Sunday, 31 August 2014

How is that even possible?

super long receipt from months shopping at tesco extra havantLazy day, being the last of the summer holidays. I wanted to go to the splashpark and kill people with my Spanish water guns but apathy took over and we played Hayday instead.
In 2 months I have my Kiddie Fun-run (1.5 km) so Jof took me jogging in the park and we went round a few times and invented a game where one person climbs the obstacle course in the swingpark and the other tries to knock them off with the football.
But I suppose the silliest thing of the day was the Tesco receipt from our shopping trip, 175 items, £317. Everything had run out at once and so we just bought everything: in addition Jof kept going off with a basket and buying things she thought Bud would have forgotten so we are OK for laundry liquids and potatoes, very strong on toothpaste and will next need to buy deodorant in February.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Tick, tick, tick, BOOM!

royal naval museum of naval firepower priddys hard gosportJof left for work, but I slept on. The safety operative came to inspect the gas meter, I did not see fit to wake up. I came to at 10.
This is the last free day of the hols for me so he said shall we do the Explosion museum, some biggish bike ride, or something else. I chose pootling about the charity shops of Southsea and throwing some rocks into the sea which basically means as little as possible that will detract from my time on Hayday on the tablet.
Because I had got the answer wrong, he presented the first 2 options for my re-consideration and hey presto, I chose both of them.
explosion museum of naval firepower gosportSo off we set on the same route we used for the Submarine museum just 2 days ago. Portsmouth Harbour was abuzz as usual with tall ships, ferries, touring boats, yachts, warships and freight vessels. A bloke my age drove a speedboat past us.
So having consulted the map at the ferryport we turned up Mumby Road, into the hilariously named Weevil Lane and over Forton Lake on the suspension bridge. Directly the other side are the low brick buildings of the Museum of Naval Firepower, most of which are abandoned.
explosion museum gosportThe whole area is surrounded by moats, walls and other fortifications and thumping great armoured brick buildings hidden in the undergrowth, it was once a city-fortress of its own back in the day.
Even outside the site there are cannons of all vintages hidden in the bushes with buddleia trees growing out of them. The museum shop looked promising so we got the ticket where you can return free within a year and went in.
nuclear weapon naval firepower museum priddys hard gosportNow, unless you've sampled the funny fungi growing on the lawns outside, you wouldn't normally expect to laugh in a museum. But, not kidding, we went from exhibit A to exhibit ZZ guffawing and chortling and going "I've got one of those" and it was hilarious.
Scattered throughout are helpful little interactive screens where you can ask some old bloke who used to work on the items in question who built them, what it was like to work on them etc. From them we got lots of titbits such as the 30kg projectile leaves the barrel of the gun at 1800 mph and flies 30 miles before totally destroying Southampton.
The area is full of projectiles bigger than me and I was in my element. If like us, you are an 8 year-old boy who likes his guns'n'bombs, visit this place.
museum of naval firepower now wedding venueWe didn't get to shoot any of the guns but there is a WW2 4 1/2 incher outside that they fire blanks from on special occasions. Each room is packed with rifles, pistols, gunpowder barrels, sea mines, depth charge throwers, torpedoes, rockets, submarine cannons, Bofors anti-aircraft guns, spears and swords, deck-mounted cannons, high-explosive shells, a 10-barrel Gatling, mortars, Howitzers, cut-away bombs, things you can play with and things you can't, Polaris missiles and some ICBMs.
I have been banging on about nuclear bombs since, like, forever, so it was nice to get my hands on some, I think they might have taken the fissile material out but who's counting. It was also nice to see an AK47, good for whenever you absolutely have to kill every mother/father in the room, apparently.
museum of naval firepower
Commonest were the 4 1/2 inch shells which are nice because we've got one in the dining room. The #1 Magazine is the brick-built behemoth where they stored all the nation's gunpowder/cordite/TNT etc and it has walls 10 feet thick and they were setting up for a wedding. It is the successor to the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth which is where Bud and Jof had their wedding.
In the end I bought a load of Lego-alikes and some chocolate for the PuddleMummies and we headed off on roads unknown. Fortunately, at least one of us has a sense of direction and soon enough we came out on Elson Lane which houses a swingpark we visited before going in Fort Brockhurst a couple of months ago, so we were on familiar territory.
museum of naval firepowerWe ate big lumps of meat in the Sailmakers Carvery next to the old railway and struck north hopefully to find old favourite Bridgemary Park. I commented that all the roads look the same, welcome to the infinite council sink estate that is Greater Gosport, he said.
However we did find many many blackberry bushes which you should always strip when you can, free food full of vitamins.
From there we simply hopped back onto Henry Cort Way (was old railway line, now bus and cycle route) and vectored down to Wooden Fort Park (Leesland) where I decided I really needed a poo. Crapping in the park may be frowned upon even in Gosport (unless you're a dog) so we continued to Morrisons by the high street, for when a man's gotta poo, he's well anyway.
This gave me further energy for the exercise park by the boating lake and we re-acquired the ferry and got home after 7 hours, 5 parks (1 new) and 13 and 3/4 miles in the saddle. Jof was having a nap so I got my tablet time after all, hoho. Film Night: Arnie S in 'Running Man'.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Boots on the Ground

