Thursday, 30 April 2015

KhaziDroid: Bogbot from Hell

pile of used pallets by waters' edgeJof had asked me to feed her pigs (on Hayday, not real pigs) when I got home from school, I tried but I got there too late. This does not mean she got deceased cyber-pigs, just that they didn't produce any crackling.
Today I had a dental checkup appointment with the new dentist with wayward hair. He told me I hadn't brushed my teeth enough and that because my mouth is so small (even if I can't keep it shut) I may have to have braces one day. This is just bluster from these fly-by-night healthcare professionals, I'm sure, if I'm to be an international film star I won't want a gobful of titanium.
kampa king khazi camping toilet from towsureThen we took some repaired hurricane lamps and a portable toilet to the Scout lock-up.
The Kampa King Khazi (yes) is a camping latrine that vaguely resembles the bottom end of a cut-price Dalek. All I need to do is stick on some egg-boxes and go round hectoring people in a silly voice and I can take over this sector of space.
Thus I took the chance to wear a colander on my head and wield the Egg-whisk of Doom and the Sink Plunger of Eternal Damnation, as you do, when you're planning on exterminating an entire species. After all, when else will you have a 'king khazi in your kitchen.
Tomorrow it is Blue Day in which we will wear blue, be depressed about turning 21 in prison doing life without parole and go round singing sad songs about lost homelands, ex-girlfriends and how we got laid off at the factory. Also there will be book quizzes so I have made it my priority to re-read all 7 Harry Potter books tonight in order to maximize my knowledge. Sadly Minecraft and 6 new episodes of Gravity Falls got in the way.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Giant Tennis Ball Unite!

gas station sign funny failSchool was OK but Ben was so slow leaving in the afternoon, I went in to find him.
He gave me a tour of his classroom (yes, I've been in his classroom before, it was more of a show and tell of the project work) so in fairness, we both went over to my classroom to inspect and compare all the Roman artefacts done by my classmates.
Here you can see my Lego sword and Jof's mosaic.
On the way home we did the who am I game again. In what we imagine is a posh voice, you state:
meon junior school classwork romansHello. My first name is ______, my second name is _____ and my third name is _____. So I am _____ _____ _____.
It's just a matter of filling in the blanks. For example, my full name could be Professor Wiggly Bumbiter. You just have to imagine 2 young chaps following the same formula for the whole way home...
"Hello. My second name, no, my first name is Professor, my second name is Penis, no, my first name is Dead-in-a-ditch, my second name is, um, Professor, my third name is squashed tomato, and so my full name is Dancing Tomatoes is-going-to-get-killed".
game of tag with a giant tennis ballWe played Lego in my room until the designated time for the park when the rain had stopped and it was bright and warm. Bobert met us on my doorstep and we all ran there together.
Ben always brings his football but I took my secret weapon which is the giant yellow tennis ball we got last week. It's light and very bouncy and everyone loved it so we played Ball-Tag which is not rude but basically "It" where you have to hit someone with the ball and then they're "It".
Mostly we threw it at each other but 3 of us are football-mad and quite skilled so there was a lot of kicking as well. We managed to play this (not including 2 food breaks) for nearly an hour before Owen the Destroyer got kicked and the JBs had to be taken home, so we headed back to mine and got nearly an hour of Lego before he was taken from me, can't I keep him?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Got Wood?

fuck and luck rhymes with duck kindergartenWell, it was nearly a good day. We had a 'Good Try' which is where we have to write a poem without warning, in this case about a random war. I may not be Wilfred Owen but I had a game stab at rhyming jungle warfare and even drew a picture of a captured POW strung up, having his chest cut and with a lever next to him labelled High Voltage, not that I've seen the Rambos or anything.
wood and cardboard for scout campfireI took in my Dumbledore wand and the Gringott's coin collection and I was just about to do my show'n'tell when we ran out of time because everyone was talking.
Why is it that Faith got to display her manky dolly or whatever it was, and my important stuff misses out?
After school we did the giant unloading thing as before. The car was full of dead pallets again and some coffins and boxes and tubes so we filled the garage and I used the multiple-tube rocket launcher to bring down some enemy helicopters. He destroyed the pallets and filled the coffins with oodles of naily wood while I got bonus Minecraft time, but we did get to gymnastics on time.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mirror Inspector. A job I can see myself doing

