Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Silence of the Crabs

voice text autocorrect funny fail rudeToday wasn't much better. But in the end, we made it out a little before noon, just in time to miss the postman so we have to go and get the package of Lego from the Post Office anyway.
Ever since Hayling Island, I have wanted to go crabbing and Bud suggested a taster session at Canoe Lake, so Jof took me. We took a bright pink bucket and sourced a faux-bamboo (metal pole with plastic sheath) fishing net, and then I got a go on the caterpillar and the sky-trampoline before we got down to crabbing.
After the first 30 minutes of barren watching, Jof got bored. But it seemed that every other little amateur crabber had buckets of them. One guy's bucket actually overflowed with crabs in a hideous prequel to the upcoming film Crabnado. One guy had a crab that was nine inches across. Several others were of edible size. We had nothing, niet, nada.
garage floor inspection kit and columnar cactus plantsA couple of other anglers felt sorry for me and gave me some of their bacon. Cheap ASDA bacon is the de rigueur crab-bait, I wonder how they feel about bacon sandwiches and, more importantly, what you use to catch Jewish crabs.
But then I caught a fish. And gradually, another six fish joined it, and only 1 of them was dead. I had found my niche market, my keyworker skill, my future in marine ecology. I really wanted to take them home but Jof refused, and settled for looking embarrassed on a bus with an fishily aromatic 7 year-old and a bright orange fishing net.
At home the last of the San Pedro cacti were made homeless. We haven't got space for these desert giants (nearly as big as me) and they are off to market today. It took a very long box.
Then Jof abandoned us to go to the pub so supper was a slightly odd affair of burnt sausages with chicken gravy, pilchards and veg, and strawberries. She has had to tell me off, like, 40 times today but I don't mind.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Free-for-all at the Gym

Started the day late again. It's just so easy to wake up, know that your next appointment isn't for hours, and drift off again until the bladder calls.
In the end, it was the courier who took away the damaged dressing table and gave us another one. Then we dribbled the hours of the day through our fingers playing cards and Pirate Treasure. This game is basically a load of cards that Player A hides around the house following certain sensible rules about not putting them inside books, not out of Player B's reach etc, and then B has to find them. As with all small people, things can take ages and there are often distractions so even A will forget the location of the treasure sometimes. Thus, our old house has some treasure buried in it, as does the back of LittleMax's sofa, where some loot was last seen although there were Dutch pirates in the area at the time. Today we were doing it in the dining room at ground level only and lost a Golden Key. When you can lose something in a one-dimensional search, you know it's time to hang up your beard and buy a little rum distillery somewhere.
london thermometer co british made red reading technology
When he got home he was sulking. Recently we discovered a pre-war industrial thermometer in the garage: pen-sized with a metal sheath and patented Red Reading Technology (1933). He took it to work to clean the oil off with IPA. He brought it home to clean it with Brasso and install it as Curio #73 in the glass-topped table. But the bulb broke, filling his bag with mercury and broken glass. It was supposed to be #3 in the series "Prof M's Unusual Things" but alas, it is no more.
However, unbridled joy awaits! The bringer of joy for today was the Julian Bowen Ltd "Pickwick Twin Dressing table" (flatpacked). Boasting a rather conservative 145 pieces, it gave us a 58th free Allen key (yes, we counted) and scuffy knees as Bedroom 1 was transformed with this high-quality item from this furniture purveyor of distinction. Of those 145 pieces, so many fitted together as per the assembly instructions, it was a dream to create.
At gym today it was the one day of the year when the adults get to join in and we get the run of the whole gym. I did the assault course, swinging rings, trampolining and everything I could get my sweaty fingers on.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Handy, men

Up at 830 for no good reason. The delivery men brought us a flatpacked dressing table for Jof and we set to work assembling the mirror (yes, it does require assembly because it pivots and it's on a plinth) and the stool (start with the complicated things). Because it has Lego-like instructions, I was successful. I am now a qualified handyman, very handy as I only live around the corner. After lunch the JBs joined me for an epic Lego session. They haven't seen my room completed so we got everything out all over the floor, as you do.
We watched the video of me destroying the Lego Tower from the inside about 6 times (see yesterdays' post) and Bob shot me in the face with an arrow but it's all normal really. Briefly, Bob left the collective for a haircut, but as Johnny was not specifically required to witness the shearing, he stayed with me and then Bob came back anyway. It was handy that these 2 men came round to keep me busy.
manchester united football strip in wrong townMeanwhile, the dressing table was unpacked. The first 2 bits of drawer were broken on first inspection, so it was all put back in the box again and off we go to the favourite South American Jungly website. Yes, sir, it will be replaced and you can return your item with our special delivery drivers. Print off the label here. Printer not working sir? Then go to the van driver's website and use this code. Sorry, our van drivers do not handle parcels of this size and weight. Did I not mention this?
Fortunately, the bedside chest of drawers thing did work and now we are only waiting for 2 more van drivers, with luck the next package won't arrive in more bits than it's supposed to.
Us boys made a splendid Lego train track with army base and Vogon ship and nanobot and killweapons that shoot electrics and torpedoes with oil/petrol mix. This does rather assume there's sufficient oxygen in outer space to allow an incendiary to burn.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Gone but not remembered

