Monday, 31 August 2015

Aftermath: a Hollow Victory

I was hoping for a do-nothing day and tried for a naked day but they insisted I wear pants, at least. Then we sort-of agreed to go swimming and the Pyramids were chosen and we climbed the battlements to see the scar left on the face of the Earth by the dearly departed Victorious Festival.
sound stage and litter following victorious festival portsmouth
This lengthy music-and-beerfest suffered much the same fate as the America's Cup in that the notoriously generous Pompey weather was generous once more, showering all and sundry with copious amounts of monsoons, free of charge.
This meant that Castle Field and the Common have been churned and spludged by cars and lorries and it may take years to recover. The sprinkling of discarded festival food containers lent it a surreal air and we watched a fork-lift putting pallets of unused bottles back onto the lorry, and wrecking what was left of the field.
In the Pyramids, I met Bill and Harry and Thomas and Angeline and Lennon and Flynn and Finn and played with them all. At one point Bud and I were up the waterslide ladder and Jof waved to us. Then we were up the other waterslide ladder and she waved to us. I then suggested she go off and do her own thing rather than follow us around and she did not take this well and walked home, and was quiet for the rest of the day and I got sent to my room, I shall never understand adults.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Last Blackberry

langstone harbour and hayling islandI was first up because I know that if I'm quiet, I can get some time on the tablet before they're awake enough to stop me.
Hours later Jof said let's go for a bike ride, just to surgically remove me from screens. The Victorious Festival is on so the seafront might be a little busy so we struck north instead and met Elizabeth who had been forced out of the house for much the same reason.
Then I went blackberry hunting on Ben's bumpy paths and they were either red, tiny, or out of reach. I got one. Ben and I usually like to dig away at the sea defences so I found a new excavation tool and left it hidden for our next visit.
Incidentally, I think Nike's new slogan should be Live Long and Perspire.
I was due to watch Alien but Jof said she didn't want me to, so I just played X-Box for ages. So we went for 80s classic "Ghost" with much drivel and comedy and heaven-lights and hell-demons and we fast-forwarded through the erotic clay-potting scene but you have to appreciate I'm way past all of this stuff with the nips and the bots because I'm looking at the acting. Then I went to bed but I did rather like the nips and the bots.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Come with me if you want to live

