Sunday, 31 May 2015

They see me Rollin'

painting with rollers and brushesAre you sure it's June tomorrow? The first fallen leaves of autumn froze past my ears as we walked past my old school. Some community service people are banging away at the fence with little hammers, taking off the old paint ready for their colleagues to put it back on again.
At the renty house I was given some of my old clothes that nearly fitted and Jof allocated us some tasks. It was difficult putting masking tape on the sockets and light switches but painting was much more fun!
I am a dab hand with the roller and made many demands which might have slowed Jof down a bit but we raced through Bedroom 1 whitening it, all over the filled holes that we did yesterday. Then once we'd come home for lunch, Jof flooded the kitchen.
Late in the day, I did my homework all about my favourite animal, although I don't have one. I decided not to use the Predator even though I've enjoyed both of his films, and chose a chameleon, as it too has camouflage capabilities. I cleverly fooled the spellcheck, scoring zero wiggly red lines. If, for example, I wrote ...
Chameleons are found in all arias of Africa. They can change colour too mach they're surroundings ...

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Many Hands make House Work

refurbishing a house for rentHe got me up at 10 something because we had jobs. Jof had unfairly allocated us some tasks in the new house and I complained that I was supposed to be on holiday but every day seems to start with 'Things to do, places to go'.
We went to Big B&Q. I found the filler and I chose a lampshade. We couldn't get a shower hose because Jof had taken the old one with her and we didn't trust her not to get one even if we'd bought one, and we didn't trust ourselves to get the right one without the example. Thusly we justified doing nothing.
polyfilla plaster repairs and toolSo, at the new house we walked home to get some bigger pliers and pulled all the nails and screws and rawlplugs out of the walls all over the house. Some came out nicely, and some didn't.
game of frisbee milton park portsmouthThen we took the filler and I filled all the holes right back up again. This is great practice for when I'm the Rachman of the future (London slum landlord of the 50s and 60s).
Then we installed the lampshade, switched the fridge back on and we were done! For lunch we watched Terminator 2 and played Frisbee in the park where I met Poppy C and Elizabeth Puddle. I used the Frisbee to pour woodchips into the dress of the dolly (one dolly was called Molly and the other dolly was Holly) and then I played Minecraft on the X-box which is on the big TV so a much bigger picture. Jof had worked too many days in a row so she had a bacon sandwich and we did chicken stir-fry with noodles for supper with Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop, my choice for family viewing.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Salt of the Earth

real leopard skin in retirement complexOn this, the last week-day off of the half-term, we drove down the same old road and even missed the junction on the M27 due to roadworks and doubled back on ourselves and met up with Grandad. He will be 86 tomorrow but is spending the day in Bath (he'll get wrinkly fingers) meeting up with the few remaining cathedral choir members from his days in Kenya 45 years ago, as you do.
First he insisted on quizzing me about the rotation of the Earth and the angle of declination and stuff, because no boy should grow up without basic cosmology.
During this, it started to rain and just got worse so we hung on and hung on and decided to drive into Romsey instead of walking to the pub for lunch. As soon as we were on the road, it stopped but we went past the Mountbatten's country pad and found the Cromwell Arms pub.
The menu was a bit hoity for me but I chose the adult sized fish and chips and when it came, 3 extra members of staff crowded around me going Oooo, it's bigger than you, are you going to finish it, etc. I confidently predicted I would, because it was on the plate in front of me and you can't go back on your decision when you're 9. 
Having anointed the holy fish with ketchup, I discovered it was liberally bedazzled with rock salt which made it disgusting and I picked at it and left it all, putting my hoodie up and staring at the table in a sulk of epic proportions. Even the chips and mushy peas which I had said I was looking forward to remained untouched, as they were sullied like the fish, however much the adults went on about starving people in hot countries and me having to have kiddie fish fingers next time.
sadlers mill romsey southamptonWe paid and ran away. Nearby was a lovely rural area of river meadows and medieval fields where we wandered and found a watermill (watery) and a swingpark (wet) and I grumped and sulked out of earshot with hoodie extended. I stared into the abyss of the mill race, the turmoil of which matched my turbulent mind, a bridge over troubled waters no less. Back at Grandad's, we traded maths conundra and he taught me one that I'll use to befuddle my classmates and earn me some house points.
At home Jof made us pizzas with choose-your-own-topping and we battled about who was right and who had been eternally wronged. She then outranked me for film night and wanted some girlie drivel without any fighting guns, exploding aliens, nuclear orgies or anything.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Exeat: Cheddar Gorge

