Wednesday, 30 April 2014

That Lovin' Jugful

taliban al qaeda afghan insurgents terrorist funny playing aroundToday we got a new Portuguese girl in our class. Her name is Luca or Leila or something, and Pops got to be her mentor and had to introduce her to the toilets using demonstrative sign language. She speaks no English at all so took a notepad round with her to write down all those complicated English words and we had to repeat a lot of them.
When Bud was at school, a new boy landed in the boarding house with no English at all and the first word he was taught was gang-bang, which is a kind of mass pillow fight between the dormitories. Lula/Leica had her work cut out getting her head around weewee.
Today we learned that good old Rootin' Tootin' Tutankhamen was named Tut when he was younger, probably got stick at school.
light colored sofa with crochet cellular blanketsBut then we took Poppy home and discussed Superheroes (Wander Woman - because she's always lost, and Spiderwoman, scared of herself) and played dens a bit (although we built separate dens and retired to them to read Horrid Henry) and she went into the loft and suggested we made it into a bedroom. In the end we ate chocolate with Phineas & Ferb.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Face in the Door

funny name fail grade yearbook pictureOur upstairs shower room has one of those big glass screens to keep the splashes inside the bath. Therefore it accumulates condensation, and acts as a blank canvas, freshly erased every night after drying off during the day. From a turkey's eye view (for an eagle's eye would be too high up the screen), sometimes, when I have finished my shower, there is a simple little smiley-face drawn as it were, by a little finger. A little finger at about waist height for an 8 year-old. And to think, there was that film once about the chap who made a living painting with his left foot.
So today in school I was sitting with my recently sharpened pencil wedged vertically between my legs for easy retrieval. I tried to retrieve it and punctured my hand to 2-plaster level. Although I got an award for handwriting, it was considerably more difficult after the pencil wound.
alexandra parade park by mountbatten centre portsmouth
It wasn't as bad as Ben who had a broken tooth surgically removed and then the dentist gave him sweeties for being good. Logic, huh. Ben and I made a song in our lunch break,
"Sausage, ah, ah, ah, bananas, ah, ah, ah, potatoes, ah, ah, ah. (Repeat repeatedly), I could sing this for 5 hours, 5 hours later, sausages, potatoes, bananas, ah, ah, ah." Don't expect us to be on 'Mars Ain't Got Talent' any time soon, but we're working on a video. My guitar teacher says I've improved over the holidays, but he's not telling me that. Bud sent me back inside to find my homework book which had totally disappeared, and Lo and Behold, magically was it's location revealed unto me, in my tray. Now I won't get a Zero for failing to hand it in.
I still can't do handstands in gymnastics, I keep falling down. But I'm doing it with more style ...

Monday, 28 April 2014

You're never alone with a Gnome

fire truck funny fail ramps won't stop a trainThe fun is beginning. Jof cycled to work for the first time and didn't get lost so a bonus there.
Most of my school day was normal apart from where we all got on a bus and went to the Tennis Academy where we played 3-D printing on the folding chairs (yes) and a bit of tennis as well. We got back just in time to be released into the wild and queued up at the water fountains in the playground.
We have booked a chimney sweep! Jof says he has to sing and dance in an atrocious accent but there is a thing on his website where it says that'll cost extra.
I am filling every spare minute with Minecraftery. Now I have a book on the subject, I have built a few castles etc but my most recent creation is a lengthy bridge with a fortress half way along.
minecraft bridge over water with fort and treesBecause I had contrived to take my homework to school unfinished, I couldn't do maths so did 20 minutes in the park. We'd arrived just as 30 older kids had gone so it was quite empty and I met Leyton and Owen and Avram and we had a wood-chip throwing competition and then it all got too much as Avram is something of an overweight bully, compensating by throwing his ample weight around. He beat me up and I had to be rescued. Bud pretended to be big and frightening and we left forthwith.
Ben and I played Minecraft and in Cubs we played Blind Man's Buff (not in the buff) and I won. There was another blindfolded game where you had to identify people by fingers alone, also not in the buff, close call there. We are working for the World Challenge badge and have to pick something we like about charity shops, not just the ready availability of Arnold Schwarzenegger DVDs.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Consequences be Dammed

