Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Eve 2013

triangle scooter razor scooter stunt and pumpI'd been up for 4 minutes when Ben summoned me to the skatepark to compare new scooters. It was raining but we are seasoned and hardened Parkers and are not put off by mere wetness.
I have a fat Razor scooter with big wheels. Ben has a stunter with little wheels that doesn't fold and he can scoot straight down the gentle slopes but he did rather crash on the steep slope. Then the JBs arrived and Bob has a hilarious pump-action scooter with a chain and you rock forwards and backwards to make it go very fast.
Johnny has a normal one and his Mum has the triangular one where you have to wiggle your bum like an ovulating chicken and we all swapped and tried each other's out in a scooter parade.
flooded skatepark puddle games
What was it like? Well, circuit and see, he said so we all did circuits in the rain and we were the Puddlers in the giant puddles and then we found the deep one and we all tried out how much of our wheels we could hide underwater and Erin arrived and we all got wet and played a game where the slopes were safes in bases with ticking bombs and all the usual stuff really.
Ben took me home and suicided face-first into a really big muddy lake and we had to get naked in the kitchen for a complete change of clothes and he borrowed my pants and liked my Lego Castle-Table.
girl in gorilla suitLater I picked up my Lego Millennium Falcon from the shop. It's fair to say I got quite excited.
Party-time: I was determined to wear a tie and came to my own party as a bent Roulette Croupier.
drunken child at new years eve partyBen was a BMX rider (deceased) and we also had 2 gorillas, an Open University lecturer, Rolf Harris, Cat Lady (catless), Maggie Thatcher and Olivia Neutron Bomb (later life).
halloween balloonsI think we all had an argument or cry at some point, I made an anti-nasty person hiding-castle behind the sofa and we fought over the walkie talkies and the girls locked themselves in the toilet and we didn't destroy the Lego Castle but we did enjoy the terrible coin shoving machine.
The balloon fights were fun and we didn't get naked but a little bit.
Later we played darts in the pub, which started life as the Chap's Collective Beer Workshop but ended up as the Ladies' Stompalong Therapy Workshop. This meant we got the house which was lovely and warm what with the fire in the lounge and the rain outside. We were drunk with power.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Unhappy Hot Tubs

Up while Jof was still in the house as it was a day of action.
health and safety fail no under 18sThe first job was getting laundry in the rain, so no action there. But the Municipal Dump and Recycling Facility was great. As one of only 3 cars there, we battled the force 9 gales and monsoons to dump all the things that were in the way (dead printer, large metal patio heater Jof found in the passageway, leftover lead still in its original saucepan) and we negotiated the hilarious spaghetti junction to join the motorway, also experiencing a most unpleasant monsoon-gale combo.
Grandad was pleased to see us and it brightened up. He let us in the swimming pool and we swum and threw the flotation-aids-for-old-people at each other and generally messed about for an hour!
star wars lego chima toys'r'us southamptonI am not allowed in the hot tub because I am under 18 (what kind of a risible rule is that?) and after lunch I demonstrated the new scooter to everyone's delight apart from some old crones no doubt who will complain about underage people having fun in their presence. Before we left he gave me a pair of socks shaped like a blue cup-cake (and conned me into trying to bite them, they are called "Boys sock cake" by giftedhampers), 2 pinecones for the fire and a 1976 calendar mug, for he is kind like that.
Not far from him is the Toys'R'us of Southampton. We fought the road system and found it was smaller than the Pompey store and didn't have the Lego Millennium Falcon. We drove to Pompey and they didn't have it either. Jof had to buy it online and I used up my £125 birthday/Xmas money on the Falcon, Star Wars Clone Trooper Sergeant and Ninjago Final Battle. ErinsDad is right, I ought to get some kind of lifetime achievement award from Lego for my collection, at least until it reaches critical mass, warps Lego-space and creates a Lego Black Hole.
iron-flat image creator on coloured plastic product funny failAmongst the quality Puddle-Activities that Jof has lined up for us MiniBosses, 2 stand out. The Hama Midi Mosaic Maker enables the less artistic child (5+) to create a grid-based image using countless coloured easily swallowed plastic cylinders and then ask an adult to iron them flat for a permanent record of your own inadequacy in classic 8-bit graphics!
toy plastic moving staircase coin shoving machine funny product failBut the product of which I am particularly enamoured is the "World Of G@dgets Funfair Coin Cascade" (made in China), a faithful replica in pre-deteriorated plastic of the coin-shoving moving staircases at Clarence Pier.
I have wasted innumerable 2ps in those on the seafront and now I can get my own back. The truly disastrous machine (4 large batteries) grinds and flashes away like an old-time animatronic lunchtime stripper. You can use real coins (1p and 5p only, or machine may jam) for real cash prizes! It has a musical setting (best avoided) and a tilt alarm which is permanently on ("Place unit on a flat surface" - using up to 3 beermats to actually achieve flatness).
After the first 3 minutes of horrified disbelief, it's only sufficiently entertaining enough for a stunned mouse, and I know this because we caught one of the little blighters playing it this morning.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