cheddar gorge wiggles car parkingYesterday Ben went to Cheddar Gorge and I thought I'd follow his lead. So, using the tickets we'd bought online just 3 weeks ago, we drove there just after Jof had left for work.
Now we know this journey, we drove to Wookey Hole last year and Cheddar is just a few miles further on the same road, basically another hole in the same hill. We made it to the Salisbury turnoff in half an hour and considered ourselves speedy.
steps and handrail at cheddar gorge cavesBut you've only got to get behind a lorry and you're crawling nose to tail all the way to Warminster. Frome looked promising but by Shepton Mallet we were seething. A prison van took over from the lorries who seemed to stop every now and then to have a sandwich or let a family of ducklings cross the road.
Wells has a cathedral but we didn't care: we drove past the turnoff to Wookey Hole and the road got even narrower. By the time we'd parked halfway up a chasm gouged out by the last 3 ice ages, we'd travelled the 101 miles in 2 hours 40. We had stiff botties.
st pauls cathedral solomons temple goughs cave cheddar gorgeFirst we did Gough's Cave. It was cold, and we hadn't brought tops. The smell of cave-maturing cheese wasn't as bad as in Wookey and the loopy route was quite fun. I liked the shelves of crystal formations looking like giant vomits and the icy cold pools of water where you can see the reflections of the roof and not know where they start and end. But they all have coins thrown in, and alarms so you don't try to nick the stalagmites.
There was a little crevice where some random megalithic man had drawn a mammoth, but I couldn't see it. You're forced to exit via the shop so I squashed a penny for my collection. Next was the museum of prehistory. A Neolithic hunter-gatherer stabbed a hole in our ticket with a sabre tooth and the yurt was closed due to a nesting robin.
coxs cave cheddar gorgeYou get to draw on a window and call it cave art, I drew an animal with long legs but the boys next to me were shouted at by Mummy for drawing bad things. They mention sex (I laughed at the phallus and fat women with their dangly norks out) and cannibalism quite a lot and there's a 3 foot de-fleshed rotating skull in a room full of mirrors, probably not a good thing in the mushroom season.
In Cox's Cave, more of the same with coloured stalactites and Queen Esmerelda or whoever she was and some religious music. At the Crystal Quest there's a warning sign saying flashing lights and scary stuff, leave by the emergency exit if you're a kid. So I said poo to that and went in, a dragon smokes at you and Gandalf waves a book at some Goblins and you hold onto the Orb Of Doom and the voices tell you that you've saved civilisation as we know it, 3rd time for me now.
cheddar caves somersetIncidentally, the Queen Ermintrude in this room turns out to be a rather tasty local girl dressed in black, all the other Evinrudes are fakes. During the dragon-smoking, a small girl burst into tears and had to be taken out by Daddy.
cox cave crystal quest cheddar gorge gandalf merlinOutside is the lookout tower. Now I like a tower as much as the next guy but this 48-stepper is at the top of the hill, up 274 concrete steps. My legs hurt by the top. View's good, though. We declined the 90-minute clifftop walk, as you don't get a medal.
Lunch was beefburger and chips in the Waterfall Restaurant, and yes, there is a waterfall. We saw trout in the millpond and ducklings (no doubt a lorry stopped to let them cross) and various pretty mill races. But I decided to sit inside. Later we had ice creams at the Holly House Tea Rooms and the girl didn't know how to insert a flake, but the ice creams were lovely.
ducklings on millpond cheddar gorge The second-last thing that comes as part of your mega-ticket is the excellent if brief Bus Ride. We sat on the top shelf of the open-topped green bus and a man burbled to us in Western. We learned about Lion Rock and the ice ages and the Romans mining for lead and iron and the mills making charcoal powder for gunpowder and the rent-free cottages and we saw the goats and were happy to believe in the St Dunstan legend, why not.
The last thing given to you by the mega-ticket is the chance to be gaily fleeced by the Sheep Products shop, the teddy bear shop, the numerous ice cream parlours, scrumpy outlets, cheesemongers, plastic dragon slayers, cream tea purveyors, trinket chancers, faerie dancers and even an Indian restaurant.
ice cream shop cheddar gorge
Now, we knew this was going to happen so we bought some scrumpy, a Frisbee, some Cheddar Gorge Chocolate that Jof always says don't buy, a fossilized trilobite, Cheddar Gorge clotted fudge, 3 more squashed coins, a bottle of Gorge Best beer, a 3-D poster of a shark and one of a dinosaur, a Cheddar Truckle (big lump of cheese), a bottle of Potholer beer, a 3-D bookmark, 3 more squashed pennies and a slab of Wookey Hole Cave-aged cheese.
We didn't fancy the journey back through all the little Somerset towns and villages in the rush hour but saw a little sticky-out willy of a motorway spur right in the middle of Bristol. This would give access to the M4, A34 and M3 which meant fast roads all the way home, once you've got to Bristol, which is backwards (not the inhabitants, the direction).
open topped bus tour up cheddar gorgeWe took the gamble. Problem was, it took us an hour to make Bristol. But then the M4 was empty and we felt unlucky if we ever dropped below 90. I invented a new game which is to wrap my head and torso in a blanket, leave just one eye exposed, and spy on people using the make-up mirror in the sun visor. I uttered a stream of orders and reports and strings of digits as I played the Engine Room, Bridge and Control Hub of some kind of intergalactic survey vessel. Plus I tried to touch my nose with my tongue, that game never gets old. Barring an 8-minute layover in Chieveley services for a coffee and a wizz, we steamed on through to the other side. The M3 was busy so we parked there for a while and we got home with stiff botties.
The homeward journey was 2 hours 50 minutes (an increase of 6%) but was 146 miles (increase of 45%). Well, you win some, you lose the other 95%.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