lego castle so big you gan get in itlego tower buildingToday we woke up at 1115. Not absolutely sure if this is my own personal record but not bad, all those parents with kids that arise at dawn should gnash their teeth and cover their heads in ashes, might help.
OK. Most of what little remained of the day was Lego Towering. It gets to the point when you just get bored of it, and all those plans to use up every light and coloured tile and light sabre and flame and purple nob and so forth just get quietly forgotten. Once we'd stabilised the railway level with flats, we just stuck on all the aerials and crane gantry things and any doors/windows/staircases we'd found when tidying up.
The height attained was 146 cm, which is considerably more than me. It says something for the robust reinforced construction methods used by the family architects that the adults were able to lift it down intact onto the floor for the second photo. Then I destroyed it.
Later I visited the JBs to play cricket and lose all the balls over the fence. They will come here tomorrow to play Lego.
For our family activity we played Monopoly. There's no end to the number of times I can be told to stop babbling and screaming, for there's always something to babble about. Eventually Jof petered out and died, and it made practically no difference because she didn't have any properties and her passing was met with no fanfare. Then, just as I was about to die, I landed on Free Parking (£1885) so I live for another day. We'll resume tomorrow.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The imperfect Storm

We were promised a storm. The weatherguessers had been banging on about anticyclonic irrigation and tornado alley in the corridors of uncertainty so we made sure we went out in the morning. I scooted to 3 different parks and met schoolfriends in all of them. Incredibly, however many times the youths in Prince Albert Road park said bad words beginning with F and C, I failed entirely to pick them up.
lego set windmill water and flourThe new Lego Tower of Epic Proportions is coming on well. We made levels out of doors, fences, windows and Jof added Lego Sandbags and barbed wire. It is impressive, but not yet complete. When it is, you shall indeed see it. It has reached 106 levels, and we've only just got the Castle bits, railway track and staircases down.
Late in the day, Jof went to Asda and bought me a Lego windmill and exactly the same box of random bricks that I bought yesterday, coincidentally at exactly the same time we ordered a refill box of bricks from a well-known south-American jungly online retailer. This is when we noticed that Jof has put a slimline dishwasher in her online shopping basket at the same cyber-shop.
So all these new bricks and some slopes got incorporated into the rapidly expanding structure, and meanwhile it drizzled gently. The promise was to wait until a really decent thunderstorm, drive to the seafront and sit in one of those sort of little bus stop things on the promenade so we could see the lightning, witness the thunderclaps, all without actually getting rained on. Did it happen? Did it Poldarks. I have been waiting at least 4 years for this promise.

Friday, 26 July 2013

The Lynyrd Skynyrd Lynyng Tywyr of Pysyr

Friday. We had planned to go to Gosport (for we like to err on the wrong side of civilisation every now and then) but Jof had kindly ordered some stuff on Amazon and we had to wait in for the postman.
Orders outstanding: Dressing Table: 1. Dressing table stool: 1. Mirror, 1. Bedside cabinet, 1. Curtains, 2. All this lot were duly advertised as arriving in possibly more than one package in possibly more than one delivery from possibly more than one distribution facilitator, so we were totally trunkled for our planned day out. Jof fielded the first one, then went to work.
I got the next 2 and signed for them using my usual signature, he was in the shower and had delegated the task, to be honest, as long as I check the number of packages I sign for and check for damage and so forth, who's to know. If I don't look out, I'll end up working where he works, never a good idea.
family activity lego projectEventually we got bored of waiting by the door like a lovelorn teenager and bogged off to Knight and Lee in Southsea: HE (not me) purchased a box of Lego bricks-only selection due to our project of the day. Missed delivery #4 while we were out. Got home, got to work. Separated off all the real actual simple blocks from my rather large collection. This took a while and caused scuffed knees, creaky hips, loose nipples, bent toes and angry ankles. Took collection downstairs and started on Tower the First, which we had to temporarily remove so we could have supper.
In the past I have made towers of all sorts. There's been the one I could get inside and just about look out from. There was the Doofenschmirtz Tower of Evil which was specifically requested by the museum staff for an exhibition (yes), but we'd destroyed it by then. There was the one that touched the ceiling. So we thought, we haven't done one in this house yet, see if the ceilings are higher, lucky we've got that extra box of blocks to help us along a bit. We have only just started this project: Jof helped with her girly design flaws like making a layer of alternate red and white, looks rather good actually. It will be an army camp so while the walls grew taller, I installed self-destruct bombs and anti-aircraft batteries and dynamite safes and munitions bunkers and arrow-windows and things.
Throughout all this, the Youtube playlist gave us Leonard Skinhead, Bled Zepplen, Guns with roses, queen, Deaf leopard, strolling bones, white snake and many cheesy others, until Jof came in and put on some old pants that we didn't know. We have reached level 53 (so much better than Level 42) and have plans to increase this by at least 100% so I can stand within it like a guard's booth.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Catching Crabs in Foreign Parts