salix matsudana curly corkscrew willowNobody got up today, so I snuck downstairs and had built a Minecraft castle before they noticed I was gone, practically.
My first job was to get a Homebase trolley and select some plants. We bought a curly willow tree, big pot, earth, chicken poo, all the usual stuff, and I added pansies and fuchsias and it looks very nice too, in our back yard which we are trying to make into a pub beer garden, like the Phoenix pub in Southsea, only without the stone dogs.
damming a waterfall near southsea nudist beachThen I must admit there was quite a lot of nothing until 5pm when I decided we had to go and build a dam. The sump in front of Fort Cumberland is still there but the tide was coming in and I got wet feet again and the terrain has been extensively remodelled by the winter storms. We piled some rocks around the edge and set up some metal bars we'd used before.
derelict cold war listening station and napoleonic fortFearing that we would be cut off by the rising tide (where's Canute when you need him?), we high-tailed it round to our most recent dam and spent a happy 20 minutes throwing rocks onto it so it would be easier to build next time we visit at actual low tide.
There was a hole in the fence so true to form we had a quick nose inside but there was a camera watching us so we didn't stay long. Fort Cumberland says it's an English Heritage location and open for visitors but not when you ring them and actually ask to go in, and the old derelict cold war era listening station is just a load of broken glass with trees growing out of it. Been there, done that.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Hope gets you through times of no Money better than Money gets you through times of no Hope

leopard skin gift from sheikh of sharjah illegal to trade under citesMy first job today was to wake up sleepy-head, which I did at 0838. Why? he said, Jof took a taxi to work so we could have the car. Oh dear.
Later we drove to Grandad's place as he had something for me. It was a 20 Euro banknote for spending money for my summer holiday, and he made me work out how much it was in pounds and the compass direction our plane will take and in return I showed him my Minecraft world.
portsmouth cycle exchange new and used bikes victoria road northI am wearing the real leopard skin that will be mine one day, it was tickly. Grandad was busted for speeding last week, it cost him £100. Better than the time he was busted for possession with intent to supply an illegal drug I suppose.
Then he gave us the leftovers from Grandma's current account that she doesn't need any more due to being dead. I paid it in at Jof's bank and she pulled faces at me through the glass.
Straight away she asked for a new bike so she walked to the bike shop in the rain. I had ordered her to get one with a basket on the front so she could carry my bucket and spade and I wouldn't have to wear a rucksack.
bicycling on southsea promenade We cycled to the bike shop in the same rain and met her there: I organised the fitting of a new bike bell before anyone realised I'd gone. Jof got a nice big bike with the basket on the front and briefcase clasper on the back, and the nice man threw in a bike lock as well.
She needed to get some practise so we all convoyed down to the seafront and threw rocks and she is all hopeful about how this will turn her life around etc. I can also go out for mini-rides with her now, I'll only be doing the big manly 12-milers with Bud because she's just a girl. The sun came out and we all dried off. OK, I clanged into the kerb and skinned my Achilles tendon a little, but who's counting. The future's bright, but I'd left my shades at home.
Later we set up the game of Monopoly that we'd started a couple of weeks ago. I didn't fancy my chances so said let's play Risk instead: now I (the Yellow Peril) own Australia and most of Russia. Stupid-Head is gonna die real soon, I just have to kill the Thinking Woman Strumpet and I'll be World Dominatrix ... (think I've got the words right)

Friday, 25 April 2014

Methinks it is like a Weasel

religious maniacs praying to god before eating dinner give thanksWell, thanks. It totally rained all day, must have known it was swimming day.
I was full of complicated negotiation about playing Minecraft, if I do my guitar practice and my homework and swimming lesson and I've got half an hour saved up from yesterday so it'd be better if I went on the tablet first and then if I've done my homework I can go on it again ... O the tangled verbal webs we weave, when we're trying to get what we want.
Homework was laughable. You have to play Blankety-Blank, effectively, but without help from any of Michael Jackson's children. Fill in the missing pronoun from the meagre selection below, it says: here we go.
When the boys went to the park, they found a coin. ___ was glistening in the grass.
Archie walked through the woods, unaware ___ was being followed.
I want ___ to listen carefully, said the Teacher.
childrens book section at whsmiths stationersPersonally I thought you could only get this wrong if you were a turnip, but Bud says there must be people out there who are less capable, or they wouldn't have posed the question. Plus they would be called a 'Dinlo' in the local dialect.
We are going to see Grandad tomorrow because he has something for me, apparently (a punch in the twizzlers before I get taller than him, probably) so today we bought him some maps of his local area to show willing, because he likes country walks and we don't want him to get lost in a field of long grass.
foamy fountain washing up liquid portsmouth commercial road In WHSmith, I tried to sneak a Minecraft book into the shopping basket but he said Ho No you don't, I'm not buying that pants for you, get a Horrid Henry, so I did. I like their shelves. If I read all that lot, just think how many house reading points I could get at school!
Some local wags (gosh darn it, aren't they such cards) had done some high jinks and poured Tesco El-Cheapo washing up liquid in the fountain for a jape. It's quite funny and foamy and frothy but you've got to feel sorry for the poor council chap who's got to clean it out again, and the doggies that can't get a drink without coming away with a comic Santa Claus beard.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Roll away, the Stoned