access key and lock locksmiths southseaHe woke me up at 0830 by flapping the duvet and hooting. I was full of righteous indignation particularly as I'd only turned my light off under duress at 2315 last night.
Today is the day of moving things about. We visited a security shop and had 2 extra front door keys cut, I liked looking at the stonking great padlocks for motorbikes, and we drove to the Renty House.
mid terrace 3 bed houseBehind the shed we found lots of wood for the Scouts campfire and pulled it all out. The ladder died of woodworm and rot before we'd even got it to the car, we had to sweep the pavement afterwards. Throughout these activities, a small rat-dog in the front window of a neighbouring house kept his beady eyes on us. Rat dogs are classed as any dog small enough to be reasonably mistaken for a rat. Examples include Pekinese and those tiny pointless things that Sloane Rangers or pink grannies carry in their handbags. An important characteristic is the huge deep-down anger they have because they are so small: so they snarl and yip and yap from their protected position in the coat pocket of their owners. They also have a particular noise which is 'Rat! Rrrrat!' hence the name. This one was a Yorkshire Terrier, and it was very angry that we should invade its personal bit of pavement.
It also Rrratted at the postman who brought us our very own first pile of junk mail in the new house. He never Rrratified a treaty. We climbed to the first floor window and swept out the bay, I poured water down it to prove the drain worked and we'd done our first job! I stalked the corridors babbling and planning and shouting because everyone has to have a talent.
virginia creeper in back alleywayAt the back of the house is one of those bin-access passageways, so we trundled round the whole city block to find the entrance. There wasn't one. There was a gap between 2 houses on the expensive road and he'd left the gate open so we nipped in and investigated the back of our own shed, removed the discarded barbecue and fought the Virginia creeper. It was totally overgrown and obvious that nobody used it, apart form the chap whose gate we'd used who came out to politely tell us it wasn't for us and to kindly not invade his back passageway.
Popping home to offload the wood, we nipped to the Scout lockup and cleared out the scrap metal and sold it to the big bloke with the forklift truck in the industrial estate at the top of the island. Because the scrap metal was of lower quality he only gave us £1.92 but that could buy a hungry Cub Scout a biscuit! Maybe I'll be that Cub Scout ...
We filled up with diesel and bought a Hi-fi cable and all the way, I sang my new song about 'the butt-bone connected to the brain-bone...'
boy playing minecraft on x-box consoleWe had an early lunch and talked to Zoe the Cleaner and then got out of her way and went back to the Renty House to tidy up. I condemned the shower hose to be replaced, we found a working light bulb for the under-stairs cupboard and road-tested both toilets simultaneously! He swept the front while I found the mop and played Inter-Galactic Death Throes, in which I scrupulously role-played both sides, so half the time I was making exploding and machine-gunning noises and going "Aaargh, I will Kill you, pathetic humans..." and the other half the time, dying heroically at the hands of my own mop, ended up sounding like the all-for-one-and-one-for-all scene at the end of those special German movies.
Eventually we'd done enough and came home where Bud began the dreaded X-Box setup. The father of one of my co-conspirators tried this recently and it took ages with the addition of many bad words. This afternoon was indeed the night of the long sighs but complex words were absent. After only 2 hours I was Minecrafting, although we did have to check in Jof's car to see if the game had dropped out of the bag, only to discover that it was a 25-digit code on the receipt.
Now all I need is some kind of reclining aircraft-style chair and chocolate dispenser combo ...
Ben told me he'd been at Cheddar Gorge today. I really must try that.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Keys, Please (and the Y-oh-Why Box)

