely bath, mate, but how can we fit it without legs. Surprising that they were legless so early in the morning.
We were in the way so went and ordered a door and 6 sets of doorhandles (it's going to be one happy door) and I slipped over in exactly the same place the man hit me with the car door yesterday. I believe the pavement there is my nemesis. The people at B+Q said the bath legs should have been delivered with the bath and we just weren't looking hard enough.
pile of wood for november 5th bonfireThen we drove along the coast to Grandma and Grandads new place. The 16th century manor house is nice with automatic gates and some nice crenellated brickwork. All the fireplaces are big enough for all the Piddlers to stand up in and still have an argument about who gets to throw the next log on the fire. Their flat is full of cardboard boxes. I investigated the library (full size snooker table), the bar, third dining room and chess room: after lunch (I hogged it all, BensMum would have been proud) we helped them move their furniture around and I played Lego Heroes unmolested.
antique wooden spiral stairsThe grounds were large so we investigated. I liked the sunken garden of nettles, the formal gardens, swimming pool, giant bonfire in the middle of a field, fishpond and bluebell wood.
But because we asked the maintenance manager nicely, we got a free trip up one of the Elizabethan towers where it is rumoured the ladies-in-waiting waited on the benches for the roister-doistering menfolk to come back from the hunt, just like Racton Ruin the other side of Havant.
grove park romsey hampshireThe original wooden spiral staircase is most impressive and creaky, and we weren't allowed on the parapet because of the lack of medieval safety fences. Just when we got to the bottom by the secret locked door and he was saying how hardly anybody gets to go up there, another kid heard him from Coffee Lounge 2 and by the time we'd made it round to the front, we could see them up the same tower. We got back too late for Thursday park but it was raining anyway.
After only an hours' searching in the loft, the second tin of roasted red paint was found in the garage and now my room looks really good.
***Speciality of the House*** Today we were again given some delights by the Hobbits. The haul includes:
Thors' Tenderizer, an aluminium steak hammer with spikes of different sizes
A box of lids
An immersion heater with giant spanner to fit it
2 kgs of Morrisons e-z-cook rice, one month left till it goes out of date

