Friday, 31 July 2015

The Airbus A321 Jet Plane

Up far too early and had a giant fryup, not only a traditional breakfast, but also to empty the fridge. Fitting in a quick 10 minutes in the park, we argued over last minute hats and got in the car for 1030.
shops reaturants duty free area gatwick south terminalWe know the way to Nanna's house very well indeed and it's compulsory to get held up at Chichester which has a load of roundabouts on its bypass, which slows everything down. In fact, the bypass needs a bypass. Then it was Worthing's turn to hold us up but then we turned left and the M23 took us to Gatwick in no time at all. The long-stay car park has a clearly signposted left turn so we ignored it and went through the drop-off only slots under the terminal building, went round the roundabout you first thought of and had another go.
Parking in a bush, we just missed the freebus and after 3 drop-off only buses had gone past, we finally escaped the amorous wasp that had taken a liking to Jof and were ferried to the terminal. During book-in the tannoy went off "Bing Bong hneurr matarg hroonle white courtesy phone proodle" and we threw away my unopened orange juice and went through bag check and had toastie paninis. We got to Gate 21 with 2 minutes to spare and boarded the plane. Of course we had to sit in the plane for 40 minutes before we were allowed to take off but then an Aer Linctus plane and the last A380 left and we took off over Dover and invaded France aerially, not for the first time.
easyjet planes waiting at the terminalThe Alps were big and lumpy with snow caps and rodding great glacial valleys and that's where I had my first airline meal at 35,000 feet, travelling at 560 mph. I didn't bother with the cheese biscuits or the bread roll but the hot chicken was OK and the chocolate mousse was full of millionaires shortbread.
Meanwhile the cocktails (2 for £7) were taking effect on the rowdy crowd behind us and we kept dropping things and Jof got bored and angry. The flight seemed to go on and on but we descended at dusk and the end of the runway is practically in the sea. We got a Tropical Wumph (which is the wave of vastly hotter air that hits you as you go down the ladder) and a flatbus took us post haste to the terminal building. The security guard barely even glanced at my passport and we waited ages for the luggage carousel. Outside the air temperature was 37 degrees C and I was wrong to wear long trousers. Last time (1953) Jof was in Crete she was 16 and her Dad didn't like the heat and left the holiday a week early. The coach went down endless side roads with half completed buildings and dropped us off at the Stella Palace Hotel after 10pm. A burly bellhop drove us to our room in an electric golf cart and we opened the door 8th time lucky. In the basement restaurant (Poseidon, god of the deep, geddit?) we found a tentacle-tastic all-night buffet and I decided then and there that I would not like any of it. We were too late (11pm) for free drinks on our all-inclusive holiday and explored the pools and listened to the Greek songstress murdering Michael Jackson songs. We made it as far as the sea before giving up and going to bed after midnight.
We are told not to put toilet paper down the toilet because Greek sewers and drainage systems can't cope. This is immensely off-putting. So the first thing I did was crap mightily and fill the bowl with paper ...

Thursday, 30 July 2015

1st Prime, 2nd Cataract (Tertiary Adjunct)

fourskin foreskin product name funny fail engrishAs is so often on these halcyon days of nothingness, it was difficult to get me out of bed. And there might possibly have been some relaxed apathy about leaving the house, or even the sofa, because I've got a new tablet, and Jof told me it's mine.
But once England had been bowled out again and Bud had got home from work, we practically leapt out, honest, and drove to the Landport Adventure Playground.
Now, Ben and I have been to this park a couple of times, we are no strangers to its wooden constructs, aerial walkways, rope bridges and concrete drainage tunnels. And indeed, there have been structural improvements ere I saw it last, with angled logs joining tree-houses, polychrome paints adorning new fences around the raspberry canes and new access portals to the bouncy slide.
But, as per usual, even though the tyre swing has been rejuvenated, it did not take me long to get sidelined by the very very good sandpit.
I saw this thing being built some years ago, and even though they supply actual metal spades (and I'm prepared to call them spades) you'll never dig down to the bedrock beneath because the sandpit is very deep, and we're on gravel here on Portsea Island.