tennis courts by skate park in milton park portsmouthOne of my last chances to be an official Lazy Bugger so I did that. I woke up at 1030 even though the lorries of the world had united outside my bedroom window for a rally and the Roadsweepers Of Pompey had their rival AGM: the pavement is as clean as a Japanese girl you could eat your dinner off.
I was offered another bite at the cherry bomb that is the Explosion Museum but turned it down, and even objected to having to slog the few hundred yards to the local post office. But we did buy bacon and black pudding and eggs so I see a decent breakfast on the drizzling horizon of my last free weekend.
Then we petered out into apathy and I played Minecraft while he catalogued his bullet collection, not kidding.
Finally we pumped up the little football and did kick-to-each-other in the park. There was a strong side wind so we elected to use the empty tennis courts instead, so we couldn't lose the ball. Problem is, I throw the ball up into the air in a pass-to-myself ready for the kick over the net - and it gets blown sideways and I wait for it to bounce too much and I end up having to retrieve my own lob. I always pull this face, do you?
This game went on forever and the most hits in a row we managed over the tennis net was 4. We both got tired feet but it did qualify as the kickabout exercise I demanded. Jof bought watermelon slices to share but I don't share.
Pops was out all day so I could only snap and crackle. BensMum hooted at me but it's not the same.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Exploding Myth Daisy

submarine museum haslar jetty road gosportI woke him up at 9, got sent away. And yes, I forgot to eat my breakfast so my rice pops got soggy, and I forgot to take the bowl out so the Minecraft tablet got taken away but by elevenish we had the repaired bike back and we were loading up to go across the Gosport Straits to the Royal Naval Explosion Museum.
Then Jof phoned and said O Yea, not only did my Uncle Ron die last night but the Estate Agents we spoke to yesterday had gone into Nanna's house to do the measuring of the rooms and the taking of the pictures, had opened the big slidey windows by the dining table and couldn't get them shut again.
This meant that unless we could get hold of the local handyman, we would have to drive for 4 hours back to her house just to close a stuck door. OK, so we could pick up some more furniture, but really, you don't need it.
royal naval submarine museum gosportSo we thought, Poldarks to this, let's go to the Explosion Museum anyway and if we still can't get hold of the Magic Handyman, we'll just have to lump it and drive back to the Glue Factory. Cycling into a stiff headwind, we met Mrs Pops and crossed the Bosphorus of Doom to the other side where I changed my mind at the last minute and said no, I can't be bothered to cycle a whole 1.2 miles to the Explosion Museum, let's do the Royal Naval Submarine Museum instead (0.6 miles).
Ignoring the no-cycling signs, we rolled south and met Pops and Baby Edward by the bridge and all agreed that we were looking forward to going back to school. The tickets for the Submarine Museum were £24, and there's only 2 of us, and only 1 of us pays attention. We pulled out our money while pulling faces and noted with interest that you can get in free again for up to a year, like the Royal Marines Museum.
royal naval submarine museum gosportWe checked out the diving suit and the conning tower and the railway tracks on the road and the giant propeller and the Navy's first submarine (1902) and went in it. It spent 69 years on the seabed outside Plymouth so was somewhat rusty but they play a video and you can bang your head on the stanchions for free. The shop next door was expensive. I quite like rugby shirts but not at £35, I don't, and I've already got a submarine hat that wasn't £12.
But we joined the tour of HMS Alliance which is a World War 2-era sub that has been totally renovated and we poked our noses in to the heads and the captain's wardroom and some of the bunk beds snore at you and the engines come on and make a racket and I couldn't move the periscope but I did twist a lot of levers and dials and you're not allowed in the conning tower.
naval submarine museum gosportAfter lunch (a sub roll, didn't see that one coming) we looked in the upstairs bit and found the German Iron Cross medal like the one we have and the models of subs through the ages and the periscopes that stick out of the top of the building so you can see the ferries coming into Portsmouth Harbour. Many of the display cabinets had plastic cockroaches in, in the same way as the ones in Dover Castle have plastic rats.
We grudgingly bought a polo shirt and some genuine submarine clotted cream fudge for the PuddleMummies. There was still a biting headwind on our cycle home, because the wind can blow 2 ways at once in Pompey, and Jof had left a message to say the Estate Agent had fixed the door and you don't have to drive to bleedin' Eastbourne and back today.
After a quick go in the park, we met Pops who invited me for dinner and we bounced on her trampoline in the back garden and shot her bow and 1 remaining arrow at the conservatory window actually while bouncing, and bounced on each other for ages, mm.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Killing a cow by throwing eggs at it