8

lego police helicopter police van museum break in 60008Was still awake at 1 minute past midnight so saw in my own birthday. Got up again several hours later, more excited than I was at Xmas.
This time I got Lego City Museum Break-in and Police chase. The museum has diamonds, gold plates, Mona Lisa picture, gargoyles and a liftable skylight for easy breaking and entering. The robbers have a jeep thing and the police chase them in a meat wagon and helicopter with working searchlight. Oh, and a £50 note which means I can afford the Lego Millennium Falcon.
waterslides wave machine 3 pools pyramids waterparkMy official trip out was to the Pyramids again and we were there late enough to witness the majesty of Super-Duper Wave Alert and I hung onto the rail and then went in Bikini-busting corner where the sheer force of the water can cause wardrobe malfunctions, certainly made my trunks fall down a bit. I am getting better at handstands, but bumped my head on the pool bottom just like him last week.
Didn't fancy cooking so had Chicken McNiblets and chips, fine fare for the birthday boy.
I get measured every birthday and quarterly thereafter: I have not grown one single solitary mm since September. I'm just saving it up...

Saturday, 28 December 2013

I spy ... Aqueous Humour

prince albert road playpark portsmouthI'm getting up later and later. You know the old fallacy about humans having a circadian rhythm of 26 hours, given the chance? Well, I reckon I could go to bed 2 hours later every night and get up 2 hours later every day, it'd take me 12 days to complete a cycle, next time I've got 2 weeks off I might try it. Would that mean I was only 11 days older?
So anyway, after some Lego Castle we scooted to Health Centre Park. I wanted running-type exercise, for a while there we actually went up a slope, didn't know we had them in Pompey.
But the rain was too cold, unfunny water.
Later, Erin visited me to see my new scooter and she has bought horses with her Xmas money super-splurge and had her ears stapled, although you can't tell because she has way better hair than me. I don't think I'll wear earrings yet.
But she did help install some more guards and frogs and sharks on the castle, everybody loved it.
kids making giant lego castleLater, as part of the standard 5 hours per day family quality time, we all scrabbled around on the floor getting parts for Lego Humanoids and jointly made about 110 new warriors for the outer curtain walls and a new NSA spy aerial radar snooping tower and I did the Soviet May Day Kings Parade of all my tanks and boats and nuclear missiles and stated that we had to save local wildlife as they are a good source of clean energy. What I need next is a Ben and a JB maybe, to help me make more soldiers - for a while there, it was "I don't care if it's Zombie Father Christmas with a fireman's hat waving a coffee mug and a fish at the approaching enemy, I want every available man on the battlements, show the Fuzzy-Wuzzies we're not scared, Carruthers"
Bath fizzer night next... should be funny water. Tomorrow at about 1735 (just in time for second Neighbours): I will be 8. In the end I opted for showertime and extra Lego - if only I had a hobby ...

Friday, 27 December 2013

An Englishman's Home

attic conversion kids bedroomLast up again, what's wrong with 0945? Poor old Jof had to go to work today, one of those silly days-in-the-middle-of-a-holiday, like an isolated island of pain. Once I'd performed for the Laundrette Ladies (£23? That's a lotta laundry), we were free to start on the Table Castle.
Yesterday, we'd put all the Lego away. Now, we got it right back out again and planned our campaign. I want a central castle with gold storage facility and throne room, he has planned to do the Ribblehead viaduct in Yorkshire, after last night's film The Sightseers, which Jof didn't let me watch.
It was all experimental anyway, turns out that because of the sheer size of the road network, if you do decent bridge supports @ 20 nobs wide, you run out of bricks by the time you've got your first train across. However it does mean you can hang a minifigure from the in-built gibbet.
castle lego building clone troopers vs droidekas 75000 ninjago the final battle 70500Then, after lunch, it was time to visit LittleMax in his new house. They moved at around the same time we did but are still painting. Their house has many rooms. It goes up to the 2nd floor and has a decked garden with pretend gate that opens right onto the railway and some unexpected cupboards and Sam the prodigal older brother and Maisie the insane younger sister and they were all wearing onesies apart from Sam who had only just got up so was in boxers.
We played squeakchase and hide'n'seek and ate lots of sugar-heavy snacks.
In LittleMax's room, there is a strange cupboard-style wormhole door that leads through to the upper lounge which is where Sam is sleeping until he goes to Australia so we flew his electric helicopter through the wormhole and it got stuck in a shoe and boy did we laugh.
bespoke lego building table wooden dining table in bedroomThen they all came back to mine to snoop around our place because they haven't seen it since we had things like paint, floorboards and beds.
They all wanted to play Lego on my conference table, what a surprise. Conference table? Named by Jof, it is a central meeting place where serious like-minded people gather to work on a joint project of gravitas and import.
So we dismantled the Romanesque structure and went for a more traditional outer curtain wall and inner keep. The circumference is impressive, ladies, but we still managed 6 layers and a lighthouse and guard towers and inner sanctum with strongroom and guardhouse.
We still have 4 1/2 acres of Lego on the floor so expect an improvement.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Random as you like