fishermen and ziplines on bournemouth pierI was very surprised to find myself awake at seven something, and although I tried to get back to sleep, I failed and met Bud downstairs at 0733, on a Saturday.
While this is an unlikely scenario following Friday-Night-is-Beer-Night, there was a real reason. Once we'd had breakfast and taken Jof her first cup of tea of the day, we left the house at ten past 9 and drove west (well, once we'd got off the island).
Bournemouth was our target. Neither of us have ever been there, and as we haven't yet reached retirement age, the visit must have been for the Bournemouth Film and Comic Convention, held in the Bournemouth International Centre, or BIC for short.
public park and stream bournemouth balloonPaying vast amounts for the car park, we had half an hour to kill before our tickets were valid so we hit the beach. It is sandy and very long indeed, going on for miles in each direction. You can see the Needles (westernmost pointy point of the Isle of Wight, the other end of which we can see from our own beach), and Sandbanks, which is a small exclusive nature reserve for very rich people: it's about 3 inches above sea level and will totally wash away as soon as the climate change-related sea level rises start.
bournemouth film and comic con game of thronesThe Pier is long and swish and charges £1.60 for the likes of us. Knowing we'd be back later, we paid the extortionate fee and promenaded gaily, looking at the fisherpersons and the beautiful bay with its bathing beauties and a massive Zipline from a monstrous gantry at the end of the pier to a fenced-off landing pad on the beach. To Zip us both back to shore would have cost about £25 so we walked instead. You can just see the Ziplines by the lamp-post above my head.
bournemouth comic film con stallsBimbling up the long and pleasant park either side of a stream, we saw a hot air balloon and lots of palm trees and yuccas and so forth, ice cream kiosks and a miniature golf course. Vowing to return, we walked to the BIC and joined the back of a very long queue.
It was full of Cosplayers from all manner of films and TV shows and Comics and the Lara Crofts were curvy and there were a lot of guns and outsize weapons and some Predators and lots of Fantastic Fours and bursting bodices and tight botties and coloured hair and people where I could not tell whether they were boys or girls.
kyle reese signed photo shoot bournemouth film and comic conInside it was VERY busy and you sort of get pushed along by the crowd and we searched out our target (Terminator and Aliens star Michael Biehn) and got a queue ticket and wandered off to get pushed around by the crowd.
There were 2 massive rooms of stalls and signing areas and some Doctor Who actors were doing a seminar and you couldn't move for Stormtroopers and the sandwiches were £4 each and there were a lot of official helpers. At least 2 stalls were selling swords but we've got 2 real ones.
I scored some excellent Lego minifigures and he got an articulating Predator (to go with our minigun-toting Terminator) and we spent ages trundling around looking for an Alien (Ripley-style) but the only ones were either dreadful rip-off kiddie night-lights or 2-foot tall ones that were, like, £120 so we missed out there.
bournemouth pier and beach hot air balloonBut we waited dutifully for Michael Biehn although we called him Kyle Reese and when we got to the front he was nice but I got a bit shy. I said my favourite film was Predator and he wrote come with me if you want to live on the signed picture, I chose the one of him in the stolen car. He seemed to find it difficult to write and said he hadn't ever signed a photo for a Professor before. He pointed out that I was not in costume and I said I used to have the full-on Terminator one but I can't fit in it any more and we all agreed I'll have to get a costume sorted for the next one.
sixty million postcards exeter st bournemouth @60mpcNext to him was Christopher Judge from Stargate but he wasn't dressed as a Jafar, and on the other side was a woman called Jennifer from CSI and nobody wanted her autograph. I liked the look of Robert Englund, though, his Freddy Krueger costume looked ace.
I told Kyle Reese that I wanted to be an actor and he said funny you should say that, so does my son, so we met him too, but he was 12.
bournemouth international centre bic event hostingAnyway, we escaped the melee and went to the Slug and Lettuce for lunch, and planned our next Lego project, which is the jungle scene in Predator where he's all muddy and the predator-alien can't see him on that frequency. On the way back we went up in the hot air balloon, because neither of us have used that mode of transport before. It goes up to 120 metres and waves about in the wind. Everybody looks very small from up there and they warn you not to drop things on people but we thought we could poo on a seagull to get our own back.
Next to us was some brat who wouldn't shut the flapping lip, kept quacking and jumping around, some kids, eh. It was all very funny and you could see for miles. The viewing platform is totally caged in, it's round a hexagonal hole where the tethering cable goes and when we came down the wind blew us around and the line got snagged and we crashed amusingly.
lego and minecraft minifigures predator michael biehn signed photoThat's when it started to rain, and it didn't stop for the rest of the day. So we didn't go back on the pier and we took one more circuit of the Cosplay-fest but didn't see anybody we knew although it was fun identifying who they were Cosplaying. You know in comics and action shows where the ladies often have splendid boobies and giant weapons and exposed midriffs and helpfully positioned but very limited armour? Well, so do their Cosplayers. It was all very interesting.
Anyway, I didn't get my ice cream on the pier (so I've got 2 spare tickets for the pier, valid for a couple of months), we didn't play golf but I have come away with a Lego Dobby, Harry Potter, Iron Man, Loki and Avengers Spaceship, a Minecraft Zombie and Skeleton, a signed photo of a film star made out to me, and a new appreciation for scantily clad warrior babes.
As soon as we got home, Jof went to bed for a nap. These days off are tough ...
I'd agreed that my next film-a-thon is the Alien series, but I just couldn't be bothered tonight and played Minecraft for ages and had a bath fizzer, retro, man.