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Spanish Oak Junglehall

By the time I woke up, paint had been applied in 3 rooms and the builders were making a brew. While I ate a slow banana, the carpenter had bad news for us. The spare doors that the last owner had kindly left for us were a bit pants and he could only use one, if he turned it round and added hinges on the other side. The rest we would have to buy anew, and he told us of a legendary doorshop at the other end of our road.
But I had been bitten by the roller-painting bug and as I had chosen the colours for my own bedroom, it was only fair that I painted it. I rolled Lemon Ice yellow over the 2 walls I had agreed to paint. I even rolled a bonus yellow patch on the wall that was supposed to be Roasted Red, a mistake any deranged half-wit could make, witness the Brioche-ing of Bed 3's ceiling only 2 days ago.
But because of CarpentryMan's pronouncements, ("It's gonna cost you") we decided that the existing doors on Beds 1+2 were not that bad after all and proceeded to remove the panel pins from them with pliers, promising to apply extra-thick paint to them afterwards to hide the injuries. The previous previous owner had tacked great sheets of ugliness to the Victorian originals, the last one removed them but left the pins, which were a tetanus hazard as well as being ugly. Between us we sorted the door and filled the wall. I also spent much time quacking away in my den with Lego.
After a snack we visited "JungleHall", a soft play facility in central Pompey. They have been open for 2 weeks, and here is my review, lovingly written on the back of the receipt, nothing like being prepared.
Junglehall occupies the former Portsmouth Masonic Hall. The freemasons have all gone, free at last no doubt. The brand new play centre (medium size) has decent opening times (9-6 daily) and reasonable prices. There is a nice cafe with a good selection of victuals that are nothing like that of the Wimpy associated with Pirate Petes.
Squash is available at 50p but it's not large, take a bottle and refill yourself like we used to do in the Student Union. The play area is nice and new and brown and green, ostensibly to be jungle-like but easier to hide any surprise vomits. It has a double-turn curly slide, low-incline longslides, a perspex-ended tube hideaway a la Pirate Petes, and a monochrome ball pit. Blue balls fly as well as any other at the head of your nemesis, but sometimes you need to clang your adversary with a rapid red.
There are dangly punchbags, floor-is-lava crocodile pit, suspended football and web levels with climbing wall. My favourite was the giant-footballs-in-a-box but I can't help but think it's best for the 4-6 age range.
The toilets were large, airy and clean and there's a party room of indifferent decor. It is frequented by lots of kids with either older sisters or suspiciously young mummies: I had a great time but there was a constant howled accompaniment from deep in the jungly bowels of the 3-D complex.
Yes, it'd be worth meeting some Piddlers there for an hour's fun.
After shopping it was raining but the hardier Ben + JBs were footballing at Canoe Lake so we stopped off at the legendary doorshop on the way down to see them. As I walked along the pavement outside the Old Gravediggers pub, a man opened his car door without looking and smacked me right in the eye socket with some pressed steel. I howled a bit and developed an inch-long purple welt by my left orbit.
The doors and door furniture were reasonable so we will return and make all of our doorhandles match, an unhithertofor unknown luxury.
At Canoe Lake we played football for 40 minutes and I got an extra hug from Bobert for turning up. Ben kept kicking the ball into the Spanish Oak (evergreen canopy of unparalleled thickness) and we sent in a basketball to knock it out. When that also became stuck we sent in a 2 foot log: when that became stuck my pet parent arrived and shook the tree and got it all back. Then Bob whizzed the log at Ben's head for what I'm sure was a good reason and it all ended suddenly. Everyone was OK.
But he did the rest of the yellow wall so we're ready for Roasted Red tomorrow.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Gym Gymini Gym Gymini Gym Gym Geroo

Woke up to discover 6 builders in my room. I was as surprised as them.
portsmouth trampolining sports activity dayMy normal trampolining session is off this week due to half-term but the tramping teacher is running a 1-day special from 930 to 3 so we opted for it. I get to gymnasticate as well as tramp all day, and to make this even better, Elizabeth McPuddle picked me up in the morning to take me in. I tried to give her a mini-tour of Mungle Manor but there were simply too many builders sawing and banging and drilling so we had to have a rain check. We checked, and it was raining heavily.
scattering of toys on the bedroom floorWe worked hard all day and at the end did the giant parachute thing, we all got certificates of attendance and I got a special achievers' award as well. There were 2 schoolfriends, a Beaver, a swimmer and a couple of gymmers, nice to see familiar faces. He picked us up (still raining), on the way home we sang Hello Mr PooPooHead with added Aramaic curses and we ignored the builders and played Bingo and Egyptian Top Trumps and Lego Heroes in my room. The electrician made us move over a bit and he still dropped a wire on my head. Then her parents came and had a tour while we had cheese'n'ham sandwiches and we all left hurriedly together because I had to go to gymnastics!
I got to do the giant parachute again and we had a fun session. Later I challenged Jof to bingo.
The builders have screwed down the floorboards upstairs so you dont go crump crump crump any more, we have lights (woohoo) and quite a lot of paint. This means we have been able to remove the extension cables and the fluorescent lighting rigs and cardboard sheeting over the corridor floor.

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Castle Road Blowout

One of the PuddleParents had found out about a street-stall event near the common so we all magically met at the bus stop and headed on down. It was the same mediocre crowd as yesterday minus a Bud so double bonus there. We left him painting.
There were many things to do on the greensward and we had lunch at The White Lion or the Red Deer or the Brown Bear (whatever it was, it used to be Langtry's) and Ben dropped his lunch on the floor and I wanted to play so I only ate my fish and then I left my Ribena behind and kept wanting food because I was too busy playing to eat my lunch and by the time I got home (5 hours of PuddleFun), Jof was ready to kill me.
A lot of painting has been done. Plus, I got lots of Vitamin D from all the lovely sunshine and I shall see Beth at bouncing tomorrow and Ben at YMCA on Friday and that's just some of it.
Todays' painting error was to use gloss paint (wood + metal) on the ceiling of Bed 3. That meant another coat. Perhaps we're just getting all the mistakes out of the way early, or perhaps this augurs poorly for the future.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