bicycle passengers eastney to hayling islandThursday. Not much you can do about that so we used it for the planned 12-mile bike ride. Essentially a reprise of the journey we did a couple of years ago, it is a big circuit using roads, pavements, footpaths, bridges, a train and a ferry, and it goes into foreign parts (Hayling Island).
hayling park recreation facilities hayling island hampshireWe met Fast Matthew, Football Harry and a Year 1 from my old school and reached the ferry just in time.
The ferry fought against the incoming tide and banged against the jetty and many children fell over, but we all laughed. Along Ferry Road we found the old anti-aircraft battery and investigated the old gun turrets.
desolate western coastline of hayling islandJust before we joined the old wartime railway line (now Hayling Billy footpath and bridleway) we nipped into Hayling Park which has a smallish swingpark. It's not very good but once I'd been persuaded to go on the 4-seater suspended roundabout thing, it turned out to be great and I was joined by 3 girls who all wanted to go faster.
live crab caught off hayling islandImmediately north of the old railway station which is now an amateur dramatics club, there is a BMX trail/jumping area. A 5 year-old was jumping like a pro but I didn't fancy the big hill. I trundled around a few times and fell over on one of the smaller jumps and trapped my leg which bled a bit and made me angry.
ship inn langstone umbrellas in pub gardenI rode on in simmering silence for a bit until I dived off down a side path and met 2 kids we had seen on the ferry. We climbed an old oak tree that gets a semidiurnal dunking from the tide and we found a dead crab and put it in a plastic container for a burial at sea.
fishing for crabsJust by the old salt pans we found a tidal channel that was rapidly filling an area of salt marsh. It wasn't very deep and we could see hundreds of little crabs all bouncing along in the flow. We caught 3 of them just by grabbing them and looked at them, before returning them to their tidal race. If you set up a big floppy net at low tide, you could catch thousands, but they would all be between half an inch and 4 inches across, so not much good really.
We dined at the Ship Inn, Langstone, as before. Macaroni cheese, decent ice cream. Many kids were crabbing and they had full buckets. I borrowed one kids' reel and bacon lure and cast out repeatedly until I forgot to hold onto the reel and I threw the whole thing into the sea. We ran away.
Just a short ride later, we got to Havant station and the train took us back to Fratton from where I cycled home. I was Olga Sorbutt due to 12 miles in the saddle today, (running shoes for him), 4 and a bit hours the lot. Plenty of sunshine. Later we visited Pops at home to find she was out again. I now believe she is a completely made-up person for welfare benefits purposes only. Millie is 15 today so no use to me, Baby Edward is now 3 or so but still wearing girl's underpants. So I scooted round the park and local streets with him pounding after me in work boots because I haven't had enough exercise today.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Challenge Anneka

lego like copy ripoff compatible blockmenThe first day of the holiday started well. I woke him up 9ish and I didn't get dressed for ages. I was tempted out by the prospect of Lego. We searched a good 15 charity shops and I got 1 Lego Bionicle and a Lego-alike set of army stuff called Blockmen. It's compatible with real Lego and it's got a tank that shoots a projectile and some gun turrets and flames and slopes and sandbags and odd-shaped bits, all in 2 colours that you don't get with normal real actual Lego. I put it together with my copper aeroplanes and made it my Large Squadron Collider, aha.
inside of large church sunlight on fontWe also popped into St Marys church when we noticed the big notice outside saying the tower would be open last Sunday. Of course this was very annoying but we were on the beach so the day wasn't entirely wasted. We crept through the crypt and eventually found the priest in his priest-hole and he said that the tower will be open again on SUNDAY 11TH AUGUST 2-4PM so we will be going back up it on that date. The little window way above my head in the picture is where my Blog Title Picture was taken from so I might even update it, for it was taken almost exactly 3 years ago, and is nearly as out-of-date as my passport photo, well, I have less hair and my shirt doesn't have robots on it.
challenge anneka mobile phone builders toolsChallenge Anneka was a TV program from the early 90s in which Anneka Rice was tasked with various 2-3 day projects, to be completed for free against the clock in some charitable cause or other. Clad in brightly coloured figure-hugging tracksuits, she ran around the country cadging help off builders, chased the whole time by her roving camera crew who would always do close-ups on her rotundiform bottom as she ran from task to task. Her in-yer-face style always flummoxed the beleagured builders: astounded by both her outstanding lack of knowledge of construction materials and her nourishing norks, they would usually give in and help the project, providing planks or whatever.
Back in the day, my parents lived in a rented basement flat with an extremely elderly cooker with decades of baked-on encrustment, once they challenged Anneka to clean their cooker. Bensmum and Erinsmum found a different way - hire a man to do it for them.
The cleaning chaps arrived, cleaned it, took the £27.50 and left, all without me noticing. Speaking of which, it was only when Jof got home that anyone noticed they hadn't done the grill tray. The rest of it's sparkling, though.
Later we tried some more charity shops when we did a drive-by dumping of some of my old stuff - no more Lego but if you ever want polished Onyx eggs or porcelain ballerinas, then Barnardo's on Marmion Road is the place to start. It seems like their entire stock is donated from the house clearances of little old ladies (deceased).

