Thursday, 30 June 2016

D'oh! A P, a female P

fat bottomed girls make the world go roundToday we walked bleedin' miles to the Girls Academy again and I really want to go there for Year 7. This will not involve gender reassignment because by then, it will be a mixed school, once they've added boy's toilets and stuff. First, we did breadmaking. This is something hardly anybody gets to do apart from the guy at the back of the Co-op and we all took it in turns to extrude some moist dough onto the work surface (if you spill some, you have to shout D'oh!) so that we could spell out 'Proud to be Pompey', a splendid post-Brexit sentiment. I was a P.
Then we made an LED torch with some cut-out squares and mini batteries and a hot glue gun and the decorative stickers, and once the hot glue has set (sniff here to check) you press it in the middle and it lights up! Of course, it would be bog all use in the abandoned wartime radio station tunnels under Portsdown Hill but that's why we bought those giant Chinese 100-LED torches.
Then we used them to spell out our names in Morse code, just like Lord Nelson did in World War 1, apparently. We found out that the SOS signal actually has no meaning, it just has a recognisable structure, people made up the Save Our Souls later.
led torch USB bracelet portsmouth academy for girls
Because the Academy is trying to drum up support and government funding, they told us that normally you have to pay £20 to apply for a place but if we take their special 350 meg USB drive cunningly hidden in a bracelet with adverts on, we could apply for free!
On the way home we stopped off at the big park by Kingston Lifer's Prison and played tag on the hilly bike paths. This was completely epic because we made it that the grass was hot lava and so you could only use the path network, like a giant game of 3-D Pac-man. We ran around so much after lunch I vomited all down my shirt and had to change into my PE shirt.
He told me to get ready for swimming 10 minutes before we needed to leave. Which is lucky, because I spent 10 minutes shouting about how he regularly performs unnatural acts with the seashell collection. Swimming was extra-tough with 18 lengths of breaststroke in a row and I got hurting leg syndrome. Jof thought my bread P was a snail.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

2nd Base: Bodice or Bust

engrish funny sign fail urineWell we got lots of time at school to continue our stop-motion photography project, enough so that I was able to bring home my Lego swimmers and armies.
As the weather did not qualify for Wednesday park, I walked home in the rain and spent a while making 2 Lego Star Wars spaceships: a tie fighter, and an X-wing/tie bomber crossover hybrid chimera thingy.
I have a weakness. Not for chocolate this time, but for screentime. I sit down instantly and use up my entire hour straight away after school, because the world might end or something and I'd still have credit time, which is anathema to me. But he said, let's watch a film now, you'll have bags of time later.
lego spaceships
So we saw 'Cowboys and Aliens'. This action thriller has Han Solo as an ageing cattle owner with a drunken idiot son, James Bond plays the hard-bitten outlaw with amnesia and an alien shooting device on his wrist, the Kurgan from Highlander is the priest and they battle gold-seeking aliens and lots of people get shot. Once we'd picked up Jof and her bike from work, and she'd told us she didn't like the film because it was too dark and everyone mumbles, we finished the film and the bad aliens die as does the pleasantly shaped other alien with the sculpted eyebrows and penchant for losing her tight-fitting clothes, who sacrifices herself to detonate the wristband in the core of the escaping spaceship.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Bookie Prize