game shop portsmouth x-box one'Twas the day before christmas and all through ... well OK it wasn't, but it was supposed to be a day off anyway. Once you've paid over some serious bunce to buy a new house, you expect to get the keys at around lunchtime, so we waited with bated breath which got tough after a while.
So we went shopping and in a game shop called Game, we got an X-Box so I can talk to Ben while killing creepers and cave spiders and Ender-wombats and innocent villagers. This has been promised to me since at least the christmas of today's opening stanza, but resisted by Bud and forever denied to me when I was bad.
Eventually the keys were made available after someone else's conveyancer finally phoned it in and Jof went to collect them via the petrol station and one getting lost in her own town. Bud and I packed the car with all the cleaning equipment we've built up over the 3 months since we last saw the place, and we drove there in what was possibly a slower journey than if we'd walked.
suntrap garden terraced house southseaThe house had a delightful aroma of disturbed cat and we opened all the doors and then had to walk home to get a torch and ladder to read the meters. There were many keys and my job was to find locks for them all.
The woodshed was empty. The rest of the house was pretty empty as well, but on top of the kitchen cupboard we found a hat which shall be ceremoniously burnt at the Scout campfire. We also found some random bits of wood including a ladder with advanced woodworm which shall go the same way.
Jof tasked us with measuring all the windows while she cleaned the kitchen and we discovered that all our spare curtains were made for our house, not this new one which is of a more sensible size. It has a nice suntrap garden.
But just when we were cleaning out the drain it was gymnastics time and I finally achieved my boyhood aim of doing the leg-lifting thing although I still need to work on the handstand-forward-roll.  All through supper we talked about double glazing and mortar repairs and carpets and the mysterious hose, I was glad to get to the TV room.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Recovery Day

firemans pole obstacle milton park portsmouthWe wanted a day off to recover from that 4 hour tether-ball session yesterday so I tried to do as little as possible.
We knew there'd be a funfair or similar on the seafront but I just couldn't be bothered so I cycled round and round the park because the pathways are smooth and we saw Schwarzenegger in 'End of Days' which is full of mad priests killing each other. Half-way through, Jof said the cartoon violence is all very well, but what about the rape scene so we switched it off and watched The Pink Panther Strikes Again instead, lots of falling down that made me giggle but films of yesteryear seem so gentle and pedestrian when compared to the action-fests of nowadays. Plus, there was no aggravated rape scene, we'd already seen the ménage a trois but the whole thing was a little difficult to follow with all those rival cults and holy seers and mad prophets.
The day of films did mean I was able to watch hours of Minecraft and I upgraded my Level 3 Lawnmower and I enchanted my Level 2 Toilet Brush and now I can get goblins.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Tether-Ball Broom-inator