more efficient drinking alcohol at 1970s partyGot a lift in through the fog with The Pops which helped. After school comes park day and we got there early enough to meet many familiar faces.
Once Ben and the JBs got in, we played football and I had to storm off in a huff twice due to Bob and my overwrought emotional state.
soft yellow foam footballI took off my shirt (not as a prelude to fisticuffs) and once the JBs had gone, Ben and I played Drunk Referee which meant going "Ba!" at each other and falling down, rolling around in the mud. I needed an early shower.
Jof has bought me a new suitcase-on-wheels. It is distinctly bigger than the last one (good for beach towels) and doesn't have any gaudy pac-man smiley faces all over it. It is called Tripp, not sure if it's a journey-related pun or Maria Von Tripp's famous special mushroom stroganoff.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A Clean Delivery

engrish product funny fail technology lamp made in wuhan chinaA couple of weeks ago, the washing machine was still going grunge-grunge-grunge but wasn't actually washing, spinning or doing any of the things we'd bought it for.
terracotta tiled floor in bespoke wooden kitchenNow I know that many white goods are cynically manufactured to die irreparably 3 days after their first birthday so that they are out of warranty and the luckless customers have to buy a new one. As it happens, this really isn't the case with us. Our first one was £100 out of the repair shop and lasted 11 years before being replaced (still working) with this one, which lasted 8.
When I scooted back home, the delivery lorry was already there and I investigated the hole left by the old machine. It had a couple of mouse poos from the last mouse (long flushed) and the chaps got to work installing the new one, once we'd cleaned it out a bit. It's bigger and can fit 2 cats, 3 if they aren't those awful hairy ones.
They said we had to put it on a hot wash - but empty - to clean out its pipes so we did that, while we went to Wednesday Park. Nobody came again. I sat on the stairs in the barn (out of the drizzle) with LittleMax and Owen, playing Minecraft. We shouted "Blow it up! Blow it up!" so loudly the woman in charge of the junior dance class told us to all go and sit where she could see us so we ran away. BensMum said that Wednesday Park still isn't on a Wednesday, only when the sun turns white and the moon blue.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Stuck in a Virtual Limbo Dancer

funny church sign have a nice day godFirst day back at school and full of intrigue as ever. I showed off my Egyptian amulet in genuine sand and scored 10 house points for having included an archaeological paintbrush to uncover it with. Ben's bringing his in tomorrow, says it's so big he has to have his dad to lift it.
Our teacher showed us her holiday snaps and we did the dome in the assembly hall which is a planetarium-like display hemisphere with films and sound effects and at one point, a dinosaur hunting for us. At least he knew that they were all extinct long before the Egyptians turned up. We had to write our names in Hieroglyphics and mine is Owl-Vulture-Bowl of water with folded up towel.
After lunch I was in the toilet when Eddie, Oakley and Stanley came in and stuck their hands under the cubicle wall trying to grab my legs, moaning like so many floor-level zombies.
Then they sang made-up songs with rude body part lyrics and I went straight to the teacher and told on them. They had to go on detention.
pirate ship rigging in playgroundI am later informed that getting a reputation as a snitch may not help my standing within the school authority hierarchy, let alone the student popularity pecking order.
Guitars don't start till next week so we had time to investigate the little swingpark by the motorway. But we never made it because the Stamshaw Adventure Playground was open! I've been there once before with YMCA, but we've never seen it open since.
It's quite broken inside but full of herbs and fruit trees and kids playing "Cannons".
linked splash pools for summer water play First, you split into 2 teams. You make a 'Castle' up against the wall, made of 4 sticks, it closely resembles a wicket. Team A throws the tennis ball at it, Team B tries to stop them, and at some given point, the game metamorphoses into the chasing and throwing part in which throwers try to target runners, who can catch it and live, or get hit and die. The ball goes anywhere, and we had to rescue it from patches of stinging nettles twice, and we were only there for 20 minutes.
I will return to this council-provided oasis of play in a sombre area of less-fortunate housing where brightly coloured sweatpants are in, and tongues are out. Tyres are freely provided, climbing frames with ropes are extensive, as are the water features.
ps. Some 11 years before I was born, my parents won a Limbo competition at Hotel Club Chellah, Tangier, Morocco. The bar was a broomstick held by the entertainment staff and competitors were in pairs and had to remain joined (holding hands) when passing under the bar, using devious and clever means. The bar gradually lowered as the rounds passed and in the end, they were judged equal against some little kids, the difference in body size being unfair at that point. We still have the certificate.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Unfinished Business