suggestive paedophilia tshirt fail
lego minifigs ronald mcdonaldToday at work we took a public bus to the King's Theatre where I got on telly again last year, and attended the Book Awards, together with about 3000 other local kids.
I got a certificate saying I'd personally chosen the winning book (Half a Man) and then - a cataclysmic numerical coincidence on National Lottery scales - the winning author himself turned up!
He kindly explained about a family member who flew Spitfires during the war and who crashed into the bridge of an aircraft carrier causing him to lose half his face because he was on fire and had to jump into the sea, hence the book title.
lego war scene in school projectOnce we'd had our lunch in the park, we had time to continue our stop-motion filming. Here we see our 3 characters, each with his own unique disability, qualifying him for entry into the Paralympics, each with his own avatar for the swimming scene, where you can't be expected to see their faces because Lego minifigures don't bend that way.
From the left, we start with our hero, Legolas. He is the man who has mechanical legs following his unscheduled meeting with an anti-personnel mine during a military engagement, shown here in the war scene on the left, which uses many of my favourite bits of Lego army kit.
In the middle is Conor who has lost his right hand in a freak monkey-spanking incident, but does have breasts, a combination sure to reduce power but increase drag in any swimming competition. The smart money is not on him.
stop motion photography school projectOn the right is Ronald McDonald who has compression of the cervical vertebrae and subsequent curvature of the spine due to the sheer weight of his enormous hair. Eagle-eyed readers will notice that he is approximately 4 times the size of the other competitors, suggesting that he may be a eunuch, but this may not in itself be a qualifying disability. We should get him to sing the anthem, though.
Here I am showing both sets of scenery for scale. On the wall behind me is a running track representing Olympic ideals and how they set standards by which we can live our lives.
During my own able-bodied swimming lesson I had to pull out with crippling gut pains which Jof blamed on my afternoon snack.

Monday, 27 June 2016

3rd Prize in an Egg and Spoon Competition, win £10

hi visibility safety shirt fluorescent yellowlad shat in teachers kettle to dodge examsSo again we had our school sports day on the field by the Mad Hospital, which is where I throw balls at the Scout coconut shy every year. We were encouraged to dress up in our house colours so I chose a typically understated yellow and orange combo (my house colour is green) in order to blend in with my surroundings and not draw attention.
This had a side benefit in that I was wearing a hi-vis shirt therefore full of health and safety (and visible from space) so I was allocated the 'Helper' role and duly ferried flags and batons and hula-hoops up and down the fairway. I also shouted myself almost-hoarse, perhaps donkey.
I came third in the Egg and Spoon race - I was bossing it but dropped my tennis ball too many times - so won a sticker and a house point. My house won overall, of course, and when we discovered that the scorer-lady was an ex-pupil of my house, there were murmurings of dissent and demands to re-run the referendum and leadership election nonono but we certainly had the Not Fair Brigade out in farce.
wet muddy clothes left behind after scout campThe days' crushing news was about the Parents Get Lost residential trip to the Isle of Wight that BensMum promised we'd go on. This was cancelled and a 3-day trip to the zoo replaced it, I doubt the zoo could cope with us, though, are they qualified to incarcerate a herd of screaming hooting monsters that demand obscure foodstuffs and crap in the corners? I think not.
Our latest school class photo was revealed. The teacher (for whom our class is named) is conspicuously absent from his own photo. Perhaps he was once in the SAS and is allergic to cameras like that nice chap with the Land Rover that helps out my Scout group every now and then.
In Scouts we had the famous trestle tables of soggy muddy unclaimed kit from the weekend camp, not so much a sight to behold as a smell to bewhiff. I only had to get a tea-towel. I did the prayer in a loud clear thespian voice and did the flag-lowering ceremony too, although it was difficult to reach it over the piles of abandoned clothing, which will go in the bin if not collected by next week.
meonwood campsite scout badgeWe (us happy campers) all got a camping badge which is not one that goes on the uniform - it has to go on your poncho or blanket. This security blanket is the item that follows you throughout your Scouting career and whenever you finish Beaver Scouts, for example, you unpick all of your badges from your jumper and affix them anew to your poncho. Thus, by the time you are an Explorer Scout, you have a vast array of assorted badges of all ages festooning your poncho as a record of your Scouting achievements. No such luck, I was told, as Nanna has long died and nobody else has that level of needlework skill and dedication.
I fell asleep with the lights on at 945, narrowly avoiding the ignominy and trauma of seeing England make a super-classy Football-Brexit at the hands of soccer Titans Iceland, who we will now support because they have better names than us and also the 'HOOO!' chant.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Puddle of Mudd and the Monsters of Sleep games on tabletToday I woke up at 10am having scored a full 12 hours of shut-eye. This is significantly better than yesterday when I only got 4, and some Beavers fell asleep in front of the campfire.
Well, we burnt 3/4 of all the wood provided by our excellent Quartermaster and even sang a camp-fire song about it. A lot of the day was spent de-tenting or un-camping or whatever it's called when you break camp and pack everything away again.
meonwood campsiteIt was very muddy and when Jof came to pick me up (and Flynn) I had a 3rd eyebrow made of mud and Flynn had a mud-tache.
But we needed our tech fix so sat on my bed for a couple of hours playing until his mum came to retrieve him. We are all very tired and muddy and there will be laundry, mark my words, and I had a bath then a shower and will sleep well tonight. It was a good Scout camp.