They see me rollin', they hatin'

brioche paint from duluxUp tennish, this is my preferred start time.
Todays' main task is painting. Jof has selected "Brioche" for Bed 3, and he did the whitening undercoat yesterday so I helped by roller-painting a whole wall. It looks good if a little dull, and he got carried away and accidentally did half of the ceiling as well, Jof said that it should have been white.
pat a cake spanking sessionI played loudly with my new Lego Heroes and then we were summoned to Erins' for a BBQ, one of those last-minute randomly called BBQs that you get 2 weeks' notice for.
Basically we got 5 hours of running riot because the old people just wanted to talk about beer, gardening and stuff.
chalk graffiti in access passagewayAt one point the PuddleDaddies were locked in a shed playing something called where's Dave, the PuddleMummies sang karaoke to songs from 56 years before I was born and we played spankum upstairs.
karaoke performing in front roomErin has the same giant chalks that I gave to the charity shop so we drew and wrote and generally graffitied down Erins' back passageway until some random old bloke told us to stop. Someone said Ben had written arse before I got there but I never found his arse. The word poo was frequent, though.
Erin has a popup tent so we all got in and the Unknown Monster rolled the tent around until we all screamed for more.
Their garden is lovely as is the new cat and the girls did a performance and we all hardly complained at all. I couldn't face showering at 10 something when we got home, good time all round.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Jaws and the Freak Egg