A standard start to a Sunday in the middle of nowhere, up at about 930. Jof demanded that I come shopping with her, even though she decided not to buy a Hoover (To buy or not to buy, that is the question ...) and we gave lots of money to good old Mr Sainsbury.
But Elizabeth Puddle had invited us for a barbecue, forgetting that I had personally killed her with a lethal internal memo just 3 days ago. So we trundled round and had to bash the door quite a lot because everyone was in the back garden and couldn't hear us.
I took the tablet but didn't need it. The JBs and I played spin-ball attack (with the Mourning-Star of Terror and the Broom of Doom) and when Beth retreated to watch TV, we simply added extra rules and invented Podium Tetherball Attack.
The idea is, 2 players hit the tethered ball and contestant #3 stands on the podium of death and can throw the gaily coloured football at one of us when we're hitting the ball, or waiting for the ball, or, well, it's difficult to absolutely pin down the exact rules but we knew exactly what we were doing and we basically played for about 4 hours, apart from marshmallow burning time. The BBQ had run out by then and our sugary morsels went untoasted.
The original BBQ worked well, we all had carbonized sausages or charred chicken or cucumber without Tzatziki and crisps and chocolate and FAB lollies and we also invented pillow-fight attack and so much other stuff that had to occupy the 4 hours.
Eventually tempers frayed and wine ran out and we wandered home past the teenagers in the park and I had to go to bed without my shower or the Sunday night movie, have to have one tomorrow.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

A Medium-sized Fire Axe

aylward street portsmouthWoke up at half past nine and barely got to enchant any diamond armour at all before we took a bus to the dockyard area for my acting lesson. Recently we discovered a new adventure playground which is a council-funded place of outside activity called Portsea Venture Playground. It's only a street away from my theatre so an ideal place to get some exercise and limber up for a hard day's acting.
We explored it and it has many towers and walkways packed into a single city block probably released for use by the blitzkrieg of the 1940s, so thank you Mr Hitler, we know a song about that. We played ball tag and their water fountain is very enthusiastic and squirted everywhere.
Acting was in a different location today. In a glorious role-reversal, the theatre was booked out for a wedding so we had the lesson at a nearby church. St George's church (also known as the Shipwright's church) was built in 1753 by several shipwrights and some hangers-on and following the urban clearances of the aforementioned Nazi bombing raids, stands alone in St George's Square surrounded by cobblestones.
shipwrights church st georges square portsmouth We got there dead on time but nobody was in. I banged on the doors and was lifted up to many windows and peered in but it was 10 minutes before our acting teacher deigned to admit he'd been hiding in there all along and we started the lesson. It was tough, I had to sing, dance, act and generally perform ALL AT THE SAME TIME, which was a severe strain, I can tell you.
Afterwards I felt sorry for myself and had a home-made pizza in the dockyard café and bought 2 new pencil sharpeners and we met a massive Scout troop from Chingford in Essex, 2 hours it took them to get here.
At home I waited for my Level 6 Public Toilets to mature, but at least I was able to sell 27 emeralds on Minecraft, so not all bad. The evening film was Arnold Schwarzenegger in Collateral Damage in which he is a heroic yet grizzled firefighter trekking through the Colombian jungle. I liked the bit at the end where he chopped the bad guy with a medium-sized fire axe to the chest cavity, and I asked will he come back again, because the bad guy always does, he even survived the subterranean gas explosion. After a supper of kedgeree (loaded with scampi, salmon, eggs, calamari and sweetcorn, pity the methane filtration systems) we saw the promised Galaxy Quest. I reckoned I understood the washed-up actor scenario.
The Eurovision Song Contest never fails to amuse, even after 60 years. Moldova had to give 12 points to Romania, or lose their water supply. Lithuania rebelled against Putin by only awarding 10 points to Russia. We got a point, which was nice, and Italy fared well even if the bustier broads came from Greece.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Lords on the Fly