One of the presents I got in my Xmas stocking was a baby seal teddy thing, very soft and cuddly. Now, if I was a thinking man, I might be tempted to buy a few of these, string them together around my neck, and go to the New Year's Eve party as a seal clubber, and do all that funky club dancing.
So gradually the household woke up and there was jam on toast and Nanna. It is her day for going home and there aren't any trains at all, because of laziness not fallen trees, so it was Jof's task to drive her home. We made leaded-light drawings on tracing paper which you stick to your windows to look nice and I babbled 10 to the dozen to make up for the time I'll spend without Nanna. I also built my Lego Coastguard ship.
One of the presents I got was 10 large Lego flats with road on. Some are curved, some have zebra crossings and one has a junction. You can make a decent circuit with it. But if you put them on the floor to do a castle or whatever, it moves around and you get tired knees. Now, if I was a thinking man, I might be tempted to buy some old second-hand table and glue the road system to it, so that everyone could gather round and build.
lego grey road system and lego city coastguard vessel with lighthouse and sharks
So off we went to B+Q. I scooted: he ran. B+Q don't sell tables. But they do have loads of free Xmas trees outside in case your calendar is running a week slow. So we took the long way round to the park and suddenly saw a sign for Mr Pine. He was open, but I don't think it's his real name. He had a funny accent but not like those nice Lithuanian Meerkats in the advert. He showed us some truly lovely dining tables in the £180 - 250 region but we said look we just want to glue Lego to it, not eat dinner off it. He said I've just sold £1000 worth of furniture to some crowd down the road and I took their dining suite in part exchange sight unseen, you can have the table for £20. We said boffo, mush, we'll have some of that action and the van turned up and they opened the doors and there was this dining table. Mr Pine said Crumbelina me old teapot and no mistake, that's a better table than I thought it was, but I already promised. Bung the delivery guy (who was clearly his son) a tenner and he'll drive you home.
Well we jumped at this chance. I got to ride in the front of a van again, my scooter went in the back. We reassembled it, drew the outline of the road track and put down the super-grabbo-matic epoxy resin superglue and held it down with Mr Men books until it was dry. OK, so the glue job isn't super-professional, but maybe my friends can help me build shark towers on new years' eve. If all else fails, we can just chuck a blanket over it and live there.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Scooters, Sharks and Scratchcards

excited boy wil xmas presents to openDecided to have 5 minutes more in bed, and was the last up. This may make me the odd child out in the whole galaxy, on Xmas morning.
Soon, started to order everyone around and in no time, Satan's little Elfer had all the presents done into piles and we all started opening.
milton park skatepark portsmouth christmas morningI got loads of Lego, the giant lifeboat that actually floats comes with 3 sharks and the scooter is way bigger than the last one and my scratchcards won £4 and Jof's didn't win any even though I helped by grabbing them from her and scratching them myself. The flat parcel turned out to be 10 sheets of Lego flat bases - with road on!
We tried out the scooter in the park and it's smoother and quieter, I look forward to meeting up with the rest of the PuddleBoys in case any of them have developed new scooters for Xmas. Mine is a Razor A5Lux, if that means anything to you, and the wheels are much much bigger so the bumpy pavements and that block of granite where you go into the park where both Ben and I came off going round the corner are no longer threats. The skatepark was a bit damp but I scooted through it anyway.
xmas lunch tree crackers empty plates cranberry jelly drunk grandmaJof and Nanna spent 7 3/4 hours preparing Xmas lunch. OK, so I didn't eat any cranberry jelly or swede (or Dane) but came back 3 times for meat, potatoes and incredibly, carrots. Nanna is an old hand at deviously inserting ideas ("Try the turkey nearest the bone, it's much juicier..." and I finished last because I was trying to internally rupture myself with food overload. Gravy just makes the stuffing nicer and I won the eaters contest.
Then because Nanna had had a Bailey's and a wine, she started singing and we watched Toy Story 3 with a sleeping Nanna and Bud did 7 3/4 hours of washing up and we lit the fire and what more do you need.
Happy non-denominational mid-Wynter Feast event to you all, my little beauties, I hope you did as well as I did.
Later Jof decided we had to eat again, unbelievably she was right. After much karate-laughter the fire went out but my mania didn't.
Love to all.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Nanna has Landed