minigolf royal parade eastbourneWoke up of my own accord and accepted yogurt and fruit and the chance to play more Minecraft.
Nanna's house is being stripped before my very eyes, if I was bothered to raise them from the Minecraft tablet, it's certainly a lot emptier than before.
The local estate agent came round to say yes, he could sell the place easily enough and he went away happy. So we loaded up the poor old car and totally buried a different charity in oodles of neatly boxed donations, it's like a hobby for us to kill with kindness.
Once Bud had cut down the prickle-bush from the front garden and I'd raked up all the brambles and hedge trimmings from the back, there was enough to make a 3rd load to take to the tip so we bombed down the familiar country roads with their ups and South Downs and managed to get away with only a short speech about suffocating council regulations from the hi-vis dour DumpMaster.
treasure island pirate adventure golf eastbourneThen we took the little personal alarm thingy (that you wear round your neck and press if you fall down and can't get up again) that Nanna never used (I can think of a few PuddleDaddies that could use one after a beer festival) back to the suppliers and I got my promised game of Mini-golf.
Treasure Island is a little complex on Eastbourne seafront with a soft-play area inside, a burger bar, hoity-toity beach front restaurant, outside adventure playground with splashpools and a Pirate Adventure Golf course. I'd already done the rest of it so today we golfed, sandwiched between a family where the mother always got maximum 8 shots due to being rubbish and a family of 5 year-old boys who kept running onto our playing surface when we were still putting.
cycle game that goes round if you pedal princes playpark eastbourneBut the course itself is fab, 18 holes and very long, some of them, with barrel obstacles, alligators and water features, the course loops back over itself twice and there are overhead gantries and tunnels and nets and one of the underground bits had a speaker in it with a looped tape of sea shanties going hooray and up she rises bottle of rum give the dog a bone etc forever.
In 'Prince's Park' nearby, we found many swans and a 3-seat bicycle thing which goes round if you pedal. Even I'm a bit big for it but once I had 2 girlie co-riders Bud span it backwards and we all screamed and pedalled madly and I got tired feet so we rushed back to fill up the car yet again with stuff we're actually keeping and drove home and I babbled to Jof for ages. Killing a cow by throwing eggs at it is something you can do in Minecraft, I guess it sounds strange if you don't play.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

House Clearance, Everything must go ...

ford focus estate car filled with household rubbish for the tipI really didn't expect to be woken up today, especially since Jof hadn't even left for real work at that time. I got some Haymaker in while we waited for the bicycle repair shop to open and we set off in the rain to Nanna's house.
Our mission: to explore new and undiscovered municipal recycling facilities and charity shops. We loaded up the car with stuff that Jof had already determined scrap. We flew down the long and winding (and raining) road to Hailsham (pop 7) tip and I hopped out, for I am experienced at tips.
The Tip Operative (Tiperative?) said anyone under 16 wasn't allowed out of the car so I just had to sit there while Bud got rained on and did all the work.
Later we totally overwhelmed Age Concern in the vibrant City of Polegate by bombarding them with an entire carload of stuff. At least I was allowed out of the car, and we ran in and out filling their store-room.
hailsham tip wealden and east sussex council recyclingThen, after a Tesco Special picnic lunch, we loaded up the car again for the Joy-of-Joy health and safety-aware tip. We had had to unplug the chest freezer in the garage a couple of weeks ago so we could use the socket to charge up the car battery so the ex-frozen contents were supremely ripe and doubly-fermented so we whiffed our way back to the tip of no return with the windows open to let the reek out even though it let the rain in.
deceased estate boxing up personal posessions for charity shop
Stig of the Dump explained morosely how the health and safety regulations were ruining his life, I've been in bins since I was 5 and now I can't carry a knife or stand on the edge or sneeze without filling in form 3-B etc etc. They did seem to have an awful lot of "You can't do this" signs up.
In the afternoon we did kick a football around the park a bit but mostly I built a space elevator with children's swimming pool in Minecraft while he filled dozens of boxes with more delights for the charity shop and incineration.
The Chinese take-away could use some serious improvement and then I watched Toy Story 2 on TAPE which doesn't have scene select, multiple language options, bonus director interviews, 5D, Quantel or anything, don't know how these poor people survived all these years.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Jet Stream of Consciousness