you need to be logged in to log out. please log in to log out.Actually quite nice to get back to school and we were tasked with making a 'Scratch' animation about Romans for the Year 3s. Because it was only for the Year 3s we were told specifically to only use half of our brains so as not to overload the poor little tiny people and their limited powers of comprehension.
I did a section on sewers (what have the Romans ever done for us) and inserted a picture of a man pulling a face and clutching his willy. Then he says Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.
warner brothers harry potter studio tour items from shopRight at the end of the day I was just getting my coat when the 2 Boys Who Might Do Better In A Special School bundled me into the cupboard again in their haste and I scraped my ear, which is above average size, and it hurt lots. Minor incidents like this colour my report of the whole day.
This is just some of the booty I won (at vast expense) at Harry Potter World. I've been telling Erin all about the Hogwarts Express, she might have to go again.
At Cub Scouts we were warned to wear wet weather gear and bring gloves for litter-picking. We scoured the church land for litter and my team won, I found a functioning pen and someone else found 2 giant water bottles. This goes towards a badge, but the running-the-gauntlet-of-the-water-gun wasn't. Those with the longest hair got the wettest.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Majorcan Showergel Dance

cassiobury park centenary slate markerWoke up in Watford. This was surprising but then I used some showergel labelled as used in Iberostar hotel chain, Majorca. This is because Jof always removes such items from hotels, knowing that the hoteliers expect that, and because they might come in handy, next time you're in a hotel.
Thus once we'd finished a very piggy breakfast, she stripped the room bare of all that wasn't nailed down, and we only just persuaded her to ditch the lamp and the hairdryer.
Thus we came away with many little pots of jam, sachets of sugar, showercaps, mending kits, grooming kits, fruit, cereal and teabags. At this point we have no idea what hotel we'll be in when we use these things, but one suspects we'll export some of them to Crete, to use them there and in turn, bring back some Greek showergel to re-export to Torquay or Cheltenham or wherever we end up next.
cassiobury park watford wildlife sanctuaryWe hadn't really planned very well for the day so went to Cassiobury Park.
This very large green space is in Watford and has a wildlife sanctuary, 2 swingparks, quite a lot of Scouts and Beavers, the Grand Union Canal, a massive splashpark (empty), a miniature railway (very funny) and a lot of ancient trees of all nations. It was most tranquil, apart from where a dog convention had gathered so the elated hounds could splash about in the water chasing sticks and tennis balls.
I climbed the unusual climber-frame made of giant cubic zirconia, we met some ducks and a lock on the canal and a weir and some rivers and I fell over on the trampoline and we both swung in the chair swings and if you played hide and seek there, you'd starve before anyone found you. Houses backing onto the park start at 800k and go up. The London Underground station is next to the park giving you access to central London in half an hour.
edge grove school aldenham watford
Then we battled our way over the good old A41 again (it narrows to a single lane just by the Sainsbury's so is always jammed) and drove right past the hotel we'd just checked out of and north on the Radlett Road to a very wealthy village near the M1 called Aldenham.
Turns out that Bud went to the Preparatory School there called Edge Grove. Now, I've seen his second school and wanted to go there but it would be a bit of a commute, not to mention the ambitious school fees for a private education of that calibre. But this one was from when he was 7 to 13, and still living in the desert countries and flying there and back on his own.
The drive is long and surrounded by cow fields and it used to be an old country house until the 1950s when it was converted into a boarding school for 100 or so pupils. Amazingly, in the 32 years since he last visited, it's changed. All the doors are locked. CCTV abounds, as do fences and gates, but the inside bit still has oak panelling and is very grand.
preparatory boarding school for 7 - 13 boys and girls
We were taken around by a teacher who told us it's grown to 400 kids and half of them are girls, which would have been interesting in the old days. We saw 'North', the dormitory over the main staircase, it used to be the ballroom and is now carpeted and only has 5 sets of bunk beds and a TV and some cushions and you can still see the fire escape going onto the roof where Bud was busted late one night for running around on the roof. The Portuguese servants have been replaced by Australian gap year students, new adventure playgrounds have been erected but the Virginia Creeper remains. Grandad used to delight in parking his ancient Austin Morris next to all the Bentleys and Rolls Royces on the playing field for sports days, but he's like that.
The many acres of rural land have some excellent den-building facilities and a lake with an island and a boat, outside swimming pool to stiffen the backbones, lots of new buildings and we found Bud on some old school photos from the 1970s. He looked like me. This does not bode well for the future.
disposable items stolen from hilton hotels room
Of course I now want to go to that school but the same issues arise, we simply don't live abroad and we'd have to sell the house to pay the fees anyway, it's not justified. So we gave the science teacher some hard disc drive magnets, noted the many locked doors keeping us from checking out the cellars and saw some horses and drove past the same bored cows to the Round Bush Pub where the lady asked us if we'd booked but we had lunch anyway.
Home was an hour and a half away and I watched Harry Potter 2.