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Tin-Foil Stealth Helmet

trestle table malfuction broken fail funnyToday was the last day of my Camp Adventure and I must say it's been strenuous, ie I actually needed my sleep and deserved my food.
This one was the trip to Staunton Country Park where other divisions of the Adventurous Campers have been learning Bushcraft with overnight stays. We parked on the motorway while a motorbike accident was cleared away (an hour after a vintage traction engine accident was cleared away, and a week after the plane crash onto the road - is our coastal route cursed?) and then reached the forest.
First up was fire-lighting. Now, I was possibly the world's most adept fire-lighter at age 2 and 3 but now I got the chance to learn from the professionals. We lit cotton, leaves and cotton dipped in Vaseline (petroleum gel) with matches, flints and rubbed sticks, and then boiled some water on our fires and made our own hot chocolate. The older kids were eating their own pasta with meat sauce, where the meat was locally sourced rabbit.
You laugh, but when the revolution comes, due to my tuition, I'll be surviving in the back woods eating locally caught Homo Not-so-Sapiens and you'll be in my cauldron.
We chopped wood into slivers and I made a war axe, which I have retained for posterity and home defence.
recreating eraser schwarzenegger pose action fil epic hero kills bad guysAfter lunch we did den-building and the other teams did conical tee-pee style creations but ours was like a tent. Our central supporting pole was sturdy and lengthy but after we'd added sufficient lateral spars, it fractured catastrophically and centrally, so we salvaged the best bits and made an impenetrable mini-fortress, although it was good for only one soldier. The fact that 3 of us were left to die in the cold was incidental, for war expects pointless sacrificial casualties.
47 centimetre aluminium catering colander york catering suppliesWe have given many unusual things to the centre over the last few years and they use them in inventive ways. Jof brought home some poster tubes from old advertising campaigns and they were bright orange so absolutely epic.
Unbidden in the early morning sun, I re-created the scene from Eraser in which Arnold Schwarzenegger rises from some rotten floorboards with 2 railguns and splatters the bad guys.
But we also get some unusual things. Following the recent Scout camp, the call went out for new equipment such as sharp knives, oven gloves, a very large colander and so forth. It is Bud's new job to buy these things so today I got possibly the best tin-foil helmet to stop those naughty government transmissions, or is it to protect my brain from those naughty government mind-reading rays, I can never remember which way round it goes. But it's a frighteningly big colander, you could drain at least 3 Beaver Scouts with it, or set sail from Libya to Italy.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

An Effluent Neighbourhood

all fun and games until the anal glands explodeAgain we arrived at the sailing club before the gate opened. I really must make a copy of the key.
We did raft-building. All 3 rafts floated but ours was severely lopsided and was voted the crappest. For the official photo we all got on the first prize raft and just when we were getting off again, I fell head-first into the sea and only just missed out on burying my head in the mud.
There was Kayak-racing and a special game of Pirates. In this one, it follows the same general shape but with a much more nautical theme. One Kayakeer is designated the Pirate. He must then capsize one of the flotilla of 'Freemen' kayakers in order to transmogrify that victim into another Pirate, and they go hunting for un-capsized craft ad infinitum. One of the potential Pirates got very upset at this point due to a previous capsizing incident where he reckons his sister got on top of the upturned craft so he couldn't right himself and he was under for 5 minutes. I do not fully believe him because he was still alive.
But because of this hydrophobia we were all pulled off kayak Pirate duty and we did Power-Kiting on land, which is like those kite-surfer dudes you see off Hayling Island but without the surfboard. It was epic.
portsmouth watersports centre Right at the end of the day, we were just getting changed when some bloke from Senior Windsurfing or similar hadn't put the shower screen across and the whole changing room filled with water because the drain was clogged with sewage mud, and everything got ucky and soaked and I had to walk to the car in bare feet because everything was marinaded in Death Mud.
Langstone Harbour is a vast tidal lagoon which regularly fills and empties with fresh seawater which has been liberally tainted by the Havant Raw Sewage outflow pipe. The shallow mudflats are therefore quite whiffy, totally anoxic below a depth of half an inch and at least a couple of feet deep before you hit gravel. If you bung a half-brick in off, for example, the footbridge by the railway line, like Ben and myself loved doing, you get a huge splat with layers of toxic guck exposed in a most unpleasant way. So all my clothes this week had to have an extra boil-wash which has put Jof well behind on the real, normal laundry. Because of the flood I had 2 infected sets of clothes and when we got home I just hopped straight into the shower.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Acommodusbraccisophobia (Fear of running out of Comfy Trousers)