family together for xmasThe storm of last night put a few trees down over railway lines, flooded areas, cut power to other areas, and generally caused a bit of ruction in the lead-up to Xmas, particularly for all those travelling.
This was expected and the news channels were going on and on about it so when Nanna had serious trouble getting here, it was a surprise. In the end she got 2 trains and a bus or was it 3 trains and a camel, difficult to tell when she switches her phone off.
african made wooden elephant and palm tree pedestal lampBut in the end she landed safely and I bombarded her with things to look at, games to play, high-speed babble and so forth.
I was her Satan's Little Helper and then I demanded we all watch Strictly Come Dancin'.
Meanwhile the old Elephant lamp has been rebuilt and a special parcel has arrived, it's all flat.
While we were all out of the room, the house poltergeist knocked the Lead Zeppelin (see 2 days ago) off the top shelf, putting a serious dent in the desk.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Didgeri....Doh!

rolf harris rolfaroo doodle facepalm failAt last, a registered day off. Jof left for work and I failed to get dressed.
I was just getting into my stride for a whole day of fiddling with my Match Attax! cards when a fatal design flaw was noticed in the beta stage of costume production.
Our New Year's Eve PuddleParty is 'Bad taste' dress-up so I'm sure all the adults will be as polite and restrained as ever. Bud is going (staying?) as little-known children's favourite antipodean artist 'Rolf' so requires a beard and a T-shirt with Rolfy-type doodles and phrases, to save actually having to remember them or have any drawing talent. The Rolfaroo is relatively acceptable but the word 'Didgeridoo' failed and ruined the whole T-shirt, it's what happens if you don't plug your brain in. So that's why we had to go out, to buy shirts.
asda bridge centre portsmouthThe bus was ages because it's the busiest shopping day before Xmas, apparently and we could have swum faster, let alone walked. But we got to big ASDA just when 58,000 other people did so we bought 2 cheapo T-shirts and 3 jogging bottoms for me, in case I ever go jogging. It was quite busy.
After another 2 hours of extended slobbery, The JBs arrived for scheduled Lego. I have been looking forward to this for ages and their Dad made a big song and dance about how naughty they were and we could leave them in the rain if need be, didn't know he was so musical.
large lego collection bricks blocksAnyway, it was a total disaster as usual, we built a massive Lego track with all the humanoid heads as guard minion-spies and camped in the newly rebuilt 8-seater den and sang to each other and sent Bobert to get biscuits for us and if it wasn't for the singing biscuits you wouldn't have known we were there.
Musical Dad came and got them (late, due to unforeseen Xmas traffic, fine by us) after 3 lovely hours of Lego with added helicopters and raarg noises. Meanwhile, the weather turned to absolute poo and we were snugasbuggerinrugs. Jof risked being swept out to sea when she went shopping and I remodelled the Carry on up the Khazi railway and it's a wonderful life. With only shortish breaks for food and showers, the 7 people in my head and I carried on Lego-ing for hours. Tomorrow: Nanna!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Moron!

bransbury park portsmouthWe were all woken up by Grandad who rang at 0915 to wish Bud a happy birthday. And I thought he was retired, ringing at the crack of dawn like that.
We decided on a trip to the park because I want to run to get fit and also get football skills training. Tunnel Park does both, so I ran for about 100 yards and declared that to be sufficient.
mountain of wood chips for soft landing flying through the airOnce Jof had gone home we did some parkour in the park and then I made one of those little rugby divots out of wood chips so I could take a penalty. It worked quite well so I made it bigger.
The pile grew and grew and we shouted "More on! Put more on!" and we put more on and more on, we were the moron team. By absolute coincidence, the volcano of wood chips happened to be right in front of a swing, so I did that as well, we had to make a second pile as I flew too far, like Icarus, I was.
Of course I then went swimming on Woodchip Mountain so as soon as we got home, I had to change completely again. This is why Jof never wins at laundry.
Later, it hailed.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Adverse Weather Conditions: Lead Zeppelin