bransbury park portsmouthbransbury park portsmouth tunnel Out of the house for ten something, possibly a record. Frightened the life out of some kid or other by allowing her to ride the swinging basket with me (I ride hard) and then met Ex-Puddler Hannah (no sisters) in Tunnel Park. We played and laughed and let's just say one of our number played the giddy goat and we laughed even more.
In the butcher we met Ginger Lenny and outside was Tall Harry. This sunshine is great because all my friends come out to play. However also in the butcher was the Freak Egg. He said it is suitable for a freakish deviant such as myself so we bought it. It looks like it's made of papier mache, and I had it for breakfast the next day.
boiled chicken ovulationsMeanwhile, Jof was failing. She had heroically managed to achieve Laundromat Failure #6, something we haven't done since 1991.
1. Place laundry, soap powder and fabric conditioner in Machine #1.
2. Place coins in machine #2, set for Unreasonably Long Wash, and go to Debenhams to ask customer services why they have sent her a letter informing her that she has cancelled her order for 2 sofas. Get told "Oh no, Madam, you have to have your order number and ring our dedicated Customer Services Hotline, despite the fact that I myself took your order at this very desk not 2 weeks ago". Jump up and down saying bad words.
3. Return at the allotted time, wonder why laundry remains dry and inert, and why neighbouring machine is whirring away empty.
mungleton bond autographed picture Then we went to the main attraction of the day. The Mountbatten Centre (right by where I do Gymnastics) was hosting a film and TV exhibition thing that Mash at Buds' work told us about. We paid our £8 and were confronted by a series of rather sad stalls and exhibits that may have seen better days in an indoor tennis court.
We did a circuit and noticed many many Star Wars figures and Doctor Who characters faithfully rendered in plastic and the DeLorean from Back to the Future and ET and several Daleks and blokes dressed as Stormtroopers and you know, it could be quite fun but when I got a picture of me getting strangled by Darth Vader, a little girl came up to him and said "Dad, dad, can I have an ice cream" in a west country accent.
mungleton darth avder character portsmouthThis kinda dispelled the magic of meeting the actual owl Hedwig in a municipal squash court where you could clearly see a Klingon helping a girl fighting with her Princess Leia hairbuns behind a stack of pallets in the corner. Keira from my trampolining wandered past, but Mash and Ben were not seen. However the big headline act for this intergalactic grainbuster was (inter alia) Richard Kiel who did 2 turns as Bond film baddie "Jaws" although his sterling work in the Cannonball Run series is sadly overlooked. He has his own Wikipedia page and everything. What Bud really wanted was a picture of me looking up at him, given that he is, like, seventeen foot tall. But we had to pay £20 for a signed photo after which we were allowed to have our own photo. He did his standard head-grasping pose which is his stock pose, I don't think he can stand up for fans any more. **As of 10th September 2014, he doesn't do anything any more. He will be missed.** 
But he was a nice chap and his hands are way bigger than my head and I got the photo seriously personalised. I chose the photo - Jackie Chan is doing karate.
professor mungleton in shades in marty fly deloreanAt the other end there was a Lego Bionicle stall and I duly filled up, he bought a Terminator for himself and allowed me 4 Lego minifigures and I got a Wookie for Ben, he might well have one already but you can never have too many Wookies.
promotional photo from cannonball run 2 professor mungleton signed Doctor Who charges £5 for a picture in the Tardis so we said maybe later, Doctor Whatsisface in the DeLorean was much more reasonable and I think that my first car should be one of them, why wait until the mid-life crisis.
Think we'd spent enough today? No. For Jof had been sent off to get carpets for our house. We have no carpets at all, and we all quite like them so she rang us from the shop and said why don't you come over and make sure I've got the right ones, which means please come and pick me up and put down the £2,000 deposit on the rather beige-ey carpets I've ordered. So we did that. I like carpet shops because everything is soft and strange, just like Jof.
Finished? No.
Big B+Q is just around the corner so we actually walked there and got £300 pounds worth of paint and some wooden things and we all got lost and I really really just wanted to go home and play with my new Lego Bionicles and he wanted to go home and paint and eventually Jof came out of the toilet and we had ribeye steak for supper and I didn't have Bath Fizzer Night because we don't have a bath until at least Thursday, and that's only if we've ordered the correct bath this time.
He painted so I helped cut in the emulsion to the skirting boards and I bedded down at tennish.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Fire the Cannons and bang the Drum

pretty burning gas ether in retort
Once upon a Fail
So yesterday we went back to the hardware store because the splendid and stylish shower unit that Jof wanted was the wrong type for our installation. Jof looked at them all and selected one from the display models that had its own mini-pump to help the water on its way. The man gave us an electric one from stores, and we didn't notice. Today the builder said that both of these sorts were wrong. So if you fail when fixing a fail, but actually fail and get a different wrong one than the wrong one you failingly wanted, is that a 4th level fail? Insert code incorrectly now to fail to level up!
At last! Yet another holiday! A great day at school but Max W and Zachery split up (friendzone only) over a tiff about cheating in a race. Olive branches were brandished and peaceful overtures (Vaughan Williams) were made but to no avail. I reckon that a week off should do it and all will be forgotten, rather than forgiven.
obsessive mother cleaning everything
The builders have gotten completely plastered in my room. Apart from the strange damp patches it looks quite good. We are on a promise to apply undercoat-only paint to a bit of Bed 3 and the upstairs corridor over the weekend so we may possibly be about to indicate in preparation for grasping the steering wheel before turning the corner of getting to the next stage in decoration (but I'm not promising anything). 3 weeks in, we're still living out of extension cables, boxes and cardboard floors, but, you know, I don't mind because I see the bigger picture.
So here's the question. What picture will most effectively illustrate todays' situation? The plastering is all very well but it doesn't look so different before and after. However, my toys do ... if they were exposed to the rampant plaster dust attack. Jof has a thing about cleaning everything, and under her direction, all the bed linen was changed so at least we will sleep sans grit this weekend. But she also cleaned my toy vehicle collection .....