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The end of the line

Todays' little extra job was a tip trip on the way back from his work, before picking me up from my last day at this school. The tip's gain is our loss: today it gained some assorted fire-irons, a giant funtub that will smell of compost forever, some big bits of naily wood that were too big for our fireplace and 11 broomsticks. It should be noted that we have already got rid of half a dozen broomsticks from the storage facility in the roof of the garage. Why, you ask, did the previous-but-one owner have 17 broomsticks (all different) hidden in the rafters of the garage?
1. He was heavy-handed with the sweeping, and every time a broomhead fell off, he said to himself "I'm sure this broomstick will come in useful one day"
2. He was one of those special Englishmen with an unhealthy obsession in a ... niche activity
3. These were prizes kept as souvenirs from his regular witch-hunts on Halloween night
4. As founder member of the Battle of Hastings Recreation society, he needed to have a ready store of non-lethal practise quarterstaves
wimborne infant school southsea portsmouthJof said he just had obsessive-compulsive hoarding disorder like all unmarried males which is true enough.
Anyway, today was the end of the line for my school colleagues and I, and many of my other acquaintances, such as Ben. We have slipped our moorings, dropped our anchor chains, raised our petticoats, cut our apron strings and otherwise said goodbye to childish things (of infant school) and said a big hello to other childish things (of junior school) but with a rodding great sabbatical in between. Erinsmum was particularly grateful to leave Wimborne Infants, she's got, like, months off, why can't we have a massive holiday ... oh.
We had to choose the name of the royal baby so I chose Dave.
end of term high jinks wimborne infants portsmouthWe had our goodbye assembly, watched some of the Lorax and signed each others' shirts. This is one of those school traditions that have been going since 1553 and I'd totally forgotten about it. Erin had a shirt like the Sistine chapel (popular girl) and I am seen here in my natural habitat which is in a large group of human females, although I do appear to have a pink butterfly hat and darker legs.
We did have 20 minutes in the park as invited by Alannah but Gymnastics called and I actually remembered to buy new Gym shirts so that Nanna can sew on my latest badges. These shirts are age 7-8 so 4 years or so of growing room in there for me.
For the last 2 days running I have had afternoon snacks leading to a failure to eat dinner. This has rightly attracted shoutiness from Jof so today I had nothing all afternoon and 1 1/2 suppers upon my return. Who will rid me of this troublesome stomach...

Monday, 22 July 2013

Boogie on down

navajo reservation area
Today Year 2 had a disco. Since graduation, going into school has become more and more pointless, we're just messing about. We could have finished a week ago, at the graduation ceremony. In fact, if we'd put that a month or 2 earlier, we could have had a decent summer holiday instead of a piddling 6 weeks.
girl eating briocheThe disco was hot. It was packed. And although we'd been expecting DJ Hiphop Mrs Cragg spinning the discs, we got Zoe off the internet (not dear Follower Zoe, but a mobile disco provider). We all sang and danced and we did Gangnam style and Erin and I were paired up to do that special wedding dance, you know, where you hold hands and stick them in the air and wheel around the assembly hall bumping into other couples. It was sweaty and she said I smelt of aftershave.
Erin came back to mine afterwards and she really wanted Grandad's Spitfire but I hid it under some pillows and wouldn't tell her where it was.
Getting the curtains drycleaned and my winter duvet washed cost £52, lucky we don't do that very often. I looked in charity shops for Lego but bought an onyx egg for Jof, as she seems to like that kind of thing.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Storm in a D-cup, boom boom