apply cold water to burn funny ugly girlsSo today it was end of mini-term and a non-uniform day to boot. Or sandal, in this case.
The 3rd form have been studying Celts, I mean, that's so last year, we did it last year. We, of course, have been studying Romans.
Thus the teachers arranged a mock battle in which the crusty Celts had their shields and greater numbers and we had Post-it Notes and cunning. Yes, Post-it Notes. We got 4 sticky yellow paper squares each and each one represented Death to any Celt we managed to stick it onto. Using our brains for once, we split our posse into groups and Group 1 was the Tortoise. This well-known Roman battle formation made a lot of noise and advanced as a unit towards the cowering Celts and they scattered towards our Group 2 who ambushed them, attaching Post-it Deaths to the stragglers. The remaining cheese-eating surrender monkeys ran away but right into the path of the concealed Group 3 who mopped up the rest in an orgy of lethal stationery. I personally killed Elizabeth Puddle with a well-aimed internal memo and us Romans conquered the playground, killing our weaker schoolmates, it is the natural order.
boy sitting on motherI have homework. It is to determine my favourite animal, and write a datasheet about it and what I like about it, or some other lengthy discussion. But I have a problem with the question itself, in that I don't really have a preferred beast. OK, I like sausages so you could say that pig is up there. Jof likes to accost cats and talk to them, and I don't mind a bit of pussy myself but Bud wants to kill them all for being smug and poo-ing on the flowerbed and he has a point, so I am split on felines.
I DO NOT like dogs after one knocked me over as a toddler, meerkats are cute, I suppose, wildebeest, now that's just kinky, so what's left? Then we realised that my favourite animal might just be the Predator. I mean, he's got the shoulder-guns with the 3 laser-dots. He's got the extra set of teeth that go sideways. And he's a mean customer with the stabbing weapons and the camouflage jacket, and if all else fails, his arm is a nuclear weapon. Nowhere in the question does it say the animal has to be from this planet - Ben might choose Chewbacca the Wookie. What's not to like? We giggled, guffawed and wet ourselves all the way home, with children pointing and staring (but we're used to that).

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Slippers of Safety

engrish menu item funny fail chinese restaurant gibberishToday was Special Menu Day at school, as advertised and paid for 3 weeks ago. So that's why Bud made me a packed lunch for today and said I wouldn't be getting one tomorrow. It went straight in the bin.
I just have to hope we remember that it's no-school-uniform day tomorrow.
Anyway, we got stuck behind the bin lorry on the way in, no sooner had we shaken it off, we got stuck behind a double-decker bus. Only in London, folks.
boy in attic retrieving cardboard storage boxesI chose the beefburger option (refusing to collect the proffered salad) oblivious to the fact I had already chosen it when I paid, at least I'm consistent.
First we went into the loft and got down all the boxes of curtains. "You never know when you'll need a second set of curtains" she'd said, and now look, we've bought a second house and need some curtains.
breaking up old cupboards with a rubber malletThen we locked ourselves in the garage and destroyed a garden gate, several bits of cupboard and a pallet. The gate was #159 and had a metal letterbox, which I destroyed with the 2 1/2 pound lump hammer. This load of wood filled 3 1/2 large cardboard boxes (good for 2 children each) and surely that's enough for the Scouts campfire. I broke the nobs off the cupboard base with a giant rubber mallet, see the way I'm wearing protective red slippers with skulls and crossbones motif, warding off those splinters, nails and flying shards.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

I Blame it on ze Boum-Boum

climbing rocks milton park portsmouthDIY man fixes house while waiting for the wife funny cartoonTook Ben home from school and all the way back, we talked about the Klash-of-Klans. He's been on there for longer than me so he's got a Level 6 Lawnmower that enables him to buy extra Terrapins, and because he's Gemmed up his Walls he can get a Level 4 Public Toilet if only he can save up another 100,000 Goldmines and steal some Dark Elixir from the Gargoyle.
Independently, we all find it amazing that our parents seem to not care about, or indeed, keep track of our Wizard Queen Archery Towers.
Anyway, we arrived at the park and played Tennis Ball Tag with Johnny.
Brandon joined in and is a replacement for Robert in that he voluntarily tags himself by kicking the ball at people. Pops and Lexy ran interference by stealing it and playing volleyball.
lego balloon with skeleton humanoid minifigureLater, Ben found an abandoned metal toy truck so we proceeded to destroy it in a game called Crash Test Lorries by throwing it against trees, pavements and the climbing rocks, knocking off wheels, windscreens and axles. It was a linguistic bridge too far to call the game F***-a-Truck, maybe we'll think of it later.
Taking them both home for Lego, it got a bit raucous and some of the Lego baseboards on my Crafting Table lifted and will have to be re-glued. Still, there's a job for half-term, as well as filling even more boxes with wood for the Scout campfire.
In other news, I have made a rather good Lego hot air balloon. It's on a stanchion for levitation purposes and the cage contains a skeletal rider for Death Metal purposes.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Acting Masterclass