silhouette of man with droopy penis fail funnyWell. It's lucky we ordered a car that could do breaststroke, otherwise we'd never have made it to the Watersports Centre. No, cars don't do irony. It's all steel. Anyway, we waited for the staff to turn up and open the gate and I was in. The morning activity was a Kayaking relay. They only fit 3 rowers so our groups of 5 had to go once round the buoy with 2, return to swap rowers and make the second trip with 3. We got off to a flying start when we actually pushed our first team into the briny and ended up winning by a seal's hair's breadth. I maintain that I was nipped in the foot by a crab but it was one of those hermit crabs living on borrowed time, like North Korea. For lunch I had Bangin' Tuna and sweetcorn pasta but the lid had come off so the inside of my lunchbox was somewhat fishy but I scraped off and consumed as much as I could, any remnants were sealed in place by the driblets of chocolate custard, a classic combination. The afternoon saw a brief cessation of monsoon and it was quite warm so we did Go-Karting. You have to make your own Kart but all the bits were there and the racetrack loop looks like the first choo coming out of the train chimney, like a bubble being blown in a sidewind. Of course the motor is your 4 team-mates so we all had a turn pulling and most of us fell off at some point but it was all very funny. In Capture-The-Flag our base was made of one of those orange fence units (that they might have nicked from any local civil engineering project) and some poles and rubber mats. The other lot had a rubbish den but they had more older boys who are faster.
portsmouth watersports centre camp exteme adventure On the way home we stopped to pick up some school uniform that Bud had bought for me. This is one of those boring things you just have to do, whether you want to or not. Like all chaps, we were efficient shoppers in that we got what we came for, and spent about 3 1/2 minutes inside. But that was not all. I have a load of auditions coming up and they require a passport-sized photo to be attached to the application form.
photo me booth asda frattonWe know of a Photo-Me booth in our local ASDA, indeed I have used it before to secure both of my passports. Bud suggested I look at least happy in the pictures, not like those following-the-rules dreary legal-type pictures for your actual passport. But I made the face I wanted and was stuck with it, must have been a change in the wind direction somewhere.
passport sized photo from photo-me booth asda frattonI refused to pose for a pretend shot looking like I was mooning the camera so I just wound the chair down so far that only Slenderman could use it. Yesterday Jof bought me some jogging bottoms, but only 2 pairs. I have rampant fear of running out of comfortable trousers so I bought myself a couple more, one of those monkeys-on-yer-back we all suffer from. At home Jof revealed that she'd bought 10 pairs of socks for Bud, and it isn't even his birthday!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Eggy Crush Saga

By the time I left for work it had stopped raining but then it realised its mistake and re-started.
We began with stand-up paddle boarding but we had to get towed by the speedboats for a lot of it. Most of us went in at some point but we didn't care. When I fell in I went under the board and got caught on the fins, lucky that seal from yesterday didn't come and beat me up as well.
Supermodel 'Pops' and fellow Cub Scout Jessie were with us today and the rest of the activities were inside.
odd one out fat girl falls over failThere was Egg-dropping. Teams bought equipment to protect eggs from being dropped from heights. Teams were named The Royal Egg Force, The Rock, Very Important Egg and Wise Egg. The winner was one of the parachute brigade and Rock (7 layers of foam and binbags) failed to survive the last drop onto the paving slabs and covered some bloke in yolk.
Roller-Marble used the tubes from Bud's work and we had to get a marble the whole way around the walls of the playroom using ingenuity and whatever we could find. On the 11th roll we were successful and the marble circumnavigated the room and shot off down the corridor, ending up in the changing room where it entered the wetsuit sleeve of a chap wearing only pants and a surprised expression.
Even after several more games I still had to go to gymnastics but then Jof made us a roast turkey dinner which we always pig. Or gobble.

