Saturday, 28 February 2015

A Life is like a Garden

henry 8ths cannon 1535 mary rose museum portsmouthGoodbye Spock.
Today Jof went to work so we planned a trip out that she wasn't interested in. The Mary Rose was one of Henry the 8th's favourite warships and she sank in the Solent 500 years ago while defending against those naughty French people.
Half of it sank into the mud and was preserved, the stick-up half of it got eaten away by marine life and tides, so the purpose-built museum is ship-shaped and you get to walk through the missing bits of hull and decks and see the planks and spars and bulkheads and so forth that were recovered.
We got the magic all-day bus ticket and at the dockyard I squashed a couple of pennies to add to my souvenir collection and did the Mary Rose tour. It is very worthy, hugely valuable, from an archaeological and reference point of view, and has been lovingly recreated and salvaged at great cost to the nation, giving a vital window onto 16th century life and technology.
16th century wooden warship henry 8thBut unlike the Warrior, Alliance or Victory, you just can't climb up it and get busy with it, because it's a wreck in preservative solution behind glass with big air pipes everywhere.
This dog is called 'Hatch' and he ate rats for a living but went down with his ship.
skeleton of 16th century dog aboard mary rose portsmouth historic dockyardBut we liked the cannons and the axes and the gold coins and skulls and stuff. It was also full of kids (who'd have 'em?) including a couple of loud girls ("lookit skelington, mummeee, lookit, it's really scary..." but eventually we left them to it and I bought a sword in the shop and we wandered off.
They've built a new bit of museum since we were last there so we climbed up the Bofors 40mm (got 2 of those) and squashed some more pennies and played minehunting in the room with the torpedoes and didn't meet Elizabeth's mum.
tymeagain sword master's great wooden toy swordIn the food halls with boats hanging off the roof I had adult-sized fish'n'chips but they'd run out of adult-sized fish so I had 2 fried kids instead. Outside the toilets are some old-style vintage coin-operated games like they had on Blackpool pier and we saw a man drop a 1 pound coin under one of these mechanical Turks so we waited for him to go and then we 'found' it. Also I got a copper pencil sharpener in the shape of a lighthouse and we got the bus to Victoria park.
I like that park because of the big rope climbing frames and we were just playing the bit in Terminator 2 in the Pescadero State Mental Hospital lift by stabbing through the ropes as I climbed along it when he stabbed me in the eye with the sword but it didn't stop us finding another £1 coin.
After I'd bought some pyjamas in M&S (you've just gotta hate those junior manikins, lucky I was armed) we popped into Jof's work to make her smile and watched Rambo: First Blood for Film Afternoon. Jof demanded choccie cake and the film "What's up Doc" which was funny.
changing to new monopoly board and keeping vintage hotelsWe were supposed to watch "Trading Places" for film night but I outvoted and we played Monopoly.
The last time we played, the board was a bit elderly and decrepit so we bought a new one and promised to salvage the playing pieces and hotels etc from the old board, bought by Jof's parents 25 or so years ago. The set had had a good run, I suppose, so we christened the new board and salvaged as promised. I was the wheelbarrow, Jof went for the Cat, and Bud stuck with the old hat. There are a few new cards and sub-rules, so look out!

Friday, 27 February 2015

I can feel a Good One Coming On

Well, it might not be six-packs and guitars around the camp fire and skinny-dipping in the lake 'till dawn, but it'll be a good weekend anyway.
We did our final rehearsal and Zeus still doesn't know his rap and they say that if anybody fails to learn their lines they'll be replaced by their own personal understudy from Year 5. Poppy is a Funk Dancer, I'd kinda like to Funk with her but I'm really not a good enough dancer.
It was lovely and sunny and warm when I got out of school so I celebrated with an hour sat in front of the computer watching Youtube videos of Minecraft. Of course, as soon as Bud goes out of the room I could be watching Spanking Nuns with Fabulous Funbags College Sleepover Special but I'm not, honest. I can report that I liked Jof's kedgeree so much I asked for seconds.
flint and concrete inlay brick wall. stone groove, manIn swimming today one of the chaps who get their own social worker locked himself in the toilet and pressed the "Help" tweeter-button repeatedly while his pet helper said Open the door, Norbert (names have been changed etc).
Well, I leave you with the Zeus Rap. Imagine, if you will, the backing track going Chumf-a-scratch-a-dumf-dumf-scratch (plank) a-chumf-a-scratch-a-dumf-dumf-scratch and a competent Rap Artist performing thusly:
I'm Zeus / I'm the Master
I'm like an Arrow from a Bow but I'm Faster
I'm the Leader of the Pack / So you'd better Watch your Back
Or you'll face a Zeus Attack! / I'm Back!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Confused? It was like the Baffle of Britain all over again