landport adventure playground portsmouth sandpitSo I rolled up my trouserlegs, co-opted a brown chap in a blue shirt to help dig the trench, and together we re-routed the River Nile and made cataracts and rapids, in yet another civil engineering triumph. The river bifurcated and nearly had an Oxbow Lake motif with reed beds and protected wetlands but little girls kept getting in the way. As you know, sand gets everywhere so I showered straight away at the expense of a crunchy kitchen floor.
Due to less-than-diligent shopping, Jof had to go out to the fish'n'chip emporium and managed to get curry as well. While ketchup on chips is a staple of the western diet, I tried out poppadoms for the first time and found them to be like Pron Crax (prawn crackers) and therefore worthy of note. We watched the cricket highlights twice, because we're worth it.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

White Water Rapids

phoenix pub bar and eatery romsey southamptonHaving had such a relaxing day yesterday, I persuaded Jof to take me to the promised Pyramids splash'n'waterslides experience. This she almost did, having secretly substituted a new and unknown location, only just up the road from Grandad who was too busy to join us as he is currently on a cruise up the Moselle, what a cheek.
'The Rapids' is an indoor watery fun place in Romsey Leisure Centre, basically, and we had a quick go in the attached swingpark which is in Romsey Sports centre. It has a built-in sandpit, climbing frames and associated cricket pitch, minigolf and skatepark. I shall return to do these things.
You can't take pictures in the swimming pool complex following the usual paranoid safety directives aimed at the one trenchcoat-wearer who was last seen in 1973, so I will relay vital details.
sheet music wallpaper phoenix pub romseyThere are 3 pools. One has a beach area and learner swimmers, one has obstacles including the bucket that fills up quietly then dumps its load on you, and one has a rapids channel that feeds back into itself further down. The kids section has squirters and a Pirate ship. I liked the round spinner-tank, you proceed sedately round in circles until they turn the flow up and then you spin out of control and it's very funny. There was a very long waterslide but the queue was also long and we couldn't be bothered to wait.
After an hour or so we both got very hungry and then the tannoy announcer said "Hneetle awawa pree talaka rooney hnoor", so we did that. Driving into town, we battled with enthusiastic traffic wardens (sorry, Parking Compliance and Technical Enablement Outreach Officers) to ditch the car next to a medieval waterway and toured the centre looking for food. The Phoenix pub seemed to be the best bet.
bar price list poster americas cup world series portsmouth 2015It is a very nice bar and eatery where the crockery is all different. My chips came in an old tin mug, Jof got a pot of tea where the teapot was a cottage and the milk came in an old specimen jar, the plates are clearly out of charity shops who must be cleaning up with all the stuff they've inherited from various deceased grannies.
On the way out I saw a piano next to a wall of musical wallpaper that ErinsMum likes. But it also had a skeleton in a hat playing the sax, so I jammed with him awhile.
Bud had taken the chance to have the run he missed yesterday and came home with a souvenir. It may not be valuable but it is a thing of our time and when they pull these things off the Titanic, they're worth a fortune. The VIP tent price list is a 2-foot high placard. A pint of beer at only £5 seems not too bad, but might I draw Sir's attention to the bottle of bubbly at only £90 ...

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Stoving over a Hot Slave

engrish funny shop sign inappropriate Moving slowly into the second day of real holiday, I had one of those days where you never stop working.
I slaved over a hot stove, nose to the grindstone, hard at work up my crane bringing home the bacon while burning the candle at both ends. In fact I worked harder than those lovely people Mike and Angelo who painted sixteen chapels.
lazy boy with earplugs minecraft youtube videosI played on the X-box. I played on the tablet. I was just about to go out and post a parcel of assorted Pokémon cards to an ebay customer up north when lunch got in the way so I couldn't. Jof discovered earplugs so I could watch rubbish Minecraft videos while she watched her program and we didn't even have to talk to each other.
I got quite miffed when it was gymnastics time but I'm happy to read Danny the Champion of the World in the car and then it was fun-day at the gym where parents are allowed in. I begged him not to go on a 6-mile run up the hill and he sat on a bench for only 35 minutes while we warmed up and then it was fun-time and we battled with foam in the pits and swung off the rings and trampled the trampoline and it was epic.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Dancing in the Holosuite