Monday, 24 August 2015

The Definite Farticle

stairway to heaven pub sign funny winI was rudely awoken this morning by Jof snuggling my shoulders as I lay face-down in bed. I retaliated by releasing a night's worth of pent-up gastric gases, serves her right, should know better.
And it rained. Sometimes it only bucketed, but there were also lumps of ludicrosity as the car swam up the Eastern Road and we got out at the Watersports Centre, very funny I don't think. At least they have wetsuits, he said, before abandoning me to the wrath of Poseidon, armed only with a box of goodies and some foam.
As it happens, they have wetsuits and hoodies and waterproof trousers and shirts and shoes and those rubber bands you put over your sleeves to stop the leeches getting into your armpits.
camp extreme adventure portsmouth watersports centreWe put them all on and went canoe-rafting up the river, by lashing 2 canoes together, one pair for each team of 8. We splashed past 4 seals, 2 babies and 2 parents, which was nice, like junior dolphin-petting. On the way back, one of the seals came out to see us. We were doing rhythmic rowing, you know, with the big fat bloke with no shirt and the drum going bimbombimbom and when the seal pulled up alongside me you know you can't stop the beat and I clonked him with my oar. He did a duck dive and scarpered. Oh no! I have become what Jof despised! For she was a hunt-saboteur with her angry lefty mates back in the sixties and now I am a seal-clubber!
Anyway, we did the climbing wall and the Adrian's Ladder obstacle course and at pickup time, the car park was so full of Range Rovers Bud had to park in the Tudor Sailing Club next door. Because of the full-on physical nature of this week, my bedside light went off at 9pm. I couldn't believe it, I don't switch off that early on school days, and I thought this was a holiday ...

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Poster Boy: Pant Day

Following 3 hectic days of activity, I fought back by declaring a Pant Day. Based on the pyjama day favoured by my friends, it's a more boyish version where I don't get dressed at all but don a pair of pants to stop my willy freezing off.
menlo worldwide map british isles Last week, Jof made me go through my poster collection. They had just been sitting on the top shelf doing nothing, so as part of a vain attempt to tidy my room I had to choose what to keep, and today was putting-up day.
I chose The Human Body, a map of the British Isles (there's a place called Cork!), the Solar System and a giant map of the world from Bud's work with all the flags on. Whether any of this information is absorbed into my brain, or stays stuck on the wall, remains to be seen.
For afters, we watched 'The Rock' with Cage and Connery and Michael Biehn, who seems to turn up in everything. I laughed at the car chase and the moving gunfight in bulletproof rock-buckets suspended on an overhead railway.
My coin collection has increased by 111 in the last week alone, mostly due to the Leprosy Mission. More on that later.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Wet Play Away Day

southampton common public cyclewayLast chance to soak up the rays and the weatherguessers predicted 25 degrees and hot sunshine.
So over my fried egg breakfast, he gave me the hard choice.
Stoke Bay Splashpark by bike, stopping at every park on the way, seafood restaurant on the beach for lunch, chance of minigolf and diving museum
fishing lake dredged newts frogs toads habitatSouthampton Common Splashpark by car and bike, explore the common, nip down to Houndwell Park for the Pirate ship, pub lunch, chance of ice cream.
It was a tough choice, but the pirate ship swung it. Trying to score a companion for the trip, we discovered that Pops had broken her leg again and Ben was in Cornwall getting thunderstorms so I drew a blank.
houndwell park southampton kids adventure playgroundWe drove to our neighbouring city and football rivals and took time out to cycle gently around the Common looking for the Ornamental Lake and anything else of interest.
As it happens, the lake itself was distinctly un-ornamental but it's very countrified with mature trees everywhere and rampant wildlife including toads, frogs and newts. But it wasn't too long before I headed where the hills went downwards and that was back to the playpark, Tiggleton Corner.
Only 10 minutes away (at my speed) is Houndwell Park which is part of yet another massive set of green areas in the middle of Southampton. Now, I've already got a picture of it on Google Earth but I'd forgotten just how big it is. Memorials lurk behind every tree-lined avenue and the playpark itself had a fortress, pirate ship and its very own Titanic, not to mention swings, tunnels and climbing frames.
southampton common splashparkBack up the hill to the Cowherds, we put our shirts back on for the first time since arriving and I had scampi medley again and polished my plate, which is a good habit. Then I co-opted many sturdy Southamptonians into my games of shoot-the-stranger-in-the-face and stayed in the extremely busy splashpark for an hour and a half with 3 of my favourite weapons. That's how I earned the £3 worth of New Forest Ice Cream, strawberry and chocolate, 2 scoop heaven.
The journey home was swift and the signs said A27 closed after A2025 which turned out to be a plane crashed onto the road by Shoreham Airport, lots dead.
Film night was Blazing Saddles. Now, I'm not going to know that Governor Le Petomane is a fart-related joke or anything about Marlene Dietrich but the campfire bean-farting scene and similar were funny. That's the problem with youth, being wasted on the young (and wasted).
Right at the end (nearly 11 pm) Bud and I had a sing-off, I did musicals like Singing In the Rain and he did Flanders and Swann like "The Gas Man Cometh".