big waves on southsea beachUp at 0945, but still had to let Jof lie in for hours. Yesterday was her Friday too.
Managed to get out of the house for 1130 and drove to Southsea where we toured the charity shops, who, I've noticed, are charging practically full price for boxed Lego. Still, bought 9 bath fizzers and some more Horrible Henries and 2 Lego Minifigures so all was not lost. In one shop we saw 2 mostly-full Match Attax! card binders and a tinful of loose cards - could have had the lot for £9. But they were from DIFFERENT SEASONS! I didn't know they had other seasons!
So why did he have to spoil it by saying let's go and pick up number rocks? We parked at the Pyramids and I stayed in the car to scare away the traffic wardens but he came back and said you gotta see this. So we battled through blustery gales and giant puddles and the bit of beach where we would normally go number-rock hunting was under massive attack by gargantuan waves.
video
If we'd gone down there we would have been "Police are today trying to establish the identities of 2 bodies washed up on Brighton beach" and all the giant rocks had been moved about and the waves splashed us even though we were up on the railings. King Canute wouldn't even have tried. It was rather funny though so we stayed and watched for 20 minutes but we were soaked with seawater, both salty and faulty. Got one number rock with somebody's name in it that had been washed over the wall.
airship shape made out of molten lead in mould lead zeppelinGot home and sang 'Hot pasta food, hot pasta food' at Jof while getting totally naked and changing clothes completely. We ate our hot pasta food and I played Match Attack cards while Jof voluntarily went shopping on the last Saturday before Xmas which she always says she'll never do again and he got an old saucepan and cooked some lead we saved from when we had the roof replaced.
We had a Blue Peter (here's one I made earlier) clay mould and we poured molten lead into it until it was full. Join 2 of these together and what do you get? A lead Zeppelin. Pretty obvious what to make, really. I like their music anyway, and now I've got something for arm exercises, it's over 6kg.
warming toes fireside with boxes of broken chopped wood
In the garage we have all the bits of wood saved from when we had the house rebuilt so I got the 2 1/2 pound lump hammer and did Hulk Smash on them and the pallet I nicked from Bud's work and jumped around going raaaarg I am Thor's Hammer and then we lit the fire and I warmed my toes for I deserve it. It's a bit 'Fire - Lite' after the bonfires that we used to have in the old house when the Space Shuttle used to calibrate their instruments from the infra-red plume we emitted, but I wouldn't do without it.
After pizza supper (Rodrigo, Concierto Di Aranjuez adagio) I particularly chose a Mozart CD and finished the ongoing game of Risk by killing Jof and then successfully attacking Bud (owned Australia only) with 45 armies, that's the way to totally take over the tri-Earth area.
And we haven't even got to bath fizzer night yet....
Fizzed majestically and sadly had to register a score-draw in our ongoing post-ablution punch-up, he may be bigger than me but I am fast and vicious. To bed about 10 minutes before his 44th birthday.

Friday, 20 December 2013

The Friday at the end of the Universe

lolcat puppy dog catches bone and falls over funny failAt last! The end of the week, end of my first Year 3 school term at the new school and by the time I go back, it will be a new year, I will be 8 and a multi-millionaire. All we can hope for now is snow...
I did my show'n'tell which was the funeral service pamphlet from 3 days ago, ie why I was off work that day. I couldn't remember my own speech so I read out Bud's poem instead (much longer) and I got an actual round of applause, not the usual thing for a show'n'tell.
We left with joy in our hearts and chocolate upon our lips. What with the later swimming time, Fridays mean extra relaxation time. I had to play water polo again which is splendid but I'm a little ... little so I can't always reach.
dismantling old keyboards for spare partsEvery now and then I do something that I bet none of my mates do, such as filling up a cashpoint, sticking large fireworks upside down into the bonfire, or secretly wearing £800 of antique gold to the school play.
Today we used screwdrivers to remove the keys from 3 discarded keyboards (classic black, white (not quite) and elderly IBM yellow). This is for an unspecified future project that I really hope works. More on this later.
During the summer, we had finally cottoned on to the regular and utterly excellent Puddlers cricket match get-together on Fridays. During the high-season, they have barbecues and league matches and international events and star visitors and so forth but in the winter months it seems that the Puddlers group has been keeping the bar alive.
star wars walker rudolph the red nose reindeer t shirt
The cricket itself has long finished due to darkness at our arctic latitudes but the beer'n'pool games have continued aplenty, it's like our own personal pub. We turned up and it looked like nobody was there. Fortunately we were 10 minutes early as well as 3 months late and they all joined us and we played football outside while Beer'O'Clock occurred and there were tussles and goals and fruity drinks and crisps and battles and pool and my goodness me why did we not do this earlier.
Home late for massive tuna pasta and engorged tummies.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Sharp as a Bowling Ball