engrish funny name product failGiven that this is a Monday, I count it as the first true day of the holidays proper.
Jof wandered around doing some kind of housework, sorting out important things and stuff, but this represented an opportunity to watch 'True Lies' in full, again.
Then we went shopping. This is never a good thing for us smaller chaps, the items on the list may be for my benefit but as you've got to trail around endless emporia and loiter in lobbies and try stuff on etc, it's torture.
alcatel onetoch pop75 tabletSo I dance. I can't keep still at the best of times so when Jof's carrying 4 large shopping bags and it's crowded and I dance and jump up and down hooting and singing the lalalaaaa song, it doesn't help. But what I didn't like is that we were clearly on the Holosuite of the Starship Enterprise, with Geordi La Forge playing tricks on me. I'd shimmy to the left, and all of a sudden there'd be a distraught mother with a buggy full of screaming brats that weren't there a minute ago. I'd gyrate to the right, and a shop assistant that didn't exist would have to jump out of my way, scattering boxes of tissues.
traffic light repair night shift roadworksI'd flail my arms backwards, and out of nowhere there'd be one of those rotating postcard dispenser racks that the Hologram programmer had placed there when I wasn't looking. So Jof got somewhat miffed as she kept telling me to keep still, but it's not my fault that obstacles keep leaping out at me.
But eventually we got a new tablet and some swimming trunks and some kids books (even though I only had eyes for the Minecraft book) and we got home and I played Minecraft for ages.
Then the roadworks started their next night shift. These chaps have the drill machine that cuts holes in tarmac and it's noisy and right outside my bedroom window. Smirnoff, anyone?

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Americas Cup Day 4: Can't be Bothered

Rain, again.
minecraft screen grab with villagersThis is not a great advert for our historic city with its cannons and castles and labels on houses like "Former Black Horse Pub c1675" and warships and docks. The rubbish weather may scare off the Americas Cup schedulers and they might never come back. In fact the big sign at the top of the Eastern Road said "Americas Cup Event - CANCELLED". 2 out of 4 days were a washout, the guy that sold me the square pizza yesterday must be very sad.
So I sat on the sofa and watched Toy Story and stuff. Jof got bored and went back to bed, and I got undisturbed Minecraft time. I met someone called Tommy who says he is 11 and we made each other houses in our Mine-plots, the one I did for him has flowers at the front and a giant tree, the one he did for me has a pitched roof and a lot of villagers.
Later we watched 'Twins' with my favourite action hero and Kuato from Total Recall and one of the Klane cousins was played by Sven-Ole Thorsen. A quick look at IMDb shows that this Danish actor has been in 13 Schwarzenegger films. I've gotta get me a gig like that, if only I was a 6 foot 5 inch Danish bodybuilder.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Americas Cup Day 3: A Win for Sir Ben