rubbish woman driver hits lamp post in empty car park funny failWe did another dress rehearsal today and Milo the wrestler lifts his cow above his head for training, his daughter emulates him by raising her pussy and his son does his hamster, each to his own.
a slight look of constipation in posed pictureAll the costumes are coming together (Poseidon looks good, but I just get a tracksuit) and at last we have tickets, although we had to ring the school office to get them.
On the way out, Popsmum said Pops has an audition for an actual film so I applied to the casting agency and had to stand in the hallway for a mugshot, I stood slightly sideways like in school portraits, so as not to let either my ears or tummy protrude too much.
Then Jof said I'd had enough Minecraft (90 minutes??) so I Legoed instead.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Cops, Robbers and Firearms Regulations

drive thru saucepan washer funny redneckDid even more rehearsals for the play, I'd better be picked up by the networks for all this effort. Sadly, as I failed to bring home the letter from the school inviting parents to apply for tickets, my performance may go unseen.
During the day my personal assistant made contact with old haunt "Fort Nelson" (also known as the cannon museum, up on the hill). They fire a 25-pounder howitzer every day at 1pm (we've seen it loads of times) and for £45 you get to fire it yourself, twice. But it seems that undercutting the Royal Armouries' minimum age of 14 is not just against health and safety policy (boo), but against firearms regulations (double boo) so I've got to wait 4 more years, O god, I sound like a single-term president. But that's buttocks anyway - all the shooter has to do is stand there and pull the firing lever - so easy even a kid could do it. My point exactly.
first park visit of the season woodchip safety Took Ben home as usual, we have even more shared interests nowadays with the Stampylongnose Youtube Minecraft tutorials. So all the way home we discussed the best ones we'd seen: my trick is to ask him a question and then talk over his answer by telling him what his answer should have been.
We independently refused to go to the first Park Wednesday of the year even though it was actually quite clement and settled down to the first of a series of Minecraft videos. Then Robert the Bruise (he was wearing shorts) rang from the park and said where are you then, and our little minds were made up for us.
We met LittleMax and Owen and it really was like old times again. There was football. There were penalties, and chases, and swings, and real actual cops'n'robbers with 10 second countdowns and unexpected changes of cops and jails and biscuits. When they said let's play army, I said no, because that's just a load of running around shooting each other with pretend guns. They couldn't believe it.
milton park portsmouth council recreation ground
I the end we elected to come back to mine and we played Minecraft Lego - with train tracks and Red House 12 bar blues and creepers and everything. We got on like a block-house on fire, all boys together and on the same side.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Grecian -2000

gutter press tabloid headline funny sex slaveFollowing yesterdays' near-fatal injury, Bud said I should go to school in a wheelchair with a drip and a pre-programmed Stephen Hawking Speak-O-box saying 'it's not so bad, I can still watch TV...' but half of my classmates had seen me last night playing football at Scouts, so I wasn't going to get away with it. I did suggest to Jof that I might like to miss PE but even she didn't believe me.
carpeted staircase with recessed ceiling lightsToday the Year 4s did the whole rehearsal and nobody fell off the stage at all. I stumbled over my lines a bit but that didn't hurt. Zeus totally forgot his Rap (surely you knew that Rap was a popular art form in bronze age mythological circles), even I know his Rap off by heart, they played his backing track bam chikka boom chikka bam and he just sat there blinking.
Anyway, after school we went to see yet another house. I'm getting tired of it because we keep failing to buy them but this one was quite near my old school and we met Jof there and it's a far better house. This one has recessed ceiling lights and a long cat on the bed and exposed wood and built-in cupboards and a shed and it didn't look like it was falling down at all. We'll have to let the surveyors go through it, but I have hope that I don't have to slouch along to see any more houses.
After gymnastics Jof came in and said she'd booked up tickets for Harry Potter World© with added Studio Tour® and one Night in a Hotel*. I was so chuffed to hear it I nearly stopped watching the Simpsons.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Break a Leg!