In an attempt to return to normality and routine following the upheaval that is moving house, Jof went supermarket shopping while I cleared up Lego. Of course this only means I can get it all out again onto a clear floor, which happened later. We did do a brief foray into the park for some shirtless swinging and bottlebanking and I fell off my scooter again but the real ambition of the day was to swim out onto the old wartime boom, as promised yesterday.
It was quite busy at the seafront for some reason but we managed to find a clear square yard between all the bikinis and strode into the water with purpose, and steel-toecapped work boots, in his case.
Of course swimming in the sea is different but the good bit about this task was that you can take it in little bite-sized hops and have a breather between each hop. Many many youths were attempting the same thing, although none were as young as me.
Plenty of them were in fact girls, and the boys showed off to them and threw seaweed at them and they all jumped in from the concrete blocks. One surfaced right in front of me minus her bikini top, which was nice.
We pressed on. A group of boys were on the same block as us and one pulled a large edible crab out of a crevice but then he said he'd seen larger and threw it back. Eventually we made it out to block # 10, which is by the green pole. That was when the nice lifeguards came along in their motor launch and said we couldn't go any further, because the next hop (double width) was the through-way for boats and we might get clonked. To add gravitas to this order, a speedboat called Hyperactive zoomed through the gap and it was immediately obvious that we would have been killed.
Each block was covered in seaweed and sponges and mussels and barnacles and everyone got cut but the salt water cleansed the wounds. Thought #1: good that there are no sharks here. Thought #2: isn't the sewage outflow just around the corner?
Gradually we made it back but I got tired and had to have a bit of help. Then we noticed that Sam of my class was next to us so we played catch and mud-pie attack. We can see that Block #10 is only a little way out, we have to buy a boat to get further. The Solent was as busy as the beach, I could see loads of yachts and container ships and jetskis and canoes, 3 cruise liners set off for sunnier climes and 3 warships lay silently off Ryde.
Later I played Jof at Totopoly, which is a game about horses. All of Jof's horses died and I laughed so much I got hiccups again.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Curios, why not

Slightly less baking today. But what we did have was a visit from obscure relative Margaret Allison, a second cousin twice removed, once put back, and whatever else you do with cousins (not including marriage, for we are not in Idaho).
As previously mentioned, we live in a much sought-after tree-lined road which means liberal birdpoo on our car, so we did the carwash thang at the Esso garage to spruce up the old vehicle before picking Margaret up at the station. We opted for "Shine Wash" which is the medium wash at a mere £5. Kiddie wash is £3, super-death wash is £7 but as neither of us had been through the wash before, it was an experience to savour. The big inverted U-shaped wash thing went back and forth over us spinning and squirting and whooshing 3 times, we specially put down the back seats so I could have a good view and I quacked and quarkled and we both laughed lots.
The train arrived and Margaret did the tour of our house and approved. As far as she is concerned, good old Blind Uncle Len (whose legacy enabled us to perform this move) would have approved.
We hit the 10th Hole (well-known seafront food provider of excellent quality with outside tables and young waitresses) and I had sausages and there was dressed crab and lardons and home-made quiche and salad and a local club cricket match and splendidness. Our post-prandial walk was along the beach, how can you not. Some likely lads were swimming out to the old wartime anti-ship port defence boom which is basically a line of concrete blocks going out to sea from in front of Canoe Lake, they only got about 4 blocks out, even though they were showing off to their shapely sea mer-girlies so I think we should go back tomorrow and do better.
After ice creams (I still haven't got the hang of eating them quickly before they melt all over the floor) we headed home and Margaret left. A loft trip gave me some Lego traintrack and I made an airfield to honour Blind Uncle Len and his war buddies in the Eastern Mediterranean theatre.
At last the fabled glass-topped table has made an appearance. Bensmum has a beach: no, she does not own land by the sea but has a rather decent arty display of beach-related stuff from a little lighthouse to all the shells that they have collected over the years. We decided to follow their lead and display all our little curios (that you don't know what else to do with) in one place. Thus, many unusual things are on show, see how many you can identify. I provide a list to get you started.....
Ancient Greek and Roman pottery from North Africa (Len). Fossil Belemnite from Jurassic coast, Dorset (me). Key from demolished chapel in London (Great Grandad).
2 Victorian fob watches (great great great granddad). Bingo ball (me). Starfish (Persian Gulf). 15mm anti-personnel cannon round (Nazi). Ivory artefacts (pre-ivory ban). Numerous seashells (Indian ocean, Med, Solent). Shotgun cartridges, assorted ammunition (various). Smooth bits of glass (beach near ben's house). Porcupine quill (South Africa). Slate shard (Cornwall). Marbles, cowries, ammonites, sand dollars, Turkish evil eye, minerals (random).
How many can you see?