east hayling light railway staion by funlands amusement parkThree days ago I cycled to "Funland" on Hayling Island seafront and bought an all-you-can-ride bracelet, good for 3 hours. While this is all very victorious, I didn't get to ride the little train along the seafront so today we abandoned Jof to her laundries and got on our bikes of freedom once again.
The Hayling Ferry saw us coming and came over to pick us up, same as last time. I didn't even know they had a timetable.
Parking the bikes against exactly the same bit of fence, I nipped around the corner to find the train was right there waiting for us, didn't even know it had a timetable, either. The Hayling Seaside Railway doesn't use steam any more, but the little carriages are very olde worlde and once everyone was on, it whistled, hooted, buzzed and tweeted and we were off!
It goes at jogging pace and is very rumbly and bumpy, and follows the corniche road but does wiggle about a bit, to avoid car parks, beach hut developments, clusters of obese locals with their oddly limited gene pool and the coastguard station. All the way, people were strangely compelled to wave at us, as we rattled along being chased by dogs.
Half way along is 'Mengham Road', a request stop. Nobody wanted to get on, and we trundled past.
The train terminates in 'Eastoke Corner', a motley collection of shops and chip outlets with a terracotta pot shop, house clearance, large toilets, off licence, ice cream parlours and a small village green with a set of pillories and stocks.
But the best thing for me was the sandpit park and exercise park right by the station. I swung and climbed and tried to push all the levers and even did some sit-ups. After sausage, egg'n'chips at JR's Diner we headed to the sea (40 yards) and found an abandoned sandcastle. For some reason I took to bombing it from the neighbouring groyne with the biggest rocks that my assistant could find.
eastoke corner hayling islandThen, the sea was trying to wash it away with its interfering waves and we piled up all the cast-down rocks to defend it. That's when I got hit by an unexpected wave and while I didn't actually fall in the sea, all of a sudden I was in it. I lost interest in the promised ice cream and we headed back to the train, placing an abandoned child in the sandpit for safe keeping.
On the return trundle, it started raining. I sheltered on the helter-skelter at Funland and it had stopped but I was wet and sandy anyway so we returned home. The ferry came when I called and it turned out Jof had been there to pick us up only an hour before (and had gone). I was tired and cold but sang in the shower for ages and caused even more laundry.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Day of Making Things