peepig engrish funny product failToday was a great day in that I didn't put another hole in my leg. Other than that it was great.
OtherBen and I have planned a new Spellbook. I know that the Harry Potter 8 project foundered due to lack of interest and the Potters' Additional Spells Manual ceased operation due to lack of impetus, but we are both sure that the latest SpelBuch will stay the course.
So far we have such rock-on magical potentiators as Diggo (instant trench you can hide in) and U-Go (snatches your opponents' wand and destroys it, nothing to do with van hire).
glen walford actress director groundlings theatre portsmouthInstead of gymnastics I attended the theatre (on a Tuesday?) for an "Imagine Big, Think Big, Act Big" acting masterclass with renowned stage artistic director Glen Walford, doing a turn as guest instructor.
We chose sea creatures to imitate and I did seagull and sea-dragon and octopus and although many of my characters sounded like angry wind-ninjas, we let the true character come out in a flurry of movement and sounds.
We learned to occupy the whole stage and run around owning it and being loud, not in my usual personality, but I tried hard. Then we acted out a mermaid story in which Tom falls in love with the mysterious girlie in the very long dress who comes to church every Sunday but disappears before the sermon.
I was Tom because there were only 2 boys in my class of 18. In fact the older group following on from my session were very touchy-feely when greeting each other so if I decide to stay on it might be advantageous for nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean say no more squire. I have already decided that I want to do acting every day.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Leninist Meetings

uzbekistani tyin and som tourist coinsput some corn down for the deerHad a terrible day at school. OK, I later downgraded it to 'Bad'. Firstly, my leg hurt where I scraped it open on concrete with Ben.
Then, I was running across the playground when some 3rd Year tripped me up and down I went with another massive damage to my knee. That's 4 leg damages in 10 days. Third bad thing was spending so much time in the office having my leg re-attached that I missed half of my lunch break.
soviet russian rouble coins cccpStill, one of Bud's work colleagues just got back from Uzbekistan, as you do, and brought back 3 different Rouble coins with Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov aka Lenin looking both stern and uplifting. And the actual Uzbek coins are so worthless, they give them away to tourists in sellotape strips at the market so I got a bonus 16 Uzbek coins for my collection!
5th portsmouth milton scouts group agmIn the evening the normal Scouts was replaced by the AGM. He didn't tell me it was going to be so boring, or that I should have worn Cubs uniform. But once I'd got over the tablet battery running out, I bought some raffle tickets (no winners) and some biscuits and then Jof turned up to rescue me.
She stayed for a little bit, just long enough to remember that she hates children and doesn't want to be a Scout leader. 3 of our Cubs were promoted to Scouts and there was a meeting about the camp next month but I didn't stay.
In other news, today we bought a house.

Sunday, 17 May 2015


sunny day in parkSnuck downstairs to watch Minecraft videos singing the Pink Panther theme. He forced me into doing my homework which was a diary entry on what I remember from the school trip to Portchester Castle. Jof wanted to take me shopping which is a dire threat for any 9 year-old boy so I elected to ride my bike round and round the park and climb the slide.
That was when Ben arrived and he said he'd just bought a massive new Lego Ninjago attack palace or similar and he needed a co-builder and would I like to come round for 4 hours. There is practically nothing I'd rather do so we just ran off.
We built the Ninja Training Arena and did some hide'n'seek and went over the road to our mine. This has been a profitable on-off hobby of ours for some years now, we excavate the bits of broken house from the reclaimed land by digging away at the sea defences. Today Ben found an iron rod and we always get many bits of broken tile and old pipes and other treasures.
Then I slipped on the big concrete lintel thing and grazed my leg lots. I also discovered that I like crunchy chocolate squares, which isn't much of a surprise.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