engrish product funny fail silly name does not translateSecretly I didn't mind going back to school. We took in my 3 Lego ancient Greek artefacts but we jointly decided not to take in the clay model of 'Rampant Medusa on Jaunty Plinth' because it is so outlandishly ugly it could give the little people nightmares.
So anyway, we were doing a rehearsal for the school play in which I take the lead part, and we were just setting up the lounge scene in which Stacy's Mom (She's got it goin' on) comes through between the sofas (school chairs on box things) to offer everybody a cup of tea when I realised that it was going to be a tight squeeze so I shifted out of the way a bit and the back leg of my plastic-bottomed chair wasn't quite on the box thing any more. For legal reasons it is entirely my fault that I was balanced precariously above a chasm with only fellow pupils to break my fall.
injury at school falling off stage unsupervisedI described a graceful curve backwards off said box thing, toppled off stage left and graunched my back on the central heating pipes that run around the wall of the assembly hall. Everyone gasped, and didn't burst out laughing, which was nice. The offending back leg of the chair, not content with removing me from the stage, clanged Harry in the head as well so once I'd finished howling and was removed to the office for medical assessment, Harry came with me for a head-bump note, and 2 girls got eczema, though this may be unrelated. I had welts and weals, and yelps and squeals, as you can hardly see by this image of my manly torso. BTW, yesterday Jof complained about our brass shell casing collection taking over the room (some of which you can see on the mantelpiece) and pointedly asked are we going to get any more. It's a collection, we said. But we hid 18 of them in the loft to show goodwill, all the steel and aluminium ones and a few others.
But by the time Bud got there to pick me up early, I was back on my feet and hobbling around like a recent stoma patient and I got sofa-time with pain medicine (chocolate) and some ibuprofen for flavour. The show must go on! Just maybe with better chairs ...
In Cub Scouts I took along my cress seedlings experiment and the food-diary homework. We played football and I got into the team which will be playing 5-a-side on a weekend near you and we could have used a Ben but he left Cubs because it wasn't football. Plus there's a double-sleepover camp in the summer they haven't told me about yet. In fact, I jumped up and down so much when I found out it was pasta for supper, you'd hardly know I'd been mortally injured in an avoidable health-and-safety-at-work incident.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

In Space, nobody can hear you Sulk

'Twas the day after beer, and all through the house, everything was silent for ages. Jof wanted to go shopping on her own so we tagged along to make it fun. I won a WHSmith pre-paid card as a prize for some kind of feat of reading, so we took it to the WHSmith in Southsea to try it out, but for all we knew, it was just an empty card.
blockopedia hexagonal minecraft book
Buy a book, he said, and I'll make up the difference in cash. Well, I'm banned from buying any more Horrid Henries and I've done the Potters and I've got 35 Pratchetts all lined up so I selected 'Blockopedia' by Minecraft, a hexagonal tome that details the characteristics of every available type of block each with a little bio, details of their favourite hobbies, photos of them in action etc.
Well, Blockopedia was a mere thirty of your Earth sovereigns and he said no, I'm not buying a Minecraft book so I said well let's go then. I gave him one more chance to recant this terrible insult by saying it's not fair, you said choose a book and you're not buying it for me, and he agreed, I couldn't believe it.
So I sulked my way round Waitrose with Jof which was exactly what she'd planned to avoid. It's nice seeing how the other half shop, people there were tall and thin, overly made up and probably owned horses, or were effete chaps in their fifties who had probably been called to the bar, but may not have heard. But the rain and wind had started so we stayed in and watched Peabody and the intoxicated twosome and were lazy.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Boysenbeery: a Trichotomy

Jof had an appointment to view 2 houses. I had an appointment to see Ben's special item. Bud had an appointment to drink beer at yet another beer festival, I'm sure they make these things up. What could possibly go wrong?
golden dragon lego modelSo having been fortified by eggy toasty thingy, I was delivered to Ben's house where we played X-Box and Lego and generally teamworked around as usual.
I was sub-contracted-delivered to the JB house later on and there were some associated cousins that I vaguely remember from the May Day Tall Church Beer Festivals and we all team-worked happily for hours and everything was awesome, for we were playing with Lego and tablets and six or so hours later the stupids turned up in dribs and drabs and dribbles and gargles and Jof went off to buy a suspiciously slow curry and I went home and played Minecraft again, just to prove how distracting the day wasn't.
I love my friends, what I want most in the world apart from Lego and chocolate and swimming pools is to take them all on the bike rides I love, I haven't stopped going on about it.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Let's go through the Stupid-shaped Window

miracle virging birth parthenogenetic chinese dogs funnyLast day of my miniscule half-term holiday.
Now I'm not being unfair about this - I've checked with Jof - we did absolutely Jack today. Breakfast was brunch, I yummed up my boiled egg with toastie dippy soldiers, and I did get to watch the herbally-challenged gamers kill their Ender-Dragon while Jof watched 'Houses under the Hammer' and the cricket world cup in which England was comfortably outplayed by Afghanistan and Canada.
We sat down to lunch at 3-ish when Bud got home from work and we studiously ignored one another until my swimming lesson, hardly anybody turned up to that either. Can you phone in a swimming lesson? Might try that next time. Incredibly, I turned down the chance to watch 'Rambo, First Blood' and vacillated about playing Minecraft in Survival Mode because there are monsters that try to kill you.
lego purple scorpion series 3 wizwuz 41526He bought me Lego Mixel "Wizwuz" because it has 2 eyes on little stalks, amazing what sells merchandise to the younger generation. It is a decent scorpion with tail-hook for easy hanging, but if you drop it, it'll always lose at least 3 legs making it more of a scorp.
But I'm a forward-looking chap (now that the eyes in the back of my head have been surgically removed) and I can't wait for tomorrow when Ben has something special to show me oo-er and us boys will kick bottie at the JB's house while we wait for our Daddies to get back from yet another beer festival.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Tennis at Tennish