kids wordsearch letter jumble So we thought it's raining, cold, dark and the deciduous trees down our delightful tree-lined road are denuded for the winter. We'll get away with it, we thought, parking in our own road for once because all the other parking places are taken. But no. It just so happens that a large colony (the only one in the world) of the Greater Flustered Shi**ing-Albatrostrich roosts there, having out-competed the local Pterodactyls.
winter playground session portsmouthInvisible during the day, they feast on sheep, horses and feral council estate children from neighbouring counties and hide in our trees to digest and evacuate their evil spoils which can cover a family car in bird poo overnight. So when the Estate Agents said it was a "sought-after area", it was sadly only for ornithologists, guano-collectors and big game hunters who have pushed up local house prices solely due to the presence of these unique birds. At the school Xmas party I pigged out on free food and won a bouncy ball for Musical Statues even though the 'Scanners' (pupils employed to see if the contestants move) used rogue tactics.
boy wearing his mothers clothes for warmthThursday park went ahead once the rain had stopped. We loitered and then the footballing hordes joined me but laughed at my wellies.
It is the shortest Thursday of the year and certainly got dark quickly but we soldiered on, playing by sense of smell and sonar. Once again the last tweenage oddities left us and we were the last there by a long chalk, we've got staying power.
I got banged in the mouth but I still haven't lost any teeth, Bob put on the woollen overgarments and looked like a ghostly mushroom and we all had a picnic in the dark.
Lucky we bought all those mats, we were super-muddy again.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Chris T. Ingles

padlocked wooden shipping crate us army base things are about to get seriousToday we performed the play in front of the entire school. Yesterday when I was off work, my understudy (sheep from manger scene) took my place so the show went on.
christingle orange candle red ribbon cocktail sticks raisinsWe made christingles and as soon as school was out I raced home straight past Ben in order to call Ben and the JBs for some Legotime.
Predictably this failed to materialize and I spent a profitable afternoon doing nothing while housework was performed around me.
meon junior school xmas presents for charity shoeboxesI dictated chapter 3 of Super Nappy which is the book that Ben and Finlay and I are co-authoring. In this episode, Super Nappy battles a bank robber. Later, we made a little production line for Brazil and walnut processing. He cracks, I separate. We are the nutcrackers, sweet.
In school we have asked parents and local businesses alike to donate toys and essentials for Romanian orphans etc and we gathered shoeboxes of goodies for their Xmas presents. I got to be one of the 3 official school posers. That nice boy Elvis got his moves from me.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Goodbye Grandma

ah cheaters undertakers romsey black mariaGot up at 10am. It's what I'd do every day, given the chance, but I'd be going to bed at 11 to make up for it.
I had to wear smart clothes and a tie and we drove to Grandad's place where we picked him up just when Grandma drove round the corner for the last time. It wasn't far to the 14th Century church but it was quite muddy and difficult to park. Many horses viewed our progress putting the fun back in funeral.
Dead on time the 4 strong men picked up the coffin and carried it in and we followed on and the church was full already.
In the foyer was a very old wooden ladder leading up into the church tower but we didn't get to go up it. We stood right at the front next to the chap playing the electric organ and sang a lot of songs I didn't know. Bud did a poem and I did a little speech* and the priest did a long speech and we all got stiff bottoms on the pews but we did have to keep standing up for the songs. Then at last the priest did the ashes to ashes thing and we all filed out of the church and waved goodbye to Grandma.
bereaved at funeral
Team M
Back at the manor the dining room was all decked out for the NADGER** bunfight and all the people from the church were there and I got to eat as many sandwiches as I wanted and lots of old people asked me questions and said I did my speech really well and I only knew 4 people in the whole room but they all seemed to know me.
The next youngest person in the room was Bud so Jof challenged me to chess in the painting and games room and we didn't know the rules so made them up.
Eventually everyone left and we took Grandad back to his flat and I got a bath-brush and played on Grandma's electric chair that goes back and the legs lift up and everything. At 6 something we left Grandad on his own with his tray of vol-au-vents and mince pies that the staff had saved for him. I am pleased to have attended my first real actual funeral.
*Goodbye Grandma, we will never forget you and you shall live on in those to whom you have given life
** National Assembly of Deaf Geriatrics and Elderly Relatives