americas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventI started the day surprisingly early for a Saturday but a cup of tea helped.
I had a boiled egg with toastie soldiers for breakfast and the egg (purchased that very morning from the Co-Op) was so small it didn't poke out of the top of the eggcup and it's lucky you delve downwards with these things.
And by 930 we were on our bikes, leaving Jof aghast at how we could leave the house without her. In meedle of no time we were on the seafront, and parked our bikes by the Pyramids.
The entrance was quite far away and we could have parked a lot closer but never mind eh. We got in with only a cursory search of our swag-bag (and we didn't have to have tickets) and we strumbled off in search of entertainment, noting the many food tents of all nations, strong on Bratwursts.
americas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventIt was quite empty to start with as we'd arrived at 10 and a bit so we hopped on the sea wall and looked at the early races. These were little one-man efforts called 'Moths' but they zipped around and came right out of the water on their hover-blades.
In the main 'Fanzone' arena I found a super racing car with attendant girlies and bald tyres. Many of the very extensive tents were to sell booze of all nations and Bermuda was well represented as well as real beer for us numpties.
Quite a few of the tents were sailing-related and we met the Portsmouth Watersports Centre people who know me well and they asked for some more of those cardboard tubes and stuff from Bud's work.
americas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventWe also spoke to a guy who was selling yachts of all sizes and he said that one like Ben Ainslie started off in would be about £600 second-hand, a snip if you live in in tropical waters unlike our benighted country.
americas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventThen we saw the toilets. I know they're expecting half a million visitors and there are a lot of beer tents, but there were enough toilets even for Jof. The sound stage was big and impressive but it was showing RNLI rescue practice on the big screens and the only person on stage was a Radio Heart DJ who was trying to get all 3 people in the audience to cheer.
I bought a tin mug with the cup logo on it to take to Scout camps etc. But that was the only actual thing I bought all day.
americas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventThe Solent was starting to get busy with spectator boats as was the sea wall. We rose above it by hiring a pod on the Ferris wheel! It was ace. Because we were one of only 3 occupied pods, they went round 5 times and kept stopping at the top for us to take pictures and admire the view.
americas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventThe pod spins on its own axis so I turned it a lot and we swapped seats and made it all wobble and the ride supervisor told us to sit down but he couldn't when we were up in the air, could he, children? No.
Then I had a square pizza for only £5 and we bought our drinks from the Waitrose tent because I'm not adventurous.
americas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventamericas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventThen the Royal Navy Frigate HMS St Albans left port and paraded past us a bit, for we are a Navy town and it's always nice to see some gruff Matlows saying look at the size of my 4 1/2 inch naval gun, don't try anything funny or we'll perforate you with high explosive shells. Then they fired a blank at us and we all jumped. She took up position off Ryde and waited to see if the IS sand monkeys would try anything.
americas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventThen (once I'd got an ice cream) the Red Bull flying display team buzzed us out of nowhere and the 2 propeller planes started a series of flypasts in close formation and dives and climbs and barrel rolls and the thing where they climb really high and stall and make smoke come out and they went rrrrr and bzzzzz and stuff for ages and made a heart out of traily-smoke. The 2 Gosport ferries came out and took up position at the harbour mouth and several other ferries loitered with intent, I'm just parking here for a minute, officer, honest.
One of the areas by the Portsmouth Watersports Centre tent was the kiddie area and it had the fun bus and bouncy castles (for very little people) and the laserquest thing that Ben and Erin and the JBs and I like to play at the May Fayre but I'd completely run out of friends so I just did the fun bus.
americas cup world series portsmouth seafront eventAnd then the Americas Cup competitors came out. They were much taller than everyone else and they were all catamarans and they looked rather swish. They had a naval escort and the Solent was absolutely crammed.
Let's hope the event organisers like it so much we're made a regular part of the event calendar.
The VIP area had a massive viewing platform and grandstand and it was full so we had a look at the battlements next to Henry the 8ths castle and they were crammed too. So I went home. The races took place, I'm sure, but I played Minecraft instead. Later we drove right back to the seafront again and picked up hot totty 'Katie B' from the Hovercraft and Jof took her dancing, having painted nails and donned stupid heels. Us chaps watched "The Bourne Identity" which was somewhat confusing with CIA subsections lying to each other.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Americas Cup Day 2: A False Sense of Security

sports broadcasters live tv failLet's hold an Americas Cup series race in British waters for the first time since 1851, they said. It'll be historic and full of Pompey and Circumstance, and it'll be July so the weather will be fine, they said. That's when we threw a double six for depression, gales, hailstorms, monsoons ...
So Jof drove me to YMCA and I got stuck in with my old mate Amy from my kiddie school. There was dodgeball and we beat the teachers and there was head'n'catch which is where the piggy in the middle says header or catch the ball and you have to do the opposite or you're out. This is reminiscent of all those drinking games like Fuzzy Duck.
Film afternoon was 'Frozen' and I'm allergic so I did my first swim of the day: I got the ball for ages and later I got right back in again for my actual paid lesson. The rain only increased in intensity, the Red Arrows (acrobatic jetplane display team) declined to perform to the 7 remaining stalwarts on the seafront and the VIP area ticket sales were low, serves them right for pricing them at £160.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Americas Cup Day 1: Den Wars

channel 5 live reporter fail only in americaHip-Hip Hooray for the first day of the holidays! So I went straight into child-minding because even if you're from one of those bizarre species that has 3 parents, they still won't have enough holiday days from work to cover the amount we kids get.
We cycled slowly to the YMCA and I started on the tablet and then it was Den Building, girls vs boys. The boys concentrated on sentry towers and secret death traps and security protocols and the girls stuck with soft furnishings and lounges.
One of the items we used was a parachute with a hole in the top, so we used it as a lookout post where you stick your head out the top. After lunch was Den Wars and we attacked and won. I skinned a knee and when Bud arrived to take me home early, I danced around and banged my head on an open window and put a big triangular dent in it.
southsea seafront ferris wheel london eye americas cup event
On the seafront the whole area between King Henry's castle and the Blue Reef centre is blocked off unless you pay 7 million to go in the VIP area. But the rest is free as long as you let them search your bags. We'll go down on Saturday when it will be absolutely heaving which is more fun. There's loads of tents (some selling beer) and a London Eye and giant inflatables and T-shirts and prizes and stalls and rides. There might even be some sailboats competing in the Americas cup.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A 5 Year Sentence