Harry Potter and the Very Expensive Shop

warner brothers studio tour watfordI woke up with a seven in it because I was very excited. For ages I'd been dreaming of going to Harry Potter World and Jof had sprung for tickets for all of us.
I'd got up 6 hours before we were due to arrive so I played Minecraft while housework was done around me. We even did a bit in the park and hit the road at high noon.
Jof insisted we'd be late but it took us less than an hour and a half. That left us enough time to check into the hotel and find our family room but it didn't leave us enough time to have a carvery lunch at the Toby Pub next door.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordWe drove to Potter World and had a sandwich in the shop.
The Warner Brothers studios are very large indeed and we were shepherded into a room where the rules were laid down for us and then we saw a short film about how much work the cast and crew had to do to make the 8 films and I still want to be an actor.
Once the short film had finished, the screen went up and behind it were the giant doors of the great hall and it looks like stone but rings hollow when you knock on it.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordThe ceiling isn't enchanted but there's lots of girders and scaffolding and real props and costumes and every little thing is so intricately detailed you think it's lucky the films made money, because it must have cost a bomb.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordMostly I was distracted. They have a game for kids much like in many other attractions I've visited where you have to find things and stamp your visitor book. Here you have to find Golden Snitches and get your Potter Passport stamped at all the Stamping Stations, so I may not have seen everything.
The stage sets are ace and it all must be worth a fortune now but the metal skeletons and prize cups and models etc are behind fences or in glass cases.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordI did the green screen thing where you ride on a broomstick and they superimpose you in various aerial locations and Jof got me the pictures and the video and the vault door is immense and I wanted an owl in the railway shop and we went on the Hogwarts Express and it hoots every now and then and you can see the carriages and the sweets trolley.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordThe room of wands has the names of everyone involved in the project ie millions of them and the draughtsman room is overwhelming because they drew everything in huge detail before it was made.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordwarner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordI suppose the single most visually stunning item is the model of Hogwarts Castle that takes up the whole room. Of course you can't go on it but a little boy tried to and he was removed by security and howled his way to Azkaban.
The animatronics suite has lots of terrifying models that move and Aragog was frightening and I liked the dragons and Dobby.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordIn the Backlot café we had a muffin and a sit-down and we got some Butterbeer which I didn't really like but I did get a moustache.
I couldn't reach the ding ding bell on the Knight Bus but it's really cool and authentic given that it was made from 3 actual buses. The Hogwarts bridge was excellent and I went on it lots.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordA surprising number of our fellow travellers were French, must be the Chocolate Frogs which attracts them.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordIt is not the kind of place where you can keep still especially if you are Deep Purple on the madness spectrum so a lot of the photos I'm in only show the back of my rapidly disappearing head as I storm off to find another Golden Snitch.
The film people really have done very well in keeping all of this stuff together and it makes a great day out. We kept the Butterbeer souvenir tankard (plastic) and I might have my night-time milk in it.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordIn the shop we got a couple of shirts and a Time Turner and the Elder Wand and a set of coins with Galleon, Sickle and Knut and a chocolate Frog and peppermint toads.
They have some very impressive displays of wands and jewellery for the discerning Harry Potter fan at extremely discerning prices and you can get the full set of Hogwarts school uniform and sports kit for all 4 houses, a good idea perhaps if you are the parents of extremely competitive quadruplets and have a spare 17 1/2 thousand pounds.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordwarner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watfordThe circuit took 3 3/4 hours and we drove back to the hotel in the rain but I didn't care. We had to forgo the pre-supper swim because the pool was out of action but it was so late anyway we battled with the smart TV (smarter than we were, until we bullied it into submission) and watched Pointless before going to the Toby Carvery next door to fill our deserving tummies.
After the roast I had Rolo ice cream in a goblet, although I failed to entirely gobble my goblet.
Then, to pass the time, we invented a small country called Beefgravia. The capital city is called Rump, and it is a large valley surrounded by mountains: they grow cows, have an annual Shoelace Festival and the local currency is the Roolo. Incidentally, the whole population is Lactose intolerant after a genetic bottleneck caused by a 14th century border dispute.
warner brothers studio tour Harry Potter world watford