Saturday, 25 June 2016


hamshire cricket club ground rose bowlI am currently away from home, enjoying the great outdoors in a field in Hampshire. OK, I'm on my regular Scout camp, in the same field which is a small part of someone's back garden that we've been using for the last couple of years.
It's always risky camping in England, even in June, witness the muddy shenanigans of the Glastonbury festival-goers who have to take copious supplies of dried grass with them to ameliorate the discomfort of all the wet grass they're sleeping on.
And we have had sunshine and blue sky and niceness, but these have been transitory interludes in the conveyor belt of rodding great thunderstorms that may or may not be the meteorological revenge of the discarded Europeans. We did a big hike and got totally caught in the monsoon miles from camp.
cricket match rained off matwest t20 I have not taken a camera, so let us use as a hypothetical proxy, the experiences of 2 random people attending the Natwest Bank T20 Blast cricket series, a twenty-twenty match at the Ageas Rose Bowl between Hampshire and Gloucestershire, taking place a few short miles (7)(seven) from my campsite.
1. Ground sodden after 'locally heavy downpours' have made the outfield treacherous.
2. Blue sky alert! The umpires and the Sky TV cameras witness the tossing of the coin and the arrival of the players on a lovely sunny Saturday, with mascot and flag-waving kiddies and 2 chaps with beer-keg backpacks full of Carlsberg lager touring the stands selling their hoppy wares.
campfire meonwood campsite3. Lightning is sighted over the Shane Warne stand and the rain-covers come back on, as the players beat a hasty retreat.
4. 17 1/2 inches of rain fall in an hour, accompanied by lightning and, a couple of drenched hours later, by a desultory pitch inspection and abandonment of the match without a ball being bowled.
This is what happened, on and off, for the duration. But it cleared up for us and we managed to get the campfire burning which is of course the teamwork-glue of camaraderie that binds us together. The many Fuel-Units that we delivered to the campsite proved their worth and songs of victory were sung especially if you're Welsh or Portuguese.

Friday, 24 June 2016


So today apparently I had the one most groove-acious day ever. This is because of double-booking scheduling issues which meant that instead of doing actual real schoolwork, we built and played Lego all day.
I salvaged some grey blocks from a previous Lego project about pyramids and ditched the helicopter and we all spent hours of your tax-payer dollars amassing Lego battlefields. My Lego tank is awesome with rocket launchers and stuff.
wimborne junior school summer fairThen I showered and he loaded the car with wood for the Scout camp bonfire and we attended the summer fair of the school I would have gone to if the OFSTED reports were better, it's the old story, boy meets girl, girl goes to wrong school, boy becomes mutant droid, girl leaves cosmos, how often have we heard that story.
Here is Flynn and Katelyn doing a Shoop-Shoop dance in the playground with their dance troupe. They were pretty good, may be a little like Bens' street dance thing. Katelyns' mum is French so she is packing her suitcase to go home now we've voted to cast off from Europe.
wimborne junior school summer fairSo I had a go on the coconut shy and I killed 2 coconuts because I am a professional and he said well done, nobody's done that before but I had to select 2 prizes from the bag rather than actually get my coconuts. I got a bag of sweeties and 3 pencils with novelty rubber tips, all part of my training for future life.
meonwood scout campsite campfireI met many familiar faces at the event and we came home and Flynn arrived and we all bundled into the car with the overloading of wood and got to the campsite playing caterpillar on the tablets and we had to carry our own stuff and the wood to the campsite and the weather was actually good this time and we found many mushrooms and that's primarily how I currently feel, mushroomed.
The enormous pile of wooden boxes behind the campfire is all from us, including the shed door. Always have a shed door. It also makes a decent defensive structure for me to hide behind when shooting my 6-barrelled bazookoid, although we kicked it to bits later and burnt it.
Look. You can't blame me for Brexit. I'm 10.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Independence Day 2016