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Rain started Play

don't slap pandas funny clothes label
Practised spelling and did better than last time I suppose. The builders had plastered in Bedroom 1 and windowman was adding in all those little cornery bits that you forget about. I stalked the estate monitoring the workers in a loud voice, for it is the only one I have.
stripping wallpaper and sweeping upWe didn't have time to strip any wallpaper because it was Thursday park. Ben and Johnny joined me and we played football nicely until a couple of 15 year-olds joined in. One of them (beanpole) was, like, 6 foot tall but seemed to gain enjoyment from beating some 7 year-olds, even if it didn't win him many kudos-points from his sullen friends.
metal upvc sash style windows in conservation areaWe had a brief picnic but then simultaneously Bobert arrived as did the rain. I invited them back to mine for Heroplay but not Ben this time as he's been twice already and we only have enough space and supervision for 3. He took it badly.
mismatched bedroom furnitureThe JBs got a swift tour of the building site and understood the missing floorboard problem, Bob may have contrary dreams tonight about the under-floor spaces. They agreed the outside of the house looks good but they prefer the inside of the old house because it wasn't full of cables and grit. We Lego Heroed for half an hour until their Mum came with scooters for a quick tour, but by then we'd made ourselves a healthy snack and watched TV. One roast chicken later, I went to bed, although he was still stripping in there at the time.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A Fail a Day keeps Sanity away

giant saguaro cactus funny pugilist positionLast night all our beds were gritty / 
take me down to paradise city / 
I'm not looking for your quilted pity / 
its a harsh and crunchy reality
Oh Yes. Removing decades-old wallpaper releases tons of volcanic dust into the atmosphere, but also reveals old screwholes with wooden rawlplugs and when you pull them out all the surrounding plaster falls out and you just can't help picking at them like an old scab until there's a scree slope of Edwardian mortar on the floor .....
So recently we found he'd ordered the wrong bath. This we fixed with a call to the dispatch centre.
mayflower construction havantThen yesterday Windowman fitted the bathroom window: instead of asking for super-obscured glass (clear glass would have offered a free stripshow to the chaps having a fag outside the pub)  we'd asked for completely obscured so now we only have a little 1 foot square source of light right at the top. Perhaps we can have a torch on a string by the door, or a couple of those old smoky dungeon brushwood'n'animal fat torches stuck to the walls.
glazier up ladder installing window unitsThis morning Builderman says "Oooh, no, sir, you can't have that kind of shower. There's not enough water pressure, you'll only get a dribble". So we are indeed doing well.
When I got home, Windowman was busy putting glue around the edges of the windows and the builders were upstairs painting glue on the walls. I got gluey and had to wash. But then one of them started destroying the old shelves in the alcove so I stayed to watch obediently and intently until Bud dragged me away with a pre-trampage snack.
At Trampling Poppy had a new tablet game where you have to throw purple poos at a kid who is on fire, good practice for real life.
After trampolining (I'm nearly at badge 4) he said I had to do my spellings. I assumed he'd forget and played computer games. Then there was another sulkathon with added attitude and instead of a simple manual [six of the best] rectification I got a cheese sandwich, not TV, computer, chocolate, tablet etc and bedtime by 745. This is about 2 hours early, I think we're all a little tired and irritable with the dust and disruption. Perhaps my attitude will improve, what's Alaskan Military Academy? Later, we put out 20 binbags for the rubbish lorry. We just keep getting better at this.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Bathroom on a Lorry

sean connery bond accent funny jokeWe have a mouse. At the moment it has ready access to the world of light from its lair under the floorboards, but when the builders get into that room and sort the floor out, it'll be trapped below. So I'll put down some of that blue barley to keep it going.
renovating bedroom home decoratingThe lorry arrived with our bathroom on it today. Well, some of it. All the unimportant bits like the shower screen and shower kit, not the actual bath and sink. The builders did lots of plastering so the corridor is all dark and they said we had to strip the wallpaper from my room. I found it easy, big slabs of it came off and I did the whole wall myself, don't know what all the fuss is about.
The wallpaper in question is like plywood because it's 1930s paper with 40s paint on it, then 50s chip paper on top of that with a layer of 60s paint, and some 70s paper with 80s paint over that, so when you pull it, it comes off all at once and hits the floor with a clang. I'll do some more tomorrow.