french will surrender to germans immediately failAs of today I have completed 5 years of my school life.
It's not much of a school day so we did the register and I failed to get 100% attendance because of the hospital trip for that broken finger.
schools out for summer meon junior school portsmouthBut we emptied our trays and piled up all of our junk and I played the Simpsons board game and came equal top on 7 tokens and there were ball games you've never heard of and a lot of handing out of sweeties.
Our Maths teacher Miss A is leaving us to teach at Johnny and Bobert's school - it can only be a step up for her. Other teachers are leaving to have babies and change their names and get married but the Venn diagram for these variables is somewhat complex.
red metal park benches milton park portsmouthAt final kick-out time it was an absolute blub-fest with girls of all age groups with puffy eyes and even a couple of teary boys, must have been knocked out in the group stages again.
Meeting Ben at the park as usual, there was ball tag and running around and Amy and Lucy and LittleMax and lots of other small faces and the JBs joined us and then some jug-eared ***t started calling me a gremlin and that's when the magic died for me and I came home.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Stet Vortex

only in texas truck misses garage funny failToday Caitlin's parents (who run an animal sanctuary) brought in some reptiles for us to marvel at.
One was an African lizard of some type with an amusing claim to fame, if you look through its ear, you can see out the other side! Bud says you can do that with me, too, but I have to take that on faith because I can't see from where I'm sitting.
stamshaw adventure playground portsmouthThe second creature was a snake from hot countries that cuddles you to death, but isn't a Boa Constrictor. Boy snakes and girl snakes look alike so to find out which is which, you have to get a straw and stick it up its doodab and see how far up it goes before the snake kills you. Just think, snakey singles bars in the jungle must be full of all these shifty-looking snakes, carrying straws ...
The Year 6 lot had their leaving assembly today. They sang 9 songs including Lightning and Eye of the Tiger (but the ersatz version) and one of them did a backflip during a song!
stamshaw adventure playground portsmouthWe also got our hour in the park, where I played rounders and dodgeball. So when he said lovely day, let's go to the park after school, I wasn't fussed but then we remembered the Stamshaw Adventure Playground which is right on the way to gymnastics. Nipping round to the Renty house to pick up the hoover and so forth, we bumped into Zoe who was still cleaning it and we discussed Brillo pads, as you do.
We had just enough time to visit the park. Since we were there last, they have extended the wooden walkway in the trees and the pirate ship is looking a bit sad, the dead boat is still there as are the nettles.
But the water park was not only finished, it was flowing and full of tyres and little artificial sand islands and eyots and a girl was sweeping water down from the input tank and making little floods and the drain-away lake is quite big and deep so off came the shoes and socks and in I went.
I used small gaily coloured fragments of dead balloons to race down the white-water rapids and positioned tyres to make experimental flow regulators and in one of them, it made a natural vortex and the fragment couldn't escape, and just span around in circles.
stamshaw adventure playground portsmouth
This is not to be confused with the Stet Vortex. This is a random spatial anomaly of intense brainwave activity. It strikes anywhere and anytime but usually in a place of relaxation and calmness e.g. a garden. When the invisible vortex strikes, the hapless victim is suddenly rooted to the spot and effectively switched off while the Vortexians (benevolent aliens) run a 47 petabyte program of daydreams through his mind. A session can last from 10 to 40 seconds and upon termination, leaves the subject with a slight sense of bewilderment. If you have ever been in a meeting and the CEO turns to you and says "What do you think, Brian?" and your only answer is "What?", then you may have been attacked by the Vortexians. This can manifest itself as "What am I doing in this room?" and also "Why am I holding a lemon zester?" and some of you may also recognize "Why am I in my own wardrobe holding a sink plunger?" The name stet vortex (not related to the 4th century Mayan llama farmer of the same name) comes from the habit of the victim under a mental vortex just standing there, apparently frozen in time.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Poetry and Emotion

laderlappen batman name failGot to school in drizzle.
Today Jof went to a swanky hotel in the New Forest because her work wanted to say thank you for being such a community-minded worker. This gave her the chance to half-inch some of those little shampoos and soaps from the janitor trolleys they always leave lying around. We'll have to go swimming a lot to use them all up.
This afternoon was the Year 6 leaving performance, with songs, dance and fancy dress. They will be going off to big school and so several of them came out of the assembly hall with streaming eyes - all of them girls, I note - a show of emotion to which I shall never stoop.
But I did take the chance of bringing home some of the rubbish, er, schoolwork that I have accumulated over the term. Here is my acrostic Pig Poem, a master of porcine understatement, but I also proffer unto you my Ode to Wolves.
acrostic pork comes from pig bellies generally muddyGray Yay.
Running at 31 mph.
Ancestor of all Domestic dogs,
You will run away.
When they kill an animal,
Oh, you should run.
Layers of fur covering a soulless cage
Fall to your death, they're coming for you.