Monday, 16 December 2013

I Bring You Gold, Baby

department store lift sign funny fail engrishThe rain will wash us clean, they say. Well, I'll be sparkling like a gold-plated plate, bold as brass, give me a gilt complex it will.
We did the final dress rehearsal today for the jesus play in front of the Infants School including Elizabeth who waved at me a lot. All us kids voted for the best costumes, guess who won. I am one of the 3 Wise Guys who are kings from the east: I am the gold king Melchior. We babbled happily all the way home until Error #1 was discovered.
Error #1 was lunch. I failed to eat it for the third day in a row. Well, I ate the Wotsits (cheese-flavoured air crunch) and the 1/2 egg from the 1/2 Scotch egg. This is because Ben came over and did the "Pickled Piper poked a packet of plastic poppies" thing over and over and I can't eat when anything's happening. The emotional skies darkened.
So I was tasked with doing my homework while eating a replacement lunch. In it, I was required to number all the letters of the alphabet - A=1, B=2 etc, and write out my spelling-words-of-the-week as spy codes in corresponding numerals, an introduction to cryptology. I labelled all my letters but only got up to 23. It rapidly became obvious that I could not recite the alphabet, which is a pre-school key-stage achievement, Year R at worst. The emotional skies hailed barbs and arrows of outraged frustration. It's difficult to come back from 5-0 down.
kids in school play wise men shepherds angels nativity in front of parentsSuddenly, it was the Year 3 play. The "jesus play" bears little resemblance to the original myth or indeed the filtered, reconstituted and reformed story but does involve angels, shepherds and wise kings. We walked through the rain because the new traffic calming system had rendered all local roads impassable.
I am Wise King #1 which means I do gold and astronomy. The other wise guys had the only 2 provided telescopes for their stargazing so I borrowed Blind Uncle Len's binoculars and Great-great-great-grandfather's 18ct gold fob-watch chain with added signet ring, approximately £800 in gold, worn as a necklace, nobody noticed. All the parents and associated elderly relatives (more on that later) and noisy-fidgety younger siblings filed in to the main assembly hall and the whistle blew (whistle not included) at 1830.
The problem is, everybody in Year 3 has to have a part, regardless of ability, so some people had to be assistant angels and second-rate shepherds but in the end, it was managed splendidly with many of the more competent contestants having 2 roles. I guess it's way better than last time when some of my colleagues were grass, rivers and yes, bricks.
junior school nativity play wise man melchior brings gold as befits a kingErin H herself started it all as first narrator and ex-Puddler Erin W (sneezing angel) was particularly good, spreading Angel Dust amongst us. The troupe of singing angels was talented but their wings were somewhat detachable. Mary, Queen of Teeth wowed us all dentally and Back-up Shepherd 3 spent the whole song spellbound with his mouth open, re-animating only when the piped music ceased. The joyous and upbeat music itself was supposed to be provided by Finn but he kept deliberately playing the wrong track so he was terminally redacted.
The twin Guiding-Stars Liberty and Valance-Bodice were very athletic (plenty of future in panto) and then they introduced us wiseguys. We had our own song and I got my part kinda-absolutely correct and I was just doing some freeform physically inappropriate Ibiza-style dancing when George (Wise-king 2) started randomly with the Big-box/Little-box rave moves and I just had to assume the double-teapot position and say WTF you doin', this is a serious thespian scenario here, stop it.
videoThis got the only real audience laugh of the night and I was propelled into eternal fame (eternal flames later).
Then, once some minor roles (Gabriel, god, babyjesus) had done their stuff, the headmistress did an unreasonably effusive speech about how we'd be snapped up by Simon Cowell and we all filed out to unending applause. OBoy, I could do this for a living, as long as I have Willie Nelson's accountant so I don't have to ... count.
I had a late pasta supper and was just starting a Horrendous Henry book when it was half past 10 ... lucky I don't have to get up tomorrow.
ps. The running order was designed by future first-wife Erin. It is now a collector's item.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Water Babies