Friday, 24 April 2015

A Friend with Weed (OK, Weeding with a Friend)

School was funny today, we did gardening club. As a mere stripling, I used to cut the sod and turn the soil, also plant my feet sturdily on the arable pastures etc, but that was before I was doing consultancy work for InterSpank. In the old house, I even demanded to grow my own apple trees, grew them, fed them, and actually ate fruit from them.
But it's been a while, mostly nowadays I help Jof get all the dead beercans out of our front garden and repot the peyote cacti every now and then.
Our school is an Edwardian (?) construction with nice chunky brickwork elevations but as it was placed in a built-up area to serve it, it kinda takes up one city block leaving no space for rolling playing fields etc. So we have a little stripe of earth between 4 and 8 foot wide around the building, then it's the cast-iron railings, then it's the pavement and the mean streets of Pompey.
Our class project was to do some weeding of this little brownsward and then Ben and I collaborated on digging a trench, by order. Our trench art was almost wide enough to take the lowest edge of a 4 foot pallet which the other team members had gaily painted, and then the idea is you place plant pots on the underside of the exposed yet secure pallet and they are displayed for all to see, although you do have to water them regularly. Nearby is the rhubarb that the Year 4 of Yesteryear (yes, the YesterYear 4) planted.
school gardening club pallet used as flowerpot stand
In swimming there were only 3 in my class and I was better at diving than them because they were girls. Ah. Usually before swimming I put on my trunks and put my pants in the bag so that if we're suddenly in a hurry, I'm ready to leap straight in. This has proved very useful on occasion. But this time, because I was too busy watching TV and I only have a certain amount of CPU Run-time, I wasn't paying attention and put my trunks on OVER my pants, lucky Bud checks before we leave or I could have been a pant-less boy again.
But the highlight of the day was the end of the week, haven't had relief like that since I used Acme Colon-U-Purge. It means I get to go to Harry Potter World, a bit late maybe, but who's counting. I was so excited, I nearly packed my own bag. After my shower, I watched Eric Morecambe doing his paper bag trick for acting lessons background and got a bonus Morecambe and Wise Breakfast sketch. Good old Youtube.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Shoes, By George

children are annoying partenting failAnother lovely day stuck inside at school but it all got better when I was released. I was out first and beat all the parents.
I always spend the journey home quizzing, renegotiating and attempting to get what I need which is 7 hours of Minecraft, as much chocolate as I can eat and the remainder of the day in front of the TV.
I start with 'What jobs do we have today' and then I determine a running order for the afternoon several times, each time more skewed in my favour, until I imagine he has agreed with me. It doesn't take long for him to say that with all those things you need to do, we'd better delete Minecraft so you've got time, and I pipe down.
sports direct in debenhams southseaSo first we took the Coleman lamps to the Scout lock-up. These hurricane-lamp thingies needed new mantles, which is the little string bag that lights up. In the box we found some Tilley lamp mantles, so we brought back the Tilley lamps to see if we could refurbish them too. We also deposited 4 latrine tents, as you do.
Onwards to Debenhams, where we both bought new running shoes. I complain about the hardness of the pavements and so armed (or footed) with new purpose-made shoes, I expected a radical change.
We popped over the road to Jof's work and it was empty so we sidled up to one of those desk microphones and said into it "Oi Ratbag, what do you have to do to get some service around here" and there was a big tweetling howl-round on the speakers and Jof totally and studiously ignored us.
25MM AT hotchkiss copper armour piercing 1936It was not until a couple of minutes later when she wandered over to the other window that she noticed us at all, and I got a hug.
On my run around the park I stopped half way and said why do my feet still hurt then, surely these new shoes should whisk me round at the speed of a little boy's imagination with the comfort of a million sofas. But apparently it doesn't work that way so we stopped off at the swingpark and played with Jack W.
This naughty little copper armour-piercing monster is a Hotchkiss 25mm anti-tank round from 1936. This is why I'm glad I'm not a soldier.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