junior science kit galt toysI could get used to this holiday lark. Woke Jof up 9-ish but she absolutely insisted on another few hours so I played Minecraft and started on the saved-up jobs.
My Egyptian amulet is a highly valuable desert find, unique in recorded history and raw materials are available from HobbyCraft for as little as £5. I painted it gold. Unsure about this, I then painted it pink.
A few weeks ago, Friends from the University of the Distant Past 'PaulandMarie' gave me a junior science kit aimed at little aliens. I fit the bill if not the trousers so started with the make-your-own-asteroid.
With minimal laboratory training I successfully created my own genuine heavenly body! I like all this follow-the-instructions stuff, and I did all of it myself. The next was make your own 3-eyed moulded alien out of green goo-slime extracted from the very nose of Blim himself, a genuine alien! It was sticky and gooey and once the transient alien was sitting on his baking tray, he slowly fell foul of local gravitational forces and spread out to occupy most of said tray.
With the help of 1 tape measure and 3 false starts, I made my own solar system out of wall stickers, it says you'll go all the way around your bedroom but I guess my bachelor pad is a little larger than average, ladies. Meanwhile, my Lego Newcastle United football ground was finished.
At lunchtime, we had all the lights in the house on. It is traditional that an Easter break will have at least 1 day of terrible weather to force families to enjoy family activities together. But it didn't stop him running so I talked all the way through Doctor Who and the Cybermen to keep Jof from getting nervous.
lego st james' park football stadiumJof had decided to make a complicated roast turkey meal for Pagan festival Oestrus with Xmas pudding from 4 years ago, because starchy delicacies are a dish best served mature. So in order to get me out of the way, he elected to start Experiment #4 from the Dr Goebbels book of learning (Galt Toys Space, Stars and Aliens Megabundle).
The 'Luke Upwards Super Star Show' is a 3-D cardboard creation in which you press out all the little pre-printed pieces and fold carefully along the scored lines to aid in construction. I folded outward, not inward, but who's counting.
Step #3 sounds easy. Spread glue in the flaps of the 12-sided long piece and adhere to opposite flap, holding in place for a few hours, sorry, moments, until the glue has set. Perform same function with the other 2 sections. Of course, unless you are the B'stard offspring of Ripley-Vishnu and the 78-fingered creature from the black lagoon, you cannot possibly hold all sections in place until the glue has set (September).
home planetarium science kit cardboard display unitSo I must admit my frail human assistant had to be activated and chose to use the lesser-known Pikachu warrior "Junior Stapler". The poor old Great Bear constellation will never be the same again as it was riven by steel tie-supports and woe betide me if Captain Picard ever says meet me in Stellar Cartography, for I will get lost. But at least, with sufficient riveting, the overall shape of the Montgolfier balloon was approached.
Instruction #5. Making sure the printed blue side is facing outwards, glue Tab A to Tab B/C and match up Leo to create a globe shape. The terror of IKEA arose from Pandora's XXX-Box and there were choice phrases and complicated utterances the like of which I haven't heard since Rollercoaster Frenzy last week.
"Attach top ****ing section A by gluing the flaps in place from Tab 6 (because obviously Tabs 1-5 went so ****ing perfectly), if there are any unwanted gaps, cover with stickers..."
I particularly liked Instruction 8. "Now for the fiddly bit..."
At this point Adult Assistant A inserted Oak-aged Ale Blend B into Oral Receptacle C and refused to continue, and I found Lego to build. And then I helped Jof make the 19-component Roast of Complexity, for I like instruction-led procedures...

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Default Position

kid playing minecraft on tablet on sofaUp nice and late today, well into the tens. Hoovering went on around me and I adopted my default position which is sitting contorted on the sofa, playing Minecraft on Jof's tablet.
painted easter eggs and little egg shaped clay tabletsBud went to see Grandad so I was left with Jof. We watched "Haunted House" and painted some eggs and the egg-shaped leaflets we'd made out of clay. And that was a push, if I'd had my way, I wouldn't have moved off the sofa all day.
At least when he got back, I allowed myself half an hour in the park, but there was nobody I knew, just a bunch of teenagers doing obstacle course show-off on the climbing frames. I chose not to compete, but have saved their moves to impress Ben et al when they return.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Rocking. Rolling. Coasting?