schwarzenegger in total recall and the lego movie dvdsUp at 10am, I've pretty well settled on 10am as a rising time, why not, and a very gentlemanly time it is too, at least ErinsMum wasn't laughing at me this time, and I had chocco rice pops because I always ask for omelette but never finish it 'cos I'm so slow and it's all gone cold, and Jof did writing to people and used up all our stamps, it's amazing how many people you have to write to when your Mum dies, not looking forward to that at all so he said come and tidy your room so I can hoover, and that is a major undertaking I can tell you, for few kids have as much Lego as me and you know when you really really need the end bit of the jet plane because it's a funny shape and it's always at the bottom of the 4th massive tub of Lego bits in the IKEA drawers so you have to turf the whole lot out onto the floor well anyway, after only half an hour we could see the floor again and he hoovered around me as I tried out all the felt tip pens from that big pencil case you always have to carry around in the car when you're 6 and most of them had died so the bin got very full and then we were onto the shelves and holy moley, there was all sorts going for bin or recycling like my cardboard Roman shield, took me ages to make that, but it was so last year and don't talk to me about the clay chameleon painted in all colours of a rainbow on acid because I did it in Year 1 and you're always a bit dodgy artistically when you're 5 so it was a good job jobbed and I celebrated cleaning my room with an extra long session of Minecraft, who's counting, because it rained all day for that is the tradition on a Bank Holiday Monday and it was actually dark so we had the light on and the CENTRAL HEATING CAME ON automatically, you can't tell me that's right 'cos it is in fact the summer holidays so I just wore pyjamas all day and we saw Toy Story and Monsters University and then had the promised Film Night which was Total Recall and then the Lego Movie, a classic combination that go together like sardines and double glazing, don't know why we didn't think of it before, I liked the bit with the hologrammatic wristband and Jof thinks that Kuato saying open your mind and taking the bug out of his skull was yucky but I didn't, she must be a girl or something, I didn't even have a shower today, what a slob.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Victori-arse Festival 2014

view over southsea common from ferris wheel victorious festival 2014One of those slow-start days where we might easily have gone on to do absolutely nothing.
But some months ago, we'd bought tickets to the Victorious Festival of Music and Beer With Added Attractions, and we felt we had to make the most of them.
Last time it was at the Royal Naval Dockyard but due to a financial dispute and lack of space, they'd upgraded to occupy the entire seafront including the castle and bandstand.
We arrived and toed the line which was very long and twisty, but once they'd checked Jofs' handbag for hidden bottles and grenades, and installed the wristband of obedience on me, we got in and I started to wander aimlessly and lead them on a lengthy tour with no apparent destination.
victorious festival 2014 portsea islandI did the Fun-Bus which is an old London big six wheeler scarlet painted London transport diesel engined ninety-seven horsepower omnibus that has been filled with soft-play apparatus. It was kinda average and you only get 5 minutes on it because it's a free attraction as part of the Child-Friendly aspect of the Festival.
Then I did the bouncy castle, same rules apply. Then Jof wanted to sit down so I checked out the southern stalls and got distracted by the Ferris wheel. I'm not allowed on by myself so Bud had to accompany me and guess who didn't like it with his white knuckles and plaintive demands not to rock the pivoting chair.
The whole place was very strong on foxy hippy chicks with flowers in their hair and excessively bearded chaps with multiple tattoos and pints of real ale, although there was plenty of pretend ale in the other tents.
southsea victorious festival 2014 kids attractionsSo to prove it, I went on the spinning dangly-chair ride twice and then Jof found us and said why have you abandoned me. So we did sensible things like having burger and chips (£15) and watching some live music but mostly I led them randomly into a live music venue (of which there were many) and straight back out again when I didn't like the way the bass music makes my ribcage thump.
The special smell of those special cigarettes with no name was prevalent but the numerous policemen didn't mind because the smokey people are less hassle than the vodka people.
I got another go on the bouncy castle until I turned my ankle and had to retire hurt with added howls.
But we did the D-Day museum, isn't it funny that you live in a city with a splendid resource such as the D-Day Overlord Tapestry and you don't go and see it until you have a free ticket.
victorious festival 2014 portsmouthThere were some musicians on the seaside stage but they were too loud for Jof and we did the silent disco which just wasn't as good as last year and my headphones didn't work and we didn't find BensMum. Plus the tent smelled of wet dog.
I also had a giant ice cream and did the penalty spot challenge for a charity twice and got a lollipop and saw a chap asleep against a tree from too much beer and just when I was crouching down beside him he went roooo-argh which made me jump and drop my lollipop into the grass.
The queue for the Sea Harrier training module was long but I made it.
not sophie ellis bextor at portsmouth victorious festival 2014Jof left us because she just wasn't in the mood so we did more carousel action and the bouncy castle had been deflated so we saw some real acoustic live music and Bud said look, I found 16p on the floor when I got a pint of beer so come with me this time and see what you can find on the floor dropped by the drunken people.
I met him afterwards and declared a 20p coin, a yellow plastic guitar pick and a thing called a £20 note so I said is that good enough stupid, and he said Holy Foreign Split or something similar and we watched Shed 7 from the old Tudor earthen ramparts and had fish'n'chips.
But I'd run out of attractions and he was full of beer so we cycled back through the quieter streets of our adopted city without bike lights which is still illegal. I suppose it was 8 hours onsite. During the event, Jof saw one of her customers and Bud saw one of the people he works with. I saw Finlay and Owen and Leyton and Harry, so I totally win.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Noo Shooz, ooo