Monday, 20 May 2013

A bit Humidor for Thermidor

baby consoling crying elder brother funnyParticularly enjoyed the story of the Texan burglars who scuffled with a homeowner and shoved him in a closet while they took his stuff. Probably would have been OK if it wasn't his gun closet. They say an Englishmans' home is his castle, but it really means something over there, where the householder can use deadly force against armed attackers.
In school today we were all given two floppy and slightly etiolated sunflower seedlings to nurture at home in an unofficial competition of plant husbandry. This is almost a shame, because I have an accomplished horticulturalist on the staff but the estate is a bit lacking. There's a place where we could put them in a pot, but we have no pots, no compost and the place itself is full of builders' waste. So they went in the front garden which is apparently the local cat toilet and has soil as good as Venus.
The builders have now finished Bedroom 3 and are filling in some of the larger holes in the upstairs corridor. My room has been untouched, shame we spent all that time putting away the Lego Heroes yesterday. The windowmen came in, removed curtains, did one window, and bogged off again. I'm sure it'll all be worth it.
ceiling light fittings with halogen light bulbsThere was a slight shouty event when he was up a ladder upstairs and I didn't answer the phone I was sitting next to, but it was a timed game with no pause button on that level, these people have to re-examine their priorities.
We drove to the laundrette which is great because I get to look around the Ark furniture store with its nooks and crannies while he's in there. Then I had a real job: to choose my own light fitting at B+Q. Having weighed up all the possibilities, I plumped for the Inseki 4-spot wavy bar job because I had 3 spots last time and this time I have a bigger room. This choice was duly ratified when he bought it again for the kitchen, and re-ratified later when Jof agreed we should buy them for the corridors as well. That's a further 4, so we may actually run them out.
Later we produced 3 more binbags of wallpaper strippings, will we outdo last week's 13 bags? I missed the Beaver super-meeting because we just don't have the time. I'll have to ask Ben what happened.

Sunday, 19 May 2013


Stincompoop is my New Word. It saves time.
Well, we got up for tennish (watch out for this joke on Tuesday) and guess what, the wallpaper stripper came out again. What you do in the privacy of your own home etc. Kitchen #2, aka potential ensuite, aka the laundry room, has now been stripped
soft play area pirate petes portsmouth ball pit bouncy castle
apart from that bit of false wall and the bit behind the radiator, but you can't have everything. Jof absolutely insisted that we have some quality family time so I selected Pirate Pete's, as much sweaty fun as you can get in one hour for £3.50. I didn't know anyone there, which is unusual. He ran there for exercise, then Jof wandered off to play on the arcade games and so us chaps played frisbee-the-mat things at each other and hide-the-treasure-map. When Jof finally reappeared he ran off again to buy binbags (you know it's serious when you've used up 3 rolls of binbags) and strip more paper, so Jof and I played the flashing lights games in the arcade.
When we got in, she played Candy Crush Saga while I built the Lego ship she'd bought for me. So really, the fabulous family fun day was exactly the same as always, with them taking it in turns to look after me.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