Sunday, 19 July 2015


plastic minion figure from macdonaldsRecently I asked whether I could go to McDonalds, or, as we know it, McDougalls. I'm not allowed to go very often and I suspect my lifetime visits are less than 10. But as long as you eat proper food the rest of the time, it's probably not fatal.
So Jof wanted the Egg McMuffin but we arrived after 1030 and they'd stopped serving them: she had to have Chicken McSupremo or something and I had Chicken McMorsels and got a free Minion for which I made a prison-cage. It does make Minion noises when you bang it but it doesn't swear, like was reported in America somewhere last week.
Jof recently bought another house (must have got bored with this one, I guess) and it needed new carpets so we got the Carpetright people to do this house, as they'd done ours and it's only round the corner etc.
The carpets came to a total of about £1500 and were duly installed last week. In a couple of days Zoe is going round there to wave her magic hoover and the window cleaners will wave their magic squeegees and then it's all ready for the people to move in, as planned, hooray.
carpetright vinyl laminates beds customer service failSo we nipped round yesterday to take some more of our stuff out and hey presto, the carpet people have put the nice soft grey bedroom carpets in the hall/stairs/landing, and put the hard-wearing brown carpets in the bedrooms. You only had one job, guys, and you got the carpets the wrong way round. So, straight from our salty chickeny repast at McDongles, we walked over the road and put this to the man sitting behind the desk at CarpetWrong and Jof is jolly good at telling people off, it's practically a hobby.
As long as they could completely replace all the carpets tomorrow, that'd be fine, but they have to order it all in from some desolate warehouse outside Basingstoke and the new carpets wouldn't even arrive in less than a week so we're hoping for a really big sorry-refund.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Disappearing Act: A Dearth of Ducks

cemetery lake southampton commonSo today was a Saturday and as such I am commanded to sneak downstairs quietly, play Klans-Klash or something and let sleeping dogs lie.
I did this adequately and had tuna-pasta for breakfast because of why not, and then we walked through the park to wake ourselves up. This was the last scheduled acting lesson of the term so we got there dead on time and he wandered off and that's when the Creative Director of the theatre said Oh Poo, we're not running the session today because there's only one attendee, me. But Bud had already gone off and he doesn't have a mobile so I learned about the sound and lighting booth and played with the rather nice wardrobe lady and dressed as an Egyptian and tried out ALL the swords.
Then we drove to Southampton, a bit of a come-down but we met Grandad at the Cowherds pub and it was all worthwhile.
sky ride southampton common
He taught me radii and diameters and how to make a triangle with compasses and rivers of Europe and that was just before the pasta arrived. Recently I ordered an adult-sized fish meal in a pub and barely touched it because it was too salty. Grandad is totally allergic to wasted food so this time I ordered the kiddie meal and it was tiny. I know I'm a bit of a chubster recently but seriously, I had to steal several chips and scampi off Bud to reach satiety.
From there we did the playpark and I duly took charge of the roundabout and we came prepared this time, with a big bag of bread. Last time we had to feed the ducks with our ice cream cones, this time we had a sack of wholemeal and soya and linseed Burgen loaf (extra healthy) and there were no ducks, no swans, no cygnets and only 37 pigeons and an infinity of seagulls. We had to be creative to attract any ducks at all and even those looked uninterested and actively swam away from our bready bounty. Ungrateful duckers.
southampton common splashpark areaSo we strolled to the boating lake (model yacht lake) but there were no boats. We gave up and I put on my trunks and got out my guns and had a very successful hour in the splashpark shooting Southamptonians. This watery park is large and the main pool is at least a foot deep so you can get right in there and crocodile up on people and shoot them with water guns. I was in hogs heaven until it clouded over totally and all of a sudden it was quite cold in the wind so we said Poldarks to this, lets have a cup of tea.
At the Hawthorns Café and wildlife reserve, none of us had tea. Grandad got his coat from the car and had a hot chocolate, Bud had coffee and I had a double-scooper ice cream. We parted ways near 6pm and all was well.
As promised, Saturday night is Film Night. Jof didn't go out with the PuddleMummies so she had to be quiet while we watched Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his early outings as Ex-FBI agent Kaminsky in 'Raw Deal'. It did indeed have some explosions and guns and intrigue and some blonde in a gambling den and various baddies including Max, also seen as the pockmarked white FBI agent Johnson in Die Hard. I'm afraid the film itself was poor. I yawned extensively throughout but you've just got to see them all to understand which are the good ones. So, Terminator, Predator and Total Recall are the tops, with mentioned in dispatches for Commando and True Lies.