Got to the Gymnastics centre a little late (even though I gave Jof directions the whole way), because it's tough getting anywhere by 10am when you're told off at 1030 the night before for cackling loudly when Bud was trying to get to sleep.
But I started my 5-hours-of-childcare day with some Swedish Longball which is not a complicated cocktail with spruce twigs sticking out the top, it is a fiendishly complicated game involving short balls, long balls and tennis bats. We chose teams by declaring our favourite flavours of ice cream, I chose orange so got to be on the rubbish team.
Later we played trampolining and den-building in the foam pit, why is it always girls that destroy dens, and I ended up building a queen's throne for a small pink girl with a topknot but behind the throne (the power) was a hidden room where I escaped, much like Minecraft IRL.
Before picking me up, he bought 2 packets of clay in Hobbycraft because we often make clay items, like the freaky Gorgon only 2 days ago, although Jof's having second thoughts about it. But also there was - a Lego Houses of Parliament with Big Ben (£25)! We went all the way to London for one of those and they didn't have one in the official Houses of Parliament shop! Huff!
In the afternoon I watched, like, 5 episodes of spiders attacking the Minecraft Stoners as they attempt to remember where they've left their stuff before fighting the Ender-dragon, while he polished the latest delivery of brass shells.
This lot contains a hilariously dinky 6 centimetre Marine Landing Kanon (1917) and both aircraft ammunition and anti-aircraft ammunition, we have to keep them separate in case they fight.
Then Jof finally got home and she'd arranged to view another house which was at the end of our road and it was small and damp, like my panties.
6 centimetre marine landing cannon 20 pounder cart elec eng startThey also had 3 cats which slowed Jof down a lot and one very very angry dog who barked throughout our visit so the sum total of our knowledge of the place was that bark they'd bark lived bark there bark for bark 2 bark years bark.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Girders'R'Us, it's True, Man

spinnaker tower gunwharf portsmouthRecently we saw an advert for Lego building in the Spinnaker Tower, keep your brats happy during half-term, that kind of thing.
Sadly we have no brats (honest) but we went along anyway. First I bought a load of new shoes, not a cheap task but made all the more necessary by Bud putting my entire shoe collection in on a hot wash last weekend and then laughing at the flashing LEDs going round and round the drum.
Hot wash plus little shoes = bad news. So then Jof bought a handbag in retaliation, for you can never have too many shoes or handbags, just ask Imelda Marcos.
spinnaker tower portsmouth glass floorJof advises us to avoid pizza emporia when we go out on one of our days out so that's exactly what we did, Pizza Express this time, and Jof's pizza was soggy until the nice man said well it's supposed to be, if you wanted the crispy one you have to ask for it.
spinnaker tower half term activitiesIn the Tower itself you get a view. This has always been the case but still, you need to elevate yourself to 700 yards or whatever above sea level every now and then without recourse to "Worri-B-Gone" herbal mixtures.
I did go on the biggest glass floor in Europe a few times but mostly I headed straight for the Lego boxes and trestle tables and Oh yes, the organisers had done well. Gunwharf and the tower were full of families and kids (shouldn't they be at school?) but I got a place and so did Jof and we built competing towers and they provided loads of excellent girders.
Jof did one that starts narrow and gets wider higher up - she said it was for built-up areas. Mine was towery and later (you can get back in if you have the stamp on your hand) I made a Salisbury Cathedral Medieval Radio Mast, which I used to laser Jof.
In the evening we had an on-demand movie called the Truman Show which I liked because it was all pretend but there was a lot I didn't understand.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Gorgon, Gorgon, Gone!