build a better mousetrapTook Ben home today and we spent the journey trying to outdo each other with tales of derring-do on the football pitch. Ben scored the best goal in his tournament final, and one of his bounced off the back of the net (scoring one) and hit the goalie only to go in again (scoring a second). Whereas I knocked someone out with mine by hitting them on the head and it ricocheted off Sputnik and went in. Of course Ben actually plays football but he won't know mine was made-up.
spies game in milton parkHe liked my Lego Castle with 345 humanoid guards and we didn't destroy anything!
In the park we took my 2 pistols. These are the Chinese-manufactured plastic ones from Blackgang Chine (combined value thruppence farthing), with orange ends.
boys making den with blanketsThe JBs joined us and they played big football while LittleMax and I spied on people and snuck around shooting them and hiding behind fences.
Then we came back to mine and made a den. Just because we're 9 does not mean that dens are passé so we piled up all the furniture in my room and used the desk as a base and the Lego Humanoids were guarding our perimeter, or were we guarding them? We didn't decide.
But we did use a Lego box to weigh down the duvet on the desk and for no reason at all it plummeted all over the floor and we had to clear the whole room up.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Life gets Teedjus, Don't it

tank with parking clampTook Jof's mosaic in to school and was authorised to state that I'd helped create it. They liked it.
In the afternoon I changed straight into shorts and did my double run around the park without stopping. Now I've found a sensible pace at which to jog, it's getting easier. But I will have to buy some running shoes with more rubbery soles.
Gymnastics was ace because we did the bar and you have to walk along it without falling off and maybe all that cat burgling and climbing up church towers is paying off as I turned out to be quite good and got the best in group award.
southampton choral society on stage at the mayflowerYou don't get a badge or anything, just some clap off the ladies.
Apropos of nothing, here is a picture of Grandad. OK, so you'll just have to believe me on that, but there he is on stage at the Mayflower Theatre where he sang for some dancer bloke called Carlos Acosta. The curtain call where Mr Acosta himself came out is no good, because he stood right in front of Grandad who is possibly the smallest and oldest member so was obscured by the star of the show, who does he think he is.
I have so much to do, Minecraft, chocolate, drawing my latest alien etc, and he said my greatest enemy is my own brain which will babble happily and play Lego, running me out of time. When I was found singing naked to my Lego at ten to ten, I lost tomorrow's Minecraft time.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Dib Dib, Burn Burn

hobbycraft mosaic tessellated designI awoke far too early, I've got used to getting up at 11 but I did find a mosaic on the dining table, Jof had sat up late last night making it and she said I could tell my teacher I'd made it for extra house points. It's on a cake tray painted with bathroom paint, as you do.
england flag in garageSo today was the first day of the new term and I took in Blind Uncle Len's wartime souvenir box.
I did the show and tell of the Roman pottery fragments and everyone liked the bit of Benghazi cathedral (destroyed) and the Vesuvius Lava (once destroyed Pompeii) and the bronze urn (incomplete).
Miss M said I could make a good TV presenter/personality, possibly with comedy, so not the nine o'clock news or Blackadder. I was one of only 2 people to hand in homework.
We have a Scout camp coming up and if there's one thing you need, it's a fire. I might not sing Kumbaya, but I will burn stuff.
So Bud brought home a carload of dead pallets and cardboard tubes and boxes and pallet triangles, like in the good old days. We unloaded the car and look how much there is.
At Scouts it was quiet. Maybe people have forgotten about Scouts because Louie was the only guy in his 6, he'll have to be his own group leader. Again, I was one of only 2 people to hand in homework, so only 2 of us will get badges.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Homework Day

