Friday, 1 April 2016

Grandad, and Associated Confusions

For the last registered day of the holiday solely under Bud's control, we sought out waterslides. I can never get enough, and why not.
horse in field near nursling southamptonDear Mr Google suggested that we might find a new one in Southampton so we left the house at 10 with but a small extra task from Jof. Stop off at my other office, she said, they've got some paperwork for me, it'll be fun, she said. I ran into the branch expecting an envelope of order forms or similar, and they said well not quite, and issued me with 12 large boxes including those heavy ones you get photocopier paper in. It is lucky we have a reasonably sized car.
Grandad lives in an Elizabethan mansion now and he was confused that we were 4 minutes early. He always wears a hat, not unlike Jack The Hat McVitie who went down to the Krays, as we discovered in the Crime Museum a couple of days ago.
Part way down his extensive tree-lined drive, we discovered an Australian Horsebox. It is horse country where he lives, and either a box has been imported from Australia without being turned up the right way, or naughty Storm Emilie or whoever it was this time has wrought some damage and deprived some poor nags of their storm shelter. We investigated and one of the homeless horsies came over to mourn its former abode.
southampton waterslidesJust a couple of blocks over from Giant IKEA is the Quays Swimming and Diving Complex. We parked up next to a very big building site and went in. If you use the men's changing room you can use a £1 coin for the lockers but if you use the family changing area you have to borrow a padlock at only £5 each and soon we were in the hot tub.
The waterslide is quite quick and loopy and for 2 1/2 of its loops it exits the building and comes back in again. The 'Leisure Pool' area is medium in size and warm so we splashed and messed around and went through to the main pool. It is a 50 metre size proper pool but it was mostly lane swimming so we dived in a bit at the deep end (2M) and looked at the real diving pool.
They have a few 1-metre boards, several 3-metre boards, a couple of 5s and a 10-metre whopper in brutalist concrete. It was completely empty of humans and the visibly deep water was as still as one of those cave pools in Wookey Hole. We asked the lady if we could have a go and 'Gosh no, this isn't for the public. You have to book sessions at £10 a minute or be an existing Olympic athlete with 4 month's notice' she sneered.
historic town walls southamptonWe despondently fought in the shallow end. At one point, just when we were being sharkish attack eels, our heads crunched together somewhat and you can either say he head-butted me in the mouth or that I speed-bit him in the head, your choice. I re-inserted my tooth while his head bled into the pool. Fortunately I have learnt first aid from the Terminator (keep pressure on it, it'll stop the bleeding) and we got away with it.
After 2 hours wetplay we found Grandad sitting outside in the sun doing a crossword. We found the external loops of the waterslide, and unbeknownst to us, a large police raid was taking place right there behind this bush. We walked along the old city walls to the docks, where he regaled me with the story of how Bud first set foot on English soil in this exact location off a liner from Durban 44 years ago, having carelessly been born in the other hemisphere.
mcalpine development west quays southamptonWalking up the medieval high street, we could see many splendid old historic buildings were up for sale in this deprived area, not 400 yards from the vast new development we'd parked by. Lots of salt-of-the-earth locals saluted us with cans of Special Brew and nameless cigarettes so we found lunch in a Wetherspoons called The Standing Order, near the old closed-down banks and marine reinsurance offices in their imposing stone edifices.
From there we walked the City Walls as instructed by many signs and we found the vast new development will be an indoor entertainment venue with licences to sell alcohol and dancing girls. We drove back and they were talking Arabic and Swahili in the car, what chance have I got, la plume de ma tante, I'm not kidding.
Back at the manor, he taught me area and volume and triangles and cubic centimetres and diameters, as you do. Better get in there quick, I thought, he won't be 86 for long.
I got back in time for Friday Swimming, had to nick Jof's towel.

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