amusement funland hayling islandHad a bad dream at about 0500 about aliens taking over the world. Jof said well you shouldn't show him films categorized 18, then, but I said no, it was the FRIV kids game I played last night on the computer. But then I sneezed so much she sent me back to my own bed and I didn't get up till 10ish.
By midday Bud demanded I come out for a bike ride. I was unsupportive but Jof insisted (even though she had to stay behind and do the hoovering) so we cycled to the Hayling Ferry with a short stopoff at Melville Road swingpark, a poor affair of limited facilities.
The ferry was there to greet us and having made the approx. 200 yard crossing, we cycled to "FUNLAND", the funfair on Hayling Island. It's always difficult to know how many tokens to buy but there was a special offer for latecomers, unlimited rides 2-5pm for £8 each. We said, we'll have some of that ticket action, my son, and proceeded to the beach to waste the 28 minutes before the offer kicked in.
funland kids ride hayling seafront
I slyly inveigled myself into a littoral castle-building session by introducing myself and asking to help unknown kids 'Finlay' and 'Max'. We defended their Norman-style motte and bailey castle against the waves for a bit until it was qualifying time for the special ticket offer.
The thing is, I don't like rollercoasters. At Funland, there are either kiddie rides, or rollercoasters. So having spent £16 on the all-you-can-ride bracelets, he was getting a bit twitchy when I said all I wanted to do was the helter-skelter, a manual curly slide of about 15 metres in height.
So I agreed to do the junior drop. It was quite funny. So were the spinning cup things.
Then we did the glacier mini-coaster. It was ok, it only went up once so I could cope. Nearby was some kind of circular caterpillar device which we had to ourselves. It twisted and raised up on one side so you got squashed in a corner. Not bad, if you're a 5 year-old that still wets itself.
From there we could not avoid the Junior Chinese lantern rollercoaster. I'd been eyeing it suspiciously and felt a little railroaded into doing it but then all of a sudden it was brill! It doesn't speed up on the downturn as expected, but there are 2 unexpected whizzy bits and you get to go round 3 times.
amusement funfair ride hayling seafontHaving survived the experience (that's £300 wasted on writing my will, then) I was ... more open to possibilities. We did the kiddie train ride and fought each other with nipple-tweaks and complicated hand movements and advanced war cries the whole way round, to the amusement of the onlookers. Well, it is an amusement park.
Then I rode a red plane but it's just not the same without a stiffened pilot's scarf.
Did I mention gross obesity? Well, it's really not a problem in my school, although they do go on about it plentifully. But here, we were surrounded by nebulous nitwits eating donuts and candyfloss and hot dogs and popcorn and chips from the many oleaginous and sugary outlets. I'm maybe less svelte than once I was, but seriously, it was pork bucket city over there. Even His Royal Ugliness and I looked good in comparison.
Then we tried the Cyclone. You get quite strapped in, and with a cunning combination of wheels and engineering, you go around and about, circles within circles, faster and faster, looking like you're going to crash into the wall or other cringing combatants. A steady stream of invective issued from his mouth, lucky I've watched all those advanced-level films or it'd have been meaningless.
hayling island funland funfairStaggering sideways, we queued for "Beaver Falls" which is a mini-coaster where you get wet. We got wet indeed, and I stood up just where the sign says don't stand up. We got ice creams to compensate (a couple of helter-skelters while he was in the queue) and I was too small to go on the big music-rotator. They have 'You must be this tall' signs everywhere and I only failed that one. I expect I would have failed the big drop but we never made it.
But then came my big test. The Klondike Goldmine is a much bigger rollercoaster, we'd seen it from the beach and it does a loop-the-loop and there are many sharp turns and big drops and screaming passengers.
During the queue, I kept contradicting myself as I sought to equalize my burning nearly-man ambition with my abject horror of dying, and the unknown. I'm looking forward to it ... I'm not going on it, that kind of stuff. He distracted me all the way to the front of the queue and all of a sudden I was strapped in and we were off!
boy on hayling ferry with cycle helmetI was right, and so was he. It was absolutely terrifying, and I didn't die. Not even a little bit. I came out energized and ready to do battle with the next big thing but in the end I only had time to do the helter-skelter a further 6 times before the ticket ran out and I paid £1 to ride the motorbikes and we cycled back to the ferry.
It was the smaller version and it came across for us specially (empty) and the tidal currents were so strong we had to go sideways. I was leggily benumbed and we cycled home very slowly indeed, energy levels low and battery reserves depleted. But while I told Jof how happy I was to have conquered my fears, he bought beer and found a £20 note outside the Co-op.
So a reasonably average day. Mildly acceptable, that's the way we do it, shyly retiring as ever.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

You can never have enough Pelicans

boston massachusetts misspelled shirt msaeachubaets engrish product failMy swimming lesson was cancelled this week due to the arbitrarily defined death of fictional character 'jesus'. But they gave me a voucher for a free swim anywhere else, great idea, we thought.
But the chosen pool was not open today so I elected to revisit Havant Leisure Centre, the scene of my recent victorious 7th birthday party, 2 months after I turned 8. (don't ask)
It was distinctly cheaper and clean and nice and Jof now favours it over the Pyramids, although it's smaller. They have a functioning diving board and I asked the nice lifeguard if I could go on it, he said let's have a swim-test then, see if you'll survive the rigours of extra fun without dying totally. I trod water in a corner for a minute and did a 25 metre length, which was sufficient for his demanding purposes. It was somewhat tiring but it proved I'm competent.
Then I jumped off the board and I saw that it was good. It was very good. So I went round and round for an hour doing jumps and bombs and sillies and the odd actual dive, learning from the ambitious yet talented local 12 year-olds. Jof got quite bored and she eventually forced me to leave so we could have our picnic in the car in the car park, just like those old people on the seafront but without the sea, or the age, or the falling asleep with your mouth open.
lego kit 70801 melting room from the lego movie laser tortureThis warranted even more Lego, apparently (one can never have enough), so in addition to my recent surprise acquisition 'Lego Movie Melting Room 70801', I got 'Lego Movie Bad Cop's Pursuit 70802'. Of course, as Ben points out in his blog, anyone taking pictures in a swimming pool environment (of a boy in mid-air over a diving board, perhaps) must be a paedo-nasty.
So you will have to make do with images of a strapped-down victim undergoing Abwehr authoritarian laser-torture and one of Gestapo Police brutality, as is the way nowadays.
lego alligators emmett badcop chaseLego BadCop's Pursuit has, get this, 2 Police Alligators with woo-woo lights, and BadCop's flying DeLorean has twin lift-up flaps with concealed weaponry. The dangly green quadropus (octopus with only 4 legs) on the broken bridge is seaweed, Fucus me, I wouldn't have known that.
Insufficient Pelicans? No idea. Found a bit of paper with this cryptic message written on it, so it must have been important at some point.
Later, Jof and I watched MasterChef. I actually really like it, even though the food itself is far too complicated for my junior palate, perhaps I just like seeing a knowledgeable, competent and yet oddly familiar bald man in opinionated action.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Ho-Ho-Home Run