fragments of benghazi cathedral roman bronze urn vesuvius lavaIt is the last day of the holidays so the time was right to do my homework, both for School and Scouts, as both are due in tomorrow.
My Scouts homework was to plan and prepare a meal which I almost did, in that I did all of the cooking and reading of the instructions but I just worked with what I'd been given.
School wanted a piece of researched work on some aspect of Roman life so naturally I chose the Gladius and built a genuine antique Legionaries' short sword out of Lego, and printed off a little burble about it which always looks much shorter when printed than it did when scrawled on the rough paper. In the same way as the camera adds ten pounds, the printer taketh away.
scouts campsite near forest of bere wickham hampshireI hope to offset this inadequacy by doing a show'n'tell. Good old Blind Uncle Len toured north Africa and the Mediterranean with the Desert Rats and other units back in 1942 and picked up a couple of souvenirs, as you do. OK, so some of it was Levantine currency, Nazi bullets, Iron Cross, Spitfire pilots cap badge and the like, but some of it was actual Roman pottery fragments and lava direct from Vesuvius and part of a bronze urn from Leptis Magna, the place near Tripoli where you can see the Roman toilets where the wee and poo is washed away by the incoming tide. So while they're not museum pieces, it's the real deal. There's also a letter of thanks from the Imperial War Museum (been there) when we gave them some of his war diaries etc.
Then I accompanied Jof shopping and was so good she got me a Lego Star Wars Ezra's Speeder Bike.
forest of bere scouting campsiteThis is because Bud was checking out the Scouts campsite where I will be staying in the summer. It's in someone's back garden. But their garden has several paddocks, a forest, tennis courts and cricket pitch, and a completely separate cricket pavilion in an unrelated field which is used by Scouts far and wide because the owners want to make good use of it. There is a special scout campfire site with a circle of logs and enough forest to lose a whole troop in.
Afterwards we went on my run. This was the new improved run which I thought was going to be twice around the park but we left the park and followed the route of the old canal and when we got to the Mad Hospital I burst into tears for the second time, gave up and trudged home in another giant sulk.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Legionaries' Disease (Sulk Plus)

child having massive sulk tantrum
Sulk-X-Treem behind a fold-up chair
Saturday! Everyone loves Saturdays. So I gleefully (without the stupid songs) accepted egg on toast for breakfast and Bud came in just when I was eating and watching Crap TV and said hey it's a lovely day, let's cycle up to Portchester Castle, buy some stuff in the shop, have a pub lunch, visit some swingparks, you know, do the stuff and the things. And I said Yes, sounds great, sure, sure. Of course, once he'd got back from yet another Scouts meeting (wonder what her name is?) I was busy upstairs with Lego and when he said get your shoes on, then, I shouted down that I didn't know what he was talking about and I had serious Lego to attend to and the plan of my day does not involve going out into the sunshine, thanks, especially as you've already bought eggs and black pudding for tomorrow's breakfast.
But this was Rudeness, apparently, and Intransigence and Arguing and being Unhelpful and Ungrateful. So Jof got ready to do some serious shouting and Bud just did the infuriating Talk to the Hand thing and I was unceremoniously bundled out of the door. 
The bit where I said sure, sure was basically a Man thing - if I just agree perhaps you'll stop wiffling and get out of my face while I'm trying to watch vital developments on TV (ie Spiderman vs Hulk). And it isn't admissible in MY court of law so I sulked all the way to the train station and did extra-value sulks on the train (even hiding my face inside a fold-up seat) and Sulk + all the way round the castle and up the medieval keep on top of the Roman original, and I didn't stop until lunch was mentioned. It really is a very good castle with great big lumps of history but I think the rain is getting to it because even more of it is falling down than usual, and I wasn't paying attention.

child having temper tantrum sulk
Sulking my way to the door
It was a Class A display of Harrumph-Sulk. We bought Jof some chocolate in the Castle shop and also some Senior Moment Memory-Loss Mints for Grandad, who is not entirely the man he once was. They also have a new line of "Join the Legion - Rome needs you!" Legionary with flag and determined expression teatowels and mugs and drinks mats and stuff, very funny indeed and sort of based on the Join the Wehrmacht and be heroic-style adverts.
Lunch was at the Cormorant on Castle Street and I had scampi and he had steak pie in beer and we were both very full of the excellent food served by very nice people we and cycled home against the very strong wind. Cosham and its environs has some unreasonably complicated road junctions with many lanes and crossing them was a chore.