torrential downpours flooded town funnyYesterday we did so much stop-motion photography we needed to have double-double maths to make up for it. But instead of a mind-churning 4 hours of tests and algebraic conundra, we played Sumdog. Or is it Sundog.
In Sundog you amass breakfast items to make buildings to defend your plate. Baps are useless but sausages are poisonous and the eggs turn into frying pans that shoot eggs and the ketchup is issued as a blaster-weapon that shoots globules of glistening tomato extract. All this is to defend against a ravenous Chihuahua in a top hat on a rocket-propelled skateboard, I don't know why you're having trouble with this concept, it seemed perfectly alright once the mushrooms had taken effect.
field sports army style knife double bladedAnyway, the overnight thunderstorms had washed the streets clean but the weather gods were obviously going for an extra rinse and wax because it kept going and we had to have PE upstairs in the music room where we had sit-up competitions.
At home he advised me to use my 1 hour of screen-time well and not leave myself short of snack-time or screen-less after swimming. I agreed and promptly signed onto my X-Box for 1 hour straight after school and only had time for a boiled egg and a banana before swimming. I pigged it and said look, I've got enough time, render unto me the holy hobnobs (chocolatey, oaty, crunchy biscuit delight) but he said no, you're on a diet, have the crisps in the car and that's it until suppertime. I huffed and I puffed and chucked stuff a bit and said after swimming I'm running away from home, then I'll be happy, for you are an arsehole that's starving me to death.
I have this ability to temporarily have fun during swimming but then revert to my previous sulk (like factory settings) but when Jof let me off having to go and vote in the referendum I was happy once more. The country is poking a big stick into the cloying anthill of politics-by-default, but I played Lego instead.
Speaking of rain, I expect the Scout campsite is mildly damp now, lucky I can swim. The kit list includes "Camp knife" so I took the double-bladed SAS-style knife that a certain family member purchased mail-order in 1985, only to be promptly confiscated by the housemaster. I practised whittling.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


australian made up names birth certificateToday we did animation ALL day. This means we have to have double-double maths tomorrow, but as kids, we are willing to procrastinate stuff like maths on the assumption that tomorrow won't happen (like in Groundhog Day) or the teachers will conveniently forget about it.
This animation is our stop-motion film project, as described yesterday. I am in the best team and we've finished most of our stuff. Today we prepared the backgrounds which in our case, means a post-war scene of military devastation not unlike the desolation of Smaug, a swimming pool with 3 lanes of disturbed water (and 4 disturbed children) and a crowd scene, which is just numerous iterations of the same picture.
wood glass display case We also built the Lego theatre of war, and as the others forgot their Lego, I have to bring in 3 plausible swimmers, their winners' podium and some extra fire tomorrow.

tyres making park climbing frame
On the way home, we saw an object outside a nearby house with a hand-written note saying 'Please Take'. Now, as conscientious pillars of the local community, we feel it is our duty to clean the streets and also to take away a glass display cabinet that we actually really need for one of our upcoming art projects. It needs a little bit of cleaning and repair, but other than that, it's an octagonal curio, and just what we wanted, at no cost. Bit of a challenge to carry it home, but what do I have a father for.
We did Park Wednesday and took a newer, smaller giant-tennis-ball along for ball-tag. The idea was, it should be easier to throw, and Owen the Destroyer certainly proved it was fit for purpose!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Hitler: "They lose me after the Bunker scene"