engrish menu item funny failUp late because I didn't have to do anything.
It was a lovely day so eventually we made it to Canoe Lake and kicked a football about and went to the seafront café for lunch. We had to wait 45 minutes for the food to arrive so Jof ground her teeth a bit and my fish and chips were ok and Jof pulled lots of bacon fat out of her lukewarm buttie. Buttie, not bottie, family programme here.
The beach was but a short stagger away so we dug trenches for the seawater and built a pre-ruined castle and dropped stone bombs on the machine gun turrets and got sandy.
So yesterday, we got the big car back and that was nice but because the battery had been disconnected, it had reverted to factory settings and the radio wanted a keycode if we were ever going to listen to music again.
sony ford focus radio cd player key code Well of course we tried 1234 but that was wrong so a quick internet search revealed that you have to take the radio out, look up the serial number, and take that to your local Ford dealer for them to get you a keycode at significant expense and hassle, unless you bought one off the chaps on Ebay for £3. So last night he jemmied off the fascia and unscrewed the radio hoping that a policeperson would not come along and say 'Ello 'Ello, why are you jemmying that car radio out in the middle of the night.
half term work ancient greek mythology projectBut our serial number begins with V not M or anything sensible, so even the nice Ebay chaps charge £10, just our luck. So we did that, and the radio said wrong code. So we did it again and the radio actually punished us by saying you have to wait 30 minutes before you can try again, and the Ebloke sent the right code.
So we thought the 30 minutes would be up by morning, but no, the car has to be switched on for the clock to count down. So we said it'll only take a couple of journeys, 30 minutes, no problem. But every time you start the car, it resets to 30 minutes - you have to drive for half an hour for the clock to run down. No journey we do lasts more than 15 minutes. So when we got back from the beach, there he was, in the car with a mug of coffee and a book.
So Jof and I made a Gorgon Medusa on one of those little plinth columns for sundials, and we painted her lurid colours and gave her snake hair and here we are trying to turn each other to stone by ugliness alone.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Pyramid Scheme: a Sly Old Fox

why I am always late to work cat changes clock failOne of those days when you think it's going to be dull and you're wrong.
The big car died yesterday so the man from the garage came along and did the big intake of breath which means extra charges. Looks like we need an alternative alternator.
And then Bensmum said why don't all the boys go and mess around at the Pyramids, because we're all old enough, we don't even need chaperones, we can drown on our own in a sea of bikinis while the Mummies drink tea.
Now, I know full well we're trying to buy another house, for I have seen 3, chosen one and have given it my seal of approval, sitting in the front window of the Quick Brown Estate Agents.
dishonest cheating estate agents fox and sons southseaSo we spend several hundred quid sending the surveyor around to the house to see if it's falling down, and hey presto, he says yes, it is indeed falling down, needs lots of work but might be cheaper if a Jumbo Jet lands on it and you build it all over again.
Then we heard a little whisper in the Elephant (which means someone tipped us the nod, er, a little birdie told us) that the verminous Estate Agents knew all about the falling-down house because the previous people did a survey which showed up exactly the same stuff, told them all about it, and the owner hasn't mended any of it.
lego ninjago model plane gay icon manchester moustacheAnd what does the fox say? Fox you, nothing to do with me, mate. Think of how much Lego I could have bought with £475.
Anyway, while Jof was shouting at them for wasting our money and they weren't caring, us boys got 3 hours of hard wet play and we raced flumes and hid in the defence shield (the fountain by the wave alert control console) and they delivered me home just in time to watch stoned people falling into lava in Minecraft for hours.
Tonight I offer my Lego Ninjago rotating blaster plane with added chap from the 1980s Manchester gay scene.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Beware the Trojan Donkey

Sunday. Consumed a double-egg omelette with ham, cheese, style and flair. Jof got Bangalore belly from the too-old chicken yesterday but I didn't.
The car failed to start so we sent him off in Jof's car instead, lucky we've got 2.
At heart I am a malcontent, well, I was not content with doing only 1 Greco-Roman chariot for my half-term homework. So I did a Parthenon as well, and then Jof and I collaborated on a Trojan horse.
lego chariot and trojan donkeyNow, I don't know if any of you humans out there have met this thing called Lego, I've done the odd bit here and there, and I notice that they're having a Lego building event at the Spinnaker Tower over half-term so maybe Ben and I can team up again.
But Lego isn't so good for doing sweeping curves, round things or unevenly shaped things like horses. So our horse was quite blocky, it'd fit right into Minecraft, and it has a definite essence of Donkey. But it has an epic butt-flap to poo out the hordes of screaming Trojan warriors with their flaming torches and stabbing weapons, and we decided not to add wheels as it was already perfect, just like me. Because Jof was quiet I was able to while away many hours watching Stampylonghead and Ballistic Squid, my 2 favourite stoners failing to cope with Minecraft worlds in their own confused way.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Automatic Cwap Machine