bransbury park play area portsmouthWoken up by ErinsMum who banged on our door at 10am to laugh at us for still being in bed. Most unfair.
clarks shoe shop arundel street portsmouthBy noon I was persuaded to go out and do a park or two, I have to keep Buds' strength up so he can continue to launch me through the air into the swimming pool and also pull me out of said pool so I can be launched again.
So we were just doing chin-ups in Bransbury Park when he kicked me back and I went into a sulk of impressive longevity, as part of my practise for being a teenager. Well, that got me some more Minecraft anyway.
But the scourge of my life (shopping) came round again because, against all expectations, I have grown and need some new school clothes, shoes and trousers.
So I chose some boring black school shoes, some boring plimsolls and a splendidly natty pair of trainers that look like football boots in Brazilian colours. A mere snip at £72 for the 3 pairs.
blue football boy in brazilian football shoesI like Marks and Spencer but didn't get to eat a toastie sandwich this time, something about a diet. And I got a blue football so we tried it out in the park, I showed off my moves and Jofs' foot hurt and I can't chip this ball very well.
Jof was supposed to go out with her work girlies but they couldn't even decide what pub to meet in to discuss what pubs to go to, so they're not going out. Film night (Schwarzenegger in Total Recall) will have to wait. For the salient part of Saturday night, Jof and I sat on the sofa in silence playing on our respective tablets while Bud sat in the office cataloguing his artillery shell collection. Rock'n'roll, baby.
Later I had the first bath fizzer night in ages and beat StupidHead with my new tactic of simply pushing him against the wall so he couldn't fight back.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Falling through the Cracks

motorbike wheelie crash fail rider goes over wall fail funnyIt still eludes me that morning halitosis and a dry toothbrush could give away the lie that I'd done my teeth. Most unfair.
Anyway, my final day at childminding at the Sailing Club was the minibus day trip to Staunton Country Park.
gobstoppers like pool balls blue green at portsmouth watersports centreWe ran around and fed the goats and bought 'Jitterbugs' in the shop, yes, the same ones that I elected to give to the charity shop the last time I had a clear-out. Once we'd finally overcome the barrier they put up to stop Gypsies invading the park, we bought gobstoppers again. Erin and I both dropped ours but they qualified under the 5 second rule and I dribbly-sucked mine all the way to swimming. I was so tired at the pool I failed to show off my new moves but did a decent duck dive and swam along the bottom of the pool for a portion of my final length.
Everything was fine at home because I had Minecraft. But as soon as Jof got back from her gruelling 4 days coping with her mothers' funeral, I suddenly got terminal leg-falling-off. I cried my way through the supper I'd previously demanded and was the very epitome of a modern wounded soldier. We dissolved in fits of laughter when I'd farted on Jofs' head. But by then, I'd been awarded chocolate and legrubs, so who's the winner now, eh?

