Saturday, 25 January 2014

Do you wanna build a snowman?

harbour view from portsmouth spinnaker tower dockyardToday Jof had to work, which was a shame on top of having to go out at 11pm last night to meet the policemen and turn off her work alarms, which had been annoying all the mini-skirted party-goers in Clubland.
Thus Bud took me to the promised land which was Gunwharf. Straight away we bought the cinema tickets ("Frozen" - the only kiddie film available) and wandered off to waste enough time for the scheduled film to actually start.
The Spinnaker Tower is the Portsmouth Logo nowadays, even more than the Anchor, bottle of rum and press gang. I've been up it a good few times but not for 3 years or so. We watched the Del Monte oranges freighter get tugged into port and it was sunny and calm. There are touch-screens for tourists but they don't mind being used by locals. The lift operator said the ticket gave us all-day admittance, as many times as you like, come back after dark for added effect.
metal staircaseThe local paper had printed the Scouts award ceremony at last, only 9 days after the actual event. My photo is not in it, but my name is. We had Pizza Express for lunch and I was foxed by the devilishly difficult puzzle on the kiddie menu; Fish the provided letters out of the lake and fit them into the spaces to create some well-known pizza toppings. M_ _ H _ _ O _ and _ _ E E _ _, provided letters USROMCHSE. This defeated me to the tune of uncomprehending exasperation from Bud: you should also know that this is the exact same test I failed at the Pizza Express in Arundel only a few short weeks ago. There was again the "Bambinoccino", fluffed milk with chocolate powder dusting, most unpleasant. Due to folk memories of tributes to fresh-water spirits, Britons still throw monetary offerings into water, fountains, springs etc. Thus the coin-related tragedy of Gunwharf continues. My fingers itch every time I see coins deliberately thrown away, this rock had us spellbound in its unfairness.
throwing coins in the fountain gunwharf quays portsmouth"Frozen". This heart-warming yet formulaic film seems to be set in Norway, 1831. There is a cuddly comedy snowman, evil Prussian Grand Vizier, an ultimate Ice Queen, treacherous social climber a la Kind Hearts and Coronets, honest prole with added nits and Skippy-the-Roo-alike reindeer, friendly trolls and they all sing far too much and use uncalled-for magic. But then again, I loved it, for I am 8. The adverts beforehand spoke of many animated stories, the one for Barbie-becomes-a-real-princess stood out as absolute dross with a standard well below that of the others, and that's saying something.
turn wheel and squash imprint onto 1 penny coinWe emerged, blinking, into the sunlight, which had deserted us, and been replaced by mist, drizzle and cruel squalls from Norway itself. Once we'd bought some antique glassware in the charity shop we used our free passes to gain re-admittance to the tower and stayed for so long it got dark while we were in it. At one point I left the building alone, to the consternation of the staff who tracked me by radio, it's ok, I know what I'm doing, I just look like an unaccompanied minor. The city looks good after dark and it was so windy the whole tower rocked and wobbled. Some kid wouldn't come out onto the top observation deck until I danced the silly in front of him, even then he crawled and ran back when the wind blew. There is a fake owl to deter pigeons.
I did the squash-a-coin machine and bought a copper skull-cum-pencil sharpener and went on the largest glass floor in Europe and got a marshmallow flapjack and watched the rainstorms and the flag-lowering ceremony on the aircraft carrier in the Royal Navy Dockyard and traced the outlines of the roads and the coast in street lights. The sea was full of flashing buoys (boo-ies if you're American).
Bus journeys are always manic occasions for me and when we fell in the front door, Jof was pleased to see me for her days are boring. We'd been out for 8 hours.

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