A Message from the Past

This morning an electrician came to activate the kitchen. Jof was getting dressed, he was in the shower, I was watching TV in the front room by the front door. Open the door if someone comes, he says. 4 minutes later, there was a ferocious hammering at the door and Jof started shouting down the stairs at me to open the door. All this noise was getting in the way of my vitally important Scooby Doo so I turned it up. Why were they angry at me? What had I done?
time capsule advertisement from 1911Anyway, we did the bottlebank walk and I bought some bath fizzers (shame we have no bath), a toy army helicopter and 2 sausage rolls for lunch, forbedroom redecoration exposed plaster I knew the secret. Then the secret arrived at the front door, and his name was Ben. Mrs Ben took us away and we played in his room for a bit, then went over the road to Ben's Bumpy Paths and cycled around a bit, then climbed all over the rocks by the foreshore and found antique Egyptian tiles and sandwich-shaped rocks and showed them to BensMum. We hid them in a special hiding place and went back to his for more play.
About 5 hours after setting out, we got back to mine and played Lego Heroes again, we were model citizens all day and he is my brother from another mother. During my out-time, he stripped wallpaper, one whole room done this week! During this event, we discovered a hand-written message on the plaster by the fireplace, previously hidden by wallpaper and soon to be covered by new plaster. It reveals that a Mr Albert Winkle (not kidding) from Hanley, Staffordshire, is available for plastering and decorating work in this area. As the advert is dated 2nd August 1911, I imagine that he is no longer available. Jof cleaned surfaces: it took her all day and first thing on Monday, all her work will be undone by the builders and windowmen.
Tonight: the Eurovision song contest. This annual extravaganza of idiocy has become a mini-tradition. I bet I could do better.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Too far gone to let it get to me

car drives off without paying for fuel destroys pumpWell, we're practically living a life of luxury now. We have rearranged our extension cables and now I can watch TV while Jof knits and he does statistical analysis on the computer. Remember my attachment to a shipping container with hard drive magnets last year? (My Magnetic Personality) Somebody somewhere liked it and tweeted the link. A few people retweeted and posted to Facebook and now it's trending globally and has had thousands of views. Of course, it is but one nugget within the rich motherlode of gold that this blog offers, but I am happy to have made some folks laugh.
This morning we got 3 builders and 3 electricians. This is a problem as we only have 4 metal coffee mugs, so they will have to go on to MugShare.
carpenter at work in houseWhen I got back home it was chaos. There was stuff everywhere but amidst the armageddon-in-a-pocket you could see little differences. In some rooms we've practically got ceilings. Dave the Carpenter was starting to box in the giant steel girder holding up the upstairs part of our house. But in the background, we hardly noticed that the large wall cupboard unit has been put on the wall - it's spent the last 8 months on the floor. This revealed a section of kitchen floor we'd never seen before: it's tiled, slopes down and away from you, and has been hiding an abandonedbuilders l;adder and wallpaper stripping for plastering
 dog biscuit all this time.
Upstairs, they have mostly plastered Bedroom #3. This will be the least used room in our future house, but potentially the first to be finished. I love this, because every day I return to something new, it's never boring.
After swimming we picked Jof up from work and we were all tired. Jof got the job of wiping up the inch-thick layer of dust on all surfaces, he stripped wallpaper and I played noisy annoying games on the HTC tablet. Hey. We all need to work to our strengths.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Day 10 - The terror goes on

wild mountain man knife thrower during sermonFor the purposes of eliciting sympathy I shall count the building works as from when WindowMan started work and this endless miasma of dust began, the motes of all nations suspended in the sunlit air like a cataract snowstorm, giving us all our daily intake of dietary fibre whether we want it or not.
builders renovating bathroom painter up ladderEvery space is permanently covered in a heady combination of brick dust, plaster dust, loft dust and sawdust, yet it still manages to smell of wet dog. My bed is gritty.
But the kind builders have set up the old sink from the second daft kitchen into the old destroyed bathroom, making it the third exciting teeth-cleaning venue in the last week. I may try to increase my score by using the main kitchen sink (better now they've put the silicone sealant around the edge) and the one in the second daft bathroom (with The Tap That Does Not Turn Off).
During the day, some nice if persistent people knocked on the door and said they had witnessed jehovah. A builder answered and was given a lecture and a pamphlet about gods, sadly we no longer have a bonfire but I did put it to good use in the compost.
milton park portsmouthIt is bin day today so we put out a mere 13 binbags and the tall recycling wheelie bin. I think the binmen will be impressed. The electrician said he was impressed with our well-boarded loft but that he'd had to take them all away to get to the ceilings from above.
milton barn players venue in milton park portsmouthThe builders have started to paint the new bathroom and have filled in a lot of the holes in the wall and even done some ceiling although electric man has made a lot of new holes to lay his cables (not in the naval sense).
After school we did Park Thursday. Many known faces were there and we had our picnic of real food obediently and then played pseudo-football against the wall of the barn for an hour in the lovely sunshine. I'm surprised no shirts came off but we all got a dose of Vitamin D anyway. As soon as we got back I was scheduled to shower to save time, then we scheduled in some power to the TV room before it was booked by the computer.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Blackout: Showering by Candlelight