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Goodbye Nanna

four o'clock flower miralilis jalapaGrandad got to us on time as ever and we showed him our new kitchen island and the new bathroom. Then we all drove to Nanna's house and met Jof and wandered around getting in the way. Well, I did, anyway. I played football in the garden destructively and we harvested some seeds from the nice Peruvian flowers that we'd planted ourselves with seeds from our own garden, a nice round trip for them. Jof gave me a real job which was arranging the various small chop (Swahili phrase for finger food buffet-style) on big foil plates and very artistic I was too.
grandson attending committal of dead grandmotherBut the fateful time came around and we all trooped to the crematorium and stood about outside looking lost. There were only a few people any of us had ever heard of and I didn't know anybody but they'd all heard about me. Nanna had a lot of friends and there wasn't enough room in the little side chapel we'd been given for the service. Give it a couple of years and I'll be taller than Grandad.
I didn't get to do anything in the service this time but I did have a cry and we all held hands and Jof did a speech but she was sad and the priest kept banging on about Jesus but it was all over quickly.
Back at the house I'd cheered up and I served out the well-arranged trays and ordered tea and Grandad doled out the wine and bit by bit Jof cheered up and all the old biddies went home and we tidied up, well, I played Minecraft while tidying went on.
The journey home was long and I can't wait to give Jof another hug. We gave Grandad a lift back to our house and he drove onwards to his retirement village, where the people upstairs spotted his arrival and invited him for wine and wine. He woke up in the bath at 0130 ...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I'm your Hoochie Gucci Man

funny engrish sign airport re construction failEarly to work again with those heartless traffic jams failing to materialise once more.
Today we walked out onto the mudflats exposed at low tide and installed some marker poles for other, later groups to use as a slalom course, nothing like a bit of child labour to pass the morning. We found 2 crabs and called them Snippy and Nippy.
Having done a long, drawn-out conga-line through the canoe racks and sailing boats arranged outside, we got down 4 Kayaks and lashed them together in pairs to make rafts.
We dragged them down the slipway and set sail (Erin and I are now experts) and did swimming and jumping off them out in the open sea. We also saw the seals and the baby seal dived into the water because we splashed it.
At the end I was in a hurry because we had to get to the post office before it closed and I couldn't get my wetsuit off and he'd already told me to not be last out again and I was being slow and I knew he'd be angry and it all got a bit much and I came out blubbing like a champion because I knew I'd be in trouble.
He'd gone already and ErinsMum took me home. Erin bought me a gobstopper to shut me up and I dropped it so she bought me another, looks like I'm onto a winner there. I played in Erins' bedroom which was much nicer. I calmed down and when he picked me up he'd done the post office AND the car-hoovering and all we had to do was petrol and hoover the house and guitar and make supper and laundry and eat chocolate.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Silence of the Hoovers

concourse of shopping mall turned over to ball pit kids adventure playground funnyToday we said goodbye to Jof and set off early to avoid the traffic jam we had yesterday. We sailed through the morning rush hour on empty roads and got there 15 minutes early, and given that I usually arrive an hour before official kick-off, it was lucky I had a book.
Today we did tower-balancing and my partner was wet and scared. Then I paired up with Erin for the rope ladder climb and due to excellent teamwork we won, even though it was against 12 year-olds.
All those older girls are mean and bossy and picky.
Afterwards I tried to get out of Gymnastics but when it was clear that wouldn't work, I regained my energy and played strongly.
We have orders (that must be obeyed) from Jof, one of which is to clean out the car. The inch-thick layer of biscuit crumbs could easily sustain a colony of illegal immigrant mice and we've removed a bagful of duplicate maps, crayons, dried kiddie wipes and so forth already.
ford focus estate vacuuming the interior at petrol stationSo we pulled up at the first petrol station, emptied the car and put our £1 in the giant industrial hoover. It made the right wooo-ing noise but was not thucking at all. [All vacuum cleaners have an industry-standard lisp following the Papal Edict of 1475] So I got our £1 back from the guy in the booth and we departed, leaving the thucking useless thing woo-ing away.
Fear not, he said, there is another petrol station on our way home. Yes there was. But it was having a petrol delivery truck so we couldn't get in. And to rub salt in our biscuit crumbs, it was football day and we had to park in Sussex again.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Hello Mutti, Hello Vati, here I am at Camp Gelati

nasty boss kid says get in the office or youre fired funnyWe crawled through the traffic to the Watersports Centre and he dumped me with a book of my choice and only £3 in emergency funds after I spent all my previous emergency-only funds on a YMCA wallet, to keep all my emergency money in, er.
camp adventure portsmouth watersports clubMeanwhile, Grandad spent the day at Buckingham Palace, as you do.
At Camp Adventure I did go-karting although I only got to drive once and had to push the Kart for 2 hours. Erin was on my team and I did 6 hours non-stop running around, honest, and was busy happily playing Bunny-Woopsie when picked up. I burst into tears when I got home and duly extracted chocolate, tablet time and a leg rub from Jof who was pleased to see me.
After supper we combined forces to catch a mouse in a dishcloth and just when Bud said look there's its tail sticking out, it escaped.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