itlaia dcloe & gababna dsigner shirt failToday we posed for our class photos, whether we wanted to or not. I thought I'd have it easy for the rest of the day. But no, at the last minute, honest, Guv, the teacher said we had to have our material for the stop-motion photography project ready by TOMORROW.
So I asked if I could have Ben round this evening and of course that was a no, WHY can't everything I want happen by magic instantly and all my regular appointments pushed back by a day? I'm sure the Prime Minister wouldn't mind declaring it Monday II, the world could adapt, right?
So I waived my right to Minecraft and set to work. I have been designated Lego Provider as I show off about how much I have. So when Jof got back we all went into my room and started emptying the boxes and assembling the scene.
Our uplifting stop-motion story is about Legolas Cheese, a soldier. He gets his legs blown off by a land mine during a Black Hawk Down incident and goes on to win Olympic gold at swimming against his rivals Ronald McDonald, who is a tall clown with a big afro, and Conner Chapman who is in a film that Ben has seen.
school project bunker scene land mine explosion
So the others are doing the swimming pool scene props, I was tasked with creating the wartime diorama in which our eponymous hero Legolas takes on an anti-personnel mine and loses, becoming Legless Legolas. So straight away I went for the Millennium Falcon and a public toilet from the Lego road-builders range and a large battleship with no deck, and Krusty the Clown.
I was persuaded to keep my eyes on the prize and in meedle of no time we had a decent military engagement with bunker, horse, downed helicopter, barbed wire, and right in the middle, Legolas stepping on some dynamite which we will be able to stop-motion into a series of gouts of flame.
Then I went swimming and ate pasta and played Minecraft, all the usual stuff. But I did have to tidy my room.

Monday, 20 June 2016

If I can't have it ...

beans engrish product name fail funnyFirst important thing I did today was make a Mini-gun out of my Nerf gun. Well, it doesn't have the rotating drum of barrels, but it's close enough.
In school I had an argument with Child S about ownership of my Mega E-X AmitriptylenePolyphosphate Pokémon card. He said it was his when absolutely everyone ie me knew it was mine. In the end we had to tear it up and bin it to settle the territorial dispute. You can see Malaysia having to bomb the Spratly Islands just to stop China pretending they own them.
I had the chance to go and buy school shorts today to increase my comfort levels for the remaining school year. But that would have meant actually going somewhere so I refused.
I declared myself uninterested in the England footy match but given the hot pasta meal accompaniment, I grudgingly sat through some of it, but I was right the first time.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Pooh Logs

I was up first as usual and eventually Servant #1 fed me a boiled chicken ovulation with toastie soldiers of varying ranks and I was ready to do absolutely nothing for another whole day.
But then he demanded I go out into the yard at 1pm where we had a stilted discussion about how to make a curtain pole go vertical, I had to be prompted about using a plumb line. But I did know how long its shadow would be - zero, due to proximity to the solstice. Unfortunately, there was 100% cloud coverage so nobody had a shadow. Thus another one of Grandads' special projects came to naught.
langstone harbour entrance eastney sewage pumping stationThen he said don't get comfortable, we're going out. I got rightly miffed because I'd already missed 3 minutes of Minecraft with the pole experiment and we nearly had a sulkathon but not quite. The local radio had told us that the Virgin Kite-Surfing Armada was going to have a crack at a world record by getting more than 415 Kite-surfers up at once. Since the demise of the Hayling Ferry we haven't been over there and we're not driving millions of miles down their one poxy winding road to pay loads to park on their windswept seafront. But you can get a good view of it from Fort Cumberland - either on the nudist beach side, or the sewage pumping station side. Mmm, what a choice.
Now, I have exposed myself at the nudist beach and I have personally contributed to the sewage-pumping outflow and I have hopped the fence to gain entry to Fort Cumberland so none of this presents a problem for me.
yacht against tide langstone harbour entranceWe cycled down there, ditching Jof after about 37 yards as she kept stopping to talk to people. Did I mention how much I love my new bike? Anyway, it was high tide so the long sewage pipe where the fishermen stand was completely submerged so we sought out the area where the sea had washed away some of the cliff and sea defences. Ignoring the fences and keep out signs, we hopped around on the twisted and tortured concrete blocks and only turned back at the razor wire. Then Jof joined us and we noticed the massive tidal flow exiting the lagoon. It makes severe currents and so we found sticks and bits of driftwood on the beach and played PoohSticks, while jetskis and motor boats and yachts fought the currents behind us.
mad boy eating a cuttlefishThis became a challenge so we searched further afield and found lots of bits of burnt wood and bits of house and then Bud impaled a cuttlefish bone with a bamboo pole and we threw that in and played Pooh-Logs but not Pooh-Bottles because we said it had to be biodegradable or recyclable material. Sometimes they get stuck on the seaweed or go backwards in eddies so there was much laughter and I suppose by now, our impaled cuttlefishes are confusing people on Brighton beach.
We used a baby's pacifier-bung once but all the rest of it was kosher. The Kite-surfers did fly about a lot but we couldn't really see how many there were. Then Jof needed the toilet again so we came home just before the rain started.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Pride, and a Fall