concrete staircase not going anywhere Yesterday was carnage in our house with 2 builders, an electrician and a plumber all banging and drilling together. The corridors and rooms had even fewer floorboards than before as most of them were stacked against the wall so that the hot water pipes could be put in, and the vintage wiring removed.
We had to play riddles with the extension cables thus:
domestic building project house rewireOne family has 2 extension cables A, and B. Extra extension cables C and D are provided. How does Kid get a night-light while Daddy boils the kettle and Mummy blow-dries her hair? How does Kid see his way down the stairs while Mummy uses the microwave and Daddy tries to maintain power to the fridge? Answers on a postcard by last Friday, please.....
Anyway, this morning 5 builders arrived at 0745. Jof was mostly dressed by then so they set to work. Although they were all banging and sawing and drilling and stomping and jemmying and dismantling in unison, Jof had to wake me up to go to school. I reckon that if the builders could be taught musical timing, their racket could rival Skrillex for aural torture in Guantanamo Bay, an opportunity missed, if you ask me.
The builders said we could have our electricity back once they'd done second fix. About 2 weeks, apparently. Ouch.
Jof got angry with the dust and the extension cable that wouldn't extend and the thought of another 2 weeks of camping, said something about the ritz. Is that something to do with ratz?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Mammaries are made of this

go home you're drunk meme bus display unitAdvised to take a raincoat today, also to not sit in any cat poo, however welcoming.
Ever since we moved in, the floorboard integrity in the upstairs 1950s-style throne room has been such that you can have a decent conversation with somebody in the kitchen downstairs, although that might appear to be hygienically doubtful. Now that the adjacent bathroom (loose description)  has been ripped out, you can see right through and all ablutions etc have been halted. Generally you can hear me anywhere, for I am a singer: particularly on the toilet. Last Thursday, a mad American passenger caused an emergency landing and was ejected from her flight when she refused to stop singing "I will always love ewe" of Dolly Parton/Whitney Houston cringe-fame. If that applied over here, I'd never finish a poo.
bedroom undergoing refurbishment missing floorboards and plasterIncidentally, the lightbulbs have been dying in waves. While they might be coming out in sympathy for their fallen comrades in the same way that white goods die just after the end of the warranty period, it might be a sign of domestic electrical turmoil. Luckily the sparky started work today and removed the legacy circuitry, which made the understairs cupboard look like spaghetti junction.
The electrician took one look at our 1950s wiring and said, not on your nelly, I'm not using that and signing it off as safe. So we are to get a complete house rewire. While this is very good news indeed for the house and any future resale value, it does mean that he had to disconnect everything, leaving us without electricity for a few days.
house refurbishment project room not finishedOK, so he stuck in 2 emergency sockets with extension leads to give us our fridge back, possibly a microwave, kettle and lamps upstairs. I had to get the torch to go in the loft to get the lamp so we could see to cook. Jof ran over the road to the Wok Of Ages Chinese restaurant and got her special fried rice, so she was happy. I got noodles, so I was happy. He got curry sauce, ditto.
We had to forego lamps upstairs so he could get on the computer to ask B+Q if we could have the left-hand L-shaped bath not the Right-hand one like he'd accidentally ordered.
Jof got a candle and stalked the corridors of the night (which do not all have floorboards) and I played with cars as my window has access to a street lamp. Then I read her a book and we all had an early night.