A Nasty Little Rash (but I'm not bitter)

soberano bacardi tunel brugal liqueurs from mallorcaI've brought back a nasty little rash from my holiday in Majorca. I am led to believe that this is practically de rigueur, luckily I know that as long as I don't have sand in my swimming trunks it'll go.
A lazy day, we did Sainsburys' and played Lego and watched cricket and played Minecraft and fed chickens on the hayseed farm and did all those little things you do when you've just got back off holiday and you're trying not to think about the funeral.
I have a week of adventure coming up, I wonder if it'll compare to the week I've just had? At least I'll have a friend there.
For want of a better thing, here's the duty free and stuff that the PuddleBartenders will have to deal with. I notice the Brugal Rum has had a nip taken out! Sleep well, everyone...
ps, this blog is 4 years old today

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Copping a Blighty

holidaymakers waiting for airport transfer coachWe didn't want to get up and battle with the suitcases. Having bullied them into submission we pulled them to reception past lots of early morning Germans including some playing on the beach at 7 am.
Jof sat at breakfast making jam rolls for our flight home and we were picked up by a giant double decker coach which sped through the rain (yes) at precisely the local speed limit, scattering the numerous wild chickens in the fields.
flybe check in queue palma airport mallorcaThere was a big crash on the motorway with firemen cutting people out of a car that was the wrong shape at both ends. The airport is really big and we all took it in turns to go for exploratory wanders while we waited for over an hour in the baggage check-in queue.
Bud had 60 kgs excess baggage, in the end we had to leave Gabriela behind!
Then we lost Jof when we'd taken her boarding card by mistake and she had to call security and Buds' metal leg set off the metal detector and the bottle of water hidden at the bottom of my carry-on luggage set off the X-Ray woman and this is why Jof doesn't like to travel.
I bought some duty-free keyrings while he got complicated foreign drinks and I got to carry Jofs' duty free biscuits I think, called Fumar Perjudica.
airport transfer bus la palma mallorcaOne minute our flight number wasn't on the departures screen at all and then suddenly it was last call so we ran through and waited on one of those funny flat buses for the people that were even later than us.
The baggage hadn't even been loaded half an hour after we were due to leave, the captain said there was one less bag in the hold than on the paperwork so they had to argue in Spanish while we waited on the tarmac.
Luckily we were 3 seats in front of the permanently crying baby so we sat there while the airport gradually emptied around us. Jof said we should get a proper plane next time.
After only an hour and a 1/4, the baggage discrepancy was sorted out and we took off right into a storm over the northern Mallorcan mountains. It got mildly bumpy for a while. The captain had to keep going bingbong please fasten your seatbelts and he didn't go mingmong the seatbelt light is off until we were over mainland Spain.
main runway la palma airport mallorca
We ate our jam rolls and got chocolate off the trolley dollies anyway, hurrah. We watched Bordeaux and the Gironde estuary go by, then Jersey and finally we hit UK airspace over Hurst Castle and touched down on home soil and I pulled my own suitcase from the carousel with difficulty.
flybe flight majorca to southampton airportI was not, however, able to stop the suitcase trolley from going sideways into the road. We were all very happy to get home which meant hours and hours of unpacking, sorting and laundry: my contribution was to play Minecraft.
We were naughty with food for the last time and had a McDongles. I am sad that I cannot babble inanely for ages to Nanna about what a splendid holiday I've had.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Starky, mi amigo, Stella, she's my fren'