stage props department groundlings theatre portsmouthPoor Jof had to go to work again so I took advantage by playing the new Minecraft server. While watching some Youtube videos of other people playing, I had discovered a new server with excellent characteristics so now I slyly nip onto it every chance I get.
During Acting (strangely quiet without Sydney) we did some Lion King practise and played a new game called King, Witch and Peasant, where you have to put on different airs depending on your station in life.
When I got home I had a task, to determine the addressee of an envelope that had come through our door because it didn't have a house number, just our road, and our postcode. We knocked on each door in turn asking for the correct surname but nobody was the right person. We noted down the house numbers where my knocks went unanswered, and we'll have another go.
At home, I ignored Jof because Bud is funnier and anyway, I had an Emerald House to build. This may be a psychological artefact of growing-pains exacerbated by my recent sojourn to Stubbington Camp. I wonder if any of my colleagues have had similar apron-string cutting issues. However I ignored her once too often and made her sad so she went to the gym and didn't come back for 6 hours. That left me free to play Minecraft for a further 5 hours while laundry and washing up and home-cooked pre-packed tuna pasta school meals went on around me, gosh, this is the life.
gay pride gathering portsmouth guildhall
Todays' images are of the rationing props display at the theatre featuring little-known breakfast cereal product "Toasted Crapola Flakes", our modern mornings are emptier for their loss. Also, all the very happy brightly coloured rainbow people (who gaily took pride in their fluorescent appearance) of Portsmouth gathered in Guildhall Square to remember Orlando, before going off for a seafront dance-party. The weather was nice because the sun always shines on TVs. Even the Policepersons were in hi-vis jackets. Making friends again with Jof was treading on a minefield of eggshells, beyond my ken but something I have to learn. Chocolate ice cream helped.

Friday, 17 June 2016

The Lost Scrolls

Riser Bell 0800, for the last time.
skittles win funny
Today we played Stubbington Foxes which is a search-and-evade game where you are dropped behind enemy lines and have to gather intel on possible landing sites while avoiding capture by enemy agents. In this case you have to find up to 20 orange counters stuck to trees etc and mark them down on your checklist. You are chased by enemy teachers with those blarty compressed-air horns. If one of these horny teachers spies you, they give a melodious tootle and you have to go over and get your face stamped twice (in case one rubs off) and a stamp on your checklist too. You get a point for each orange counter and minus a point for every time an enemy stamps on your face.
stubbington foxes game ink stampsMy partner and I kept hiding in bushes because we didn't want to get spotted but every time we poked our heads out, we were tootled most vigorously and we ended up on minus 2 points. The range of scores was from plus 17 points all the way down to minus 3 so we may not have been the best. The pirate flag motif kinda loiters on yer face ...
Once we were all on the coach to go home, the staff lined up with trays of ducklings to say goodbye and we got back to school early. I was in 2 minds about this because I really missed my parents but I also really missed Stubbington and wanted to go back. But this is a one-time offer and I'm glad I did it. At pickup time I got all emotional and we all stood about like desperadoes waiting for a train. It also took me 2 hours to notice that Bud had grown a beard.
When I got home, I looked for the sheets of hand-written notes I'd taken to make this report, and discovered that I'd lost them. I was quite annoyed. But at least I got a few pictures. Jof phoned to make sure I wasn't dead, and I went straight back onto the Minecraft tablet and ate and ate and ate. When Jof got home I knew she was going to drivel all over me so I ran away. Bed 2300, I was as tired as the rest of them.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Distancing myself .... at a Distance