Friday, 17 July 2015

This Beast will Suck your Blood like Shandy

college students shooting each other with firework rockets funnySchool is definitely winding down to a close now. I finished my maths book and had to append a loose sheet, and we did our opening descriptions of the slavering monsters we invented earlier in the week. My chimaera is a marine carnivore, so I used 'Shandy' in my simile as that's what Bud drinks.
Then we visited the infant school next door and I read to Baby Edward.
After school we went round to the Renty house and did some last-minute jobs like emptying the fridge of elderly milk and putting in 2 hooks for the curtain tie-backs, you know, really rock-on stuff, hurrah.
My old infant school was having its garden party/fete. I have happy memories of this event, Erin and I had good times there and the Fayres seemed better at the kiddie school than they do at my current school. But looking through the fence, we could see that the games looked a little lame now that I'm practically a Year 5, so we didn't go in.
underage boy with mp5 machine gun and 18 rated movieThen the post arrived and it was the one remaining Arnold Schwarzenegger movie I have not yet seen, hurrah. This time he is an ex-FBI agent, sacked for being too brutal, who is brought back to go in undercover and kill all the drug dealer gang bad guys. What more do you want, apart from aliens. Saturday night is film night ...
So, in swimming, I was doing the normal stuff. Ploughing up and down, I was winning again and having time to do underwater handstands while waiting for the others to catch up. Then the nice teacher lady said come over here to the other group and teach them to dive. So I did that. I demonstrated the safety-first dive they have to start with and the Arrow Dive as used in the pools of Majorca. This is the second week I have been tasked with being the guest tutor, last time I showed off my flawless front crawl technique.
Then she said you seem to be rather good, would you like to do the advanced student try-out course at the other pool, if you qualify, you can go and join the professional swimming club at the top of the island that have their own Olympic-sized pool. And there'll be competitions with the chance of medals and silverware (no gilt trip). This is exactly what Jof did when she was a junior, she won actual silver things in regional races. I've been headhunted!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Haircut Ten Thousand*

solitary bees egg laying facility vivariumman in yellow teddy bear suit with tail like penisWell, although I randomly woke up at 2am and 5am, I got enough sleep and was no longer tired and emotional.
It was ALL CHANGE at school. The End of Days (not my favourite Schwarzenegger film) is just around the corner so us keep 'em in the dark and feed 'em mushroom compost workers were finally drip-fed the vital information about the next academic year.
    gristwood toms park facilities maintenance
  1. Our class teacher is Mr Stanley. But he's getting married so will be Mr Booze-on or Bougainvillea or Beauregard, this may be a rumour. We have him for all subjects, a megalomaniac perhaps.
  2. In my class will be both Bens and an Erin but no Pops.
  3. We get an even longer lunch hour, might as well not turn up to Year 6 at this rate.
  4. We will study the Temple of Doooooom, Vikings and visit the Chichester Planetarium again, let's hope they're open this time.
  5. One school trip lasts a whole week! I think it's forest survival, not necessarily based on the Lord of the Flies but I'll take a knife and gun just in case.
  6. The Year 5 play will involve death but probably not swearing.
It's a lot to take in, and I clearly failed to retain all the details but stuff will happen, and I'll be a part of it. We're all very excited.
On the way home we checked out the bee hotel that I spent so much time on yesterday. The giant hole at the bottom of the right hand support post was mine. Many of the drill-holes in the colourful vertical face (condo units) are mine.
Still on the way home, we discovered why the traffic was even worse than it has been recently due to the roadworks. The council were giving a tree a severe haircut (they weren't doing it themselves, they sent some men round) and in the red circle is a falling log in a classic action shot.
Today I found an opticians in Brisbane, Australia run by a man called M. Hinds. I messaged him to ask if, in hindsight, he could have found a better name for his shop.
Today Jof got stung by a wasp, twice, on the same leg. I was stung once, and I don't recommend it.
*There used to be a pop group called Haircut 100. Once upon a decade, Bud got his first Grade 1 haircut and was dubbed Haircut 10,000.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Pot will Smoke Itself