father and son in mediterranean sea majorca cala mondragoAwoken at 0800 by the water squirters. These hidden sprinklers pop up every morning and keep the hotel gardens an oasis of green in a dusty landscape. They chatter away for 20 minutes and make all the walkways slippery in what is a surprisingly hilly locale.
Today's duck-related yogurt profession was Y for Yogurtero, no doubt a member of the honourable guild of Yogurtmakers, and a bit cheaty, I wanted it to be Y for Yeti-herder.
This was our last day so Jof asked to go to the tiny secluded micro-cove one hop along between here and Cala Mondrago.
sheltered sandy beach scene sunbathers mondrago national park majorcaWe took the snorkels and the dinghy, although I ended up not carrying anything. There was just enough space for us to sit so Bud took me out in the boat and then we snorkelled to the headland.
Walking on the limestone pavement right by the sea, it was quite rough so we were better off out.
In a KARST landscape such as this, each stratum is unevenly eroded by wave action so it scours out rockpools and caves and we found salt pans and recent rockfalls and crystal formations. We chipped some off and brought them back to Jof.
club cala barca iberostar main pool mallorcaFor my final afternoon session at Club Cala Barca, I chose ... guess what, swimming. I dived and swam underwater and made my first friend in a waterfight and practised my underwater handstands which is a vital life skill.
We are going to import the water-guns and Eleanor Rugbyball and blow-up dinghy into the UK so an old ASDA bag is now my official carry-on luggage, hope they don't think I'm Carlos the Jackal smuggling brightly coloured plastic firearms on an international flight.
sea washing into sea cave cala barca coastline of majorcaI bequeathed the yellow lilo to a 9 year-old Englischer with pretty eyes. 6 foot German girls were everywhere as we had our last supper and moved out to clamp our traditional space just the other side of the staircase.
We'd done as much of the packing as we could, I'm out of socks and pants and 2 suitcases are full, the laundry has to go in Bud's. Killing a thousand ants with every step, we all walked down to the sea in our little cove (Barca Trencada) and tried to count the stars (I made it 32).
sea eroding limestone cliffs southern coast of mallorcaAt supper we made Jof laugh so much she dribbled, which is nice given that her mothers' funeral is in less than a week. We were just having an argument about koalas when Jof said where do they come from and Bud said where do they go, where do they come from Cotton Eye Joe, and it all went downhill from there.
While the kiddie show was on, Jof took me to the crap shops for some tacky Mallorcan souvenirs (made in China) so we have something to remember the holiday by apart from the transient tans, palm tree seeds and enduring yearning for leggy German teenagers. I may also remember the theme tune to the animated bananas Starky and Stella, but I'm trying to forget.
Their nightly routine was as follows: Following the piped-music song of 2 chipmunks on acid fighting, they arrive on stage to rapturous applause from the under-5s and do the dance with the kiddie presenters. Then they stand at the back for the medal ceremony. They are then led by the hand (or lateral sticky-out bit) down the stage steps and around the whole audience bowl and back onto stage again. Then you realise that they absolutely cannot see where they're going because their eye-holes are set too high up on the ludicrous child-friendly costumes. The whole conga-line sequence is accompanied by their signature theme song on a loop.
iberostar club cala barca miniclub hotel star mascots"Starky, mi amigo, Stella, she's my friend. Here comes Starky, here comes Stella, we are going to have some fun! We've had a fun day in the sun, but now sleeping time has come."
Finally they make a big show of being tired to encourage the bratlets in the audience to go to bed so that Mutti and Vati can get stuck into the vino.
I did not get any Bob Esponja (SpongeBob) but got a nice watermelon-shaped dish, and a wooden box to keep my Majorca keyrings in.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Dogs' Balearics

iberostar cala barca majorca all inclusive summer holiday hotel poolCloudy, which rather defeats the point of flying 800 miles south. I sulked a lot so didn't get to paint my own T-Shirt in Maxi-Club.
Instead Jof and I played mini-monopoly on the terrace. We popped into the shop to buy funny drinkies and choccies for the Puddlers and some Budgie Smugglers (skintight bathing briefs, AKA conker hammock) for me, suitable for age 6 because I have such a tiny butt. They fit really well, feels like I'm wearing nothing at all...
We checked out the double-level pool in the faraway section of the hotel where they must work up an appetite for supper simply by hiking there. We met a cicada by our front door, Ha, not making that endless scratching sound now, are you?
After lunch I got in an hour's diving practise before the afternoon Maxi-Club games. I am getting much better at diving and swimming underwater with my eyes open but have inherited a terrible disability from Jof: buoyancy.
iberostar cala barca mallorca terrace all inclusive buffet mealJof can just sit there floating in water like she's in the Dead Sea, and I'm nearly as buoyant as her, so my dives aren't long as I pop up like a cork. Jof read and Bud snorkelled the giant sea caves in the open sea past the headland.
The buffet in the main restaurant is always impressive and we like to count up how many different things are on our plates: I normally get about 6 but the olds don't consider a plate filled until it's got 10.
Afternoon Maxi-Club was water polo and my team won. That gave us more time to play in the main pools and have ice cream. The ping pong defeated us yet again, the office is never open when we're there.
Anyway, the tables are always occupied by the usual hordes of 6-foot German girls, any one of which might rise up at any time to win Wimbledon.
iberostar cala barca mallorca hotel terrace stageAt suppertime I sampled the free shot which was Mad Dog Margarita (to go with the Mexican theme). I correctly identified the lime component and said I didn't like it anyway.
After supper (11 things on my plate, went back 3 times, don't like enchiladas) the Starky and Stella show took far too long to finish so I played Jof at cards.
The main evening entertainment was a multipurpose touring rock band called School of Rock who played various hits from the Eagles to Green Day. I demanded that Bud record a song and leant over and shouted "Does it record sound as well?" right into the microphone, ruining the recording.
To finish, I went for a starlit walk to the beach with Jof.