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Bones of the Gods

pooh eats tiggers fathers ashes oh botherAnother crisis was narrowly averted this morning. I got to school in school uniform (as is the style nowadays) only to find everyone else with flowers in their hair, sunglasses, surfing shorts, vomit-inducing shirts etc. Turns out it's "Hawaiian Day", not that Jof knew anything about it, #BreweryOrganising, #VacancyForPositionOfMother.
Fortunately we only live 1 minute away so the soon-to-be-replaced parent was able to get me some more colourful clothing.
Later, a funny noise in the kitchen turned out to be a chicken bone that fell down the chimney. This is not due to the previous owners leaving us a nasty surprise or the remnant of a burnt offering to the Deities of the Flue. More likely, we think, a fox opened a binbag nearby (bin day yesterday) and a crow/rook/jackdaw had stolen a bone from the scatterings, retired to a roof to enjoy it, and then the careless corvid lost its pilfered prize down our chimney, #GravitySucks. We have asked roofman to fit covers while he's up there doing the roof.
brick wood joist construction workshopAt swimming all the team were back together and we practised diving, but only the junior sort where you sit on the edge or go flat with knees bent and flags unfurled. If only I lived in Riyadh again like my most recent incarnation, I'd be at Olympic standard by now.
Later I played Jof @ Monopoly and he painted the inside of the garage/workshop, not only does this use up the leftover pots of white paint, but also it allows extra visibility for when we use it as an outside PuddleParty venue, as directed by ErinsMum or BensMum or whoever it was, difficult to keep track of everything. Especially when your head is full of paint fumes and potential Ashes victory against the dreaded Aussies. It has been yet another day of extreme potential and profit. The future is bright, and that's not just about the gloss paint.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Giant Water Guns

online scrabble game errorRemember my story about Pirates that I've been dictating to Jof? Well, I took in a printout today and the teacher said she was going to read out a passage from it to the whole school for an extra Gold Star, like some kind of post-grad dissertation! I just hope nobody notices it's totally lifted from a Tom'n'Jerry cartoon.....
pump action water pistolsYet another hot day so as it's the final Official Thursday Park of the academic year, we made it into Thursday Splashpark instead. The sea was our backup plan but we never made it.
Inexplicably we were first and I got busy with a water gun and a funnel to fill it up with. Last year (or possibly even longer ago) there was a sale on at one of the local shops and Jof bought, like, 8 of everything so that all us Piddlers would have identical weaponry, which is the only way to ensure we don't argue about who has the better weapon. Or flag. Or red pen, or whatever it is that day.
southsea seafront splashpark canoe lake lumps fortSo we took 4 guns with us so that all the soldiers would be armed. The JBs and eventually Ben arrived and we stalked and sniped and snooped and shot and reloaded at the refill station (Bud, a funnel and a large orange B+Q bucket of seawater gleaned from the nearby English channel) and everyone else wanted to join in.
These guns need some serious pumpage but when they're fully pressurised, they shoot a very aim-able jet about 25 feet which is just right for us assault troops. We even shot each other on the zipline and climbed trees. More than 2 hours of sunny play later, we got fish and chips.
We bequeathed the guns but have many more including personal sidearms and a few Saturday Night Specials.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Life's a Beach

captain sum ting wong, wi tu lo, ho lee fuk bang ding ow asiana flight crew names funnyToday we took a school trip to the seafront. The teachers vacillated (somebody has to) and changed plans many times, due to competing weather reports. In the end, we came back for lunch as the school hall was the only guaranteed shade (apart from all those lovely trees by Lumps Fort) but the whole procedure took us so long, we were out for 4 hours anyway.
On the way, we met a man with a chicken which is allowed to roam free in his front garden, and another
man who was not paying attention to his sprinkler hosed us down liberally (which was actually nice on such a hot day).
We visited the model village which is possibly past its prime.
It is getting to "Last" things. I have only 4 days of school left, having graduated with a degree in Lego. Then it was my last Trampolining session. For a change, we went up the back stairs which is where Jof emerged once when lost (she can get lost on a motorway) and went through the cantinos di muerte (refectory) and along the sky-walkway past the giant indoor tennis courts. This brought us up the back end of the trampling room. There was no Poppy.
priory school sports academy southsea portsmouthAt picking-up time, I nipped out the back door before he'd seen me and it would have been a police childhunt alert if he hadn't guessed correctly where I'd absconded to. I now have a leash, picked out in yellow and green nylon from Pets'R'us.
The hot weather has forced a decision. For 18 years in the last house, we had a supremely productive compost heap at the end of the garden which provided compost that was so good you could practically eat it, although we generally ate the vast fruit and vegetables that grew in it. In this house, we have no garden, but thought we'd try mini-composting to fill up big plant pots and maybe grow a few daffodils and sweet peas. But this weather has made our giant funtub of festering plant matter (aka the bluebottle factory) into an open sewer of disgustimentos that you can smell from Aylesbury. So it had to be ladled into 6 different binbags and put out for the dustmen tomorrow, leaving a huge smell just when the estate agent was coming around to value the house. With a clothes peg attached to her nose, she did admit we'd made a slight profit on all our hard work.
Then I played Monopoly with Jof.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Like Wynter on Mercury