engrish product name funny failI was a bit yawny this morning, still buzzing from my stage appearance.
I was rescued from class by an Antisocial Bee. This week, a school project has been gradually self-assembling: the Solenoid Bee Hotel. We have been upgrading our gardens and are now totally floral. The Solitary Bee is an efficient pollinator but does not make large hives full of stinging beasties which may prove dangerous in a Junior school environment. They lay eggs in holes in wood and leave them to it so ideal for us.
flying ant day colony swarming from hole in pavementOther pupils had painted designs onto pre-cut logs of about 6 inch diameter and 8 inch length and we drilled holes in them for Suicidal Bee eggs. We then dug 60 cm holes in the ground which went well apart from one where we found a huge lump of concrete at 20cm depth. Without so much as a council risk assessment, the teacher took a giant iron pole and chumfed the concrete until the sweat poured from his brow and the concrete shattered.
hall stairs landing carpetFortunately it was not the main sewer pipe and we finished the hole. The mainframe was bolted together and installed in the holes and mortar added to support. The Year 3s will add the Somnambulist Bee egg-logs tomorrow.
In PE we played punchball and my team lost 7-0 and they taunted me for my crapness and I cried. It is not my fault I'm not an Olympic sportsperson, at least I try.
After school we checked out the new carpets in the Renty house. It is entirely possible that they have installed the grey soft carpet in the hall/stairs/landing and the hard-wearing brown carpet in the bedrooms to match the grey curtains, but who's counting. Zoe will have a tough job hoovering up the millions of little worm-like bits.
shirtless boy milton park portsmouthIt is Ant Day. Loads of them flew into my face and my shirtless body but they didn't bite. I'd arranged to meet Ben in the park as the JBs were having a school picnic so we played ball-tag but he wanted to play football so I got angry and wanted to play tents on the common and also to play Klash-of-Klans at his house and Lego at my house and just when I'd scored a deal, the JBs turned up having changed their minds. I got VERY angry but when they said let's all play tents on the common with the 30 new Nerf gun bullets, I grudgingly accepted the thing I'd wanted about 7 changes of mind ago.
First we sawed 60 bits of wood for BensMum, as you do, and tented happily on the common for hours. I got lots of grass seeds stuck in my socks, very itchy. I need to get to sleep, if only grass did that for you.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Boards: Trodden. Legs: Broken

hole in the road protected by road signsWell, some of me was dreading school today to see if anyone remembered my accidental Freudian Slippery yesterday when I revealed the name of my childhood crush.
No big deal. As predicted, barely anyone remembered and the target of attention remains unaware, hooray.
We got our class photos today, made in sections and stitched together by the magic of photoshop etc, a couple of us have a third arm and I'm sure that's not my face.
But I had to give gymnastics a miss tonight as the theatre is putting on its annual showcase revue using me as the newest and brightest star, honest. This meant an early shower and hot food.
The Company of Elders put on scenes from Pygmalion scattered throughout the night and left Victorian pennies scattered over the stage following a flower-selling incident.
'Voices' sang A cappella and would do much better at the Beer Festivals than the stuff they've had lately: a chap san Hellfire from the Hunchback of Notre Dame and then we did the Jam Jar story.
groundlings youth theatre group showcaseWhere I say we, my age group is usually about half a dozen strong but for this performance, only 2 bothered to turn up, Archie and I. We manhandled it between us with 2 girls from the group above who dropped down an age bracket to help out. There might have been the odd pause and gap, and we had to hop,skip and jump, but I looked good as an evacuee in wartime England. At one point the girls ploughed on with a bit of song so Archie couldn't get his line in about the unexploded bomb so apparently I was traipsing across rubble looking for Jam with ladies screaming 'look out' at me for no apparent reason.
9 girls competently sang 'When I grow up' from Matilda and in the intermission, Pygmalion's pie seller was dressed as an army captain and serving behind the bar. Jof said she should do the bar next time.
In the second half I introduced a song about Broadway and the tutors did a turn each. The Teenager dance group re-imagined the birth of the NHS with a patient refusing to be seen by a Caribbean nurse because she was a dirty nigger. Then the 'Voices' sang some more and one of them looks just like one of the Dixie Chicks. We all got very hot and got home for 945.