epitaph obituary announcement funnyAlthough I don’t know it, at the dawn of my life
My time’s all my own, until I find a wife
The times they are changing, as am I, day by day
I’m nearly grown up now, gotta be on my way
For health, wealth and laughter, and some of the spanking
It’s my hard-working parents I should be thanking
For the food in my gut and the gleam in my eye
So kiss my holy ring, and kiss my butt goodbye
Well today it rained quite a lot but we didn't mind. It's also the day of the inter-school disco. Normally, I don't like discos because it's hot and bangy and I don't like the hot dogs anyway and you're not allowed outside because there's not enough teachers to supervise you so you have to stay inside where it's hot and bangy. But did this one go any better? We all cheered at England winning. I'll be home tomorrow.
stubbington study centre earthquake gameToday we played "Earthquake" (or Fartquake) in which you are first responders at a natural disaster such as a nuclear power station meltdown or some kind of seismic disturbance and your team has to clamber over the shattered terrain with several pieces of kit including, but not restricted to, a giant shovel, a baby, a ladder, a clipboard, a ration box and a first aid kit.
stubbington study centre earthquake gameDropping any of it down a crevasse, Scylla and Charybdis, or into the gravel pits or lava pits is bad, as is losing any team members to the same fate. There was also a darkened tunnel called the Sewer, a water obstacle with swinging rope and climbing wall.
Of course this was all splendid for us as we had Big Jim and Fridge Fraser on our side who are tall and strong and I was demo-model for the rope swing and nobody got left behind and I suspect this is the one thing that everyone will remember the most. Plus we were against Nightingale School who were all Year 4s.
It is rumoured that in the super-gucky water-pit under the swinging rope, a £50 note is hidden. I can categorically tell you that this is total buttocks. If there was, it would have dissolved in the dreaded scumble-juice contained therein: one of our number fell in for 2 seconds only and came out bright (and strangely) brown.
stubbington study centre earthquake gamestubbington study centre earthquake gameIn the evening we did the 'S Factor' in which each dorm has to make up and perform a song and we did one based on the Lion Sleeps Tonight eeoo-eoo wum bumbelaaaay, only we did the Fox sleeps tonight oo-er Mr Scarborough because he was one of the teachers. We got, like, half a point and another team got 9/10 because they all said they loved Mr Scarborough in their song, load of old cheats.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

A Post-Card Society

road rage bad driving incidentMy ongoing absence is good for me, for I am not absent. I'm here, having the time of my life: it's everyone else who's missing. Still, it marks another shift in attitude, another nail in the coffin of childhood with an extended stay away from home with only one-way communication. We have to send our postcards and I'm sure the war censor hardly looks at them and redacts unhelpful passages at all.
My missive was brief, to say the least. "I am fine. We are all fine. I love it here so much." But I'm far too busy to say more, I'm nearly an adult now - when I choose a film, it's Predator - but I'll still be little old me inside. You know what they say, the only difference between men and boys, is the size of their feet and the cost of their toys.
I expect Jof is missing me, but I won't let that slow me down.
For breakfast I usually have 2 bits of bread and jam, then the cooked thingy or cereal. There is a salad option and I tried the celery, big mistake. Today we did shelter-building and once you've completed your shelter, you have to get in it and the teachers pour on a jug of water to determine whether it's weather-proof. I got totally soaked.
For lunch we had the home-cooked speciality de la maison which is the pasta badger. You know the way you get fish deep-fried in batter? Well, you'll like this one, we did. They use some kind of wooden frame thing, batter it, deep fry it, and then remove the wood leaving a fat hollow badger-shaped batter crust. Then you fill it with pasta.
stubbington study centre field tripOf course, when you first stab the battered badger with your steely knives, it bleeds pasta most satisfactorily and it was epic. The we met some ducklings. They must have an incubator because we had a tableful of ducklings aged between 12 minutes and 3 days. They're pretty quick if you don't gently hold onto them and they try to run away, even the ones who still have their egg-breaking tooth on the ends of their beaks. Mine was super-cute.
At 1130 we were woken again and went into the hide. This is an extension to the building where one wall is a one-way mirror (when they first put it up it scared the life out of one fox who saw its own reflection) and we were quiet enough to see 2 foxes and a foxcub, and 2 badgers with 2 cubs come out and snuffle around for some food we'd left out.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Live Free or Die