Friday, 21 August 2015

Above us the Waves (and Bombs)

hms alliance submarine royal navy museum gosportI am being brought up in the best possible way, honest.
For example, certain things are stressed and underlined such as eating up your greens and so forth, and that's worked out well. In addition, we like to go shirtless cycling in good weather for the fresh air and Vitamin D and also to re-use those special gift-aid tickets from museums and castles that allow you to go back for a second visit free, within one year.
So we got out our tickets from the 'Done-it Box' for the Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower and the HMS Alliance and Submarine Museum, both in Gosport.
holland 1 royal naval submarine museum gosport ellis mark yeatsLeaving at the crack of 0930, we cycled to the Gosport Ferry and took the wrong road. This is because the Haslar road bridge is out, like in True Lies when the Harriers missile it to death. We found this from the local transport and tourist guide website, so planned a route around Stoke Lake (a large smelly tidal lagoon) which added 25 minutes to our journey.
explosion museum of royal naval firepower gosportThis did not deter Bud who found a new pub called the Fighting Cocks and a new swingpark which we shall visit again. We got to the Submarine museum at 1030 as planned and waved our free tickets and investigated all the subs from the Holland 1 (the first Navy sub, 1901) to the models of the Vanguard class and got our trip around the HMS Alliance with some tall people who hadn't washed and then I bought a T-shirt with the double-dolphin badge and had a large bit of fudge cake to keep me going, you know the way it is. You can see the sea out of the periscopes which is nice.
explosion museum of royal naval firepower gosportOn the way out, we thought we'll just have a quick look at the Haslar road bridge just in case and hey bleedin' presto, it was indeed closed. Closed to cars, but pedestrians and cyclist were OK. So we walked back over the bridge saving us 25 minutes and a lot of complaining. At exactly 1230, the Holy Trinity church clock was showing 1203 and then it struck 57. It turned out to be a funeral, but they were on North Korean time.
From there we struck north through the more expensive regions of the Metropolitan area of Gosport and acquired the Forton Lake footbridge within minutes. This took us to the Explosion! Museum and a lot of empty derelict warehouses that have seen better days, although they were of course full of military personnel so I suppose it's better that we're not at war any more.
Personally I love the shells room with the 18 inch devils and the Gatlings and Nordenfelts and Hotchkisses and the AK47 and the bayonets and mortars and rifles and stabbing weapons and nuclear bombs and rockets and Squid and Hedgehog anti-sub weapons and mines and it's all a boy could want, apart from lunch.
boy with his penis in a naval cannon
So, in the NAAFI we had lunch. I ordered spinach and ricotta pasta and got beef lasagne instead, but who's counting. It was very meaty and cheesy and hot and of splendid quality and I was full, and it had lots of mushrooms in that I'm sure I don't like but he didn't tell me until I'd eaten them all.
The ride home was easy in comparison and we didn't put our shirts back on cos' of why not and I got Minecraft time before swimming. Afterwards I got cramp so proffered my aching legs to Jof to get a massage and make her feel better after her long day at work.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Having some Trouble taking off, Wing Commander?