fingerme megan finger email address username funny failFinally started my homework project today. Originally, the 'Bust of Tutankhamen rendered in Lego' got too difficult after the second layer and I abandoned it, conveniently but inaccurately blaming the JBs for messing it up.
But a Swarovski crystal and some modelling clay gave me a much better idea, and today Jof and I started an Egyptian amulet, later I will put it in a shoebox of sand (available at any local beach) and say it's an archaeological discovery, a cross between the Eye of Ra in Stargate and the bejewelled device that fits on the rod in Indiana Jones to show you where the Ark is.
playing baseball in milton park southseaWe've also done some flat ovoids to act as paintable Easter Egglets, we just have to wait for the clay to dry and harden.
The JBs invited me to the park and I took my rounders set that they roundly ignored on the beach. We did actually play for a goodly while, Bobert worked against us and only wanted to sabotage the game so we could go back to football but the baseball was quite funny. Of course you can't play properly with 3 kids and an adult child, but we tried and swapped roles and I always had to have a wicket keeper because I rarely hit it and there were dogs on the pitch and we hit some canoodling teenagers and whenever we hit one we all ran round and round because there was only one midfielder and so we all scored an infinite amount of home runs.
Later Jof and I made St James' Park out of Lego. Well, when you've separated off all your black and white bricks, it's only fair. I have made a viewing booth for David Beckham and I objected to the Lego Humanoids because one has a blue face, maybe he swallowed his tongue.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A low-lying Sandboy

health surver alcohol consumption funny failToday I got my promise from last week to go back to the adventure playground and get sanded up again. It is no coincidence that I have a holiday period during sunshine and keep re-sanding myself just when the washing machine is broken and we're waiting for a new one.
I spent 2 hours (split) in the sandpit and had so many chips for lunch, Jof had to stop me eating them. So I had to go straight into the shower upon my return.
anchorage park play area portsmouthIt sounded a really good idea to go early to Gymnastics and try out Anchorage Park Park, but the road was jammed all the way up and I could clearly see Ben and the JBs in Swingpark through the fence.
I tried the spinning cup which makes your head go whizzy and I only just scraped Gym on time due to traffic lights on Norway Bridge for the sewer rebuild, of all things. In play-gym, we somersaulted into the foam pit with the occasional mid-air collision.
I have been caught lying twice in a row. Last night, I said I'd done my teeth even though I'd only been upstairs for 20 seconds and had clearly gone straight to bed, my toothbrush languishing in its bone dry fossilized state. Today I said I'd done my extended guitar practice in yet another 20 second window with no melodious sounds at all coming down the stairs to their waiting ears. I wonder what I shall have to sell if I am caught again? My Lego collection? A kidney?
Later the car was loaded with the last of the rubbish from Dear Follower Martin's back yard. It was a giant blue barrel, originally 125 kg of white acrylic paint (must have been a big job), looked like you could blow up the Cyberdyne Systems building with it.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Achoo! (repeat x 56), Life's a Beach