anchor tapestry frame as shop display unit makeandthecraftkitchen.com Sneezed myself awake on Valentine's day.
He forced me to go for a walk through the park and I invented the automatic cwap machine to pass the time, in honour of the time I was at nursery and told the helper that there was a cwap in there, which surprised her.
I did not stop babbling about the special machine which transmogrifies food and drink into cwap and wee for the rest of the day, even Jof ran away to avoid it.
We recently inherited a tapestry frame from Obscure Cousin Margaret so Jof found a new home for it. 'Make' and the Craft Kitchen fills a little warehouse on Fratton Road opposite the mosque I visited a couple of weeks ago and they were very grateful (if a little confused) to be given an 'Anchor' brand vintage wooden frame but it goes well with their 'Singer' brand vintage sewing machines and big piles of wool that Jof isn't allowed to buy until she's used up the 7 boxes of wool she inherited from Nanna, currently filling our loft. We actively enjoy making the effort to place our unusual items with deserving recipients (at no cost) to avoid scrapping them. Like the modern pubs with retro pseudo-antiques stuck to the walls, this sewing and haberdashery drop-in centre has many groovy throwbacks to yester-year placed throughout, and Jof said it is the kind of place she wanted to open, but she may have had too much chocolate at that point.
video
Later I watched Wreck-it Ralph again and sang to my Minecraft. As I may not go out of the house until Tuesday, we washed my shoes. They are the sort that have the LED lights that flash when you run, and I note that the Cricket World Cup is using bails with the same embedded technology.
Later I chose 'Eraser' as my Saturday night film, I was going to choose 'Alien' but Jof was indahaus so we settled on 'Last Action Hero' again and pigged on luxury fish pie and a pre-punishment bowl of 4 fruits before we accessed the chocolate box.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Spartacus here we come

security footage of breaking glass door funny failHooray for half term! I assume I'll get this many holidays throughout my adult life.
My holiday homework was to create an ancient Greek artefact, and the most convincingly faked bronze age archaeological 'discoveries' in the class will be sold at Sotheby's to raise much-needed school funds.
15 cm nazi german shell case heavy ordnance hungarianI have chosen to build a chariot and credited its discovery to Lord Elgin. In fact, I made it immediately, while he was polishing up a 65 mm French mountain gun shell case (1915).
My chariot with horseman, whip, and crossbow (over a thousand years before its time), sits on a Nazi 15cm cannon shell, to its greater glory.
ww2 german heavy artillery 15 cm hungarian shell case headstampIt even has the special stamp-badge of that nice Mr Hitler.
At swimming I met my old friend Fraser. He is very good at football and boxing and dancing and FIFA 2015 and X-Station and Play-Box but when I called him Fridge (Fridge Fraser) it went right over his head, although his Dad liked it. I may also build a Parthenon in white modelling clay, Bud says I should build a π, but that's just stupid, a pie would have been eaten by now.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Bitten by an Aspex

funny engrish menu item failThe Aspex Gallery is a funded place of arty learning in an old naval warehouse in Gunwharf.
They have resident art graduates and lots of peripatetic university visitors and are set up for school visits so that's what we did.
aspex gallery gunwharf portsmouth school art tripMy class went down in a minibus after an early lunch and we drew mythical creatures all over an old sheet and set it up on a support pillar over an old cardboard box and hey presto, an ancient Greek warship.
aspex art gallery gunwharf portsmouth build ancient greek warshipLooking at the raw materials, I reckon the stuff from Bud's workplace (from which we made all the castles and things in the "Cardboard/Joy of Box" link on the right) would be much better so we might offer some.
aspex gallery art project zeus greek godsAnyway, Ben 1 made an oar with a devil snake on it and Leyton made an arrow and Ben 2 archeried him with it and we all took it in turns to board the Galley or was it a Quinquereme. Or Dhow. Or Junk.
I drew a large fish for the hull and also a call-to-arms "Zues is coming": those naughty letters always get mixed up, I might use it as the starting point for my next cult for stupid people, see zuesiscoming.org @ the Church of Holier Portents and Miraculous Comets, sign away your life savings now, based in Pasadena.
On the way out we watched some Policemen and a woman with a very fluffy dog, more fluff than dog.
Tonight was the Valentine's disco but I really don't like the school discos because it's hot and loud and you can't go outside, maybe I'm 53 already.
Later we visited the park but it was too cold for it to be busy so we played football until I threw a stick and got him in the mouth and he said a bad thing and I sulked, 'cos that's logical. Half term tomorrow!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Legalizing Trousers (a Novel in 3 parts)