tangmere military aviation museum chichesterSpare time is wasted time, and you never get it back. So, in honour, we drove back past Chichester to the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum.
It's quite small and was started by aircraft enthusiasts, not the government so it doesn't have the funding to buy in all the top planes but they've done very well with donations and the exhibits in their glass cases go on for miles.
Straight away I loved the Harrier parked outside because I am a fan of the Harrier and want one after seeing one in True Lies. There are several more planes outside and a little armoured reconnaissance vehicle but the wartime air raid shelter and pop-up fort are closed for refurbishment.
We paid our entry fee and got our stickers and a pictorial guide and I went round naming all the craft and trying out the flight simulators. When bogeys were coming in from the south I couldn't find them and got shot down but I did manage to blow holes in a lot of clouds and that naughty ocean.
tangmere military aviation museum chichesterI liked the SOE exhibits with their knives and guns and maps hidden in metal suppositories and you'll never guess where the agents had to hide them. There's a decent selection of medals and almost all the aircrew had big moustaches, even the ladies, and I liked the lady pilot who delivered Spitfires all over England.
You can have a good old nose in lots of the planes and they have a working 30mm cannon that goes ka-chunk ka-chunk when you turn it on and there was a whole cabinet of 30mm Aden rounds and spare parts and radios and 500lb German bombs and incendiaries and there were guys welding the back of the Supermarine Swift.
tangmere military aviation museum chichesterThe Dambusters were well represented and you can pretend to land a plane in a French field to re-supply the resistance and we saluted the Spitfire and did some bomb-aiming and watched the video of the airspeed record attempt and in the shop I got an Avro Lancaster and a copper pencil sharpener in the shape of a jet fighter.
tangmere military aviation museum chichesterThe whole thing is in aircraft hangars in the corner of the old Tangmere wartime airfield and on Google Earth you can still see the runways and taxiways but it's mostly industrial estates now.
But because we'd started early, we finished early and pottered off to Emsworth where I got a spy book like the one Erin got me and went in the shop called Mungo's Emporium and also got 2 more bags of funny foreign coins and we had lunch in the Coal Exchange which was very nice and I ate all my scampi chips and peas and did not leave a crumb.
And hey presto we still had spare time (2 hours left on the parking ticket - but at least we were safe) but it was raining. I mean, why do we bother, it's supposed to be the last 3 days of the summer holiday and it's rained on both of them so far. We stopped off and bought school shoes and got wet. So far 43 of the coins are new to my collection, and we haven't even finished the first bag.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Traffic Warden with X-Ray Vision

Days off. We all like them: and with Bud, they are filled with activities.
We see Obscure Cousin Margaret every now and then, and it was our turn to visit her in Boring Goring, driving past the place we're going to visit tomorrow. She had sent us a couple of flyers for local attractions: Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre, which reflects the area's industrial history over the last 150 years, and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, with its fascinating collection of rescued buildings in the South Downs National Park. For some reason, neither of these blew our skirts up so we planned to basically reprise a previous visit and just mooch around Worthing.
worthing pier refurbishment Firstly, Margaret gave us some splendid tomes (The Romance of Lace, Linen Cut-out Work 1953 and The Book of Family Handicrafts 1975) and some more family items (Lorna Doone, given to Obscure Cousin Frank in 1900 for passing his council Conveyancing exam) and some pens.
Then we drove to Worthing and put some money in the meter and I put the ticket on the dashboard and we went shopping. Worthing has some splendid shops (and apparently some pickpockets from London on market days) and we saw none of them. I did get a Lemony Snicket book and a couple of DVDs but the best was the Flea Market on Bath St which had a top selection of things you totally need such as brass shell cases, semi-antiques and curios. We got 15 funny foreign coins out of the help-yourself bucket including some from well-known countries like Rhodesia, East Africa and Mauritius.
splash point worthing minigolf After lunch at the same place as last time we went onto the pier which is MUCH better than our pier because some rich businessman has refurbished it to its pre-war glory and it looks like an ocean liner and we'll eat there next time.
The sandpit park with bouncing female beach volleyballers is still there but has a new splashpark. We nipped next door to the minigolf and all 3 of us played: towards the end it started raining a bit but we finished the round because we're Pompeyites and therefore waterproof. But then it got heavier and we sent Bud off to get the car while we hid in a bus stop.
The parking ticket ran out at 1543. Between 1541 and 1546 a traffic warden monitored our vehicle and issued a fixed penalty for not displaying a valid ticket: at 1550 Bud got to the car. Problem #1: I'd put the ticket on the dashboard upside down so all the warden could see was the phone number for 'Would you like to advertise here?' on the back. But the warden obviously had X-Ray vision and so we had no comebacks, for technically we didn't display a valid parking permit, nor did we actually have one. Can't blame the dumb kid, however much you want to. Goodbye £35.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