ruined roman and medieval castle
I'm on the bench, head in hands
We stopped off at Hilsea Moat park and Fratton Railway park but didn't meet anyone we knew. The football was just kicking out when we rode past and they were all sullen, like I had been earlier.
At home Jof was pleased to see me and then she invited some ladies over to help her drink Prosecco and they finally bogged off so I could watch Rambo: First Blood again.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Legs: Missing

Last regular day of the current set of holidays so we didn't do much. Jof had to go into work in town to email her friends because her work email is even more tedious than Buds', where you have to sign in on 3 different levels if you're not actually in the building.
Lunch was in Marks and Spencer with their famous toastie sandwiches. M&S have developed a friendly customer-oriented relationship over the last century with their open plan sales areas, gentle staircases and generous returns policy. Thus, anyone who has ever been there will be pleased to return and they do so until they actually die, and you've just gotta imagine that myocardial infarction-related customer-based incidents are part and parcel of management training. OK, so I've got a little problem with the shop manikins in the uncanny valley, nothing that a Samurai sword can't cure.
So the café was full of slow old people, but I have been capable of waiting, ordering, paying for, and consuming a meal for 2 for some years now. We sat on the tall stools opposite Men's Trousers for a bit and absolutely ran for the empty table as soon as the elderly occupants vacated (gurney and defib kit as per management instructions).
Sadly Ben and the JBs were unable to join me for the Lego session we'd planned (still doesn't matter what the kids plan, it's the adults that call the shots) so I Minecrafted and we added umpteen Lego humanoids to the half-term castle.
huge lego collection win
Usually at this point, we make as many humans as we can out of the box of spare parts until we just can't make any more. The first vital component we run out of is ... legs. We've got plenty of heads left, a few torsos, one or two hats and an awful lot of visors but the legs are the first thing to run out, no pun intended. Total number of defensive warriors on walls and towers is 345.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Dairyman's Daughter

portsmouth to Ryde hovercraft serviceToday we had an invite from one of Jof's workfriends to go to the Isle of Wight and be driven to distraction and Blackgang Chine.
Katie is a twin, so one of a kind and she's liked me for years for the way I serve alcoholic drinks efficiently. We caught the Hovercraft which was exceedingly expensive but we did meet Erin on board: we often meet familiar faces but not always in the seat in front.
Katie met us and drove us to the Dairyman's Daughter which is a Pub but surrounded by a shopping complex with crafts and glassblowing and crystal-gazing and specialist leather goods and I expect Erinsmum would have as much trouble leaving as Jof did.
arreton barns craft shops isle of wightEven ham, egg and chips was a belly-buster. We played on the antique arcades and I shook hands with Uncle Sam, although I could have chosen Merlin.
The Isle of Wight is a Tardis. Not because it has a blue flashing light and a dodgy front door, but because it warps space and time. It is much bigger than you think, and also much of it is stuck in the 17th century.
At Katie's house we met Holly, her dog. We threw the ball with the plastic stick and the elated Labrador bounded off into her own field (much bigger than you think) to retrieve it but when I threw it, I hit the fence and she didn't understand.
blackgang chine isle of wightKatie drove us all round the houses, and there's another Tardis thing. The distance between houses is far greater. Yes, there are little towns. Also farms. But there's also huge amounts of nothingness, filled only sporadically by sheep.
We had to go most of the day before seeing lambs. Anyway, we found many hills and dales and mountains and cliffs and some of the roads had eroded away and Niton Undercliff is only half there nowadays and we got to Blackgang Chine in daylight.
Last time I was there (2012) it was so foggy the car park attendant waved us in with glow-in-the-dark traffic cones and we nearly got lost and eaten by dubiously animatronic dinosaurs.
blackgang chine isle of wightI quickly found the pirate ships with water squirters and fought valiantly against others of my height and we did the new metal slides and got lost in the maze and I bought another bag of coloured gemstones in the shop.
Of course, I wanted the expensive gun with leather holster but once you've bought the ammunition as well you're looking at £30 so Jof said not on your Nelly and I got the plastic disposable one for a whole lot less.
Leaving the island at 6-ish, we discovered that 37 years had gone past in a time-warp and Bud was now 58 but he picked us up from the Hoovercraft anyway.