birds and bees father son talk sex borg maturation chamberTook Ben home this afternoon and talked about clothing. We have found out what costumes we'll be wearing for the school play, I get someone else's tracksuit bottoms and one of those sweatbands you wear on your head because I am a team trainer, and Ben gets to wear whatever he wants as he is an Ancient Greek Breakdancer. Come to think of it, you know that special sellotape that lady dancers wear to stop themselves gaping open at the chesticles, well he might have to do that with his Toga. We imagined our trousers falling down during the performance, and the effect it would have on the female members of the audience.
It's just not possible to have this kind of conversation (when you're 9) without soon getting onto brassieres, lava, nuclear missiles and helicopters, believe me.
schoolkids jabbering aimlessly about crapAnyway, at home Ben and I spent a profitable afternoon spreading Lego over the bedroom floor and stealing choccy biccies and eating all 4 jellies.
Once he'd gone I was busy Minecrafting when Bud cut all 8 buttons off my trousers with a large knife. Jof detests these perfectly comfortable and valid trousers because of the buttony decoration, to which she is allergic, so she hides them at the back of the clothes drawer and I get them right back out again and use them and she has to turn them the right way out after laundering them so gets to touch those harmless buttons all over again. But now they're legal. Later I sat on a blueberry and fidgeted: it's amazing how much sofa you can purple-ify with one set of trousers. Jof says they are haunted by an evil spirit, polter-pantaloons?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Roistering and Doistering

dogs licking their arses funnyToday I got a Maths Star of the Week certificate! But it's dated 26th of January, practically posthumous.
Anyway, I was just giving someone the thumbs-up sign when my old mate Leyton landed on me and bent my thumb right back, earning me a trip to the office at the end of play. At second play, Ben and I played the game where you kneel down on the grassy knoll and tussle, we were joined by Rolinda Hayes and Jess, who are girls. Now, you never know with girls, some don't roister at all and some doister a bit and then totally dob you in to the teacher to get you in trouble. But these 2 were pleasingly robust and we had a right royal rumpus and rumbled in the jungle happily until I turned my ankle and had to go to the office again.
Now, it may look like I'm frequently injured, and maybe. But the office is heaving with injured parties at the end of every break, honest.
difficult to do arm exercises when you startAt going-home time I made a big angry face about my double injury until it was clear I wasn't going to get out of Gymnastics, then I cheered right up again.
In actual Gymnastics, I have 8/10 ticks for Badge 1 and I said I do press-ups before my shower every night and they said Oh well done, do keep it up so it looks like I'll actually have to do some.

Monday, 9 February 2015

For whom the Bread Rolls

short cut around fence and gate security failA weird day at school. We did more rehearsal for the play and I got the final page of the script with 4 more lines and the girl playing the Ancient Greek TV presenter complained about her leg and people finally accepted teacakes from Suzie's mum and then Dionysus comes on and said let's party like it's 557 BC and we all go woo-hoo and sing the Going For Gold song again. I moved up to the top maths table in our non-streaming school.
measuring internal angles of a triangleOn the way home I scooted through a huge pile of dog poo and I wanted to use Doctor Doofenschmirtz's De-Animal-ator to commit genocide against all dogs but Bud says dog owners have votes too, just that they do a pawprint not a big X in the box.
One of my duties is to listen to Grandad rambling, he likes to teach me maths whether I want to or not, just because he was a university lecturer, humph. During this teleconference I was commanded to draw a triangle, any triangle, and add up the internal angles. I scored 181, which is quite good, apparently.
In Minecraft I led a jail breakout by releasing lots of other prisoners while being naked. Armour-less, I mean. In Scouts we planted cress seeds again, half of them in a light-less container, for which I am planning to use the word 'Etiolated'. The rest of the time we made explosions and fountains with pressurized drinks containers.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Parable of the Lego Toilet Roll

A slow start to a slow day. Forced into doing my own homework, I rejected the chicken kievs for breakfast and ate fruit instead. Gradually we admitted we had to go shopping and I stated that I needed self-determination and quality control over my own food intake due to the healthy living thing we did at Scouts.
lego city council work truck with portable toilet on trailer 60073 I had lots of big ideas about decent food and immediately forgot about them when Jof said I had money left over in my Lego account.
I sourced a couple of likely boxes, a spinning Ninjago gunship and a tow-truck, and then Jof found a council department of works flatbed truck with a bin, broom, pneumatic drill and so forth, but it came with its own Lego Portaloo. The little blocky bog has a non-lift-up seat (only male workers here) and a Lego toilet roll. I just had to have it.
Surely my love affair with Lego should be going off the boil by now. But not when they make little gems like that.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Exeat: Salisbury Cathedral (Harum Sarum)