groundlings theatre portsmouth stage props and costumes for hireWoke up when I wanted to and Jof had already gone to her real work and I accepted eggy toast and so forth.
Over the road was a chap loading up his hired van with rubbish so we said if you've got any wood we'll take it from you for the Scout Campfire and all of a sudden he was mega-helpful and we all ran across the road multiple times with loads of bed and cupboard pieces.
We kinda had to go to the theatre because I pay them and we learned more stagecraft while Bud went walkabout.
garden gate and dismantled cupboardWe played a game called The Headmaster Has Lost His Keys where you have to answer structured questions in circles, much like drinking game 'Fuzzy Duck' or similar. I came second but I was in the stocks for illustration only. The lesson finished when the fire alarm went off and we all had to stand on the grass opposite, the man blamed all the little fluffs that were from the willow trees.
After acting lessons it was sunny and warm so I ate pasta and barely allowed myself to cycle down to the coast. 
Obviously I had to object at every turn and main objections were 'I can't see the road because you're in the way' and I can't do hill starts and I can't change gear properly' and I've got a stitch, and all of this faded away as soon as the task begun. I found some complicated and expensive-looking fishing tackle stuck in the rocks exposed at low tide and gave them to a fisherperson by the pier.
We had an ice cream by the Pyramids and slowed-home and we had simple supper and the Pink Panther DVD and I demanded more slapstick jokes.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Romani Ite Domum

you're doing it wrong gym fail funnyWhat did those roamin' Romans do for us?
Well, lots of things, including building a castle at the coastal swamp now known as Portchester (and Turktown, after the Turkish POWs that were interned there).
I have been to Portchester Castle a few times, including recently by bike, getting in free due to our membership card. This time the whole of Year 4 went at £5 apiece, and we were not the only school to send a learn-quest delegation today, I'm sure the castle guardians were well chuffed about that.
So we arrived by coach and invaded it totally, breaching the castle walls through the front gate. Here are some cool dudes and girlies who enjoyed being in the darkened base of one of the towers until we found out it used to be the garrison privy, and they were standing in the cesspit.
constables tower portchester castle medieval fortificationsCoproliths to you too.
The poor old castle had a chequered history since the Roman settlement, it'd been scheduled for destruction by at least one king and had its tower extended by at least 2 others.
We climbed the keep and discovered that Oakley is scared of heights so next time he's bad, he can jolly well sit on the Naughty Ladder. At lunch we sat on the grass and it had recently been mown so we covered Ines the Portuguese girl in grass clippings (apart from her face) and I dropped my rat on her and she screamed. The rat and a pen shaped like an arrow were from the castle shop, I only had £3 this time so no Mead, Dandelion Wine or Hawthorn Ale for me. The arrows came in handy to battle against Mooie KroonStempels the Dutch girl and Sam with his short sword and we threw weapons at each other just where the armies of yesteryear used to train, nothing changes.
schoolboys selfie gurning idiotsOne of our projects was to sketch the keep from different angles, mine was Anglo-Saxon.
On the coach on the way home we all did selfies for we are supermodels and poked each other in the groins with pen-arrows, what else are boys to do?

Thursday, 14 May 2015

When Shall we 12 Meet Again?

engrish menu product funny failToday in school we designed our own vehicle, as part of our Romans and Motorised Transport module. (Surely you knew about that ...)
B&Q portsmouth DIY store tools sectionSo, I chose the front section of a Roman chariot with the semi-circular frontispiece for the charioteer to stand and whip Mr Ben Hur, and attachments for 2 horses. Then, a much wider rear end with the over-hoops and linen coverings that you might remember from going west on the old waggon trains to shoot American Indians and mine for gold, religious freedom, starvation and VD.
This vehicle is a goods delivery van and can carry a heavy load.
ferpanco candies atomic fireblast red balls sweets
An Unrequired Taste
After school we scooted home in yet more rain and went to Big B&Q to buy more broomsticks. The Coven of Witches has obviously had a successful recruitment drive and we found another 6 broomsticks (to add to the 6 bought yesterday) and played stage swordfights in the aisles. The lady on the till said she used to be a Sea Scout so no doubt they used to have mock battles with oars instead of broomsticks (what a load of rowlocks).
We hid all our purchases in the Scout lock-up and I was left in peace. 2 weeks ago, at the fair on the seafront, I won a single packet of imported sweeties by shooting them off a shelf with a cork from an airgun. Today I tried one "Atomic FireBlast - Hot Hard Candy Sweets" and it was disgusting. It even has a warning in the ingredients section - "E129 may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children" so I look forward to climbing the walls but not remembering.