mummy i'm sorry youre tired just kidding i don't careIn the long grey English winter all the adults complain about the incessant drizzle and murky drear, and indeed the dreary murk, and they look forward to the 2-day summer, like it was last year, moan moan. But to be fair plenty of places have it worse with 10 foot snowdrifts and polar bears and stuff.
But as soon as the mercury gets over 30 for a few days, the oceans boil off into space and the nights are so warm you're lying on top of your duvet, it's all moan moan, it's too hot etc.
I have been such a pink hot boy of late that Bud took pity on me and I scooted to the hairdressers to wait ages and get a grade 1 1/2 so my hair doesn't keep sticking to my face. Erinsmum considered doing the same but I'm not sure Erin would be so pretty with a grade 1. More the collaborateur....
Outside gymnastics the new tennis courts are being built. A giant concrete lorry (not a lorry made of concrete) was pouring the foundations so a row of little boys stood and watched, as you do.
We're still finding boxes of stuff to unpack even though we thought we'd finished. Some seashells were hiding in the garage which is now being sorted, it's amazing how many screwdrivers and allen keys and small bits of metal of unknown origin you collect .....

Monday, 15 July 2013

Snow business and the 7 fundamental particles

in an emergency a crayon will burn for 30 minuteshigh cloud on a hot dayAt last, the day of the school play (Year 2).
Last year I played the fearsome Troll opposite Billy's Head Goat. This time I am a roving reporter with an outside broadcast microphone and a moral tale to tell.
I remembered my lines but gabbled them because you've got less chance of being wrong if you're only on stage for 3 seconds.
Erin had all the complicated stuff to do, she had to wave a banner, shake her maracas and work the laptop to provide all the music! Electro-DJ Jazzy Erin...
Anyway Jof watched it all as she is currently available due to sunspots and she cried her way through it all, mothers, eh.
Then we graduated and the Lady Mayor handed out the prizes and asked me how on earth I managed to get 100% attendance again.
I also got a mug printed with my own design - me on the computer with a Google logo.
Jof brought me home and then I abandoned her to go to the park with LittleMax who was the King in the play. It was hot in the park like everywhere else and Rosie wanted swinging all the time like I used to about 3 years ago.
I got home very pink and sweaty again so watched P+F with the fan on.
church hall beaver meeting Ben joined me presently and we grabbed armfuls of weapons and ran around the house. Now in the old house, I (or rather, my stuff) occupied 2 rooms - my bedroom and the dining room which we never used for dining anyway. But then we deliberately bought a new bigger house so all of my stuff could stay in one room.
Fortunately Beaver time approached and we scooted off in mufti, for we are let off uniform for this the final meeting of the term. They are offering a Beaver sleepover in September but I can't help noticing we're going to be trapped into another 2 hour church service the following morning.
There were balloons and lollies and lots of fun.
It's been a busy day.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

A Puddle so big it's got waves in

Up slowly, Sunday style.
All my weapons have been brought down from the loft and already my room is a warzone. We got the summons to the seafront and got there lunchtime-ish and the whole world was there in the splendid temperatures, not always fully clothed.
We swam. We dug a hole. The tide came in and swamped it, but we didn't mind. We messed about in the water.
Some of the Puddleparents swam miles out to sea but they all came back eventually. We threw seaweed a bit and shot each other with Bobs' water guns.
Later we played football for ages in Bransbury park and I returned home pink and sweaty. I write this from my new computer with windows 7 and everything, because the last one was 8 1/2 which is older than me, and it was having trouble with things like games and working without freezing.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Fucus ... to everything

milton park southsea So today was going to be a really hot day. This was not my first thought, because the wardrobe delivery men knocked on the door at 0845 so my first thought was WTF. They put it in the bedroom while Jof sought refuge in my bed, yes, it really was that bad.
After extended Lego and breakfast and curtain installation, we did the bottlebank walk and sweated in 2 parks and 3 shops. I got a sausage roll and a football and the veldt that is Bransbury Park looked parched and arid.
The arrival of the wardrobe meant the opening of the entire "Jof Clothes" category. Loft trip: 5 boxes and 3 suitcases later we had a deal. Poor old Jof is supposed to be resting her arm but no chance, mate. Sadly we missed the random Puddle Barbecue due to an existing appointment with the splashpark. We got there and found a small space: I was in and out within 5 minutes when the council yellowjackets closed the watery facilities due to a poo in the pool. Some little person had mistaken it for a toilet so off we went, quick ice cream and then the beach.
southsea beach seaweedI really wanted a swim, it was cold but we all got used to it and in the end did very well indeed. He swam out and got an abandoned football. I threw rocks and got out of my depth but wanted to swim further and then we had a seaweed fight. Yes, 5 different species of seaweed including the eponymous fucus vesiculosus (bladderwrack) were used in an extended weed war which kept all the shapely bikini babes amused, mmm. I wore the kelp more than once and I got him a treat with the sea cabbage and the waves made us fall over and we laughed and laughed.
Then we suddenly had to go home because one of our number had done a bad thing and it wasn't me.
At home we finished the curtains, put up lots of pictures and watched England doing quite well against Australia. Tomorrow I want to swim to the Isle of Wight.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Double-dip Meteorology