SPITFIRES! (Probably)

new bright donzi speedboat canoe lake portsmouthnew bright donzi speedboat remote controlledHooray. Another lazy day with Jof.
But I was just doing 5 minutes on the tablet (a Greek 5 minutes - 3 1/2 hours) when the message came through from Grandad: Scramble! Scramble!
As I'd already had a boiled egg that morning, scrambling seemed unnecessary. But this was a reference to the 75th anniversary of the Most Tedious Day of the Battle of Britain in which far too many lives were lost fighting it out over the skies of southern England for air superiority to precede Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of Britain by Mr Hitler and his friends.
recreation area by canoe lake southseaTo mark the occasion, 3 formations of wartime planes left Biggin Hill and did tours of duty over England and our group, 8 planes including SPITFIRES came over Portsmouth and did a fly-by.
Well, I was planning on trying out my remote-controlled boat on Canoe Lake anyway so we arrived 70 minutes early in honour of a garbled phone message and I drove the boat around the lake, harassing people on their pedaloes.
pedaloes on canoe lake southseaI also scared off seagulls various and targeted ducks, not that I was ever going to capture one at the sedate speed my boat could manage. We had lunch at the Café and I had a go on the bungee cord trampoline and the caterpillar bouncy castle and I beat Jof at Mini-golf 51-57.
gimp shot orange gobstopper sweet candyThe Spitfires must have come over at some point because we heard their roary engines but it was cloudy and they were too high and we couldn't see them. I am programmed to salute Spitfires (and we do see a few over Pompey due to our historical nature) for saving our botties in the war, shame we missed them today.
Bud brought spare yacht batteries and I chased more gulls and some crabbers had caught 2 massive crabs and they had a fight in the bucket and one got its eye snipped off by the pincer of the other and there was blood everywhere, gross. In the end I dropped the remote control in the lake so we went home.
At gymnastics I got an orange gobstopper which was nice but it did not technically work as I kept taking it out of my mouth to babble on about it at length.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Shapes on the Road

activities ymca fairthorne group charter academybooze bottles spirits in childrens section funny failThe holidays of a child are greater in number than the holidays of both parents combined. Thus I spent another day care of the childminders I know so well, having been with them, on and off, for four or five years.
I declined to play the sporty games as they contained wrestling, so I did story-writing and drawing instead.
I wrote a brilliant story about a boy, 10, loose on the High Street, who is scared by an appearing wizard-type and runs in panicky fashion into the nearest pub where he meets his father. We never got to hear how this turned out, as I "ran out of time".
hallucinatory shapes drawn by childPerhaps he enjoyed a pint or 2 of Old Grumbler and shot a few frames of pool with his Dad, or maybe Daddikins turned out to be a sleeper agent for the Ministry of Magic and sallied forth spouting flares of revenge from a wand he has cleverly concealed in his vaping contraption.
I spent time with a small girl who is in the next gymnastics class to me and an even smaller boy whose football shirt suggests his name was Hazard, although he wasn't dangerous at all. My drawing is the good old N-dimensional folded-space free-form √∞ matrix, different every time, always loved them. I entitled it 'Shapes on the Road'.
Later we went to B+Q and bought a new bedside lamp for me. It turns out I already had the lowest wattage available, but if you use an LED lamp and put a sticker over the front ...
This is my 5 year blog-iversary.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Con Water

boy with large graffiti penis willyToday was effectively a day of Minecraft. Even meals were finger-food so I didn't have to stray too far from a screen. Having tried to break the internet by watching every Minecraft-related Youtube video ever made on both the computer and the tablet, I played it on the X-box and gave Jof a running commentary about how groovy my Redstone pyramids were, even though she never answered and kept harvesting her penguins on HayMaker or whatever.
He did briefly force me into the park for a climb, we found that someone had drawn a very big penis on the top of the pyramid-of-ropes pole, I'm not sure it's supposed to do that.
con air convict transport lego police boatAll afternoon I eschewed the fresh air, I did not try out my remote-controlled boat (an Xmas present) and did not boogie to live music on the bandstand, swim in the sea or view the spectacle that is the International Kite Festival.
But I did find time to get Jof to tidy my room. I made a Police boat. It is transporting deadly prisoners in little cages like in Con Air, and they are all in freezing stasis like in Demolition Man. But of course it's Con Water, as it's a seagoing vessel not a C-123K prison transport aircraft. Behind it is my new photo frame, of official school shots only. A bit sparsely populated, I know, but there's time for it to fill up.