stuff of nightmares snake in u-bendOver the last week it has become increasingly obvious that I have hay fever. Jof gets it. Bud gets it. Grandad gets it. And now, thanks to my human progenitors (I am 63 ½% human) I am cursed to endure this sticky scourge for the rest of my life. Thanks, guys, I've no idea what I've got to look forward to.
Well, it was a lazy day. Jof slept in so as next in command I granted myself access to her tablet and played Minecraft lots. We kept saying 'Yeah... we'll go to the park...' but never quite made it.
But at school pickup time (seems like a distant memory) Ben summoned me to the beach which doubles as my second home, currently, and I'm hoping to get MP's expenses on it.
buckets and spades on southsea beachBud and I cycled to the glasses shop who mended the damage (that I had previously inflicted) free of charge. We found the Puddlers on the beach and got about 2 and a half hours of hard labour in the sun, a wonderful treat for mid-April. The tide was out to lunch, and so were we as we made a really rubbish castle and some kind of drainage trench down by the waterline, which receded like a middle-aged hairline. The castle got infected by girls anyway.
The JoniBobs have a splendid pair of plastic scoop things from IKEA. They look a bit junior but are quite sturdy and extremely efficient at digging up our stony beach.
low tide at southsea beachIn no time, we had a hole one of us could fit in. We took it in turns to fall in it in a variety of interesting ways and hope to sell the footage for £250 to Silly Videos'R'Us and we spent ages setting up and destroying the theatricals while divvying up the money.
All of us wish to set up a website detailing our activities with videos and pictures and reams of verbiage but don't know how to do it yet. I realise that announcing that on my own blog is slightly hatstand but when you're 8, that's the norm. (Norman Bates)
I conned Jof into putting my bike in the car for an easier ride home and completely inhaled a plateful of prawns, fishcake, black pudding, carrots and corn for added strength.
Bonus video: Johnny falling into the hole. In retrospect, falling in bum-first may not be good as he got totally folded and the stones we used to hold down the towel kinda hit him on the head a bit, but he lived to dig again. It does show quite how deep it was, for Johnny is 6 foot 13 and we had to pull him out by his feet.
video

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Changing Tides in the affairs of Men

natwest bank fareham cricket force bath lane voluntary worknatwest sports in the community voluntary workActually woken up today, and I thought it was a Sunday, in the middle of a fortnight's holiday.
Jof drove us to Fareham, just down the road from last week's bike ride, and we took an aromatic subway under the dual carriageway and found - paradise. Fareham and Crofton Cricket Club sits in a verdant triangle of land right by Fareham Creek and is cut off from the rest of civilisation by the railway.
fareham lake yacht marina cams hall estateboy keeping bar in cricket club Jof's work sponsors them as part of their ongoing doing-good-in-the-community thingy and Jof had signed us up to doing some good works to help their season start with a bang. We got our orders which was paint the pavilion, although Jof got to clean out the bar area, and do the washing up. Not that she's a woman or anything.
sea walls damaged by winter storms eastney pumping stationI painted stonework and woodwork and helped Jof put water in the vodka and then we all got sausage inna bun! I did some nets practise and eventually, once people started drifting off, we checked out the swingpark which is right by the water and we watched the little yachts and swans and it was sunny and we felt good in our free T-shirts that we were given for painting a building that's going to be demolished in September.
Well, the swingpark isn't up to much but the location dazzles. Met back up with Jof to go shopping while he cycled home. I had elected not to do this, possibly a mistake.
trying to dam the low tide king canuteAt 4pm it was still such a lovely day that we all decamped to the seaside. The car park at Fort Cumberland is free if bumpy and we knew it was low tide so we took the bucket (orange) and the spade (broken) and made a dam by the sewage outflow pipe. The Eastney pumping station is undergoing a refit or expansion and is very very smelly.
old sewage outflow pipe eastney portsmouthThere's also lots of winter storm damage to the sea defences and it's all fenced off, therefore full of teenagers doing bike tricks and trying to get through the fence into the Fort, like I have done a few times.
Throwing rocks is a speciality and soon, some other kids joined in and we all got wet and laughed. It was like playing Minecraft IRL. The tide was out, and if we'd had any more time we would have been totally victorious but when we actually saw the tide change direction, we were in a losing battle and it got swamped. I fell over 3 times and Jof fell on her bottie on the slippery sea-weedy rocks and we didn't mind. We found 3 crabs and some Rock Gobies. Whoever is there at next low tide will have a tremendous advantage in their civil engineering scheme with all the rocks we've piled up for them.
Even Jof is learning that pointless hard work where you don't win, get paid or see any point to the exercise can be wonderful. Straight in the shower when I got back. That naughty sand gets everywhere.