wooden loop the loop crash failhick backwards mountain townNews comes to me of Bobby Tufts, a boy in Dorset, Minnesota (pop 28) who was made town mayor at the age of 3. Now he's 4, he is seeking re-election, having spent the year maximising gastro-tourism and promoting ice cream. This guy's doing even better than me.....
So after school I discovered that Jof has got a second week under the doctor for sunspots so I expect to take full advantage of her sudden availability, even though she's complaining of a damaged shoulder.
I was supposed to clear all my Lego away because I want to rearrange the furniture in my room. That was my task. The way I went about it was standard for any abandoned 7 year-old boy ie to dance around waving my trousers a la striptease, singing Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all while fleaping, gyrating, boogie-ing and twisting to the soundtrack in my head.
The loft is looking comparatively desolate now that we have taken down so many boxes, just you wait Henry Higgins until the wardobe arrives tomorrow and we can demote all of Jofs' clothes (only 7 pantechnicons).
We all went swimming ie I swam and learned to dive (1 decent dive, 1 belly flop extraordinaire) while they lost each other in Giant Tesco and bought identical 4 for 3 beer offers, all the more Vitamin B for him.
Back at home, I pretty well populated the CD + DVD shelves myself while she washed up for time = N.[N+1] and he did loft removals-are-slightly-drunk-us.
And then we realised. We have arrived. Not only are we a 2-toilet family. But, because of inheritance, we are a 2-fire irons family. The previous owner kindly left us his fire irons for the only 1 remaining functional front room fire, but we already had the cast-offs from Grandad.
Grandad also allowed us to have his old barometer. Little did we know that the personal effects of Blind Uncle Lens' estate also contained 1 retirement gift barometer from all the good ol' chaps at the munitions ministry. Having scraped along at rock bottom for 25 years, not knowing we even needed a barometer, we have his'n'hers barometers. Holy Poo.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Bong to Rights

phat phuc noodle bar funny restaurant name sign failYesterday a roving carpenter (walrus not included) came and shaved a bit off 2 of our doors which were sticking on the new deep carpets. In fact the dining room door was stacked up in the garage, the carpet was so thick. But I didn't notice.....
With Jof at home for the week, unpacking has reached terminal velocity. The house is quite different to our last one, so you do tend to reassess your requirements and you get such esoterica as
  • You know, I've never really liked that painting with the horse
  • I believe the time is up for that plastic mountie with horse and flag
  • Do we really need the 9th breakfast tray darling
  • Didn't I tell you to get rid of that bong 15 years ago
outdoor cooking in silly circumstancesand so the charity shop pile swells .....
Meanwhile, Grandad has found himself a bridge club to join and play with persons of like mind which has made him very happy. I must say I also enjoy a game of Pooh-sticks, one of those activities you can enjoy whatever your age.
hubble bubble bong smokerAlso meanwhile, the USA has been experiencing some generous temperatures as well. Their national hotspot Death Valley holds the world temperature record so people have been flocking from miles around to fry eggs and cliches on the pavement. Clearing up all the egg-related litter is now causing sunstroke for the Park Wardens. "We've had it with these flocking people" they said. "Cook your breakfast on the stove, not the road".
After school we zipped straight round to Bens' school where I'm sure I could have picked him up myself without adult help. One of his school colleagues is in my gym class.
We played Lego for all of 3 minutes until it was time to scoot round to the park. Met the JBs and got to work admiring Johnnys' football magazine.
Jof was our looker-after today and she didn't do any chin-ups on the monkey bars or push us on the swinging basket. We had Maltesers as part of our chocolatey snacks but due to the hot sun Bobert renamed them Meltesers.
At home we were able to continue Lego-ing even when Bensdad came to pick him up, didn't stop us examining some of the items from yesteryear that Jof has decided no longer goes with our house and the false image of our jet-setting lifestyle it attempts to project. Meanwhile, more and more is making its way out of the loft and garage: I got net curtains in my room but didn't notice.