medieval stonework historyToday Jof was scheduled to be at work again so we did what any self-respecting pair of boys would do, plan a fun day out.
Salisbury Cathedral is a stonking great edifice, about 800 years old, and very nice it is too. I have seen it before, when I was a bump, and again when I was about 4.
So we plan these little outings to places of note, and we do the studious investigation of the serious places, and we hardly laugh at all, apart from all the time. It was therefore a bit of a surprise when Jof came home again.
medieval security clerical salisbury cathedral tower tourShe had been over-scheduled, double-booked and so forth and they didn't need her at work so she said why don't I come with you then but we said Oh no you don't, you're a total girl and will just slow us down. This may have been somewhat unfair in retrospect but you can't go around changing schedules and agendas, we'd never hear the end of it if we said stuff Tuesdays, I don't fancy going to school.
We know the way to Salisbury, we were there only last year on our way to Stonehenge. The ring road was its usual delight and we found the car park by large Sainsbury's and went up their long wheelchair ramp to buy a quick sandwich for stair-climbing energy.
We also found Jojo Maman Bebe where they bought me my favourite red coat.
salisbury cathedral west navePlus we used the underground public toilets but had to pay the Toilet-Troglodyte 20p for the privilege! Much like paying a troll bridge, I suppose.
The clergy of years past decided to build a cathedral in Salisbury after arguing with the soldiers in the Norman castle in Old Sarum, 11th century. There was absolutely nothing there except sheep and they were quite obedient so the Bishop commandeered loads of land by the river and hey presto, a cathedral was built in only 35 years, which was quite good.
Thus the town itself was designed by the Baby-eating Bishop in a grid system that survives today.
60 or so years later, they added the tower/spire, which caused structural difficulties with the extra weight and stuff, the foundations are only 4 feet deep, right next to a river, built on gravel so the tower pushed the middle of the building down by 11 inches and you can see that dip today.
salisbury medieval catherdal western walls stained glass windowsThey have a medieval clock (built 1386) that is still ticking, 4.4 billion ticks and counting.
The area around the building is very large and full of history and eye-watering house prices.
We met the tour guide (pre-booked tickets, online services, £17 for the both of us) and she was nice and immediately singled me out for special treatment because I speak up for myself and am about 60 years younger than everybody else on the tour.
I saw the giant front door and the brass lock is hilarious, with such a massive keyhole I reckon the key itself might be bigger than any in our collection of antique giant keys.
salisbury cathedral tower tour medieval stonemasons toolsSo: you go up stone spiral staircase #1. A mere 800 years old, it leads to the first level clerestory with the tall stained glass windows and a vaguely adequate view of the internal space allowed by the numerous flying buttresses, some of which look like a massive spider climbing the tower.
salisbury cathedral tower tour spire access pointFrom there we used spiral staircase #2 and met the attic space over the long West Nave, original wooden struts and frames, only 1000 years old. OK, they were put up 750 years ago, but the trees had to be 250 years old to be big enough to be used as construction materials.
steeplejack delight ladders and planks salisbury cathedral tower tourThere is a framed document: Guinness book of world records for the highest spire in Great Britain (404 feet) signed by his Lordship Norris McWhirter himself!
Do not be mistaken, this really is a highly impressive beast, it just goes on and on, this last 8 centuries or so.
salisbury cathedral tower tourAt the other end of the Nave is the Tower proper. The clock room was nice with medieval wrought iron supports and some extra architectural tricks provided by some crowd called Christopher Wren.
Each corner has its original spiral staircase but they've installed an open wooden structure to climb up which was nice and another of the same up to the spire room. I found several dead butterflies and some graffiti, mostly 19th century but going back to 1486.
The spire itself goes up way more but you're not allowed up it unless you're a Steeplejack, and they didn't believe me so pants to you.
medieval stonework with scaffoldingBut you can see (better with binocular vision) extensive framework going all the way up with ladders and planks and waystation-platforms and O my goodness I really wanted to go up more but no chance.
main west nave of salisbury cathedralWe got the chance to go onto the parapet balconies on 3 of the 4 compass directions, the south face has a water tank and is favoured by peregrine falcons so that one is off limits but we looked over the crevasse of the other 3 and saw the late Edward Heath's house and all the expensive houses and the water meadows and yeah, not bad.
medieval cloisters We might possibly have farted generously in all 3 available compass directions but better that than in a narrow spiral staircase, believe you me. On the way down we totally beat everyone else and in the shop I bought a squashed penny and indeed, a booklet to keep my collection of squashed pennies in. I also lit 3 votive candles to dead members of my family. They have a Magna Carta (800 years) but I guess I missed that one.
The shop + café is totally overpriced but it all goes to the upkeep of the splendid building so you can't complain.
Then we visited the Pizza Hut that we'd eaten in when I was 4 and I had the ice cream factory and my pizza was small. Too small. But I did have salad, so not all unhealthy.
The stamp and coin collectibles shop was still open (just) so we bought 4 silly foreign coins and drove home where Jof had enjoyed a day of housework, cleaning, laundry and watching football on TV.
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That's when we put on Harry Potter Deadly Hellos part 2, goodness me, it was complicated. Supper was about 10 pm and I might even go to bed today. Well, I didn't yesterday. I was found asleep with my head in a Terry Pratchett book at 8 minutes past midnight. This time it was ten to midnight, must have been a busy day.