den made of blankets sheets chairs and boxesSunday! I got up nice and late and ate only half of my breakfast because I stared at the TV and it went cold and nasty. Nobody told me it would do that. Later I did chores for Lego money - including dusting and cleaning the bathroom floor.
We were just about to go and get Pops for the promised trip to the Pyramids when she turned up alone! I am not allowed out on my own because I don't pay attention to things like roads, they are things that happen to other people. But Pops is, because she's more sensible and anyway Baby Edward was asleep and she only has to go over one set of traffic lights and it's got the magic button.
She got changed on her own as well, handy as we're not allowed in the girlie section.
We swam and laughed and had races down the waterslides and did handstands and somersaults underwater and he threw us and we climbed on him and we jumped in with a variety of silly actions like the cowboy on the roof getting shot and falling off, but Pops did pikes and straddles and tucks and all sorts of proper stuff. She made me go on the Sidewinder (red dragon waterslide) and I really didn't want to but I couldn't wimp out in front of her and then we all loved it and went round and round.
writing warning signs for denWe got 2 wave alerts and stayed in for so long we got the Super-Duper Wave Alert! We clung onto the railing in the most wavey bit and at the end our arms were like noodles - flaccid, floppy and the colour of milky tea.
We both used the hairdryers afterwards and immediately got wet again as it was raining. So obviously she had to stay for dinner to warm up and I certainly warmed her up in my special den. She loved it so much we spent ages writing out 6 terrifying warning signs to keep people out. All come with a variety of gurning faces, gargoyles, hanged men, faces crossed out etc. They may highlight some psychological issues .....
1. Keep out! This is are house so keep out or elas! Do you think you are being wtwt? be scard!
2. Doom! Don't come in ore you will be sorry! you will die and be bones forever. you're being whatched ore are you, you are a stupid lump dust and you will be a fatso from now on! you will be dead.
3. Welcome to dead land. your doomed! Ahah! your dead! Doom!
4. Bearwor of danger! You are being whatched watchced or are you?
5. enter with password! Knock on here! Door!
6. Dear People Never every come in or eales! because don't come in! or will you like to die. Do you think that people are waching you? Just wait and see. Never ever come in! poo face

Saturday, 14 December 2013

King Arthur's Castle

medieval gatehouse debtors prison winchesterFollowing on from my victory parade in Arundel last week, we invaded Winchester, which is something the French never managed.
Through the magic of the internet we actually planned a train route instead of just turning up and guessing. We had 8 stops and a double tunnel to negotiate. We had the whole carriage to ourselves until Bullet-headed Thugbert (6) and brother Ugg (5) decided to sit RIGHT next to us to continue their internecine Thug-struggles. I completed Chapter 2 of the apocryphal epic "The Super Nappy" on the train.
medieval replica of king arthurs round tableWe joined a vast crocodile of humanity streaming towards the town which has some quite historical bits. We found sections of the medieval city walls, and the tunnels (rubbish) under one of the towers (destroyed) of the old castle (missing) and Eleanor's garden and the judge's bench and the round table of not-quite-authenticity and Ye Olde Gifte Shoppe of highly ambitious pricing structure and lots of paintings of kings.
stone statue winchesterI bought a toy catapult from the copper pencil sharpener range I know and love. It pings a Lego Hero shooting-ball for 4 and a 1/2 feet!
In the town I got hungry and had a cheese'n'bacon West Cornwall Pasty by the children's orchestra. It was actually real with actual flavour so I didn't like it. We finished it in front of the cathedral which charges for entry so we didn't go in.
boy with orange wristwatchFor days I have been going on about the promised watch. Ben has one, so why can't I? We found a watch shop and after much vacillation, deliberation and pontification, I chose a rubber-strapped analogue watch with big numbers and a sparkly bezel (not real diamonds) purely on the strength of its colour, because orange is my favourite colour.
statue street performer in winchester high street
As with everyone's first watch, I walked down the busy streets staring at my wrist, bumping into people and keeping Bud apprised of the time every 2 minutes and 38 seconds.
Eventually we found the charity shop area and scored 2 Lego items and 2 books but no bath fizzers.
Faced with a vast array of quality eateries from the Legendary Arthurian to Nepalese, I chose predictably and was served Poultry McNiblets by a man called Mash.
Curiosity is one of the driving forces in my life: few are more curious than me. So throughout the city are many statues in stone or bronze of kings, horse riders, bishops etc, and one of them was one of those bronze electrical animatronic ones because it moved and scared me. Further on was a white marble ballerina which went through a series of pre-programmed curtseys. On the way back the bronze statue of a chimney sweep accepted my £1 coin into his copper bucket, got off his box and said he was going on a tea break! He was a human all the time! I couldn't believe it.....
We got home after 6 1/2 gruelling hours of fun. This is the life!
After we'd had some more Risk game, life continued with special pasta and Phineas/Ferb and Bud lit a fire in the lounge and we lay in front of it with bare toes unfurled and there was severe relaxation until Bath Fizzer night of madness ending at approx. 11pm, approx only because my new watch was confiscated due to excessive babblage. Didn't stop me babbling until distinctly later....