destroying a fire protection doorengrish t shirt failToday is my first full day of freedom at the Fact-finding Fun Farm where I hope to see some badgers and get some sleep tonight. Trained in sleeping through noise from Day 1 of my life, I should be OK. But By definition I can only effectively fill in todays' entry upon my return.
While I am away, life goes on back at the ranch, including the washing-of-the-duvet task, and the preparing for the Scout Campfire task. There was a spare door in one of those passageways where you put out the bins. Not particularly unusual, but a good thing to swipe for the fire. Question. Why was the door so heavy? Answer. Because it's a fire door with 2 layers of plasterboard built into it. Therefore, not much good for the fire. Problem: if you try to put it back in the passageway, Policepersons will no doubt see you and bust you for fly-tipping, so you have to destroy it, box up the decent wood for the fire, and take the broken plasterboard to the tip. Jolly good.
stubbington study centre mouse huntNot too much sleep last night. We have dormitory inspections and we lost points because some of us (not me) were up at 0130 playing football in the dorm. In fact, because my table at chow-down (the cafeteria is called the Snuffle-Hole because of the way badgers catch and eat worms) was so loud we got called up last for our food.
We had set traps for small woodland creatures and some caught those giant orange slugs but we got a wild (actually quite livid) mouse. There is a video of him being released but it's mostly of people's coats.
We visited the beach and made sandcastles and some of us found fossils. Harreeee found a sharks' tooth and Ben offered him £8 for it but Harreeee said no way.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Banished: Into the Bundu

store anything that doesn't talk or shitAt last! My long-awaited week at the outward-bound learning facility has begun. Having felt future-pangs of homesickness last night, I set off with determination, and a notebook and camera with which to record my ongoing mission, to boldly go, investigate new worlds, and do the thing where the towel slips off after the showers because my dressing-gown wouldn't fit in the suitcase. Everybody else's suitcase was bigger than mine and I got an extra hug goodbye from BensMum and we all stood around looking like new recruits who hadn't been assigned a battalion yet.
Jof will miss me terribly which is why the fridge is full of Champagne, I expect.
The weather is due to be challenging with rainstorms and windy interludes, and I have chosen 2 postcards to send home. As per tradition, these will arrive home 2 weeks after I do, a window back in time.
This gives them a week to do all the laundry before the Friday Laundrystorm, so today they destroyed a garden shed (belonging to one of Jof's work-friends) to make wood for the Scout campfire.
stubbington study centre dormitoryHello Muddah, hello Faddah, here I am at ... Stubbington Study Centre. This massive expanse of Hampshire countryside has been temporary home to half the people in the county at some point and they all loved it. We were split into houses (Fox, Badger, Kestrel and Owl) and I was a Fox.
stubbington study centre dormitoryThen we got our dormitories (Ash, Beech, Birch and Willow) and I was an Ash in a group of only 4, other dorms were 5 or 6. The red bunks are nice and I bunked with Ben. The clothing stores are so simple even we could operate them. Then we got a taster session which was information about birds.
The extensive grounds and facilities include: a roundhouse with animal skins and stuffed creatures of land and air: a hard court, football pitch, lots of fields and woodland including one called Badgerland where I wasn't allowed, and a playpark. The playpark is epic and has swinging baskets and a turning disc that I called 'Alien DNA' and an obstacle course etc. There is a chicken coop and that's where we get our morning scrambled egg but only once it's been through the hold-it-up-to-the-light fertilisation test. Also we played Launch-the-Egg with padding and packaging that you could buy depending on the points you got during the quiz and one of the launched eggs landed on the chicken coop and scared them which is a real scarred-for-life in-your-beak tragedy if you're a chicken.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Float like a Wombat

boy in rolled up pyjamasSunday, and the last day before I leave home forever (well, for a week at a residential study centre) so I made the absolute most of it by refusing to wear clothes. Eventually she made me dress so I put on pyjamas in defiance.
And I basically sat, lay, loitered and lazed with my tablet in hand watching youtube videos of people playing Minecraft, all day. While I was doing this, the sun came out, the Queen turned 90, several street parties were held in closed-off roads throughout the town, there was a rally of antique buses on the seafront, shopping happened, etc etc. At one point I agreed to go swimming but it is one thing to agree to something to shut Jof up, another thing to actually get up off my arse and do it.
But we did finish the packing for my excursion to the Learning Facility and I had a practise drag around the house.
So I had a nice last day on the planet and watched the Germany match and jabbered rubbish the whole way through like I did with the England match so nobody else could hear it.